Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Lots of new deals today, including the following from New Growth Press:

And David C. Cook has put a pile of books by Warren Wiersbe on sale:

Hope for the Unhappily Single

Marshall Segal:

Maybe it is an increasing consumerism in dating and marriage, where people are pickier because there are more choices (especially through new media, like online dating). Maybe it is the lengthening of adolescence, in which twenty-somethings less and less feel the need to grow up and take on responsibilities of starting a family, owning a home, and more. Maybe it’s the success of women in the workplace, creating more vocational opportunities for females that could delay the pursuit of a partner and family. Whatever the roots, it’s a reality. If you have single people in your church, you very likely have unhappily single people in your church — and that crowd is not getting any smaller.

The scary question for some in the waiting is, “Will I be single forever?” Would God really withhold the good gifts of love and marriage and intimacy, and children, from me?

3 Reflections on Cultivating Theological Poise

Gavin Ortlund:

If we see doctrinal fidelity as the goal of our ministries, rather than an essential and noble means for the larger goal of the knowledge and kingdom of Christ, we are probably insufficiently sensitive to the dangers of under-contextualization. We are not well poised.

Political Correctness and Plain Rudeness

David Murray:

But there’s a difference between fighting for free speech and using filthy speech. There’s a difference between telling the truth and simply insulting opponents. There’s a difference between ridiculing policies and ridiculing people. There’s a difference between breaking liberal control of politics and losing all self-control in the process. There’s a difference between highlighting bias and resenting any challenge to explain ourselves. There’s a difference between bravery and bluster. There’s a difference between being fearless and being foolish.

Why would any Christian support Donald Trump?

Trevin Wax asks a good question:

How is it possible for salt-of-the-earth, family-loving conservative Christians to be taken with a serial adulterer who won’t take back misogynistic comments and who publicly trumpets the fact that he doesn’t make mistakes that require God’s forgiveness?

Self-Care and Self-Denial

Amie Patrick:

The topic of self-care, particularly as it relates to physical and emotional health, has long confused and challenged me as a Christian. While I’ve deeply resonated with much of the common sense in the philosophy of self-care, other aspects have troubled me and seem completely incompatible with Christianity. I couldn’t agree with Scripture and at the same time agree with arguments encouraging me to pursue a self-focused, indulgent, comfort-based lifestyle. On the other hand, I heartily agreed in principle with discussions of self-care as stewardship. Still, I usually came away with more of a sense of heavy obligation than of freedom and gratitude. I often saw God as an auto mechanic pacing around, irritated and inconvenienced by my failure to get my car in for regular maintenance.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Crossway’s put Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin on sale for $3.49 this week. Be sure to grab a copy of it. Also on sale are How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot ($1.99) and Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry Morgan (99¢).

A Vintage Kindness

Bryan Loritts:

Several years ago I sat down to breakfast with my son at a local diner. When the server first came to our table I knew something was wrong.  She had anything but soft edges.  This woman had “don’t mess with me,” written all over her face.  Words like, rude, short andabrasive came to mind.  As if this wasn’t enough, she messed up our order, and offered a meager, disingenuous apology.  I was heated. Didn’t she know she existed to make my day better?  So I left the gratuity section of the bill blank, yanked my son out of the diner and headed off.  Then the Holy Spirit began speaking to me, showing me how my utilitarian outlook on her had set the stage for me responding to her meanness with an extra helping.  I made a pit stop at the bank, pulled out some cash, then headed back to the diner. When I finally got to speak to her, in vintage cabernet tones I told her that while I felt she could have done better, my response was unkind.  I asked her for forgiveness then gave her the money.  Then she surprised me.  A tear trickled down her once hardened face.  For the next several moments she unloaded, telling me about the divorce she’s going through, the tough financial times and the difficulty she’s having with one of her kids.  Sure, while kindness had broken her, I found her response to my kindness elevating my vision of her.  She was no longer a nameless server who existed for my convenience, but a real person with a story.  I guess kindness got to both of us.

