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Best Book Deals

Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley ($0.99)

I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference by Thom Rainer ($2.99)

The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word by R C Sproul (FREE)

Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Ian and Larissa Murphy ($2.99)

Learning Evangelism from Jesus by Jerram Barrs ($0.99)

How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator by Joe Carter ($0.99)

A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table by Tim Chester ($0.99)

Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons (9Marks) by Thabiti Anyabwile ($0.99)

The Power of Christ’s Resurrection by Richard Sibbes ($0.99)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain ($2.99)

The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter by Ian O’Connor ($2.99)

Best Blogs
Most Pastors Don’t Talk About Mental Illness

The Secret to a Happy Life | R C Sproul

Husbands, Hold Your Wife’s Hand | R C Sproul Jr.

How To Get Things Done: Time, Energy, and Mission | Tim Challies

10 Types of Thinking That Undergird Depression-Anxiety | Brad Hambrick

Learn More in Less Time | Books At A Glance

Want To Be Happy For The Rest Of Your Life? Have A Big, Cheap Wedding

The Ten Commandments For Using Modern Media | Challies Dot Com

What is Discernment?

The Shepherding Seminary | Gentle Reformation

BCC Weekend Resource: Counseling After a Suicide | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

Get Alone Undistracted

The Celebrity Pastor Problem: From Mars Hill To Me | Am I Called?

Best Videos

A Story of Grace
This is such a beautiful testimony. I loved the ending especially.

Beautiful Chemical Reactions
Yes, really.

Huge Fog Bank Rolls Over Lake Michigan

2014 World Public Speaking Champion
Looks like a well-deserved title.


A Feature Length Documentary on The Life & Legacy of Scotland’s Reformer

This from a friend in Scotland:

2014 marks the 500th anniversary of John Knox – the dynamic and controversial man who led the Reformation in Scotland. To mark the occasion, we are making a full length documentary. The title comes from Knox’ famous prayer: ‘Give me Scotland, or I die’ and the film would retell the engaging and dramatic story of Knox and explore the relevance of the man and of his Reformational message in the 21st Century.

You can read more here and also contribute to the funding of the film – $4000 remains to be raised.

Murdo Macleod, the producer, is the son of a pastor friend of mine in Scotland. Here’s a little about Murdo:

Murdo has a 1st Class Honours degree in Pure Maths at the University of Glasgow. He went on to do a second degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) where he completed a BA in Digital Film and Television. Previous short films which he has worked on have won awards with BAFTA and with the Royal Television Society and have been screened at film festivals around the world, including Beijing, Toronto, Chicago and London. He launched Trinity Digital earlier this year as a means to provide film and video resources particularly to churches and Christian organizations.

If you are interested in giving more than $500, please contact Murdo directly via the contact form here.


9 Vital Answers About Depression And Suicide

According to the CDC, US life expectancy has reached an all time high of 79, but at the same time suicide rates have climbed to a 25-year high.

Some research suggests suicides increase during hard economic times, but this trend has persisted before, during, and after the recession of 2007-2009. Some experts have said the sale and abuse of prescription painkillers in the last decade have been a contributing factor.

In the United States, young adult and teen suicide is the third leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10-24 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease control. Young adults and late teens dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts often keep to themselves and can be afraid or unwilling to talk to their parents or other influential adults in their lives. Dr. Jesse Vinver from the Yellowbrick treatment center  has put together a list of the warning signs and causes of depression and suicide in young adults along with tips for seeking help and providing support that can be seen in this helpful infographic.

I’m not endorsing Yellowbrick ( I don’t know enough about them) but I thought this was a helpful basic infographic that might help suffering families.

Depression-Suicide Graphic

Depression-Suicide Graphic


Dealing With Disruptive Students (and Kids)

The Tomorrow’s Professor blog from Standford University recently gave tips on how to deal with disruptive students. As we don’t have any of these at PRTS, of course, I thought I’d pass them on to other teachers; but also to parents, because so many of the points apply to parenting also.

The rather lengthy (@3000 word blog post) deals with many kinds of disruptive behavior and offers many helpful tips for various teaching (and parenting situations). It also outlines a ten-step approach for dealing with disruptive students (and children?) which I’ve summarized below:

1. Don’t take the disruption personally: Focus on the distraction rather than on the student.  By remaining objective and not taking the situation personally, you can respond in a calm manner.

2. Stay calm: You will be much more authoritative when you are perceived to be dealing with the distraction in a composed manner and when students believe that you like them.

3. Decide when you will deal with the situation: Quickly and briefly in class or privately and at length after class. Allow students to save face where possible.

4. Be polite: It is far better to say “I’d like to continue with the class” or “It is important that you concentrate for the next few minutes” than “Don’t talk when I’m talking.”

5. Listen to the student: Really listen to what a disruptive student is saying. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what is lying behind the disruption.

6. Check you understand: Ask questions until you have enough information to understand the situation.

7. Decide what you’re going to do: Think win-win but always prioritize the learning experience of the non-disruptive students.

8. Explain your decision to the student: Tell the students what you have decided, explain your rationale and check they understand.

9. Follow through: You must do what you said you would do!

10. Document your decisions: Where the disruption has resulted in significant action it is a good idea to document the nature of the disruption, your actions and the rationale for your decision.  This will help you to reflect and evaluate.

The article closes with this cheery reminder: “Finally, remember that most students (and children?) are polite and helpful and want to learn!”

Read the whole post here, or the book from which the article is extracted: Making Teaching Work: Teaching Smarter in Post-Compulsory Education.


Resisting Gossip: Free Video Curriculum

This week, Pastor Matt Mitchell, author of Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue has released two new Resisting Gossip resources.  The first is a bible study curriculum that dives deeper into the content first introduced in the book Resisting Gossip.  The second is a series of videos to supplement the curriculum which are being offered for free on Matt’s website. These videos are also offered on DVD for those who prefer a physical format.

I encourage you to dive into these resources.  Gossip is a destructive, ugly sin that we can all fall into too easily. Matt’s curriculum shows us exactly what the Bible says about gossip and what we can do to flee from the temptation.


Top 10 Gospel Books for Children

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Previous posts include:

Today I’m listing Top 10 Gospel Books for Children.  I put this question out on my Facebook page last week after a friend asked me for recommendations for their eight-year-old who was showing interest in the gospel.  Here are my favorite responses – this time not in any order of preference. Please make further suggestions in the comments and I’ll add them under Reader Suggestions.

God’s Providence by Sally Michaels, part of the Children Desiring God series.  Thanks to Phillip and Ian for pointing us to this author.

Westminster Shorter Catechism for Kids (series of workbooks) by Caroline Weerstra.  Recommended on Facebook by Colin.

Pictorial Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.  Recommended by Katherine and Angela.

The Lamb by John R. Cross.  Recommended by John.

Julie suggested books by Susan Hunt, saying, “My children really enjoy these and they are practical.”  One of Hunt’s newest for children is Cassie & Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design.

Who Is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?) by John Hay and David Webb.  This one is often used as a homeschooling textbook and the publishers also offer a journal and coloring book to go along with the text.  Recommended by Colin.

Big Book of Questions & Answers: A Family Devotional Guide to the Christian Faith by Sinclair Ferguson. Recommended by William.

Leading Little Ones to God: A Child’s Book of Bible Teachings by Marian M. Schoolland.  Recommended by Sarah who says, “An oldie but simple and complete! I like the questions at the end of each message along with the short memory verses.”

The Gospel for Children by John Leuzarder. Recommended by John and Charles

Jesus Teaches Us How to Be Wise by Sinclair Ferguson, part of a series of “Jesus Teaches Us How to…” books. Recommended by David

A Young Person’s Guide to Knowing God by Patricia St. John.  Recommended by Amian and Angela.  Amian said: “Patricia was a writer of the old school. My daughter (now 38) always says ‘No-one understood children and young people like Auntie Patricia’. The Gospel is very clearly set out in all of her children’s books.”  Angela remarked, “…Patricia St John’s books are brilliant, gentle but clear in their message and engaging for children.”

Dear J: Christian Letters to a Young Friend by Margaret R. Macleod. Recommended by James and Nancy.  This one is out of print, but you can buy used copies on Amazon.

Fair Sunshine: Character Studies of the Scottish Covenanters by Jock Purves.  Recommended by Isobel who enjoyed them as a child. She said, “When I was that age and seeking, I found the lives of missionaries fascinating and the stories of the covenanters challenging.”

Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind (Jungle Doctor Series Book 1) by Paul White.  The whole Jungle Doctor series was recommended on my Facebook page.  Angela said, “[This series has] an excellent way of communicating the way of salvation and gospel truths to children of this age.” and Isobel remembered them from her childhood, “So glad you can still get the Jungle Doctor series, they were my favs over fifty years ago!”

How God Sent a Dog to Save a Family (Building on the Rock) by Joel R. Beeke and Diana Kleyn. The Building on the Rock series was recommended by Angela.

See also God’s Alphabet for Life Devotions for Young Children by Joel Beeke and Heidi Boorsma.

Wait Till You See The Butterfly by Doreen Tamminga, a collection of short stories that Angela “can’t recommend highly enough.”

The Doctrines of Grace by Shane Lems.  Michael recommends this for older children, “especially as an introduction to the Reformed faith.”

There are also many children’s books by R C Sproul including The Donkey Who Carried a King.

Reader Suggestions