Check out

You won’t finish this article: Why people online don’t read to the end
I’m sure this doesn’t apply to any of my readers.

Lawless Law
Painfully logical article from R.C. Sproul Jr.:”Jason Collins is the first male professional athlete to admit he mistreats men. For that he has received magazine covers, applause from the entire Good Morning American television crew, congratulatory phone calls from the first lady, and a thumbs up from her husband. Where, I am left wondering, was all this for the first male professional athlete to admit he mistreats dogs?”

Perhaps the Best Sports Video I’ve Ever Seen
I know many pastors like this too.

Shepherding a sick wife
Kyle Worley’s wife has Cystic Fybrosis. Beautiful picture of Christ and His church.

The Ultimate Kinsman Redeemer
Stephanie Van Eyk: “It is as if the compliers of the Hebrew Bible placed the book of Ruth directly after Proverbs to describe the marriage between the wise man and the virtuous woman.”

Why is it so hard to do business in America?
With two budding entrepreneurs in my family, I’ve been stunned at the difficulties of setting up the simplest business in the USA.


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


John Piper on Biblical Counseling

I continue my interaction with the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s new book, Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling by looking at John Piper’s contribution in Chapter 1: The Glory of God – The Goal of Biblical Counseling.

Piper’s Thesis: Only by uniting teaching with feeling, doctrine with delight, will the church attract people to her for counseling.

Piper’s Concern: The church, especially the Reformed church, has a reputation for teaching truth in a cold, boring, and detached way. This inevitably deters people from coming for the sympathetic and loving guidance that only the Bible can provide.

Piper’s Challenge: Preachers and counselors ought to be “joyful leaders who commune with the truths they contend for.” Know God truly and feel Him duly to give Him all His glory.

Piper’s Definition: Biblical counseling is God-centered, Bible-saturated, emotionally-in-touch use of language to help people become God-besotted, Christ-exalting, joyfully self-forgetting lovers of people.

Comment

I love Piper’s fundamental point, that preachers and counselors must work harder to combine knowledge with feeling in all their communications. I don’t doubt that many needy people turn away from the church and to the world because they want more than cold hard data, they want more than a logical and systematic presentation of the facts.

They want to talk to someone who has been transformed by what they believe, who is excited about what they say, who exudes hope and optimism, who enjoys what they do, who loves and loves being loved. But they also want someone with something to say. Delight plus doctrine. Truth plus feeling. Reflection plus affection.

Complex
This was a bit of a “heavy” chapter with which to start the book. I needed to read it three or four times before I really got what Piper was driving at. His fundamental point is quite simple (and profoundly helpful), but the style and presentation is quite complex. For example, consider Piper’s definition of love:

Love is doing whatever you have to do at whatever cost to yourself in order to help another person stop finding pleasure in being made much of and help them get to the mature, God-exalting, Christ-besotted, joyfully self-sacrificing, self-forgetting delight in making much of God for the sake of others.

Wow! I’m not sure if I’ve ever loved.

Contrast?
I’m also not sure about the contrast that Piper draws here. He insists that there are “two profoundly different root sources of satisfaction. One is being made much of; the other is seeing and savoring God and making much of God.” And he asks: “Do you feel more loved when God makes much of you or do you feel more loved when God, at the cost of His Son, enables you to enjoy making much of Him forever?”

I don’t see these as opposites. I see them as two truths that must be held together. Can we not see both as true? Piper denies this. He says, “God is not into making much of us.”

I disagree.

Though there is nothing in the believer to make much of, God does make much of us, even when we do not make much, if anything, of Him.

If I can’t feel loved until “God, at the cost of His Son, enables me to enjoy making much of Him” then there are many times in my life when I will not and cannot feel God’s love.

The wonder of the Gospel is that God makes much of us even when we do not make much of Him. In fact, maybe I feel most loved when God makes much of me despite me not making much of Him.

He loved me, and gave himself for me.


Check out

What a daughter can teach you
Brief but profound. Joel Miller’s daughter shares her philosophy of life.

The Most Highlighted Verse in the Bible
The Bible is the Kindle’s most highlighted book and that the most highlighted verse of all is Philippians 4.6.

