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Midweek Roundup – 9/17/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Dave Harvey on the importance of reading for leaders

You’re a pastor, aspiring pastor, or church planter, which means you’re busy. Not to go all DeYoung on you, but you’re “crazy busy!” If you’re already pastoring, then you’ve got stuff to do, people to see, sermons to prepare, meetings to attend, hospital visits to make, and counseling sessions to work through. Then there’s home life – you’ve got kids in soccer, a house in need of some serious repair, a lawn so intimidating that your mower won’t start, and a computer on strike. And there’s always the relentless march of Sunday. Sunday is always coming, and you’ve always got to be ready.

The last thing you have time to do is read. Right?

2. Joe Thorn on 10 ways to love fellow Christians

1. Put Them First
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3)

Self-denial lives at the center of love. True love denies self and supports another. Putting others first should be more than an act of humility, but an act of affection. It’s not that we think so little of ourselves, but that we feel so warmly toward our brothers and sisters in Christ that we are happy to lay aside our interests and preferences so that another may experience blessing.

3. Dane Ortlund on the prevelance of “Gospel-centered” language

“Gospel-centered preaching.” “Gospel-centered parenting.” “Gospel-centered discipleship.” The back of my business card says “gospel-centered publishing.” This descriptive mantra is tagged on to just about anything and everything in the Christian world these days.

What’s it all about?

4.  John Knight on Richard Dawkins and kids with Down syndrome

“Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Richard Dawkins recently tweeted the above in response to a woman who wondered what she should do about her unborn child with Down syndrome.

5. Paul Tripp on camping and Christianity

Camping isn’t my favorite hobby. I enjoy biking, painting, and writing poetry, but I’ll pass on living in a tent.

I’ve been camping before, and within a few hours of arriving at the site, I begin to get pessimistic. I look around and see all the potential problems that will arise over the next few days, and I start to rank the conveniences that I’ll miss the most. I can’t wait to get back home.

As much as I avoid camping, I think the illustration can remind us of a few important things in the Christian life…

September 17, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 9/10/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Sam Storms on liking Jesus but not the church

I’m thoroughly convinced that people who declare their affection for Jesus but not the Church know little if anything about the Jesus they profess to admire. These people probably ignore the fact that this Jesus spoke more about hell and eternal condemnation than all the other NT authors combined.

2. Reformed Forum interviews Michael Haykin and Jeffrey Robinson Sr. about their new book, To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy

Drs. Michael Haykin and Jeffrey Robinson Sr. join us to speak about John Calvin and Calvinism’s legacy in missions. Their book To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy explores John Calvin’s theology concerning missions, the history of his involvement in foreign missions, and the influence of other Calvinistic missionaries of later times.

3. Steve Timmis on the “pillar of truth”

At first reading, 1 Timothy 3:15 seems somewhat disconcerting. In it, Paul is explaining to Timothy why he is writing to him. It concerns the church: “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

4. Russell Moore on the church and violence against women

We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for their care for their families. It means we explicitly tell the women in our congregations, “A man who hits you has surrendered his headship, and that is the business both of the civil state in enacting public justice and of this church in enacting church discipline.”

5. TGC interviews Greg Forster about his new book, Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It

Forster contends that America—and the world—need to see joy-fueled discipleship lived out by individual believers. That means we need to stop distorting Christianity in ways that wrongly lead others to see it primarily as a formula for eliciting conversions or as a political movement.

September 10, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 9/3/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. 20 quotes from The Stories We Tell by Mike Cosper

1. Many Christians were raised to be suspicious of Hollywood entertainment, but all of the warnings seem to have done little to curb what people watch, except, perhaps, to add a patina of shame to any admission of viewing. (17)

2. Storytelling—be it literature, theater, opera, film, or re- ality TV—doesn’t aim at our rational mind,…It aims at the imagination, a much more mysterious and sneaky part of us, ruled by love, desire, and hope. When people, against their better judgment, find themselves hooked on a show, we can trace the line back to find the hook in their imagination. (19)

2. Rob Bentz on the importance of pastoral presence

Today, courtesy of social media, the ministry of presence is even more needed and relevant than it was a generation ago. Most of the people in our congregation have all the friends, followers, contacts that anyone could want. Yet someone with whom they can enjoy an honest conversation of some degree of depth is rare.

This is why the spiritual leaders of our day must be those who sit, eat and live among the people we seek to serve. It’s not enough to sit in our office and fire off emails, newsletters or blog posts. We must be among our people—loving them and encouraging them with our pastoral presence.

3. Kevin DeYoung shares 5 tips for leading your small group

2. Think through your questions ahead of time.

If your group consists of nothing but very mature Christians who have known each other for years you may be able to get away with little preparation. But that’s not the make up of most groups (and if so, it’s probably time to mix things up a little for the sake of newcomers and those just starting out as followers of Christ). Make sure your questions are crisp and clear. If you aren’t sure what you are asking, you can be sure no one else will either.

4. Ligon Duncan on Victoria Osteen, the glory of God, and Reformed worship

This next installment of “What our Gathered Worship Should Look Like” has been helped by the internet storm caused by Victoria Osteen (wife of Joel Osteen of “Your Best Life Now” and prosperity gospel fame) because of comments she made in a recent service at Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. In exhorting the audience to participate, she laid out a case for why they ought to be motivated to do so. In sum, she said, affirmatively:  “You’re not doing it for God, you are doing it for yourself, really.”

