Check out


Pray For Your Church: 31 Day Challenge | Mike Leake, Borrowed Light

The Internal Witness of Scripture | Nick Batzig, The Christward Collective
On the inerrancy and authority of scripture.

Why ‘Pastor-Scholar’ Is a False Dichotomy | Peter Beck, The Gospel Coalition
The third installment in TGC’s series on the “Pastor-Scholar.”

Catechizing Belief and Duty | Dustyn Eudaly, Place for Truth

10 Reasons Why You Should Underprogram Your Church | Jared Wilson, For The Church
A lot worth reading in the article. Consider reason #2: “Over-programming creates an illusion of fruitfulness that may just be busyness.”

The Gospel Remedy for Homosexuality by John Freeman | John Freeman,
“On this side of the fall, sex and sexuality are distorted to lesser or greater degrees. However, today there is controversy about homosexuality raging in evangelical circles and, increasingly, in Reformed churches as well. Not only is homosexuality often presented as good but it is also presented as something to be pursued with God’s blessing.” Freeman debunks this thinking and offers a Gospel-centered approach in this important article.

Welcoming Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas as Our Newest Teaching Fellows | Ligonier
Ligonier get another two first-round draft picks.

New Books

Practical Shepherding Series Complete Set edited by Brian Croft. This is quite the collection of pastoral theology.

Kindle Books

$20 off a few Kindle models today.

Christianity and Liberalism by Gresham Machen $0.99. Though old, it never seems to age. As relevant today as it ever was.

The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by Don Carson $2.99.

The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code by Dennis Prager $1.49. Jewish academic and popular broadcaster Dennis Prager’s take on the 10 commandments.


Bevin’s Story
Matt Bevin was elected as Governor of Kentucky last week. He has a beautiful Christian testimony.

10 Kingdom Priorities

One of the most common pieces of advice in business and self-help books is about the need to prioritize. We all have so much to do, that we need to plan and organize our lives so that we get the most important and urgent things done. There are various complex schemes and principles for achieving this productivity nirvana.

But there’s a divine priority that blows them all out of the water, and puts everything else in Quadrant 4: neither important nor urgent. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?” (Matt. 6:33).

But what does that look like? How do we do that? Here are 10 ways to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Enter the kingdom first. There’s only one entrance – and that’s through the door of regeneration (John 3:3,5). Before you do anything else, surrender to the King and submit to His rule.

Make the kingdom your greatest interest. Instead of asking “How is my team doing do?” “How are the polls doing?” How are my shares doing?” Ask “How is the kingdom doing?” Make the church of Christ your first interest and chief delight.

Give the first of your money to the kingdom. Instead of seeing how much is left over at the end of the week or the month, the first cut from your salary should be your tithe to the kingdom.

Devote the first minutes to the kingdom. Don’t wait until you can squeeze God in at some point in the day or delay until you give him the drowsy dregs of the day. As soon as you rise and are refreshed give time to listening to the King’s Word and petitioning the King’s throne.

Commit the first day to the kingdom. God set apart one day in seven to turn away from the kingdoms of the world and our personal kingdom-building to focus our attention on the upbuilding of His kingdom.

Dedicate your best energy to the kingdom. Don’t wait until you are old and can only offer a few tired years to the Lord’s kingdom. Serve him early, serve him young, serve him vigorously and energetically.

View everything through a kingdom filter. As you read and hear the news, apply the kingdom filter to it, look at world events through the lens of the kingdom.

Choose, decide, and plan using kingdom criteria. When you are faced with major life decisions, your first question shouldn’t be “How will this affect my family?” but “How will this affect the kingdom?”

Prioritize kingdom interests in your prayers. While there’s nothing wrong and plenty right with praying for personal and family needs, we must remember that “Your kingdom come” comes before, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Seek the salvation of our children above all else. While we may want our children to get a good education, and good jobs, and good spouses, and good houses, above all we want them to know the goodness of God through faith in Jesus Christ. If we asked our children “What do you think your parents want most for you?” would their answer be “The Kingdom.”

There’s a wonderful promise attached to this command: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” What are these things? The context tells us — food, drink, and clothing. The necessities of life, in other words. It’s not a promise of health, wealth, and prosperity, but of basics, enough, and sufficient.

God’s basically saying, “If you take care of my interests, I’ll take care of yours.”

Check out


7 Gospel-Centered Principles for Protecting Your Marriage | Biblical Counseling Coalition
#2: Make your personal walk with the Lord a priority

31 of J.I. Packer’s Best Quotes | Tylers Smith, LogosTalk
Here’s a good one: “Any theology that does not lead to song is, at a fundamental level, a flawed theology.”

How Church Bullies and Abusers Deceive Us | The Reformed Reader

When Your Apology Falls Flat (Guest Post: Jennifer Thomas and Gary Chapman) | Clare De Graaf
Thoughts from Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Languages of Apology.

Why You Should Read for 20 Minutes Every Day | Time Management Ninja
He means from a real book, not Facebook.

The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Boss | David Sturt, Harvard Business Review

The Norwegian Secret To Enjoying A Long Winter | Laura Vanderkam, Fast Company
Pretending you live in Florida?

Why Trump Matters | Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
Dreher analyzes Trump’s key supporters.

New Book

The Gospel according to Heretics: Discovering Orthodoxy through Early Christological Conflicts by David E. Wilhite ($12.99 Kindle, $17.52 Paperback)

Kindle Deals

The Messianic Hope: Is the Old Testament Really Messianic? (NAC Studies in Bible & Theology) by Matthew Rydelnik ($0.99)

Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not the Enemy of Faith by Barnabas Piper ($3.99)

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life Inspired by Wyatt North ($2.99)

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


A warning to America and Israel from an ex-Muslim

Intentional Living

Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters by John Maxwell ($12.99 Kindle, $16.55 hardcover).

