Check out

A pastor’s role in evangelism
See also Brian’s new book on Jonathan Edwards’ prayer life. All proceeds of this book’s sales will go to the medical bills of Brian’s mother-in-law who is now terminally ill.

The George Whitefield Principle
“One of Whitefield’s keys to connection was simple: he preached without notes.”

The truth about how much workaholics actually work
About 20% less than they say, apparently.

5 Books on a subject your probably scared to look at
The subject is “The Millennium” and Aaron has some good picks here.

Sexual lines no pastor should cross
Seven negatives and seven positives.

Getting through a preaching slump
This is excellent holistic advice.

10 Pictures of Faith in Jesus

Why does God give us so many pictures of believing in Jesus? Why not just some philosophical treatise on faith, or some systematic theology of faith? Why illustrations? And why so many?

First, because faith is so hard. Unbelief comes naturally to us; faith is unnatural. Faith is so hard, it has to be given us by God. And He gives it to us partly by multiplying the pictures of faith to maximize our understanding and exercising of it.

Second, because people are so different. Because of our different backgrounds, personalities, needs, etc., if God had only given us one picture of faith, it might not have suited everyone. He gave us ten (more than ten, in fact) to ensure that everyone could have a picture of faith that would suit them.

Third, because God’s desire for faith is so strong. Take these ten pictures as a vivid expression of Christ’s passionate yearning for us to believe in Him. Read these ten pictures of faith and try to still believe that He really doesn’t want you to believe in him!

1. Believing in Jesus (Acts 16:31): Instead of being pessimistic cynics who doubt and question Jesus and His Word, we become optimistic believers who put full confidence in Him and all that He says.

2. Coming to Jesus (Matt. 11:28): Instead of hiding from Jesus like outlaws trying to evade the Sherrif, we move towards Him as friends to our BFF.

3. Trusting in Jesus (Prov. 3:5): Instead of fearing Jesus as our Judge and trembling to even think of Him, we put all our confidence in Him as our Savior.

4. Looking to Jesus (Isa. 45:22): Instead of shutting our eyes to Jesus, we see Him and His beauty in and through His Word.

5. Resting in Jesus (Heb. 4:10,11): Instead of laboring and sweating to build our own little shack, we give up all our trying and doing, and walk through the open door of the palace of salvation He has already built and there relax in perfect peace.

6. Receiving Jesus (John 1:12): Instead of trying to give Jesus our best efforts, we become a receiver of His perfect work.

7. Calling upon Jesus (Rom. 10:13): Instead of ignoring or refusing to pick up His call (or perhaps even cursing on the line), we start calling upon His Name for everything.

8. Turning to Jesus ( 1 Thess. 1:9): Instead of following our own GPS over the cliff of idolatry, we turn in the opposite direction and start following His GPS.

9. Obeying Jesus (2 Thess. 1:8): Instead of fighting against Jesus and His Gospel, we run up the white flag of surrender, hand over our weapons of rebellion, and say “YES” to the Gospel.

10. Eating and drinking Jesus (John 6:44-58): Instead of feasting on the world’s sinful pleasures, we feed with deep satisfaction on Jesus by thinking about Him and communing with Him.

I dare you to still believe that He doesn’t want you to believe!

Check out

Preach the Old Testament as if Jesus was risen
If you think the Gospel started in Matthew. You only missed it by 39 books.

The Messiah in the Old Testament
“This book transformed my view of the Old Testament and just might be one of the most important books I have ever read.”

5 Challenges to Preaching from the Decalogue
A follow up to 5 Advantages to Preaching from the Decalogue.

How Good is God for the Soul
A beautiful article from Dr Eric Johnson, one of my favorite thinkers, on how to use God’s attributes in counseling.

Sorting out the physical and the spiritual
Dr. Michael Emlet gives CCEF‘s take on the physical/spiritual connection in mental/mood disorders.

How not to say the wrong thing
I don’t agree with everything in this article, but the core principle is a pretty good rule for avoiding saying something wrong in a crisis situation.

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

Jason Henry, a missionary in Mongolia, has very kindly collated and produced the second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

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

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament

May God bless you and your children as you study the Word of life.