Spiritual Abuse: What it is and why it hurts
Phil Monroe: “Like child abuse, spiritual abuse comes in many forms. It can take the form of neglect or intentional harm of another. It can take the form of naïve manipulation or predatory “feeding on the sheep.” Consider some of these examples:”

Dating to display Jesus
And here’s its worrying opposite.

2.55 pm – When Productivity Dies
2.55 pm is the most unproductive moment of the day. Here’s what to do about it.

6 Things we Need to Learn from Youth about Preaching
Six suggestions youth would offer to their pastors.


What Every 20-Something Needs to Know

Every 20-something deserves to know what psychologists, sociologists, neurologists and fertility specialists already know: Claiming your twenties is one of the simplest yet most transformative things you can do for work, for love, for your happiness, maybe even for the world.

Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist who works mainly with twenty-somethings. In this TED talk, she explains why our culture’s trivialization of the twenties is so damaging and then gives three pieces of advice to help twenty-somethings salvage their lives.

The Importance of the 20′s

  • There are 50 million 20-somethings in the USA (15% of the population)
  • 80% of life’s most defining moments take place before age 35.
  • 8 out of 10 of the experiences that make up your life will have happened by age 35.
  • First 10 years of a career has an exponential impact on how much money you areou are going to earn.
  • More than 50% of Americans are married,  or are living with, or are dating their future partner by the age of 30.
  • The brain cuts of it’s second and last growth spurt in the 20’s as it re-wires itself for adulthood.
  • Personality changes more in 20’s than any other time in life
  • Female fertility peaks at age 28.
  • 20’s are the critical period of adult development – not developmental downtime but a developmental sweet spot.

The Problem of the 20′s

Our culture has trivialized the defining decade of adulthood by speaking of “extended adolescence,” “the changing timetable of childhood,” “kidults,” etc.

Whereas Leonard Bernstein said “to accomplish great things you need a plan and not quite enough time” the 20′s have become about killing time and experimenting in relationships and careers. Many reach the end of their 20’s and have nothing to show for it.

Pushing stuff to 30’s puts a lot of pressure to get career started, marry whoever is available, and have kids, all in a much quicker period of time, with much more stress as well.

The Solution for the 20′s

Meg Kay says there are three things every 20-something deserves to hear:

1. Forget about having an identity crisis and get some identity capital. Do something that adds value to who who you are. Invest in who you might want to be next. Invest in a job or in a relationship. Identity capital begets identity capital.

2. The urban tribe is over-rated. Best friends are great for giving rides to airport but 20-somethings who huddle together with like minded peers limit what they know, who they know, how they think, how they speak , and where they work. The new opportunity or person to date usually comes from outside the inner circle, from weak ties, from friends of friends of friends.

3. You can pick your family. The time to start picking your family is now. Best time to work on marriage is before you have one. Be as intentional about family as about work.

The Gospel for the 20′s

Great advice from Meg, but let me add to the top of the list: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth” (Eccl. 12:1). The 20′s are the time not just to find your identity, find your job, and find your future family. They are also the time to find the Lord. In fact, the teens are an even better age for that.

And if you’ve blown your 20′s, and even your 30′s, yes even every decade up to your 90′s, you can still get a clean slate, full and free forgiveness through Jesus Christ, as you prepare for eternity (1 John 1:9).


Check out

Spurgeon as a guest preacher
Dan Phillips had Charles Spurgeon in his pulpit last Sunday.

Professors are about to get an online education
Good news for students. Bad news for professors: “For the same $7,000 a year that New York City spends per student on school buses, you can now get a master’s from one of the most well-respected programs in the country. ” Staying with education, Alex Chediak answers the question: What’s the best predictor of student success?

A Faith Worth Teaching
A Presbyterian minister falls in love with the Heidelberg Catechism.

The Four Pillars of Mental Health and Wellbeing
This is the kind of thing that should be taught in our schools.

The Three Worst Qualities about the Gospel-Centered Movement
Dave Moser: “There are three major failings the gospel-centered movement is prone to. From time to time I see them in myself and I want to warn you against them.”

Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home
I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while. You can follow Gloria’s excellent blog here.