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How has faith shaped our view of mental illness?
A treasure trove of contributions at Adrian Warnock’s blog.

Church History in an Hour
Mike Reeves squeezes 2000 years into one hour.

Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
What an amazing online resource. Every JBMW journal online, indexed, clickable. And on the CBMW blog you can read Modesty and Legalism.

Financial Advice Graduates Need to Hear
R.C. Sproul Jr. with some life-changing advice. Wish I’d read this 25 years ago.

7 in 10 Christians killed last year came from one country
You’ll be surprised which one.

Tragic Worship
Carl Truman: “The problem with much Christian worship in the contemporary world, Catholic and Protestant alike, is not that it is too entertaining but that it is not entertaining enough.”

New Baby Pics

I don’t know if anyone else is interested in this, but as Shona is coming home from hospital today and I’ve got about 2 minutes to get the house tidied, I thought I’d throw up some baby pics instead of writing a blog post. World, welcome Scot Lewis Murray!

And it’s all too much for this old man.

“Where’s Mom?” you’re asking. “Did she not have something to do with this?”

She’s not quite ready for public internet photos in her pyjamas! It’s an old people thing. Maybe tomorrow.

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Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won’t Hire You
“If you’re at all interested in media, technology or related fields, please learn a little computer programming.”

Laptop U
Extensive essay on the impact of MOOCs and digital technology on the classroom.

What does the highest paid public employee in every state have in common?
Click on the link to find out. What does this say about us?

The purpose-driven wife (and other sermon titles)
Peter Grainger challenges us to become more creative in our sermon titles. Along similar lines here’s Michael Hyatt on Four Strategies for Creating Titles that Jump off the Page.

There is Hope!
Greg Lucas guides us through one of the most harrowing disability stories I’ve read and into the hope of the Gospel.

My problem with Life of Pi
Joel Miller: “Like the version of events at sea, Pi constructs his own version of God. It’s a fantastical and nonsensical version, but it’s his. The problem is that it no more honors the Jesus Pi claims to love than his fantasy honors the memory of his mother who was murdered and thrown to sharks.”

What do you do when the Word leaves you cold?

“What do you do when the preaching of the Word no longer impacts you as it once did?”

That’s the question I was asked by an earnest young man recently who appears to be sincerely seeking the Lord.

Many of us can identify with the question as we’ve been there ourselves. We remember the impact sermons made on us in the past – deep impressions, piercing convictions, powerful drawings – but now we feel like cold lifeless statues as we listen to the same preachers preaching similar sermons. What’s gone wrong? This will vary for different people, but let me suggest a few possibilities.

1. Tiredness
The main cause for unprofitable hearing of the Word is fatigue, even exhaustion. We work too long and too hard throughout the week. We sit down and sit still for the first time on Sunday morning, and surprise, surprise, our eyelids begin to feel like lead, and our bodies start sliding down the pew. An extra hour of sleep each night can revive our souls.

2. Distraction
Saturday afternoon and evening are a good time for tying up the loose ends of the week and preparing for Monday. If we don’t do it on Saturday, we’ll be doing it on Sunday in church.

3. Indiscipline
If we are not reading our Bible and praying in a regular disciplined way throughout the week, we can’t really expect to be spiritually tuned in and sensitive on Sunday.

4. Sin
As unrepented sin forms a barrier between us and God, we need to make sure that there’s nothing major in our life that is blocking God’s blessing.

5. The Preacher
it may be that the preacher is preaching a series of sermons on a book or subject that doesn’t fit your spiritual needs at the moment. Although this tests our patience, taking a more long-term view can mitigate our frustration. No, you don’t need these truths/this series so much right now, but you can store it up in your mind and heart for when you will need it in the future. Maybe we can also mortify our selfishness by praying, “Lord I’m not getting anything from these sermons, but I’m thankful others are and I pray for your blessing upon them.”

6. Sovereignty
God may be testing our faith by allowing us to experience a period of coldness under the Word. Will we walk by faith even when there are no feelings to help us along?  Will we listen, trust, and obey, even when we’re not being inspired and moved by the preaching?

