Links I like

links i like

A Deeper Look at the Most Popular Worship Song of 2013

Trevin Wax:

The first time I heard Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” on the radio, I knew I was listening to a song that would soon be sung in churches across the United States. The plaintive melody perfectly suits Redman’s paraphrase of Psalm 103, and the chorus was singing in my head the rest of the day.… Since Redman’s song is so popular, I thought it may be helpful to take a deeper look at the main themes of the song, in comparison to the themes of the psalm on which it is based. I enlisted a hymnwriter and student at Belmont University (Bryan Loomis) to analyze the song’s message, and the two of us had a lunch conversation recently about its strengths and weaknesses.

Biff and His Book

Mike Leake:

Sometimes I think about how sweet it would be to have a world almanac that would “predict” the events that were going to take place for the next sixty years. But I’ll tell you what I’d really like. I’d like a lengthy letter from Jesus that outlined all of the significant things that were going to happen in the next 2,000 something years.

You might think I’m getting ready to tell you that we have such a book and it’s called the Bible. Now go read it!

But I’m not because that isn’t true.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Crucifying Defensiveness

Jared Wilson:

The biggest problem in my life and ministry is me. And the biggest problem among my many idiosyncratic problems is the impulse toward self-defense and self-justification. The Lord has been working well on me over the last several years in this area, and I do think, by his grace, I have gotten better at suppressing this impulse, denying it, even going into situations I know will include much criticism directed at myself having proactively crucified it for the moment. But my inner defense attorney (a voting partner in the ambulance-chasing firm of Flesh & Associates) is always there, crouching at my door, seeking to rule over everybody by arguing in my quote-unquote “favor.”

What Makes a Good Commentary?

D.A. Carson, in conversation with Matt Smethurst:

Good all-round commentaries help readers think their way through the text—which requires adequate handling of words, sentences, flow of thought, genre, theological presuppositions, knowledge of historical setting, and, ideally, a commentary writer who is humble and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at God’s Word. But most commentaries do not do all these things (and other things—e.g., interaction with some other commentaries) equally well. That is one of the reasons one is usually wise to consult at least two or three commentaries with different emphases.

Where Do I Like To Write?

B.J. Stockman:

Godliness is never an overnight process. Greatness has all the flash, while godliness simmers under the surface. Greatness may make the newspapers of one generation, but godliness has a lasting impact that ripples through many generations. Americans, even Christian ones, crave the great but not the godly.

Around the Interweb

John Piper interviews Rick Warren on Doctrine

Piper’s remarks from the DG blog:

The nature of the interview is mainly doctrinal. I read Rick’s The Purpose Driven Life with great care. I brought 20 pages of quotes and questions to the interview. You will hear me quote the book dozens of times. With these quotes as a starting point I dig into Rick’s mind and heart on all the issues listed below (with the times that they begin on the video).

My aim in this interview is to bring out and clarify what Rick Warren believes about these biblical doctrines. In doing this my hope is that the thousands of pastors and lay people who look to Rick for inspiration and wisdom will see the profound place that doctrine has in his mind and heart. . . . Rick and I are very different in methodological instincts and inclinations. . . . We both have chosen risky ways. There are pitfalls of short- and long-term unfruitfulness. But in the end we do not govern the impact of our lives. God does. We do what the Bible and our hearts call us to do. I believe Rick’s is a faithful heart. Listen to the clarity of his doctrinal commitments and hear the heartbeat of his love for Christ and those perishing without him.

Also Worth Reading:

Music: Steve McCoy reviews Sojourn’s new album, The Water & The Blood

Books: Advice for Slow Readers

Theology: Loopholes for Hell: A Response to Jeff Cook’s Response to Francis Chan

Missing Persons: Pray for Matt Hill, a Christian brother from D.C. who has gone missing. Update: Matt has been found, alive and unharmed!

Bible: How Should the Books of the OT Be Ordered?

Contest Winner: The winner of a copy of The Next Story by Tim Challies is Mark Koiro! Congratulations, Mark!

In Case You Missed It

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

What Will It Take?

Book Review: The Next Story by Tim Challies

Are You Studying or Skimming?

A Few Lessons I’m Learning

Spurgeon: A Constant, Delighting and Enduring Love

Flavel: The Snare of Prosperity

5 Questions (Plus One) with Dan Darling

Daniel Darling is the Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of Teen People of the BibleCrash Course, and iFaith (reviewed here on Tuesday). His work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, Pray!, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. His op-eds have appeared in Newsweek/Washington Posts’ On Faith section and other newspapers and opinion sites. He’s also been profiled by The Chicago Tribune, and appeared on TV and radio outlets across America including Steve Brown, etc, Moody Broadcasting Network, Harvest TelevisionThe Sandy Rios Show, American Family Radio, and many others.

Today, Dan’s been kind enough to answer a few questions about his new book—and he’s also offered two signed copies to give away today. Read on to learn how you can win a copy.

And now, here’s Dan:


1. What made you decide to write iFaith? Was there one specific event or was it a series of small things that led to the decision?

It was born out of several years of reflection on the impact of technology on my own personal walk with God. Initially I had this idea for a devotional, “Emails to God,” – like what would we say if we could send God an email. Then it started me on a journey of thinking how we moderns contemplate our relationship with God—positively and negatively. Then the chapters and ideas began to just really flow.

2. As you were writing, how was God working on you in these areas?

Oh, He was working on me in incredible ways. My wife often jokes that whenever I embark on a book, we go through some degree of suffering. It’s almost like God has to wring me through the lesson before I can put it on paper. The first chapter on the subject of waiting was something I really saw worked out in my own life and in my theology. During the writing of that chapter, Angela and I were waiting on several things. I realized how integral waiting is to God’s development of our faith.

I enjoy writing because it forces me into the Word to discover the truth about myself and about who God is.

3. You write that a common belief plaguing believers is the superhero mentality; that is, “the mistaken idea that activity for God is a worthy substitute for intimacy with God.” (p. 81) If this is something that’s come up in your own life & ministry, can you share how you were able to get beyond it?

I’m not sure we ever get beyond this. It’s the holy tension between work and dependency on God. On one level, working hard for God is a biblical, New Testament ethic. And besides the holy calling of building up the body of Christ, work itself is an end, it’s a form of worship. But on the other hand, Christians easily fall into that superhero mentality of Elijah, where we feel like the entire plan of God rests upon our feeble shoulders. We adopt a martyr mentality. And this is really prideful. It is essentially stripping God of HIs sovereignty. [Read more...]