Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Only new ones that I’m aware of are Am I Called? by Dave Harvey (99¢) and Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch (FREE).

Help us plant a church in Rutland, Vermont

Jared Wilson:

Since my family’s arrival here in 2009, our church has seen a steady increase in mission-minded believers with a heart to plant a gospel-centered church in the downtown area of Rutland, Vermont, the largest town nearest us and the second largest town in the state.

Our church has more than doubled in the last 4 years, and we have already established a solid, mature, multi-generational core team in the city of Rutland that has already begun the work of community groups and evangelism. Our plan now, Lord willing, is to move from twice-monthly prayer gatherings to weekly “simple church” gatherings with the goal of launching public worship services for Redemption Church on Easter Sunday, 2015.

David Platt elected new IMB president

Yesterday, David Platt was elected as the new president of the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here’s a word from Platt on the news:

Russell Moore offers his thoughts on why he’s glad Platt is in this new role. Tim Brister also gives some thoughts on why Platt’s the right man for the job.

Labor Day: Your Need for Both Work and Rest

Nick Batzig:

As we come to celebrate another Labor Day, it may be beneficial for us to step back for a moment and consider what Scripture has to say about the rhythm of work and rest—i.e. the cyclical configuration by which all the events of our lives occur. Learning the theology of work and rest is one of the greatest challenges of our own day. Many of us have adopted faulty views of work, and therefore have faulty views of rest. We are commanded to do all the work that needs to be accomplished every week in the six days that follow, and lead up to, the glorious day of rest. Then we are commanded to rest. This rhythm of work and rest is both a creational and a new-creational (i.e.redemptive) ordinance. The suffix to the 4th commandment in Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:15 teaches us this. God commanded His people to rest one day in seven because He rested from the work of creation and because He redeemed them from the hand of their enemies. In short, we need to learn to work hard at learning to work as unto the Lord and we need to learn to work hard at learning to cease from our labors, by resting in the finish work of Christ.

Kindle + Evernote = ♥

Tim Challies:

As time goes on, I find myself doing more and more of my reading on my Kindle, and taking advantage of its super-simple ability to make notes and highlights. At the same time, I find myself relying on Evernote to help me retain and organize information. Books hold the information I want to know while Evernote holds the information I want to retain. When I put the two of them together, I get a powerful system to record and remember what I have read. Let me share a simple technique to quickly and easily get every one of your Kindle notes and highlights into Evernote.

5 Steps To Creating A Culture of Evangelism In Your Church

Brandon Hilgemann offers good advice.

What Is the Prayer of Faith?

Sinclair Ferguson:

Years ago, the editor of a publishing company asked me to write a book on prayer. The theme is a vitally important one. The publishing house was well known. To be honest, I felt flattered. But in a moment of heaven-sent honesty, I told him that the author of such a book would need to be an older and more seasoned author (not to mention, alas, more prayerful) than I was. I mentioned one name and then another. My reaction seemed to encourage him to a moment of honesty, as well. He smiled. He had already asked the well-seasoned Christian leaders whose names I had just mentioned! They, too, had declined in similar terms. Wise men, I thought. Who can write or speak at any length easily on the mystery of prayer? Yet in the past century and a half, much has been written and said particularly about “the prayer of faith.” The focus has been on mountain-moving prayer by which we simply “claim” things from God with confidence that we will receive them because we believe that He will give them. But what exactly is the prayer of faith?

Paper vs pixels revisited

ipad-2

As y’all know, I tend to get a lot of books in the mail. You know this, in part, because I mention it here and on Twitter (which I hope is not seen as bragging—I’m just genuinely excited when I get mail!). While I love reading a good physical book… but I’m also pretty comfortable reading eBooks, too. In fact, more often than not, when I purchase a book it’s a digital copy (at least initially). I also research using my Logos library, which is super-convenient.

And, a lot of review programs—such as Crossway’s Beyond the Page and Cruciform Press’ review program—are shifting to digital offerings in lieu of physical books. This makes complete sense, especially from a business perspective, because:

  1. Mailing costs are super-expensive (especially when you’re sending books to places like Canada)
  2. It reduces risk, since you can’t always guarantee a reviewer is going to actually read or write about the book being sent (as many who have sent me books know).

