July 3, 2014

There are several free ebooks worth grabbing right now. Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God is free for Nook and Kindle.  This seems like it might be a handy resource for anyone who has to speak to children from time to time. Jesus the Evangelist: Learning to Share the Gospel from the Book of John is free for Kindle and Nook. Lion of Babylon, this month’s free audio offering from Christian Audio, is probably worth listening to. 

David Murray writes about 10 Reasons God Stops Us in Our Tracks.

I think about church growth from time to time. Here is an interesting article about the issue.

I Want a Patriotic Church. Don’t hate me for this.

You might have heard that Louis Zamperini has died. We will hear a lot about him this year with Angelina Jolie’s film Unbroken being released on Christmas Day. Here is his testimony at a 1958 Billy Graham Crusade.


March 28, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_I hate to mention the issue of homosexuality, but  I think this post is helpful. Kevin DeYoung deals with why this issue isn’t like other areas where Christians might disagree. This issue isn’t like the millennium. As DeYoung writes: “At its root, support for homosexual behavior is not simply a different interpretation of Scripture; it is a rejection of Scripture itself.”

Ever struggle with depression? Here are 8 Causes of Spiritual Depression.

Jen Thron has 5 Hard Things to Pray for your Husband.

I encourage you to read Salvation in a Dementia Ward. Sometimes God takes us to some pretty dark places.

“Found: God’s Will” by John MacArthur is free for Nook and Kindle.

Three Quick Things …

March 21, 2014

First, “How People Change” is free for Nook and Kindle.

Second, Doug Wilson discusses total depravity. If you have questions about what it is, or how it is supported biblically, I encourage you to read this post. It is the deep end of the pool but well worth your time.

Finally, this video reminds me that we have to do more:


March 10, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_First, Cold Case Christianity is free for Nook and Kindle. This book is too good to pass up.

Do you ever wonder what to do with Lent? The two links in this post argue for both sides of the issue. If you are curious about the practice, this might be the place to start.

Several Sundays ago, I preached about church membership. As I discussed membership, I also addressed church discipline. This post, thoroughly but briefly, outlines the issue of church membership.

Do you want more of the backstory of what is happening in Ukraine? Here are the Cliffs Notes:

Here are a couple of ebook deals. What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch is free for Nook and Kindle. Also, David Platt’s What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me? is free for Kindle and Nook. Careful, read at your own risk. Platt can be fairly convicting.

Also, take a look at this guy. He hasn’t freshened up in 60 years — and it shows. Evidently, cleanliness isn’t a key to long life.


January 14, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_What helps us live a less sinful life? Cole Brown in his piece Lies My Pastor Told Me: “That Will Make You Sin” grapples with the question.

Married couples sometimes think, “I don’t deserve to be treated like this!” How can spouses reframe their thinking to avoid this potential troublesome thought?

Sam Allberry grapples with The Idol Behind Same-Sex Desires. The solution he offers is one that heterosexual people need to remember as well.

Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community is free today only for Nook and Kindle.

Prayer for this New Year

December 31, 2013

Scotty Smith’s encouraging book “Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith” is free today for Nook and Kindle.

Here is his prayer for New Year’s Eve:

     Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human handsPs. 115:1-4

Dear Heavenly Father, it’s the last day of 2013, and I’m feeling a degree of redemptive conflicted-ness, as both laughter and lament dance around my heart. It’s a good tension—one created by, not in spite of, the presence of your grace.

Looking back over the past twelve months, I can easily say with the psalmist, “Be praised, adored and worshiped, O God, for your steadfast love and great faithfulness!” Abba, Father, you loved us all year long, with a relentless, non-wavering, fully engaged affection—irrespective of anything we did or didn’t do.

You loved me as much as you love your Son, Jesus, for you’ve hidden my life in his. Thank you for the fresh mercies that arrived with each new day—when I was aware of them and when I wasn’t. You remained faithful to everything you’ve promised us in Jesus. You did everything that pleases you, and what pleases you is always for my good and your glory. That makes me very glad.

But Father, it’s because of your love for us in Jesus that I can also own my sadness. I lament the times, this past year, when the gospel wasn’t functionally enough for me; when your love didn’t seem “better than life”; when grace didn’t seem sufficient. That’s when I took my thirst and hunger, disappointments and longings to my voiceless, sightless, senseless, powerless idols. I grieve my foolishness.

But here’s where the gladness trumps the sadness: I won’t always be a man “in two minds” with a divided heart beating in my breast. Father, you will complete the good gospel work you’ve begun in us. One Day I’ll no longer even be tempted to worship, love or serve, anything or anyone but you. Hasten that glad and glorious Day.

On the eve of 2014, prepare each of us, your children, for twelve new months of groaning and growing in grace. In the New Year, may Jesus be more beautiful and precious to us than ever; your love more compelling and your grace more transforming; your presence more real and your kingdom more treasured; your name more exalted and your glory more sought. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

Free Ebook

December 30, 2013

Ever struggle with fear? Of course you do. Ed Welch’s “Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest” is free for Kindle and Nook. Don’t miss it.


December 3, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_There is lots of good stuff to pass on this morning:

You might have heard about Kirsten Powers conversion to Christianity. Here is an interview with her concerning her journey to faith.

Also, you might have heard recently of the new pastor who dressed as a homeless man the first Sunday at his new church. Supposedly, he wasn’t treated well by the people in the church. As you might have guessed, this whole thing is a hoax.

Bowman is a small church. Here is an encouragement about what small churches can do.

You might have heard, Rick Warren has a new diet book out. As might be expected, the reviews are starting to emerge. Challies seems to give it a marginal thumbs up, while Riddlebarger asks why Rick should be telling us to eat kale. His dander is definitely up.

If you like thinking about the interface between science and scripture (or if you have children who do), then you might pick up “A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture.” It is free today for Kindle. Also, “Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments” is free for Nook and Kindle. Both of these books look valuable.

I remember reading as a freshman in high school these words: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him, in love having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph 1:4-5). This sentence from that moment has shaped the contours of my theology. Being a simple guy, I took the sentence at face value. It made sense to me. I’m in the family of God SIMPLY because God chose me; not because I chose him. Given the fact that I was born a spiritual corpse, it made sense to me that God raised me from the dead. Like with Lazarus, he gave me spiritual life and enabled me to believe. Thus God gets all the glory. Granted, I believed, but it was only because of God’s prior work of regeneration. God didn’t saved me against my will. He graciously changed my will by giving me spiritual life. Because of regeneration, I now run to God, not away from him. The Lord is my salvation. He didn’t merely make salvation possible, he actually saved me. Again, to God be the glory. Chloe alerted me to the video below. Given my Calvinistic bent, I so appreciate this poem by John Piper:


November 19, 2013

There are a couple of good free ebooks today. “Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything” is free for Nook and Kindle. Also, “How People Change” is free today for Nook and Kindle. This looks to be a very good book.

Some of you know that our son, JohnMark, puts up Christmas trees this time of the year in the Bay Area. Here is a pictorial Mercury article showing what JohnMark and his crew do.

Ever wonder what Katy Perry’s take on religion is? If you have teenagers you should. Candi Finch both encapsulates and critiques Katy Perry’s views.

Here is a very interesting video on how porn impacts the brain. While I wouldn’t say it is risqué, it is somewhat crude at points. It reminds us that sin never ultimately satisfies.

This video reminds us that grace begets grace: