Monday, February 15, 2010

A Taxing Question

If you are a U.S. citizen then you probably already know that your taxes will be due two months from today. Here is an interesting response to a question about social security and taxes.

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, February 11, 2010

True Worship

“We live holistically under the grace of God. Either we are God-centered in all that we do, or we are not. If we are, then God’s words and ways are precious to us, and all of our living is offered in worship; if we are not, we are in rebellion against God, and nothing we do is true worship.” – D.A. Carson, Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians, 1996, p. 79 (italics mine).

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1, ESV)

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24, ESV)

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Tour of my DG Conference SWAG Bag – Part 2

Yesterday I posted the first part of a series of posts annotating the contents of my ‘nifty gifties’ that I picked up at last week’s Desiring God Conference for Pastors. Here are a few of the books that were included in my bag.

Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World

This little book edited by C.J. Mahaney contains six reflections on keeping a God-centered heart in a self-centered world. The contributors include Mahaney, Craig Cabaniss, Bob Kauflin, Dave Harvey, and Jeff Purswell. This work also includes a helpful set of discussion questions so that that the book can be read and discussed in a group setting. [Published by Crossway Books]

Contagious Christian Living

This book and study guide takes the reader into an examination of the lives of four Biblical characters including Jepthah’s Daughter (Judges 11:29-40), Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32), and Daniel (Daniel 1). In this study, the author, Joel R. Beeke address the question of what does it mean to live “contagiously” as a Christian.

Note: I couldn’t find this book when I searched so I’m glad that DG has introduced me to a book I might not otherwise have stumbled on. It makes me wonder what other treasures might be out there that aren’t as widely known. [Published by Reformation Heritage Books]

Teaching Romans Volume 1: Unlocking Romans 1 - 8 for the Bible Teacher

Christopher Ash has written a helpful volume designed to help preachers and Bible teachers do exactly what the title suggests—teach Romans. This first volume covering the first eight chapters of Romans is divided into three sections covering introductory material, Romans 1-4, and Romans 5-8). Volume 2 in the series, covering Romans 9-16 is also available as a companion to this work. [Published by Christian Focus Publications]

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Book Review – Master Leaders by George Barna

George Barna has written so many books on topics like leadership, the Christian faith, and church ministry that I am surprised that it has taken me so long to read one of them. That changed when I received a copy of Barna’s most recent book Master Leaders: Revealing Conversations with 30 Leadership Greats.

Barna’s imagination takes the reader along with 30 contemporary leaders to attend the Master Leader Conference. The account of this fictional conference allows the reader to eavesdrop in on many behind the scenes conversations that take place between the conference speakers pertaining to a number of leadership principles.

Although the setting of the conversations is fictional, Barna’s research is not. Barna has creatively woven together many quotes from his interviews with leaders in business, sports, government, education, and Christian ministry in a way that keeps the reader engaged.

I found that this book was very well organized with respect to the various principles of leadership Barna wished to demonstrate. Although I read the book cover to cover, one might find that particular chapters would be more relevant to their present situation.

As a pastor I found it very helpful to read a book on leadership that wasn’t written entirely from a Christian ministry perspective. The variety of leadership backgrounds presented gave a more complete picture about what leadership is in way that could be translated into almost any area.

Master Leaders will stay on my self, and I would recommend it to anyone currently serving in a position of leadership, or for anyone wanting to encourage the leaders that they serve under.

You can read the first chapter of Master Leaders in PDF format.

Note: A copy of Master Leaders was provided to me free from Tyndale House Publishers as a part of the Tyndale Blog Network. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Tour of my DG Conference SWAG Bag – Part 1

Last week I was up in Minneapolis, MN for the 2010 Desiring God Conference for Pastors. Now, I’m one of those people who goes crazy for free stuff (really, who doesn’t like getting stuff for free), so I was overjoyed that upon checking in I was handed a bag of freebies or what I like to call ‘SWAG’.

For those who didn’t attend or for those interested in what was handed out, here are the contents of my SWAG bag courtesy of Desiring God Ministries and their conference sponsors and partners.

Journibles The 17:18 Series: Proverbs

What’s a Journible you ask? I’d never heard of it either, but by the end of the conference I not only had my free copy on Proverbs, I had also purchased the one for Galatians-2 Thessalonians. If you have ever wanted to slow down and really focus on the words of Scripture this might be the tool for you. This journal allows you to write out a whole book of the Bible in your own handwriting and leaves room on the facing page for your own reflections. For more information visit the 17:18 Series website.

Tabletalk – February, 2010

Tabletalk is a monthly devotional magazine published by Ligonier Ministries. In my bag I received the February, 2010 issue which in addition to the daily devotional readings also includes a series of short, well written articles by a variety of evangelical scholars. In this issue the topic at hand is the doctrine of justification by faith and in particular the understanding of this doctrine as presented by Bishop N.T. Wright.

A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards (Unabridged Audio CD)

I’ve been a big fan of for some time (full disclosure: I am also a participant in their Reviewers Program). This actually is the first of their audiobooks that I have owned on CD. Usually I just download my audiobooks in mp3 format and dump them on my iPod. This particular audiobook, written by George M. Marsden and read by Grover Gardner, is on 4 CDs and has a running time of about 5 hours. I look forward to listening and to learning more about Edwards and his ministry.

With 11 more items in my bag I think I it is best to divide this post up this week. Follow these links and take a look for yourself at these resources. Leave your comments if you have read or listened to any of these; I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Audiobook Review – Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

Flying can be an extremely convenient means of travel, but one of the downsides has got to be all the waiting around in the airport. This week I flew back home from a conference I had been attending. I had brought books to read and I had packed my iPod full of music. Fortunately I also had a few good audiobooks stored that I wanted to listen to as well.

At just right around 3 hours of listening time, Kevin DeYoung’s book Just Do Something seemed to be a workable choice for my downtime. Narrated by Adam Verner, Just Do Something had me engaged from the book’s introduction. DeYoung tackles a question that every Christian finds himself or herself asking at some point along their spiritual journey: “How can I determine what God’s will is for my life?”

Listening to the book, I couldn’t help but think how Just Do Something would make a great gift for the two high school seniors at our church that will be graduating this year. DeYoung makes the argument that while the easy answers to life’s questions can’t always be found in the pages of Scripture, the principles are certainly there. The book seems geared for college and post-college aged Christians, but the decision making wisdom offered will be helpful for other generations as well.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Christianaudio as part of their Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Here’s To Being “Ordinary”

“Most pastors will not regularly preach to thousands, let alone tens of thousands. They will not write influential books, they will not supervise large staffs, and they will never see more than modest growth. They will plug away at their care for the aged, at their visitation, at their counseling, at their Bible studies and preaching. Some will work with so little support that they will prepare their own bulletins. They cannot possibly discern whether the constraints of their own sphere of service owe more to the specific challenges of the local situation or to their own shortcomings. Once in a while they will cast a wistful eye on “successful” ministries. Many of them will attend the conferences sponsored by the revered masters and come away with a slightly discordant combination of, on the one hand, gratitude and encouragement and, on the other, jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, and guilt.

Most of us—let us be frank—are ordinary pastors.”

D.A. Carson, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson, p. 9.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Download ‘Religion Saves’ Audiobook for FREE!

For the whole month of February is giving away Mark Driscoll’s Religion Saves: And Nine Other Misconceptions as their free audiobook of the month. To get it simply visit and add the book to your cart. You will need to you use the coupon code FEB2010 when you check out.

You can also read my review of Religion Saves that I posted in August, 2009. If you are unfamiliar with Mark Driscoll’s ministry or his books, this is a good place to start.

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