I like to read a John Maxwell book every 3-4 years. As there tends to be considerable overlap in his books, if you only buy every third of fourth, you’ve got a better chance of getting fresh material. Of that new material, I usually discard about 50% of it as only applicable to business rather than pastoral ministry. But in the remaining 50%, I always find 3-5  worthwhile insights to help me be a better communicator, administrator, pastor, and leader.

Although Maxwell was once a pastor, threads Christian principles through most of his books, and in this one tells a lot about his Christian life (which was fascinating), I’m not reading his books for theology or ecclesiology. His theology is Arminian and his ecclesiology is rather man-centered and marketing-oriented. In this book, that often results in him crediting himself and his techniques for the dramatic church growth he saw in his ministry.

All that said, this was still a profitable book for me to read. When the publisher sent it to me for review a couple of months ago, it happily coincided with a time when I was being pushed and pulled in different directions by various writing, speaking, teaching, preaching, and counseling demands.

This book helped me to get a big picture view of my life and ministry and clarify an overarching purpose that pulled together all the complex strands. Its practical teaching on finding and following a clear purpose has enabled me to decide what to do each day, what speaking and writing opportunities to pursue, and what long-term projects to prioritize.

It clarified for me why I blog and what direction my blog should take. It also persuaded me to write a book that a publisher suggested to me, even though I was not actively looking for another writing project.

Some of Intentional Living is a bit idealist, some of it unrealistic (e.g. “Everybody has one thing they do better than anyone else in the world”), and some of it is too focussed on numerical or financial success (with hints of prosperity gospel here and there). However, without too much thought or effort, you can discard these bones and still find some good meat around them. The meat for me was:

The importance of why

“If you want to make a difference and live a life of significance, you must tap into your why. You need to start thinking about your purpose. Your why is the life’s blood of intentional living….Once you know your why you will be able to find your way.”

Questions to find your why

1. What do you cry about? What breaks your heart? What disturbs you? What makes you take action to bring healing?

2. What makes you sing? What makes you happy? Puts a bounce in your step? Makes you jump for joy?

3. What do you dream about? What if you could do anything you wanted to make the world a better place?

4. Is there something that comes easily to you that others find difficult?

5. What’s your strength? What would happen if you invested more in developing this strength?

6. What makes you feel energized?

7. What do you find yourself thinking about in your spare time?

Change thinking  from “What’s in it for me?” to “What can I do for others?” 

What can you help others to learn? How can you make life better for others?  Begin adding value to others using the things you naturally do well and keep fine-tuning your efforts until it aligns with your sweet spot.  Be a ladder builder not a ladder climber

A missing question

One question little touched upon in the book, but so essential from a Christian point of view, is to ask God above all: “What will YOU have me to do?” Of course, God may and often does use the kind of questions that Maxwell suggests to help us find His will. But sometimes God will ask us to do things that are the exact opposite of the answers to these questions. Then, our response must be, “Not my will, but your will be done.”

A missing possibility

And what if our calling is not to do great things but to suffer great things? We all know people who have greatly glorified God on earth through humble submission to tremendous suffering. Their calling is not to find their strength and develop it, but to accept their weakness and trust in God for daily strength. That may not be “intentional living” but it is God-glorifying living.”

Check out


We Should Expect Non-Christians to Share Our Morals | Christianity Today
If we insist that Christian ethics should have no bearing on public policy, we do a disservice to our theology and cripple the mission of the church. It is a retreat inward and a tacit approval of injustice in society. A public Christianity is not about imposing Christian ethics on an unwilling citizenry. Instead, public Christianity is about marshaling God’s truth in service of our fellow image bearers, using the conscience and persuasion as our means.

Reflections from 40 Years in Pastoral Ministry | Kent Hughes
Well worth studying these answers from Kent Hughes (see his new magnum opus on pastoral ministry below), especially this one: “What’s been the biggest change in pastoral ministry during your lifetime? How should young pastors to navigate that change?”

Despite Wrong Doomsday Stats, Pastors Holding Up Just Fine | Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer continues to debunk false stats about 150o pastors leaving the ministry each month, and instead argues that pastors are doing just fine.

Sherry Turkle: How to Keep Your iPhone from Destroying Your Relationships | Her.meneutics
And on the same topic here’s Unsocial Media by Tony Reinke.

The Gift of Anxiety | The Upward Call
Kim Shay: “Anxiety has taught me a lot about compassion. It has taught me that mental illness is not as black and white as we think. And it taught me that the church has a long way to go toward understanding it and helping its sufferers through it. There is a lot of misunderstanding about it. When a woman struggles with impatience, pride, or selfishness, we want to help. We know it takes time. But when it’s anxiety, it’s as if we think handing out a verse and reminding her that anxiety is a sin will be an automatic cure. It isn’t.”

What It’s Like Explaining Depression Meds to Many Christians
A powerful comic strip illustration of what Kim says above.

New Book Recommendation

The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry by Kent Hughes. 40 years of ministry experience on almost 600 pages!

Kindle Books

Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs by Jimmy Dodd $3.82.

The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? by John Macarthur $5.99.


Hello Jetman
This is phenomenal. I’m not really a danger guy. Bungees, parachutes, tightropes, and rafts have never held much appeal. But this….Wow! Spectacular fulfillment of Genesis 1:28.

Sermon Audio Conference in New York

The Foundations Conference is a conference organized by SermonAudio to challenge pastors and church leaders to restore what we believe are the vital foundations in ministry, namely prayer and preaching (Acts 6:4). It will be held in New York City from 15 -17 December. Speakers include Joel Beeke, Steve Lawson, and Conrad Mbewe. Cost is $120. More details here.