07/18/13

Fool Complains He Can’t Enter Eden by Five Gates at Once

Open gate Fool Complains He Cant Enter Eden by Five Gates at Once

I could never mix in the common murmur of the rising generation against monogamy, because no restriction on sex seemed so odd and unexpected as sex itself. To be allowed, like Endymion, to make love to the moon and then to complain that Jupiter kept his own moons in a harem seemed to me (bred on fairy tales like Endymion’s) a vulgar anticlimax. Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman. To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I could only be born once. It was incommensurate with the terrible excitement of which one was talking. It showed, not an exaggerated sensibility to sex, but a curious insensibility to it. A man is a fool who complains that he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once. Polygamy is a lack of the realization of sex; it is like a man plucking five pears in mere absence of mind.

- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy



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04/9/10

The Messiah: 11 Mediations from the Book of Mark [Weekend Resource]

Messiah Cover1 The Messiah: 11 Mediations from the Book of Mark [Weekend Resource]I’m not going to try to sell you on the top three reasons why you should download this exceptionally written, free book (See there? I only used two reasons).

Or maybe I should tell you the rest of the story…

This 36 page ebook will hit you like a wallop upside the head. It is a page turner. It is written by Demian Farnworth. It is a compilation of arguably his finest series on his blog, Fallen and Flawed. It presents the identity of Christ so clearly, you will be breathless.

I guess the bottom line is: You ought to download and read The Messiah: Eleven Mediations from the Book of Mark.

Here’s a short excerpt from the introduction to whet your appetite:

“Something happens when you systematically read through a gospel narrative like the book of Mark: You are confronted with the real Jesus.

“Gone are the pretty pictures of a gentle man lugging a lamb around on his shoulders.

“Instead, you meet a man who is vast in wisdom, terrifying in strength and exceptional in humility. So vast, terrifying and exceptional you begin to wonder if he is God.”

Here are five ideas for way to use the book from Demian & Co.:

1. Book.
Read it and move on. Pretty straightforward. You could take it a bit further and brag [or rag] on it–whether here, Scribd or your social media site of choice.

2. Devotional.
Print the book out and hunker down each morning with a chapter. Meditate on the messages like you might a page from Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.

3. Tract.
The book is 30 pages of very short chapters, so it’s easy to read. And the content [the identity of Jesus] is perfect for introducing non-believers to the gospel.

4. Study Guide.
Print this book out and walk your study group or Sunday school class through it. Could stretch into an eleven week course.

5. Gift
Print several copies of the book to give away. Mail some to faraway friends and relatives.



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04/7/10

7 Posts That Pop Up Like Gophers In My Thoughts

There are a few blog posts I’ve read that pop up like gophers in my thoughts. For one reason or another, they stuck in a memorable way.

Gopher 7 Posts That Pop Up Like Gophers In My ThoughtsThey are each worth a read, and so are the blogs they come from.

1. On Mission, Changing the World, and Not Being Able to Do It All

This bit says it all: “No doubt some Christians need to be shaken out of their lethargy. I try to do that every Sunday morning and evening. But there are also a whole bunch of Christians who need to be set free from their performance-minded, law-keeping, world-changing, participate-with-God-in-recreating-the-cosmos shackles.”

2. The Devil’s Sermon

This post by is by Michael Spencer, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer.

3. The Sale of a Skeptic

The value of skepticism when put on the auction block. Humorous and thought provoking.

4. On Philosophical Apologetics

This quote from Spurgeon came a turning point in my gospel growth.

5. Secret Sins and Spiritual Power

Ed Stetzer lays it out bluntly: You are lying to yourself when you say, “My secret sin is only hurting me.”

6. How the Conquered Storm Points to Christ

Put yourself in that boat beside Peter. You’ll feel the chill run down your spine when you realize that the Man in the boat, the one called Jesus, have power over storms. We have a hard time imagining such real power because we’ve laughed at it on the Cartoon Network so many times before that we think it child’s play.

7. TV or Not TV [That is the Question]

This post recommendation went last for a purpose: Now that you’ve spent some precious time on the internet, start making a log. Check yourself – how much time do you spend in front of the TV or internet [or whatever else]? Get serious on this one.



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03/12/10

The Page from C.S. Lewis that Changed John Piper’s Life [Weekend Resource]

cs lewis The Page from C.S. Lewis that Changed John Pipers Life [Weekend Resource]I’m always looking for good material to feature for the Weekend Resources series.

This week, C.S. Lewis has graciously agreed to do a guest post (meaning, I have more or less picked over some of his work and found a short, profitable piece for readers).

This happens to be the page from C.S. Lewis that John Piper says changed his life [PDF].

**The following is an except of The Weight of Glory [PDF], by C.S. Lewis.**

What is the Highest Virtue?

If you asked twenty good men to-day what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness.

But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love- You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance.

Replacing Love With the Negative Ideal of Unselfishness

The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.

I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.

We are Far Too Easily Pleased

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Now I encourage you to  download and read the remaining eight pages of The Weight of Glory.