My Internet friend Mike Leake (who I look forward to hanging out with at T4G in a couple weeks) reminded me of all this yesterday when he shared four reasons why he still prefers paper to digital. And since it’s been a couple of years since I last shared anything about my personal experience with pixels vs. paper, I thought I’d revisit the subject. So here are four things I’ve found in my experience:

My engagement level is generally about the same. Whether it’s paper or pixels, I tend to give the same consideration to the content—which is to say, careful. I make lots of notes in both formats, underline and highlight many passages, occasionally cross out redundant (or flat-out wrong) passages… How I do it just looks a bit different.

Writing notes is easier in a paper book, definitely (all I need is a pen!). Writing notes in a digital edition sometimes helps me think through my response a little more carefully, in part because of the familiarity of the environment. It comes closer to engaging the way I would in a blog post than when I just scribble in the margins.

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian

My retention is different. At the same time, I have noticed that I don’t retain the content I read in an eBook quite the same way I do with a physical one. This is due to “landmarks”—when I’m reading a paper book, I tend to keep an eye on the page number and the paragraph position. I don’t really have those firm landmarks in an eBook, though. The paragraph breaks always remain static, but their position depends on the font size and orientation of my iPad. As a result, I tend to remember where something is, as well as why I thought it was important a little easier with a paper book.

My wife is happier with my digital books. Now, to be clear: my wife actually prefers reading physical books in general. But she prefers me having more digital ones. The reason? It keeps the clutter to a minimum. Our poor bookshelves tend to be double-stacked most of the time, which isn’t terribly helpful to me since I can’t see what’s all there. Now, I know the solution is buy more bookshelves,  but we don’t have space. As a result, I tend to take a lot of books to my office to give away. In the last couple of months alone, I’ve brought in over 50, which my coworkers seem to appreciate. My wife does, too. But with my digital books, there’s nothing to stack or give away. The files are sitting in the cloud or on my iPad, and this is a good thing for my wife’s stress levels.

Physical books feels more special. Now, receiving a book is always great, but I’ll be honest: it feels more special when I receive a physical book. When I come home from work and see Janni or another publicist have sent me something they think I’m going to like, it’s exciting. I realize that’s probably silly, but there you go.

So in the end, where do I find myself in the ongoing paper vs pixels saga?

Paper is more fun, but pixels are more convenient. But in the end end, as long as the content is great, the format doesn’t bother me too much. How about you?

Links I like

Reality versus theory

Ray Ortlund:

When we look at a church, we want to see their doctrine, mission statement, website, and so forth. Of course. But we also want to see the human reality of that church. Their official position is important, but it is theory. What says more is the reality within.

3 Common Ways to Read Scripture

Matt Smethurst:

I’m always a little skeptical when I hear people talk about reading Scripture “devotionally” rather than, say, “academically” (or vice versa). Who says we have to choose? I wonder.

But while my false dichotomy radar isn’t always bad, I have to remember people are wired differently. Humanity is not a sea of sameness. We aren’t clones. In fact, as Christians we are “stewards,” Peter says, of God’s “varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:10).

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Today is also the last day to get Contend for 99¢.

Is New York City on the Brink of a Great Awakening?

20 years ago, Eric Metaxas knew practically every born again believer in Manhattan.

“It was like a spiritual ghost town,” the cultural commentator, thought leader and author recalled.

Yet, over the recent decades—particularly this last one—New York has seen a surge in evangelicalism. Some cultural experts believe the Big Apple to be on the brink of another ‘Great Awakening.’

Gregory Thornbury, president of The King’s College—the only free-standing Christian institution of higher learning in New York City—compares this rise in Christianity to the the great Wall Street revival of 1857.

“I would say there is a very special moment of spiritual renaissance happening in New York City right now,” he said.

Evangelical retreat?

Russell Moore:

Evangelical Christianity, it seems, is moving back to a confessional centering on the Gospel. I find this to be good news. But that does not mean that the next generation of Gospel-centered Evangelicals should retreat from social and political engagement. As part of a reaction to their parents’ or grandparents’ errors, a Gospel-focused, missional Evangelicalism could become not only separatist and isolationist but just as politically idolatrous though from a different direction, all the while reassuring its members that they are avoiding culture wars or social gospel.

I am my people. No, really, I am.

