Check out

Can’t Complain
“The older I get the more I understand why Jeremiah Burroughs called his classic: “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” —even Christians have a hard time to be content.”

Marriage with a chronically self-centered spouse
Brad Hambrick is one of the most practical counseling teachers I’ve come across. He gets beyond principles and concepts to down-to-earth, step-by-step help for the sinning and the suffering. And here are two short books he recently authored.

Cure for depressed teens
“Forget therapy. The way to beat teen depression is kicking the online addiction. Nina Strochlic on one man’s crusade to get kids off social networks and into meaningful relationships.”

Our Southern Zion and the Sovereign Grace of God
Tony Carter highlights the evil of churches owning slaves, but then notes: “God had greater and more glorious purposes, despite the oppressive and sinful intentions of many.” Read the post to find out how God brought good out of evil.

Do you know Tim Challies?
Someone who knows Tim Challies in real life gives us the inside story. You’ll want to read Tim’s latest post as well, Smilingly leading you to hell.

The Value of Quiet Husbands
“It’s too bad that the larger evangelical movement seems to value loud, upfront leadership as a more masculine trait. I’m concerned that the result is that strong women who want a godly husband may not recognize the power and wisdom of the quiet guy observing the group from the sidelines.”

URC Counseling Luncheon
If you’re in the Grand Rapids area, the United Reformed Churches invite you to join them at their Pastor’s Luncheon on Wednesday, Nov 7th, at Bethany URC (5401 Byron Center Ave., SW) from 12-1:15 to hear Dr. Jeff Doll speak on the topic of counseling. Jeff is the director of the Institute of Reformed Biblical Counseling and has a ton of counseling experience and wisdom.  This is a “bring your own lunch” event, but drinks and desert will be provided. Everyone is welcome especially pastors, elders, deacons, seminary students, etc.

What does an evangelistic sermon look like?

As regular readers will know, I’ve got a bit of a thing about evangelistic preaching, especially its relative rarity in the USA – at least compared to Scotland.

In that first post, I defined evangelistic preaching: “It expounds God’s Word (it is expository) with the primary aim of the salvation of lost souls (rather than primarily the instruction of God’s people). Obviously there’s a difference in content when a sermon is aimed at the unsaved more than the Christian. But there’s also a difference in the tone, in the pathos. An evangelistic sermon has a more urgent, pleading, persuading, and personal feel to it.

As many have asked me for an example, here’s a (far from perfect) attempt I made on Sunday evening. My fuller notes are here, my one-page summary notes are here, and the audio and video are here. Because I don’t use my notes in preaching, there are usually some differences between what I prepared and what I end up saying. Some of that is intentional, and some of it is plain forgetfulness!

My text was  the second part of John 10v10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” My points were:

  1. Jesus gives abundant spiritual life
  2. Jesus gives abundant intellectual life
  3. Jesus gives abundant emotional life
  4. Jesus gives abundant social life
  5. Jesus gives abundant physical life
  6. Jesus gives abundant eternal life

One caveat, the church has the unusual tradition of stopping the sermon about two thirds of the way through to sing a Psalter, after which the pastor preaches his last point. I’m told that you eventually get used to it.

Check out

Faith, Work, and Vocation – as a Single Woman
Kristin Hansen wrestles with God’s calling, God’s providence, and God-given desire.

Answering the Call to Creativity
Dr Art Lindsley: “Answering the call to creativity requires a shift in the way we view the gospel and our role in transforming culture.”

Is grace the opposite of law?
“Jesus doesn’t want to be married to someone who’s life looks like a guest on the Jerry Springer show. No way! The bar has actually been raised. But here’s the glorious difference – God works in us to fulfill his higher standard! Because of the Holy Spirit, we are able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think…[Eph. 3:20].”

Depression strikes again: Leave me alone black dog
“Depression activist” Katherine Stone shares the painful story of her descent back into stress-related depression. One swear word appears twice, but I link to it because her honesty might help others avoid similar relapses.

Yes, we do judge a book by its cover
Gospel eBooks owner, Jeremy Gardiner, explains why he rejects 75% of all books in the first 3 seconds.

The 4G’s
So enjoyed these four short video testimonies to how God’s greatness, glory, goodness, and grace turned four lives around.

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

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

And here’s an explanation of the plan.

Work less to do more

Can we learn from the computer game industry? I think so. Here is a fascinating article in pdf format from this gaming design website.

Most important points are:

  • 60 hour+ weeks deliver a brief increase in productivity but you need recovery time right after or productivity plummets.
  • When overwork becomes the norm, people think they’re more productive. They aren’t.
  • Knowledge workers should only work 35 hours/week.
  • One of the main proponents of the 40-hour work week was Kellogg’s. Not out of idealism but because it increased productivity for them.

Or as Psalm 127:2 puts it: It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.