~UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
Music Review: The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 – Bob Dylan and the Band
Book Review: Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith by Jon Bloom
I’m Currently Reading
~ THIS AND THAT ~
- How Involved Is God in the Details of Your Life? Jon Bloom of Desiring God states that God has many reasons to drive us through Joseph’s life, some more obvious than others. He looks at one perhaps lesser obvious reason.
- What God Can Do in Five Seconds. John Piper writes “God can do more in five seconds than we can do in five hours or months or years. This is one reason the habit of prayer is wise. Sometimes we do not get the five-second breakthrough because we do not ask.”
- One Indispensable Rule. Tim Challies writes “Before you attempt to apply the Bible to your life and circumstances, anchor it in the lives and circumstances of its original recipients. Application must be related to meaning.”
- Learning from a Hard Knox Life. Jonathan Parnell of Desiring God looks at the life of John Knox, on the 500th anniversary of his birth
- What Made David Great? Kevin DeYoung writes “So with all these flaws, what made David great? One could easily mention David’s courage, his loyalty, his faith, and his success as a leader, musician, and warrior. But he was great in other, lesser-known ways as well. In particular, David was a great man because he was willing to overlook others’ sins but unwilling to overlook his own.”
- Prayer: A 14-Day Devotional by Tim Keller. Start the plan or view a sample.
- A Prayer for Preaching the Gospel to Ourselves. Another wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith.
- Lecrae Confesses Abortion, Invites Others into the Light. Read this story and watch the video of the conversation with Lecrae, John Piper and John Ensor.
- New video of Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me”. One of the more creative videos I’ve seen in some time – and a great song.
- Matt Maher on Music, Fatherhood, and Christ. Enjoy this interview from World Magazine.
- Setting the Record Straight. Phil Johnson writes about the recent decision of Tyndale Publishing to pull The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven by Kevin Malarkey from bookshelves.
- On Guard. Tim Challies writes “if I could mandate that at least one leader from every church had to read a single book, I don’t think there are too many I would choose ahead of On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church.”
- Don’t Envy the Bench. See this excerpt from Trip Lee’s book Rise, which will be released January 27
- The Things of Earth Will Grow Strangely Bright. John Piper writes about Joe Rigney’s new book The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts
- Ten Books that Have Shaped Me as a Christian. I enjoyed reading this list from Kevin DeYoung.
MOVIES AND TELEVISION:
- Selma. John Piper gives six reasons why the story in the film Selma matters to us today.
- 2015 Oscar Nominations. The nominations were announced last week. I was both stunned and disappointed that David Oyelowo was not nominated for his powerful portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.
- Questions and Ethics: Discussing ‘Selma’ with Actor David Oyelowo. Russell Moore interviews David Oyelowo, the actor who plays Martin Luther King, Jr. in the new Oscar-nominated film, Selma.
- Unbroken, and Broken. Steven Garber writes about Louis Zamperini’s story.
- From Brokenness and Hate to Redemption and Forgiveness: Louis Zamperini’s Whole Story. Randy Alcorn writes “Survival and redemption are not the same—though in the end it was Zamperini’s redemption that allowed him to survive. And it’s only Christ’s redemptive work on our behalf, atoning for our sins, that will allow any person to survive the final judgment of God and experience the result of redemption: eternal life.” Alcorn also offers some helpful links about Zamperini.
- Water War with Chris Hemsworth and Jimmy Fallon. Did you see this recently on The Tonight Show?
IN THE NEWS:
- Duke University cancels plans to broadcast Muslim call-to-prayer. World Magazine reports “Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming campus for all of its students,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”
- The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: Why This Matters for the Church. Russell Moore writes “The Supreme Court announced today that they are taking cases on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Effectively, this means that the highest court in the land will decide, this year, whether marriage, as defined for thousands of years, will exist in our country any longer.” He shares a few things we should keep in mind.
- Time Magazine Pulls the Oldest Trick in the Book. David Murray writes “It’s one of the oldest political tricks in the book. Create such an impression of momentum behind a certain candidate or policy that everyone else jumps on board to avoid being left out or left behind. It’s a deception that plays on common human weaknesses; the desire to be on the winning side, the fear of being on the “outside,” the instinct to avoid unpopularity, and the yearning for approval.” Murray writes that Time Magazine is attempting to pull off this sneaky ruse on Evangelical Christians with an article headlined, How Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage.
