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Should We Watch Murders on Social Media?

Russell Moore:

A videotaped massacre can easily be a kind of pornography, turning human beings—made in the image of God–into spectacles, all while giving the illusion of a safe distance between their suffering and the audience. We can justify watching this as “being informed,” but there is a very thin line these days between news and entertainment. The last thing we should ever be entertained by is the taking of human life. That’s why our early Christian ancestors refused to go to the gladiatorial games.

15 Ways to Fight Lust with the Sword of the Spirit

Kevin DeYoung:

The seventh commandment is not just broken in this country; it’s being smashed to pieces.

And sexual sin is not just an “out there” problem. Any pastor will tell you stories about how sexual sin has destroyed people in his congregation. None of us are immune from the dangers of sexual immorality. In a Christianity Today study from several years ago, 40 percent of clergy acknowledged visiting pornographic websites. Another survey found that 21 percent visit regularly. Yet another survey at Pastors.com found that 50 percent of pastors reported to viewing pornography in the previous year. And then there’s the underlying issue of the heart. The seventh commandment doesn’t just forbid adultery and pornography. It forbids every action, look, conversation, thought, or desire that incites lust and uncleanness.

So how in the world, in this world we live in, and with our sex-saturated hearts, can we obey the seventh commandment?

All are welcome here

Ray Ortlund shares a great quote from Octavius Winslow.

Amazon: Easy to Critique, Easier to One-Click

Lisa Slayton:

We may publicly condemn large companies like Amazon and praise small businesses like Hearts & Minds. But when it comes to buying our books and placing our orders, we usually go with the company that offers the fastest and cheapest option—without regard for how it treats it employees.

Who, then, is to blame for “bruising” workplaces, where people are treated like cogs in a machine rather than humans created in God’s image? It may very well be us, the consumers.

Let’s Reach Out with the Gospel to Women Victimized by Abortion

Randy Alcorn:

I encourage you to read through the following perspectives from Diane Meyer, a close friend of ours. In fact, she’s like a third daughter to me and Nanci. She lived with us when our daughters were small and she was a young unwed mother. We had the joy of seeing her come to Christ, and helped her place a baby for adoption.  (Just this last year she was reunited with her 33-year-old son and it was our privilege to be there with Diane’s family and the adoptive parents.)

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

9 things to keep in mind when another Christian disappoints you

Erin Davis:

How are we supposed to feel when other Christians miss God’s mark? How can we cope with the chaos other people’s sin creates? What should we say (if anything?)

Here are nine things to keep in mind when another Christian disappoints you.

Partnering to Remember – The 1 Peter Memory Moleskine

Tim Brister’s launched the latest edition of the Memory Moleskine, this time focused on 1 Peter. The Memory Moleskine system is a great approach to Scripture memorization. If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend taking part in this project.

The 1982 DC Comics Style Guide

In the 1980s, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was one of the premier artists at DC Comics. A group of fans on Facebook has shared over 200 pages of his artwork from the 1982 character style guide, much of which will be familiar to anyone who walked into a toy store in the 1980s. Check it out!

The Shrug That Scares Me To Death

Trevin Wax:

In New York magazine, for example, Rebecca Traister claims that the “big secret of abortion” is that “women already know how it works” – that pro-life efforts to show us the results of the procedure won’t really change minds, no matter how grisly the videos get. Quoting Frances Kissling, she writes: “Abortions are yucky… but after that response, there is a shrugging of the shoulders.”

That shrugging of the shoulders is what scares me to death.

9 Things You Should Know About Margaret Sanger

Joe Carter shares nine things we all should know about one of the 20th century’s most controversial figures. Tim Challies also makes a good point about being honest—even about someone like Sanger.

Darwin’s Theory Doesn’t Work in The Church

Barnabas Piper:

Darwin espoused the theory of “natural selection,” also known as “survival of the fittest.” While it’s true that these phrases in scientific circles mean something quite defined, in the wider world it has basically come to mean that the strong survive and thrive while the weak fall by the wayside. Those who make ate are those who deserved to make it. They survived, often at the expense of those who were weaker.

But isn’t that the opposite of what the church is supposed to be? It seems to me that the church should be the place that is definitively UN-Darwinian, where the weak thrive as the strong help them, a place that fosters the ideal of “survival of the unfittest.” What else would the bible mean when it says this in 1 Corinthians 12?