5. Nicole Whitacre on how to be patient with your children

Stephanie’s has a two-year-old whom she loves to pieces, but who whines a lot. Ashley has five children at home under the age of nine. Both wrote to ask “how do you stay patient with young children?” I can certainly relate. Impatience is a common temptation for us as moms. So, as I always do, I asked my exceptionally patient mom (she raised me after all!), and wrote down a few of her suggestions.

September 3, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 8/27/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Gloria Furman on looking for bread in all the wrong places

Sadly, we can even mindlessly feed junk food to our soul. A lot of times we hardly ever notice that we’re doing this until a friend mercifully points it out. Those can be awkward conversations, but we all need people in our life who are willing to step into the awkward fray and bring out Isaiah 55:2 for our consideration. Friend, why are you spending your money on things that aren’t bread, and working for things that don’t satisfy? Eat what is good instead!

2. Reformation21 reviews Calvin on the Christian Life by Michael Horton

The latest volume in the series, Calvin on the Christian Life, is not, however, a volume to induce guilt or despair but rather a sparkling presentation of the world as the theater of God’s glory, gathered worship as a celestial theater of grace, and the shape our lives must take when performed on these stages (which overlap but are not identical). This is a book to inspire and encourage, and it is one of the finest introductions to Calvin I have read, one to recommend to those in the early stages of discovering the Genevan Reformer.

3. Kevin DeYoung offers four theses on suicide

1. The subject of suicide should be approached sensitively and compassionately.

We need to know the time and the place. This is a blog post addressed to a general audience, so I don’t believe it’s insensitive to step back and parse out “four theses” on suicide. But I would not present four points like this to someone mourning the death of a friend or to someone contemplating suicide. Those situations call for hugs, tears, questions, listening, personal contact, and prayer–all things that are impossible or nearly impossible in a general blog post.

4. Sam Storms on glorifying God in your suffering

If you rejoice in suffering for his sake, you show that he is gloriously more valuable than the pleasures and approval of man. If you do good to your persecutors instead of retaliating, you show that he is gloriously sufficient to satisfy your longings. The one all-consuming desire of true Christians is that Christ be glorified in their bodies whether by life or death.

The greatest way to show that someone satisfies your heart is to keep on rejoicing in them when all other supports for your satisfaction are falling away. When you keep rejoicing in God in the midst of suffering, it shows that God, and not other things, is the great source of your joy.

5. Jared Wilson on rainbows

The rainbow, then, is a sign of God’s promise that he has hung up his bow, and it’s a reminder to himself of his grace toward the earth, and in the same way, the cross is a sign of God’s promise that he has hung his Son up to die and it’s a reminder of his grace toward you that because Christ has taken the wrath, the wrath is taken. It is over, done, finished, removed, satisfied, propitiated.

At the cross of Christ, the wrath of God owed to sinners is absorbed, satisfied, set aside for all eternity. Dead and done with. His anger is gone, his love remains and it endures. The lovingkindness of our Lord is everlasting. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies are new every morning.

August 27, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | 0 Comments »

Midweek Roundup – 8/20/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Sam Storms on what it means that Jesus was “made perfect”

What does the author of Hebrews mean when he says in Hebrews 2:10 that God the Father made Jesus, the founder of our salvation, “perfect through suffering”? And what does he mean in Hebrews 5:8 when he says that “he learned obedience through what he suffered?” Again, what does it mean to say that Jesus was “made perfect” through his suffering (Heb. 5:9a).

In both cases our author is establishing the qualifications of Jesus to serve as our Great High Priest. The fact that Jesus “suffered” in this way proves that he is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).

2. Jen Wilkin on thinking of our children as our neighbors

If you asked me the single most important insight that has shaped my parenting, it would be this: Children are people.

It seems self-evident. Clearly, they have arms, legs, ears, noses and mouths—enough to qualify. But the idea of their personhood goes far beyond possessing a human body. It goes to the core of their being and speaks to their worth. Children bear the image of God, just like adults. Well, not just like adults. It is true that they are developing physically, emotionally and spiritually at a different rate than adults, but children’s intrinsic worth and dignity does not increase or decrease depending on the rate or extent of their development. As Dr. Seuss has famously noted, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

3. Mike Patton on taking the Lord’s name in vain

If the principle in question is that we’re not to use God’s name unless we really mean it, then we’re pretty inconsistent in our outrage. Why don’t people get offended when others say “God bless you?” Do you think that every time someone says this that they really mean it? Do you think that in their mind they are talking to God, beseeching Him on your behalf?

Just about every email I get ends with the phrase, “God bless.” I seriously doubt that that person actually said a prayer for me before he or she hit send. If this is the case, why is saying, “God bless you” not just as much a violation of the third commandment as saying “God damn you?”

4. Michael Kruger on why learning the biblical languages is worth it

One of my biggest disappointments is when I go into a pastor’s office and see that there are no (or very few) books.   It is like going into a carpenter’s shop and seeing no tools.  I remind such pastors of the words of Cicero: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

If pastors recover their calling as ministers of the Word, then keeping up with the biblical languages should be a more natural part of their weekly activity.  If they work in a “study” instead of an “office” then studying might just come more easily.

5. Paul Tripp on the difference between needs and desires

You and I tend to say we need things that we don’t actually need. For example, we say we need a bigger house when we own one with running water and functioning appliances. We say we need a newer car when the one we drives functions normally on a daily basis.

We define needs relationally as well, not just physically. We say we need a more loving spouse, a more obedient child, or a more respectful boss. This might confuse and irritate you, but the Bible never promises those things.

August 20, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »