Check out (11/24)

Our Pilgrim Heritage
A brief Thanksgiving reflection from Barry York.

A Thanksgiving prayer
Bob Kellemen goes back to the Puritans for a beautiful expression of worshipful thanksgiving.

Preaching with the grain
Jared Wilson tries to put “unction” into words. Doesn’t it make you long for more of such moments?

7 Things which help me focus
Never easy to get back into the work groove after a holiday. Ron Edmondson has some helpful tips.

Teachers and cyberbaiting
You’ve heard of cyberbullying. Now you can learn about cyberbaiting.

Apple’s Four Principles of Success
Apple’s Greg Joswiak describes Apple’s four principles of success: focus, simplicity, courage, and best. And if you’re a real fanboy here’s an infographic of Apple’s history.

Looking back and counting my blessings

Before heading off for our Thanksgiving Service this morning, I thought I would just sit at my desk for 30 minutes and quickly record all the mercies I am thankful to God for.

  1. God. Yes, I’m thankful to God for God. I owe everything to Him. Thankful for my gracious Father’s daily care, for my gracious Savior’s salvation, and my gracious Spirit’s preserving and sanctifying. So thankful that God is my best friend.
  2. Family. Words fail. You all know my heart.
  3. Life. Thankful that God spared my life this year when multiple blood clots filled my lungs.
  4. Lessons: Thankful for all the life-transforming lessons that the Lord taught me through my illness. Thankful for a slower and more enjoyable mindset and lifestyle
  5. Preaching. Still the greatest passion of my heart. So thankful for continued opportunities to preach the Gospel, and especially to regularly serve in the local Free Reformed Church. That means SO much to me.
  6. Seminary. Thankful for my Faculty colleagues friends: Joel, Jerry, and Bill. Grateful for your new role, Henk. And indeed very thankful for all the staff. Thankful for a fantastic bunch of students from all over the world. Looking forward to seeing some of you this evening in our home. Thankful for the generous and prayerful support of all our Seminary friends and partners.
  7. HeadHeartHand Media. Thank you, David Faasse, for making this possible and for your encouraging and stimulating friendship. Thanks, Dirk, for putting your creative gifts at the service of Christ’s Church. Thanks to Nathan Bingham and Cameron for transforming our web presence. Thanks to all who have given generous support and encouragement in our first year.
  8. Blog. I can’t believe how much I enjoy blogging. Thanks, Michael DeWalt, for pushing and pushing me. Thankful for all I’ve learned about writing and communicating in this format. And sooooooo thankful for all who stop by to read and interact with my musings.
  9. Church. Very grateful for my faithful pastors at Heritage Reformed Church. Also for the elders, deacons, and everyone who puts so much into our church community. Been especially edified by Pastor Vanderzwaag’s series on Job.
  10. Friends. Thankful for the life-enhancing, soul-enriching friendship of Tim Challies, Steven Lee, Chris Larson, Burk Parsons, David & Ann Faasse, Gary Timmer, Gary Kwekel, Rich Ten Elshof, Nate Engelsma, Don & Liz Deater, and so many more…
  11. Bloggers. So thankful for the daily soul-blessing labors of Tim Challies, Kevin DeYoung, Bob Kellemen, Jeremy Walker, Justin Taylor, Trevin Wax, the Ligonier team, and Barry York & co. Deeply appreciate your sacrificial service.
  12. Apple: Enjoying reading through Steve Jobs bio just now and being reminded of how God in His providence prepared this gifted man to serve His World and His people. Thankful to God for His genius reflected in Jobs life & work. After years of resistance to AT&T charges, I finally succumbed to the Apple iPhone this year. However, thus far, Siri has been more entertaining than helpful.
  13. Fishing. God is so good in allowing fishing to continue after Genesis 3! It’s been great to pick up the rod again and re-discover the soul-soothing joys of river-fishing for king salmon and steelhead.
  14. Skiing. Well, what else is there to do in Michigan for the next four months?

