Check Out

Blogs

Why Evangelism Requires Both Logic and Loveliness | Holly Ordway, Christianity Today
“The classic rational arguments for Christian faith—based on evidence, philosophy, and history—are as sound as ever, but they are effective only when people are interested in the questions and find our words and ideas meaningful. Today, we cannot count on our listeners to be either interested or informed. Here, we see the need for a new approach—or rather, the return to an older, more integrated approach to apologetics that engages the whole human person. Many contemporary apologists—myself included—look to both reason and imagination to help us lead people to know about, follow, and love our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Seven Dangers in the Last Few Years of Your Ministry | ThomRainer.com
“To be clear, I want to avoid seven dangers in my last years of ministry. And I know I can succumb to any and all of these dangers without His strength, His mercy, and His plan.”

The Banner of Truth Trust Turns 60 Years Old | TGC
“Iain Murray is 86 years old. Sixty years ago today, along with Jack Cullum and Sidney Norton, officially founded Banner of Truth, the Reformed-evangelical publisher that began out of Westminster Chapel in London in 1957.”

Go Ahead Leaders, Take That Vacation | Michael Hyatt
Michael Hyatt gives us 7 strategies to optimize time off and come back refreshed.

Control Your Sexuality | Tim Challies
“Stop masturbating. Is that too blunt? I don’t think it is. I think men need to hear it. Whether you’re single or married, just stop. Masturbation is self-love. It runs entirely counter to the heart of our Savior, who ‘came not to be served but to serve’ (Mark 10:45). It is counterfeit and fraudulent sexuality. Because it involves no woman, it is more properly a form of homosexuality than heterosexuality. It’s immature, it’s a misuse of God’s gift, it’s just plain dumb. You ought to be ashamed and embarrassed by it. So cut it out already and show some self-control.”

Are Video Games Keeping Young Men Out of the Work Force? | Alex Chediak, The Stream
“Screen time for young men without college degrees has more than doubled from the period 2004-2007 to the period 2011-2014. Unemployed young men now spend 2 to 3 times as many hours in front of a screen, compared to those who have jobs. More to the point, the percentage of screen time devoted to computer games has increased. Video games aren’t just sucking more time, they’re increasingly preferred over blogs, streamed videos and Facebook.”

New Books


The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography by Matt Fradd


Westminster Confession of Faith: Journal Edition


Honoring the Elderly: A Christian’s Duty to Aging Parents by Rev. Brian L. De Jong

Kindle Deals

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.


Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood: An Eleven-Week Devotional Bible Study by Melissa Kruger ($4.99)


Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson ($0.99)


Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning by Nancy Pearcey ($2.99)


The Pastor’s Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love by Gloria Furman ($2.99)


Profitable Fails

Most success comes after many fails. For example:

  • Angry Birds, the best-selling Apple App was software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt at successful software in 8 almost-bankrupt years.
  • James Dyson failed in 5,126 prototypes before perfecting his revolutionary vacuum cleaner.
  • WD40 lubricant got its name because the first 39 experiments failed. WD-40 literally stands for “Water Displacement–40th Attempt.

The basic difference between successful people and the rest of us is that they’ve learned to fail well. They humbly embrace their mistakes, use them as opportunities to learn, and persevere until each shot got them nearer the bullseye.

  • Apple founder Steve Jobs ascribes his success to reevaluating his life after three setbacks: dropping out of college, being fired from the company he founded, and being diagnosed with cancer.
  • Michael Jordan said: “I have failed over and over and over again, and that is why I succeed.”
  • The American chess master Bruce Pandolfini, who trains many young chess players, said: “At the beginning, you lose – a lot. The kids who are going to succeed are the ones who learn to stand it. A lot of young players find losing so devastating they never adapt, never learn to metabolize that failure and to not take it personally. But good players lose and then put the game behind them emotionally.”
  • Philip Schultz wrote a book of poems about his writing failures. Entitled, Failure, it won a Pulitzer prize!

If we have learned to fail well:

  • We will have realistic expectations of ourselves and our work.
  • We will not soar too high on success, and we will not sink too deeply upon a setback.
  • We will not resent or envy the “success” of others, nor will we get caught up in trying to imitate them.
  • We will diligently and patiently labor in our vocations, gradually developing our talents and skills for God’s glory and the good of others.
  • We will confess our failures, seek our Lord’s forgiveness, and pray for His re-directing guidance.
  • We will emerge from our failures humbler and weaker, but wiser and happier too.
  • Eventually, we will see how God can transform our ugly failures into something profitable and even beautiful.

As the Apostle Peter might say: “Sometimes, failure is the best thing that can happen to us.”


Check out

Blogs

Well, as usual, I didn’t get as much done as I hoped to during my “blog vacation.” Shona says my epitaph should be: “That took longer than I expected.” I’m way too optimistic about my DIY abilities. Anyway, normal service is now being resumed.

A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce
“Evangelical and confessional churches are striving to maintain a high view of marriage in a culture that is ripping the institution to shreds. So extra-biblical barriers to divorce can be well-meant. They try to protect marriage by doing everything possible to avoid divorce. In doing so, they not only fail to keep a high view of marriage. They also spread lies about the gospel, divorce, the value of people, the character of God, and the nature of sexual sin.”

An Open Letter to Husbands who Abuse Their Wives

Dear Abuser…

I want to make it clear that if you want to invoke Bible verses to control and manipulate your wife, the Bible is against you.

If you harm your wife physically, sexually, emotionally, or materially, Jesus stands against you.

To hide behind the Bible in order to justify how you treat your wife is vile. Justifying your attitudes and actions with the Bible is like blaming the cook book for the food poisoning you caused when you cooked a meal with putrid meat. The issue isn’t with the book, but what you brought out of your fridge.

You are destroying your family, dishonouring God, and deceiving yourself.

The Average Sermon Length of These 10 Well Known Pastors
“We did a little research of our own to discover just how long the most watched preachers in America preach. You might be surprised by the results. We certainly were.”

Fasting 101
“Fasting is a lost art in pursuit of the spiritual disciplines and one that seems quite distant from everyday life in modern western culture. However, when we look to Scripture there is an expectation that believers would fast as a part of the Christian life (Matt. 6:16; 9:15). So, before you dismiss this practice as only for Tibetan monks…let’s explore a few of the “whys and hows” of fasting so that we might enrich our spiritual development and the lives of those whom we walk alongside.”

Hope When Your Children Stray
“Today when I’m counseling the parents of a rebellious child, here are five things I tell them: ”

If you’re watching “Game of Thrones,” you’re watching porn.
“If you think you can somehow filter out the porn and only take in the art, you are deceived and double-minded as well.  Porn does what porn does: as soon as it enters the scene, it removes all dignity and humanity.  All that is left is body parts and the consuming of other humans.  You can’t keep someone’s dignity once you have already devoured it.  You don’t get porn and human dignity; you get porn or human dignity.”

Why Did Jesus Need the Holy Spirit?
“John Owen set out eleven ways in which the Holy Spirit is said to have worked in the life and ministry of Jesus in the Scriptures:”

Losing your voice: 4 ways pastors lose pulpits
1. Burn out
2. Rust out
3. Kicked out
4. Fall out

Your Smartphone Costs A Lot More Than You Think It Does
“Maybe it is called a smartphone because it sucks the brains out of otherwise-creative and intelligent creatures. Sayonara, so-called smartphone! Onward I shall go, towards living a quiet, productive, God-honoring life.”

Kindle Books

The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus by Zach Eswine $4.99.

The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry by Jared Wilson $2.99.

The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need by Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju $3.99.

God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? by John Lennox $3.53.

 


Blog Vacation

I’m on a blog vacation this week. Hoping to make some progress on some DIY projects at our new home. See you again next Monday (July 24).


Why Read a Book on Sin?

Monstrous. Hideous. Mischievous. Odious. Pernicious. Poisonous. Vicious. Villainous. Heinous. Obnoxious. Venomous. Tedious. Treacherous. Impetuous. Ruinous. Murderous. Dangerous. Lascivious. Injurious. Infectious. Vexatious. Serious.

Bet you didn’t know so many words ended with “-ous” did you?

“So, what’s the point? Is this a blog or a thesaurus?”

OK, the point is that this is a sample – yes, just a sample – of words that the Puritan Ralph Venning used to describe “sin” in his book Sin, The Plague of Plagues. Although the Puritans didn’t win too many prizes for Book Title of the Year, they did speak to contemporary events, with this book being published shortly after The Great Plague of London that killed over 100,000 people.

“A book on sin? Why would anyone want to write that? And why would anyone want to read it?”

Anticipating such objections, Venning wrote in his introduction that “it cannot but be extremely useful to let men see what sin is: how prodigiously vile, how deadly mischievous, and therefore how monstrously ugly and odious a thing sin is. Thus a way may be made:

  • For admiring the free and rich grace of God.
  • For believing in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • For vindicating the holy, just and good law of God, and his condemnation of sinners for breaking it.
  • For hating sin, and repenting for and from it, thereby taking a holy, just and good revenge on it and ourselves.
  • That we may love and serve God at a better rate than we ever did in the little and short time of innocence itself.
  • And, lastly, that this black spot may serve to set off the admirable, incomparable and transcendent beauty of holiness.

So, why not take some time to meditate on each of these ugly -ous words. And let them lead you to the beauty of three other -ous words: that God is gracious, that Christ’s blood is precious, and that we are righteous in Him.

Now that’s miraculous!


And if you’re looking for books on the subject here are Top 10 Puritan Books on Sin and Top 10 Modern Books on Sin.


Check out

Blogs

The First Year of Pastoring : Founders Ministries
“Every pastor has to experience the first year of pastoring to start laying groundwork for a lifetime of ministry. So what should a new pastor focus on during that year?”

5 Consequences Leaders Face for Not Resting
“Wise leaders don’t affirm people who brag about being workaholics or brag about never resting. Wise leaders know that a leader who fails to rest is a leader who fails to lead effectively. If you don’t rest, you won’t lead effectively. If you don’t lead your team to rest, they won’t lead as effectively as they can. Here are five consequences for not resting.”

Any Given Day with Ed Welch and Todd Stryd
“On any given day Ed Welch and Todd Stryd may be found counseling, teaching or writing. As you may imagine, they spend much time considering how Scripture impacts our lives. Here is a glimpse of what they have been thinking about recently.”

Learning to Love the Psalms, A New Teaching Series from W. Robert Godfrey
I’ve been listening to the audio book version of Learning to Love the Psalms and it’s meaty. Highly recommended

Are You in the Dangerous Time In Between?
I’m sure we all know people who need to read this article:

“I have been a Christian long enough to see more than my fair share of men fall. This I have observed: It’s so often the ones who seemed to be at their greatest moment of success who were on the precipice of destruction. Like blind men about to blunder off a cliff, they were oblivious to their impending doom. They failed to heed God’s warnings in that time in-between.”

Soul Care for Exhausted Young Mothers
Good mix of practical common sense advice and spiritual counsel in response to this question:

“”Dear Pastor John, my husband and I are new parents to a two-month-old son. Caring for him has been joyful and exhausting. I can barely concentrate on anything I used to but need the Lord more than ever to sustain me. What counsel do you give to new mothers on continuing their walk with God?”"

The Great Prize in Christian Dating
“Pursue Clarity and Postpone Intimacy”

One of My Biggest Ministry Mistakes
A short read but it could save you years of trouble.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my ministry, but avoiding conflict was one of the biggest. Nobody likes conflict, and if you do you have other issues we need to discuss. But when we avoid conflict, we hurt relationships and damage the church.

Kindle Books

Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament $1.99.

Remember and Return: Rekindling Your Love for the Savior by John Macarthur $1.99.