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50% Sale at ChristianAudio launchs their 50% sale on Christian audiobooks tomorrow (Nov. 1) as well as releasing a new free audiobook of the month.

Should be some great bargainst to be found on some great books.

Here are some of the particularly good audiobooks that I have "read" recently:

UPDATE: The Free book is Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards. Use the coupon code NOV2007 to get it.

Keywords: audiobook,free

Suffering: An Answer to Prayer?

I have been reading an excellent book by the Puritan John Flavel (1630-1691), entitled Keeping the Heart. I've pasted below a little excerpt (help 6) from his list of 9 helps keep your heart amidst suffering:

It would much stay the heart under adversity to consider that God, by such humbling providences, may be accomplishing that for which you have long prayed and waited. And should you be troubled at that? Say, Christian, have you not many prayers pending before God upon such accounts as these: that He would keep you from sin; that He would reveal to you the emptiness and insufficiency of the creature; that He would kill and mortify your lusts; that your heart may never find rest in any enjoyment but Christ? Why, now by such humbling and impoverisheing strokes, God may be fulfilling your desire. Would you be kept from sin? Lo, He has hedged up your way with thorns. Would you see the creature's vanity? Your affliction is a fair glass in which to discover it; for the vanity of the creature is never so effectually and sensibly discovered as in our own experience of it. Would you have your corruptions mortified? This is the way; now God away the food and fuel that maintained them. For as prosperity begat and fed them, so adversity, when sanctified, is a means to kill them. Would you have your heart rest nowhere but in the bosom of God? What better way can you imagine providence should take to accomplish your desire than by pulling from under your head that soft pillow of creature delights on which you rested before? And yet you fret at this, peevish child! How you exercise your Father's patience! If He delays in answering your prayers, you are ready to say He regards you not. If He does taht which really answers the scope and main end fo them, but no in the way you expected, you quarrel with HIm for that - as if, instead of answering, He were crossing all your hopes and aims. Is this ingenuous? Is it not enough that God is so gracious to do what you desire, but you must be so impudent to expect He should do it in the way which you prescribe?

John Flavel
Keeping the Heart
pp 33-34 

O may I live in th

Bad News First...Then the Good News

"Francis Schaeffer was once asked the question, 'What would you do if you met a really modern man on a train and you had just an hour to talk to him about the gospel?' He replied, 'I've said over and over, I would spend 45-50 minutes on the negative, to really show him his dilemma---that he is morally dead---then I'd take 10-15 minutes to preach the Gospel. I believe that much of our evangelistic and personal work today is not clear simply because we are too anxious to get to the answer without having a man realize the real cause of his sickness, which is true moral guilt (and not just psychological guilt feelings) in the presence of God.' You will find as people begin to grasp the significance of God as creator and man as the sinful creature, you can explain in a direct and most powerful way who Christ is."

Will Metzger
Tell the Truth
p. 71 

HT: Reformed Voices

Keywords: evangelism_gospel

The Value of Hanging Out

Jim Elliff speaking on "The Value of Hanging Out" writes that the value lies in building relationships. And he's not talking of just hanging out with friends, but of doing what you might rather do at home, where you won't be bothered (i.e. reading, blogging, writing, etc) in a location where you want to be bothered. I recommend you read the essay and then go buy Mark Dever's book The Gospel and Personal Evangelism which speaks of many of the same things. Then let's do it.

Then let me challenge myself and others to go the next step...With those who we hang out with in the neutral location of a coffee shop or restaurant or commons at a University, let's demonstrate radical hospitality (follow the link to see what I'm talking about). Christian, at cost to ourselves, let us emulate the love of Christ by meeting real physical needs AND bringing them the good news that Christ has met their ultimate needs.

This truly is an area where I need to grow. If you know me, consider this an invitation to accountability in this area.

Huge Christian Audiobook Sale?

ChristianAudio has recently posted a warning that they are expecting, due to the simultaneous release of the free audiobook of the month and some ridiculous sale, to crash their servers. So my advice is to plan on budgetting some money for November for audiobooks.

While it's still October, make sure you go get the free audiobook this month: Life of David Brainerd. Use the code OCT2007 to get it for free.