More Than Sovereign

Adam McClendon:

I was trained in a discipline that focused on the sovereignty of God, and I’m grateful for that.  It has centered my life on someone beyond myself; nevertheless, the primary and almost exclusive characteristic of the nature of God promoted was his sovereignty.  As a result, I found a theological formula that was inadequate in this moment of distress.  Something important was missing.  After all, if God is like Hitler, his sovereignty brings no comfort.  I did not doubt God’s sovereignty in this moment.  What I was struggling with was his goodness.

Sovereignty alone was no longer sufficient.

 

Google Translate vs “La Bamba”

Surprised by Scripture: Love and Spirit-Inspired Insults

Joe Rigney:

Because it connects being filled with the Spirit to these pointed words, this passage is a challenge to us. First, it demands we recognize this type of speech can be motivated and animated by God’s Spirit. It forces us to enlarge our vision of the Spirit-filled life. Not that the Spirit-filled life doesn’t include sincere love and patience and kindness and gentleness. But apparently the Spirit-filled life is compatible with this kind of direct, pointed speech too. Faithfulness to Scripture demands we have a category for a Spirit-inspired insult.

The Acute Pain of Trust

Michael Kelley:

All three of our children, for the first time, will go to school this year. This will be the last first day of school. And though I’ve prided myself on not being “that parent,” I’m for sure “that parent.” I’ve done my share of fretting and wondering whether or not we have rightly prepared this kindergartner, like his brother and sister, for this first real entrance into the big, wide world. When I think about those things, and I think about my big boy walking away with his newly minted lunch box in his hand into a classroom for the first time, my heart hurts.

Links I like (weekend edition)

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

This sale on the Theologians on the Christian Life series from Crossway is wrapping up really soon. Get the following titles for $5.99 each:

Also on sale are:

Video Killed the Pulpit Star

This was very interesting.

9 Marks of a Healthy Worship Leader

Alex Duke:

I suppose I’m equal parts grateful and terrified. After all, the title “worship leader” is nowhere in the New Testament. This fact tempts even the most levelheaded toward the subjective and superficial, where already drawn lines and white-knuckled commitments merely evidence what we’ve previously seen, known, or been comfortable with.

So I wanted to pass along a few thoughts I’ve developed as I’ve prayed through what my church is undertaking in the coming weeks, and what your church may be going through right now. I’ve unoriginally titled them “Nine Marks of a Healthy Worship Leader.”

Don’t Know What a Fetus Is? Here Are Your Options

Clarifying words from Peter Kreeft, via Justin Taylor.

Performance in Music City USA

Ray Ortlund:

But there is a dark side to our culture of performance.  The dark side is bondage to appearances — smiling, beautiful, impressive, attractive appearances.  Nashville is a city of truly amazing people.  But under the surface are also stories of unspoken disappointment, insecurity, heartache, failure, loneliness, fear, regret, injury, loss, even as the show must go on.  We may well wonder, “Does anyone care about my broken heart?”

Focus on the Family

D.L. Mayfield:

I was told for so many years to focus on my family, to make it good and strong and holy. But now all I ever want to tell my daughter is that it is sometimes those who speak the loudest about morality and spirituality who are all bluster and bluff.I remember Bill Cosby as being one of my dad’s heroes. He was respectable, safe, clean, funny. He was a regular guy. He was a dad, exasperated and busy and lovably frustrated by the self-absorbed monsters he himself had created. As a family, we would watch the Cosby show. I always thought it was a bit boring, especially those long extended musician solos. When I was young, it seemed to me that I had no taste. I didn’t like jazz. I didn’t like the comedy records that my dad played. And I never really liked Bill Cosby. When I was twelve, the youth pastor at our church was a man in his forties. He was married, and his wife terrified me with her frizzy red perm and long, claw-like nails. This youth pastor looked a lot like Sully from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (one of the other few television shows we were allowed to watch). He had long, curly brown hair and very broad shoulders. He did not seem to mind at all when people mentioned that he looked a little bit like Jesus.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Openness Unhindered

Westminster Bookstore’s got a really great sale going on for Rosaria Butterfield’s latest book, Openness Unhindered ($11 each, $10 each if you’re buying five or more copies). There are also a number of other books on sale including What Does The Bible Really Say About Homosexuality? and The Accidental Feminist.

