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Twitter’s Blissful Chaos
Insightful article on the role and significance of Twitter. “Social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter, are increasingly influential in the world of journalism and public debate, although my own anecdotal observation is that Facebook remains a place primarily for social friendship while Twitter is where the real wars are fought.”

Anxiety and the Battle for the Mind
Diane Bucknell, who blogs at Theology for Girls, with a helpful discussion of anxiety and depression. What’s medical and what’s spiritual?

18 Facts about China that will blow your mind
As one Superpower wanes another is rising in the East.

How to practice Sunday’s sermon on Monday
Reddit Andrews with a game plan for God’s Word.

8 Surprises of Biblical Counseling
David Powlison: “When our counseling is working, doing its job, those whom we counsel will normally encounter some of the following surprises.”

100 Quotes on Leadership


Westminster Skeletons (1): 70 Teaching Outlines on the Shorter Catechism

At the end of this blog post you’ll find links to a booklet containing approximately 70 teaching outlines covering the whole Westminster Shorter Catechism. There are a number of good commentaries on this historic document. However, I could find little to help me move from these commentaries to simple and memorable teaching titles and outlines, or “skeletons” as they used to be called. My attempt to remedy this is found in these pages.

1. While many catechisms are dealt with individually, I have grouped some together to increase teaching efficiency.

2. Most outlines are on the same page as the catechism(s). However, where this is not possible, I have put the catechisms on one page and the outline on the facing page for ease of use.

3. I provide a “sermon” title for each catechism, the text of the catechism, and then a teaching outline with headings in bold. The catechism words are italicized and gathered under the relevant heading. Sometimes I may underline a catechism word or phrase to emphasize the connection with the heading. Occasionally I will add a couple of words in brackets for extra clarification.

4. There is plenty of white space for note-taking.

5. I’ve put links to the document in pdf and Word format. Feel free to use the Word document to adjust to your own particular teaching situation. I’m not bothered about having my name attached to these, but if you do use my name, just be sure to clearly distinguish your contribution from my own work.

May God use this teaching guide to bring these historic documents to life; instructing the head, igniting the heart, and impacting lives for His glory and our enjoyment.

Westminster Skeletons (1): Teaching Outlines on the Shorter Catechism (pdf)

Westminster Skeletons (1): Teaching Outlines on the Shorter Catechism  (Word)

UPDATE: Here’s a link to Teaching Outlines on the Westminster Confession of Faith.


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Using Social Media for Church Growth
“The right use of common [social] media is chiefly to bridge the gap with outsiders, between unfamiliarity and willingness to participate in a local Christian body. It is to bring people into contact with the Lord’s ordained media.”

Parents urged to intervene in Teens online life
“The American Academy of Pediatrics says parents need to be up-front about their right to monitor their children’s online activities. “In early adolescence, it’s fair to say at any given moment, ‘I can look at your computer; I can look at your phone,’”

How other cultures prevent postpartum depression
Fascinating lessons from third world countries, where post-partum depression is virtually non-existent.

Let the Bible elevate your mind
Joel Miller swims against the tide as he argues for sacral language to enhance our worship: “Too often we want a plug-and-play Bible, but to recapture that sense of the holy, to experience the elevation possible in word and phrase, perhaps we need to spend time with a translation that lifts us out of ordinary life, instead of doubling as an echo chamber for it.”

Interview with Thabiti
One of my favorite voices in the Reformed world. Here Thabiti answers the questions: Why Reformed theology is becoming increasingly popular among African Americans (0:00-5:13). How Reformed theology has impacted the African American church tradition (5:14-10:50). The reasons why many African American church leaders have tended toward liberal theology (10:50-13:49).

PovertyCure: From Aid to Enterprise
This beautifully produced film looks like a great DVD series/curriculum on how to cure poverty.


Children’s Bible Reading Plan

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 12 months of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

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

And here’s an explanation of the plan.


Developing Pastoral Antennae

Apparently “banks train tellers to spot counterfeits by over-exposing them to real money so that when a fake one comes across they can spot it right away; not because they have been studying and dwelling on the false, but because they know the truth so well” (Thanks Clay!)

Hearts and lungs
When I told my wife this, she remembered that her medical school professors insisted that she listen to the chest of every single person she examined, even though there was no suspicion of a lung or heart problem. Why? Because only by listening to thousands of healthy chests would she be able to spot the diseased lungs and hearts when they came along.

Over-exposure to truth
In my early ministry I tended to spend a lot of time highlighting and condemning errors of all stripes and sizes. But while exposing evil is sometimes necessary, I now believe that that vast majority of preaching should be to ”over-expose” people to the truth. That not only builds and strengthens faith, it’s also a far better way of preparing people to detect and avoid falsehood.

Uncanny ability
The principle also applies to pastoring. Some pastors don’t regularly visit with their flock; instead, they wait until problems arise before they get involved. However, unless we are regularly listening to lots of spiritually healthy hearts and lungs, we’re going to miss unhealthy ones as well, with potentially fatal consequences. Regular pastoral visitation grows and sensitizes our pastoral antennae, and develops in us an uncanny ability to detect spiritual malaise before it is too late.


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A letter from Hobby Lobby CEO
This needs prayer.

Than God Christians are not totally depraved
I share Rick Phillips’ concerns about Tullian’s current trajectory.

Great quotes on great leadership
One of my favorites from Al Mohler’s new book: “If the leader is not leading in the digital world, his leadership is, by definition, limited to those who also ignore or neglect that world. That population is shrinking every minute. The clock is ticking.”

Deprived or Scroungers?
When Mez Mcconnell speaks on social deprivation, I listen, because he’s been there and because he’s bringing the Gospel to some of the most deprived communities in Scotland. What Mez describes here has significant parallels in the USA too. After you’ve read this piece click on over to The legacy of over-helping the poor in our schemes. Government policy cannot fix this.

At last!
Jared Wilson has collected some fantastic photos of men’s faces when they see their bride for the first time. And he has a beautiful Gospel application.

Last day to book Ligonier National Conference at Early Bird Rate