Check out

Blogs

Staring at Dementia, Fighting for Joy – The Gospel Coalition

McKinney and Me | Desiring God
Jasmine Holmes, daughter of Voddie Baucham, reflects on the most famous pool party in the world.

An open letter to worship leaders | Reformation21 Blog

Loving People Through the Healing Power of Touch | The Gospel Coalition
I enjoy these little vignettes on how Christians are serving God in various vocations. I just wish they weren’t quite so brief.

When Marriage Is Miles Away: On Long-Distance Dating | Desiring God
Hopefully a young couple I know might read this.

Culture

Which Way, Evangelicals? There is Nowhere to Hide – AlbertMohler.com
Al Mohler reflects on Tony Campolo’s capitulation. And here’s an Orthodox priest with his perspective on this issue.

Court Upholds Texas Limits on Abortions | NYTimes.com
Some good news to keep you afloat.

Kindle Books

God Speaks: Finding Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness by Ray Comfort $0.99.

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

A Summary of Christian History by Robert Baker $2.99.

Recommended New Book

Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller $7.99.

Video

Special Needs Housing And Employment


New eBook: The Christian Life

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The Christian Life $2.99

Over 900 pages with over 300 articles and conference addresses that respond biblically, pastorally, and passionately to the most pressing and urgent Christian issues of recent times.

The book is divided into 20 categories (e.g. Parenting, Suffering, Growing, Worshipping, Working, Resting, etc.) and covers many contemporary issues like technology, homosexuality, politics, health care, science, and tightrope walking! It also addresses timeless issues such as prayer, Bible-reading, meditation, faith, and obedience.

Once again, a big thank you to my assistants, Esther Engelsma and Sarah Perez, for all their help in this publishing project. Thanks also to Cameron Morgan for his cover designs.


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Check out

Blogs

Pastors and Time in Sermon Preparation
Significant increase over last ten years. Thom Rainer comments:

I am encouraged. In past studies, I have found a correlative relationship between time in sermon preparation and church health metrics. The greater the time in sermon preparation, the more likely the church is to be evangelistically effective, have a higher retention rate of members, and have a higher weekly per capita giving. Simply stated, when the pastor spends more time in the Word, the church tends to be healthier.

Not Your Average Paedobaptism – The Gospel Coalition
“No way will anyone pour water on my kid’s head,” my recently converted dad said to our seminary-trained pastor. As this opening line suggests, Jared Oliphant takes a different approach to an old debate.

Serving, Struggling, and Thriving as a Pastor’s Wife – The Gospel Coalition
TGC/Crossway partnership produces a brief but helpful interview with Gloria Furman about her new book.

People Over Profit: Easier Said Than Done | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com
A review of a book that presents seven principles the author believes all companies should adopt: people matter, truth wins, transparency frees, authenticity attracts, quality speaks, generosity returns, and courage sustains.

An Anchor in Unfamiliar Place – Borrowed Light
Mike is on the move and finds a reliable anchor in the midst of change.

How Should Christians View World History? by R.C. Sproul | Ligonier Ministries Blog

8 Lessons Learned from a Long Battle with Spiritual Depression | The Gospel Coalition
NB: It says “spiritual” depression.

Culture

Are Christians Really the Arrogant Ones? | Canon Fodder

Can Gays And Christians Coexist In America? Part II: Slavery
Important series (Part I)

Could Facebook Be Helping to Reduce Abortions? – The Gospel Coalition

Researchers Say They’ve Cracked The Code To Being Happy « CBS New York
Among some rather predictable findings is this one: “One of the biggest hindrances to being happy is too much thinking about one’s self.”

The Commencement Speech as Cultural Barometer | TGC

Kindle Books

The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization $0.99.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Linked to Bible Verses) $0.99.

I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference by Thom Rainer $3.50.

Recommended New Book

The Korean Pentecost and the Sufferings Which Followed $2.95. (NEW EDITION)

Video

God Wrote A Book


Check out

Blogs

Journibles: Revelation | Books at a glance
Aimee Byrd is almost raptured by the Journibles series.

An excerpt from my new book  Faker”…(and a note from me). | Scribblepreach.com
Read a free chapter from Nicholas McDonald’s new book for teenagers/students.

How healthy is our growth?
Arron argues that just because a church grows, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Cancer grows too.

Marks of Orthodoxy? – Feeding on Christ
Not black suits or ripped jeans, says Nick Batzig.

How to get things done in seminary: The 5 keys to productive scholarship | Southern Blog
Bit late for me, but might help others.

