“The easiest way you can love the church is simply by showing up. It sounds easy, but most of us have no idea what just being there means to those around us. Your church family is genuinely encouraged by your presence.” (Jaquelle Crowe, This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years)
by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
Feliz Friday! Well, we come back to providing a number of links that, we hope, will be a blessing to you all, and we promise not to hold anything back! So here are this week’s links!
- The Gospel Coalition has come out with their new issue of the Themelios journal, and it looks like quite a resource! I’m personally excited to dig into Wingard’s article on being a Reformed compatibilist philosopher (is there any other kind?), McDonald’s article on the incompatibility of natural selection and an epistemology of evil, along with the many, many book reviews! You do not want to miss this!
- As the school year begins, how do students, especially freshmen, stay strong in the Lord upon moving away for college? Pastor Jon Payne provides five ways.
- Melissa Cain Travis deals with the dismissal by skeptics that scientists during the time of the Scientific Revolution were devout Christians because of their scientific knowledge. She focuses on Johannes Kepler, but it looks like a series of posts is forthcoming.
- Professor David Murray is updating his resources page on various topics, and gave a facelift to his page on addictions. There’s a lot to sift through, so make time for this one.
- Kevin DeYoung apparently stirred up a hornet’s nest in writing a post concerning Christians watching the show ‘Game of Thrones.’ Nicholas Batzig provides some further reflections on the issue. I pray this leads to greater discernment and holiness among God’s people.
- Biblical counselor David Powlison answers the question, “Is sexual renewal a simple or complex process?” He always points us to wisdom gleaned from Scripture and also provides a story that may speak parallel to where you currently may be.
- In an excerpt from a sermon, John Piper expresses eight thoughts on the deadliest weapon every believer has against the devil. May we as a church take heed to what is spoken.
- Mark Johnston provides a theology of vacation from a simple observation of one of Christ’s statements to His disciples while here on earth. Even if summer is coming to an end, may we take our rest the way Christ models for us.
That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for tonight as we have Bible study for the church, and reports from both the Argentina and Czech Republic teams on Sunday. See you then!
Soli Deo Gloria
by Stephen Rodgers
Well, the missions teams are back and August is upon us, which means that our annual hiatus is over! So without further ado, here are the links to the freely-available resources for July and August.
- Everything is Possible by Jen Bricker (audiobook) – I’m not personally familiar with Jen Bricker or her story, but her autobiography is available for free this month from christianaudio.com.
- Why I Am a Christian by John Stott (Logos resource) – I am familiar with John Stott however, and this is a truly excellent introduction to the Christian faith.
- Tabletalk Magazine (free articles) – As always, Tabletalk is something you don’t want to miss. The July issue was titled “Entertainment” and the August issue is titled “Giving an Answer.”
- The English Reformation (free magazine) – The latest edition of Credo Magazine continues their theme of “The Reformation” in the context of church history, and this issue focuses particularly on the activities and consequences of the English Reformation.
- 9Marks Journal (free articles) – Since I last mentioned them, the folks over at 9Marks have had not one but two separate journals published: one on the topic of Pastoring Singles and another on the topic of Church Mergers and Plants.
That should hopefully keep everyone busy for a while at least! I hope everyone had a restful and productive hiatus…but it sure is good to be back.
“Worry begins when a person is trying to love equally both the Creator and something in creation (or when they are not trying to love the Creator at all, having replaced him with something in his creation). That something may be ourselves, of course. And to love Creator and created equally is impossible.” (Timothy Lane, Living without Worry: How to replace anxiety with peace)
by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
Feliz Friday! Praise God for those who have been blessed with a summer off! Hopefully, that translates to more undistracted devotion to Christ! Here are this week’s links to get you all started!
- Paul Tautges examines Scripture’s call to the older and younger men in the church. May we never get tired of hearing what God calls us, both young and old, to be.
- Not to leave the ladies behind, over at the True Woman blog, Laura Elliot provides some great encouragement to anyone who may not see themselves as teachers to see their calling within the church to bless those who are younger. Please take this to heart, ladies!
- What in the world is a worldview, and what does it consist of? RTS professor James N. Anderson gives a concise overview of the topic, while mentioning some of the predominant contenders in opposition to Christianity. If this is your first foray into the subject, Anderson is a great guide.
- After the showing of the documentary Is Genesis History? some of the people behind it have created a conference for students, ministers and educators going into more detail about the many topics covered in the film. A schedule with names of all presentations can be found on their website, while the videos of all presentations are currently on their Facebook page. This will definitely be an in-depth introduction to young-earth creationism, if you are looking for a good place to start studying the topic.