Keywords: audiobook,brainerd,free,sale

Ultrasound #2

We had ultrasound #2...and got to hear a heartbeat! Praise God, again. If you don't know what we're talking about, read the announcement.

October 15 - Ultrasound 2

Keywords: baby,ultrasound

Putting Marriage in Perspective: Temporary and Secondary to the Church

My smallgroup, primarily made up of singles, has finally reached Song of Songs in our study through the Bible. So for the next two weeks we get to read God's divine stamp of approval on and illustration of the joys of sex within marriage. We just finihsed Ecclesiastes, however, forcing us to consider in our view of everything in life, its eternal significance. This is why I love John Piper.

In Ecclesiastes, I was reminded of Piper's message to not waste your life, but to glory only in the cross (compared with Steve Jobs message). Now in Song of Songs I pointed the group to supplement our study of the Bible with John Piper's God-glorifying message: Sex and the Supremacy of Christ (Part 1; Part 2).

A few days ago, on YouTube, I stumbled upon this video. It is an excerpt from the sermon Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters: Meshing the message of Song of Songs (and even more importantly Ephesians 5) and the message of Ecclesiastes. While recognizing both the blessing and significance of marriage, sex, and the family, we must not idolize them. Here's some tantalizing quotes to get you to watch.

"I am declaring the temporary and secondary nature of marriage and family over and against the primary and eternal nature of the church, the family of God."

"Do not elevate natural process - like procreation, childbearing, and marriage - to anything bigger than what they are: temporal, physical means of keeping the world going and illustrations of Christ and the Church, that when comes...fade away!"

If you are single, you may find helpful the resource guide on singleness that I put together.

Keywords: family,marriage,piper,sex,singleness

Dilbert's Been Reading Mark Driscoll

I wonder if Scott Adams, the auther of the Dilbert comic strip has been reading Mark Driscoll. His article "cell sin" is definitely food for thought for me and I think revealing of how I often turn the computer, a tool for growth in godliness (Scholar's Library - Logos Bible Software 3even Bible Study) and ministry, into a distraction. So again, Dilbert has become a catalyst for sanctification.

Dilbert: Addicted to the Internet
Dilbert: The Internet Is Too Fascinating

Fires in SoCal

Mark Lauterbach of Grace Church San Diego and GospelDriven Life updates us on the fire with a series of very heart-shepherding and down-to-earth entries:

  1. Fires
  2. Fires 2
  3. Fires 3
  4. Fires 4
  5. Fire Again excellent
  6. More Fire Info
  7. Fires, More
  8. Update on Specifics

Let us be praying and emulating the gospel through loving and selfless service (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:35; Ephesians 5:1-2; James 2:12; Galatians 6:9-10) as we have opportunity

RawChristianity has some updates as pictures, including the one below, as well as the following prayer requests:

here are several things you can pray for as the fires continue:

  • Pray for strengthened faith and lengthened perspective among believers who will lose some of their earthly possessions.
  • Pray that unaffected believers would have the eyes to see that this is a foretaste of what will happen to our material possessions, and that we would make future choices accordingly.
  • Pray that unbelievers who lose precious possessions will see that life is more than possessions.
  • Pray that we would look for needs and jump at opportunities to serve our fellow believers and the surrounding community.
  • Pray that we would not take the losses lightly and justify our lack of compassion with casual, unfeeling, throwaway platitudes about providence (I believe deeply in divine providence but I also believe deeply that such belief doesn’t warrant cold-heartedness towards those who have been broken by providence).
  • Pray that all would be reminded of the just fires of hell and the need for repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.

Keywords: fire,mark_lauterbach,san_diego

The Gospel in 3 Minutes by Scott Maxwell

Scott Maxwell, pastor of Grace Bible Church, answers the question, "What Is the Gospel?" Excerpt from a sermon preached October 14, 2007 entitled The Receiving and Reckoning of the Kingdom.

