- Experiencing Happiness in Christ, Even Through Depression and Sorrow. In this recent interview he did on the topic of happiness, Randy Alcorn addresses how someone who is depressed can still move toward experiencing a deep happiness and joy in Christ.
- When Shame Haunts You. Heather Davis Nelson writes “We can therefore put to rest our guilt, and our shame, forever. Jesus took on our sin, giving us his robes of righteousness, and he bore the weight of our deepest shame—the longing for relationship with our Creator God.”
- Godly Compassion for Hurting People. John MacArthur writes “All the benevolence and tender mercies God bestows on us are given to us not because we deserve His favor. We don’t deserve it. But because of His love and because we belong to Christ by faith, we are the recipients of divine blessings that rightfully belong to Him.”
- 7 Ways to Deal with Doubt. Michael Patton writes “Doubt affects the lives of many believers. The reality is that no one’s faith is ever perfect in this life. That includes you. And if your faith is not perfect, then it can grow and become stronger today than it was yesterday.”
- The Great Gain of a Contented Heart. Scotty Smith prays “I realize that all I really need is Jesus, plus what you choose to give me.”
- Recovering the Priority of Personal Holiness. Alistair Begg writes “I fear that personal holiness is not a priority within the church — even among its leaders — as it was in the days of the Puritans. Many ministers are often nowadays more concerned with visual growth and success than with cultivating personal purity.”
- Is Joy Unemotional, and Is It More Spiritual Than Happiness? Randy Alcorn writes “The idea that “joy is not an emotion” promotes an unbiblical myth.”
- What is Patience? R.C. Sproul writes “To be sure, a longsuffering patience is one of the most difficult exercises we can achieve.”
- God Works in Those Who Wait. David Mathis writes “We are living in the age of impatience. Whether it’s waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting for food service, or waiting for marriage, biding our time is more counter-cultural than ever.”
- 3 Types of Legalism. R.C. Sproul writes “Basically, legalism involves abstracting the law of God from its original context.”
- God Thinks More of Your Obedience Than You Do. Mark Jones writes “God accepts us in Christ and so accepts our (very) imperfect obedience in such a way that we are properly described as “pure in heart” and “good.” It’s a remarkable truth.”
- Facing Fear with Faith. Randy Alcorn writes “Whether you suffer from specific phobias, a chronic fear of harm or death to yourself or loved ones, or any other fear, here are some suggestions for handling them.”
- The “I” in Faith. Kevin DeYoung writes “There may be no “I” in team, but when it comes to claiming the specific truths of Scripture and God’s particular promises for the individual believer, there is an “I” in faith.”
- Abraham’s Great Act of Faith. R.C. Sproul writes “Apart from Christ’s obedient sacrifice, probably the greatest act of faith in fear and trembling recorded in all of Scripture is the obedient response of Abraham when God commanded him to sacrifice his son Isaac.”
- 5 Reasons to Host a Q&A After Your Worship Service. Tim Keller writes that for several years he hosted a Q&A session for people to ask questions about the sermon. He states that the benefits were enormous, he commends the practice to other churches.
- The Legacy of One-Point Calvinism and Casual Churchianity. John Piper writes “This explains another folly of casual, non-serious churchianity: the folly of thinking we can pursue impure lives, while planning to repent at the end, and thus escape hell at the last minute.”
- Five Things I Pray I Will Not Do as a Senior Adult in the Church. Thom Rainer offers these five prayers for his attitude about his church that would be good for all of us, regardless of our age.
- The Terrifying Danger of Falling Off My Own Platform. Matt Rogers writes as a pastor after another prominent pastor has fallen. His words are good for those who are pastors and those who aren’t. He states that he needs to surround himself with three people.
- How Should Christians Think About Corporate Apologies? Kevin DeYoung writes “My short answer: as a careful, genuinely corporate exercise there can be great value in approving statements of shared repentance, but as a genre of complaint and rebuke, public apologies are normally misguided and misleading.”
- Mike Pence’s Journey: Catholic Democrat to Evangelical Republican. Jonathan Mahler and Dirk Johnson write “His evangelical Christianity is now the driving force behind his political agenda, whether he is working to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood or to make it legal for religious conservatives to refuse to serve gay couples.
- What You Should Know About the Democratic Party Platform. Joe Carter provides without commentary, an outline of the Democratic platform as it relates to several social issues. Every statement is either a direct quote or a summary of the platform’s position. Here is Joe’s outline of the Republican Party Platform.
- Democrats Need to Reverse Moral Misstep on Abortion. Russell Moore and Michael Wear write “The Democrats should reverse course and remove opposition to Hyde from their platform. Wherever you stand on abortion, forcing people to pay for it can’t be good for Democrats, or for democracy.”
- Preparing for a President Nobody Seems to Want. Scott Sauls writes “One of the chief ways we honor God is in the way we respond to those He has put in authority over us.”
- Trumping the Gospel. Mike Leake writes “I still believe that character matters. I fear what I will have to compromise in order to hold my nose and vote Trump (or even Hilary for that matter). So this leaves me a bit uncomfortable because I’m seeing more and more believers fall in line with Trump.”
