Check out

Blogs

Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions To Sell Baby-parts
Yes, you read that correctly. Here’s commentary on it from Carl Truman, Jonathan Parnell, Russell Moore, and Mollie Hemmingway.

Christianity’s Revolutionary Recognition of Women as Equals

“Thus, the progressive narrative upon which contemporary, anti-family policies rest, is false. Only through Christianity did women receive full marriage rights and gender equality in fidelity. The private, monogamous family has served well the human needs for love and companionship, economic and social well-being, and the rearing of children. Abandoning these lessons is at the root of the modern decline of the family, and government can only further undermine the rights and benefits that have uplifted the lives of countless men, women, and children through Christian-inspired marriage. To restore the family, civic and religious leaders must challenge such folly to achieve the needed privatization and de-politicization reforms.”

Too Depressed To Believe What We Know
Eleven resources for the darkness.

Making Sense of Scripture’s “Inconsistency”
Tim Keller: “Here’s a short course on the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament.”

How Should Christians Comment Online

Kindle Books

You can pick up some good deals on Kindle Readers today – up to 40% off.

How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart $3.99.

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart $3.99.

Found: God’s Will by John Macarthur $1.99

Be A People Person: Effective Leadership Through Effective Relationships by John Maxwell $0.99.

Recommended New Book

Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney.

Video

On The Way To School

Should make waiting for the school bus a bit easier.


Helps And Hindrances To Knowing Christ

Through knowing Christ, eternal life begins in time, and heavenly bliss begins on earth (John 17:3). Unsurprisingly, such a blessing does not come easily as there are many hindrances to knowing Christ in our present state.

 Hindrances to knowing Christ

Ignorance: A limited knowledge of the Bible produces a limited knowledge of God.

Error: Wrong and mistaken ideas about God create massive obstacles to accurate knowledge of Christ.

Prejudice: We are born with an inbuilt prejudice against light and knowledge and a bias towards darkness and lies.

Pride: An unteachable mind is an untaught mind.

Superficiality: Those who are attracted to the frothy and the shallow in religion will be resistant to substantial biblical doctrine

Size: Our tiny minds find it so hard to hold all the truths about Christ together in biblical proportion and balance.

Confusion: Some know lots of facts, lots of truths, but have no system to organize it in any kind of helpful and memorable order.

Laziness: The sloth hates the hard work that discipleship requires. He prefers to be entertained than exercised

Leaks: Due to forgetfulness or old age, minds that are filled with valuable truth lose so much so quickly through leakage.

Sin: Sin darkens and confuses our minds making it difficult to see and love the truth.

Helps to Knowing Christ

But don’t despair, despite the many obstacles, God has also provided multiple helps to knowing Christ.

Confession: If sin darkens our mind, confession blows away the clouds and clears the way for the light to shine again.

Humility: God loves to reveal Christ to those who humbly acknowledge their ignorance, error, prejudice, pride, and so on.

Need: “Necessity is a good master,” as the old saying goes; but it is also a good teacher. For example, when we feel our need of justification, it makes it much easier to understand it and value it. The more we need a doctrine, the easier it is to learn it. The more we need a person, the more we want to know him.

Gratitude: Just as we love to give more to those who thank us most, God loves to give more knowledge to those who thank Him for any previous revelation of Christ to their souls.

Time: Unless we discipline ourselves to deliberately set aside significant and regular periods of time for studying the Bible and other good books, learning won’t happen.

Quiet: External and internal quiet make the mind receptive and retentive. That’s why, for many people, the early morning hours are such a wonderful time for knowing Christ.

Plan: Just as we would not expect to make much progress in any subject with planning and organizing, so we need to plan and organize our study of Christ if we are to progress in our knowledge.

Patience: Sometimes we will make leaps and bounds in our knowledge of Christ. Sometimes we will feel we are static and stagnant. But patient perseverance eventually pays off and moves us forward, though often so slowly that we cannot detect it.

Experience: We don’t come to know Christ just through the Bible and good books. God also uses trials to teach us, and especially to help us put into practice what we have learned.

Fellowship: Discipleship is not a solitary pursuit. God has so designed it that we learn most about Christ in community with other disciples

Obedience: We cannot expect to learn more if we do not obey what God has already taught us. Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (Jn. 7:17). Obeying the truth accelerates knowing the truth.

Worship: When we take what we have learned at our desk or in the pew, and make that knowledge a matter of worship, then the lessons learned are deepened and made more permanent.

Prioritizing: The Apostle said: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil.3:8). That’s the kind of ruthless prioritizing that produces top students.

Prayer: We need more than our intellect to know Christ; we need God’s blessing. Therefore let’s daily repeat the Apostle Paul’s Christ-centered prayer: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).


Check out

Blogs

Born this way? Maybe not
“Remember all that talk for the last decade that sexual orientation is like skin color – genetic and immutable? Well, the science not only looks iffy, it was never solid.”

The Millennial’s Guide To Living Well Cheaply
An encouraging and challenging story for anyone who’s feeling the pinch.

More Parents Finally Get That College is a Scam
For a more accurate headline, add “for most” to the end of it.

