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Don’t Read Sermons | Paul Levy
I posted Rick’s piece, so here’s Paul’s rejoinder. “There is a huge difference between verbal communication and reading and so you have outstanding preachers whose written sermons actually aren’t that great. I’ll never forget reading Whitefield’s sermons, published by the Banner, and suddenly thinking ‘Hey, my preaching isn’t that bad.”’

Twelve Helps for a Hardened Heart | Mike Leake
Mike takes us through what Richard Baxter has to say about softening a hardened heart.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule for PowerPoint | Andrew Dlugan
Spoiler: Be brief.

How to Manage 8 Tough Personas in a Group Discussion | Andrew Dlugan
How many of these have you encountered? How many of these have you been?

Wilberforce Didn’t Quit.  Neither Will We. | Aaron Armstrong
Looking forward through the lens of history.

The Shrug that Scares Me to Death | Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition
Now is not the time for complacency.

Let the Children Come to Jesus | Credo Magazine
The new issue is out!

The Verse on My Door | Paul Tautges
Paul’s testimony from his recent installation service.

Planting Churches in Japan: An Interview with Dan Iverson | Nathan W. Bingham at Ligonier
Excerpted from the new edition of Tabletalk.

The 8th Planned Parenthood Video + A Prayer at the Protest, and Counsel for Healing from an Abortion | Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition

Kindle Books

Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word by George H. Guthrie ($2.99)

Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian ($2.99)

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp ($4.99)

Building a Godly Home, Volume 1: A Holy Vision for Family Life by William Gouge ($2.99)

Building a Godly Home, Volume 3: A Holy Vision for Raising Children by William Gouge ($2.99)


More horror. The 9th Planned Parenthood Video

The Happy Student

One of the six eBooks included in A Bundle of Joy: Six Books on Christian Happiness is entitled The Happy Student. With students returning to various schools and colleges in the next few days and weeks, I thought you may want to read the foreword of the book to see if it might be suitable for you or for someone else in your family or church:

Perhaps you looked at the title of this book, The Happy Student, and thought, “Oh good, a guide to the best parties on campus.” If you did, I’m going to disappoint you. I tried that, and I can tell you that whatever else such a lifestyle produces, it doesn’t produce happy students or student happiness. Quite the reverse. It’s a different and much better kind of happiness that this book is concerned about, a happiness that is substantial, real, and lasting.

Before I started writing this book, I looked back at 30+ years of of studying, pastoring, and now professoring. I thought about my own experience of student life both at High School and then in University and Seminary. I reflected on about 20 years of pastoring students, and 12 years of teaching them in two seminaries. I also reviewed my own children’s educational experiences at homeschool, Christian school, and now community college. All the time I was asking, “What makes for happy students? What made me a happy student? What made my students happy?”

The fruit is this compact book gathered around eight topics.


Knowing that students are short on time and patience, I’ve tried to keep it as practical as possible and as short as possible. I’ve reduced  mere “theory” to a minimum and I’ve limited the word count by using bullet points and lists.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

A Bundle of Joy: Six Books on Christian Happiness by David Murray ($2.99).

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No, You Don’t Need To Work 24/7 To Succeed | Michael Hyatt
See also A Biblical Perspective on Time by C J Williams.

How To Avoid Getting Caught in Adultery | Clint Archer
The Bible gives us practical wisdom on how to avoid committing adultery. Here are six suggestions from God’s word. And in a related article Barry York writes about the place of God’s Law in the Church’s Message.

Bonhoeffer’s Seminary Vision | David Schrock
A review of a new book that makes a “compelling critique of modern theological education and a case for pastoral training that’s best described as life together.”

Can I be sure I’m saved? | R C Sproul
When R C Sproul is asked this question, he responds with three questions.

Praying Psalms of Destruction Against Planned Parenthood | Stephen Altrogge
A good use of the imprecatory Psalms.

Why Same-sex Marriage Will Never Measure Up to the Real Thing | The Federalist
Some very useful statistics in this article.

Kindle Books

To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler (FREE!)

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Foreword by David Limbaugh) by Norman Geisler $5.99.

Heaven $3.99. I haven’t read this but the description is appealing.

An team of evangelical scholars explore the doctrine of heaven from a variety of angles. Among other contributors, Ray Ortlund examines the concept of heaven in the Old Testament, Gerald Bray explores the history of theological reflection about heaven, and Ajith Fernando looks at persecuted saints’ special relationship to heaven in the New Testament.

“Archetypes of American masculine virtue: handsome, strong, modest”

I’ve been enthralled and inspired by the remarkable heroism of the three American men who, using nothing more than their hands and hearts, overwhelmed a heavily-armed Islamic terrorist on a French train, preventing a certain bloodbath. I loved the BBC’s analysis of the French’s outpouring of gratitude to them:

The French are enthralled by the three Americans who acted so swiftly to stop the Thalys gunman. In their news conference Sunday afternoon at the US embassy in Paris, they came over as archetypes of American masculine virtue: handsome, strong, modest.

Deep in the French gene, there is something that responds positively to this. It is the same spirit that is so grateful – 70 years on – for the American sacrifice in the Normandy landings: a recognition of the American capacity to join moral clarity with swift, decisive action.