God Made All of Me pre-order special

Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s new book for kids,God Made All of Me, is coming out very soon and have put together a great set of bonus resources if you pre-order between August 7 and September 7. Just order God Made All of Me from Amazon or any other online retailer, submit your proof of purchase and you’re set.

There is No Pro-Life Case For Planned Parenthood

Ross Douthat:

So let’s be clear about what’s really going on here. It is not the pro-life movement that’s forced Planned Parenthood to unite actual family planning and mass feticide under one institutional umbrella. It is not the Catholic Church or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or the Southern Baptist Convention or the Republican Party that have bundled pap smears and pregnancy tests and HPV vaccines with the kind of grisly business being conducted on those videos. This is Planned Parenthood’s choice; it is liberalism’s choice; it is the respectable center-left of Dana Milbank and Ruth Marcus and Will Saletan that’s telling pro-life and pro-choice Americans alike that contraceptive access and fetal dismemberment are just a package deal, that if you want to fund an institution that makes contraception widely available then you just have to live with those “it’s another boy!” fetal corpses in said institution’s freezer, that’s just the price of women’s health care and contraceptive access, and who are you to complain about paying it, since after all the abortion arm of Planned Parenthood is actually pretty profitable and doesn’t need your tax dollars?

The giant iMac wheel

This is pretty rad:

What’s It Like to Abort Your Own Child?

Bethany Jenkins:

To achieve that goal, Nathanson would later admit, they “pursued dubious and in some cases straightforwardly dishonest strategies,” noted Robert George. They promoted the idea that abortion was about medicine, not morality; lied about the number of illegal abortions performed annually and about the number of women who died from them; suggested that opposing abortion was a “religious dogma” imposed by a Catholic hierarchy; and argued that abortion was an effective means to fight poverty.

“Shocking Videos!” and the Art of Looking Away

Trevin Wax:

Many pro-choice people in our country are uncomfortable with the idea of abortion, but don’t want to see it outlawed. They can see a doctor talking callously about the unborn and they think, “How insensitive!” They see another video or two, with the haggling over fetal body parts being severed for sale, and think, “Well, this is disturbing, but they haven’t broken laws, have they? Isn’t this ultimately for a good cause?”

The Sound of Silence

Kevin DeYoung offers some thoughts on the problem of people not singing in church. While I might not agree with everything said here, DeYoung offers some real food for thought.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

How to Repent Without Really Repenting

Jim Elliff:

The religious man often deceives himself in his repentance. The believer may sin the worst of sins, it is true; but to remain in the love of sin, or to be comfortable in the atmosphere of sin, is a deadly sign, for only repenters inhabit heaven. The deceived repenter would be a worse sinner if he could, but society holds him back. He can tolerate and even enjoy other worldly professing Christians and pastors well enough, but does not desire holy fellowship or the fervent warmth of holy worship. If he is intolerant of a worship service fifteen minutes “too long,” how will he feel after fifteen million years into the eternal worship service of heaven? He aspires to a heaven of lighthearted ease and recreation—an extended vacation; but a heaven of holiness would be hell to such a man. Yet God is holy, and God is in heaven. He cannot be blamed for sending the unholy man to hell despite his most articulate profession (Heb. 12:14).

A Pastor’s Greatest Regret After a Lifetime of Ministry

Joe McKeever:

A wise minister learns to say, “No.” And if he finds that impossible, he can take a smaller step and practice saying, “Can I pray about that, and get back to you?” Stalling for time—even an hour—allows him to look at his schedule more objectively.

Five Lessons From The Gym

David Murray:

After my second episode of pulmonary embolism last summer, I decided to finally get serious about physical exercise. I’m on the thin side (understatement of the year), I’ve never really needed to watch my weight, and I’ve kept quite active, but I’d definitely become a bit soft and flabby. I needed to get my heart pumping and my muscles hardened to pump that blood around my system as part of my new medical regime to avoid more clotting. Apart from the obvious physical benefits, I’ve also learned some valuable spiritual lessons along the way.