Keywords: gospel,scott_maxwell

Hating Coffee & Preaching the Word

Challies writes:

I hated coffee. I still do. I am convinced that it is a vile, evil concoction and one that has cruelly enslaved much of the human race. I despise the stuff, even in what I am assured is its finest form. I can barely stand even the smallest taste of it. It curdles my tongue, makes my eyes water, and leaves me gagging. I find it utterly revolting.

Tim Challies' experience with coffee is 100% opposite mine, I love the stuff, yet he was able to teach Starbucks employees and customers all about the coffee which was sold and even which coffees they should buy, far more effectively I'm sure than I could. Often he stated a coffee is "delicious" and went on to describe in glowing terms its flavor characteristics, yet his opinion and experience of it was opposite. Is it possible to be bloggers of the Word or preachers of the Word and not doers? Can those who do not love God teach those that doe how to love Him more? Can those who aren't humble, teach effectively on humility? Repentance?

This goes a step beyond James' description of the one who is a hearer only (James 1:22ff). Is it possible to hear so well as to be able to teach truth, and teach it accurately, while having that truth not affect your life? Absolutely, and we must avoid this at all cost. Tim Challies' illustration of his days as a barista at Starbucks is an excellent illustration of what we must fight not to be in our ministry of the Word:

And yet I was the coffee expert. When customers wanted to know about the different kinds of coffee we offered, it was my job to lead them through the various options available to them and to help them select the coffee that was suited to their tastes. A customer would choose a package from the counter and I would say, “Oh, now that’s a great choice. It’s a delicious, full-bodied roast that you can taste all over your tongue. Look for the flavors of oak and a subtle hint of the spring flowers that grow in the mountains of Peru.” I had the routine down pat and helped sell a lot of coffee—more than anyone else in the store, I’m sure.

Tim Challies
Living It and Writing It

Let us strive, dependent on God's grace, with all strength to be examples to be followed AND to teach the truth of a loving God who died in our place that enables and motivates our action.

Starbucks (5)

Keywords: coffee,preaching

In Memory of My Dad

Today is the birthday of my dad, my father-in-law, Kirt Mellberg who died a couple of years ago. In memory of him, I would like to repost what I wrote on the first anniversary of his death:

Our Wedding: Dad Signing the Marriage CertificateMy heart aches this morning. Waking up, unable to sleep, at 2:30 in the morning on this first anniversary of the death of my father-in-law, my dad, Kirt Mellberg, I praise God for this pain that I have. I praise God for the pain of the loss. In less than five short years of knowing him (less than four as his son-in-law), the number of memories that I have of him are great and in my memory of him I can remember nothing but great love. Here on earth he was so in love with Jesus and God the Father that I have no doubt that if he were here right now he would direct my heart not toward the hope that I would someday see him again and we could mutually enjoy presence and be reunited as a family in heaven. That is what was so sweet about him. He loved Jesus and because he loved Jesus he loved others especially his family. He would direct me to the hope of God my Savior and His love for me. In the last recording we have of him, he sang a song to his church and the city of Tepic, that he loved and to whom he spent 30 years bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that basically translates from Spanish: "When there's profound pain in my soul...I feel peace...your word enters into my being...Lord my God, my peace in the storm."   And the hope of that song is not that we feel some abstract peace, but a peace knowing God's love that will ultimately "deliver us to him." So I will take his advice and rejoice and find refuge in my God and Savior as his Word fills my being. (read more...)

Keywords: kirt_dad_mellberg

Legalism: Pushing the Battleship

For the Christian, legalism is like a soldier aboard an aircraft carrier jumping overboard in order to help push in its cruise toward victory...

See my post on legalism to see what I'm talking about

Keywords: gospel,legalism

Our Need for Illumination

So the stress last week was on prayer and our desperate need for God's supernatural illumination to see spiritual things - to see God's glory and beauty and excellence. You can see many things when you come to the Word without God's opening the eyes of your heart. You can see words and grammatical constructions. You can see logical connections. You can see historical facts. You can see an author's rational intention. You can see some human emotions. None of that requires that God open your eyes in a special spiritual way.

