As I was putting together today’s A La Carte, I was struck by what a privilege it is to be able to collect such good articles day by day and them share them with you. So my gratitude goes to both the writers and the readers!
Today at Westminster Books you can get a good deal on a book meant to help you both memorize and retain Scripture.
There are some new Kindle deals today.
This is a fascinating and thought-provoking article about AI. It calls Christians to be aware that there are forces of darkness in this world that are more than merely passive spectators in this world and its new technologies.
Can you hate the sin and love the sinner? And can God? Mark Jones swims in some deep theological waters in this article.
Michael Kruger: “What are we to do with this pesky Old Testament? Some pastors (as hard as it is to believe) have insisted that the best option before us is to kick it to the curb. The quicker we get rid of the OT the better. Others are less strident in their solution. While we shouldn’t kick the OT out of our Bibles, maybe we can at least ignore it or play it down. In the mist of these discussions, I think it’s worth taking a deep breath and stepping back for a moment to remind ourselves of the big picture.”
Casey McCall shares some helpful thoughts on those times you feel spiritually lifeless. “As people of faith, we recount times in our lives when we felt especially close to Christ and found intense delight in disciplines like prayer and Bible reading. We grow puzzled when those same disciplines feel like drudgery, and forces in life seem to conspire together to hide the joy of Christ’s presence and make those earlier experiences a distant memory.”
Amanda Duvall shares some of the encouragement she has gained from intergenerational relationships. “I am privileged to have friendships with women who live out the example of Titus 2 that I’ve longed to see. And it is not their own brilliance or expertise that shines, but the way they lift my eyes from the false hope of self-focus to behold what is truly good—Jesus Christ.”
Sandra Jantzi celebrates an undeserved gift and a humble servant.
Some days we have all the boldness of Peter and other days all the hesitation of Thomas. On some days we proclaim, “I believe” but on others we plead, “please help my unbelief.”
When grief is really bad, it’s a reflection of a love that was really great.
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By Tim Challies — 2 years ago
This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Crossway, who also sponsored the blog this week. They are giving away the new ESV Concise Study Bible. There will be five winners this week and each will receive a copy of each of these Bibles.
Here is how Crossway describes it:
The ESV Concise Study Bible was created to help readers explore the essential meaning of the Bible. Inspired by the best-selling ESV Study Bible, this robust Bible offers fresh content for new believers and seasoned saints alike, explaining difficult phrases, defining key terms, identifying important people and places, and highlighting links between biblical passages.
Featuring 12,000+ study notes; 150+ maps and charts; 15+ illustrations; and an introduction to each book that outlines its setting, background, and key themes, the ESV Concise Study Bible is rich in content yet approachable and easy to carry—perfect for studying God’s Word in any context.
Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. By entering, you will be added to Crossway’s mailing list. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Saturday at noon. If you are viewing this through email, click to visit my site and enter there.
By Tim Challies — 4 months ago
October has been an excellent month when it comes to releases of Christian books. I sorted through the huge stacks that came my way this month and ended up with this list of 12 new and especially noteworthy picks. In each case I have provided the editorial description so you can have a bit of information about it. I hope there’s something here that catches your eye!
Don’t Follow Your Heart: Boldly Breaking the Ten Commandments of Self-Worship by Thaddeus Williams. “Today we are told to be true to ourselves, look within for answers, and follow our hearts. But when we put our own happiness first, we experience record-breaking levels of aimlessness, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Self-centeredness always fails to deliver the fulfillment we’re seeking. In Don’t Follow Your Heart, Thaddeus Williams debunks the ‘ten commandments of self-worship,’ which include popular propaganda, like: #liveyourbestlife: Thou shalt always act in accord with your chief end—to glorify and enjoy yourself forever. #followyourheart: Thou shalt obey your emotions at all costs. #yolo: Thou shalt pursue the rush of boundary-free experience. Williams builds a case that this type of self-worship is not authentic, satisfying, or edgy. Instead, its rehashing what is literally humanity’s oldest lie. He calls on a new generation of mavericks and renegades, heretics who refuse to march in unison with the self-obsessed herd. With a fascinating blend of theology, philosophy, science, psychology, and pop culture, Williams points us to a life beyond self-defeating dogmas to a more meaningful life centered on Someone infinitely more interesting, satisfying, and awesome than ourselves.” (Buy it at Amazon or ChristianBook.com)
Sunday Matters: 52 Devotionals to Prepare Your Heart for Church by Paul David Tripp. “Christians understand the importance of attending church, but many find their attention being pulled away from worship because of family, schedule, work, finances, and other distractions. With so much on their minds, how can churchgoers prepare their hearts to offer God the worship he deserves? In Sunday Matters, Paul David Tripp shares 52 devotions about the beauty and significance of church, helping Christians engage in vibrant gathered worship each week. Each short, accessible meditation highlights an essential spiritual topic, including divine grace, gratitude, our identity in Christ, and dependence on the Lord. Over the course of a year, Sunday Matters will strengthen each believer’s personal relationship with God and fill churches with joyful, engaged, and passionate worshipers.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBooks.com, or Westminster Books)
