Around the Interweb

Should You Read 100 Books in 2011?

Trevin Wax offers a challenge:

Last year, I challenged Kingdom People readers to set a reading goal in 2010 and I offered some tips for how to reach that goal. Because I chose a high number (100) in the post title, I received some pushback from readers who thought my challenge was unrealistic or unhelpful. I responded by affirming the benefit of setting a goal and clarified that the actual number is not what is important.

This year, I’m not asking the question “Can you read 100 books in 2011?” Instead, I’m asking a different question: “Should you read this many books?” Is it wise to set a high reading goal? Is it beneficial?

Read the rest.

Also worth reading

Trevin Wax: An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Free stuff: ChristianAudio.com’s free audiobook of the month is The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges.

Theology: Know Your Heretics – The Gnostics

Mark Altrogge: The Sure Sign of Self Sufficiency

Contest winners: The winners of the Slave contest are… A.W. Hall, Ricky Kirk, Nathan Harbottle, Ryan Higginbottom and Darrin Trammell. You’ll be receiving one copy of Slave for you, and another to give to someone else. Congratulations and thanks to all who entered!

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Slave by John MacArthur

John Piper: Will We Worship or Will We Curse?

A.W. Tozer: You Are What You Worship

Dear Song Leader…

J.C. Ryle: All About Doing, Never About Believing

An update on my Memory Moleskine: Memorizing Philippians 1:1-11

Around the Interweb (09/19)

I’ve got the Power…?

I love it when Tim Challies reviews a book that’s made of crazy; this week—The Power by Rhonda Byrne (the sequel to The Secret). His conclusion is worth the price of admission alone:

Needless to say, The Power is a bad book. A really bad book. It’s so utterly stupid, so unbelievably vapid, that it boggles my mind that anyone could read it and believe it. If you could package foolishness, if you could slap stupidity between two covers, you’d end up with The Power. Read it if you must, but as you do it, you’d better generate some good feelings toward brain cells; you’ll need to attract a few to yourself if you’re replace all the ones that are sure to die as you give hours of your life to all of this drivel.

Read the whole thing.

In Other News

Ministry: Kevin DeYoung offers 20 things he wished he knew before entering the ministry (and 25 more because there are so many things that can go wrong…)

Technology/Drama: Stephen Altrogge shares how Apple products make you a better Christian… (and some of in the comments aren’t in on the joke :))

Ministry/Technology: The Resurgence released a pretty slick new website the other night.

Bibles: Bill Mounce asks the question, “What constitutes an accurate translation?” (HT: Challies)

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Radical by David Platt

Thinking about what it means to be salt & light in social justice

If we’re not worth saving, why does God save anyone?

You need to be HIP, seriously.

Spurgeon on the bold & indignant Christ

Around the Interweb (05/23)

“It is too easy to love and care in the abstract”

“I’m religious but I don’t believe in institutional Christianity” is often another Docetic way to say, “I want to be spiritual without any of the ambiguities, frustrations, and responsibilities that embody spiritual commitment.”

Institutions are embodiments and substantiations of ideals, aims, and values. Docetism is a special abnegation of any responsibility to incarnate ideals, values, or love.

It is altogether too easy to love and care in the abstract. Concrete situations of diapers, debts, divorce, or listening to and being with someone in depression and despair, is the test of real love.

Docetism is the religious way to escape having love tested in the flesh. All of us are tempted to audit life rather than to participate fully and be tested by it.

– C. FitzSimons Allison, The Cruelty of Heresy, 37-8.

HT: Trevin Wax

In Other News

I just gave the blog a facelift – what do you think?

Twitter: Fake Steve Jobs declares war on pornography. While it’s a parody, it would be a brilliant sales maneuver. Seriously. Here’s a bit of what the real Jobs has said about Apple and pornography.

Jon Acuff on CNN.com: Treating Secular Media like Satan’s Newspaper

Books: Michael Krahn reviews Rob Bell’s Drops Like Stars. The verdict?

Bell’s weakness (which masquerades as strength) is that he says things and presents himself in a way that communicates depth while saying and writing things that aren’t actually that deep. This seems impressive at first but eventually becomes a bit tedious.

Fun: Mike Tompkins covers Fireflies by Owl City. Here’s the video:

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshear’s latest, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe

Good marketing doesn’t take itself too seriously (I want to get a swagger wagon)

Some thoughts on tithing, taxes and giving without guilt

What are you reading this summer?

An excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, The Redeemer’s Prayer

Around the Interweb (05/02)

Jennifer Knapp & Larry King: Why We Always Lose This Debate

In light of Jennifer Knapp’s recent interview on Larry King, Trevin Wax offers some thoughtful insights into why we “always lose” in the public debate about homosexuality:

“We’re all sinners” comes up again and again in discussions like this. In her Larry King interview, Knapp realized the power of having the pastor admit that he too is a sinner. Once she received this admission, she had the upper hand in asking, “Then why are you judging me instead of me judging you?”

Whenever the discussion centers on “homosexuality is a sin… but we’re all sinners,” the traditionalist inevitably comes across looking like he is singling out homosexuality as a worse sin than all the rest. His protests to the contrary always ring hollow.

But this is the wrong way to frame this debate. We are not saying that some of us are worse sinners than others or that homosexuality is a worse sin than pride, stealing, etc. We are not categorized before God as “better sinners” or “worse sinners.” Instead, we are either unrepentant or repentant. True Christianity hinges on repentance. The pastor on Larry King Live eventually made this point later on in the broadcast, but the rhetorical damage had already been done.

