Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

I know. I know. It is Monday so it is a little late for a “weekend roundup” but in my household the kids have a four day weekend from school so technically for me this still counts!

The False Teachers: This sounds like it will be good. Tim Challies is starting out a new series of articles that will scan the history of the church and pause to examine some of Christianity’s most notorious false teachers. The first one is Arius.

Missionary Biographies: Here is another church history link but of a different focus. This one is about the power and importance of reading missionary biographies and at the bottom actually provides a link to a great list of free ebooks of missionary biographies! Read up and may the Lord put a fire in your heart for the glory of his name and declaring it to all peoples!

Common Objections: The Old Testament is Full of Rape, Murder, Slavery, Homophobia: Over at monergism.com John Hendryx gives a very gracious and powerful response to some of these common objections. Read up so that you might be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you!

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God: Nice review of a good book that I highly recommend. I have a very old beaten up copy of it in my library.

Looking to Christ in the Loss of a Child: As the article says, “The loss of a child is painful, deeply painful” but “In Christ, grief will not the last word.”

7 Truths for a Christ-Centered Marriage: This is the first of a mini-series on marriage that was timed to coincide with the week of Valentine’s day. I encourage you to read them all.

Final Focus: OK preachers and teachers – what is the final focus of your sermons?


Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

OK. So it has been nearly a month since I did this so this one isn’t so much a “weekend roundup” as it is a “monthly roundup.” Because of that there are also more than seven for you to muse. Enjoy!

Finders and keepers: “Has familiarity bred contempt? Do we value the truth as we should? With what eagerness or languor will you go to church tomorrow to hear the Word of God read and preached? Will once be enough? How often do you turn to it during the week?”

Who are You to “Who are You” Me?: Have you ever been in a conversation with someone about abortion or homosexuality and suddenly someone says, “Who are you to judge me?” Jay Watts very helpfully points out that such a response is “lazy thinking, if it can be categorized as thinking at all” and later goes on to say, “If by “Who are you to judge?” they mean to imply judgment is wrong then they are wrong to judge you. If they mean that you are wrong to judge others based on your criteria of judgement, then they need to focus on the reasons offered to support your criteria and not you.”

Jesus, Sex, and (gay) Marriage: In this article, Kenny Burchard puts to rest several often-used rationale from the culture with respect to the Bible and especially with respect to Jesus. I especially found #2 helpful as I have encountered that several times in my own ministry and #5 is especially important. Homosexuals are not the enemy. The enemy are the wolves within the church who are teaching homosexuality is OK and encouraging it as an acceptable lifestyle. As Christians, we must compassionately reach out to every kind of person. We must tell them of God’s love and call them to repent of their sins that they might be forgiven and declared righteous by the Lord God Almighty.

Yes, All Things, In Fact: I couldn’t agree more with Kevin DeYoung thoughts on God’s providence over all things and personally love to proclaim it whenever I can. God’s providence is a pillow for our heads. Especially uplifting is this paragraph – “You can look at providence through the lens of human autonomy and our idolatrous notions of freedom and see a mean God moving tsunamis and kings like chess pieces in some kind of perverse divine play-time.  Or you can look at providence through the lens of Scripture and see a loving God counting the hairs on our heads and directing the sparrows in the sky so that we might live life unafraid.  “What else can we wish for ourselves,” Calvin wrote, “if not even one hair can fall from our head without his will?” There are no accidents in your life.  Nothing has been left to chance.  Every economic downturn, every phone call in the middle of the night, every oncology report has been sent to us from the God who sees all things, plans all things, and loves us more than we know.” Now if we could only keep this in mind when the times of crisis or emergency come upon us. It seems we are more often than not practical atheists in times of suffering!

How to Fight the Good Fight for Joy: Seven ways to fight for the joy Jesus promised us.

What Macklemore got wrong…and right: Denny Burk shares the real question everyone should be thinking about post-Grammy’s – “In the wake of the Grammys, the big question is not what you thought of Macklemore. The big question is which God you will believe in. The false god of “same love,” or the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Which one will you choose?”

The Biggest “Contradiction” in the Bible: What do you think it might be?

5 Ways Facebook May Be Harming Your Christian Life: Kruger asks, “What effect does “social media” technology have on the way we view church? What effect does it have on the way we conceive of life in the body of Christ?” and then shares 5 characteristics of a “Facebook culture” that we need to reckon with.

