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Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Cartoons & Quotes

  • How LGBT Pride Month Became a Religious Holiday. Joe Carter writes “LGBT Pride Month is not a just a secular commemoration of a people but a religious celebration of a belief—the belief that “Gay Is Good” and that moral opposition to homosexual behavior or transgender ideology is inherently bigoted.”
  • PCA Sides with Nashville Statement over Revoice’s Approach. Kate Shellnutt writes that faced with more proposals addressing LGBT issues than any other topic, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the denomination that I am an elder in, last week approved measures to affirm the Nashville Statement and launch its own study committee on sexuality. Denny Burk includes a video of the debate.
  • The Theological Legacy of Rachel Held Evans. Anne Carlson Kennedy writes “Evans made a way in the Bible Belt for advantageous, unorthodox, incoherent interpretations. Most of all, she nursed ordinary people into a strange comfort, not of bringing the difficult and terrifying questions of life and death to be answered by a kind and merciful Savior in the life-giving Scriptures, but of finding refuge in their own doubts, their supposedly unanswerable questions. This is perhaps the most tragic portion of her legacy, and one with which the church will have to wrestle for many decades to come.”

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  • More interesting article links
  • Great cartoons
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Cartoons & Quotes

  • Starling Murmurations. On a winter evening in England a flock of 200,000 European starlings congregate to soar in breathtaking formations before roosting for the night. These incredible displays of aerial precision are truly a wonder of creation.
  • Parenting and the Cultural Pressure to Conform. Albert Mohler writes “God is up to this. I’m not saying we’re up to this, but God is up to this.”
  • Toward a Theology of Apology. Kevin DeYoung writes “We need more work in the years ahead—exegetical, historical, and doctrinal—on our theology of apology.”
  • Finding God at the End of Ourselves. Randy Alcorn writes “In our spiritual lives, as in our professional lives, and in sports and hobbies, we improve and excel by handling failure and learning from it. Only in cultivating discipline, endurance, and patience do we find satisfaction and reward. And those qualities are most developed through some form of suffering.”
  • We Are Not Meant to Be Awesome. Scott Sauls writes “God has not called you to be awesome. Rather, he has called you to be humble, faithful, forgiven, and free. We can all leave the awesome to Jesus. When we do, we will also become the best version of ourselves. But without the pressure.”
  • Psalms for Men Who are Struggling. Scott Slayton writes “If you are a man who struggles in silence, turn to the Psalms. In them, you find strong men revealing their weaknesses and showing you where you can turn to for help. There are three Psalms in particular that give you grace for the difficult situations you face.”

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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

    • Good News Hearts in a Bad News World. Scotty Smith prays “By the truth and power of the gospel, may a faith-full heart beat within our breasts. Free us to trust and worship you more, and fear and vex less. You’ve hidden our lives safely in Christ; now make us less shakable when shaky things are going on—whether in Syria, our homes, or hearts.”
    • His Head and Heart Were God’s. John Piper writes “If you look at Jonathan Edwards from the wrong standpoint, everything is wrong. Some people look at him as a great eighteenth-century thinker, writer, and preacher, and that is as far as they go.”
    • Puritan Documentary. Puritan: All of Life to the Glory of God is the latest documentary from Steven McCaskell (Luther).
    • Deep Theology. Sinclair Ferguson writes “This is deep theology indeed. Yet virtually the profoundest statement we can make about God is that the Father is “in” the Son and the Son “in” the Father. It seems so simple that a child can see it. For what word can be simpler than in?”
    • What Made Paul Washer’s “Shocking Message” So Very Shocking? This looks like a very interesting series. Tim Challies writes “Today I am kicking off a new series of videos I’m calling The Great Sermon Series. The premise of the series is finding and examining modern-day sermons that the Lord has chosen to use in unusually significant ways. What we will find, I think, is that the Lord uses sermons to save, stir, and edify his people–and that sometimes he does this through unexpected messages and messengers. The series begins in 2002 in Montgomery, Alabama, with Paul Washer’s “Shocking Message.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