- Tim and Michael Keller have been doing a series of posts on evangelism at the university that should be a source of interest of anyone who knows college students. It’s been a great read thus far. Here are the posts: “The Uniqueness of University Evangelism,” “The Challenge of University Evangelism,” “4 Promising Opportunities in University Evangelism,” and “5 Principles for University Evangelism.”
That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for youth group, as they have their Grad Night/Lock-In today and tomorrow. See you all on Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria
“The only way we are going to know Christ as our supreme treasure is if we diminish the value of competing treasure. Anything— even good things— must go if they hinder Christ’s lordship in our lives and hearts. If we cherish and cling to competing treasures, our affection for God will grow sluggish and our loneliness will only increase.” (Lydia Brownback, Finding God in My Loneliness)
by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
Feliz Friday! It’s time for reading, and listening(!), to what has been happening this week. So let’s get to it!
- Biblical counselors Alasdair Groves and Mike Emlet, who is also a physician, talks about what OCD is from a biblical perspective. This is part one of a two-part series.
- Recently, a Christian nominated to office was grilled by two U.S. Senators on his views of Islam. Many have called foul on the religious litmus test that has been decried by the political climate whenever a Christian seems to administer it to those who aren’t believers, yet will not do the same when applied to Christians. Joe Carter gives an analysis of what happened, as well as why it matters.
- Should you give up on the church? Well, obviously, our answer would be, “No,” but how would you counsel someone who is tempted to think this way? Hayley Mullins gives us eight reasons not to abandon Christ’s bride. It’s a great read, and would be wise to heed, too.
- How can you share Christ with ease and impact? Greg Koukl answers in this month’s mentoring letter.
- Mathematician Granville Sewell presents his two main concerns with current evolutionary theory, and that without giving specifics of the theory itself. Though it may seem counterintuitive for him to do so, Sewell presents his case, giving us non-scientists hope that we can still bring our disagreements to the table and gain a hearing.
- Well, summer is coming, which requires the seasonal talk about purity and modesty. Biblical counselor Heath Lambert covers purity at the pool, while Martha Peace covers modesty for girls at the pool, both on the Truth in Love podcast.
- When we encounter gossip that is being spoken of us or of others, how should we respond or advise those who are being gossiped? Paul Tautges gives two suggestions that will be sure to distinguish believers from the world. May we all grow in Christlike love towards those who choose to speak ill of us behind our backs.
- Do kids who grow up in the church really understand the gospel? Sean McDowell suggests that, without a real distinction between subjective and objective truth, there is no need for the gospel. When we live in a culture that seeks to blur the lines, we need to teach our children and youth that the gospel is objectively true. Their lives truly do depend on it being so.
- From this month’s issue of Tabletalk, Covenant College president Derek Halvorson writes to collegians and post-collegians to invest in each others’ lives for the sake of maturity, and as part of entering adulthood.
That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for the youth and collegians, as they will be finishing with their respective ministry Bible study tonight. See you all on Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria
by Stephen Rodgers
Happy Friday folks! Since it’s the first Friday of the month, that means that you get an article from me regarding free stuff! This is going to be a short list, but there’s some very good stuff.
- The New Testament by God (free audio book) – The free resource from christianaudio.com this month is the KJV translation of the Bible (New Testament only). Apparently this was recorded specifically with listening in mind, so if you like to have a rotation of audio Bibles, this is worth checking out.
- Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by John M. Frame (free logos resource) – This is John Frame’s prolegamena (introduction to systematic theology) and just like nearly everything Frame writes, is pretty great. I’ve got the dead tree version of this on my shelf, and it’s absolutely worth picking up.
- The Beatitudes (July 2017 Tabletalk) – I’ve sung the praises of Tabletalk magazine before, and I’m not about to stop now. It’s a really fine resource, and if you haven’t become familiar with it yet, now would be a great time.
That’s it! Short and sweet…but as you can see, I wasn’t kidding about the quality. Enjoy!
“Put simply, works are not the means of salvation; they are the fruit of salvation…Good works do not make a person good, but a good person will do good works.” (Erwin Lutzer, Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation)
by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
Feliz Friday! Not as many links this week, but I hope this will keep you busy over the three-day weekend! Plenty of time to catch up on previous weeks as well!
- Pastor Mark Dever recently gave a few talks on some of the nine marks he has written and spoken about for years. If you’re looking for a good introduction to these issues, you would do well to start here.
