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.

Romney VP Pick: 3 Big Questions Answered

Must confess I was surprised, happily surprised, by Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan. It provides good answers to three huge questions:

1. How much does he want it?
It’s been worrying to see Romney so defensively weak while being pummeled by Obama’s negative ads about him and his business record. There comes a time when you have to stop smiling and start snarling. Is this just going to be another half-hearted McCain-type effort? When’s he going to put on the gloves, never mind take them off again? You can’t win this thing without wanting it more than your opponent. The Ryan pick shows that Romney wants it big, and is prepared to fight big for it; not an ugly Chris Christie slugfest, but an ideological fight about the fundamental principles and future direction of the country.

2. Why does he want it?
If he had picked Portman or some other boring grey suit, we could only conclude that he was playing safe, hoping to win by “not being Obama,” and then managing American decline in a more competent way than Obama. In other words, he wanted it more for his C.V. than for the country, more for himself than for the rest of us. The Ryan pick shows that Romney’s not in this just to get the Oval Office, but to get the country back on track.

3. What will he do with it?
This was the question that niggled most conservatives deep in their hearts. Is he just going to re-arrange the deck chairs in a nicer pattern, or is he going to repair, rebuild, and re-launch the ship? Is he going to kick the can down the road again, or is he going to change the game? Does he have the guts, the determination, the courage to do what so desperately needs to be done?

The Ryan pick demonstrates that Romney is not only in it to win it in 2012, but to win for future generations too. It offers a clear choice for America’s future – An entitlement society or a responsible society. And BTW, as Ryan’s budget demonstrates, “responsible” includes caring for the weak, the elderly, and the poor, but in a way that also secures a hopeful future for our young.

Bonus: And check Denny Burk’s analysis of Paul Ryan’s record on social issues for further encouragement. Time to add Paul and his family to our prayers. They’re about to be “Palined.”

Curiosity and Christ: Should Christians support exploration of Mars?

After eight and a half months, 352 million miles, and $2.5 billion dollars, Curiosity Rover landed on Mars accompanied by widespread congratulations and jubilation.

Can we join in? Should Christians support and celebrate the Mars Exploration Program? More importantly, does God?

Worshipping God
Curiosity has certainly given us more reason to worship God. The pictures are astounding in what they reveal of our Creator’s high-definition creation. Clearly, Mars was neither an accident nor an afterthought. It was deliberately conceived, designed, produced and carefully placed in its orbit by a wise and powerful God. If you want to be awed, consider that the Valles Marineris rift system on Mars is 10 times longer, five times deeper and 20 times wider than the Grand Canyon!

Truly, the heavens declare God’s glory and the sky proclaims His handwork (Psalm 19:1). And it’s not just Mars that evokes worship, it’s also the technology and the human brains that invented it that make us worship the God who made such brains, materials, forces, and laws to enable such an accomplishment to take place. We lift our hands and faces skywards, just as the NASA scientists did, but we look beyond a red planet and a robot to see the God behind it all.

Loving our neighbor
We might also argue that supporting NASA is a way of loving our neighbors. “What, our Martian neighbors?” No, I’m referring to the numerous spin-off benefits that the space program’s research has brought to the human race: ultrasound, microprocessors, cell phones, medical treatments, Teflon (and 1500 others according to NASA). It is estimated that for every dollar spent on the space program, the U.S. economy receives about $8 of economic benefit.

Read the rest of the article at

Check out

When God withdraws his presence
Excellent, excellent interview of Ryan Kelley on spiritual desertion. Great list of resources on spiritual desertion and depression here as well.

Phillips’ Axioms
So much good stuff here! Should brighten up your Friday too.

Everyday Evangelistic Conversations
Definitely something I want to get better at.

What the most successful people do before breakfast
I was going to write something like this article when I read USA Today’s report. But now I don’t have to because David Mathis has done it so much better than I could.

Condoleezza Rice: No Higher Honor
Big thanks to Matt Perman for blogging Condeleeza Rice’s speech at the Global Leadership Summit. Some fantastic quotes also from Jim Collins at the same conference.