But what you cannot see is the spiritual beauty of God and his Son and their work in the world. You cannot see that God is infinitely desirable above all things. A blind person cannot see the sun, though he can know many facts about the sun and pass a test in astronomy with a score higher than a person who can see the sun. Knowing about and knowing by sight are not the same. Knowing that honey is sweet and tasting honey are not the same...

So we have seen over and over: Prayer is indispensable if we would see the glory of God in the Word of God. But we have also seen that reading and study and ransacking and thinking and speaking the Word is also necessary. God has ordained that the eye-opening work of his Spirit always be combined with the mind-informing work of his Word. His aim is that we see the glory of God and that we reflect the glory of God. And so he opens our eyes when we are looking at the glory of God in the Word.

Read, study, ransack, think, speak, listen - and pray, "Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things out of your Word."

John Piper
Wonderful Things From Your Word

Keywords: piper_illumination_prayer_interpretation_bible

5 Free iTunes Songs from Ticketmaster

To get 5 free songs on iTunes, if you are a Facebook member tied to a school (.edu) account, you can head on over to Ticketmaster's Facebook page. Join their group and you will get 5 free iTunes songs to redeem.

HT: Free iTunes Downloads

Dilbert and Vanity of Life Under the Sun

Dilbert - Life Under the Sun (Vanity)

Dilbert begins to learn the truth of Ecclesiastes: (read more...)

Marriage & Divorce: How To Make The Bible Say The Opposite Of That Which It Is Saying

How can we use extrabiblical documents to make the Bible say what it doesn't say? David Instone-Brewer does an excellent job of saying "that's not really what the Bible says" in his article on divorce in Christianity today. Piper comments on the article:
Instone-Brewer’s interpretation is an example (common, it seems, in New Testament studies today) of taking extra-biblical observations and using them to silence the fairly plain meaning of biblical texts.

Notice as you read all of Instone-Brewer's arguments that say that Jesus wasn't really prohibiting divorce in Matthew 19, Luke 16, and Matthew 5:32 and that Paul was authorizing divorce for Adultery, emotional or physical neglect, or abandonment or abuse that the crux of all of his arguments rest in extra-biblical documents (usually rabbinic documents similar to those that the New Perspective on Paul advocates use to make Paul say the opposite of what it appears he is saying) that make the text say the precise opposite thing that a clear reading of the text shows. He gets around the fact that even within Biblical times the consistent application and understanding of Jesus' and Paul's writings were that divorce is prohibited except for in cases of adultery precisely because "What God has joined, let not man separate" by saying: "The early church, and even Jewish rabbis, forgot what the "any cause" divorce was, because soon after the days of Jesus, it became the only type of divorce on offer. It was simply called divorce. This meant that when Jesus condemned "divorce for 'any cause,' " later generations thought he meant "divorce for any cause.""

So even when the extra-biblical documents that don't support his extra-biblical-document supported, non-biblically supported conclusions, he can write it off by alluding to changing language. This kind of exegesis is doubly dangerous.
  1. It may encourage those whose consciences because of Scripture have kept them from seeking divorce to go forward and pursue divorce.
  2. This interpretation method, in the name of trying to bridge the cultural gap, removes the power of the biblical writers to speak for themselves and now places the authority to determine meaning in the hands of the interpreter. The more creative and diligent you can be in your search for any extrabiblical document or idea to support your non-biblical ideas, the more unbiblical ideas you can put forward claiming biblical authority, even when like in this case the clear biblical teaching is opposite to the one you are propagating. Our goals in biblical interpretation must be the opposite of this: Seek not to find the interpretation that makes the teaching easier (In his introduction, Instone-Brewer reveals that this was the motivation for the "finding" this newly "discovered" biblical teaching), seek to understand what the author was intending to communicate.

I leave you with Piper's conclusion to his response to the article:
My experience with the issue of divorce (and with the New Perspective on Paul) is that people who talk this way do not generally see the meaning of the New Testament as clearly as those who focus their attention not in the extra-biblical literature but in the New Testament texts themselves. For the ordinary layman who wonders what to do when scholars seem to see what you cannot see, I suggest that you stay with what you can see for yourself.