Your brain prefers paper over digital

This is really interesting:

Every year, consumers spend more time using digital devices. Every year, more media is consumed digitally. Naturally, advertising dollars are increasingly flowing to digital as well. But, don’t pull the plug on that direct mail campaign just yet. New research has again shown that content on paper affects our brains in different and more powerful ways.

HT: Jeff Brooks

Who is the most dangerous guy at your church?

Erik Raymond:

Sure, we all can spot the unbeliever who doesn’t fluently speak the language of Zion, we can identify the person from doctrinally anemic backgrounds because they keep cutting themselves with the sharp knives in the theology drawer, and of course any Calvinist can sniff out an Arminian within 20 seconds.

But I submit that these types of people are not the most dangerous people that attend your church. At least, they are not in my experience.

Instead, the most dangerous person at your church is the apparently smart guy who is unteachable.

Confessions of a Bibliophile

Keith Mathison:

Sometimes I have read books for the wrong reasons. During my first semester of college, I ran across a three-volume work titled The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a harrowing, often firsthand account of the Soviet Union’s concentration camp system. When I took it to the counter to check it out, the librarian said to me in a rather obnoxious way that no one who started that book ever finished all three volumes, and then he informed me that I would never finish it either. I took that as a challenge and proceeded to plow through two thousand pages of dense narrative on a very unpleasant subject. Although I finished it simply to prove someone wrong, it turned out to be a great book.

Links I like

Links

Every year I’ve taken a month off of blogging to rest up, recharge and catch up on a number of other projects. During that time, I’ve asked a number of friends from around the Interwebs to team up and provide great content for encouragement and enjoyment of everyone who takes the time to read this blog.

This week I’ll begin my break in earnest, popping in only for the occasional post should events warrant it, as well as handling the regular “Links I like” feature. During my time off, I’ll be catching up on a few major projects (including proposals for two books), working on a small group study for teens (more on that in a while), and maybe trying to get to bed before 1 am.

See y’all soon!

Kindle deals for Christian readers

B&H has a huge sale going on right now, with volumes from the Holman Commentary series on for $2.99:

Old Testament:

New Testament:

Also on sale are:

3 Pieces of Advice for Rural Church Ministry

John Powell:

Ministry in the modern church is growing ever more urban.  But there are still a significant number of pastors who will fight in the trenches of kingdom warfare from a rural church.  Here are 3 pieces of advice for those who would consider going to the hard places and farming communities of rural America.

Away With Utilitarian Arguments Against Abortion

Jared Wilson explains why we should stop using arguments like this one: “You should be pro-life because what if you aborted the person who would go on to cure AIDS or cancer, or end poverty?”

John Piper Reflects on Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill Implosion

This was an interesting Q&A with John Piper regarding Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. Some undoubtedly will take issue with Piper’s comments regarding abandoning the institutional church (but they shouldn’t).

Pray for the Third Wave

John Ensor:

Almost eight years ago, I wrote to encourage the church to pray for the Third Wave. I argued that the end of abortion as a business would be in sight when the prolife movement was not only joined, but led, by Black and Latino Christians.

I was wrong, at least partially. And I am so thankful.

Fractured Christians

Tim Challies:

…what if Jonah was a book with three chapters instead of four? A three-chapter Jonah is a powerful story of a man running from God, being transformed by God, obeying God, and witnessing a great and unexpected revival. But Jonah has four chapters, and it is in that final chapter that everything changes.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Lots of good Kindle deals for you today, starting with the Theologians on the Christian Life series from Crossway for $5.99 each:

I’ve got a number of these on my shelf, and those I’ve read have been brilliant. Also on sale:

Wormtongue at the Listless Wheel

Jared Wilson:

When you get right down to it, the whole enterprise is nonsensical and self-defeating. Cultural rebukes from a relativistic reading of the Scriptures and of historic orthodoxy guts any presumed authority in the rebuke from the outset. In a comment thread at one of these wormtongue-y blogs I read someone’s defense of the use of p()rnography in a marriage, arguing the need to respect differing values. The commenter also maintained that complementarian marriages were evil. “Get a brain, morans,” indeed.

