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Best Book Deals

Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way by J. I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett ($2.51)

Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper ($0.99)

Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought by Vern Sheridan Poythress ($0.99)

God’s Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children by R. C. Sproul ($3.03)

The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry by John Piper and D. A. Carson ($0.99)

Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament edited by Kenneth Berding ($2.99)

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond edited by Darrell L. Bock ($5.98)

Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl ($2.99)

The Christian Husband by Bob Lepine ($0.99)

The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves ($2.99)

Faith of My Fathers by John McCain ($1.99)

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris ($1.99)

Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality by Jonathan Aitken ($1.99)

7 Day Clutter Free Guide – A Beginner’s Guide To Becoming De-Cluttered In 7 Days For Disorganized People  by Virginia French ($2.99)

Best Blogs

Fourteen Characteristics of Genuinely Friendly Churches

The Great Commission in the Old Testament by L. Michael Morales | Ligonier Ministries Blog

The New Era of Theological Education | TGC | The Gospel Coalition

3 Suggestions for Supplementing a Student’s Education | TGC | The Gospel Coalition

The Legacy of No Evangelism & Poor Evangelism In Scotland’s Schemes – 20schemes

The Internet: The Great Evangelical Op-Ed Tabloid – Feeding on Christ

An Accurate Parody: On Andrew Wilson and Matthew Vines – Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture

Internet Porn: An Entirely New Child’s Game

A Great Pro-Life Idea | Gentle Reformation

It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Up To 40 Wives

4 Dangers for Complementarians | TGC | The Gospel Coalition

Believers struggle to make sense of salvation for the mentally ill | Deseret News National

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? | Yellowbrick

A Letter to the Anxious Christian | Gentle Reformation

Don’t Waste Your Two Most Productive Hours — Science of Us

Stephen Nichols Writes History For The Church

A Minister And His Flock

Battle Plan | Challies

6 Reasons Not To Read A Book

Are Rewards A Valid Motive For Sanctification?

How To Get Things Done: Maintaining The System | Challies

Best Videos

The Works of William Perkins

Accidental Discoveries that Changed the World

Stunning GoPro Footage from the Frontlines of Wildfire

Ex-NFL Player Who Made $25 Million Quit Football At Age 29 To Become A Farmer

A Survey of Church History, Part 4


The Science Of Depression

A video pitched at a popular level explaining some of the recent advances in research into the physical causes of depression and the impact on the brain. We should be thankful that God is enabling scientists to gradually discover more and more of what’s going on inside the brains of depressed people, and also to develop more sophisticated and effective treatments.


Top 10 Books For Common Problems

In the next couple of weeks I hope to post a list of my top 10 biblical counseling books. However, today I want to post links to some books that I’ve found useful supplements when counseling people with common problems. Most of these are not Christian books, although a couple of them do have some Christian underpinnings (marked with an *). Read them all through the prism of God’s Word to get the best common grace wisdom out of them.  For more of my Top 10 Book lists go here.

Problem 1: “I can’t seem to concentrate.”

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winnifred Gallagher

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Problem 2: “I’m too shy….too much of an introvert”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Problem 3: “I’m overwhelmed…There’s too much going on in my life.”

Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels*

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Problem 4: “I’m paralyzed by all the choices…I find it difficult to choose”

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

Problem 5: “I can’t stop doing this and I don’t understand why.”

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Problem 6: “My Finances Are Out of Control.”

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey*

Problem 7: “I can’t end this relationship.”

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud*

Problem 8: “I’m Exhausted…I’m not sleeping enough.”

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson

Thrive by Arianna Huffington (for the sleep chapters not the ones on mindfulness).

Problem 9: “I don’t have any friends.”

Friendship Factor by Alan McGinnis*

Problem 10: “I can’t say ‘No’”

Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No by Henry Cloud*

The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness by James Altucher

In addition to the Top 10, here are a few more books for common problems.

Problem 11: “I’m totally disorganized.”

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

Problem 12: “I can’t get motivated”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

Problem 13: “I procrastinate all the time.”

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore

Again, I emphasize, these are not replacements for good biblical counsel, but they can be useful supplements. They can help us see our need for biblical counsel, or fill out the details of general biblical principles; and they can also give us practical strategies and steps to implement that are consistent with biblical teaching.


How Successful People Stay Calm


Dr. Travis Bradbury, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, has listed 10 strategies that successful people use to deal with stress. In summary:

  • They Appreciate What They Have: People who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being.
  • They Avoid Asking “What If?” The more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control.
  • They Stay Positive. Give your brain a break from stress by identifying one positive thing that has happened, no matter how small.
  • They Disconnect. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors…Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline.
  • They Limit Their Caffeine Intake. Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, allowing your emotions to overrun your behavior.
  • They Sleep. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep.
  • They Squash Negative Self-Talk. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.
  • They Reframe Their Perspective. Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective.
  • They Breathe. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering.
  • They Use Their Support System. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it.

Read the whole article here.


“You are cured of MS!”

Some of you may recall how earlier this year I wrote about Trent Timmer, a young man in my congregation who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in June 2012. Through an amazing series of providences, Trent was admitted to a revolutionary treatment program that recently resulted in him being told by his doctor, “You are cured of MS!” His father, my friend Gary Timmer, wrote the following testimony to our congregation last Sunday and I wanted to share this God-glorifying witness with you.

Dear friends,

I want to tell you a truly blessed story of how the Lord made it possible that Trent Timmer had been told by Dr. Burt, from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, on October 22, 2014, “You are cured of MS.”

Psalm 107:21-22

“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.”

After many years of Trent going to multiple doctors, on June 6, 2012, Trent heard the devastating news that he had MS.

Of course the news was devastating for Trent. We as family felt like Trent’s life was in jeopardy. We really did not know how to comfort Trent because, as parents, having a child with a disease was something altogether new for us. Of course, we showed him all the love we could and directed him to put his care in God’s hands but we never could know what trial Trent was really going through.

Here are the steps God ordered for Trent’s recovery:

1. God made sure that a friend from church (Carol Prince) was listening to a certain radio station in which she heard about a certain procedure Dr. Burt was doing for cancer and MS. This seemingly little piece of information reminded me of the Bible story of the captive young girl who waited on Naaman’s wife. This girl told of a prophet that could heal her master. And with this small piece of information, great things happened. 2 Kings 5 verse 2-4.

2. Carol took note of this and told me at church.

3. I remembered and told Trent that evening.

4. Trent went online and applied to be included in this research study even though he did not meet the requirements which were that in the previous year he would have had to have been hospitalized twice, taking steroid injections. Trent had only had this procedure done once in the previous year.

5. God inclined the heart of the doctor to invite Trent to come to Chicago for an interview even though he did not qualify.  Julie, Trent and I went, but we wondered why Trent was invited when he did not meet the requirements of the study.

6. After Dr. Burt looked at a fresh MRI showing more spots on Trent’s brain, he spent less than 5 minutes with Trent and said “you don’t qualify for this study” and walked out of the room.

7. After Dr. Burt and the nurses interviewed many people to discuss who of the 48 people they would choose for this study, God inclined their hearts to decide to do a stem cell transplant on Trent. This was not part of the study but they decided to do this for him as a special case. They contacted us and told us the good news but said you must first send in $125,000 before we will schedule this. At this time I did not have the needed funds.

8. The Lord inclined the hearts of the people in our church to give at a special collection and also a group of young teenage girls had an idea to have a baked good sale to bring in a combined $35,000; a very generous gift from their hard work and hard earned money. We were told that if we could switch our insurance to a company “Aetna” there would be a possibility they would pay for the procedure. Julie (my wife) worked on this for 4 months and it seemed impossible. All this time Trent is becoming very anxious because if he would go into the next stage of MS, the Doctor would not do this procedure.

9. After hearing a sermon message, preached at church, about the Lord being in control of even the smallest details of our life, that evening Trent told me that even though he would not choose to have this disease, it had taught him to pray. This was a very great thing because now Trent was starting to look outside of human hands.