In sum, what I am pleading for here is that Jesus’ standards for marriage were higher than the rabbinic schools. He is radical, not accommodating. The world we live in needs to see a church that is so satisfied in Christ that its marriages are not abandoned for something as amorphous as “emotional neglect.” The deepest meaning of marriage is to display the covenant-keeping faithfulness of Christ and his church (Ephesians 5:25). And Christ will never divorce his wife and take another.

Update: Kostenberger at Biblical Foundations clarifies the New-Testament teaching on divorce

Guest Post by Tim Mellberg: On 504 Worthless Hours of Prayer

A response to Joshua Harwood's letter to the editor (published on Monday, October 15, 2007) and to the article by Emma Breysse (published on Tuesday, October 9, 2007):

Prayer, a relationship and communication with God, is truly a dilemma for many. Why would a group of so called "Christians" seek to implore for God's mercy on the United States, Arizona, Tempe, and even closer to us, Arizona State University? Why aren't they (Christians) "doing any concrete work toward the betterment of their fellow man via charity or volunteer work?"

Many assume that these people who apparently "sit in a building and simply implore God's mercy on the planet and hope for a happier universe for all" are not actively seeking to restore this broken world. It has been my experience that people like Chris Ngnai and Kristin Carafano, whom I have met in previous encounters, live not only by example, but also truly live out this inspired life seeking to tangibly correct brokenness both in the world around them, but more than that, they seek to restore people's relationships with God.

Regarding Hardwood's recollection of the New Testament, he is right in his remembrance of the New Testament to be "doers of the Word and not hearers only." He did fail, however, to take into account the several times throughout His ministry in which Jesus prayed to His Father, times of His greatest need ( i.e. the crucifixion).

This significant time of prayer is not about seeking to "sit back" and relax in "their spare time," but it's about communicating with the God who was willing to send His Son to die to offer abundant and eternal life to all who would accept His gift.

UPDATE 10/19: This letter to the editor was published today


I just wanted to point out the new feature that my blog has had or a while: subscription. On the frontpage of the blog on the upper left, enter your email and you will be emailed periodic updates of my blog. Or you can always use the rss feeds with a feedreader. My favorite is google reader.

Legalism: More Foolish Than Adding Gravel to the Freeway

What would you think of me if I walked over to Interstate-10, tossed a handful of gravel on the asphalt and confidently proclaimed that without my hard work the Interstate Highway System would never be completed. And what if I walked over to you and claimed that you had no right to drive on the road since you didn't make it, demanding that you at least throw a few pieces of gravel onto the road. And now, taking it a step further, what would be thought of me if I spent my entire life pressing pieces of gravel into the roadway, proudly proclaiming to all the glories of the freeway that I built and encouraging you to build your own in keeping with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 and similar laws.

The freeways system is complete (at least let's say it is for the sake of this example). So the job of the beneficiaries of this gift is to enjoy it not to try to build that which is built. Furthermore, the task is so monstrous as to appear almost infinite in comparison to the work that we could accomplish on it with our bare hands. A word to describe me: Fool!

Paul uses the same term for the Galatians when they were trying something even more foolish, even more futile (Gal 3:1-3). The work that Christ accomplished when He in the our place was infinite. If we spent a million years trying to exhaust the wrath of God (as those who do not trust in Christ will do), we would still have eternity left. Now multiply that debt by all of the redeemed. Now consider the gap of holiness or righteousness between us and God. A million years of all the good works we could imagine would still leave the gap infinite. But Christ bridged both those infinite divides in His life, death, and resurrection on the cross: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor 5:21).

So the futility of trying to build the already completed national highway system pales in comparison to the futility of trying to reconcile us to the already reconciled irreconcilable God (1 Peter 3:18). God has made the gospel such that boasting in excluded (Romans 3:27). He made it entirely apart from our works, stating the it is a free gift, precisely so that we cannot boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

And what if we decide that we want to trust in Jesus AND our works at the same time?: The precise claim of legalism, the claim of any teaching that says that your salvation is dependent on something you DO, and you will not be saved or as saved if you do not DO this thing (circumcision, baptism, mass, not dance, read the Bible, pray a certain way, dress a certain way, etc.) If we are to say that our works are necessary or even contribute to our salvation, this is the same thing as saying that the infinite gap wasn't infinite. It is diminishing the necessity and magnitude of Christ's completed work on the cross, declaring it "incomplete", awaiting our completion of it. What's left to complete in the gospel? Nothing! What do we say through our actions if we say we must add our works, no matter how small or large they are? Here's how Paul interpreted it in Galatians 2:21:
The one who wishes to add to Christ's completed work is declaring that "Christ died for no purpose."