Couple of important tech cautions : Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Rise of the Selfie Generation by Nathan W. Bingham and Six Wrong Reasons to Check Your Phone in the Morning by Tony Reinke. Most worrying statistic for me in Tony’s article was: “Then we asked, whether you are more likely to check email and social media before or after your spiritual disciplines on a typical morning, 73% of you said before.”

Andreas Köstenberger on Studying Primary Sources | LogosTalk

The 37 Best Business Books I’ve Ever Read – Michael Hyatt

Culture

The Fascinating Politics of Polygamy – NYTimes.com
Ross Douthat continues to trace the trajectory of recent trends and decision to their only logical destination.

How a massive, silent cultural revolution has changed America | New York Post 

If you’re a baker, you can refuse to cater a gay wedding for any reason you please — you’re too busy, you’re taking a few days off, you’re hung over — but if you say the words, “I don’t approve of gay marriage,” you’ll not only be vilified, you’ll be bankrupted.

Let’s hope that, 15 years from now, another cultural revolution has followed — and Americans will be able to think whatever they want without fear of condemnation.

The New Persecution | RealClearReligion
Russell Shaw says there are two prongs to the current persecution of Christians in the West:

One consists of pressuring individual religious believers to cooperate with public policies inimical to faith. The other prong is pressure targeted at religious groups and institutions to adapt their programs to the promotion of values hostile to the sponsors’ moral convictions.

What REALLY Happened in Ireland’s Gay Marriage Election
Millions of dollars of American money, I’m afraid.

How US Students Get A University Degree For Free In Germany
While the cost of college education in the US has reached record highs, Germany has abandoned tuition fees altogether for German and international students alike. An increasing number of Americans are taking advantage and saving tens of thousands of dollars to get their degrees.

Kindle Books

Word versus Deed: Resetting the Scales to a Biblical Balance by Duane Liftin $3.99.

The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture by Scot Klusendorf $3.99.

Did You Know?: More Than 6,000 Bible Questions and Answers $0.99.

Recommended New Book

Reformed Worship by Terry Johnson $8.99.

Video

The Fallen Of World War II
An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts.


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Gay Marriage Is Not About Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is not primarily about gay marriage; it’s mainly about silencing gay consciences.

Given that so few homosexuals and lesbians actually marry when given legal opportunity, their vigorous and often vicious campaign for gay marriage has always puzzled me. After reading Brendan O’Neill’s The Trouble With Gay Marriage, I’m puzzled no more. Although O’Neill doesn’t approach this from a Christian perspective, his post-referendum article on the Republic of Ireland’s move to legalize gay marriage shines a bright light on the ultimate aim of most gay marriage campaigners – and it’s not gay marriage.

Validation and Recognition
O’Neill begins by noticing how little talk or commentary there actually was about gay marriage in the aftermath of the “Yes” vote. As he puts it, “Instead of saying ‘We can finally get married’, the most common response to the referendum result from both the leaders of the Yes campaign and their considerable army of supporters in the media and political classes has been: ‘Gays have finally been validated.’ All the talk was of ‘recognition’, not marriage.”

He then piles up quotation upon quotation to prove his point. For example:

  • Ireland’s deputy PM Joan Burton said the Yes vote was about ‘acceptance in your own country’.
  • Writing in the Irish Examiner, a psychotherapist said ‘the referendum was about more than marriage equality… it was about validation and full acceptance [of gay people]’.
  • PM Enda Kenny also said the referendum was about more than marriage — it was a question of gay people’s ‘fragile and deeply personal hopes [being] realised’.
  • In the words of novelist Joseph O’Connor, the Yes vote was an act of ‘societal empathy’ with a section of the population.
  • The official Yes campaign went so far as to describe the Yes victory as a boost for the health and wellbeing of all Irish citizens, especially gay ones.
  • A writer for the Irish Times described his gay friends’ pre-referendum ‘nagging shadow’, a ‘feeling that [they are] less somehow’, and he claimed the Yes victory finally confirmed for them that they now enjoy society’s ‘support, kindness and respect’. 
  • Fintan O’Toole said the Yes victory was about making gays feel ‘fully acknowledged’.
  • ‘My country has acknowledged that we exist’, said a gay Irish businessman.

Feel Good Vote
O’Neill says that “in short, the Yes result made people feel good,” and that what was sought was “not really the right to marry but rather social and cultural validation of one’s lifestyle — ‘societal empathy’ — particularly from the state.” He highlights older literature on gay marriage which also demonstrated that “early agitators for gay marriage seemed to be primarily concerned with ‘relieving adult anxiety.’”  