The Seminary of Suffering

Melinda Clendineng has been married for 22 years and is the mother of 3 young adult children. She’s also a reader of this blog and sent me this moving and inspiring testimony to God’s grace in her life, which she’s given me permission to share. You can follow her blog here

I grew up thinking I was a believer because I had “prayed the prayer” when I was 4. At the age of 36, when my children were 3, 5, and 7, I came down very suddenly with a debilitating central nervous system disease that caused excruciating nerve pain for the next 11 years. At the end of year 10, the Lord intersected my life and saved me! He knew exactly what it would take to break my self-righteousness and trust in myself, and none of my suffering was wasted.

Prepared for service
One year after I was gloriously transformed by the grace of God, he chose to heal me of my pain, and I have been pain-free now for 3 years. However, in that year, God clearly showed me that He had been preparing me for service in His kingdom long before He saved me. I came to terms with the fact (I thought) that I’d be in a wheelchair and in terrible pain for the rest of my life, and I saw that I had an automatic mission platform from which to minister to others – that of deep suffering. I began at once to share Christ with everyone at the hospitals and doctor’s offices where I frequented.

I now work with people who are suffering from old age, disease, broken relationships, and other forms of severe suffering. I have an automatic “in” with those who suffer when I tell them my story and when I tell them I can relate to their incapacitation (I was in a wheelchair for a long time), their pain, their loneliness, their depression, their doubts and fears about God and the future. The Lord has given me a passion for Christ, a passion for sharing the gospel and making the gospel a part of everyday life (I’m training to be a NANC-certified biblical counselor).

Deep and abiding relationship
I could not now be ministering to the people I minister to had I not gone through what I did for all those years. I cannot imagine being any happier in Christ than I am right now, even if He had chosen to save me earlier in my life. I have a relationship with God that is deep and abiding, and has and will continue to withstand the test of time and suffering. I am absolutely passionate about sharing the good news of the gospel with anyone who will hear.  I was so deceived for so long, and the Lord saved me, so He can save anyone who will humble themselves before God!

God has given me a fearlessness to talk to people who are suffering terribly, and gives me ways of sharing the love of God with them. I do chronological Bible studies with some (recently, a hospice patient of 70 truly came to know Christ after we had done this for 9 months!), expositional Bible studies with women alzheimer’s residents in a nursing home (we went through the book of Romans over the past year, and now are going through John) and they devour hearing God’s Word like it’s the most precious thing they ever heard (which it is!) . I have seen them change, little by little, as a result of the entrance of God’s Word into their hearts once a week on a consistent basis.

Walking by faith not by feelings
The longer I am a believer (4 years now) the more I love the gospel and the less I understand it!  The love of Christ and loving Him in return is the only thing I live for now – it wakes me up in the morning and keeps me ministering all day long, every day, day in and day out.  Of course, I still battle my sinful heart, but God does not let me get by with continuing to sin for very long.  Sometimes I look at people at church who are sort of nominal in their love for God, and they seem to be able to get by with all sorts of things in this life – but I cannot.  I realize that if I’m going to work in God’s fields, I must do it His way, and that means I must be a clean vessel, a humble, repentant one.  Consequently, I sometimes go through bouts of very deep discouragement over my sin and the consequences of not knowing or walking with Christ for the first 46 years of my life.  I am slowly learning to walk by faith, not by sight, and not by my emotions.

Check out

This is bad, but God is bigger
A pastor whose home was destroyed in the Texas explosion draws some ministry lessons.

With bookselling in deep turmoil, book sales are on the rise
Good news for authors at least.

Puritan Seminary News
Here’s an update on our new building expansion project as well as a link to Dr Beeke’s interview about the Puritans with Desiring God Ministries. Our Graduation speaker on May 10 will be Dr Michael Haykin. And registration to our annual conference is now open. This year’s theme is The Glory and Beauty of Christian Living.

Babies & Bathtubs
Shona finishes up her tongue-in-cheek look at being pregnant in America aged 45. If only the wee guy would now decide to appear.

Why George Bush is smarter than you
And here’s a dignified video interview with President and Mrs Bush.

How to focus in an age of distraction
10 things to do before you click.