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God’s Pleasure in You
Tony Reinke gives us three categories of God’s delight in His people.

5 Reasons You Should Write in Your Books
Joel Miller: “Here are five reasons I believe defacing an author’s work is warranted.”

How the Scandal of Preaching Will Reach our Postmodern World
“When faced with the challenges of postmodernity, do we really think the solution is to stick some guy in front of the group and let him talk for 30 minutes?  Wouldn’t a video be more effective?  Or at least a dialogue or panel discussion? But, as scandalous as it is, there is something about preaching that is unique and special.  Let us consider what those things are.”

Why do Firstborn Kids do Better in School?
Apparently, “parents focus on disciplining their first children, and then … they give up!”

Study Theology Even If You Don’t Believe In God
“The dwindling role of theology among the liberal arts is a paradigmatic example of dispensing with the baby along with the bathwater.” Interesting argument, but I doubt the kind of courses being suggested would help anyone spiritually.

A New Perspective for Moms
All Moms (and Dads), please watch this and be encouraged. (HT: Ann Voskamp)

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

Here’s 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.

The second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

The daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books.

Old Testament

New Testament

One Vital Lesson from Doug Phillips’ Resignation

Does Satan attack our strengths or our weaknesses? Does he try to destroy us where we’re strong or where we’re weak? For most Christians, it’s usually our weaknesses that the devil targets. But for Christian leaders it’s usually their strengths, the areas they’ve built ministries upon, the moral and spiritual qualities they are best known for promoting.

Why? Why does the devil go for the citadel rather than for the little cracks in the wall?

Because the damage is so much greater, the fallout is more horrendous, the church is more discouraged, and the world is most delighted when a Christian leader falls in the one place he really planted his flag and made a stand.

No surprise
That’s why when I heard that Doug Phillips had resigned from Vision Forum Ministries, it was no surprise that it involved an “inappropriately romantic and affectionate” relationship with a woman not his wife.

Here’s a Christian man who built a much-loved ministry out of promoting Christian marriage, Christian leadership, Christian family, etc. He was a strong leader with strong views, courageously taking a public stand against the weakening of Christian marriage and parenting, producing lots of valuable resources to strengthen Christian marriages, to instruct children, to call men to bold leadership of their families, and to promote virtuous behavior through quality Christian films.

And this morning so much of what he built now lies in ruins, with many Christians he helped (and I include myself and my family in this) demoralized and depressed at the fall of a man in the one area that he went to war with our culture on.

Serious warning
What a warning to us all, especially to those of us who have leadership roles in the church, and especially in the areas we are strongest and most vocal on.

Is defending the doctrine of justification your big thing? That’s where the devil will attack.

Has the Lord given you a passion against Internet porn? Be sure the devil has targeted that area of your life.

Do you preach against materialism? Know that the devil is planting seeds of discontent, greed, and covetousness in your heart.

Do you protest against the promotion of homosexuality? That’s right, the devil’s set his sights on kindling that lust within you.

Is gospel-centeredness your “thing?” Watch the devil turn that into a new “law” to forcefully impose on others.

Do you major on humility and service? The devil has pride and tyranny lurking just round the corner.

“Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

Niggling worries
I must admit, over recent years, I did worry at times that Phillips’ leadership and some parts of his wider homeschool/full quiver/patriarchy movement were coming across as a bit arrogant and overly self-confident. Although I valued so much of what they were promoting, I’d grown increasingly uneasy at the somewhat condemning and condescending tone towards any who did not sign on 100% with that agenda. Sometimes I feared that the Gospel of grace seemed to be lost in the midst of all that we were meant to be and to be doing as Christian fathers and mothers.

That’s why I hope that, awful though these events feel to all of us this morning, perhaps this is a much-needed opportunity for humble re-evaluation for all concerned. On the one hand, I dread telling my children about this; we’ve grown to love Doug Phillips over many years of homeschooling. On the other hand, God can turn it into a blessing by reminding them (and me) that the best of men are men at their best and that the Gospel of Christ is not just something we need at conversion, but every day of our lives. I also plan to read Doug’s letter of resignation with my kids, as in many ways it is a model letter of repentance and faith for Christian leaders everywhere.

This morning we pray for Doug, his family, and the other woman and her family. But, more than ever before, I also pray and beg the Lord that I will never have to write such a letter.