This is the same declaration that unbelievers make when the reject the gospel. This is the declaration of those who wish to try to bridge the infinite gap of holiness and bear the infinite wrath of God on their own. This is not the declaration of God's children but the declaration of God's enemies. Therefore, Paul states that to them, although they hope in Christ a little, "Christ will be of no benefit to [them]."

Examine yourself and what you hope in. Is your only hope Christ? Don't press pebbles into the asphalt; enjoy the completed open roads. Don't add works to your salvation, but rejoice in the Lord as you, living obediently through faith, are transformed by the power of His Spirit into Christ's image. If you find that you are indeed a legalist, repent and forsake your works and enjoy the freedom and joy of trusting in a job completed...not one that you need to complete. Praise God for this good news. Praise God for his grace.

The Pastor and Evangelism

With all that you can do, your desires will not be fulfilled, for soul-winning is a pursuit which grows upon a man; the more he is rewarded with conversions the more eager he becomes to see greater numbers born unto God. Hence you will soon discover that you need help if many are to be brought in. The net soon becomes too heavy for one pair of hands to drag to shore when it is filled with fishes; and you fellow-helpers must be beckoned to your assistance. Great things are done by the Holy Spirit when a whole church is aroused to sacred energy...

Contemplate at the outset the possibility of having a church of soul-winners. Do not succumb to the usual idea that we can only gather a few useful workers, and that the rest of the community must inevitably be dead weight: It may possibly so happen, but do not set out with that notion or it will be verified. The usual need not be the universal; better things are possible than anything yet attained; set your aim high and spare no effort to reach it. Labor to gather a church alive for Jesus, every member energetic to the full, and the whole in incessant activity for the salvation of men. To this end there must be the best of preaching to feed the host into strength, continual prayer to bring down the power from on high, and the most heroic example on your own part to fire their zeal.

C.H. Spurgeon
Cited by Mark Dever
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism
p. 177

Steve Jobs: Don't Waste Your Life

Highly recommended! Steve Jobs gave the following commencement speech in 2005 at Stanford. Sounds a lot like the wise advice for life given in Ecclesiastes, and even more like Piper's advice in his book Don't Waste Your Life and his sermon at Passion 2000.

I was on the field that morning with my best friend Matt Dodd as Piper preached this message. I do believe that it has changed my life. What a reminder this morning to not waste it!


J.B. Watkins On Transracial Adoption and The Gospel

Carolina Hope a helpful interview with JB Watkins on "Transracial Adoption and the Gospel". As my wife and I desire to continue the crawl that is the adoption process, trying to Carolina Hope's blog has been helpful sorting through my thoughts and refining my motives and desires.Pivot » Entries

You will also want to read Thabiti Anyabwile's interview on the same subject. 

Another great resource on adoption: Raw Christianity blog is an excellent site full of extended meditation and application of how God's Word and God's love should affect our views on and pursuit of adoption.

How Not to Fight Sin

I do not know of a single scripture, —and I speak advisedly, —which tells me to take my sin, the particular thing that gets me down, to God in prayer and ask him to deliver me from it and then trust in faith that he will.

Now that teaching is also often put like this: you must say to a man who is constantly defeated by a particular sin, "I think your only hope is to take it to Christ and Christ will take it from you." But what does Scripture say in Ephesians 4:28 to the man who finds himself constantly guilty of stealing, to a man who sees something he likes and takes it? What am I to tell such a man? Am I to say, "Take that sin to Christ and ask him to deliver you?" No, what the apostle Paul tells him is this: "Let him that stole, steal no more." Just that. Stop doing it. And if it is fornication or adultery or lustful thoughts, again: Stop doing it, says Paul. He does not say, "Go and pray to Christ to deliver you." No. You stop doing that, he says, as becomes children of God.