The Wikipedia Church: The article begins this way – “Jesus made a definitive statement regarding the church.  He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).  From the days of the early church, a pattern has existed regarding the church’s nature and function.  The very word “church” indicates a calling out from the world.  R.C. Sproul, in his commentary on Ephesians has written, “To be called by God out of the world and into the body of Christ is the highest vocation possible.”  However, in our present day, pastors and church leaders seem to be consistently looking to the culture to redefine, reinvent, and restructure church.  This type of behavior is much like the modern Wikipedia site where the culture contributes to define terms and provide research.  We are living in a “Wikipedia Church” culture.”

9 Benefits of Expository Preaching: I am a strong believer in expositional preaching. It is how my dad preaches. It is what was modeled to me in college and it is what I strive to do every Sunday. I often get asked why I preach the way I do. Now I have a list of 9 reasons! Many of the benefits of it are hard to measure but here are nine practical-theological benefits worth noting.

Map: More than half of humanity lives within this circle: A really interesting population map that shows Asia’s population dominance.

Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for Your Musings

How Far You Can Travel From New York City in a Day: This is a fascinating article with a really neat info-graphic. Here is opening paragraph – “Before directions provided by Google Maps, the interstate highway system, cars, the transcontinental railroad, and the Erie Canal, a traveler in New York City could expect to spend a whole day and night traveling over what a suburban commuter now does in an hour.”

Six Ways to Look Godly While not Growing your Faith in 2014: I found the 3rd one very convicting. The 6th one also as I have a growing bookshelf of unread books!

Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books: As Solomon warned, “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecc 12:12). There is no way to read everything, and not everything deserves to be read. I say that in order to confront the notion that anyone, anywhere, can master all that could be read with profit. Also includes six initial suggestions.

Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Debate at the Creation Museum: Believe me, if you live anywhere near this you don’t want to miss it! The agreed upon topic is “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s scientific era?” Ken Ham says “I hope to show My. Nye and our debate audience that observational science confirms the scientific accuracy of the Genesis account of origins, not evolution.”

The Four P’s of Faithful Bible Reading: Bible reading is crucial to one’s spiritual health and growth yet the discipline of Bible reading does not come easily. Also, sometimes we fall into our bible reading as a checklist. These four p’s are quite helpful.

Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far: Did you know that Newton’s most famous hymn “Amazing Grace” was first unveiled in his church on New Year’s day (1773), and it’s a reflection on the new year: a look back on his past deliverances, a look around on his present deliverances, and a look forward to his future deliverances in Christ.

Interpret the Bible: Want to understand the Bible better? Here are some superb articles from this month’s edition of Tabletalk to help you. 

Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

From Megadeth to Life: I was quite the metal head in high school myself (and use to have a pretty sweet Metallica t-shirt until I put it in the wash one day and it never came back…)  so it gave me quite a bit of joy to read this short article about the conversion of lead singer for Megadeath Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson. Trophies of grace, indeed!

9 Reasons to Pray: Why should we pray? God already knows our hearts. He already knows our desires. So why Pray? Here are 9 excellent reasons! Can you think of any others? The first reason is my favorite.

2013: They Year in Pictures: CNN with some pretty amazing photos here.

A Plan to Read Through the Bible in 2014: Do you have a bible reading plan? Maybe you want to try a different one? Here is one from Denny Burk which “calls for reading all the books of the Bible in canonical order in one year.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ: A Biblical and Theological Appraisal: A classic article by the late Dr. Bruce Metzger that explores who they are, the good and the bad in the sect, the basic error, erroneous translations, the subordination of the Son, and theological and philosophical considerations.

9 Things You Should Know About Christmas: Did you know them?

Catholicism and Suicide: The church of Rome has reversed its position on a number of very significant issues and now we can add to that list suicide. Like the article says, “How can you trust a denomination to be a safe spiritual guide when it reverse itself on such fundamental issues? If it changes it’s position, then that means either of two things: if it got it right now, it got it wrong then; if it got it right then, it got it wrong now. Also, why has Rome changed its policy? People commit suicide for the same reasons they always committed suicide. It’s not like we’ve discovered new evidence.”

Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

Teaching Children About Heaven: Answering Your Child’s Questions: As any parent knows, kids ask great questions and their questions about heaven are no exception. Are you ready to answer? Wise parents help prepare their children for the deaths of loved ones and the assurance of Heaven for those who know Jesus. In this article Randy Alcorn answers 6 questions children commonly ask about heaven. I know mine have asked a couple of these before!

