June’s top ten articles at Blogging Theologically

top-ten

Let’s take a trip back in time and check out the top ten posts in June:

  1. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  2. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  3. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  4. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  5. Seven books I’m planning to read this summer (June 2014)
  6. If the gospel isn’t in it, should we be singing it? (June 2014)
  7. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  8. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  9. 3 passages I want to preach (but have been afraid to) (June 2014)
  10. Why I’m thankful for the freedom to disagree (June 2014)

And just for fun, here’s a look at the next ten:

  1. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  2. Why am I thinking about getting an education (again)? (June 2014)
  3. 3 reasons why some churches don’t grow (that you don’t usually hear) (January 2013)
  4. The Gospel (June 2014)
  5. Should every Christian be in a small group? Yep! (June 2014)
  6. The secret of the Christian’s power (June 2014)
  7. Why I won’t read your book on visiting Heaven (January 2013)
  8. 5 books every new Christian should read (May 2014)
  9. What should I review? (June 2014)
  10. Think about what you read (June 2014)

If you haven’t had a chance to already, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check out a few of these articles.

April’s top ten articles at Blogging Theologically

top-ten

Let’s take a trip back in time and check out the top ten posts in April:

  1. Who are the false teachers? (April 2014)
  2. New Easter devotional: The Last Days of Jesus (April 2014)
  3. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  4. Would Paul have used video? Here’s a better question… (April 2014)
  5. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  6. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  7. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  8. Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung (April 2014)
  9. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  10. Why I may (not) be live-blogging #T4G14 (April 2014)

And just for fun, here’s a look at the next ten:

  1. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  2. My top 5 highlights from #T4G (April 2014)
  3. Evangelism by Mack Stiles (April 2014)
  4. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  5. 4 things I liked and 3 I didn’t about the new Noah movie (March 2014)
  6. What’s on your to-read pile? (April 2014)
  7. The glamor of God-honoring grammar (April 2014)
  8. Choosing a New Preaching Bible (November 2011)
  9. Why I Believe Amillennialism by Matthew Svoboda (July 2010)
  10. The one reason you should support the Gosnell documentary (April 2014)

If you haven’t had a chance to already, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check out a few of these articles.

March’s top ten articles at Blogging Theologically

top-ten

Let’s take a trip back in time and check out the top ten posts in March:

  1. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  2. God might call you to be ignored (March 2014)
  3. Memorizing God’s Word: Colossians (July 2013)
  4. Kindle deals for Christian readers (March 2014)
  5. Are Christians really free to smoke pot? (March 2014)
  6. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  7. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  8. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  9. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  10. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)

And just for fun, here’s a look at the next ten:

  1. Have the courage to apologize (March 2014)
  2. Where is Jesus Christ? (March 2014)
  3. The Storytelling God by Jared C. Wilson (March 2014)
  4. Jehovah Tsidkenu (March 2014)
  5. Four pieces of leadership “wisdom” you should totally ignore (February 2014)
  6. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  7. 4 things I liked and 3 I didn’t about the new Noah movie (March 2014)
  8. Being present, as Christians, with lost people (March 2014)
  9. A quick look at some new books (March 2014)
  10. Captivated by Thabiti Anyabwile (March 2014)

If you haven’t had a chance to already, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check out a few of these articles.

January’s top ten articles at Blogging Theologically

Let’s take a trip back in time and check out the top ten posts in January:

  1. 15 signs your church is growing in the right way (January 2014)
  2. 7 signs you’re reading a book by a prosperity preacher (January 2014)
  3. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  4. Three things I’d like to see in the Christian blogosphere in 2014 (January 2014)
  5. Is church growth all about the pastor? (January 2014)
  6. A look at The Gospel Transformation Bible (January 2014)
  7. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  8. The shocking secret to finding God’s will (January 2014)
  9. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  10. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)

And just for fun, here’s a look at the next ten:

  1. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  2. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  3. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  4. 6 quotes Christians need to let lie fallow (January 2014)
  5. It’s not a cold—it’s cancer! (Janury 2014)
  6. 14 books I want to read in 2014 (and think you should too) (December 2013)
  7. You are not a Christian just because you like Jesus (January 2014)
  8. Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke (January 2014)
  9. Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax (January 2014)
  10. That awkward moment in kids ministry when… (January 2014)

If you haven’t had a chance to already, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check out a few of these articles.

Links I like (weekend edition)

links i like

Water under the bridge?

Ray Ortlund:

Glib slogans like “That’s water under the bridge,” “I’ve moved on,” or misquoting the Bible with “Forgetting what lies behind . . .” – these are not evidences of salvation.  They are strategies of denial and self-justification.  We might as well scream out, “The cross means nothing to me.  I must establish my own rightness.  So I cannot face myself.”

But real repentance, filled with a wonderful sense of Jesus, has the courage to go back and make wrongs right again in honest, humble, creative ways.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Here’s a round-up of this week’s Kindle deals, along with a few new ones:

What does it look like to open your own Bible for the first time?

HT: Justin Taylor

Srsly

More goodness from Adam Ford:

8 Ways to Reverse the Decline of the American Book Lover

David Murray:

I struggle to find time to read. Yes, I read plenty during working hours for lectures, sermons, etc, but in terms of reading books of choice in my leisure time, I confess I often go to bed disappointed in my use of the evening hours. It’s so much easier just to tap around on the iPad or read blogs. So here are a few strategies I’ve recently been trying to follow to increase my reading.

Links I like

Evangelicals and Hollywood Muck

Trevin Wax:

As a teenager, I discovered the work of Chuck Colson, Francis Schaeffer, and C. S. Lewis. These men had a different perspective on art and its merits. I began to see artistic analysis differently. I realized Disney movies weren’t safe just because they were “clean,” and PG-13 movies weren’t bad just because they had language or violence. It was possible to watch a movie with a critical eye for the underlying worldview.

I never subscribed to the fundamentalist vision that saw holiness in terms of cultural retreat or worldliness as anything that smacked of cultural engagement. I don’t subscribe to that position today.

But sometimes I wonder if evangelicals have swung the pendulum too far to the other side, to the point where all sorts of entertainment choices are validated in the name of cultural engagement.

Your Real Self-Image

Aimee Byrd:

Be true to yourself. Follow your dreams. Search deep inside for the real you. This is confusing stuff! Sure, these sentiments sound nice, but they are so subjective that you never know when you have arrived at your actual self. We all come to terms with this question of who we are many times throughout our lives. There are various methods people use to define their identities. Some use a job title or education status; others use their popularity or physical attractiveness. Sadly, some identify themselves by their mistakes in life and never seem to move past them. Then there are wealth, health race, family, neighborhoods, fame, and talents that define us… C.S. Lewis challenges us to stop looking.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Here are a few new Kindle deals for you:

“It’s not fair!”

David Murray:

If we allow our hearts and minds to dwell on these personal, social, ecclesiastical, and international injustices, we will spend our lives in a state of constant and damaging agitation: fretfulness, anxiety, bitterness, anger, and so on, will be our constant and damaging companions. Our minds will darken, our hearts will despair, and our bodies will deteriorate too.

“It’s not fair” BUT there is something we can do about it. In fact, there are a few things.

Despicable Me? The Doctrine of Total Depravity

Clint Archer:

Hamlet is William Shakespeare’s psychological tour de force, which deals with some of the deepest philosophical and anthropological questions in life. What is man? Are we innately good, or evil? What drives us? What curbs us? What is the reason for us to be or not to be? These are the questions the pensive Danish prince Hamlet muses about throughout the haunting story.

The play touches on one of the enduring debates in psychology—whether humans are born with a good nature or an evil one.

The backlist: the top ten posts on Blogging Theologically

top-ten

Let’s take a trip back in time to see the top ten posts in December:

  1. I’m giving you a whole pile of books for Christmas! (December 2013)
  2. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  3. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  4. How to write a great book review (December 2013)
  5. My favorite books of 2013 (December 2013)
  6. 14 books I want to read in 2014 (and think you should too) (December 2013)
  7. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  8. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  9. Five blogs you should be reading in 2014 (December 2013)
  10. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)

And here’s a look at the top 10 most read posts in 2013:

  1. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  2. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  3. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  4. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  5. God’s Love Compels Us: a free #TGC13 eBook (April 2013)
  6. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  7. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  8. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  9. Memorizing God’s Word: Colossians (July 2013)
  10. On bombs and Boston (April 2013)

Be sure to take a few minutes to check out these articles if you haven’t already. Enjoy!

Links I like

Worship in Spirit and Truth

David Mathis:

The issue is not whether we will worship, but what. Even better, whom and how.

On this Sunday, as many of us ready ourselves for corporate worship, perhaps the most significant single biblical text for guiding the essence of what we’re pursuing together when we gather is Jesus’s words in John 4:23–24.

Don’t Teach the Bible

Phillip Jensen:

There is an important difference between teaching the Bible and teaching people the Bible. It is easy to be so engaged in what we teach that we forget whom we are teaching. We can even be oblivious to the fact that we are not teaching anybody. This is particularly true of the sermon. The monologue engages the preacher’s mind but can completely miss the hearers’ thinking.

What Are Your Thoughts on “Minced Oaths?”

R.C. Sproul Jr:

A “minced oath” is a bowdlerization of words or phrases otherwise deemed offensive or blasphemous. Common examples would be the substitution of darn for damn, heck for hell, gosh for God. Some argue that when we use these substitutes we nevertheless stand guilty of using the originals, that gosh takes God’s name in vain, and darn belittles the reality and horror of damnation. While I am sympathetic to that perspective, and give thanks for those who seek to be deliberate and to honor God with their tongues, I do not share that conviction.

Work, value, and the gospel

Paul Grimmond:

Paul’s absolute conviction is that the church is made the way God wants it. So when I sit in church on a Sunday and I look around, I ought to find people there who are wildly different to me. I ought to meet toenails and pancreases, knuckles and elbows, kidneys and eyeballs. And more than that, as someone who belongs to Jesus, I am called to see how each of them is necessary to the life of God’s people. I am to learn to rejoice in the gift that God has given me in them and them in me!

7 Councils: The Council of Ephesus

Tim Challies:

This council came at time of conflict over authority within the church. The First Council of Constantinople had established the bishop of Constantinople as second in authority following Rome, whose bishop carried the title of Pope and who claimed his authority from the line of Peter. Alexandria and Antioch were also powerful bishoprics and their schools of Christology historically came from different positions. Leo Davis explains: “Just as all philosophers are said to be basically either Aristotelian or Platonist, so, roughly speaking, all theologians are in Christology either Antiochene, beginning with the Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels and attempting to explain how this man is also God, or Alexandrian, beginning with the Word of John’s Prologue and attempting to understand the implications of the Logos taking flesh.” This council would further expose the rift between the two schools of Christology.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Kindle3_1

Every week, publishers make a number of titles from their catalogues on sale for the Kindle. Here are a few I’ve found over the last few days:

99¢

$2.99 and under

$3.99 and under

$5.99 and under

The backlist: the top ten posts on Blogging Theologically

top-ten

Let’s take a trip back in time to see the top ten posts in November:

  1. A Call to Resurgence by Mark Driscoll (November 2013)
  2. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  3. She’s done the impossible (November 2013)
  4. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  5. Five signs you need to quit blogging (November 2013)
  6. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  7. Get serious about your studies: how should you read the Bible? (November 2013)
  8. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  9. Get serious about your studies: why a systematic theology? (November 2013)
  10. Get serious about your studies: you and your Bible (November 2013)

And just for fun, here are the next ten:

  1. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  2. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  3. Get serious about your studies: you and your technology (November 2013)
  4. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  5. Why we need to pray for the persecuted Church (November 2013)
  6. Black Friday deals for the Christian guy and gal (November 2013)
  7. The terrifying sound of silence (November 2013)
  8. Evangelism is the enterprise of love (November 2013)
  9. Five Points by John Piper (November 2013)
  10. How do we fix the problem of celebrity-ism? (November 2013)

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these posts, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check them out.

Links I like (weekend edition)

Are You Part of a Phonebook Ministry?

Aaron Earls:

Not long ago, my youngest son came up to me with a puzzled look on his face. “Daddy, what’s a phonebook?” he asked.

I had to laugh. The idea of a phonebook, that was so common to me, is so completely foreign to him.

Reflecting on that caused me to think about our ever evolving culture and the way we do ministry – are we doing phonebook ministry?

How to peel a head of garlic in less than 10 seconds

This is fascinating (but those who are particularly sensitive, be forewarned—there is a mild swear in the video):

We Are Far Too Easily Displeased

Jon Bloom:

I am a grumbler by (fallen) nature.

Just this morning a malfunctioning software program required my attention. Experience told me the likely course: at least two times on the phone with customer support and at least two glitches in the fixing process. Forty-five minutes minimum. Probably more. (All proved true, by the way.) Immediately I resented this time-stealing inconvenience. And when my wife called in the middle of dealing with it, out of my mouth came my displeasure.

Life problems don’t get much smaller. What is the matter with me?

Elder Questions: Living Together

Tim Kimberley answers the question:

You are counseling a couple, who claim to be Christian, that are sleeping together and believe they are “married in their hearts”. They would like to become members of your church. Describe how would you handle this couple, including how you would address the issue of being “married in their hearts?”

