The Worrying Effects of Working More and Sleeping Less

A recent BBC article highlighted The Worrying Effects of Working More and Sleeping Less. Here are some stats which will either keep you awake tonight or perhaps send you to bed earlier:

  • Back in the 1940s people were sleeping on average just a little bit over eight hours a night, and now in the modern age, we’re down to around 6.7, 6.8 hours a night. That’s 20% less sleep in just 70 years.
  • The blue light emitted from our digital devices puts the brakes on the release of a hormone called melatonin at night, and melatonin signals when you should sleep.
  • Technology also causes sleep procrastination. Midnight is the time when we think, well, we should probably send our last email, let me just check Facebook one more time.
  • The primary cause of modern sleep deprivation is the economic and social pressure to work more, sleep less, and be more like some famous world leaders – including Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Margaret Thatcher – who have claimed to exist on five hours of sleep a night or less.
  • 10,000 research study papers show that the number of people who can survive on six hours of sleep or less and show no impairment is zero.
  • Anything less than seven hours’ sleep, we start to see health consequences.
  • Matt Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “Every major disease that is killing us in the developed world: Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression, suicidality. All of them have direct now and very strong causal links to deficient sleep.”

Here are God’s stats: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep” (Ps. 127:2).

And here are two ways to respond:

  • “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me” (Ps. 3:5).
  • “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps. 4:8).

Check out


Preaching Under Pressure
“The Lord does not teach us to pray in a classroom. He teaches us to pray on a battlefield”

Angered At and Angry With
“As I work my way through the proverbs, I see anger everywhere. I see the folly of anger, the danger of anger, the sinfulness of anger. I see that the godly learn to control their anger while the fools let it rage.”

Discovering Christ in the Psalms
“It should not, therefore, surprise us that the New Testament writers cite the Psalms more than any other book of the Old Testament. Neither should it surprise us that, in each citation, Jesus and the Apostles teach us that the Psalms are Messianic in nature. In so doing, they teach us the principles that we must follow as we seek to discover Christ in all the rest of the Psalms.”

Laboring to No Purpose
“It is doubtless very significant that, even by the time of his Ascension, Jesus did not leave a mega-church behind him on earth. Rather, it was through his weak and bumbling disciples that he began to build his church in the face of the hellish powers that sought to withstand it.”

Martin Luther’s Shelter Amid the Flood of Depression
“Singing does more than raise our hearts’ affection for the triune God; it steels us with confidence to stand defiant against our enemy. It’s not the prince of darkness grim for whom we tremble. No, we tremble in the presence of our Lord Jesus, whose gospel is the declaration of our enemy’s demise (Col. 2:13–15). His kingdom is forever (Heb. 1:8; John 16:33). ”

Learning the life of faith
“One of our pastor’s said recently, “We associate evil with pain, and good with pleasure. But God does not associate things this way.”"

5 Reasons Sermons Fail
To preach is to occasionally lay an egg. Every preacher has felt it, and every preacher hopes to never feel it again. What did I do wrong? Why did the sermon flop? How do I avoid this ever happening again? These questions, and many more, hound the conscience of the preacher who’s delivered a still-born sermon.

Reset Interview
Here’s an interview about Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture.

Kindle Books

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert.

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

Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior by Kim Wagner $2.09

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My Entire Company Avoids Email For One Full Day Every Quarter | Tom Gimbel, Fast Company
“Sometimes we need to be reminded of the great things that can come from in-person communication. I know this type of thing won’t work for every company, but it never hurts to experiment. If not a no-email day, there’s probably something you can do to give your whole team a jolt of energy on a regular basis—and it probably isn’t high-tech.”

3 Reasons Preachers Shouldn’t Publicly Contradict a Bible Translation | Mark Ward, LogosTalk
“I cringe almost every time I hear a preacher criticize a particular phrase from an English Bible translation in preaching—even and especially those times when I caught myself doing it before I could stop myself. We preachers and Bible teachers would do better not to publicly correct the Bible translations on people’s laps. Here are three reasons why.”

Poll: Most Agree With Mike Pence’s Refusal To Eat Alone With Women | Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
“How out of touch are newsrooms that they thought this position was Sharia-like, as opposed to what it turns out to be: completely normal? According to The New York Times, ‘Nearly two-thirds say people should take extra caution around members of the opposite sex at work.’”