- Is Glorifying God a Hate Crime Now? Russell Moore writes in CNN about the recent firing of the Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran.
- Religious Liberty vs. Erotic Liberty — Religious Liberty is Losing. Dr. Albert Mohler writes about the recent firing of Kelvin Cochran as chief of Atlanta’s Fire Rescue Department for his views on homosexuality.
- In Light of Recent Events. Recent and potential terrorist attacks in France currently dominate the news cycle. Analysts, experts, and commentators discuss and debate the facts, often with skewed and confused perspectives on Islam, and offer a variety of political and emotional responses. Over the years John MacArthur and the Grace to You staff have put together messages and articles that relate well to these current events and can help you bring biblical truth to bear on your conversations with family and friends. We trust that these resources will help and encourage you.
- Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God. Eric Metaxas’ article in the Wall Street Journal appears to be the most popular article in the history of the WSJ! According to an inside source at the newspaper, the previous record was held by the “Tiger Mom” article from a few years back, but at 375,000 Facebook “Likes” and counting, Metaxas’ essay now “unofficially” has the top spot. There are also over 6,000 comments.
- Top 10 Stories on The Aquila Report for 2014. In 2014 The Aquila Report posted over 3,300 stories. At the end of each year they feature the top 50 stories that were read. The top story this year had over 11,200 hits.
- Year-in-Review: Barna’s Top 10 Findings from 2014. Every December, Barna Group compiles its top findings and trends from research conducted in the past year. From legalizing marijuana to increasing secularization trends to America’s complicated relationship with sports—2014 was an interesting year.
- Salvation and the Mission of God: Derek Thomas Part 2. In part two of his thoughts on salvation, Dr. Derek Thomas looks at the atonement, evangelism, and cooperation.
- Randy Alcorn Interview. Trevin Wax interviews Alcorn and he talks about Calvinists, Arminians, and everything in between.
- Perry Noble Rescinds the Ten Commandments for 2015. On Christmas Eve, Perry Noble gifted the world a rewritten Ten Commandments. In so doing, he contradicted Scripture, celebrated his ignorance of the Bible, and ultimately rejected the gospel.
- My 10 Favorite Theology Reads of 2014. From Keith Mathison of Ligonier Ministries.
Favorite Quotes of the Week ~ 1.19.2015
- Our going to Heaven does not depend on our commitment, but on Christ’s commitment to us. Bob Smart
- Worship is not something we “work up,” it is something that “comes down” to us, from the character of God. Sinclair Ferguson
- The ultimate question isn’t why doesn’t God save everyone but why does God save anyone? Burk Parsons
- Our deepest fear is judgment. Our deepest longing is love. The gospel of grace removes the one and provides the other. Tullian Tchividjian
- Because of the Cross, God can be both just towards sin and yet mercifully justifying to sinners. Tim Keller
- The pursuit of holiness is always on the path of obedience to the Word, never apart from it. Steven Lawson
- The weakest faith gets the same strong Christ as does the strongest faith. Sinclair Ferguson
- Does the sovereignty of God make you feel paralyzed in uselessness, or thrilled that you are an agent of miracles? John Piper
- Repentance is like antiseptic. You pour antiseptic onto a wound and, at first, it stings. Then it heals. Tim Keller
- Jesus is not a good way to heaven, nor even the best way. He is the only way to heaven. Steven Lawson
- A materialistic world will not be won to Christ by a materialistic church. David Platt
- If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, then growing in our knowledge of God is always practical. Kevin DeYoung
- Love says: I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying. Matt Chandler
- Who are we? We’re not perfect but we’re not worthless. Scripture tells us that we’re beautifully made, but broken. Trip Lee
- Fully known, yet truly loved. Period. Tim Keller
- Am I desiring and seeking the temporal and eternal good of my neighbor with the same zeal, ingenuity and perseverance that I seek my own? John Piper
- It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that your way to think about all religions is right. Tim Keller
- Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years. Francis Schaeffer
- Sometimes we behave and perform with our lives, not for God, but for an audience. R.C. Sproul
- Truth without love is self-righteous. Love without truth is overindulgent. Tim Keller
- Grace frees you to be honest about what you’ve always known to be true about yourself: that you’re weaker and more afraid than you want to be. Tullian Tchividjian
- The existence of hypocrites does not prove the non-existence of true believers. Charles Spurgeon
- What does it say about us that we are rarely perplexed by the good things that come our way, only the bad? Andy Stanley
- People are messy; therefore, relationships will be messy. Expect messiness. Tim Keller
- If you’re indifferent about doctrine, you’re indifferent about that which will save or damn your soul. Burk Parsons
- Hell is a real place, more real than the city in which you live, much hotter and more populated. Steven Lawson
- No matter how long it takes or how desperately a person battles or denies, the truth always—always—makes itself known. Andy Andrews
- God doesn’t want us to just feel gratitude, but for us to show it by giving thanks to God with our lives. R.C. Sproul
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- An Example to Follow. Jesus is our example to follow as leaders.