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02/26/10

A Sweet & Bitter Providence [Weekend Resource]

A Sweet And Bitter Providence large A Sweet & Bitter Providence [Weekend Resource]This is audio Bible study at its finest, and that needs to inform your listening approach. Here’s what I mean.

John Piper’s new book, A Sweet & Bitter Providence, is out in audio format at christianaudio.com. The book is more of a Bible study than just a drive-by reading. It is more polished than a sermon, more fervent than a commentary, with more Biblical depth than the typical Christian book.

Piper tackles issues like sex, race, and the sovereignty of God head-on. With gripping clarity, he opens the Book of Ruth chapter by chapter and proves that the three-thousand year old book is still relevant today.

So here is how I would approach this audiobook and turn it into an excellent Bible study on the Book of Ruth.

Read a chapter of Ruth each week. Meditate on it, pray over it during your time with God.

Then, set a time each week to listen to the audiobook. Approach it as a Bible study by digging into the text yourself, and then listening to John Piper add depth to your understanding.

You will enjoy the narrator of the audiobook. He puts enough expression into his voice to avoid sounding mechanical. I had a slight complaint at first blush as the narrator read all of the verse references. But that turns into an asset when you use the Bible study approach.

Get a Taste for the Book: A Quote

“One of the great diseases of our day is trifling. The things with which most people spend most of their time are trivial. And what makes this a disease is that we were meant to live for magnificent causes.

“None of us is really content with the trivial pursuits of the world. Our souls will not be satisfied with trifles. …So our souls shrivel. Our lives become trivial. And our capacity for magnificent causes and great worship dies.

“The book of Ruth wants to teach us that God’s purpose for his people is to connect us to something far greater than ourselves.”

Note: This review was done as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program.



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02/19/10

Humility: True Greatness [Weekend Resource]

Humility large Humility: True Greatness [Weekend Resource] If I met someone presuming to have something to say about humility, automatically I’d think him unqualified to speak on the subject.

So are the feelings of CJ Mahaney as he wrote his book, Humility: True Greatness. But Mahaney’s work merits your attention, at least for one primary reason.

He is writing as a fellow pilgrim pursing humility by the grace of God. His goal? Help you make humility the everyday attire of your life instead of a mere performance. Mahaney approaches that goal in the only effective manner.

The Only Path to Humility

What is the only effective way to find humility? By recognizing that humans “cannot free ourselves from pride and selfish ambition; a divine rescue is absolutely necessary.” Yes, we must redefine greatness to mean serving others instead of being served. Yes, we must see the foolishness of pride. But in the end, all endeavors to find humility are futile if they do not lead you do the cross of Christ. Christ alone offers hope for humility by ransoming us from bondage to pride.

Finding the Authentic Servant’s Heart…At Last

I highly recommend this audiobook…it ranks in the top tier of books I’ve read. Evidence: I’ve read the print version several times as well as listened to the audio from christianaudio.com [that's a dual statement of the book's quality and my need]. The book itself is no salvation, but it clearly explains the gospel of Jesus Christ who alone offers real humility. The kind of authentic servant’s heart that you’ve never found anywhere else.

Note: This review was done as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program.




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02/3/10

8 Reasons to Subscribe to Tabletalk

2010 TBT 02 Feb jpg 245x308 q85 8 Reasons to Subscribe to <i>Tabletalk</i>It only took one issue to convince me. It was worth subscribing.

I’ve toted the February issue of Tabletalk around in my backpack, slid it into my Bible case, perched it on top of my bedside reading stack, and even woken up pulled it out at 1:30am to skip a little further ahead in the daily devotional readings.

Here’s a summary of the benefits I’ve gotten from my battered copy.

1. Thought provoking articles.

Tabletalk isn’t a namby-pamby devotional booklet that leaves you starving on a diet of superficial junk food. Tabletalk has meat. Each article spurred me to think more deeply by presenting profound truth clearly. The authors don’t have their heads stuck in the clouds. They write with practical insight. And they write to be understood. Tabletalk is a superb supplement for daily Bible reading, study, and meditation.

2. Short and engaging.

You know what it is like to start fighting dropping eyelids on page three of a dense novel. I never had that problem while reading Tabletalk…because there never is a page three. Each article is only two pages long, and the pages are about the size of a typical DVD case. Small.

3. Further study helps.

After packing a punch with a short article, Tabletalk also offers suggestions for further Bible study on the topic. Reminds me of my Boy Scout days when they set us loose with trail maps to roam the mountains of Yosemite for a few days.

4. Exalts Christ and proclaims the gospel.

The articles and daily devotional readings constantly point back to the cross. Great care is taken to proclaim the gospel through the pages. Often, we are tempted to think that the gospel is yesterday’s news. We’ve moved past it to “deeper” things now that we are saved. That isn’t an attitude that you will find in Tabletalk. It leaves the reader gazing at the beauty of the gospel and understanding the critical, daily need for its message.