Is One The Loneliest Number? | MOS – Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
“Lydia Brownback debunks some common myths about loneliness, offers careful critique of singles in the church, and voices the biblical standards at stake in the sexualized culture in which we live.”

3 Ways Ministry Can Make You Conceited | Tim Keller, TGC
“Here are three ways ministry can make you conceited unless God intervenes. Pastors, be warned.”

Pastor John MacArthur says it is not sinful to provide services for a gay wedding? | The Christian Post
Well, this is deeply disappointing and undermines the stand that many courageous Christians have been making. I fear these words are going to be used against ordinary Christians fighting in the trenches of religious liberty. I’m surprised Macarthur does not see the difference between providing a service to gay people (which no one objects to) and providing a service that involves the provider in the approval and even celebration of gay marriage.

“One of the questions posed to the panelists asked if it’s ‘truly sinful’ for a Christian business person to make a product for a same-sex wedding… MacArthur responded by saying that providing products to same-sex weddings is not a sin. ‘No, it’s not sinful for a cake maker to make a cake for a gay wedding anymore [sic] than its [sic] sinful for a guy who runs a restaurant to serve dinner to somebody who is gay, sits in a booth and eats the food, or goes to the market and buys a loaf of bread and you own the market,’ he argued. ‘What the issue is, is not whether that’s sinful. It’s whether the federal government can demand that people do certain things, which goes against their Christian conscience.’”

Pastor, Are You Prepared to Shepherd Your Flock through Dementia? | John Dunlop, Crossway Articles
“The tragedy of dementia is common and will become more so in the future. It is estimated that over 30% of the average church congregation will die with some form of dementia. That represents an enormous challenge in pastoral ministry. I would suggest th at one of the metrics by which a pastor’s ministry can be assessed is how well the saints are prepared to face this test in a way that glorifies God.”

Slogging Blogging | Tim Challies
“Slogging is doing things that are difficult, things that are repetitive, things that do not return immediate results or pay quick dividends. It’s continuing to advance against obstacles, to find paths around whatever hinders progress. It’s knowing what matters and doing those things with tenacity, with determination. It’s grit. It’s sticktoitivness. It’s believing in what you do enough to keep doing it when you don’t see obvious results and just want to give up.”

New Books

Counsel to Gospel Ministers by John Brown

How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets by Peter J. Gentry

Kindle Books

Alexander Hamilton: A Life by Willard Sterne Randall ($1.99)

Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith by Larry Osborne ($2.99)

On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church by Deepak Reju ($2.39)

8 Ways to Help Depressed Christians

Many of us struggle with what to do when someone we know is depressed. We want to help but fear, confusion, or misunderstanding holds us back. Over at the Campaign for Core Christianity, I suggest eight guidelines for helping depressed people.

1. Prepare for it.

2. Don’t assume personal sin.

3. Measure the dimensions.

4. Don’t rush to or rule out medication.

5. Be holistic.

6. Involve family and friends.

7. Maintain spiritual disciplines.

8. Give hope.

Read my explanation of each point here.

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Teens Who Choose Life in Unplanned Pregnancies Need Support
Commentary on the Christian school student who got pregnant, decided to keep her baby, and then was stopped from participating in the graduation.

Isn’t there a way for us to show both grace and truth, to be clear that promiscuity is against God’s revealed will and therefore our own happiness, but also to honor a girl’s courageous choice to give her child life?  Isn’t there a way to uphold rules, but still value relationship?

How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?
A few good podcasts out there today. First  there’s Ask Pastor John on how much to sleep:

So, the question always will be: Am I getting less sleep because I am truly being led by the Lord and sustained by the Lord in humble faith, or am I presumptuously jumping off the temple and testing the Lord to see if he will catch me and keep me from getting a heart attack?

Then there’s Flippin’ with Aaron a discussion about “flipping the Classroom” with Aaron Sams, author of Flipped Learning.

As an author and popular speaker on the flipped classroom, Aaron describes this concept and its potential uses from homeschooling to grad school to seminary.

And if you’re in the mood for some theological meat, here’s Dr. Bill Vandoodewaard and Dr. Jonathan Master discussing the marrow controversy.

