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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.


Check out

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!


How to memorize: 10 fast facts

A friend recently asked for some tips on memorizing. So here’s a short video with ten tips from the pre-Dirk Naves archive! Watch on Vimeo here.

  1. Start early
  2. Highlight
  3. Graphics
  4. Speak out loud
  5. Emphasize
  6. Set time limit
  7. Let cement set
  8. Review and review
  9. Test
  10. Practice

And here’s another post with ten study techniques that also touched on memorizing.


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Goodbye Sweet Friend
A prayer-provoking post from Doug Philips as he reflects on the life of Denise Sproul (wife of R C Sproul Jr.) who went to be with the Lord yesterday.

Old Testament
Isaiah an OT Paul and Paul an OT Isaiah
Nick Batzig, always a good source for OT nuggets, highlights similarities between two spiritual giants.

Books
Jesus + Nothing + Everything
PCA Pastor Mark Jones provides some historical context for his excellent scholarly analysis of Tullian Tchividjian’s’s book.

Kindle Deals
Some overlap here, but for $50 you could pick up 20-25 great books. Selections from Aaron Hughes, Nathan Bingham, and Tim Challies. One of the great things about the Kindle for Mac App is the way you can copy and paste into a Word document, a great help when you’re trying to preserve the fruits of your study for future reference. More recent Kindle books will also give you automatic references for footnotes, etc.

Leadership
Elders: Lead!
Challenging practical theology.

5 Principles for Evangelical Leadership
Chris Larson, President of Ligonier Ministries, reflects on John Macarthur’s biography.


Children’s BIble Reading Plan (59)

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.

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

The first 6 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in pdf.

And here’s an explanation of the plan.