Check out

The Love Life of John Knox
Might smash a few caricatures. In his late fifties, Knox married a nineteen-year-old!

Homeschooling and Tolerance
I am sure we can all think of exceptions, but Gene Veith says, “Contrary to the critics who argue that homeschooling makes kids insular and intolerant and that we need public schools to establish social cohesion, a new study has found that college students who had been homeschooled are actually more tolerant of people with different political views than are products of public schools.”

God Meets Busy Moms Right Where They Are
Neat extract from Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, a new book by Gloria Furman.

Does It Pay To Tell The Truth?
Dr Samantha Boardman: “Research shows that frequent liars have more stress, more headaches, more colds, more back pain, worse insomnia and are more likely to be overweight than those who tell the truth. Lying also damages personal and professional relationships whereas telling the truth boosts the strength of our connections and mental health.”

Advice For A Happy Life
Fascinating article by Charles Murray, author of the upcoming Curmdgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead. Notice the importance he places upon religion. “Find ways to put yourself around people who are profoundly religious. You will encounter individuals whose intelligence, judgment and critical faculties are as impressive as those of your smartest atheist friends—and who also possess a disquieting confidence in an underlying reality behind the many religious dogmas.”

When Should a Pastor Recommend a Psychiatrist?
Great answer from CCEF’s Mike Emlet.


Sleep Your Way to Success

Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, and Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post fame, both say that we should sleep our way to success.

In their speeches and the Q&A at the launch of Huffinton’s new book, Thrive, they both kept coming back to the importance of getting enough sleep.

“For many years the way I thought that I would get everything done was to get less sleep,” Sandberg said. The Facebook COO said she has taken Huffington’s advice to heart; she now makes a conscious effort to not only sleep more, but to spend at least five minutes a day meditating, even though “it’s really hard.”

Some in the audience were skeptical, but Huffington insisted:

When I look back, all my biggest mistakes were when I was burned out…I look back and life would have been incredibly easier — if I’d slept more.

I’ve been studying (and trying to practice) this more in my own life. Last year, in The Sermon You Preach in Your Sleep, I wrote about how our sleep pattern reveals our theology.

I’m scheduled to speak on the subject at a few conferences in the next few months, and hope to explain the impact of sleep in six areas of life. Here’s some of the research about the impact of sleep on the physical and emotional realms.

Physical Consequences

  • Just one week of sleeping fewer than six hours a night results in changes to more than 700 genes.
  • Just one night of sleep deprivation is linked with signs of brain tissue loss.
  • Infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
  • Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night is associated with a tripled risk of coming down with a cold.
  • Lack of sleep increases hunger, portion size, and preference for high-calorie, high-carb foods, with the resulting risk of obesity
  • Chronic sleep deprivation (less than 6 hours a night) associated with
    • Skin aging
    • 4 x stroke risk for middle- and older-aged people
    • 50% higher risk of colorectal cancers, and some links with other cancers too
    • 48% higher chance of developing or dying from heart disease
    • Lower fertility rates.

Emotional Consequences

  • Sleep loss produces apathy, irritability, weepiness, impatience, anger, flattened responses,
  • Sleep loss can cause psychological damage because sleep regulates the brain’s flow of epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, chemicals closely associated with mood and behavior.
  • People with insomnia are 10 times as likely to develop depression and 17 times as likely to have significant anxiety.
  • The lack of sleep affects the teenage brain in similar ways to the adult brain, only more so, and can lead to emotional issues like depression and aggression.
  • In one study by researchers at Columbia University, teens who went to bed at 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts than those who regularly stayed awake well after midnight.

So, it’s not just sleep your way to success, but sleep your way to health, strength, and happiness.


Check out

5 Ways to Keep Email from Taking Over Your Life
“Email isn’t the problem. It’s your habits.”

How to Memorize Entire Books of the Bible
Or even just a few verses.

4 Helpful Research Paper Writing Tips
Want to write quality, compelling research papers? Here’s an excerpt from Quality Research Papers.

Kay Warren: A Year of Grieving Dangerously
One year after the suicide of her son, Kay Warren shares her story of grief, mystery, and hope.

How Jesus Read the Old Testament (Part Two)
And here’s part one.

Drone + GoPro Explore Alaskan Ice Caves


Children’s Bible Reading Plan

Here’s this week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf. And this is the second year in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books with Genesis and Matthew now complete (explanatory note).

Old Testament

New Testament


Dashed Hopes for Biblical Counseling

I’VE UPDATED THE INTRO AND END OF THIS POST IN ORDER TO MAKE IT EASIER TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE ISSUES.

I’m deeply disappointed  with this article by Heath Lambert, Executive Director of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, now called The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

The article asks, “Can Jesus Heal Mental Illness?”

And answers, “Yes.”

That answer in itself might be OK, but the article goes on to explain that “Yes” means “Yes, Jesus alone can heal mental illness.”

I want to explain my deep concerns about this article by simply highlighting a few quotes from it followed by some questions. I’ll number the questions to make any response easier.

Christians ought to understand mental illness in terms of spiritual issues. If mental illnesses are spiritual issues then we need to ask whether Jesus can bring healing to these things.

1. Only spiritual issues?

2. No other dimension of understanding?

…we need to carefully explain that mental illness is atheistic language for problems that have to do with life lived before the God of heaven and earth.

3. Atheistic language? Can you explain what is atheistic about it?

4. What does “problems that have to do with life lived before the God of heaven and earth” mean? Does it mean that all these problems are traceable to problems with our personal relationship to God?

It looks like this is answered by the next sentence:

We need to further explain that it is Jesus alone who can deal with these problems.

5. Mental illness is purely about a defective spiritual relationship to God that Jesus alone can heal? Jesus alone?

The next sentence seems to remove all doubt:

Jesus really can heal these problems. In fact, his is the only healing available.

The penultimate paragraph then comes to the only logical conclusion from such presuppositions:

Our culture believes that mental illnesses point to biology and require medical intervention.  Those of us in the biblical counseling movement are the only ones who know that the construct of mental illness actually has to with problems of the heart and require the gospel of God’s grace for healing.

6. No biological component? Ever?

7. No medication? Ever?

8. Mental illness has to do with problems of the heart and requires the Gospel of God’s grace for healing?

9. No other dimension than the heart?

10. No other solution than the Gospel?

11. The Biblical counseling movement know all this? They are the only ones who know this?

I hate writing posts like this, especially when I know and appreciate the author, an author who has written helpfully elsewhere. But this is dangerous and potentially deadly stuff that I hope will be qualified or clarified soon, not only for the sake of those who do suffer from mental and emotional disorders, but also for the sake of the Biblical Counseling movement.


Check out

8 Causes of Spiritual Depression
Jason Helopoulos: “Most of us go through real times of spiritual melancholy in the Christian life. They can be brief or entire seasons in which, as Gisbertus Voeitus said, a person “fails to feel his or her heart’s delight in God and divine things.”"

PCRT in Grand Rapids Tonight and Tomorrow
Rick Phillips, Jason Helopoulos, Phil Johnson and Greg Gilbert speak on The Beauty and Holiness of the Bride of Christ. Conference brochure here.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Preachers
The only point I’d disagree with is #6. I think two good sermons a week can be accomplished with practice.

5 Strategies for Ministering in a Cretan Context
Thabiti: “Job number one for ministering in a Cretan context is appointing qualified spiritual leadership.”

God Used me to Stop a School Shooter
Antoinette Tuff talked down an armed intruder. Just a few months before, she almost took her own life.

The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield
Steve Lawson says if he could be anyone in church history, he would be George Whitefield.