Stop Saying You Are Being Micromanaged IF…

Eric Geiger offers some good pushback for those who feel micromanaged.

I. Must. Pound. This. Into. My. Head.

Stephen Altrogge:

We need to cram our heads full of the gospel until it leaks from our ears. We need to gulp down the gospel constantly, like a runner sucking down water during a race.

More than a Sequel: Heaven Is Our Reboot

Jeffrey Porter:

Star Wars fans experienced this when the Phantom Menace was first released after years of anticipation. Droves of fans packed theaters the opening weekend with hopes of reliving cherished memories. However, a storyline revolving around a dry trade federation concept, the revelation that the mysterious power of the force was reducible to a not-so-enchanting organism called Midi-chlorians, and the out of place and cartoonish Jar Jar Binks seemed contrary to the whole spirit of the original trilogy. It was not the same far, far away galaxy, from a long time ago that fans had spent years remembering. As we anticipate another Star Wars sequel later this year, it is not at once clear how a new sequel or prequel could live up to the kind of expectations we put on our most beloved films. If we are trying to fill a hole in our hearts the size of heaven itself, it is absurd to think any Star Wars movie will ever be good enough.

 

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

You may also find something of interest in these special deals on through the month of August.

Free from Christian Audio this month is Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield (it is brilliant). The free Logos book for August is Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament: Acts by Mikeal C. Parsons. You can also get Ephesians and Colossians by Charles H. Talbert from the same commentary series for $1.99.

What Should We Do When They Stray?

Nick Batzig:

Not long after I was converted, news of my conversion spread through the church that I began attending in Greenville, SC. People would frequently approach me to ask if I would reach out to their son or their daughter–children who were living prodigal lifestyles akin to that which I had lived. The first year of my conversion exposed me to the prevalent nature of such rebellion among children who had grown up in Christian homes. I started to realize a few things as I labored to bring the Gospel to young adults who were strung out on pharmaceuticals, cocaine, acid, crack, meth, MDMA, etc. First, I realized how true my Calvinistic beliefs really were (i.e. unless the Lord–in His sovereign mercy and grace–redeems, all is hopeless); and, second, I realized that most of the parents were at a loss to know how to pursue their rebellious covenant child. The only example that I had was that which was etched in my mind by the actions of my father and mother. Today, whenever I am counseling the parents of a rebellious child, there are five things that I always remind Christian parents with rebellious children.

Whom Do Tim Keller and Don Carson Look Up To?

Ivan Mesa:

Alec Motyer, that’s who. The 90-year-old former principal of Trinity College in Bristol, England has served as both a pastor and a professor. Although much of his academic life has been devoted to the study of the Old Testament, particularly Isaiah, Motyer has aimed to bring his insights to the layperson through lecturing and writing, most notably serving as co-editor with John Stott of the The Bible Speaks Today series.

The Most Important Ear in Worship

Matthew Westerholm:

Perhaps the distance between the speaker and our listening eardrums is too far for the sounds to be intelligible. Or perhaps there is a social or relational gap between speakers and listeners, such as when a celebrity walking past a crowd believes himself too important to stop and listen to all the shouts from his adoring fans.

The Epidemic of Male Body Hatred

Paul Maxwell:

A man who hates his body is really searching for love — a fundamentally relational search for intimacy with self in the form of confidence, intimacy with the opposite sex in being sexy, intimacy with the same sex in intimidation or acceptance, intimacy with authority in competency, and ultimately intimacy with God, in appearing worthy. The lie is that performance offers intimacy at all — it is, in fact, its foil. Yet this is the path we choose.

Links I like (weekend edition)

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Today is also the last day to take advantage of these deals from Crossway:

Is Cecil the lion more devastating than the Planned Parenthood videos?

Karen Swallow Prior:

While elective abortion and trophy hunting are different issues surrounded by different ethical and political questions, both news stories offer — regardless of one’s views on either issue — an opportunity to consider the moral responsibility that comes with knowledge — and the moral responsibility that comes with willful ignorance.

Conservative Progressives: How to Pass the Baton from Generation to Generation

Joe Rigney:

But sidelong glances won’t be the only challenge. Leadership transitions within churches and institutions are also full of pitfalls for those moving on out and those moving on up. Passing the baton from one generation to another has never been easy. But it’s also never been optional. The Christian faith, after all, is something that’s handed down (2 Tim. 2:2). It’s entrusted from one generation to another.

Which means we must learn to make the generational handoff without dropping the baton.

Pastors, Don’t Be Passive on Planned Parenthood

Dan Darling:

Millions of people are seeing the brutal reality of what has always been labeled by abortion providers as a safe and clinical practice. New technologies, such as ultrasound machines, smart phones that capture video, and social media have converged to cause us to see what we didn’t previously: the humanity of the unborn and the gruesome nature of abortion. As Columnist Ross Douthat puts it, we’re just starting to realize that “an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism.”

But how do pastors and church leaders lead their people through the outrage to champion the sacred value of human life? How do we bring the hope of the gospel into the brokenness of our world?

7 False Assumptions Made About Introverts

Ron Edmonson offers a helpful correction about what extroverts think us introverts are like.

Exceptionally Ordinary

Nick Horton:

Do you really think God needs you or I to do anything in order to accomplish what he wills? We’re overestimating our value by 100% if we do. God uses means to accomplish his will, yes. However, he decides the means, not us. He chooses his servants, both great and small, to accomplish the tasks he wants them to do. We’re going by the wrong economy if we measure kingdom impact by worldly numbers.

 

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Be Resolute, Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on Daniel is free through the end of the day. Be Confident (Hebrews) is available for $1.99. Finally, When Good Men Get Angry by Bill Perkins is $3.99.

Our Wilberforce moment

Josh Howerton:

In the last three weeks, videos of Planned Parenthood officials (the organization that performs over 40% of our nation’s abortions) harvesting and selling the body parts of dismembered infant corpses have surfaced to national outrage. See them HERE, HEREHERE, and HERE. Rumors are there are 8 more to come. In a nation that has been legally pro-abortion for ~40 years, why are these videos now causing such outrage? Because the reality of what abortion obviously is (the killing of a human infant) is being non-ignorably thrust into our faces. This is our William Wilberforce moment: the stories have been viscerally told and people may choose to look away, but nobody can ever say again that they did not know. A few quick, bulleted reflections from watching the events of the last three weeks…

10 Updates on Planned Parenthood; A New Video; and How to Contact Congress

American friends, please be sure to use the info at the end of this post.

Fish and Snakes and Fathers and Sons

Michael Kelley:

That freedom is sometimes frustrating as a parent, especially one who has wasted as much money on stupid things as I have over the course of my life. Periodically throughout the year, one of the kids will see something they absolutely have to have. So begins the conversation about value in which I try (unsuccessfully most of the time) to convince them that what they have their heart set on isn’t actually worth it. It’s not as good as they think it’s going to be, and in the end, they’ll wind up not just frustrated, but frustrated and broke.

How Reading Can Transform Your Health

David Murray discusses a few key things he learned reading How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health, Michael Grothaus.

Your Bible Is a Mine, Not a Museum

Jon Bloom:

The Bible is as fascinating as the best museum. There is a lot glean from it at face value. But it is enriching as a mine. Begin to dig, poke around, and examine, and it yields wonderful things that you didn’t notice at first.

Seven Signs Success Has Outgrown Your Character

Eric Geiger:

When a leader’s competence outpaces a leader’s character, implosion is imminent. When skills surpass the process of sanctification, the trajectory is downward though everything looks great on the outside. It is often easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye than the plank in our own, so here are seven signs your success is outpacing your character.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Eleven volumes in the Christ-Centered Exposition commentary series are on sale through August 4th:

Also on sale is Understanding Genesis by Jason Lisle for $2.99, which looks interesting.

Haven Today

This morning I’ll be on Haven Today speaking with Charles Morris about the recently released documentary, Through The Eyes of Spurgeon. Check your local station for air times or listen online at haventoday.org. The show airs at 9 am (EDT) on FaithFM (99.9).

