IN THE NEWS:
- LeBron James closed his eyes and began vocalizing various imprecatory Psalms Friday night during the postgame interview, appealing to God directly into the microphone, asking him to utterly destroy the Golden State Warriors and their leader, Stephen Curry. http://babylonbee.com/news/lebron-james-invokes-imprecatory-psalms-curry-warriors-postgame-interview/ From The Babylon Bee ~ Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire.
- The Toxic Lie of Me Before You. In discussing the new film Me Before You, based on a popular book, Samuel James writes “Moyes, the novel’s author, acknowledges that she was motivated at least in part by her sympathy for patients who desire assisted suicide. “There are no right answers. It’s a completely individual thing,” she explained. “I hope what the story does, whether it’s the book or film, is make people think twice before judging other people’s choices.”
- Mel Gibson Planning The Passion of the Christ Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace says he is writing a follow-up to the biblical blockbuster that will focus on the resurrection of Jesus.
- Can We Talk? Why I Think a Trump Presidency is Intolerable Even Though You Might Not Agree. Thabiti Anyabwile writes “This post is for that larger percentage of the Christian public that actually feels little threat from differing opinion, even benefits from it. This post is for folks who can affirm a brother as a brother while pushing back—even pushing back hard.”
- First They Change the Definition, and Then They Claim the Right. Melinda Penner writes “The sleight of hand is to change the terms of a right and then claim it or reapply it in a way that has never been thought of before. Like any trick, sometimes it’s easy to miss what happened. Christians sometimes don’t know how to respond because they missed the substitution.”
- The Transgender Conversation You Need To Have With Your Family. Tim Challies writes “To carry out our mandate as parents, we need to offer our children both protection and education. We owe it to them and we owe it to the One who created them. We need to have this conversation.”
- Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: ‘Transgendered Men Don’t Become Women,’ They Become ‘Feminized Men,’ ‘Impersonators’. Michael W. Chapman writes “Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and former psychiatrist–in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, who has studied transgendered people for 40 years, said it is a scientific fact that “transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men.”
- Born This Way. Jon Bloom asks how we are to respond to Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way”, which he describes as “a pop anthem of Western culture, a musical declaration of sexual independence.”
- The Gospel Was Given for a Time Like This. Tim Challies writes “The gospel was not given to a world without sin, without confusion, without difficulty and persecution—that world needs no gospel. The gospel was given to a world like this one, a world marked by every kind of pain and perversity.”
- Let’s Have a Better Culture War. David Brooks writes “Our culture is overpoliticized and undermoralized. This new traditionalism would shift the debate and involve a thicker way of seeing and talking about public life. The debates that would follow would not be divided along the conventional lines.”
- Why Culture Matters. In this video, Tim Keller provides a fundamental perspective on why culture matters to God and therefore must matter to
- We Are Not Entitled to the World’s Respe David Mathis recently sat down with D.A. Carson to ask about his sense on the state of the church in America today, and going forward.
- “Gay Christianity”: A Fatal Theological Oxymoron. Peter Jones writes “This growing movement in contemporary evangelicalism mixes two contradictory elements in a dangerous theological oxymoron.”
- Salty Christianity. Check out Richard Doster’s interview with Scott Sauls, author of Jesus Outside the Lines.
- Proclaiming the Exclusivity of Jesus Will Result in Persecution. In this short video excerpt from the 2010 Ligonier National Conference, Alistair Begg speaks on the exclusivity of Jesus and how in church history, and today, proclaiming it results in persecution.
- Don’t Waste Your Summer. Kevin DeYoung offers twenty suggestions for us not to waste our summers.
- Know When to Walk Away. Tony Reinke writes “For most of us smartphone users, we need seasons of digital detox.”
DOWN IN THE DUMPS?
- When In a Bit of a Funk. Here’s our prayer of the week from friend Scotty Smith, who I enjoyed two wonderful classes at Covenant Seminary with.
- 5 Things I’ve Learned from 10 Years of Depression. Todd Peperkorn highlights “a few things I’ve learned after ten years of a life that was saved.”
- Surprised by Suffering.C. Sproul states “We do not live in a world of chance or chaos. It began with a purpose, it is sustained with a purpose, and it has an ultimate purpose. This is my Father’s world, and His rule is purposeful, not capricious and arbitrary. Purposelessness is a manifest impossibility”.
- The Good News About Your Worst Case Scenario. Scott Sauls writes “For those whose personal stories are anchored in the Story of Jesus, the threat of death, we are told, is not a cause for despair.”
- It’s Never Too Late For Jesus. I have been confronted by unexpected death in our family recently. Constantine Campbell helpfully writes “Only as we confront the reality of death will we appreciate the hope of resurrection. There is nothing like death to make us desire resurrection.”
- Why are Christians Bitter and Unhappy? Randy Alcorn writes “Unfortunately, the world’s characterization of unhappy believers is too often correct. I see too many long-faced Christians who seem continuously angry, disillusioned, and defensive over politics and the infringement of their rights.”
