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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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Streaming: John Piper’s address to President Obama on abortion.

Reading: The book I’ve reading lately is called Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch.  It came highly recommended and has lived up to the hype two-thirds through.  Here is a link to a trustworthy review.

Blogging: I think I post something from Kevin DeYoung every week, but oh well.  Here is another good one called Why I am a Calvinist.

The influence of Calvinism is growing because its God is transcendent and its theology is true. In a day when “be better” moralism passes for preaching, self-help banality passes for counseling, and “Jesus is my boyfriend” music passes for worship in some churches, more and more people are finding comfort in a God who is anything but comfortable. The paradox of Calvinism is that we feel better by feeling worse about ourselves, we do more for God by seeing how He’s done everything for us, and we give love away more freely when we discover that we have been saved by free grace.

Podcasts: Want to better understand Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism?  The Theology Program put up free sessions at itunes. (HT: JT)

Weather Photos: Need new wallpaper for you desktop?  Here are some great shots from local storm chaser Mike Hollingshead.

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Blogging: C.J. Mahaney just completed a four month long blog series on productivity.  Very helpful.

Health (and fun): John Mark Reynolds gives Ten Unexpected Cultural Results of Swine Flu.

Reading: Justin Taylor recommends some must reads from D.A. Carson.  “When D.A. Carson writes a book, buy it.” – Al Mohler

Listening: Not a link, but if you have itunes, search for Campus Impact (college group at Lincoln Berean) and listen to the message from Christopher Yuen on April 28.  It is an incredible account of his journey through drugs, disease, and homosexuality.

Bible Study: John Piper’s method for studying the Bible.  Here is his podcast explaining it a bit.

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News: Global Warming Beliefs Among Protestant Pastors.  Interesting article on the percentage pastors who are “believers” of global warming.

Listening:  This is gold…John Piper recently spoke at Park Community Church in Chicago on “The Pastor as Scholar.”  He gives a basics outline of his life leading up to becoming a pastor.

If I am scholarly, it is not in any sense because I try to stay on the cutting edge in the discipline of biblical and theological studies. I am way too slow for that. What scholarly would mean for me is that the greatest Object of knowledge is God and that he has revealed himself authoritatively in a Book. And that I should work with all my might and all my heart and all my soul and all my mind to know him through that Book and to make him known.

Photography: 9 years of change in Dubai from NASA.

Blogging: John MacArthur offers some practical teaching on “Knowing Christ.”

We err greatly if we think of intimacy with Christ as some lofty level of mysterious, feelings-based communion with the Divine—as if it involved some knowledge of God that goes beyond what Scripture has revealed.

Science and Religion: A new theistic evolutionist – like website from Francis S. Collins and Co., the director of the Human Genome Project and author of The Language of God, called The BioLogos Foundation.  What is the site for?

The BioLogos Foundation promotes the search for truth in both the natural and spiritual realms, and seeks to harmonize these different perspectives.

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Watching: The Gospel Coalition 2009 is wrapping up today.  Live webcasts are available here.  Also, all 10 of the main sessions will be online soon.

Listening: 5 years of classroom instruction from Wayne Grudem as he teaches through his Systematic Theology.

Blogging: Kevin DeYoung posts a series called “Our High Places,” highlighting what he sees as possible blindspots in the church today.

Economics: Matt Perman argues how “Spending Does Not Drive the Economy,” part 1 and part 2.

Blogging 2: Albert Mohler pleads “We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth” and “The genuine body of Christ  will reveal itself by courageous compassion, and compassionate courage” when confronting the issue of homosexuality in our culture.

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Can you guess when this was written?

A typical case of such unbelief begins when young men are brought up as nominal Christians.  Their parents take them to church as children and there they become acquainted with those passages of the Bible used in the service.  If their parents still keep some of the old habits, they may even be taught the catechism.