- John Piper Lands Lucrative Grape-Nuts Contract. News Flash from The Babylon Bee (Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire). “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him,” Piper said thoughtfully as reporters’ cameras flashed blindingly all over the room. “But it’s difficult to focus our affections on Christ if we’re not getting 100% of our daily whole grain and fiber needs. Grape-Nuts helps make that happen, as part of your complete, God-glorifying breakfast.”
UPCOMING FILMS AND INTERESTING TIDBITS:
- The Story After Chariots of Fire. Amy Qin writes about the new film The Last Race, about Olympic champion and Christian martyr Eric Liddell.
- The Biggest Story How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden. Watch the trailer, narrated by Propaganda, for this upcoming animated film based on Kevin DeYoung’s children’s book.
- M4 by Yadi. My favorite baseball player, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, has his own clothing line, M4. Check out what they have available.
- Comic Jim Gaffigan On Stand-Up, Faith And Raising Five Kids. We saw a show on Jim Gaffigan’s new “Fully Dressed” tour in Davenport, Iowa on July 24. Here’s an interview he did with NPR.
- Wheel of Musical Impressions. Watch Celine Dion and Jimmy Fallon do musical impressions on The Tonight Show.
CULTURAL THOUGHTS TO PONDER:
- Are We Distracting Ourselves to Death? Karen Swallow Prior writes “When a reality that exists only inside our head—or our handheld devices—collides with the material, tangible world, we are entering the hyperreal.”
- The Evangelical Drug of Choice. Phillip Holmes writes “While many evangelicals are quick to condemn alcohol and drug abuse, our drug of choice has become entertainment and fantasy. It softly distracts and weakens Christians daily.”
- Should Christians Be Spiritual Enough to Not Love God’s Created World? Randy Alcorn writes “Every day we should see God in His creation: in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the friendships we enjoy, and the pleasures of family, work, and hobbies.”
- Loving Muslims Begins with Honesty. David Mathis asks D.A. Carson “Is the Islamic notion of Allah compatible with the Christian belief in God?”
- When We See Things Differently. Scotty Smith prays “May we show respect to one another when we disagree, and conflict as redemptively as possible.”
- Former Evangelical Pastor Rethinks His Approach To Courtship. Josh Harris, a former evangelical pastor, wrote an influential book on Christian courtship. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks with him about the criticism he’s gotten from people who grew up reading his book.
- Religious Liberty and the Right to be Christian. Dr. Albert Mohler discusses the threats to religious liberty that currently face our nation. He writes “The religious liberty challenge we now face consigns every believer, every religious institution, and every congregation in the arena of conflict where erotic liberty and religious liberty now clash.”
- Looking Ahead to the Likelihood of Increased Persecution in America. Here’s an interview Randy Alcorn did with World Magazine about the likelihood of increased persecution for Christians in America.
- Shame the Strong or Influence the Influencers? Watch this eleven-minute video discussion with Tim Keller, Russell Moore and Kevin DeYoung.
- A Beginner’s Guide to “Free Will”. John Piper offer three definitions of free will, one from popular usage, one from common biblical usage, and one from the more technical discussion.
- Creation: An Arena for Praising God. Watch this three-minute excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson’s teaching series Who is the Holy Spirit? In which he considers Psalm 19: 1-2 and all of creation as a place of worship.
- The Other Comforter. Watch this less than five-minute excerpt from R.C. Sproul’s teaching series What Did Jesus Do?, in which he considers the meaning of the Greek word paraclete and the purpose of the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost.
- Ask Pastor John. Andy Naselli has listened to the 900+ episodes of John Piper’s “Ask Pastor John” podcast. He shares thirteen of the most helpful.
JUST A REMINDER….
- 2017 Ligonier National Conference. Just a reminder to register for the 2017 Ligonier National Conference. The conference will feature the strongest speaker lineup that I can recall, highlighted by the return of John MacArthur. The conference will be held in Orlando March 9-11, and the theme will be “The Next 500 Years: Reformation 500 and Beyond”.
- The gospel calls us to “man down” more so than to “man up.” There is no masculinity without a core of humility. Scotty Smith
- Fill your life with things that stir your affections for Jesus and cut out what robs you of those affections. Matt Chandler
- We must follow God for who He is and what He intends, not for what we want and what we prefer. Ravi Zacharias
- If there are real moral absolutes and we don’t care to discover them, it would be like closing our eyes while driving. Tim Keller
- People who win with money understand and practice Outrageous Generosity. Dave Ramsey
- The Bible is not primarily concerned with a quest for personal meaning & fulfillment. It’s a story about God, who is so good he cares for us. Michael Horton
- Freedom is not doing whatever you want, whenever, and with whomever, it is knowing what you ought to do and having the freedom to do it. Burk Parsons
- There is nothing in your life that hasn’t first passed through the palm of a nail-scarred hand. Steve Brown
- Ask not what your moral relativism can do for your country, ask what it is doing to you. Russell Moore