The Blessing Of Catechizing Our Children
And if you’re feeling discouraged and defeated on the family devotions front, here’s Tim Challies on How We Do Family Devotions.

Disenchanted With Islam
God is over-ruling Islamic terrorism to draw Muslims to Himself.

An Embarrassing Week For Christians Sharing False News
And how to stop a repetition.

Just Because You’re Happy Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Burned Out
“A new survey report just published by Staples Advantage offers a paradoxical set of findings about US office workers. Overwhelmingly, they are happy. Yet the majority of them feel burned out.  How could both things be true?”

The Case Against Laptops In The Classroom
Every semester brings me closer to making this decision.

Kindle Books

Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name by Bryan Chappell $1.99.

Alone With God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer by John MacArthur $0.99.

A Household Gospel by Matthew Sims $2.99

New Paperback Book

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God’s Mobile Home: Stories of Grace From The Tabernacle is now available in paperback. After launching the eBook a couple of weeks ago, some parents asked if it could be published in paperback so that they could read it to their children or their children who didn’t have a Kindle could read it themselves. I looked into that and with the help of CreateSpace the paperback can now be bought on Amazon.

Video

Randy Alcorn Opens Up About His Depression


Check out

Blogs

The Future Of The Christian University | First Things

The Rising Of The Beast In America | Rick Phillips

Instead of Worrying | Tim Witmer

My Journey To Seeing The Goodness of God in the Gift of Sex | Francie Winslow

Solomon’s Three Stages of Adulthood | Barry York

From Lost Boy To Education Minister in Sudan | BBC

Kindle Books

C.S. Lewis: A Life Inspired by Christopher Gordon $2.99.

Basic Christianity (IVP Classics) by John Stott $3.74.

The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon $0.99.

Spurgeon’s commentary on all 150 psalms with linked table of contents. See more discounted Puritan and Reformed classics at DollarPuritans.com.

Recommended New Book

God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb $13.49.

A simple, easy-to-read story to help children understand, value, and protect their bodies.

Video

Calvinism And The Christian Life

A new Ligonier Teaching series from Ian Hamilton. Click through to watch first message free.


The Best Online Education Videos

Most educational institutions are still experimenting with the best way to deliver education via the Internet, with mixed and often disappointing results. But, at last, we have some empirical research from MIT, Rochester University, and edX which examined four methods of delivery:

  • A recorded classroom lecture
  • An instructor’s talking head
  • A Khan-style digital tablet drawing (popularized by Khan Academy)
  • A PowerPoint slideshow

Here are the seven main findings and corresponding recommendations:

1. Shorter videos are much more engaging. Engagement drops sharply after 6 minutes. 

Recommendation: Invest heavily in pre-production lesson planning to segment videos into chunks shorter than 6 minutes. This is the most significant recommendation!

2. Videos that intersperse an instructor’s talking head with PowerPoint slides are more engaging than showing only slides. 

Recommendation:Invest in post-production editing to display the instructor’s head at opportune times in the video. But don’t go overboard because sudden transitions can be jarring. Picture-in-picture might also work well.

3. Videos produced with a more personal feel could be more engaging than high-fidelity studio recordings. 

Recommendation: Try filming in an informal setting such as an office to emulate a one-on-one office hours experience. It might not be necessary to invest in big-budget studio productions.

4. Khan-style tablet drawing tutorials are more engaging than PowerPoint slides or code screencasts. 

Recommendation: Introduce motion and continuous visual flow into tutorials, along with extemporaneous speaking so that students can follow along with the instructor’s thought process.

5. Even high-quality prerecorded classroom lectures are not as engaging when chopped up into short segments for a MOOC.

Recommendation: If instructors insist on recording traditional classroom lectures, they should still plan lectures with the MOOC format in mind and work closely with instructional designers who have experience in online education.

6. Videos where instructors speak fairly fast and with high enthusiasm are more engaging. 

Recommendation: Coach instructors to bring out their enthusiasm and reassure them that they do not need to purposely slow down. Students can always pause the video if they want a break.

7. Students engage differently with lecture and tutorial videos.

Recommendation: For lectures, focus more on the first-time watching experience. For tutorials, add more support for rewatching and skimming, such as inserting subgoal labels in large fonts throughout the video.

You can read the 10-page paper here.


Check out

Blogs

20 Quotes From Rosaria Butterfield’s New Book On Sexual Identity

How The Gospel Ended My Same-Sex Relationship | Borrowed Light

Not All Homosexuals Are Alike | Clare DeGraaf

Should You Be A Pastor Or Professor? | Michael Kruger

The Haunting of Ministry Failure | TGC

10 Distinguishing Marks Of John Calvin’s Preaching | Steven Lawson

How To Master The Lost Art of Reading | 99U

Parenting College Students | Ed Stetzer

Books

Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name by Bryan Chappell $1.99.

Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith by Scotty Smith $4.99.

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved by J D Greear $3.50.

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Videos

Christian Faithfulness in a Post-Christian Country | TGC

Two videos of Rod Dreher and Russell Moore presenting different approaches to the hostile anti-Christian culture we now face.