5. Sit at the table with qualified teachers.

When you read Tabletalk, you are learning from some of the top Christian thinkers of our day.

6. Important people read it.

People like Michael Horton, Al Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias – just to name a few – don’t just write for Tabletalk. They read Tabletalk. And the way I figure it, whatever they are doing probably deserves some consideration. Not sure who those men are? Don’t worry, they make great company.

7. Subscription costs only $23 a year.

At $23 dollars, the 1-year subscription price won’t break the bank. And two years costs only $39, and three is $49…that’s a mere $1.36 per month. C’mon, you spend more than that on Easter candy and Starbucks.

8. Free 3-month trial subscription.

That’s right…give it a try for three months. Take it for a test drive. And if you like it, subscribe. If not, just let your trial expire. It’s that easy. Your trial subscription will not automatically renew.

If you want to check out the content, you can read select articles and columns online for free. But you need to subscribe to see the rest. Don’t miss the rest of the articles and the daily Bible study material.



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01/30/10

Revolution in World Missions – Free Book [Weekend Resource]

book Revolution in World Missions   Free Book [Weekend Resource]It is hard to turn down a free book. Especially a book of true stories and insightful teaching melded together.


Why I Recommended A Book Without Reading It

Small confession to make: I haven’t actually read the whole book. But when I went to gauge the quality of the book, I skipped straight to chapter 11 where the author lays out the importance of the gospel. Red flags should go up if a book on missions misses the gospel. This book didn’t. And throughout the book, it solidly exposes false gospels that we may be tempted to embrace.

All that said, don’t neglect to read with discernment.


How to Get Your Free Copy

Three ways get your copy of Revolution in World Missions for free.

First, go order your free copy and wait for it to come in the mail.

After that, you will get a link in your email that will allow you to download the audiobook and PDF version for free as well.


Book Summary

Yohannan lays out his own story and presents biblical insights on world missions.

From the website:

“In this exciting and fast moving narrative, K.P. Yohannan shares how God brought him from his remote Indian village to become the founder of Gospel for Asia, which supports thousands of native missionaries.”



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01/16/10

Driven to Prayer: Our Extremities are the Lord’s Opportunities [Weekend Resource]

walking on water jekel1 Driven to Prayer: Our Extremities are the Lord’s Opportunities [Weekend Resource]Usually I reserve the Weekend Resource slot for a post covering a website, book review, free download, or some other resource that may be of use to you in your pursuit of the God pursing you.

Other weekends I post a series of quotes or a short article written by someone else. That’s what this is. A brother in the Lord, Al Hartman, posted the following piece from Spurgeon in the comment section of a previous post on prayer and fighting sin. I don’t want you to miss this.

An Excerpt from Morning and Evening, by Charles Spurgeon

Beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ (Matthew 14:30)

Sinking times are praying times with the Lord’s servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his venturous journey, but when he began to sink, his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry, though late, was not too late.

In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves. The fox runs to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy-seat for safety. Heaven’s great harbor of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with full sail.

Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition that Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing, they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as short as that of Peter.

Our extremities are the Lord’s opportunities. Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us, the ear of Jesus hears, and with Him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger. At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but His swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action. Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction? Let us then lift up our souls unto our Savior, and we may rest assured that He will not suffer us to perish. When we can do nothing, Jesus can do everything; let us enlist His powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.
~C. Spurgeon / A. Begg

Click here to download the devotionals for the month of January out of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening.



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01/1/10

8 Bible Reading and Memory Plans [Weekend Resource]

Bible Reading and Memory 300x250 8 Bible Reading and Memory Plans [Weekend Resource]Desire Spiritual Growth has two new pages: Bible Reading Plans and Bible Memory Plans under the Resources tab.

Both pages offer a buffet of Bible reading and memory plans, plus some “how-to” heavy artillery. Remember, our hope is not in the methods. But they are tools nonetheless. There’s value in having a plan to follow when reading the Bible. Maybe you want to methodically follow a beaten path by reading the Bible in a year. Or you want to plunge into a 90 day reading plan. Or maybe you’re like me and just want a plan so you can have something to meander back to once you’ve chased the rabbit trails.

Here’s a list for readers of all stripes.

Bible Reading Plans

  1. Tabletalk’s Bible in a Year Plan
  2. Entire Bible in 90 Days
  3. Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan
  4. 5×5×5 Bible Reading Plan
  5. Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
  6. Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System
  7. 6 Ways to Access the ESV Bible Reading Plans

How to Have a Quiet Time

  1. Guide to the Quiet Time
  2. 7 Minutes with God
  3. How to Use Bible Study Methods [Confession From a Recovering Methods Addict]

Here’s everything you wanted to know about Bible memory, and then some.

Bible Memory Plan and Resources

  1. Create Your Own Memory Cards
  2. Fighter Verse Cards

How and Why to Memorize

  1. An Approach to Extended Bible Memory
  2. 18 Tricks To Memorize More Scripture
  3. How John Piper Memorizes Scripture
  4. Why Memorize Scripture?



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