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.

They 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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8 Reasons to Subscribe to Tabletalk

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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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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Weekend Resource: Customize PDF Verse Cards for Your Bible Memory

VCMHere’s a simple tool for creating printable verse card for Bible memory.

The Verse Card Maker was created by Michael Scott, who graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Sciences, but is now in seminary pursuing a Masters of Divinity. He’s offering you a free tool that is one of the fruits of his labor.

It’s as easy as 1-2-3, without the 2
Unless the defaults don’t suit you, there are only two steps.

Type in the references and then click “Make Cards.”

From the website:

“The Verse Card Maker is a simple and efficient way to create customized verse cards for scripture memory. The only thing required of the user is a list of references, and then the Verse Card Maker does the rest by fetching the text and returning a fully formatted PDF ready for front and back printing.”

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Weekend Resource: The Prayerless Church is a Powerless Church

Andrew MurrayIn order to gear you up for the posts I’ve written for the coming week, this Weekend Resource fits the theme of prayer.

Also: Don’t miss the link to a free audiobook at the bottom.

The Prayerless Church Will Inevitably Be a Powerless Church
Andrew Murray lays it out in black and white: A prayerless church is a powerless church.

Here’s an excerpt from an article taken from Murray’s book, The Prayer Life:

“[Prayerlessness] is the cause of a deficient spiritual life.—It is a proof that, for the most part, our life is still under the power of “the flesh.” Prayer is the pulse of life; by it the doctor can tell what is the condition of the heart. The sin of prayerlessness is a proof for the ordinary Christian or minister that the life of God in the soul is in deadly sickness and weakness.

Much is said and many complaints are made about the feebleness of the Church to fulfill her calling, to exercise an influence over her members, to deliver them from the power of the world, and to bring them to a life of holy consecration to God.

Much is also spoken about her indifference to the millions of heathen whom Christ entrusted to her that she might make known to them His love and salvation.

What is the reason that many thousands of Christian workers in the world have not a greater influence?

Nothing save this—the prayerlessness of their service. In the midst of all their zeal in the study and in the work of the Church, of all their faithfulness in preaching and conversation with the people, they lack that ceaseless prayer which has attached to it the sure promise of the Spirit and the power from on high.

It is nothing but the sin of prayerlessness which is the cause of the lack of a powerful spiritual life!”

Read the full article here.

Buy the book here.

Second Resource: Free Audiobook Download of John Piper’s Desiring God
For the next 30 days when you click the link above, you will be able to get John Piper’s audiobook, Desiring God, for free using the code provided by ChristianAudio.com. They offer one free audiobook per month, so I recommend keeping up with them if you enjoy a good listen.

“Desiring God by John Piper is the free audiobook download for November; one of the best-selling and most popular titles ever published by christianaudio!

Scripture reveals that the great business of life is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. In this paradigm-shattering classic, newly revised and expanded, John Piper reveals that the debate between duty and delight doesn’t truly exist: Delight is our duty. Join him as he unveils stunning, life impacting truths you saw in the Bible but never dared to believe.”

John Piper on Sale!
All John Piper audiobook downloads are only $4.98 each until November 21st!

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Weekend Resource: Our Adoption in Christ: What It Means for Us and for Orphans

From Together for Adoption:

“Our first ebook, Our Adoption in Christ: What It Means for Us and for Orphans, is now available for free download! This book was written to equip churches theologically in the areas of orphan care and earthly adoption. We believe that robust theology produces robust action.

So, our writing object was to put the gospel at the center of the global orphan crisis. If the church is to be mobilized to care for 143 million orphaned and vulnerable children, the gospel must be the main thing. Our prayer is that God will use this brief book to equip and empower churches to serve orphans.”

Chapter titles:

  1. The Prodigal’s Suspicion and the Global Orphan Crisis
  2. Adoption in God’s Story of Redemption
  3. Glorifying the Father of the Fatherless
  4. The Cosmic Significance of Adoption
  5. Creating A Culture of Adoption in Your Church

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The 8 Session Summaries from the Desiring God National Conference


This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being hosted by Demian Farnworth at Fallen and Flawed to blog from the Desiring God National Conference 2009.

Six gifted men spoke on John Calvin and what we can learn from his passion for Christ. Each session from the conference is summarized below.

1. Julius Kim: Why we care who Calvin was

2. Collision Film Screening: Doug Wilson explains the dual purpose of apologetics

3. Doug Wilson: How Calvin mastered the Bible

4. Marvin Olasky: How Calvin challenged conventional thinking in government and business

5. Mark Talbot: How Calvin viewed his own sin and suffering

6. Panel Discussion: Should we hold the death of Servetus against Calvin?

7. Sam Storms: 4 ways meditating on heaven will change your life [Highly recommend this one]

8. John Piper: God’s ultimate goal is to glorify His grace in and through Christ

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Live Blogging from the Desiring God National Conference

I’m flying to Minnesota this weekend to attend the Desiring God National Conference to listen to six speakers unpack the life and ministry of John Calvin for the 500th anniversary of his birth. The conference centers on understanding how  “the vision of God that Calvin lived and taught is relevant in all our lives.”