7. Humbling
God can also use such periods to humble our hearts and show us how much hardness remains within us. “I’m listening to the most beautiful truths and it leaves me stone cold. The preacher is pouring his whole heart into this and I can’t even be sure I have a heart.” Such painful experiences reveal how much sanctifying work remains to be done in our hearts.

8. Encouragement
The fact that we are upset about our spiritual coldness is a reassuring sign. If we are unmoved about being unmoved, unconcerned about our lack of concern, that would indeed be worrying. However, the very fact that we feel this, and grieve over this, should encourage us that God has worked in out hearts. We can remember sitting under the Word without an ounce of spiritual life and it didn’t bother us in the least.  That it bothers us now, and makes us pray for a changed heart, reveals a heart that has been sovereignly changed.

What do you do when the Word leaves you cold?

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Healthy Rhythms
My friend, Kevin Galloway, is a church planting pastor in Michigan City and Portage, Indiana. He’s just started a new blog which I believe you’ll find worth subscribing to or bookmarking. In one of his first articles he addresses a question asked by pastors everywhere: “How do I establish a daily rhythm that will better my health and work performance, while giving more time for my family?”

Ordinary: Christian Living for the Rest of Us
A Challies special. He says what the rest of us are trying to think.

8 Components of a Healthy Lifestyle
8 Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes that provide significant positive changes for a person’s mental and physical health.

Husbands: A Warning against Bitterness
“Here’s the reality: Most men treat their wives’ harshly. If men did not struggle with harshness God would not waste his time commanding against it. Unless you have been sanctified beyond the norm you regularly sin against your wife by bitterness.”

Track Athletes Notice They Look Alike, Find Out They Are Sisters
A good news story for your Monday morning.

Support Crossway
A flood swept through Crossway’s headquarters on April 18. About two feet of water poured into 32 first-floor offices due causing extensive damage. Repairs will take 5-6 months and a large chunk of the costs will not be covered by insurance. You can support Crossway’s rebuilding efforts here.

I wish I’d died in your place

2 Samuel 18 is one of the most tragic chapters of the Bible as it graphically narrates the gruesome death of King David’s rebellious son, Absalom.

However, as with every Old Testament chapter, we must ask, “What does this reveal about God?” and even more specifically, “What does this reveal about the coming Savior?” These questions have additional focus in this case as the New Testament describes David as “the man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). So what does David reveal about God’s own heart in this chapter?

1. Don’t let him die
Despite all the agonizing pain that Absalom had caused David, he begged his generals, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” He did not want him to die or even to suffer rough treatment at the hands of his soldiers. Similar to the God he mirrored, David had no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather wished that Absalom would turn from his ways and live (Ezek. 18:23).

2. He deserved to die
The previous chapters make clear that Absalom deserved to die for his wicked and ungrateful rebellion against David, despite all the “second chances” David gave him. Even the manner of his death, being hung by his haughty head and stabbed through his hard heart remind us that he merited the ultimate penalty of execution.

3. I wish he hadn’t died
David’s public grief upon hearing about Absalom’s death was so great that the army had to sneak quietly back into the city in shame rather than openly and in triumph.

“My son, my son, my son, my son, my son!” Yes, five times in one verse! This was not just understandable natural grief. This was spiritual grief as David wept over the lost spiritual condition in which Absalom entered eternity and went to the judgment. David opens a window into the heart of God who said: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11).

4. I wish I’d died in his place
But David goes even further: “If only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” This remarkable substitutionary instinct, or desire, is also found in Moses (Ex. 32:32) and the Apostle Paul (Rom 9:3). However, no ordinary human being can fulfill or accomplish this desire.

But God can.

And God did.

He did not just wring his hands and say, “I wish I could die in your place,” He comes to sinners in the Gospel and says, “I did die in your place.”

Moses, David, and Paul pull back the curtain a little and let us catch a glimpse of the substitutionary instinct that is embedded in the heart of God. But Jesus rips the curtain from top to bottom and reveals the blazing love of the God who dies for His rebellious people; the just for the unjust, the holy for the unholy, the good for the evil, the sinless for the sinful.

There’s hope for Absaloms everywhere.