Sabbath as a Sermon for the Ambitious
It’s fascinating how many articles on Sabbath are appearing in both Christian and secular media. What’s also interesting is how many Christians are re-discovering Sabbath after years of rejecting it due to legalistic associations in their youth. Here are a couple from different perspectives. Here’sd another: Finding Sabbath Again

I Couldn’t Call God ‘Father’
Moving testimony of a Muslim covert to Christianity:

In my mind, “Father” was not a word of honor toward the God I had come to know. “Mother” would have felt like a much better word. But God wanted to reveal himself to me. And he did so with complete patience and gentleness. As I studied the Bible, I saw the grace and love of the Father. As I prayed, I felt the attention of the Father. As I worshiped, I felt the embrace of the Father. He healed my past, my present, and my future. He has transformed me. He even enabled me to truly forgive my earthly father. I used to hate the word “Father,” but today I worship God the Father with great love and passion. I worship Jesus Christ as Lord, the One who has saved my soul. And I love to walk in the Spirit, who is always with me.

In Defense (Somewhat) of Self-Help
Oh yes! It’s always good to find at least one person who agrees with us.

“In my experience, Reformed evangelicals are often so eager to engage in polemics against culture that we often create a conflict that isn’t actually there. And in this case, we tend to create a conflict between common sense and faith. Self-discipline, forward-thinking, intentionality, awareness of one’s own weaknesses and strengths—how is any of this inherently frictional with Christian confession? If it’s not, then another question: Where is the theologically orthodox and accessibly literary body of Christian self-help literature? Perhaps we balk at the phrase “self-help.” Fine. What ideas do we have for alternatives? Is there a space for Christians writing about motivation and inspiration and discipline in a way that is decidedly spiritual but not decidedly reducing life to propositional theology?”

The Psalm-Singing Church
f you want some guidance on how to introduce more Psalm-singing to your congregation, study the practical examples Nick gives at the end of this article

“It should sadden us to learn that the church of our day has neglected one of the greatest treasures God has given her to worship Him–namely, the Psalter. The living God has breathed out an entire book of truth for us to sing back to Him whenever we gather together in corporate worship. Perhaps such a neglect has occurred on account of antiquated translations, difficult accompanying tunes or simply because of a lack of familiarity with the Old Testament people, places, events and symbols. Regardless, the church is certainly no better for having passed over the numerous inspired songs in the Psalter.”

How to Love Visiting Church Members in the Hospital
Timothy Reymond explains how he came to approach hospital visitation more positively.

What made the difference?  Two simple things, really.  First was just plain old experience.  Like developing any skill, you do a few dozen hospital visits and you’ll get more comfortable at it.  But more than that, I’ve learned to do a few simple, specific things which have transformed hospital visitation from a laborious drudgery into a true means of grace, both for the person I’m visiting and for my own soul.  I share these with you in the hopes of encouraging and equipping you, my brother-pastors, to make the most of these precious ministry opportunities.

Here’s my own article on the subject: Tips For Hospital Visitation

 The Church Jesus Attends
This is an encouraging reminder:

“A friend of mine was recently speaking to a pastor of a large congregation about how things were going in ministry. This particular pastor proceeded to tell my friend that a prominent public figure was coming to speak at the church he pastored. He then went on to boast about the large turnout that they expected at this event. To this, my friend said, “Oh yeah. Jesus comes to our church every Sunday.” Though some might consider this to be a flippant, cynical or juvenile response, it is, in fact, one of the most under-acknowledged and under-appreciated truths to cherish. In every church where the word of God is faithfully proclaimed, the sacraments are rightly observed and discipline is administered, God has promised to attend His people with His presence. ”

Research on Suicide in Our Churches and 3 Reasons Churches Must Be Concerned about Mental Health
“Thankfully, in recent years church leaders have developed a better understanding that struggles with depression and battles with mental health are not solely spiritual issues. Just as godly people can struggle with physical sickness, godly people can struggle with mental sickness. Both are a result of our fallen and broken world. While we have made progress in this area, according to a recent LifeWay research project on 1,000 people, there is still work to do. You can read the whole research project here; the research points to at least three reasons pastors must be concerned about mental health:”

New Book

Some Pastors and Teachers by Sinclair B. Ferguson (RHB $31)

Kindle Books

You can get Tony Reinke’s excellent book 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You as a FREE audiobook this month!

Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ by John F. MacArthur $2.99.

Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture by Trevin Wax $2.99.

Sexual Temptation: Establishing Guardrails and Winning the Battle by Randy Alcorn $0.99.

Office Checkout 

A selection of articles, resources, books, and gadgets to improve the life of desk-dwellers everywhere.

Want to save $400 on a stand-up desk? This is a desk-topper usually selling for $600 and presently available for $200. I’ve just ordered it for my home office. I’ve already got a stand-up desk at the Seminary. Here’s a smaller and less expensive one that’s also on offer and here’s an old article I wrote on why stand-up desks are so important many years ago: Your Chair is Your Enemy: Stand-up! And some other articles, in case you’re not yet persuaded.

Get Up, Stand Up! | The New York Times
“The scientists then found strong statistical correlations between sitting and mortality. The men and women who sat for the most hours every day, according to their accelerometer data, had the highest risk for early death, especially if this sitting often continued for longer than 30 minutes at a stretch. The risk was unaffected by age, race, gender or body mass. It also was barely lowered if people exercised regularly. But interestingly, the risk of early death did drop if sitting time was frequently interrupted. People whose time spent sitting usually lasted for less than 30 minutes at a stretch were less likely to have died than those whose sitting was more prolonged, even if the total hours of sitting time were the same.”

Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise |

4 Reasons You Should Buy a Standup Desk—Right Now | Michael Hyat

How I Set Up My Desks: One for Sitting, One for Walking | Andy Naselli

And some entertaining and informative after-hours reading for a couple of bucks.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Only $2.99 for this best-seller which is a great book for the evening wind-down.