A La Carte (September 5)

Kindle deal hunters will find just a few relatively minor ones today.

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(Yesterday on the blog: Risen Motherhood)

Is Your Church Frantic or Focussed?

I like this one! “If focussed attention is our greatest resource, then frantic distraction must be our greatest weakness. The lack of attention we give to anything, and the harried, harassed manner in which we give it, has enervated us and hollowed us out. Nothing seems permanent.” He goes on to apply this to the local church.

When Worship Lyrics Miss the Mark

Do the lyrics in our worship songs really matter? John Piper answers well. “Given the hundreds and hundreds of worthy, substantial, rich, deep, old hymns that speak nourishing doctrinal truth, and given the many, many, many new songs of the last thirty years that are solid and Christ-exalting and gospel-rich and God-centered, there is no reason for any church to sing songs that are misleading or even questionable.”

Can You Hear the Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Pianos? (Video)

I could initially, but the differences blurred as the prices went up.

Once Abused by the Church, Now I Love the Church

“When I share my testimony, I’m often asked: ‘Why would you ever walk through the door of another church, much less become a member?’ And: ‘As a victim of pastoral abuse, how can you submit yourself to male leadership within the church?’ My recovery from church hurt and pastoral abuse is ongoing. Time and distance aren’t the cure for all wounds. Even writing this article is a difficult enterprise. But certain biblical truths have enabled me to embrace the beauty of God’s design for the church and to grow in submission to its imperfect yet humble leadership.”

12 Favorite Productivity Principles

Ray Fowler shares some useful principles for personal productivity. “I am a pastor and have a variety of tasks to fulfill each week – study, prayer, counseling, visitation, teaching, administration, etc. I also enjoy reading about productivity and learning how best to use my time for both professional and personal pursuits. I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way and have compiled my twelve favorite productivity principles below. I trust you will find them helpful in your life as well.”

The Bare-Bones Light Phone Will Set You Free

Lots of people are concerned about what their phone is doing to them, and an alternative like this may be just the thing.

Nothing To Be Ashamed Of: Penal Substitutionary Atonement In Honor-Shame Cultures

There’s been an interesting little discussion unfolding about penal substitutionary atonement in honor-shame cultures. It began with the link above. Then Jackson Wu answered in three parts: herehere, and here. The authors responded to him. Then he wrote an open letter that was conciliatory in tone. You may benefit from reading through some or all of it.

Flashback: Thank God For Your Job (Doesn’t Matter What Your Job Is!)

As you enjoy rest from your labors, why don’t you take a bit of time to thank God for your labors. No matter what they are, they are evidence of his kindness and mercy toward you.

We may be truly said to worship God, though we lack perfection; but we cannot be said to worship Him if we lack sincerity. —Stephen Charnock