The Assembly of the Good People

Aimee Byrd:

It’s sad isn’t it? This group of confessing unbelievers is being called out by a leader to assemble together on a Sunday of all days. It’s like there is some kind of longing within them to respond, some kind of knowledge of something more. But they suppress the truth in unrighteousness, and make themselves the object of worship.

This Sunday Assembly sounds exactly like J. Gresham Machen’s description of the liberal Christian church gatherings in his book Christianity and Liberalism.

Links I like

I Get Very Suspicious When…

Stephen Altrogge:

My generation is infatuated with the new and immediate. We love the newest gadgets and newest movies and newest theological ideas. We would be wise, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, to let the fresh winds of church history blow through our musty brains.

I’m about 95% sure that at least one person who reads this post will remind me of the fact that many Christians owned slaves. In response I would say two things. First, it is my educated guess that many men and women throughout church history who have defended sinful practices were not born again. This is the case when it comes to the Crusades, slavery, the Spanish Inquisition, and many other sad events. These events and practices were promoted by those who embraced cultural Christianity not true Christianity.

But this is not always the case.

Get The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther in today’s $5 Friday at Ligonier.org

Today you can get The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther by Steven Lawson (hardcover) for only $5 in today’s $5 Friday sale at Ligonier.org. Other items on sale:

  • John by R.C. Sproul (ePub)
  • Together for the Gospel 2006 (audio & video download)
  • Are We Together? by R.C. Sproul (ePub and MOBI)

$5 Friday ends tonight at 11:59:59 PM Eastern. And don’t forget—Ligonier is also offering The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon by Steven Lawson is free until the end of the month.

What does it mean to be gospel-centered?

Progressing Downward

Tullian Tchividjian:

A couple weeks ago I talked about Reader’s Digest Christianity, and how it reduced the Christian faith to pithy, easily-achievable goals that ensure our personal improvement. Here, I have a different (though depressingly similar) target: “LiveStrong” Christianity. LiveStrong bracelets are today even more popular than the infamous WWJD bracelets were 10 years ago, despite the public fall from grace of their namesake, Lance Armstrong.

A Free Gift to Celebrate Crossway’s 75th Anniversary

…we’re giving away the ESV Study Bible Web App for FREE through the end of November. This award-winning resource features the study notes, maps, charts, illustrations, and theological articles found in the print edition—all integrated intoESVBible.org’s easy-to-use web interface.

 The Value of Shutting Up

Mike Leake:

I know that “shut up” isn’t a nice term. We discourage our kids from using that term. But I think a violent term like that is needed here. “Shut up” is what you tell yourself to do when a million feelings are running wild in your heart and you know that it wouldn’t be good to share those feelings.

Oh, wait. Do people still do that? Or have we bought into the idea that letting our feelings fly is always the best course of action?

Links I like

5 Reasons Not to Give Up on the Marriage Debate

Kevin DeYoung:

But every once in awhile—maybe one day a week, probably on Sundays—I can’t help but hold out hope for traditional marriage. What if “being on the wrong side of history” is more of a progressive ideology than a foregone conclusion? What if our cultural development is not inexorably locked into either a pattern of secularization and sexual liberation? What if the building block of every successful civilization cannot be redefined as easily as some imagine? Are there any reasons to think traditional marriage can make a comeback?

Let me suggest five.

Save on Piper’s latest at Westminster Books

As you may recall, the other day I reviewed John Piper’s latest book, Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s GraceUntil 11/19, Westminster Books is offering this excellent little book for $4.50 (50 percent off the cover price). You can also purchase the book as part of a bundle featuring the following titles:

  • Five Points
  • Finally Alive
  • God is the Gospel
  • A Hunger for God

Don’t be a hater

He Opened His Mouth

Bill Mounce:

So does the phrase “to open one’s mouth” have any meaning, or is it so redundant that it should be skipped in translation? I think that there is enough of a pattern to show that it was a way of adding solemnity to what was to be said. Carson comments that it reflects OT roots and “is used in solemn or revelatory contexts.”

Is Your Skin Thick or Dead?

Barnabas Piper:

I have thick skin. It is a blessing. I don’t know whether it is genetic or developed, nature or nurture. Likely it’s some of both. And my three older brothers deserve some thanks for their contributions to thickening it up too. Having thick skin means that I can write and publish without fearing the inevitable criticism. I can speak, converse, hold a point of view and not worry about the flak I will take for my opinions. It means I don’t take too much stuff personally so when slights or criticism come I don’t immediately turn on or draw away from the critic. Thick skin is a real benefit as a writer, an employee, and as a family man. And just as a human in a hurtful world.

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