D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
Sanctified Through the Truth
p. 54

HT: Pyromaniacs

I may add that Christ has already accomplished that which He must accomplish. He died to put to death sin and he has changed the believer from the heart. So put to death sin, which isn't who you are at your are no longer a slave to sin but to righteousness. Read Romans 7-8 to put this quote in context of what the Bible does say about the believer and Christ's work in him regarding sin.

Resources on Singleness

Based on a request from a friend, here is a quick collection of the best resources on singleness that I am aware of. I pray this list and the resources to which it directs you are a blessing. In no way do I claim that this list could be exhaustive as I certainly have not read everything out there or am even aware of everything out there. But this is the best that I know of. Feel free to suggest that which I may have missed in the comments.

Books on Singleness

Sermons on Singleness

Books on Marriage (Recommended for Singles who Desire Marriage)

From Feminine Appeal...the same could apply to men, flipping the roles:
“If you are single, I would encourage you to study these truths now. They will serve you as you interact with single men, encourage your married friends, and prepare for our future—should God call you to marriage. Humility born of the awareness of our sinful tendencies is an essential character quality in mature Christians. As single women you should cultivate this humility and look for it in any man who might pursue you for marriage.”
Books on Dating, Courting, Waiting.

Articles & Essays on Singleness

Other Good Resources

What is the Good News? (Mark Dever)

The good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ's sacrifice and that God's wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.

Now that's good news!

Mark Dever
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism
p 43

Huichol Biblical Interpretation Conference Complete

We completed the 2-day Huichol conference on Biblical Interpretation today (12 total hours of teaching/workshop time). After focusing on what type of man the pastor needs to be, walking through 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Acts 20:17-21,27-35, I went on to teach how to study the Bible with the following steps:

  1. Leer la Palabra (Read the Word)
  2. Entender la Palabra (Understand the Word)
  3. Vivir la Palabra (Live the Word)
  4. Predicar la Palabra (Preach the Word)

Despite the language difficulties (Spanish is my second language and their as well) and despite the education level difficulties (only one of them is formally educated, having finished Junior High), it seemed to go well. I was even invited back for another one next time I am in Mexico in January. Please be praying as they take this conference back up to the mountains and teach it to others. As new believers face the challenge of pastoring churches of new believers and as others come in proclaiming other religions and bad doctrine (especially legalism), these pastors need to be men who can ably handle the Word. It is amazing what God has accomplished through them...and what a privilege to sit among them. I have more to learn from them - especially in areas of diligence, evangelism, and perseverance - than they have to learn from me; nevertheless, what a privilege for us to be able to mutually encourage each other. 

Below are some pictures (Whole set on Flickr) of the conference as well as some videos.



How Not To Communicate With Your Wife (Dilbert)

This is a good example of how not to communicate with your wife. I think this hits so close to home because it does reveal pride that manifests itself in my inability to communicate effectively with my wife at times, especially when we disagree. So Dilbert does it again...Dilbert has often been a catalyst for my repentance.
Dilbert - How Not to Communicate With Your Wife

Keywords: Dilbert

Sproul's Truth of the Cross

Until January 31, 2008, Sproul's Truth of the Cross (normally $15) is available in bulk discount for as low as $5.25. I am about to order one to read and review it. Sounds like a great book to give to friends or give away to visitors at church. could just go to's great October giveaway and sign up to win 40 copies for free or other prizes.

For even more great deals, I recommend you swing on over to the newly redesigned Monergism Books store with $3.99 flatrate shipping for all-you-can-buy. There are some good deals to be found there, and you can know that you are supporting a very good ministry.

Huichol NT Recording Complete; Distribution Started

Praise God, by His grace, we finished the New Testament recording project for the Huichol project. It's taken almost two years and over a thousand hours of work to complete. Now the entire New Testament is available on solar-power hand-held audio Bibles (Megavoice Ambassadors). We hope to begin distribution of the 1,000 units later this week. We are getting final counts of the number of believers in the closest villages and are working out how to transport hundreds of players to the more remote villages.