Remade: Embracing Your Complete Identity in Christ by Paul Tautges. “Do you know who you are? Often our self-perception, even as Christians, is fragmented or incomplete—we struggle to grasp the richly faceted identity we’ve been given in Christ. When our evaluation of ourselves, our sin, and our circumstances is misaligned with God’s view, we don’t live with the comfort and motivation Christ offers. In this Scripture-saturated devotional, pastor and biblical counselor Paul Tautges provides 90 meditations on your complete identity before God in Christ. You are a saint in good standing before God, yet you are simultaneously a sinner who must battle with your desires and a sufferer who undergoes hardship. Day by day, discover how grasping this threefold biblical reality centers your thoughts and affections on the Savior and prepares you to stay on God’s good path as you live in a broken world.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
The Lord of Psalm 23: Jesus Our Shepherd, Companion, and Host by David Gibson. “Psalm 23 is one of the most recognizable passages in the whole Bible. Though relatively short, this poetic depiction of God’s love epitomizes Christ’s goodness and provision as he leads his children. Even lifelong Christians will find fresh encouragement by closely studying these familiar words. David Gibson walks through each verse in Psalm 23, thoroughly examining its 3 depictions of the believer’s union with Christ as sheep and shepherd, traveler and companion, and guest and host. Gibson provides canonical context for the Psalm’s beautiful imagery, inspiring praise and wonder as readers reflect on the loving Shepherd who meets every need.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
Midnight Mercies: Walking with God Through Depression in Motherhood by Christine Chappell. “Are you a mother who feels stuck in depression? You’re not the only Christian woman who knows what this darkness is like. When feelings of hopelessness, weariness, sadness, anger, anxiety, shame, and loneliness feel impossible to bear, it can seem like God is nowhere to be found. But there’s more to the story than you can presently perceive. Biblical counselor Christine Chappell has walked these dark paths herself—and she wants to help you to see God’s heart for you more clearly as you endure sorrow and pain. As Christine recounts her own midnight journey through depression and explores stories of desperate sufferers who experienced God’s mercy in the Scriptures, she shows how God meets us in our despair and helps us toward his light—one step at a time. Each chapter concludes with immediate help in the form of simple next steps, a Scripture verse for contemplation and comfort, and questions for journaling.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
Critical Dilemma: The Rise of Critical Theories and Social Justice Ideology-Implications for the Church and Society by Neil Shenvi & Pat Sawyer. “Critical theory and its expression in fields such as critical race theory, critical pedagogy, and queer theory are having a profound impact on our culture. Contemporary critical theory’s ideas about race, class, gender, identity, and justice have dramatically shaped how people think, act, and view one another—in Christian and secular spheres alike. In Critical Dilemma, authors Neil Shenvi and Pat Sawyer illuminate the origins and influences of contemporary critical theory, considering it in the light of clear reason and biblical orthodoxy. While acknowledging that it can provide some legitimate insights regarding race, class, and gender, Critical Dilemma exposes the false assumptions at the heart of critical theory, arguing that it poses a serious threat to both the church and society at large. Drawing on exhaustive research and careful analysis, Shenvi and Sawyer condemn racism, urge Christians to seek justice, and offer a path forward for racial healing and unity while also opposing critical theory’s manifold errors.” (Buy it at Amazon or ChristianBook.com)
Christianity and New Religious Movements: An Introduction to the World’s Newest Faiths by Derek Cooper. “Every major religion has produced hundreds of offshoots. Although sometimes disparaged as cults or sects, these new religious movements are often culturally accepted and claim to promote a healthy and happy lifestyle. We may have heard of them, but many of us know little about them. For Christians, this makes it difficult for us to engage with their adherents wisely and well. Derek Cooper, a professor of global Christianity, delves into ten of the most historic, most prominent, and most recognizable new religious movements, focusing on ones with members whom people have a higher chance of meeting. Writing from a confessional yet compassionate Christian perspective, he provides an overview of religions such as Jainism, Nation of Islam, Mormonism, and Scientology―their origins, religious writings, beliefs, practices―and describes effective points of contact for Christians. Includes discussion questions and suggestions for further reading.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
The Surprising Genius of Jesus: What the Gospels Reveal about the Greatest Teacher by Peter J. Williams. “When someone thinks of Jesus, “genius” is not likely the first word that comes to mind. But when studied in detail, Jesus’s teachings and interactions with others combined high levels of knowledge and insight, verbal skill, and simplicity—showing his genius. In The Surprising Genius of Jesus, Peter J. Williams examines the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 to show the genius, creativity, and wisdom of Jesus’s teachings. He used simple but powerful stories to confront the Pharisees and scribes of the day, drawing on his knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures to teach his audience through complex layers and themes. Williams challenges those who question whether Jesus really was the source of the parables recorded in the Gospels, pointing readers to the truth of who Jesus is and why that matters for them today.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