- The Empowering Leader. Dave Kraft writes that “leadership is all about Who the leader is, where the leader is headed and how the leader enlists others to join him on his/her visionary journey. When it comes to the people who have joined us, we have four main responsibilities with them: shepherding, developing, equipping and empowering.” In this article, he looks at empowerment.
- Thanks for a New Year. Marty Moore writes about taking the lead in your workplace in creating a culture of gratitude as 2015 begins.
- 7 Keys to Lasting Leadership. Dr. Alan Zimmerman offers some helpful thoughts about character.
- Five Mistakes All Leaders Make. Doug Paul writes that often times the best learning comes through the mistakes we make.
- 15 Traits of a Terrible Leader. Thoughts from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) on what makes for a terrible leader.
- Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Leaders. Dave Kraft, playing off of Steven Covey’s classic book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, offers seven helpful suggestions for leaders.
- Does My Christianity Change the Way I Approach My Work? Chelsea Patterson offers three helpful thoughts about our work.
- Open Handed Staffing. In this month’s Leadership podcast, Andy Stanley explores what happens when a key staff member leaves the team.
- 10 Ways to Build Success in 2015. From that “Leadership Freak” Dan Rockwell.
- Coping with Conflict. Dave Kraft shares a few things that help him in coping with conflict.
- The 37 Best Business Books I’ve Ever Read. Michael Hyatt provides this helpful list.
- Following a Distinctive Call. Here’s an interview with Greg Forster on the subject of vocation.
- John Maxwell discusses “Compromise”. In this “Minute with Maxwell” John Maxwell looks at the word “compromise”.
- How to Write More Gooder. Kevin DeYoung states that most people don’t write well. He offers few simple practices which may help improve your writing.
- The Meeting Nobody Wants to Have, But Needs to Have. Ron Edmondson tells us about the meeting before the last meeting.
- Andy Andrews’ Most Popular Podcasts of 2014. His top five podcasts of 2014.
- Children’s Book on Vocation. Gene Veith wrote the excellent book that we have been reading God at Work. Gene His daughter, Mary Moerbe, has published what looks like a new book on vocation for kids called How Can I Help? God’s Calling for Kids.
- God Is With You in the Workplace (Whether You Know It or Not). Joseph Sunde provides 7 reminders that God is right there alongside you in the workplace, whether you recognize it or not.
- Not All Vocational Pursuits Are Equal. Enjoy this excerpt from Amy Sherman’s excellent book Kingdom Calling.
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
Generous Justice Book Club
Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller
Tammy and I are reading and discussing this book by Tim Keller. This week we look at a video of Tim Keller discussing the book which gives a good summary of the content in 30 minutes.
He points out how “many who are concerned about justice are not concerned about justification by faith alone; many who are concerned about justification by faith alone are not concerned about justice.” One of Luther’s own burdens was to establish that “Christian ethics…is grounded in justification by faith alone.” Keller shows what that means.
Tim Keller speaks about his book Generous Justice.
God at Work Book Club
God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr.
When we recently visited St. Andrews Chapel where R.C. Sproul is one of the pastors, this book was the church’s “Book of the Month”. I’ve been excited to read it. This week we complete our review of the book by looking at Chapter 11: Conclusion: Resting in Vocation.
The Conviction to Lead Book Club
The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Albert Mohler
We’re reading this excellent book from Albert Mohler, one of the best that I’ve read on leadership. It is broken down into 25 relatively short chapters. Won’t you read along with us? This week we look at Chapter 1: The Conviction to Lead True Leadership Starts With a Purpose, Not a Plan.