Expect unique and practical perspectives from the group of men slated to teach at the conference.

Demian Farnworth is hosting me at his blog, Fallen and Flawed, where I will be live blogging the event this weekend. I will post summaries of each speaker’s session, highlighting key points and exploring ideas introduced at the conference.

If you haven’t checked out Fallen and Flawed before, I highly recommend the blog to you. The Desiring God conference updates are the least of what you’ll find there. From practical theology to interviews with atheists, Demian tackles it all and points to Christ.

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7 reasons why God used D. L. Moody

dl-moodyD.L. Moody was a strikingly ordinary human used powerfully by the Almighty. How did that come about? Why was Moody used powerfully? R. A. Torrey gives us 7 reasons in his biography of Moody:

1. A Fully Surrendered Man
Moody had no will and goals outside of God’s. The heart of the Father filled the heart of Moody. Not a mere agreement to cooperate with God in addition to a personal agenda, but a full-scale submission to God’s will alone.

2. A Man of Prayer
Practical belief in God powered Moody’s prayer life. “He was a man who met every difficulty that stood in his way — by prayer. Everything he undertook was backed up by prayer, and in everything, his ultimate dependence was upon God.”

3. A Deep and Practical Student of the Bible
Every morning, Moody shut himself up alone in a room to meet with God in the Word. He was unwilling to sacrifice time with God for something of lesser value.

4. A Humble Man
Moody was convinced of his own inadequacy. This led him to trust God for strength. It also allowed him to enjoy putting himself in the background and others in the foreground.

5. His Entire Freedom from the Love of Money
Millions on dollars passed through Moody’s hands, and as Torrey put it, “He loved to gather money for God’s work; he refused to accumulate money for himself.”

6. His Consuming Passion for the Salvation of the Lost
As a new believer, Moody resolved to never let a day pass without speaking to at least one person about the gospel. Sometimes, remembering that commitment stirred  him from his bed and out into the streets late at night.

7. Definitely Endued with Power from on High
“In his early days he was a great hustler; he had a tremendous desire to do something, but he had no real power,” Torrey described Moody, “He worked very largely in the energy of the flesh.” That changed after he began praying for the power of the Holy Spirit, not his human effort, to drive his ministry.

Which one of those evidences of God’s grace in Moody’s life strike you the most?

Click to download the short (15 pg) book, Why God used D.L. Moody, by R. A. Torrey.

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Weekend Resource: Do You Know How to Use Bible Study Methods?

iStock_000003995793XSmallConfession from a recovering methods addict
I have long been fascinated with methods. They seem to promise results if you follow steps 1 through 3.

Problem is, they are powerless in and of themselves. Methods can not produce or sustain the hunger required to follow the methods diligently. Methods can not unlock the scriptures in a heart-changing way. Methods can help us gain a sort of knowledge, but not a relationship with Christ. In short, methods alone lack the ability to deliver on their promises. Standing alone, they are a futile means to reaching God.

Am I alone, or have you suffered from the futile methods-addiction as well?

Our hope is not in Bible Study methods.
Our only hope is in the Father, who by His Holy Spirit, teaches us and conforms our hearts by the truth to become more like Jesus Christ. Bible study methods that are divorced from such a hope in the Trinity will fail. Bible study methods are but a means of grace, but never the focus or power of our Christian life.

In light of that, here are 3 ways to use methods:

1. Bible Study Methods ought to be used to aid
Methods can be used to add structure to quiet times. Examples of the methods of other men may inspire us to dedicate ourselves to feeding on God’s Word more consistently. But remember, methods are to be an aid. Don’t use them to make yourself feel guilty for your lack of structure. Don’t force yourself to use a method that does not actually help or fit the learning style God has given you.

2. Bible Study Methods ought to be used by the hungry
Methods can only help if we are already feeling famished in the soul, desiring intimacy with God in His Word. Do not be mistaken, the methods can not produce hunger or desire in our heart. That is God’s work. God will do that work in your heart through prayer and His Word, but He doesn’t require a method for the Holy Spirit to work while you are in the Word.

3. Bible Study Methods ought not to distract us from the Holy Spirit’s work
Don’t get so tangled in the method that you can no longer hear the Holy Spirit say, “Read a little further today,” or “Stop, you need to meditate on that point.”
Don’t get so tangled in the method that you think the method is what teaches you, or that you are teaching yourself. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, teaching us spiritual truths that natural man can not comprehend (1 Cor 2:9-16).

Weekend Resource: AW Pink’s Study methods
In context of all of the above, here are AW Pink’s study methods. Don’t have enough time to follow them yourself? Don’t be discouraged. Instead, let them be a testimony to blessings and faithfulness of God. See the theologian, but also see that his knowledge was not self-concocted, but granted to him by the Holy Spirit from years of faithful study. Bottom line: God will be faithful to reward those who come to Him in His Word. AW Pink is an testimony to that. Focus on the sureness of God’s faithfulness to reward those who seek Him, praying that truth sink will into your heart and draw you to invest time in His Word.

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