- 10 Tips for Recovering from Major Disappointments in Life. Ron Edmondson writes “What steps should you take to get back on track and succeed again after a major disappointment?”
MOVING FROM DISCONTENTED TO COMFORT AND CONTENTMENT:
- Taking Each Day As It Comes. Zack Eswine writes “We feel like we will miss out, or that we are not enough. This is why we cram days into each other. We blur them and force them to get along. But we are restless. Agitated. Irritated. Discontent. When is anything ever enough?”
- Discontentment Says Something About You, Not Your Circumstances. Philip Ryken writes “Our own complaints are not caused by our outward circumstances; rather, they reveal the inward condition of our hearts.”
- The Doctrine of the Trinity Brings Comfort. In this three-minute video excerpt from the 2012 Ligonier National Conference, Sinclair Ferguson reminds us that the doctrine of the Trinity brings comfort—especially in times of crisis.
- Satisfaction and Contentment. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Here is one more facet of the gospel that meets our culture at its point of need: Jesus Christ gives what the world cannot—contentment.”
- Contentment Doesn’t Come Naturally. So How Do We Learn It? Trevor Badorrek writes “The truth is, contentment does not come naturally. (The Apostle) Paul learned This means contentment is a virtue we must develop, a discipline we should all be striving for.”
- No Small Breaches. John MacArthur states in this short video clip “Integrity isn’t usually forfeited in a single moment of spectacular failure. Instead it’s slowly chipped away at by small compromises repeated over time, until the façade of righteousness collapses and the secret hypocrisy is exposed.”
- Why Is Humility So Attractive? Jon Bloom writes “We are attracted to humility because we are designed to be attracted to God. What we find attractive in humble people is the Imago Dei.”
THE BATTLE AGAINST SIN:
- Comparison….the Thief of Joy. Scott Sauls writes “Yet there is an underbelly to the hunt for self-esteem, because it presses us to compare ourselves to others. And when we compare ourselves to others, it sets us up for pride. And pride goes before a fall. And a fall wrecks self-esteem. And there you have it.”
- What Does It Mean to Take the Lord’s Name in Vain? Iain Campbell writes “So important is the name of God that it is guarded solemnly in the Ten Commandments by a prohibition on taking His name in vain ( 20:7). Violation of this law is a capital offense: “Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 24:16).” He goes on to state “The sheer variety of infringements of the command shows that taking the Lord’s name in vain involves not merely speaking it badly, but includes living it wrongly.”
- The Danger of Drifting Away. John Piper shares seventeen bible passages as “a way of waking our drowsy souls to feel a pure and holy dissatisfaction and stirring us up to pursue “all the fullness of God.”
- Four Warning Signs You May be Wandering from the Truth. Colin Smith writes “It’s very rare that anyone ever decides to abandon the truth. What happens much more often is that people wander. It happens gradually.”
- 3 Truths to Speak to Your Temptation. Tim Challies writes “As a true son of Adam, a person born with a natural affection for sin, I have no shortage of opportunities to consider sin and to consider the desire to commit it in its infinite varieties.”
- How Should Christians Handle Besetting Sins?C. Sproul writes “I think what we have to do is first of all be honest about the fact that we really have a conflict of interest between what we want to do and what God wants us to do. I think we have to feed our souls with the Word of God so that we can get what God wants us to do clear in our mind and then build a strong desire to obey.”
- The Christian Life Isn’t Meant to be Effortless. Donald Whitney writes “He calls us to live the Christian life with the full — though God-centered — use of our minds and judgment and everything else that is a part of our humanity.”
- The Real Battle for Sexual Purity. Jimmy Needham writes “If it’s true that God looks at the heart first, what are some markers of that inner-cleanness he desires beyond the changes in our behavior.”
- Living a Life of Stunning Significance. Richard Phillips writes “Every Christian man is called to get involved in God’s work in some way.”
- Breathe in the Happiness of Heaven. Randy Alcorn writes “Many Christians live in sadness, anger, anxiety, or loneliness, thinking these feelings are inevitable given their circumstances. They lose joy over traffic jams, Wi-Fi issues, or rising gas prices. They miss the reasons for happiness expressed on nearly every page of Scripture.”
- How to Get to Heaven from Silicon Valley. Watch this video of Francis Chan speaking at Google.
- Who Will Be Our Friends in Heaven? Randy Alcorn writes “Friendships begun on Earth will continue in Heaven, getting richer than ever.”
- Our Great High Priest: The Heavenly Ministry of Christ. I’m continuing to listen to the messages from the 2016 Ligonier National Conference. Watch or listen to this one by Ian Hamilton. Here is a description of the message “We often think of the work of Christ in terms of His finished work on the cross and forget about His present priestly ministry on our behalf. Christ was not only faithful in securing our salvation through His death and resurrection but He is also faithful in bestowing upon us the benefits of our salvation. As High Priest, Jesus both died for His people and continually prays for them. In this session, Dr. Ian Hamilton concentrates on the ongoing work of Christ in applying the benefits of redemption and interceding on behalf of His people.”