4 Magic Words for Your Next Argument

Erik Raymond:

The primary source of our conflict is within us. We crave something often times from someone. When we do not get it then we get very upset. Our passions or desires are at war within us. We are not getting what we want (usually under the headings of honor, comfort, or control) so we lash out. We then try to manipulate the other person actively by doing things like yelling or even physical aggression or we do it passively by ignoring them with the silent treatment. Whatever extreme we are on we can be sure that it is our unmet cravings of our heart that are fueling this conflict.

We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do

Dustin Rouse:

My fear is that we can fall down that slippery slope that an awesome worship experience equals the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can move mightily in a worship gathering, and I pray every weekend that He does. But we must be careful that we don’t gauge the Spirit’s effectiveness in our church based on how many people are raising their hands.

A California Court Just Banned The Release Of More Planned Parenthood Videos

This is altogether unsurprising. I’m guessing whatever’s on the next one must be particularly awful.

After Outrage, What?

Scott Oliphint:

It was John Adams who said “Facts are stubborn things.” If Adams lived in today’s America, he would have to amend that statement to something like, “Facts are stubborn things, but their stubbornness pales into insignificance compared to the stubbornness of  folly.” As the recent Obergefell decision, as well as the less recent Roe vs. Wade decision, show, the intractable darkness of foolishness can suppress the stubbornness of facts in the blink of an eye. In Obergefell, foolishness suppresses the obvious facts of gender, substituting in its place a vacuous and intentionally undefined notion of “love.” In Roe vs. Wade, foolishness suppresses the obvious facts of human life, and substitutes a penumbral notion of privacy. In each case, foolishness covers facts like a slimy, diseased blanket.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

How the Gospel Creates Ethics

Owen Strachan:

You love the gospel. Great! But a question beckons, one that must be answered: what, exactly, does the gospel now do in your life?

The message of Christ crucified for us is no minimalistic phenomenon. You cannot box it up. You cannot rein it in. If you believe it, it will conquer and consume you. Plant it in fertile soil, and you will reap a harvest of spiritual transformation and ethical conviction. You are saved for intimate fellowship with Christ; you are saved to boldly—publicly—testify to his glory.

But how does this work? How can ordinary Christians be public witnesses for Jesus?

I want to offer an answer by tracing how one Christian leader, a born-again ex-con named Chuck Colson, arrived at his own response to this vexing question.

4 Things It’s Okay to Say When You’re Hurt

Paul Maxwell:

Reconciliation is difficult because people dole out advice like lollipops at the bank—our pride is on the line, our safety is on the line. It’s also difficult because the gospel which teaches us we’re forgiven and reconciled to God sometimes feels empowering, and at other times like a looming and difficult example. But it’s important to remember as you reconcile, that while the gospel does empower you to perform some amazing relational feats, you are not God. These are all very human things to say—not sinful; just finite.

No Platform High Enough

Tim Challies:

When it is platform you crave, when it is the size or the popularity of your following that you use as the measure of your success, you will inevitably and eventually find that there is no platform high enough. No success will ever perfectly fulfill your ambitions.

A Right to Privacy Requires a Right to Life

Aaron Earls:

This begs the question, how does this “tissue” have a right to privacy, but not a right to life? Wouldn’t a right to privacy require a right to life?

If you consider life in the womb to be merely expendable tissue, what does it matter if someone shows it? Is your privacy violated if someone took a photograph of your blood in a vial (or “pie plate” as in the video)?

The Time I Said I Don’t Always Like Women’s Ministry Events

Christine Hoover:

She says no. She says it with absolute, total conviction, a “no” that feels like it’s answering all future invitations, a “no” that indicates it’s not busyness keeping her away, a “no” begging for explanation. So I gently probe. She describes past experiences of women’s events characterized by shallow conversation, girly crafts, and topics never veering far from marriage and motherhood. I tell her what we’re studying (not marriage or motherhood) and guarantee there will be no girly crafts and lots of opportunities to make connections with other women. She thanks me for the invitation, reaffirms her “no”, and moves off into the crowd.