Carl Trueman:

A while back I bumped into somebody who mentioned that he was ‘talking to my people’ to arrange for me to come and speak at his church. Somewhat puzzled, I asked him who ‘my people’ were. Equally puzzled, he responded that they were the people he contacted to arrange for me to etc. etc. I then explained that I had had a series of assistants when Vice President at Westminster (beginning with the inestimable Mrs. Peel, pictured left) who helped me be in the right place at the right time with regard to Seminary business and even remembered such things as my cell phone number for me. Having relinquished my administrative position, however, I had also relinquished that advantage in life. Finally, the penny dropped: the gentleman realized that the person responding to emails sent to the account which bears my name was none other than the person whose name was on said account: me, myself and I. Yes, if you email me and I respond, it is me. Then again, if you email me and I do not, please be assured that it is me who is ignoring you.

Links I like

Infographic: Batman and the history of the bat-suit

Really enjoyed this.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Here are a few new deals from Crossway for the more academically inclined:

You can also save on print or ePub editions when purchasing directly from Crossway.

Also, How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp is free until Friday. Get it!

The Real Truth About Boring Men

Ann Voskamp:

Romance isn’t measured by how viral your proposal goes. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal. Your goal is always to make your Christ-focus contagious – to just one person.

Losing Weight You Weren’t Meant to Carry

Nick Horton:

Ladies, I want to help you lose a burden you weren’t meant to carry. But first, you need to take a minute and read Proverbs 31:10-31. Done? Okay, let’s talk.

Do you feel the weight? Few women read this passage without guilt. Many are under the impression that they must live out this example to be a worthwhile wife. “Wife” guilt morphs into “mommy” guilt and each verse adds a little weight. Stone, upon stone, upon stone, added to the back of over-burdened and exhausted women that are already on an arduous performance treadmill set to maximum incline.

I want to help you take some of that weight off. Ladies, Proverbs 31 isn’t a checklist or a performance guideline for you.

5 Things to Do Before Leaving Your Church

Thabiti Anyabwile:

Everyone will leave their church at some point. Whether God calls us home to glory, move to another city, or decide to try a different local church, we are going to leave.

Leaving a local congregation should be one of the most difficult decision we face. It should be filled with the recollection of our love for the saints, their love for us, our service together in the name of our Lord, and our sorrows and joys in the faith. A church is family and we ought never feel it easy to leave family–even an unhealthy family.

But we do sometimes find ourselves at that crossroads. When we’ve decided to leave, there are at least five things we want to do before we go.

Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Here are a few Kindle deals I’ve found for y’all:

The First Stone

Julian Freeman:

It still amazes me how little the church of Christ can sometimes actually look like Christ. And I say that as a leader of the church, myself bearing the brunt of the blame.

The hypocritical media and self-appointed moral police of our city have brought a man before us who has been caught (on video) in sin. Death threats, drunken stupors, and binges of crack-cocaine — all from a man who should be an example and a leader. They have set this man in our midst. They are testing us, as a society now. It’s clear how the majority of our city feel. As a church, how will we respond to Mayor Rob Ford?

Why a Spurgeon doc?

Nate Smoyer interviews my pal Stephen McCaskell about his Kickstarter campaign for Through the Eyes of Spurgeon. Here’s an excerpt:

Why is Charles Spurgeon so important to make a film about him?

Charles Spurgeon has written more than any author, living or dead. His passion for the gospel in every aspect of his life is something to be admired and imitated. In his lifetime he preached to over 10,000,000 people the good news of Jesus’ loving sacrifice for sinners. This timeless message is the same hope that we as Christians have today. In discovering and unpacking Spurgeon’s life my hope is that others will be encouraged, challenged, convicted and brought into a deeper understanding of the gospel.

How to live in a secular culture

Dave Bruskas:

Christians are a minority in our secular culture, which largely doesn’t honor Jesus. That’s not going to change, but there’s an ongoing debate among Christians about how we approach a secular culture that doesn’t agree with us about Jesus.

As we think about our relationship with our society, it’s important to remember we too were once far from God, but he saved us through his grace. It’s with this grace in mind that Paul teaches us, through his letter to Titus, how we should respond to a secular society.

Train Your Leaders: A Conversation with Barnabas Piper

Trevin Wax:

Trevin Wax: In my experience, it seems like many pastors and church leaders think in terms of programs, and then they look for volunteers who can run the programs. Why is it important to train the people who serve in our churches, and how can this overcome an overly programmatic mindset for ministry?

