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Finances
Thinking wrongly about money
Probably a week too late for some.

New Calvinism
Conclusions and counsels
Jeremy Walker’s last post on the subject (with links to previous four parts).

Worship
There’s a Psalm for that
James Faris proposes the Psalter as a Smartphone for the Soul.

Leadership
Ron Edmondson and Michael Hyatt share insights from their mentoring groups.

Technology
Gube curates kid-safe Youtube videos for iOS
Probably not a perfect solution, but definitely a much-needed step in the right direction.


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Controversy
How to disagree the right way
Stephen Altrogge supplies three questions to help us say “You’re wrong” in the right way.

Polemic Theology
And Roger Nicole adds three more. By the time you’ve asked all six questions, the disagreement may well have passed.

Introverts
True Confession: Life as an introvert
It’s weird but I can 100% identify with everything in Ron Edmondson’s confession!

For shy worshippers, church can be overwhelming
The Huffington Post interviews Adam McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church. I’ve given this book to two people recently, and both found it liberating.

Preaching
Block diagramming
Found this excellent step-by-step guide to block diagramming the other day.

Practical Tips for Expository Preachers
Five tips Alistair Begg learned from an older pastor when he was a student.


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Preaching 
Couple of great quotes on sermon preparation here and this one from John Murray (scroll to the end).

10 steps to better preaching
Esp numbers 4, 5, and 9.

Preaching Leviticus
I haven’t listened to any of these sermons yet (though I plan to), but it’s worth clicking even to read Tony Reinke’s interview with the preacher, Jared Mellinger.

Technology
Steve Jobs: 20 life lessons
Some sad, some bad, some inspirational. 15 best Steve Jobs quotes at end of article.

21 must-have gadgets of a road-warrior 

iPen
Why did I not need this before I saw it?


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Bible Reading
Take the 3650 Challenge with me
I’m tempted to join Tim on this. You?

Bible Reading Plans
Alternatively, here’s selection of other plans from Justin Taylor.

Scottish Conference
“The Call” Leadership Conference
Maybe some of my old friends in Scotland might be interested in this conference. I know Brian Croft and Jeremy Walker and you’re sure to benefit from their ministries (and get ten free books!)

New Calvinism
Jeremy Walker adds a UK perspective to those of Kevin DeYoung and Ray Ortlund.

Counseling
Stopping seasonal anxieties
Phil Monroe offers some strategies and a better goal.

My new career as a stent man
This would be serious if it wasn’t so funny. Why under “Counseling?” Well, you know what they say about a good laugh being a good medicine.

Politics
Franklin Graham: Romney’s mormonism doesn’t bother me

Debt Limit
Funny but worrying (HT: Mike Wittmer)


Top 5 Books (2011)

1. Note to Self
I’ve never been impacted so much by such a small book. Came at just the right time in my life. It’s a primer on “preaching to yourself,” which in Joe Thorn’s hands is a kind of meditation with muscles. Short, punchy, meaty, heart-searching, and encouraging chapters that make an ideal warm-up for daily Bible reading – at least that’s how I used it. I’ve also found it a great book for mentoring others. With this book, Joe Thorn became my favorite modern Puritan! Hope that doesn’t harm your ministry, Joe!

2. A Life of Gospel Peace
I can pay Philip Simpson no higher compliment than that his beautiful biography of Jeremiah Burroughs made me want to read all of Burrough’s works, which I’ve just started doing with much spiritual profit. This is a meticulously-researched book, yet one that manages to bring Burroughs and his period alive with so much that is relevant and helpful for our own times too.

3. The Next Story
I was expecting much from Tim Challies’ book on Technology and he didn’t disappoint. Maybe the biggest compliment I can pay Tim is that I’ve not read a book so slowly in a long time. Definitely one for your teenager’s stocking, and maybe try to read it first yourself! Further reflections here.

4. Equipping Counselors for Your Church
Bob Kellemen shifted my thinking with this visionary yet practical book. I probably don’t reach up to Bob’s optimism about this task (who could!), but he certainly made me hope and work towards a much greater role for every-member counseling ministry in the local church. More detailed thoughts here and here.

5. John Macarthur: Servant of the Word and Flock
Iain Murray’s biography is not the definitive bio of John Macarthur (that will be a 2 volume affari, at least), but it’s the best we have thus far and a huge encouragement to faithful pastors everywhere. As a relatively recent recent arrival in the USA (how can four and a half years pass so quickly?), it also filled me in on the historical and cultural context of the present trends (good and bad) in the American church.

Five honorable mentions: The Messianic Hope, The Masculine Mandate, Grace for the afflicted, Dealing with DepressionGod’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment.

Top of my reading list for the new year: Lit! by Tony Reinke, and Reclaiming the Old Testament for Christian Preaching.

And if you’re interested, here’s the 20 most influential books in my life.


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Technology
Your podcast is not your pastor
Trevin Wax warns against being pastored by podcasts

Facebook reaches out to those considering suicide
Well it’s been blamed for some, so this is an appropriate step.

Counseling
How we do biblical counseling training in our congregation
Deepak Reju describes how he trains Capitol Hill Baptist Church in biblical counseling.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimers
Paul Tautges is doing some good work on the complex interaction of body, mind, and soul in many counseling problems. Here he deals with Alzheimers.

Culture
The anxious generation
“Compared with today’s retirees, Americans who are over 50 but have not yet retired are substantially more stressed about their current financial circumstances; more skeptical of relying on the stock market to provide their income after they stop working; more concerned that the Great Recession and its aftermath will lastingly diminish their prospects; and much more worried that they will not enjoy as secure a retirement as their parents did. On average, near-retirees expect they will need to keep working as many as six years longer than today’s retirees did when they received the gold watch.”

Western governments are dire, but we mustn’t despise government
Despite this being written from a left-of-centre perspective, Jeffrey Sachs offers some insightful analysis and makes some good Romans 13 points without realizing it!