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The Psalms of David – Sung a cappella
A vast range of different Psalters and tune selections for your listening (and singing) pleasure.

Christians who tithe have healthier finances than those who don’t
Latest findings from the State of the Plate survey.

Facebook fatigue stirs investor concern
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Pondering a digital future
I was fascinated by Ed Stetzer’s comment about the Gospel Project’s success:  ”While adoption of the print products far exceeded LifeWay’s expectations, the company ‘vastly overestimated usage’ of the correlated digital tools (even though, by Stetzer’s estimate, they are “amazing”).” Looks like the digital future has a large print component.

Defining Corporate Worship
I like this definition, but I would have preferred some mention of joy. What do you think?

Baker Book House Signing
I’ll be giving an address on Christians get depressed too, doing a Q&A, and signing books at Baker Book House on Thursday 23rd May at 7.30pm.

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

Apologies for missing last week – a little baby decided to appear last Saturday morning.

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Jason Henry, a missionary in Mongolia, has very kindly collated and produced the second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament

May God bless you and your children as you study the Word of life.

The Reading Habits of Today’s Pastors

The Barna Group has published some fascinating research into the book buying habits of pastors. Highlights include:

  • There are about 300,000 Protestant pastors in the USA.
  • These pastors buy an average of 3.8 books per month per person.
  • 92% of them buy at least one book per month (compared with 29% of general population).
  • They buy between 8-13 million books a year.
  • Younger pastors buy more books than older pastors.
  • Most books are bought with a particular ministry topic in mind.
  • The other main factors in a purchase decision are author or recommendation.
  • Spirituality, theology, and leadership are the most popular topics.
  • 50% of pastors are reading biographies and 33% are consuming business books.
  • Christian retail stores and online are the two primary channels of purchase.
  • Although 50% of pastors use an e-reader, most pastors still prefer a hard copy.
  • More than 90% of pastors make book recommendations to their congregations.

You can read the whole report here.

HT: Joel Miller

Check out

How social media made me a better person
Somebody else wrote something along similar lines recently, but I can’t remember his name.

Radical Christianity: A Call to Legalism or a Call to Live?
Ed Stetzer rounds up the recent debate and sums up: “In other words, let’s be missional and radical. Let’s be careful about making it legalistic. But let’s not be afraid to tell a consumer-driven church that has commodified the gospel that the Christian life is rooted in much more than personal comfort.”

How far is too far?
Tim Challies tackles another easy subject, and comes up with some challenging answers, or should I say, questions.

Preparing for the Future in the Age of Facebook
I’m not convinced Facebook has a long-term future, but Alex Chediak’s points can apply to most Social Media, which shall always be with us.

Listening well as a person of privilege
You won’t agree with everything here, but what a great series on how privileged majorities should listen to oppressed minorities.

Finding a real God in a chasm of uncertainty
In a world distorted and shattered by schizophrenia, one man clings to mercy and grace.

Here’s a video of Adrian Warnock and Amy Simpson discussing mental illness and the church.

Here’s Bob Kellemen with A Biblical Counseling Perspective on Mental Illness.

Lessons learned in the dark valley of depression. Great summary of a wonderful testimony.

And while we’re at it, here’s a quite stunning infographic on schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia: The Broken Mind

How to Preach a Viral Sermon

Most viral videos share at least two things in common: “discussability” and “relatability.” So says Video CEO Analyst Brian Shin in Here’s why these 6 videos went viral.

“Discussable” means that it contains something shocking or surprising, which compels viewers to share it with others.

“Relatable” means that it has a deeply human element which we connect with emotionally and want to share with others.

As you read on, “simplicity” also emerges as an important factor; viral videos have a clear structure that’s easy to follow and remember.

That sounds like some helpful criteria for a sermon doesn’t it: ”Discussable,” “relatable,” and “simple.”

Do our sermons prompt discussion? There’s nothing more surprising or shocking than grace! So why do most sermons send people to sleep? Perhaps we’re not preaching grace. Or maybe our sermons answer too many questions, producing passive listeners. Why not pose more questions, leave them unanswered, and challenge hearers to seek their own answers from the Word and from one another?

Do they connect with the heart? Many sermons are not “earthed.” They float above hearers’ intellectual level, or they just don’t sound like “real life.” They may be full of theology, logic, and argumentation, but the emotions remain refrigerated.

Are they as simple in content and structure as possible? I’ve written on this before in A plea for profound simplicity. The most important book I’ve ever read for sermon preparation was William Zinser’s On Writing Well, especially pages 7-23. In fact if I had the choice of choosing two pages from any book, that I wanted every preacher to read it would be pages 10-11 in Zinser’s book where he takes the knife to a manuscript!

“Discussable,” “relatable,” and “simple.”

And who knows, with God’s blessing, maybe “viral” too!

Check out

Idle of the Heart
Joe Thorn challenges jobless and aimless young men.

Admiration – and a word of caution – for Angelina Jolie
Never thought I’d link to a post about Angelina Jolie, but her decision to have a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer has raised many challenging questions.

A $7,000 Online Masters Degree
The Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a $7,000 online master’s degree in computer science to 10,000 new students over the next three years without hiring much more than a handful of new instructors. And here’s a book review of Is College Worth it?

How fishing helps veterans heal – and land jobs
More reasons to spend some time on the water.

In praise of a former homeschooling Mom
Marty Duren pens a beautiful eulogy to his homeschooling wife which many men, including myself, can put a hearty Amen to.

American Church Planters in Scotland?
Mez answers the question: “Can Americans really get past their culture, move to the poor areas of Scotland and plant churches there?”