Why is this state-sanctioned validation, empathy, acceptance, acknowledgment and approval so important to gay marriage campaigners? Why is it far more important than actually being allowed to marry?

Desperate Measures
The answer lies in Romans 1v18-32, where the Apostle Paul explains what desperate measures that homosexuals (and other unrepentant sinners) take to silence the voice of their conscience. They hear God’s prohibition and condemnation in their consciences, hate it, and do everything they can to shut it up – including, in our own day, getting gay marriage legalized everywhere, even if relatively few ever make use of it. Because, in most cases, it’s not about the right to marry; it’s mainly a vain attempt to muffle the inner voice of conscience by multiplying and amplifying external voices of approval.

If I’m wrong, then why don’t they leave alone the alleged minority who still disapprove of gay marriage. Why will they not tolerate any dissenters? Gay activists have got the media on their side, they’ve got the entertainment industry on their side, they’ve got the education establishment on their side, they’ve got corporate America on their side, they’ve got most politicians on their side, and most courts and judges too. Is that not enough? If they are so sure of the rightness of their cause, why can’t they tolerate even a few voices here and there that still insist, “This is wrong”?

Unprecedented Protection
There’s hardly any group in the world that has the level of public acceptance, validation, approval, and empathy now enjoyed by homosexuals. They’ve certainly got far more recognition, protection, and promotion than evangelical Christians anywhere. So why can’t they leave such Christians alone? What more do they want or need?

Only Romans 1:18-32 can explain this. In effect it says that even if gay marriage is legalized everywhere, and even if every dissenting voice is extinguished, gay consciences will still scream “Wrong!” and “Guilty!” Deep inside they will still know “the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death” (Rom. 1:32). That’s the “nagging shadow” that forever stalks gay consciousness.

Peace through the cross
The Christian message to the gay community is to give up this futile attempt to secure peace of conscience through the courts, the media, and millions of crosses on ballot papers. Far better to bring such pained consciences to the cross of Christ for full healing and permanent silencing by God Himself, through faith and repentance. That will do a far better job of removing anxiety, shadows, and fears than any amount of referenda or baker and florist bankruptcies. It will also open the way to experience the immeasurable length, depth, and height of the love of God.

And for Christians who are suffering or who will yet suffer the consequences of societal or state disapproval over this issue, take confidence from the power of a good conscience. We are mocked, disapproved, belittled, sidelined, caricatured, and rejected more than any other group in society. We are called bigots, homophobes, and haters. But having a good conscience through which God speaks His approval and acceptance of us means we can continue to stand for what is right and true no matter how many voices of intolerance and hate yell at us.


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Check out

Blogs

How much should a preacher rely on the thoughts of others when preparing a sermon? | Practical Shepherding

Help Me Teach the Bible: Mark Futato on Psalms | The Gospel Coalition

On the Call to Public Witness on Marriage | The Gospel Coalition

Preaching on the Churches of Acts | BibleX

The Bible and Same-Sex Relationships: Tim Keller’s Review Article of Books by Matthew Vines and Ken Wilson | TGC

Should We Equate Homosexual and Heterosexual Sin? | Reformation21 Blog
The Shorter Catechism asks: Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous? And answers: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

The 24 Hour Shutdown Experiment
Why is a community of Seventh Day Adventists living 70 miles east of Los Angeles living up to 10 years longer than most Americans? Although some follow a special diet and they all try to exercise regularly, their longevity is being traced primarily to their honoring of the Sabbath as a day or rest and worship. BBC journalist, Peter Bowes, reports:

Many Adventists told me that shutting down from sundown on Friday, for 24 hours, was the highlight of their week. It is a time when they close their minds to work to focus instead on their friends and family. Scientists believe that this period of rest may play a role, alongside diet and exercise, in promoting a long life.

In this article, Bowes reports on the outcome of his own trial “Sabbath.” See also The Sabbath Manifesto for a list of 10 principles aimed at carving out a weekly day of rest.

Kindle Books

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry by John Piper $2.99.

Simply Homeschool: 2nd Edition: Have Less Fluff and Bear More Fruit by Karen DeBeus $2.99.

C.S. Lewis: A Life Inspired by Christopher Gordon $0.99

 

Recommended New Book

Hammer of the Huguenots (Heroes & History) by Douglas Bond $11.99.