It has been a productive time in Zambia and I very much enjoyed worshiping with Faith Baptist Church Kakolo. Today I begin making my way to the northern part of the continent.
Logos users: remember to take a look at the September Super sale which has some great resources on sale along with this month’s selection of free and nearly-free books. There are also some Zondervan collections and resources discounted at the moment.
(Yesterday on the blog: Christ’s Second Advent)
Kevin is looking for help finding a loving dentist. But as you may guess, I don’t think he’s actually talking about dentists.
J.V. Fesko has a helpful article on praying public prayers.
The new God’s Big Promises Bible Storybook from The Good Book Company connects 92 foundational Bible stories by showing how God makes and keeps his promises. (Sponsored Links)
“How do we know when a civilisation is nearing its end? If one sign is a general ennui, listlessness, lethargy, then we could well be almost there. We are always prone to moan and complain and imagine that ‘the good old days’ were a real thing (they weren’t) but there is a collective weariness across the British Isles; a sense that nothing is working quite like it should. Broken politics, broken healthcare, crumbling concrete.”
Red Pen Logic offers a response to an increasingly common argument.
It’s a valid question: If we are told to be content in all circumstances, does that mean it’s wrong to try to change those circumstances?
“I hate to say it, but Puritan stereotypes—which go all the way back to the 17th Century—are still going strong. It almost seems like no matter how many solid scholarly books are written about them, the stereotypes will live on.” Jenny-Lyn de Klerk addresses three of them.
Those who struggle to sing may be self-conscious, tempted to stay quiet or to do no more than mumble along. Should they? Not at all, for singing is a matter of the heart before it is a matter of pitch or tone.
Contentment is the product of the heart that is resting in God. —A.W. Pink
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By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
I wanted to remind you, in case you missed it on the weekend, that ChristianBook.com has Seasons of Sorrow marked down by 40%.
Today’s Kindle deals include a number of commentaries published by Crossway.
(Yesterday on the blog: Not a Matter of Pitch or Tone)
All Souls Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)
This is a fitting tribute to the Queen on the day of her funeral.
Will You Be Good at Your Thing Today?
Here’s a good question: Will you be good at your thing today, whatever your thing is?
Why Difficult Conversations Are Getting More Difficult
“In this climate, to have what we may call a difficult conversation – where someone is challenged about their beliefs, choices, or actions – feels as if it is going to be majorly problematic.”
The Gospel of Cancel Culture
“‘Cancel culture’ is a recent social phenomenon. The term was first used in 2016 and it describes the increasingly popular practice of publicly rejecting, boycotting or withdrawing support for (‘cancelling’) particular people or groups because of their unacceptable social or moral views and actions.”
Student Debt and the Great Commission
“Much ink has been spilled in recent weeks over the US government plan to cancel (or reshuffle the responsibility of) some students’ educational debt. Whatever you may think of the proposal, here is one thing I know: Student debt is one of the greatest barriers to getting young people to the mission field.” Lisa LaGeorge explains.
When We Pray | Citizens
This is nice new song by Citizens.
Flashback: The Order and Causes of Salvation and Damnation: An Infographic
Whatever you do, linger. Bunyan has a lot to teach us through this infographic.
The highest honour in heaven will be the reward of the greatest humility on earth. —Matthew Henry
By Tim Challies — 5 months ago
It is surprisingly difficult to find a list of Christian books that have been released in any given month—especially if you want that list to be filtered by books released through particular publishers. That’s one of the reasons why I close each month by coming up with my list of New and Notable books. I comb through what I’ve received in the past month (and scour all the publishers’ websites) to come up with a list of titles that are interesting to me—and may just be interesting to you. Here are my picks for April. In each case I’ve included the publisher’s description.
The Wolf in Their Pockets: 13 Ways the Social Internet Threatens the People You Lead by Chris Martin. “We can hardly remember a time when we didn’t feel the influence of that back pocket device. The average social media user spends about two-and-a-half hours a day using social media. That’s more than enough time to shape our values and desires. Pastors, teachers, and parents feel their influence slipping away. We’re seeing increased loneliness, disunity, and self-absorption. But where do we go from here? In The Wolf in Their Pockets, Internet expert Chris Martin examines the many ways we are being changed by social media. With a biblically informed voice, Martin both exposes the ways the Internet is distorting our life in Christ and shows us how to faithfully respond. Martin teaches us how to care for people who are obsessed with followers, views, and likes—and how to love those whose online influences have filled them with cynicism and contempt. Martin looks at how the social Internet is changing how we understand sex and beauty—what to do about the epidemic levels of anxiety—and how to redirect our hearts to worship Jesus Christ. Shepherding and leading people has never been easy, but the social Internet has brought new challenges. We need the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and a powerful prayer life. Martin provides the biblical wisdom, direction, and hope necessary to combat The Wolf in Their Pockets.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
The Classic Warfield Collection (2-Volume Set) by Benjamin B Warfield, edited by John J Hughes. “In The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, Warfield says that the Bible is ‘an oracular book . . . the Word of God in such a sense that whatever it says God says’ that all its affirmations are ‘to be esteemed as the utterance of God, of infallible truth and authority.’ Warfield’s incisive scholarship shines in this new and enhanced edition, which has been edited, formatted, and retypeset for modern readers. Its carefully prepared aids include fulsome abstracts at the beginning of each chapter, intelligent headings, smart paragraph breaks, explanatory notes, definitions of obscure terms, discussion questions, recommended reading, complete footnotes and bibliographies, and more. In The Person and Work of Christ, Warfield demonstrates that ‘it is no more possible to have a Christianity without an atoning Christ than it is to have a Christianity without a divine Christ.’ Warfield’s incisive scholarship shines in this new and enhanced edition, which has been edited, formatted, and re-typeset for modern readers. Its carefully prepared aids include fulsome abstracts at the beginning of each chapter, intelligent headings, smart paragraph breaks, explanatory notes, definitions of obscure terms, discussion questions, recommended reading, complete footnotes and bibliographies, and more.” (Buy it at Westminster Books)
Priscilla, Where Are You? A Call to Joyful Theology by Natalie Brand. “‘What we believe about God is the single most important thing about us.’ This is a call to all Christians-but especially to Christian women-to engage more deeply in the joys of theology. Priscilla was a woman of sound doctrine who wasn’t afraid to share what she knew with others. And this is the privilege of every believing woman: we can explore truth and revel in God’s mysteries; we can live as God intended, with real spiritual strength and heartfelt praise. And we too will want to share our discoveries with others. (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
On Theology: Explorations and Controversies by John Frame. “John Frame is remarkable for his ability to pair profound thought with lucid prose. On Theology: Explorations and Controversies gathers concise reflections on wide-ranging matters of theology, philosophy, and ethics, divided into eight parts: Theological Method; The Thomist Controversy; Systematic Theology; Essays from Lexham Survey of Theology; Essays from The Gospel Coalition’s Concise Theology; Philosophy and Apologetics; Ethics and Politics; Personal Reflections. Whether considering age-old questions or current debates, Frame evokes deep thinking about Christian theology in a style that is accessible and engaging.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Say the Right Thing: How Your Words Can Glorify God and Encourage Others by Carolyn Lacey. “Words are powerful. They sink deep into our minds and our spirits. They can build others up or put others down. Many of us want to “say the right thing” and make a difference to others with our words, but we don’t know how to. Others of us struggle to control our speech and want help to be more godly in this area of our lives. This positive, constructive book delves into the Bible to show us how to overcome specific temptations, such as gossip or angry words. But it also goes much further. It shows us how we can use our speech to bring beauty, hope, truth, and comfort into the lives of those around us—and to give glory to God. Full of gracious words and practical help, this book will help readers to find out how to let the gospel shape their speech and enjoy the blessings that flow from this. (Buy it at Amazon)
Sharing the Gospel with a Mormon by Tony Brown. “How do you share the gospel with those who believe it’s their mandate to evangelise to you? Mormons are eager to talk about their faith with anyone who will listen, so encounters with them are a great opportunity to discuss what the Bible really says. But if we’re not familiar with their beliefs, it can feel safer to avoid these conversations, and we can miss out on the chance to share the true gospel with them. Tony Brown spends his time conversing with and evangelising to those caught in New Religious Movements. In this thorough guide to sharing the gospel with a Mormon, he lays out the foundations of the Mormon faith and explains how their doctrines are not reconcilable with the Bible, despite their claims. He does so with a great love for Mormons, concluding that they are a lost people who need to hear the true gospel. If you’ve ever wondered how to share the gospel with a Mormon, then this book will give you the practical knowledge you need to start those conversations and point Mormons to the Jesus of the Bible.” (Buy it at Amazon)
When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Second Edition) by Edward Welch. “Five college students pitch a tent by their car one dark night, not realizing they’ve set up camp by a military runway. They awake from a deep sleep to the shaking of the earth and a roar like mountains falling―the sound of a military transport plane taking off right over their heads. Can you imagine the visceral terror of that moment? For author and biblical counselor Edward Welch, it was a glimpse of what the Israelites experienced in God’s presence at Mount Sinai. Our God is a consuming fire. His holiness and relentless love put our sin, our weakness, and our fears in perspective. If we can learn the fear of the Lord―a fear that in Christ is filled with gratitude, love, and devotion―we can break free of the fear of other people that so easily entangles us. We can experience joy in our Christian lives as we need other people less and love them more. This groundbreaking work has helped countless numbers of people to confront their fear of man and live in freedom. The new edition features clarifying additions, new material, and revisions throughout.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Stronger Together: Seven Partnership Virtues and the Vices that Subvert Them by Dave Harvey. “Networked churches are the primary church planting force in evangelicalism today—but what makes them so effective, why do they remain so under-appreciated, and what are the common pitfalls that can ensnare them? In Stronger Together, veteran church planter and pastor Dave Harvey draws from his experiences and study of networks to walk Christian institutions, church leaders, and planters through tested strategies for starting and sustaining healthy and biblical church partnerships. By focusing on key virtues and shedding light on the pitfalls that oppose them, Harvey unpacks seven dichotomies that offer a practical roadmap to healthy patterns. When churches are vitally connected to other churches, they thrive, multiply, and last longer. Scripture exemplifies this, and research proves it. Stronger Together—part of the Exponential series on ministry growth and discipleship—will teach you exactly how to pursue biblical collaboration that will allow your church to flourish and your ministry to grow.” (Buy it at Amazon)
True to His Word: 100 Meditations on the Faithfulness of God by Jon Bloom. “The Bible teaches that God is always faithful, that He’s always TRUE to HIS WORD. Saints throughout history have affirmed it, and hymns and worship songs celebrate it. But what if it doesn’t look that way to you? You’re not alone. The Bible is full of examples of God’s children struggling to trust him in seasons of disappointment, discouragement, danger, disaster, depression, and deep grief—only to see God’s faithfulness to them manifest in surprising ways. These meditations are designed to help you grow in your ability to recognize God’s faithfulness in places you may not typically look, at times you don’t expect, and in providences— especially the most disturbing and devastating ones—that often don’t look like God’s faithfulness. Because the more you see it, the more wonderful God’s faithfulness becomes to you. And the more you’ll realize that ‘all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness’ (Psalm 25:10). (Buy it at Amazon)
Unconventional by Sharon Dickens. “Discipling women is vital in every church. But it’s all very well knowing the theory — how do you actually get on and do it in practice? Unconventional is an honest look at beginning and sustaining a vibrant women’s ministry that works. Author Sharon Dickens shares how she started a women’s ministry from scratch — with all the frustrations and joys along the way — enabling you to learn from her mistakes and benefit from her extensive experience.” (Buy it at Amazon)
By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
The man who lives in the Swiss Alps is probably not terribly impressed when he visits North America and strolls through the Adirondacks or the Smokies. The woman who has spent her life snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef is probably not too enthusiastic about snorkeling off the East Coast of Canada. The person who has grown up on the beaches of Maui is probably not going to break the bank to vacation on the beaches of Lake Superior. There is nothing wrong with the Adirondacks or the Smokies, nothing wrong with the East Coast of Canada or the beaches of the Great Lakes. It’s just that they are not nearly as good, not nearly as impressive, not nearly as awe-inspiring as the alternatives.
It does us good at times to ponder heaven, to ponder the future God has promised to those who love him. He has promised that we will be with him forever in a new heaven and a new earth—a re-creation of this world in which all sin and sorrow, all pain and danger will have been removed. Here we will live out the purpose for which God created us—to spread out over the earth and enjoy it with him and for him.
As we make the pilgrimage from here to there, as we endure this long journey, we expect that it will be difficult. We expect that we will experience the consequences that have come with mankind’s fall into sin. We expect that we will endure sickness, bereavement, persecution, chastisements, and so many other forms of suffering. This is all inevitable in a world like this one.
While we do not wish to suffer, we must be confident that God always has purposes in it. And one of these purposes is undoubtedly to prepare us for what is to come, to shift our hearts from earth to heaven, from what is temporal to what is eternal. The sorrows here prepare us for the glories there. And this makes me wonder: wouldn’t it be the ones who suffer most on earth who are best prepared to enjoy heaven? Wouldn’t it be the ones who were deprived of so much here who will be most satisfied there?
Just think of the wonder of a stroll in the garden for those who were long confined to the sick room, a hike in the mountains for those who spent their lives in a wheelchair, a place in God’s mansion for those who lived in nothing more than a hut.
Imagine the music of the heavenly choir to those who ears were deaf, the splendor of the New Jerusalem to those whose eyes were blind, the joy of crying out praise to those whose lips were mute.
Imagine never hearing a sound for your entire earthly existence only to have the heavenly choir as the first notes to ever reach your ear. Imagine never seeing anything on this side of the grave, only to have the face of Jesus be the first sight that ever meets your eye. Imagine never being able to form a word here only to have your tongue loosened in Christ’s presence so the first words you ever speak are an expression of love to him.
Surely it’s not the man who lived in fine palaces who will be most amazed by the streets of gold, but the man who lived in poverty. Surely it’s not the woman who enjoyed fine dining every day of her life who will be most satisfied by the heavenly feasts, but the woman who lived in deprivation. Surely it’s not the person who traveled to the four corners of the earth who will be most satisfied to explore the wonders of God’s creation, but the person who was unable to leave his hometown, or perhaps unable to leave his bed.
Those who were lonely in this world will marvel at the joy of fellowship, those who were abused in this world will be satisfied to experience perfect safety, those who were estranged in this world will rejoice to know full acceptance. The one who had so many loved ones taken from her arms will be most satisfied to know that pain and death and sorrow and sighing shall be no more.
We know that heaven will be a wonder for all who are admitted, a place of perfect peace and perfect satisfaction for all who enter its gates. But surely heaven will be a greater wonder still for those whose joys were fewest, whose sorrows were deepest, whose earth was most distant from heaven.