From Foster Care to Baby Cooperatives
And if you thought it was just about gay marriage, think again. It’s about the destruction of the whole biblical concept of the family.

The Beauty and Glory of the Father

Registration Pricing:

  • Full registration is $90 per person
  • College or seminary student registration (and spouse) is $25 per person
  • One day registration is $30 per person
  • Receive last year’s conference book for $15 with registration to this year’s event

Register online here.

Conference Speakers:

  • Joel Beeke
  • Gerald Bilkes
  • Bart Elshout
  • Ryan McGraw
  • David Murray
  • Burk Parsons
  • Paul Smalley
  • Derek Thomas
  • William VanDoodewaard

Some of our exhibitors at this year’s conference will be:

- Reformation Heritage Books
- Credo Books
- Reforming Families
- Alliance of Confessing Evan.
- Robert Morrison Project
- Ligonier Ministries
- Logos Bible Software
- Trinitarian Bible Society

Don’t miss out on what is sure to be a wonderful conference on a glorious topic, The Beauty and Glory of the Father.

For more information click here.

But what if I’m not elect?

Some opponents of Reformed theology argue that the doctrine of election produces unfeeling and fatalistic preachers: “If God has already chosen who will believe, what’s the point in preaching passionate and persuasive evangelistic sermons?”

However, although that’s (usually) an unfair caricature of Reformed truth, there’s no question that Reformed pastors sometimes have to counsel people who will say something like, “But if I’m not in the elect, there’s no point in believing in Christ. If my name’s not written in the Book of Life, then all my believing is in vain.” Some of those will be simply using election to excuse their inaction. However, others are genuinely concerned and confused.

Ralph Erskine deals with this pastoral challenge in his sermon on Isaiah 53v6: “I will give you for a covenant to the people” [Works, Vol 1, 128]. After some words on the covenant in general, Erskine shows how Christ is the covenant of the people, and then asks: “For whose benefit is He a covenant?”

Erskine is at pains to emphasize that “whosoever of all the people will subscribe to this covenant, and go into it by faith, shall have the everlasting benefit of it.” Then, as was commonly done in his day, he imagines a hearer asking, “But if I am not among the elect whose names are in that covenant, then surely my subscribing of it will be in vain.”

It’s here that Erskine provides wise and helpful guidelines for pastors to follow in counseling such anxious souls:

1. There are two copies of this covenant, two writs of this charter: the original and an extract.

2. The original is in heaven and contains all the names of all the elect that ever were, are, or shall be (Eph. 1:4). This original is locked up in the cabinet of God’s secret purpose and is marked “For God’s eyes only” (Deut. 29:29).

3. The extract is in the Bible, which God has revealed and put in your hands. “This copy of the covenant is sent open to you all to sign and subscribe, by giving faith’s assent and consent to the covenant of the people, Christ, as he is offered in the Gospel.”

4. In order to gather in the elect and to leave all others inexcusable, this faithful extract is “directed to all, and every one of you, giving you full and sufficient warrant to sign and subscribe for yourselves.” Christ is “a covenant of the people” as it is put in the verse.

5. You cannot possibly “see” your name in the original, till you have signed your consent to the copy which has been let down to earth.

6. If you sign the extract, then you may lay claim to the original, and “see” your name there (by “seeing” Erskine is referring to assurance of faith).

7. Although some who, by faith, subscribe the extract copy, are kept in the dark about their names being in the original, yet none shall “see” their names there (the original), but those who subscribe their names here (the extract).

I think Erskine does a great job here of balancing God’s sovereignty with human responsibility, and also of illustrating a difficult concept with a memorable image. I especially like the way that he leaves hearers without excuse, yet also inspires and motivates faith in Christ.

The Works of Ralph Erskine, Vol. 1, (Glasgow: Free Presbyterian Publications, 1991), 128-197. See especially pages 142-143.

If you can substitute “s” for “f” you’ll enjoy reading the sermon online here. See especially pages 189-191.