Thank you to so many of you who read this blog for your kind donations to the project. Don't stop praying; now that the Bibles are in peoples' hands, those who never had access to their own personal copy of God's Word will be able to hear. Pray for God to work among the believers and those who aren't yet believers. Here is a video of Jose Lopez, one of the pastors, saying thank you to those who donated for their kind gift that has brought God's Word to his people:

Below are a number of quick videos that I took as some Huichol Christians were learning to use the player. Over 9 out of every 10 Huichols is unable to effectively read, so now what was only available to the 1 is available to all. Praise God.

Broadus on Reading

I think that young men should be specially exhorted to read old books. If you have a friend in the ministry who is growing old, urge him to read mainly new books, that he may freshen his mind and keep in sympathy with his surroundings. "But must not young men keep abreast of the age?" Certainly, only the first thing is to get abreast of the age, and in order to this, they must go back to where the age came from, and join there the great procession of its moving thought.

John Broadus
Lectures on the History of Preaching (amazon / logos digital)

HT: Founders Ministry 

Accept Credit Cards For Free At Your Church

Google just launched Google non-profit through Google checkout. If I'm reading correctly, it looks like your church or other 501(c)(3) non-profit organization can accept credit cars for 0% + $0.00 until 2009. Then in 2009 the rate is still pretty cheap at 2% + $0.20. Not sure how many places could make use of this, but it seems like churches and nonprofits in general could make good use of this. I don't know of anything better.

Spurgeon on Reading: "Much, Not Many"

Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and reread them, masticate and digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book several times and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books he has merely skimmed. Little learning and much pride comes of hasty reading. Some men are disabled from thinking by their putting meditation away for the sake of much reading. In reading let your motto be "much, not many.

Spurgeon, C. H.
Encounter With Spurgeon

HT: Darryl's Blog

Make Careful Choice of the Books Which You Read

Don Piper makes the list, John Piper doesn't. A look over the top 50 Christian authors gives a good indication of what Christians are reading. I can't help but to call to mind the Spanish dicho (saying): Por eso estamos como estamos (That's why we are how we are).

Reflecting on this list also reminds me of a Richard Baxter quote I recently read on

“Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy scriptures ever have the pre-eminence, and, next to them, those solid, lively, heavenly treatises which best expound and apply the scriptures, and next, credible histories, especially of the Church … but take heed of false teachers who would corrupt your understandings.”

Challies comments with discernment:

For every good book, there are five or ten (or, more likely, far more) that are fit only for the trash. Much of what is published under the banner of “Christian” is anything but. Be careful what you read, for a book can lead you astray as easily as it can lead you closer to the Lord. Find mature believers who can guide you to books and authors that will edify you.

Life of David Brainerd Audiobook Free This Month

Christianaudio's free audiobook this month is The Life of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards. When you checkout in the month of October 2007, use the code OCT2007 when it asks for a coupon code.

Each month Christianaudio has a new free audiobook. Make sure to browse their site to see all of the excellent audiobook resources they have available and support them in their monthly gracious contribution to our digital audio libraries.

Praise God: Hantlas' Baby #1 On The Way

October 1 - 1st Ultrasound (4 week, 6 days)

Praise God! After more than 3 years of praying for God to bless us with a baby, He blessed us in His perfect timing in His perfect way. Kiki is almost 5 weeks pregnant. Here's the ultrasound showing the little sac just where it is supposed to be. Praise God for this because of Kiki's PCOS, she is at an increased risk of difficulties, many of which result in miscarriage. If you have been praying for us, praise God with us now, but don't stop...please pray for health during the pregnancy and for God to sustain our trust and joy in Him and exactly what He ordains. We trust and love God - not because we have given Him what we asked for but - because He first loved us, and we trust that if He would sacrifice Himself on the cross for our sins, all things are for our good, whether birth or miscarriage, life or death.

Nevertheless, what an exceptionally gracious gift from God. I pray that I can raise this child to know and embrace the Gospel:

(read more...)

Keywords: Baby

Together for the Gospel 2008 Earlybird Registration Almost Closed



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