A Day’s Journey: Stories of Hope and Death-Defying Joy by Tim Keesee. “Tim Keesee spent years crisscrossing the globe, documenting the gospel’s advance in regions of war and persecution through his writing and films. But double blows from terminal cancer diagnoses in 2019 and 2021 brought his travels to a halt. In A Day’s Journey, Tim takes up his pen to write dispatches from a smaller, more intimate world. He writes of Christian brothers and sisters who have taught him so much about a day well spent: the way they work and worship, the way they pray and sing, the way they love their neighbors and their enemies, even when beaten black and blue for the sake of Christ. In this book you’ll have the privilege to walk with Tim through days of pain and hard questions, but also days of grace, wonder, and death-defying joy. Poignant, inspiring, and beautifully written, these stories model the courage we need, the joy we have, the gospel we love, the cross we bear, and the hope we embrace until faith becomes sight.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
Genesis by Richard Phillips (Reformed Expository Commentary), 2-Volumes. “The book of Genesis lays the essential foundations of the Christian faith. In its first few chapters, we meet God the Creator and witness his first covenant with man. When Adam sins and God responds with a gospel promise, the stage is set for the grand narrative of redemptive history. Through his devotional commentary, Richard Phillips guides readers to better understand God, themselves, their world, and the redemptive, Christ-directed trajectory of history. In the upheaval of the flood and of Babel, and in the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, God does not forsake his creation or his plan for its redemption through the incarnate Son. As he delves deep into the wonders of Genesis, Phillips invites you first and foremost to worship the God who keeps his covenant promises—both to those in past generations who longed for Christ’s coming and to you who now wait for his return. As are all Reformed Expository Commentaries, this book is accessible to both pastors and lay readers. Each volume in the series gives careful attention to the biblical text, is doctrinally Reformed, focuses on Christ through the lens of redemptive history, and applies the Bible to our contemporary setting.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
Expository Outlines and Observations on Romans: Hints and Helps for Preachers and Teachers by Rob Ventura. “The book of Romans is rich in doctrinal truth. In Expository Outlines and Observations on Romans Rob Ventura mines these truths and offers quick, accessible, expository nuggets for preachers and teachers. With a thoroughly Reformed view, Ventura has taken each passage of Romans and helps pastors prepare sermons that will help congregations dig deep into this excellent book. The exegesis of the original Greek is beneficial without being highly technical, and readers are aided on their journey by some of church history’s finest, including Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and Lloyd Jones. For each passage Ventura highlights: A central theme; A homiletical outline; Exegetical and practical insights; Applications for the church; Applications for non–believers. An excellent addition to any preacher’s bookshelf, this book will not only enrich your preaching, but also cause your own heart to marvel anew at the grace of God.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
The Truth About Lies: Why Jesus Is More Relevant than You Think by Mack Stiles. “Society tells us all sorts of lies: ‘I’ve got my truth, you’ve got yours’; ‘Death is the end’; ‘I can’t ever change’; ‘Jesus isn’t relevant.’ By approaching these common-held beliefs, author and evangelist J. Mack Stiles comes alongside readers to explain the flaw in society’s thinking and shows how Jesus responds to these untruths. Each lie is held alongside an encounter that Jesus had in the Gospels and takes the reader directly to Jesus words and actions. Aimed at the questioning inquirer, this book will help readers understand the relevance of Jesus in today’s culture.” (Buy it at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, or Westminster Books)
By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
We have entered into a stretch in which we aren’t seeing a lot of great Kindle deals. But I’ll keep searching and hope to find some more soon. (Note: if you like general market books, you’ll find a list of popular 2022 releases on sale.)
Fickle Gods and the Wondrous Clarity of the Law
This is so good. “We tend to chafe at the sheer number of laws given to the people of Israel, viewing things primary through our new covenant perspective where so many of these laws have now been fulfilled in Christ. And yet a primary response of the ancient Israelites to these laws would not have been a sense of burden. It would have been a sense of tearful relief, even rest.”
Andrea discusses what we tend to mean by significance, then describes “a few people in my world who don’t have a platform or a publishing contract, but who I think have real significance.”
The Only Thing Protestants can Appreciate About Pope Benedict
Jordan Standridge doesn’t hold back here.
Chinese Pastors Can Teach You What John Calvin Can’t
Hannah Nation wants us to consider that some of the answers to our questions may be waiting for us among Chinese (and other) pastors. “In recent years, American churches have been asking questions very similar to those I hear from Chinese house churches facing persecution. What’s the church’s purpose in society? How do we understand state authority and religious liberty? Where do our ultimate allegiances lie?”
Can You Share the Gospel with Sexual Sinners without Sounding like a Bigot?
Is it possible to share the gospel with sexual sinners without sounding like a bigot? Alan Shlemon considers the question here.
Misreading Providence for Personal Gain
“Matthew Henry once suggested we can sometimes neglect to obey God because we misinterpret trials and challenges as permission to shirk our responsibility when, instead, God allowed these hardships to test and exercise our courage and faith.” That’s something we ought to consider carefully.
Flashback: All My Ways Are Known To You
He knows all there is to know about me, things I don’t even know about myself. I am an open book before him, laid bare before his penetrating gaze. And still he loves me.
Bitterness about your parents’ brokenness will kill you. Be the grace-filled end of generational sin in your family. —John Piper