Yes, believe it or not, these words were on the BBC website, words of deserved and unstinting praise for American masculinity, American moral clarity, and American courage. I hope many young men will see such virtue and aspire to it in every walk of life.

The more I hear about what these men did, the more I marvel at them, and also thank God that He is still giving such brave and selfless men to the human race.

I’ve had similar feelings as I’ve been reading through The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau (still only $1.99 on Kindle). Although it’s a painful read at times, it’s also a story of astonishing and inspirational courage in the face of seemingly impossible odds. What mercy that God gave such men at such a time for such a task. And what mercy that He gave us Spencer Stone, Alex Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler.

It’s also occasion to remember that since 9/11 thousands of American men and women have given their lives (and are still doing so) to protect and free others. The fact that their stories rarely make the front pages in no way diminishes their beautiful valor.

To all the men and women working to protect and free this nation and others, I salute you, admire you, thank you, and worship God for what He has made you and enabled you to do.

PS: I loved this brief interview with Anthony’s parents who used Christian vocabulary to explain the event and their response to it.

Check out


Reflections on a Planned Parenthood Protest | John Piper
“I come away with the renewed impression that the protection of unborn life is a cause that will not let go of this nation, and that now, more than ever, leaders are rising across the age-range in such a way that it may be the time for some remarkable changes.”

Living with a Brain Injury | Aquila Report: Miriam Gautier
“I didn’t want anyone to know that I was brain damaged. I didn’t think they’d understand and I really didn’t know how to explain it.”

Ashley Madison: Faithlessness
“Life is short, have an affair.” Or. “Life is eternal, live faithfully.” Take your pick.

10 Descriptors of Bad Teachers and Bad Leaders | Chuck Lawless
“Several times in my teaching career, I’ve asked graduate students to give me descriptions of the worst teachers they’ve had.”

The Value of Reading Expository Commentaries | Ref 21: Rick Phillips
“For years I have plugged through such volumes of exposition and books of sermons, mainly for personal devotional purposes but also for professional growth.  I can hardly express the blessing I have received in this way.”

5 Myths and Truths in Loneliness | TGC
“Having been an ordained minister for 32 years and licensed psychologist for 18, I have had the privilege of being entrusted with many personal stories of loneliness. As individuals from all walks of life have opened up with their struggles, I’ve been deeply affected from two different directions. From a psychological perspective, I’ve been struck by the depth of pain humans encounter in their experience of loneliness. And from a theological perspective, I’ve been amazed at how significant human loneliness is to the triune God.”

Kindle Books

The Messianic Hope: Is the Old Testament Really Messianic? by Michael Rydelink $2.99. A book I learned a lot from.

The Pastor’s Ministry: Biblical Priorities for Faithful Shepherds by Brian Croft $3.99. My endorsement:

What a helpful book! Ten clear pastoral priorities, each one biblically grounded and practically expounded. This book will be a huge blessing to many shepherds and even more sheep. I wish it had been around when I was starting out in ministry twenty years ago

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Happiness Isn’t the Absence of Negative Feelings | Harvard Business Review
“We’re not happy when we’re chasing happiness. We’re happiest when we’re not thinking about it, when we’re enjoying the present moment because we’re lost in a meaningful project, working toward a higher goal, or helping someone who needs us.”

Good Writing, Prioritizing, And Gospel Communication | Aaron Armstrong
“Simplicity isn’t about dumbing down, it’s about prioritizing.… What’s the core of your message? Can you communicate it with an analogy or high-concept pitch?”

27 Reasons Why Believers Should Rejoice Always | Stephen Altrogge
“Here’s a suggestion: Copy this list and put it where you will see it regularly. Or stick it in your Bible to use in your devotions occasionally. Or make your own list. I have found the more I meditate on all God’s blessings and the more I try to rejoice in Christ for these, the more joy I experience.”

9 Things We Learned in our First Year of Homeschooling | Emily Armstrong
“Well, we did it: we completed our first year of homeschooling. When we started down this road, we didn’t really know what to expect: would the kids take to it? Would they turn into potatoes? Would we face the silent (or not so silent) judging of public schooling friends, family, and strangers?”

25 Questions for a Prospective Pastor to Ask a Church | Ron Edmondson
There are some I’d strike from this list. In fact, it had never occurred to me to have such a list. But there may be a few questions on this list that could help a pastor (and a church) decide if he’s called there.

Kindle Books

What It Takes: The Way to the White House $3.99. the blurb says: “A masterpiece of political reportage that exposes the emotional reality of the modern American campaign system.” So I bought it.

Enthroned On Our Praise: An Old Testament Theology of Worship by Timothy Pierce $0.99.

Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name by Bryan Chapell $4.99


Mia Love Breaks Down In Tears Over Planned Parenthood Videos

This is a powerfully moving video. We need more tears like this. Sincere, unashamed, beautiful, and persuasive tears running down our faces as we plead with anti-baby advocates. Men too. Dobbs goes into a diversion on the Iranian deal from 4.24 to 5.52. But make sure you watch from the beginning to 4.42 and then the tear-jerking conclusion from 5.52 to 6.30.