As she goes, I am sad, not for me, but for her and for the “us” that is our church’s women, because we’re not going to know her until she lets us know her, and we’re probably missing something wonderful.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Three reasons your group should break up

Brandon Hiltibidal:

Small groups have at least one thing in common with middle school daters and pints of Graeter’s in my freezer: they can’t be expected to last forever. Of course, commitment to your group is critical. Group members can’t sharpen one another without time and the willingness to deal with discomfort. However, it is unlikely and perhaps even unhealthy to assume you will “do life” with the same eight people until Jesus comes back. Sometimes some relationships lack the right fit for solid discipleship. We are called to love everyone in the church, but we can’t dig deep with everyone we meet. Let’s be willing to reset our group when it doesn’t make sense for shared spiritual growth.

So, here are three reasons your group might want to consider a cordial break-up, in order to build new relationships with other group members. Remember, this doesn’t mean you can’t all go to heaven together—just that maybe you should “see other people” until then.

15 Years and What Do You Get?

Joan Hartley:

It has occurred to me that fifteen years did indeed go by in a flash. Fifteen is not a very big number, and yet in that amount of time, I have observed tremendous change all about me. Of course, the home that was new a few years ago has begun to show its age and need for attention. Our parents have all died. Our children have gone from being pre-teens and teens (which once afforded us the luxury of resident slave labor) to adults in their upper 20s and early 30s – some with children of their own. Amazingly, my husband and I now both qualify for AARP discounts at participating hotels.

Don’t Pray About the Book of Mormon

I appreciated a lot about this post, particularly the point that some things we don’t need to pray about because they’re kind of obvious.

Why Encouragement is Not Optional

Dan Darling:

People closest to us need to hear words of affirmation from us. They need to hear them regularly, consistently, and sincerely. Not empty words of flattery, like something we’d type on Facebook on someone’s birthday (“best husband in the whole world!”), but genuine and heartfelt praise for the unique gifts and contribution of those closest to us.

8 Reasons Why Loving Money is so Dangerous

David Murray:

Having dealt with the roles and relationships of men and women, elders and deacons, employers and employees, in 1 Timothy 6v9-10 the Apostle Paul addresses with the Christian’s relationship with money and issues eight warnings about why we should not turn it into an idol.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Crossway’s got a few books on marriage on sale this week:

Does the Bible say anything about sleep habits?

David Roach:

Americans aren’t getting enough shut-eye. That’s the conclusion of a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that nearly nine million Americans take prescription sleeping pills and such prescriptions have tripled for people between 18 and 24. Of course, occasional sleepless nights are normal for nearly everyone and sometimes insomnia is caused by uncontrollable factors like physical pain or nightmares. But can a lack of sleep indicate a spiritual problem? Does the Bible say anything to guide us in our sleep patterns? You might be surprised to learn that the answer is yes to both questions.

How Do You Define Joy?

John Piper starts a new six-part study series on Philippians:

3 Ways to Grow in Faith

Mike Leake:

Just as in any relationship our communion is often in direct proportion to our faith and love. If I sin against you our relationship is going to be harmed. Likewise, if I feel slighted by you then it will impact the way we relate to one another. How much worse does a human relationship get if one person loses trust in the other one? In the same way—our lively experience of the Lord is often in proportion to our faith.

So how do we grow in our faith?

Creating a New Wrong Way when the Right Way seems to be a Wrong Way

JD Payne offers an interesting perspective on Mark 1:44-45.

How We Became Too Busy For Friends

Pam Lau:

Too many of today’s friendships—both inside and outside of the church—suffer from fragmentation and superficiality. That is, we are too scattered to commit knowing and caring for a person deeply. Instead, we settle for friends who are merely familiar faces for extended small talk. Perhaps it’s because we are afraid of the intimacy or have been burned by bad relationships in the past. Or perhaps it’s because this is the kind of relationship we see modeled and expected in our neighborhoods, schools, and small groups. Dr. Daniel J Siegel, a neuropsychiatrist, advises that little bit of empathy goes a long way. He believes in what he calls mindsight—a new approach to relationships that teaches the skills of reflection, relationships, and resilience.