Barnabas Piper: Programs can serve as valuable frameworks within churches, creating avenues for people to serve. But just as often they can limit a person’s effectiveness, kind of the way a menu tells what you can order at a restaurant but also limits your choices. Churches that have created a limited “menu” have essentially ruled out many people from using the unique gifts God has given them.

By emphasizing training – the development of gifts and calling to serve – churches are moving toward becoming a healthy body. Instead of having a limited number of pieces doing most of the work, it becomes a healthy whole with each person doing what God designed him or her to do.

Ministry Grid exists to help churches train every person and to do away with that limited menu of ministry options so that the whole church becomes a true body serving one another and ultimately serving Christ.

Links I like

Is All Sin Equal in God’s Eyes?

Tim Challies:

There is a sense in which all sin is the same. Every sin is an act of rebellion against God. Any sin, no matter whether it is an angry thought or outright murder, is a declaration of independence from God, a means of saying, “I am going to do this myway instead of your way. I choose my will rather than your will.” In that sense every sin is sufficient to justify an eternity of separation from God. Every sin grieves God and arouses his just wrath. God hates sin because his very nature is contrary to sin. This is not God being mean or arbitrary, but God simply giving us the wages due to our rebellion.

However, it is equally correct to express that some sins are more serious than others.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

How Long, O Lord? by D.A. Carson—$4.99

The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper—$2.99

Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views—$3.99

Come And Welcome To Jesus Christ by John Bunyan—99¢

A Reading Plan for Augustine’s The City of God

Justin Taylor:

The City of God must be read against the backdrop of the sacking of Rome, where critics argued that Rome fell after it embraced Christianity and lost the protection of the gods. Augustine argued that the pagan critics were defining goodness on the basis of the satisfaction of their own desires, rather than the true definition which sees that the ultimate good is found in God alone. Augustine shows that everything in history happens for good purposes, if goodness is rightly understood. He pointed to the pagan desire to return to the city of Rome, and argued that their desire was right but their destination was wrong. True happiness could only come in the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God.

One of the reasons that Augustine’s work remains unread today is because of its length and digressions. In lieu of an abridged version, Michael Haykin of Southern Seminary offers a selective reading guide to the book, which I’ve included below for those who want to take up one of the great classics of the Christian tradition.

Groceries only take one trip

Love it:

Calling yourself friendly doesn’t make you friendly

Good advice from Jeff Brooks for airlines and ministries alike:

I fly quite a lot. Mostly on United. So when I started seeing United’s new ad campaign in airports, all I could manage was a weak scoff.

Flyfriendly

Links I like

Ordinary Cook, Unlikely Hero

Matt Smethurst:

He is history’s most widely read preacher outside of Scripture. More written material exists from him than from any other Christian author, living or dead. It’s estimated he preached to more than 10 million people during his lifetime. The ripple effect of his life and ministry is immeasurable.

And he got his theology from an old school cook.

Kindle Deals for Christian readers

5 Questions with an Emmy-Winning Illustrator

Bethany Jenkins:

Norman Rockwell was horrified when a fellow illustrator suggested that their craft was a way to just make a living—”You do your job, you get your check, and nobody thinks it’s art.” He replied, “Oh no no no. How can you say that? No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He’s got to put all of his talent, all of his feelings into them.”

Illustrators are image-makers. Their craft employs the imagination to create the visual equivalent of a verbal idea. When illustrators pick up their markers and draw “good” pictures, they bear the image of God as Creator. I recently corresponded with Amanda Geisinger, an Emmy Award-winning illustrator and interactive designer, currently on staff at Nickelodeon in New York City. We talked about how illustrations were a part of her journey from atheism to Christianity and about how her faith intersects with her work.

5 Reasons You Should Write in Your Books

Joel Miller:

I’ve been thinking recently on an important topic for bibliophiles: Should you write in your books? The answer varies for every person, but as for me and my tomes: Yes. Scribble away, especially with nonfiction. Here are five reasons I believe defacing an author’s work is warranted.

Why I Don’t Go By “Pastor Mark”

Mark Altrogge:

To me, for someone to call me “Pastor Mark” creates an artificial separation or an artificial class system in the church. There’s the flock down here and the pastors up there. I don’t believe Jesus wants that division. He said to call no man “Father” or “Teacher.” The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were shocked that Jesus would eat with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus didn’t look for honor, but washed his disciples’ feet.