- Audio/Video for Ligonier’s West Coast Conference. The 2016 Ligonier West Coast Conference was recently held in Seattle. The theme of the conference was “The Gospel” and Douglas Bond, Joel Beeke, W. Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Stephen Nichols, Owen Strachan, Derek Thomas, and C. Sproul (via video) considered the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can watch all of the main and optional sessions now.
- What Does the Word “Gospel” Mean in the New Testament?C. Sproul writes “The gospel is under attack in the church today. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get the gospel right and to understand both the objective aspect of the person and work of Jesus and the subjective dimension of how we benefit from that by faith alone.”
- Can You Read the Bible in Emojis? In “Truth is Stranger than Fiction”, Julie Zauzmer writes “The Bible has been translated into every imaginable language for centuries, but this seems to be a first: a complete King James Version Bible, Genesis through Revelations, all using emoji. The book “Bible Emoji: Scripture 4 Millennials” recently came out on iTunes Books apps.
- Why Your Pastor Should Say “No More to Beth Moore”. Josh Buice writes “For many years, Beth Moore’s teaching has raised eyebrows among pastors and leaders in conservative circles. Although concerns have been raised through the years, Beth Moore continues to be welcomed into the study groups within local churches where women read her books, study guides, and watch her videos with limited, if any, oversight from the pastoral staff.”
- Pro-Life from Womb to Tomb. Marshall Segal writes “An authentically Christian cause for life should begin at conception, celebrate every birth, provide love and care through childhood, and advocate for health, growth, and protection even through death. In other words, we should be pro-life from the womb to the tomb.” Check out his interview with Léonce Crump Jr., the founder of Renovation Church in Atlanta.
- 5 Themes on Providence from the Psalms. Robert Godfrey writes “In the course of his commentary on the Psalms, Calvin gave strong expression to various aspects of his doctrine of providence. Five themes about providence recur in his exposition.”
- What Should Christians Think about Cremation? Richard Phillips writes “Over recent years, I have noticed that more and more Christians are opting for the cremation of their bodies after death. The primary reason for this seems to be financial, as cremation is considerably more affordable than the pricey cost of caskets, plus the other amenities of a funeral, visitation, and memorial service.”
- Should Christians Donate Their Body to Science? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper states “Here is the principle. The closer the connection between the greatness of the need in medicine and the immediacy of my decision to give or not to give, the greater the obligation to give.”
- Are Atheists Afraid of God? Eric Metaxas writes “The fact is that Mr. Taunton has simply said that Hitchens late in life was “not certain” of his atheism. Unable to tolerate this crack in the atheist facade, Mr. Taunton’s critics reacted hysterically. The response lent credence to what many of us suspect—that atheists really do fear some facts, and, more than that, fear where those facts might lead.” Note: if you cannot access this link, just Google the title of the article “Are Atheists Afraid of God?”
- Should I Attend a Homosexual Wedding if the Service is Completely Secular? Kevin DeYoung writes “In speaking about homosexuality in my church and in different venues around the country (and sometimes around the world), the most common question I’ve received (by far) is whether a Christian who believes homosexual behavior is wrong should attend a gay wedding.”
- How Can I Prevent My Christian Growth from Becoming Stagnant? C. Sproul writes “Christian growth, biblically, is usually described in terms of discipleship. To be a disciple of Jesus means to be a learner in the school of Christ.”
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- Disney and Pixar Sings “Hello”. Watch this fun version of Adele’s “Hello” from Brian Hull.
- Honest Preaching. This is not good preaching.
- TED Talk Parody. Self-proclaimed “thought leader,” Pat Kelly gives his talk on “thought leadership” at the annual This Is That talks.
- Conservative Christian Trying To Remember What He’s Supposed To Be Conserving. The Babylon Bee reports “Barry Mays, 59, a self-described conservative Christian, confessed to his Tuesday night men’s fellowship that he can’t remember what it is that he’s supposed to be conserving, sources confirmed.
- The gospel is not one of many ways to God, but the only way to Him. Every other path leads further, yet further away from God. Steven Lawson
- Look at your daydreams. They tell you what you are living for, who you really are. Tim Keller
- Prosperity and poverty are not signs of God’s favor or disfavor; God’s promised mercy in the gospel is the only anchor in the storm. Michael Horton
- A cross without offense to the world is a cross without power in the world. Steven Lawson
- You can often determine the depth of a church’s spiritual maturity by the doctrinal depth or by the shallowness of the songs they sing. Burk Parsons
- I sin like a man, but He forgives like a God. Charles Spurgeon
- Contentment is deeply God-like; grumbling deeply devilish. Michael Reeves
- We are to exhibit a form of behavior and attitude toward other people that will mirror for them the compassion of Jesus. C. Sproul
- Always be killing sin or it will be killing you. John Owen