If we are to reframe this discussion along biblical lines, then we must emphasize the necessity of repentance for the Christian faith. The point is not that the pastor and the Knapp are both sinners. It’s that the pastor agrees with God about his sin, while Knapp remains in her sin without repentance. That is why he is questioning her Christianity, for Christian teaching makes clear the necessity of repentance as the entryway into the Christian family.

Ultimately, the debate is not about homosexuality versus other sins. It’s about whether or not repentance is integral to the Christian life.

Read the rest. It’s well worth your time and consideration.

In Other News

Darryl Dash: We Need Gospel Movements, Not Just Better Churches

Technology: Steve Jobs shares his Thoughts on Flash

Jared Wilson: Ten Reasons to Under-Program Your Church

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

My notes from D.A. Carson’s message at The Gospel Coalition conference in Hamilton, Canada, Christian Faithfulness in the Last Days

A review of Dr. Carson’s latest book, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

Don’t study theology, but do study theology

More wisdom from Spurgeon on faith & obedience

Around the Interweb (04/04)

7 Miles

Matt Chandler explains why the idea that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross is ridiculous:

In other news

The Ten Most Surprising Things About the iPad (via Z)

Jared Wilson shares “10 big reasons why Easter giveaways are a FAIL

Wisdom, Complexity and Chilling the Heck Out

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

An interview with Adrian Warnock, author of Raised with Christ

“Too Staggering a claim to remain neutral” – Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears on the Resurrection

Maybe the problem is we’re not frightened enough

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the dishonesty of unbelief

Around the Interweb (01/31)

The iPad: Greatest Disappointment in Human History or the New Device You Can Touch

Last week, Apple unveiled the long-rumored tablet computer, the iPad.

Über-blogger Tim Challies has written an astoundingly negative post on the iPad, calling it “the greatest disappointment in human history”:

I wanted the iPad to do lots of neat things but to do one thing exceedingly well. Speaking personally, I wanted it to be an exceptional reading device. Why Apple didn’t position it as a reading device baffles me. Why didn’t they work with textbook manufacturers to make this the future of reading, the future of studying? . . . .This device could have been an amazing way of taking reading (which even Steve Jobs knows isn’t really going to go away) to the digital world. Kindle has tried and has done some good things. But the whole field is still vastly underdeveloped. Apple had its chance and, by what I can see, has completely blown it. Sure the iBook application looks pretty, but it does not look at all innovative beyond a few visual effects. I’m disappointed because the iPad could have been so much more.

Josh Harris disagrees:

Now my brother Tim is upset that the iPad doesn’t have a camera and more input options. But that’s the genius of Apple. They know what to leave out. Before we even know ourselves, they figure out what we’ll actually use and how we’ll use it. Sure, the iPad will get better. We’ll look back on this first version like we do the clunky first-edition iPod. But I think this will be a game changer for how people interact with media and the internet. Seeing my kids interact with the iPhone has convinced me of that. We want a computer we can touch.

Mike Rundle, rightly, I think, gets to the heart of the issue: The iPad isn’t for power users. It’s for everyone else.

What about you, internet friends? You a fan of the iPad or do you think Tim’s right to be disappointed?


In other news

My internet friend Matt Svoboda needs prayer in pursuit of church planting. He’s a good guy and I’ve got no doubt he’ll be a great pastor.

JD Greear offers a tip for evangelism: Tip well.

You are cool if you are “missional.”


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Review: God the Holy Trinity

A tip for evangelism: Talk positively about your spouse

Ten questions about books (because Aaron likes his bookie-books)

“If I’m the hope, that’s not good news,” a message from Mark Driscoll

Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us that there is hope because we have a God who acts.

Around the Interweb (12/27)

Breaking Spiritual Strongholds

A new story from The Difference is Jesus.com:

Ajinta and her family worshipped Maran Buru and other spirits and performed witchcraft to bring prosperity to their home. But instead of prosperity, she found only strife. Sickness prevailed in her home and fights raged, despite their fervent prayers and the sacrifices they offered.

In times of illness, they went to witch doctors to perform the rituals of calling upon spirits for recovery. Their lives revolved around sickness and fear. Instead of being delivered from their plight, Ajinta and Bablu, her husband, only found more tension.


In other news 

Andy Naselli on hermeneutics

The Wonder of Apple’s Tablet (via Josh Harris)

What Do David and Saul Have to Do With Christmas?

Tim Challies and Luke Muehlhauser are exchanging letters on faith. It’s pretty interesting so far.


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Republishing Charles Spurgeon’s “The First Christmas Carol:” Part one | Part two | Part three

A short film on whether or not the Christmas story really happened

Win a copy of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life

Brand-olatry

I’m sure you’ve seen lots of these commercials just like this one over the last few years. And laughed. And possibly laughed some more.

Then, when you were done laughing, you maybe cried a little bit (but only on the inside so your coworkers wouldn’t laugh at you) as you went back to work on your PC.

Apple’s been, quite honestly, doing a terrific job making enjoyable, entertaining ads for their computers. Apple computers, after all, are hip and cool, and if you buy one, you too can be saved from the functional hell of using a Windows-based machine (like the—ugh—Dell I’m writing on at this moment; my wife’s on our Mac).

Now, I’ve heard more than one pastor make a clever remark about how the whole Mac vs. PC thing is a form of idolatry. But did you know…

They’re right?

[Insert ominous music here] [Read more...]