How To Care For Your Pastor

Dave Jenkins:

Those four words may not be on your radar right now but by the end of this article, I hope to persuade you of the importance of caring for your pastor, his wife and his family.

Links I like

What Is Reformation Day All About?

Robert Rothwell:

At the time, few would have suspected that the sound of a hammer striking the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany, would soon be heard around the world and lead ultimately to the greatest transformation of Western society since the apostles first preached the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, provoked a debate that culminated finally in what we now call the Protestant Reformation.

A Holy Indifference

John Johnson:

Working through John, I have been struck with how Jesus’ emotions often seem to run on a flat plane. It’s not that Jesus is unemotional, monotone. He is not the Prozac Jesus often portrayed in film. But the deeper I looked into Jesus in John, the more surprised I was with His responses. They are not always what we would expect. Jesus occasionally appears to be aloof, distant—almost cold. Sometimes, it seems He is not listening. As Culpepper, in his wonderful book, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel, writes: “Jesus seems to be congenitally incapable of giving a straight answer.”

More Kindle deals!

5 differences between Catholic theology and the gospel

Jesse Johnson:

With Reformation Day this week, it is a good time to remind ourselves of what exactly the differences are between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants. Certainly on just about every single area of theology there are differences, but here are what I think are the five most glaring and significant issues that separate the Catholic Church from the gospel of grace.

What we mean when we say, “can we talk?”

decisionmade

HT: Z

Links I like

Michael Haykin on Luther and the 95 Theses

Reformation Day Kindle deals!

Thursday isn’t just Halloween—it’s Reformation Day! Here are a bunch of books that have been put on sale in honor of the birth of Protestantism:

Free eBook: Christ-Centered Preaching & Teaching

The Gospel Project is offering a free e-book examining different perspectives on Christ-centered preaching and teaching featuring:

  • Ed Stetzer, Editor (LifeWay Research)
  • Daniel Block (Wheaton College)
  • David Murray (Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary)
  • Walt Kaiser (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
  • Bryan Chapell (Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL)

Zeal Without Knowledge

R.C. Sproul:

Many people are surprised, and some are shocked, when they hear of my involvement in the charismatic movement years ago.

It began in 1965, shortly after I returned from graduate study in Holland to teach philosophy and theology at my alma mater. Some of my senior students who were preparing for ministry kept talking to me excitedly about their experiences with the Holy Spirit and about receiving the gift of tongues. My first response was profound skepticism, because my only previous experience had been with hardcore Pentecostals whose views of sanctification I deemed aberrant. Soon, however, the sheer number of my students involved in this phenomenon, coupled with their high level of competence as students, provoked me to give them the “philosophy of the second glance.” I also saw reports that tongues-speaking was breaking out in mainline denominations such as the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, and Lutheran churches. Reports of outbreaks at Notre Dame and at Duquesne University also piqued my curiosity.

Backwards Compatible Church

Mike Leake:

I’m part of the Nintendo generation, but if I’m being honest I prefer LEGO’s. Churches would be far more healthy if they were backwards compatible. The gospel is timeless. Yes, some of our methods for delivering the message of the gospel has to change with the culture. But at the end of the day while the gospel is able to make it’s home in any culture, it is ultimately transcultural. Centering a church on the glory of God isn’t something that you’ll need to change with a new pastor.

Kindle comes to Canada

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more about “Kindle comes to Canada“, posted with vodpod

 

So there was some exciting news today: The Kindle is coming to Canada. But there’s a catch: It doesn’t have the full capabilities. No browser. No blogs. And it may not even have access to the full library of books available.

I’ve been curious about the Kindle and e-book readers for some time, but have never really had an opportunity to see what one is capable of. Sony’s e-reader is interesting, and I’m really curious about the much rumored Apple iTablet or Mac Tablet (or whatever it may be called) but I don’t know…

I really love the texture of printed books, the feel of one in my hands and the ability to write notes in the margins. That’s not something I can do on any existing e-reader as far as I know.I’m not against the idea of e-books. Generally the only ones I’ve read have been PDFs that I’ve read either on my iMac or my laptop, which is fine. And in all honesty, the idea of a good e-book reader is very appealing, especially if it had the functionality to transfer quotes and references into articles (I can dream, can’t I?). Plus, storage would be mighty handy.

But what about you?What do you think about the Kindle?

Are you open to the e-book format?

What are the pros and cons in your mind?