Top Parenting Posts: I always love at the end of the year how the blog’s I follow highlight their most popular post’s throughout the year. In this article Paul Tripp shares the top three parenting posts for this year. If you are a parent I highly recommend reading these! As Tripp reminds us: “There are few things in life as important as the shaping of a human soul, and God has ordained the parent, in the context of the family, to be the primary instrument in the process.”

Flannel Shirts and Sound Theology: What do flannel shirts have to do with sound theology? Read and find out!

Ten truths that will get you through Christmas: Todd Friel puts us on the “truth train” to help us change our attitude, emotions and feelings about being with our in-laws and other difficult people over Christmas. I thought the 6th one to be very true and often overlooked. Are you on the “truth train?”

A fair analysis of the new NIV: Did you know that in 2011 Zondervan published a new NIV? In this article Si Cochran gives some good food for thought about it.

Common English Errors in English Usage Daily: Butt naked/buck naked: Who knew?

A Functional Car Built Out of Legos: I know…this falls more in the category of “amusement” but it is too incredible to pass up. It definitely takes Lego building to a whole new level and it is powered by air!

Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

Megyn Kelly, Santa, St. Nicolas, and Jesus: Jesus was not white and neither was the real St. Nicolas!

Grace for Our Weakness and Need: I have been thinking a lot about grace lately because I have been preaching through Romans 5 and 6. The opening paragraph begins with “God’s grace is not only sufficient for our salvation, but for every step on our road of sanctification and growth in holiness.” The article then provides a list of ways we may need God’s grace. “What about you? What weaknesses and needs are you aware of in your life for which you need God’s grace? When we humble ourselves before the Lord, and others, “the God of all grace” gives to us a “greater grace” (1 Peter 5:6-10).”

The Resume of the People of God: The Church as a Community of Grace Sharers: Just two weeks ago I laid a similar case before my own church body in seeking to cast a vision for all Christians to be disciple-making wherever, whenever, and to whomever. There are no second-class citizens in God’s kingdom. We’re all in it together. We are all engaged in the same conflict and struggle. Each person is a gift from Christ, possesses spiritual gifts, and needs training not merely to maintain current programs but to open up new areas of ministry.

Dealing with Holiday Loneliness: We all that Thanksgiving and Christmas are for some of us the loneliest times of the year. In this article Shannon Kay McCoy tells us, “Loneliness is not an experience to shun or despise. It is a very real emotion that God uses for good in our lives. The purpose of loneliness is to draw us to God and to others in a godly way.”

Rethinking Santa: Should parents allow their children to believe Santa Claus is bringing them gifts on Christmas? Click the link to read or hear how pastor John Piper answers this question. I loved it!

A humorous rebuke from Rhett and Link: For some humor with an important point watch this 3 minute video called “Get Off the Phone.”

Evernote Owns Me: Never heard of Evernote? I first did about a year ago and immediately fell in love. It is an incredible tool for indexing any kind of information and the best thing about it is it is accessible from anywhere!

Articles of Interest Around the Internet

Tolle Lege:

Holy Week and the Insomnia of Jesus

When the disciples screamed in the face of a storm, Jesus slept (Mk. 4:37-38). When Jesus screamed in the face of a cross, the disciples slept (Mk. 14:37,41).

Why could Jesus sleep so peacefully through a life-threatening sea-storm, and yet is awake all night in the olive garden before his arrest, crying out in anguish? Why are the disciples pulsing with adrenaline as the ship is tossed about on the Galilee Lake, but drifting off to slumber as the most awful conspiracy in human history gets underway?

Getting Ready for Good Friday

But, I’m nervous for us.

I’m nervous that we may merely go through the motions tomorrow. I’m nervous that whatever Good Friday service we attend tomorrow will be nothing more than an item on our “To Do” list. I’m nervous that we will sing songs with a more somber tone, hear a more sobering sermon, take communion and head home…completely unaffected by the weight of what really happened on what we call Good Friday.

Good Friday is a gift to the Church. We have the opportunity to be struck afresh by the reality of Jesus’ brutal death in our place for our sin. We have the opportunity to have our affections stirred by the display of Christ’s love on the cross.

In order to take full advantage of this Good Friday, we must prepare our hearts ahead of time. We can’t blow in and out, expecting to be moved. We must to give thoughtful and careful attention to this significant day. Here are three ways to get ready for Good Friday…

What Would You Do If You Knew You Were Going To Die On Friday?