Columns from Tabletalk Magazine
The July issue of Tabletalk considers entertainment and its role in the Christian life. Here are some of its monthly articles.

A Checkpoint for Your Ambition
How do we know when we’ve fallen into sinful ambition?

The minute we stop being happy for the successes and victories of others, especially when those successes and victories come in an area of life in which we are ambitious, we know there’s a problem brewing if not already boiling.

Six Reasons We Must Seek Solitude
“Jesus tirelessly made Himself approachable and available. Yet, what impresses me even more about Christ was the time He spent alone. Before He launched out into public ministry, Jesus spent 40 days and nights by Himself in the wilderness…Note these six reasons that we, like Jesus, must seek solitude.”

From What Got Done to What God Did
This is excellent counsel and, if implemented, would radically alter the quality of our sleep and the state of our souls:

Whether our day is filled with the dramatic or the ordinary, or our labors lack any visible reward, asking ourselves what God did orients our hearts away from discouragement over our lack of accomplishments, and toward the goodness of God. Consider your day and ask yourself God-focused questions. Here are a few to get you started:

Why Your Smartphone Is a Direct Threat to Your Friendships
Jasmine Holmes warns that “the obsession with our smartphones is so often an obsession for power.”

We have become increasingly uncomfortable with awkward silences, quiet moments, and thoughtful conversation. Smartphones are an easy way to dull the pain of difficult circumstances, stay removed from the messiness of confrontation, ignore tough realities we would rather not face, and expend as little effort as possible to stay connected with other people. To use my iPhone as a haven from the messiness of face-to-face friendship is the enemy of authentic intimacy.”

The “Other” 10 Second Rule
Affairs do not begin over a long period of time but often in a few short seconds that change the whole trajectory of many lives:

Over the years, I’ve talked with many men and women who have been involved in affairs. One of the most salutary things is to realize that with many of them, they didn’t intend to be unfaithful to their partners. They sometimes blurt out, “It just happened.” They will normally go on to talk about some innocent event in which they were involved (often a genuine desire to help the other person in some way), and then go on to say, “It suddenly got out of hand.”

When is the battle won or lost in the affair? Is it decided at the bedroom door? No. The battle is so often decided when somebody smiles at you across a room and you have ten seconds to decide whether you will walk those twenty feet or keep talking to the boring colleague next to you. There is, in so many affairs, a line that has to be crossed. The tragedy is that so often it is drawn very near the beginning of the relationship, but once it is crossed it is hard to go back.”

Kindle Books

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper $3.99.

Lincoln’s Battle with God: A President’s Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for America by Stephen Mansfield $2.99.

Mindscape: What to Think About Instead of Worrying by Timothy Witmer $1.59.

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Baker who refused to bake cake for gay wedding on The View
As Denny says, this is a generally helpful and enlightening interview. Apart from a few mocking comments, the discussion was surprisingly calm and balanced.

Military Cases of Conscience
Nick navigates the increasingly complex ethical world our military chaplains are serving in.

Three Obstacles to True Rest
Michael Kelley writes:

Rest is not necessarily sleep; it’s not necessarily increased leisure; it’s not even necessarily inactivity, though all of those things matter. Rest goes deeper. Rest is a state in which we live which we can only enter into through the gospel which tells us that because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, we can, at last, stop striving.

Five Reasons Why Steve Jobs iPhone Presentation was the Best Ever
The original iPhone presentation had all the elements of a great story: heroes and villains, twists and turns, and humorous sidebars.

How The Gospel Transforms Teenagers Like Me
A teen reviews Jaquelle Crowe’s new book for that age group.

Singleness, Dating, and Marriage Infographic
A graphical presentation of Crossway’s research into dating and marriage.

Lloyd-Jones: Make Room for the Cross
A retired minister approached a young Lloyd-Jones and said, “The Cross and the work of Christ appear to have little place in your preaching.” Read this article to find our Lloyd-Jones’s response.

Kindle Books

Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard $2.99.

Understanding the Bible by John Stott $1.99.

Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung $3.99.

How to Read the Bible for all it’s Worth by Gordon Fee


Brian Croft’s Crazy First Five Years at his Church