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

Longevity and Millennials in the Workplace

Eric Geiger:

I learned a lot from my father about work ethic and offering your best, but I have not spent the last two decades in the same role or place. Few from my generation [Generation X] would quantify longevity as “the same role for your entire life,” and few from my generation will stay in the same role/place. In other words, longevity means different things to a Boomer and an Xer. And different things still to a Millennial.

You Really Don’t Need To Work So Much

This was really good:

Some people think that Americans just prefer work to leisure; a strong work ethic, according to this theory, has become a badge of honor for anyone with a college degree. If you’re busy, you seem important. There is also the pride that people can have in their work; they also find love and free food at workplaces, and go to conferences as a form of vacation. Others think the rise in work must somehow be related to inequality: as people at the top of the income ladder earn more money, each hour they work becomes more valuable. And there’s the theory that our needs and desires grow as we consume more, producing an even greater need to work.

Too Big Not To Fail

Jared Wilson:

If we look at Babel as the prototype for the pursuit of fame and power, we see a few interesting things by way of diagnosis. First, the pursuit of renown is really a pursuit of significance. Why do I want you to notice me, to tell me how great I am? Not because I fundamentally trust or value your opinion, but because I fundamentally distrust any notion that I’m anything in anywise special. The proof in that is that one ounce of praise from a few isn’t enough; I want more from many. Secondly, the pursuit of renown is the result of fear. “Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” We seek security in attention.

Like the Babelists, we build our towers, not knowing the great dangerous irony — that the stronger we get, the more vulnerable we become. The fall is prefaced by pride. The split second before the great collapse is the proudest we’ve ever been.

Is the Apocrypha Scripture?

Mike Leake:

The books in question were all written by Jews in what is known as the “inter-testamental” period (430 BC-AD 40). Some of these books can be helpful for understanding the history during this time. Other books are entertaining stories. Some sound like typical biblical Wisdom texts like the Psalms or Proverbs.

So why don’t we accept them as Scripture? There are 5 main reasons, but first I think its important to understand a fundamental difference in the way Roman Catholics view the formation of the canon and the way we Protestants view the formation of the canon.

Six Lessons Learned in the Waiting

Chris Hefner:

Nearly five years ago, I walked into Dr. Greg Mathis’ office and shared with him that I believed God was leading me to become a Senior Pastor. That seems like a long time ago. In some ways, those years seemed an eternity. In another sense, they passed rapidly. When I first shared with Pastor Greg, part of me thought I would enter into a Senior Pastor position quickly. Well, that didn’t happen. Let me offer some of the lessons I’ve learned in the waiting process.

Links I like

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

Crossway’s put a number of titles in John Piper’s The Swans Are Not Silent series on sale for $3.99:

Life is Short: DON’T Have An Affair: Praying through Proverbs 7:18-26

This is much-needed.

Reflections on a Planned Parenthood Protest

John Piper:

This morning I was one of several thousand people who gathered in St. Paul, Minnesota, to say to Planned Parenthood that killing children is not an acceptable response to crisis pregnancies. And to say to our government that killing children should not be funded by tax dollars. Among other things.

Here are seven short reflections on the morning.

Stop and Enjoy the Ordinary

Tom Schreiner:

Ecclesiastes is realistic. It teaches us that life under the sun is often empty, futile, and absurd, and yet it does not run us into the rocks of despair either. The conclusion of the book functions as the lens, the perspective, by which the whole of the book should be read. “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14). When we understand that this world isn’t paradise on earth, we are reminded that nothing is more important than a right relationship with God.

Josh Duggar and the nature of repentance

Marty Duren:

It is easy to think our “Christian duty” fulfilled in castigating the wrongdoer, since neither fingers nor tongues wag as comfortably to the mirror. However, there are, for all of us who follow Jesus, a few lessons to be learned.

Hiding Our Gospel Light in Our Draculaic World

Chris Martin:

The idea of lighting a lamp and covering it is so ridiculous, we must read it and ask, “Why would Jesus even address the covering of a lighted lamp?” He address the ridiculous because its reality. By the light of the gospel, there is nothing hidden that will not be found and nothing secret that will stay that way.