Courtesy of World Magazine

JUSTICE:

  • Churchill Film Darkest Hour Offers Compelling Vision of Leadership. I’m looking forward to the new film Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Owen Strachan writes “The acting is generally solid, but two performances stand out: Lily James as the prime minister’s typist, and Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI. James gives us a moving picture of valiance in the face of surging grief; Mendelsohn has both an arresting voice and a regal hauteur that flexes for both comedy and nobility. They help make Darkest Houra must-watch movie (fathers should take their sons, in particular; also, the movie is generally clean, with just a bit of bathroom humor).”
  • Is Racial Harmony Disintegrating? This article is John Piper’s written version of a live online address given on November 30. He has revised and expanded his message to provide more clarity on the finer points of his burden.
  • How Acts 29 Survived—and Thrived—After the Collapse of Mars Hill. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “I don’t ever want to do that again,” Chandler says of leading Acts 29 through five fast years of major changes. “I can’t overstate the hard work and faithfulness of Steve Timmis. None of this happens without his savvy, his ability to absorb accusations that weren’t tied to him. We took a beating for more than two years for things we didn’t have any part of.”
  • Millennial Evangelicals on Israel: ‘Meh’. Bob Smietana writes “American evangelicals love Israel—if they’re older. But many younger evangelicals simply don’t care, according to a new survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.”
  • The Man Who Didn’t Invent Christmas (But Had Things to Say About It). The Man Who Invented Christmas is one of my favorite films of the year. Check out my review here. In her review of the film Gina Dalfonzo writes “In the vein of other Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life,The Man Who Invented Christmas concentrates on values inspired by the season—rather than the real reason for the season. Yet in doing so, perhaps it helps us see that season and those values through fresh eyes.”
  • Voting in a Two-Party System: Ten Other Questions to Ask. Kevin DeYoung writes “This is not about any particular candidate or contest. Every election will have special features and personalities to consider. What’s necessary for Christians, then, is to step back from the hoopla of Right Now! and try to develop some big-picture principles for making difficult voting decisions.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

this.n.that-small

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:the-book-of-job

I’ve been listening to this excellent 12-part Ligonier Ministries teaching series from Derek Thomas.  Ligonier describes the series as follows:

“Why does God permit suffering? It’s a question all of us have asked, and the book of Job points us toward the answer. Job’s questions are our questions, and we can identify with his frustration, disappointment, and confusion in the midst of trials. In this series, Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas walks us through the book of Job and considers what the Bible says about our darkest moments. He addresses the difficult question of the relationship between God’s sovereignty and the existence of evil, sin, and suffering. In the end, as Dr. Thomas shows, it’s in our trials that we learn to trust God and say with Job, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Watch the first message in the series “Job, Satan & God” and find out how to order the audio or video versions of the series.

CHRISTIAN LIVING:christian-living

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

this.n.that-small                     CHRISTIANITY AND CULTURE:

  • 3 Ways You Can Help Syrian Refugees from Your Home. Chris Martin writes “I have been obviously saddened over this, but when it comes to horrific tragedies like this that are taking place half way around the world, I often feel useless because I can’t just pack up and rescue these refugees myself. If you feel like I do, fear not, there are plenty of ways you can get involved and help Syrian refugees.”
  • Greetings from Heaven: A Modern History of Heaven Tourism. With the opening of the film based on Don Piper’s best-selling book 90 Minutes in Heaven, Tim Challies teamed up with Josh Byers to prepare a creative infographic titled Greetings From Heaven: A Modern History of Heaven Tourism.
  • How Christians Can Evaluate Religious Liberty Objections. Russell Moore writes “In the near future threats to religious liberty will become increasingly common. Now is the time to show that Christians are the true champions of freedom for all believers.
  • ESPN’s “30 for 30” on President Bush’s “First Pitch”. Denny Burk shares this 24-minute video. ESPN describes the video “On the night of Oct. 30, 2001, President George W. Bush stepped onto the mound at Yankee Stadium to throw out the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series, just six weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. With New York City and the entire country still trying to heal, the ceremonial first pitch that night meant more than “play ball.” ESPN Films’ new 30 for 30 Short “First Pitch” looks at how important that famous pitch was to the nation, and how baseball became a part of the recovery after 9/11.”
Courtesy of World Magazine