UPDATE: Comments are now closed

5 Beliefs Atheists and Christians Have in Common

As it’s always a good idea to find common ground before disagreeing with someone or trying to correct them, here are five areas that both Christians and atheists agree on:

  • Natural selection via micro-evolution (not macro-evolution)
  • The universe had a finite, singular, beginning point
  • There are objective morals
  • There is objective truth
  • There are “good” (and bad) people on both sides

Read the rest of the article together with a fine Gospel conclusion here.

Check out

Evangelical Pullback/Retreat
Is it possible to be too nice?

6 Lessons of an Influence Seeker
If you’re a Christian with a message to communicate and limited opportunities to do so, Joe Carter has some encouragement for you.

7 Issues We Need To Talk About In Our Youth Groups
I’ll bet the least talked about in this list is #6.

America’s Mood Map: An Interactive Guide to the United State
West Virginia is the most neurotic state, Utah is the most agreeable and the folks of Wisconsin are the country’s most extroverted, a new study says. Take TIME’s test to find out which state most suits you.

The Christian Traveller
I enjoyed this piece by Jeremy Walker on how Christians can communicate Christian character in a way that might open doors for witness.

Are All Affairs Alike?
Tim Lane is writing a series on adultery in the church. In this one he describes six kinds of affair.

Five Christian Theologies Scarier Than Halloween

The mainstream media’s demonization of Christians continues apace. Over at The Washington Post, the Rev. (yes, the Rev.) Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite argues that Christians have nothing to fear from Halloween. Instead, she says we should be afraid, very afraid, of evangelical Christians. Yes, it appears that the most frightening bogeyman, the foulest fiend is anyone who actually believes the Bible. She goes on to list the greatest ghouls and most petrifying zombies of our day:

1. Christian dominionism: I have no idea what the Reverend lady means by this, and it would appear neither does she. In a remarkable feat of logical gymnastics, she somehow manages to jump from praying “Thy Kingdom come” to support for restarting the Confederate war. Oh, and Christian dominionism is also to blame for the recent government shutdown! If only Christians realized how powerful they were.

2. Hell and damnation: The Rev. Thistlethwaite is terrified of hell and damnation, which is strange given that she says they don’t actually exist. But as such beliefs ”help to create and sustain ‘hell on earth’ for many and “contradict God’s love and mercy,” they have to go. And who are we to argue, especially given that her source is the esteemed and infallible Rob Bell.

3. Women should submit: OK, by this point, I’m laughing out loud. I quickly check that it’s October 31 and not April 1. Apparently, submission “is institutionalized violence” and largely to blame for domestic abuse. I didn’t realize but apparently I believe in “Just Battering” because I believe Ephesians 5:21-33. “The front door of such a ‘religious’ home becomes a doorway to violence.” Hope my wife doesn’t read this.

4. God versus Evolution: Poor Rev. Thistlethwaite has apparently led a rather sheltered life. Although a former President of Chicago Theological Seminary, the blood-soaked streets of Chicago don’t even compare with the horror of, wait for it, The Creation Museum. Reader Discretion Warning: Read on only if you are over 18 and have a strong nerve. You ready? OK, here it is. She says, “One of the scariest places I have ever been was the Creation Science Museum in Kentucky.” Now please, stop rolling in the aisles. And once your sides have stopped splitting get this, young-earthers are also to blame for global warming, or “global weirding” as the clever Rev. puts it.

5. God Doesn’t Love You If You’re Gay: You were waiting for this weren’t you. Only surprise is that it’s not #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5. Another spectacular leap here for the athletic Thistlethwaite, this time sensationally cavorting from the belief that homosexuality is a sin to killing gays by forcing them to swallow bottles of pills and jump into nooses.

I feel so sorry for this poor woman. She says that these things “really scare me, not only this week but all year through.” What a tragic, terrible, and terror-filled life. Thankfully, however, our trembling philosopher-theologian has a perfect solution to this terror-filled existence.


Because, as she argues, “There’s so much that’s really terrifying in our world, Halloween shouldn’t be scary any more.”

I try to make Halloween fun for my children and now my grandchildren.  Some candy (along with healthy snacks!), fun costumes and community events are a great way to have family fun.  I think Halloween should be fun because there are too many really scary things in our world for kids and the adults who care about them.

“Healthy snacks!” Bet her house will be popular tonight.

And whatever you do, don’t, don’t, don’t even think about dressing up as an evangelical Christian. Especially if you’re in the Chicago area. I wouldn’t want you to spoil the ridiculous Reverend’s night.