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Anything is Possible if You Work Hard . . . Until it Isn’t

Dan Darling:

“Anything is possible if you work hard . . . ” this is a message that we hear, over and over again, a credo embedded in the ethos of many Americans. I say “many” because the realities of those of us who have grown up in safe, relatively affluent suburbs is vastly different from my brothers and sisters who’ve grown up in more hope-starved, crime-ridden, opportunity-free precincts of American life.

Do All Infants Go to Heaven?

Sam Storms:

This is more than a theoretical issue designed for speculation. It touches one of the most emotionally and spiritually unsettling experiences in all of life: the loss of a young child.

The view I embrace is that all those who die in infancy, as well as those so mentally incapacitated they’re incapable of making an informed choice, are among the elect of God, chosen for salvation before the world began. The evidence for this view is scant, but significant.

Planned Parenthood: Invitation, Explanation, Indignation

John Piper:

Indignation is cheap. Anyone can get bent out of shape. There is no great moral capital in human anger. It comes easy. But the absence of anger (and sorrow) in some cases is a sign of a disordered heart.

When an evil is as massive as the killing of human beings is in our nation, large and hard words lose their force over time. What is needed is real stories, real experience, real glimpses — not just of the babies, but the hearts of those who kill them. We are getting those, in this peculiar cultural moment.

Kindness Is Not Weakness

Russell Moore:

Listen to Christian media or attend a “faith and values” rally, and you’ll hear plenty of warfare speech. Unlike past “crusades,” however, such language is directed primarily at people perceived to be cultural and political enemies. If we are too afraid of seeming inordinately Pentecostal to talk about the Devil, we will find ourselves declaring war against mere concepts, like “evil” or “sin.” When we don’t oppose demons, we demonize opponents. And without a clear vision of the concrete forces we as the church are supposed to be aligned against, we find it very difficult to differentiate between enemy combatants and their hostages.

A Plea to Churches to Use Their Bibles

Jim Elliff:

Without turning back to a visible and rigorous commitment to the Bible, churches will continue to lead the way in moral decline, giving credence to all kinds of errant and ungodly ideas. Why are some churches, for instance, on the vanguard for homosexuality when the Bible clearly places homosexuals outside of His people? Homosexuals are to be loved, also a biblical truth, but repentance is necessary for homosexuals to be accepted into the visible body of Christ. Only people without the word of God as its guide can miss this easily discernible message.

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

Lots of good stuff on sale today:

No Such Thing as Free Porn

Cam Triggs:

In the isolated dark office, sin disguises itself as “free” — free of cost, free of accountability, and free of consequences. Don’t believe the lie. Deconstructing the phrase “Free Porn” may save your marriage, and ultimately your relationship with Christ. Here is a truth we desperately need today — there is no such thing as free porn.

The 7th Planned Parenthood Video + 4 FAQs

Yet another video has been released, this one more horrific than the last (if that’s possible). Justin Taylor provides a helpful FAQ here.

Why I Don’t Blame Planned Parenthood

Camille Cates:

While confessing the sin of abortion may seem like it heaps more judgment and condemnation on you, God’s Word reveals something entirely different. When we turn to Jesus Christ in our conviction of sin—instead of shifting blame over it, justifying it, or simply ignoring it—we find hope and healing in the one who bore God’s wrath for sin on the cross.

Guardian Angels?

Nick Batzig:

“You must have a guardian Angel watching over you!” You’ve either heard it said or have said it to someone after their life took an unexpected and much needed turn for the better. It might seem like an irrelevant question in our post-modern, technological, post-enlightenment, scientific world; but, I care deeply about whether or not there are such things as guardian Angels appointed by God to watch over believers.

Contentment Isn’t Natural, but it Can Be Learned

Michael Kelley:

At that time, what I intended by putting that verse in my locker was to remind myself that I could run one more 40 yard dash through Christ who strengthens me. I could do one more drill through Christ who strengthens me. I could knock one more guy over through Christ who strengthens me. But then one faithful Friday night, my high school football team lined up across from another team – the Dumas Demons. And after the game, I saw a group of those Demons kneeling in prayer on the 50 yard line. And though it hadn’t struck me before, I suddenly came to the realization that there were probably actual Christians who played for the other team. In fact, there might even have been one Christian with Philippians 4:13 taped in their locker. So as I was trying to knock someone over with the power of Christ, so also might someone have been trying to knock me over with the same power.

Links I like

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

A few new ones for you today:

Be sure to also check out this sale at Westminster Books on Rico Tice’s Honest Evangelism, which you can get for as little as $7.

The Divisive Person Is The One Who Departs From The Truth

Jared Wilson:

The person who objects is often told they are “singling out” this particular sin as over-important, as more important than unity! But it is not those who protest who are singling out particular sins. It is those bringing the revision, the ones asking, “Did God really say…?”, the ones who suggest it should now be normal what we previously agreed was objectionable who are singling it out, elevating it above the agreement. They are the ones making it the sticking point.

Writing With Authority

Mike Leake:

It’d been an ongoing discussion. One of those that isn’t heated but its just a difference of opinion on how to “do church”. The guy I’d been going back and forth with stopped into my office and gave me an article from LifeWay on the very topic that we’d been discussing. The article agreed with him and not me. The article landed on my desk with the thud of authority. “See, I’ve go the dudes at LifeWay on my side in this one. The people who are experts and ‘in the know’ agree with me on this”.

When You Get The Raw End Of The Deal

Mark Altrogge:

I’ve never experienced the horrible injustice some do on a daily basis, like Christians in North Korean prison camps or victims of ISIS. But like everyone else, I’ve been wronged at times. For trying to be kind, I’ve gotten scorn. A few times, after spending hours and hours trying to help someone, I’ve been blamed for their troubles. I’m not complaining and don’t feel like I’m a victim. I know many who have tried to help and bless others far more than I have, only to be despised and blasted on Facebook or worse.

5 Ways to Spot the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

While we want to assume the best of everyone sitting across from us in the pews, Jesus told us to be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing seeking to infiltrate the body (Matthew 7:15).

But He didn’t want us always looking over our shoulder, fearful every person we shake hands with or strike up a conversation with in small group will stab us in the back.

We are Dust and He is Rest

Lore Ferguson Wilbert:

Heschel says, “If you work with your mind, sabbath with your hands, and if you work with your hands, sabbath with your mind.” I adopt this phrase and wear it as a mantra. I chop the basil and the spinach, press my thumb and index finger testing a ripe tomato, check on the chicken twice. I rest with these rhythms, these constants.

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

Why Gay Marriage Can’t Be Christian Marriage

Ben Witherington:

At the end of the day either we realize that gender matters, and gender difference is essential to a real Christian marriage, or we totally change the definition of what counts as marriage, what counts as husband and wife, what counts as mother and father Biblically speaking. It is in no way surprising that in the most individualistic and narcissistic culture on the planet, that Americans would like to be able to even choose their gender, their own biology. But in fact you can’t do that, and since gender matters Biblically speaking when it comes to Christian marriage, you also do not have Biblical permission to redefine marriage, husband, wife, mother or father.

I Don’t Know, And That’s OK

Nick Horton:

Why are so many of us uncomfortable saying the words, “I don’t know?” It’s incredibly freeing, I recommend you try it  some time. We give voice to the truth that we are not God when we do so. The expectation of full and total knowledge is nothing more than unmasked pride, quivering in its rush to be like God. Yet we will never know everything, now or in Heaven. Omniscience is a divine attribute and as such does not convey to us.

The Distracted Worshipper

Check out the first part of a new series at the Leadership Resources blog.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bible Rebinding

Matthew Everhard:

There is no book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bible Rebinding, but if such a volume is ever to be written, I have a feeling that I may inadvertently be its protagonist.

Incidentally, The Bible Design Blog may well be my new favorite blog.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say to Your Wife then…

Erik Raymond:

We have all heard the expression, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” This may be good advice for elementary school children but it is not preferred for husbands.

Am I saying, “Feel free to insult your wife.” Hardly. Instead I am saying that we need to try harder, look deeper, pay more attention.

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

Crossway’s put a number of books focused on literature on sale this week:

Also on sale:

The Rest of the Story

R.C. Sproul Jr:

Too often we seek out spiritual highs with all the fervor of an addict. We seek out those mountaintop experiences, often times priming the pump with a special book, going to a favorite conference, playing over and over a peculiarly moving bit of music. I’m not in the least opposed to spiritual heights, books, conferences or music. Resting in His grace, rejoicing in His favor, drawing near to His presence are precious gifts, and sometimes, valuable memories.