I could go on, but I have to go to our Thanksgiving service now! Have a happy and holy day.

Check out (11/23)

Gaining a Balanced Picture on God’s Counsel
It’s worth setting aside ten minutes to read and study Stuart Scott’s important article on the vital balance between Gospel Indicatives, Gospel Imperatives, and Gospel Worship. Stuart’s also provided some excellent graphics which would be a huge help in teaching this to a Sunday School or Bible Study class.

A Theologically Informed Approach to Sexual Abuse Counseling
Bob Kellemen’s ETS paper is a 30-45 minute read, but it might save you many hours of fruitless counseling in the future.

Here’s a podcast I did with Kevin Thomson about How Sermons Work.

Four Interpretive Guidelines for Understanding Jesus’ Parables
How come people like R C Sproul can make it all so simple?

Contact lenses that display your emails!
Well, so far, they can only display one pixel, but it’s a start.

Searching for the perfect candidate
Cal Thomas’s analysis sounds similar to some pastoral search committees criteria!
“The best candidate would clearly be a composite of the eight still standing: Mitt Romney’s business sense and debating skills; Newt Gingrich’s experience in Washington and knowledge of how to tear down the enormous bureaucracy and make government function the way the founders intended; Herman Cain’s political passion and the added bonus of being a conservative African-American; Ron Paul’s fealty to the Constitution and his call for America to rethink its military role in the world; Jon Huntsman’s knowledge of China, which will remain important for decades; Rick Santorum’s and Michele Bachmann’s strong moral voices (along with her singular feminine voice) in an age of societal flux; and Rick Perry’s Southwestern values and evangelical faith.”

Five ways to make more time to read
Maybe once I’ve had time to read this, I’ll be able to read Lit! Tony Reinke’s new book on reading.

Or maybe it’s just a new desk I need…

Footprints everywhere

Did you know?

  • This year’s drought cost Texas $5.2 billion in lost agricultural production
  • The future of the Texas economy depends on water availability
  • Global demand for clean water will outstrip supply by an average of 40% by 2030
  • Just as oil played a major role in 20th century wars, many believe many 21st century conflicts will be over water
  • The most water-aware companies will aso be the most resilient and stable
  • Companies like Coca-Cola and Nestle now publish “water footprints” per product line
  • You have a water footprint

Yes, you do. In fact, you can calculate the size of your water footprint here (simpler version here). It’s pretty big and deep!

For example, if you drank apple juice for breakfast, that one glass cost 190 litres of water. It you had toast, you can add another 40 liters. Put cheese on it and you’re sinking in another 50 liters. And if your head is still above the water, don’t reach for the coffee because that will drown you in a further 140 liters of water (check out the stats here.)

So you can now add your water footprint to your carbon footprint and your ecological footprint.

Footprints everywhere. Didn’t know I had so many legs.

Anyone anywhere worried about their sin footprint? Is there a website for that? Is there an online calculator for that?

Check out (11/22)

Bible Study
Sentence diagrams on Logos 4
Morris Proctor breaks down the tricky yet helpful science of sentence diagramming.

How my wife helped me man-up and lead family devotions
Title says it all really.

The Enetrepreneur’s guide to good night’s sleep
Can’t think why these six tips are limited to entrepreneurs. The more I have pastored and counseled people, the more convinced I’ve become about the non-negotiable necessity of a good night’s sleep for preventing and curing spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical problems.

Preaching texts you do not understand 
On Sunday Carl Truman  preached on 1 Timothy 2:15, the verse concerning salvation through childbirth. Here he offers advice on how to avoid being skewered by a random 6-year-old after the service. And here’s a Christian woman’s difficult experience of that difficult text.

Series on Job
My pastor is preaching a marvelous series on Job. Have a listen to last Sunday morning’s sermon to whet your appetite and then go back to the beginning and enjoy the whole series.

Chris Matthews gets a bitter taste of his own medicine. Sweet!