10. The next morning at 9:00 am, I got a phone call from a friend and he said that he had $90,000 for us so Trent could get this procedure done. There is absolutely no way the Lord did not incline this man’s heart to call at this time. Even a blind man with no eyes would be able to see this clearly. The man knew we needed this money but I believe God wanted Trent to come to a certain place in his life before this door would open.

11. We called the hospital and they got Trent in within 2 weeks. They told us to send in the $35,000 but wait on the $90,000 because “we think your new insurance company will accept you and will pay for the procedure.” Because of “Obama-Care” the insurance company had to take Trent even though he had pre-existing conditions. Our friend never had to write a check, and recently the $35,000 from the church was returned to the church. Friends of the family who live in Illinois offered use of their condo for the two month time frame that Trent would be in Chicago. The condo was located 2 blocks from the hospital.

12. God blessed this procedure. Every movement of the doctor’s hand and every cell in Trent’s body the Lord directed so Trent is cured today. When you see Trent, look at him as a walking testimony of what the Lord did for his body but also believe that He can do this for every soul that calls out to him. Mark 2:9 “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” He can make the impossibilities possible. The Bible is full of examples. He is the same God. When you don’t see a way out, search God’s word for a word from Him to you. He never will go back on His word. One word that God speaks to your soul is worth more than 10 thousand words from man.

Psalm 34:8

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

Psalm 68:20

“He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.”

Thanks so much for praying for Trent!

The Lord heard YOUR prayer.

Sincerely,

Trent’s father.

You can read more about Dr Burt and see videos about the treatment here. Once this treatment is approved and becomes available to many more, it will drastically cut the cost of MS treatment, which in many cases can amount to more than $100,000 a year in drug costs. 


R C Sproul And The World-Changing Power Of The Simplest Truth

holiness of godInnumerable millions of Christians throughout the world have been blessed by R. C. Sproul’s writing and speaking ministry. His impact on global Christianity, indeed on the globe itself, is immeasurable. Sure, there are other Christian speakers and writers who are better-known, but none of them have managed to combine such geographical reach with such theological depth as Sproul has. He has a unique ability to teach the loftiest truths in an accessible manner.

Rule-breaker
He does break modern pedagogical rules. For example, he uses complicated words, Latin terms, philosophical concepts, and theological vocabulary; and yet he always manages to quickly explain them using simple short sentences, illustrations, and personal anecdotes before the reader or hearer switches off. He doesn’t treat his audience like academics; but he doesn’t treat them like dummies either. I’ve never read an author quite like him, who operates at a lofty academic level without appearing to show-off, and yet who also comes alongside the simple without being condescending.

Where did it begin?
Whenever we see a remarkable ministry like this, we often ask, “What explains this?” Although we ultimately trace all ability and blessing to heaven, we also look for the earthly means that God used to shape, fuel, and propel a teacher like Sproul and his teaching.

Where did it all begin?

It began in the beginning.

It began with, ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1).

In chapter 1 of The Holiness of God, Sproul relates how this verse rocked his world, and through him rocked the world.

He was a young Christian, struggling to stay awake in a boring and irrelevant philosophy lecture, when the lecturer referred to Augustine’s doctrine of creation and quoted Genesis 1:1.

Momentous and Moving
Although he had heard this verse many times before, and believed it, the Holy Spirit now took this truth far deeper into Sproul’s mind, heart, and soul than ever before, gripping him in the very core of his being and overwhelming him with the awesome holy power of God.  If you read the description of how Sproul’s mind went into orbit as he meditated on what it meant for God to create everything out of nothing with just soundwaves, you’ll read one of the most momentous and moving passages in all of Christian literature.

It’s such a soul-stirring account of the world-changing power of the simplest truth. When Sproul, “came back down to earth” he was never the same again. These short simple words, blessed by the Spirit of God, transformed him into a zealous student of God’s Holy Word, a passionate worshipper of God’s holiness, an ardent lover of God’s holy people, a stalwart defender of God’s holy doctrine, and a daily seeker of God’s Holy Spirit.

Trust in the Word
What an encouragement to pastors, teachers, and parents everywhere to put our trust in the bare Word of God, in the simplest truths of the Bible, and look to our Holy God to grip us, our churches, our communities, our friends, and our children, in a similar life- and world-transforming way.