When America Put Pastors in Prison

Thomas S. Kidd:

In 1774, James Madison wrote to a friend in Pennsylvania about troubling developments in Virginia. There were reasons to worry about oppressive British taxes, of course, but that was not Madison’s primary concern in this letter. The “worst” news he had to deliver was that the “diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution” was raging in the colony. “There are at this [time] . . . not less than 5 or 6 well meaning men in [jail] for publishing their religious sentiments. . . . Pray for liberty of conscience to revive among us.” While today we tend to think of early America as a bastion of religious liberty, many in the colonial era lamented its absence.

Why Some Evangelicals Support Trump Even Though They Know Better

Dan Darling:

Donald Trump may have views that look nothing like the conservatism of Buckley, Kirk or Reagan, but that doesn’t matter. To Trump supporters, he’s wearing the team jersey. He is their guy. His craziness, his intemperate statements, his past history of not championing anything remotely like conservatism–this is irrelevant. For some who are angry at Democrats and even angrier at establishment Republicans, Trump sounds like he’s on their team. Even if he really isn’t.

Forgiveness Is a Marathon

Vermon Pierre:

Forgiveness doesn’t come cheaply or easily. It always comes at great expense to the one wronged. In some cases, it comes with permanent cost. The wronged parties must “take it on the chin,” allowing themselves to be physically, emotionally, or spiritually wounded by the offending party instead of seeking an equal measure of revenge. Christians do this in imitation of Jesus, who faced sinful rebels and yet still suffered and died so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God.

8 Things You Won’t Find in Heaven

David Murray:

Heaven is so heavenly that it’s often hard for earthly creatures to understand what it will really be like. That’s why the Bible often describes heaven in terms of what will not be there. For example, the last two chapters of the Bible tell us eight things that will not be there.

Links I like (weekend edition)

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis is $1.99 at the moment. There’s also lots more great stuff from B&H on sale:

Why Don’t You Like the Christians You Know?

This is a compelling three minutes from John Piper.

We’re All Sadists Now

Carl Trueman:

DeSade’s ideal world is that to which we appear to be heading.   Like him, we deny any intrinsic moral significance to sexual activity whatsoever and thus see it as something which is of no more ethical importance than buying a cup of coffee or eating a sandwich. In such a world, the celibate and the monogamous are increasingly counted as freaks, representatives of a defective, repressive cultural vision. Thus, the social pressure to be promiscuous becomes an integral part of the culture and the withholding of consent comes to be increasingly difficult, the act of social schismatics, freaks, and (to use the favored clichés of the day) the inauthentic, those who do not wish to flourish.

Why Gay Marriage Proponents Can’t Appeal to the Abolitionist Movement

Ben Reaoch explains why the arguments don’t hold water.

A big land mine for leaders

Brad Lomenick:

For many leaders, the greatest threat to our influence right now is our tendency to read our own press clippings, and continually put a “wall” up around us that protects us from any kind of honest feedback.

What It’s Like When You Publish a Book

Nick McDonald:

But here’s the thing. I published a book, and then I nudged it gently out into cyberspace. I closed my eyes, waiting for Christian Nirvana to hit me like a stack of reformed theology books from heaven, and…

And, what?

Well, what did you expect? Literally nothing happened. It was less exciting than brushing my teeth (of course, I have some molar caps that can make things PRE-TTY interesting).

It was disappointing to say the least. Yes people were very nice about it. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the lightning bolt from heaven, when suddenly, out of the blue…I’m perfect.

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Kindle deals for Christian readers

One Year Later: Ferguson, Justice, and the Gospel

Russell Moore:

Most white evangelicals get this idea when we are talking about issues of abortion. I once heard a progressive pastor I knew to be pro-choice on abortion preach on the issue with the conclusion, “We wouldn’t have to worry about this abortion debate if we just taught our young people sexual morality.” In many ways, that’s true enough. But it avoids the larger question of a predatory political and economic system in which unborn children are not even recognized as persons with rights to life and liberty.

Questions of racial justice are not simply about whether white individuals use the “N” word or wish harm to black people. The issues include questions such as how community policing can better reflect the communities they serve.

Russell Moore also answers the question, “Have the Planned Parenthood videos changed anything?”

What is a biblical theology approach?

A copy of the new NIV Study Bible arrived in the mail the other day, and it’s been a lot of fun to check out the study notes. Here’s a great video on the approach they took to developing them:

Four Warning Signs You Are Not Listening to Your Team

Eric Geiger:

It is foolish to not listen to those on your team. Not only do you lose the benefit of their collective wisdom and experience, but also you simultaneously devalue individuals and harm the culture of your team. Here are four warning signs that you are not listening to people on your team.

Unanswered Prayer

Tim Lane:

Have you ever wondered why it feels like so many of your prayers go unanswered? How often have you prayed for something and nothing seems to change or happen based upon your clearly articulated requests? If we take a moment to look at the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, you may have a better idea for why some of your prayers are not answered in just the way you wanted. Let’s start with some basics.

Non-religious pro-life groups? Here are two

Marty Duren reminds us that the pro-life position doesn’t have to be based on religious conviction—some are based on common sense and science.

Do you suffer from “Cause Overload”?

Barnabas Piper:

One way this exhibits itself is “cause overload.” For Christians who long to be serving others and fighting for justice the buffet of options to choose from is paralyzing. Whereas once we could serve in one or two places in our local community now we see requests from kickstarter and GoFundMe to help an adoptive family in Cleveland or a single mom in Sacramento. We receive the newsletters from community development groups in Chicago, Atlanta, and Houston. We want to defund Planned Parenthood and stop systemic injustice in law enforcement and the judicial system. We want to care for the families of slain police officers and soldiers. We want to tell unreached peoples about Jesus. And we need to choose for whom to vote next year.

Links I like

Links

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Today, Karen Swallow Prior’s excellent book, Fierce Convictions, is on sale for $1.99. If you need some encouragement to get this one, be sure to read my review. Also on sale:

Over at the Westminster Bookstore, Kevin DeYoung’s first children’s book is on sale for dirt cheap—get The Biggest Story for $12, or $10 when buying five or more copies. Here’s a look at the trailer:

Finally, at Christian Audio, they’re giving away Compelling Interest: The Real Story Behind Roe v. Wade by Roger Resler until the end of the month. Be sure to download this.

Praying in the Spirit

Colin Smith has a new eBook out, Praying in the Spirit. You can get it free by subscribing to his blog.

The most insane/brilliant political ad I’ve ever seen

I can guarantee I’d never vote for this dude (not just because he’s in British Columbia and I’m not), but dang. Also, mild language warning:

Your move, Donald Trump. (Here’s also an article explaining this whole… whatever this is.)

Sex is More AND Less Important Than You Think

Trevin Wax:

“Sex is everything,” goes the idea in the 21st century. “And sex is nothing.”

This paradoxical view of sexuality in our society requires a paradoxical response from the Church. Our Christian witness must “put sex in its place” – meaning, we will need to take sexuality more seriously and less seriously than the rest of society.

An Introverted Christian

Tim Challies:

There is no doubt that I am an introvert. If we place introversion and extroversion on opposite sides of a line and say that each one of us falls somewhere between the two extremes, I would be pretty far from center along the introvert side of the scale. I may not be as far along as some people, and I still enjoy some exposure to crowds of people, but at heart I gain energy and perspective in solitude and then expend it in a crowd. My default reaction to a crowd is to run away to find a place of quiet. I love and enjoy people, but do better with small groups than large ones. Even after several years of public speaking, it still takes a lot of effort and self-denial to stand in front of a crowd. I walk to the front of a room slowly and, when finished, sprint to the back. That’s just the way I am.

5 Important Theological Pairs

Nick Batzig:

One of the many wonderful things about the Westminster Shorter Catechism is that it includes several extremely important theological pairs (i.e. joint categories) in the opening questions that help us robustly systematize the biblical truth concerning our relationship to God, God’s work in the world, the nature and effects of man’s sin and the saving work of the Redeemer. Much of the disagreement in theological matters, in our day, comes from only holding to one of the two truths set out in each of these pairs. As we labor to spiritually grasp both aspects of these pairs we will find that we become better equipped to spot theological error, defend the truth and to minister more effectively to others with theological precision and care.

ND Wilson on the problem of evil

This is great:

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.