                            Courtesy of World Magazine

CHRISTIAN LIVING:

  • A Prayer for Days When We Wake Up with a Low-grade Irritability. It’s amazing how Scotty Smith’s prayers hit me just where I’m at. Here’s another one of those on irritability. My wife and I joke that Scotty has a camera in our homes (or hearts).
  • 7 Ways to be a Best Friend to a Pastor. Ron Edmondson writes “Every pastor needs a friend, besides a spouse — of the same gender — who knows them well and can encourage and challenge like no one else can.”
  • Calvinist Evangelist? Keith Matheson writes “The fact of the matter is that Calvinism is not inconsistent with evangelism; it is only inconsistent with certain evangelistic methods.”

RESOURCES:

  • Celebrating 1,000,000th Upload. SermonAudio.com was launched fifteen years ago with the mission to help faithful, local churches broadcast their audio sermons to the maximum amount of people with the least amount of cost. Today, their website is home to over one million sermons and podcasts from conservative churches and ministries worldwide.
  • Rosaria Butterfield Interview. Rosaria returned recently for another conversation with Eric Metaxas
  • Five Marks of Revived Churches. Ray Ortlund shares these five constants that appear in biblical revivals from J.I. Packer’s book God in our Midst.

JUST FOR FUN:

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

     Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

Favorite Quotes of the Week 

  • Holding a grudge against someone means you think you know what they deserve and you take it upon yourself to give it to them. Tim Keller
  • You should not begin to pray for all you want until you realize that in God you have all you need. Tim Keller
  • Jesus didn’t come to tell us the answers to the questions of life, he came to be the answer. Tim Keller
  • God has chosen us. Our status is not a matter of our worthiness, but of His love. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Seeking happiness apart from a right relationship God is like trying to turn on a light that’s unplugged. Randy Alcorn
  • You will fear something or someone. The Bible says the wisest way to go about your life is to fear God. Kevin DeYoung
  • Our God is righteous enough to judge and kind enough to forgive. Kevin DeYoung
  • The difference between “freedom of worship” and “freedom of religion” is the difference between faith that’s hidden and faith that’s lived. Matt Smethurst
  • Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees. William Cowper
  • The heart of the gospel is that God took the initiative in Christ to satisfy his holy anger, and make himself our Treasure not our Terror. John Piper
  • Satan could make an “A” in my Systematic Theology course. He knows the information and knows that the information is true. R.C. Sproul
  • The gospel isn’t about our resolve, but Christ’s righteousness; not our promise to do better, but his provision of having done perfectly. Scotty Smith
  • The church is not built on the rock foundation of geniuses and influencers but of apostles and prophets. Russell Moore
  • I am a free man, the slave of Christ. John MacArthur
  • The rule of the gospel is, that when we see our brother under any difficulty, we should be ready to bear the burden with him. Jonathan Edwards
  • Wilberforce and the band of abolitionists knew that a private faith that did not act in the face of oppression was no faith at all. Chuck Colson
  • Living at peace with everyone…is not an option, it’s an obligation. Alistair Begg
  • If we could understand how impossible our situation is, we would grow in reverence for the kingship of Christ. Matt Chandler
  • If God cared only about religious activities, then the Pharisees would have been heroes of the faith. Francis Chan
  • Only the radical news of Jesus Christ can distract us from trivial pursuits and transform us from the inside out. Michael Horton
  • Humility begins with seeing who God is, seeing yourself compared to God, and then seeing yourself as God sees you. Steven Lawson
  • Many are looking for a special word from God while it sits on their shelves gathering dust. Burk Parsons
  • We are allergic to the lower place. But acts of love require a humble posture. Taking the low place means waiting for God to fill that void. Paul Miller
  • No one leads a holy life, except he is united to God.   John Calvin

Alistair Quote