But they go off into the world, yield to youthful temptations, neglect to look at their Bible, and they do not develop their religious duties.  Attending church occasionally, these occasional incidents more often offend such youth than strengthen them.  Perhaps they are tempted to be morally superior to those they think are superstitious.  Or the poor examples of some professing Christians disgust them.  Or else they stumble because of the absurdities of others who see they are equally ignorant themselves.  At any rate, they gradually begin to doubt the reality of Christianity.  A confused sense of relief that it is all untrue settles within them.  Impressions deepen, reinforced by fresh arguments.  At length they are convinced of their doubts in a broad sweep over the whole realm of religion.

This may not be universally so, but it may be termed teh natural history of skepticism.  It is the experience of those who have watched the progress of unbelief in those they care about. It is confirmed by the written lines of some of the most eminent unbelievers.  We find that they once gave a sort of implicit, inherited assent to the truth of Christianity and were considered believers.

How did they become skeptics?  Reason, thought, and inquiry have little to do with it.  Having lived for many years careless and irreligious lives, they eventually matured in their faithlessness – not by force of irreligious strength but by lapse of time.  This is generally the offspring of prejudice, and its success is the result of moral decline.  Unbelief is not so much the result of a studious and controversial age as it is one of moral decline.  It disperses itself in proportion as the general morals decline. People embrace it with less apprehension when all around are doing the same thing.  (Wilberforce, William. Real Christianity, p. 127-128, emphasis added)

It is striking how similar Wilberforce , in the early 1800’s, described the experience of so many people I know today.  What do you think?

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Recently, I was at a gathering in which we went through a stack of “conversation starter” questions for entertainment.  There were several people there that I didn’t know too well, so it was a good way to get to know them in a short amount of time.  One of the questions asked was “which is of most importance to possess, knowledge or character?” The answers were mixed across the room.  I answered “character” and then attempted, poorly, to give an explanation of why I believed so.  I obviously didn’t change any minds with my weak attempt and wished I had been able to put some more thought into it before I responded.  Oh well.  If only I had read William Wilberforce’s Real Christianity a month ago!  Wilberforce answers this question thoroughly in the chapter titled “The Excellence of Real Christianity.”

It is another basic excellence of true Christianity that it values moral attainments far higher than intellectual accomplishments.  In contrast, most of the false systems of religion, which have prevailed in the world, have proposed to reward the intellectual labor of the devotee.

The preference of Christianity for moral rather than for intellectual excellence is part of true wisdom.  It is possible to excel where we may really obtain excellence.  For how limited is the range of the greatest intellectual abilities!  How scanty are the stores of the richest forms of human knowledge!  Experience daily furnishes us with examples of weakness and shortsightedness and error (even in the wisest and most learned of men!) which might serve to confound the pride of human wisdom.

Not so in morals.  Made at first in the likeness of God – and still bearing about us some faint traces of our exalted origin – we are offered by our blessed Redeemer the means of purifying ourselves from our corruptions and of once more regaining the image of our heavenly Father.  In love, in fortitude, in justice, in humility, and in all the other graces of the Christian character, God makes us capable of attaining heights of true sanctity.  Were we faithful to the means of means of grace with the prompting and support of the Holy Spirit in our diligent endeavors, our labors would be crowned with success.

How would you answer?  Why?

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Science News:  Apparently I’ve been duped, according to the NYTs “Sugar is Back on Food Labels, This Time as a Selling Point”

Though research is still under way, many nutrition and obesity experts say sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are equally bad in excess. But, as is often the case with competing food claims, the battle is as much about marketing as it is about science.

Weather pix: An excellent radar image of the early spring tornado that touched down just east of Lincoln.  The slight hook extending out of the souteast corner of the large cluster is a textbook example of a radar indicated tornado.

Streaming: The videos from the recent Ligonier Ministries 2009 Conference on the Holiness of God.  Lots of good stuff here.

Blogging: Kevin DeYoung attempts to separate the Truths that Transform, the Doctrines that Damn in his 4 part series.

There are four categories of passages in the Pastoral Epistles that give us a sense for what Paul considered the core of apostolic doctrine.

Movies: Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” is coming to theater this fall.  Here is the trailer.

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