- How do you forgive someone who refuses to say sorry? Pastor Jeremy Pierre gives a succinct answer to that question. Don’t miss out on Pastor Chris Brauns’ links to other articles on the issue of forgiveness, and even the quiz on forgiveness to get you thinking about this topic. Also, if you are in need of some instruction in how to handle personal conflict, Pastor Steven Cole has been preaching a series of messages on the church, with his most recent on how to resolve personal conflict in the church.
- Tim Challies notes a musician’s observations that technology seems to have the (un)intended consequence of removing human interaction altogether. After reading this, you may want to talk to someone about it. In person.
- Is regeneration monergistic or synergistic? If you aren’t sure of the answer, or even what any of those words mean, Steve Lawson may be of some help here.
- What is the role of the believer in the local church? Well, according to Scripture, every Christian is to be involved in ministry. Pastor Eric Davis, in what I would deem the article of the week (and month, for that matter), lays out the biblical case and importance of being equipped by your church for the sake of ministering to others.
- Fred Butler, a self-identified young-earth creationist, has been reviewing old-earth creationist Hugh Ross’ book Navigating Genesis, and pointing out some of the issues that arise from his reading of the book. This week’s post is part 5, so you’re going to want to catch up, which he provides links to.
- Pastor David Prince gives some good reasons not to trust what you normally hear in graduation speeches, specifically in reference to following your passions outside of God’s glory and His church. So don’t be too quick in heeding Will Ferrell’s advice, even if his speech is trending!
- Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist who was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of seven babies and third-degree murder of a woman, had written a justification for his practice with five Bible verses, since he claims to be a Christian. Pastor Jesse Johnson reviews Gosnell’s “inspired” list of Bible verses and responds to each of them.
That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for flocks as they meet this week. See you all on Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria
“Part of the reason grace bothers us so much is because self-righteousness distorts our perception of reality. We see our goodness as far better than it really is, and we see others’ sins as worse than they really are. In the midst of such unclear vision, grace makes no sense at all.” (Randy Newman, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well)
by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
Feliz Friday! We have a number of links for you to power through and enjoy, and so we hope you do!
- A new book has been making its rounds in the abortion discussion from an abortionist who claims to be a Christian. Author Charles Bellinger reviews the book and gives an overall indictment of pro-choice literature in its lack of awareness of pro-life arguments. Very well-argued.
- Pastor Ben Edwards gave a presentation on the Sunni Muslim worldview, addressing the top four elements and answering the main seven questions every worldview has to answer. This is a good summary of the largest Muslim group within Islam.
- Joss Whedon, famous director of The Avengers movies, has created a short film in support of Planned Parenthood, that is on its way to going viral. Over at the Life Training Institute blog, Clinton Wilcox calls it a ‘propaganda piece,’ giving some context for what is really going on with Planned Parenthood. Don’t miss this testimony from a mom who just graduated college in response to Whedon’s video.
- Pastor Brian Croft just posted video messages from the Sacramento Gospel Conference 2016, where he addresses the gospel in relation to the church, home/family, and sickness/death. Pastor Greg Gilbert was also a speaker there, and gave talks that addressed the components of the gospel. Here is the playlist that has all the talks from both, including a Q&A session with Croft and Gilbert.
- At the True Woman blog is a story of a marriage tainted by sin, but renewed by God’s grace in forgiveness.
- Our smartphones are changing us, and surprising remarks come from actor Denzel Washington about that. Author Tony Reinke gives us 12 gospel themes to address with others in relation to our smartphones. May it be a help and source of encouragement to be creative in your bridging the gospel in every conversation.
- Amy Hall at Stand to Reason, gives some great advice, and links, to many resources for how a high schooler can get involved in Christian apologetics. Though we may not entirely agree on everything with regards to method, there is much value in learning from seasoned apologist who have been on the field for many years.
- There is a horrifying new practice from an Australian jeweler to turn frozen embryos into jewelry for their parents. Abigail Dodds at Desiring God points out the wickedness of the practice, and the inconsistent labeling of the embryo as a baby from the practitioners of death. Pray that this ends ASAP.
- What does true, Christian friendship look like? When Desiring God Ministries answers this question, you know it will be a very God-centered answer. Take a look, and pray you become that kind of friend for others.
That’s all for this week! Continue to be in prayer for the youth and collegians, as they meet tonight for Bible study. See you all on Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria
“Take away the Gospel from a Church and that Church is not worth preserving. A well without water, a scabbard without a sword, a steam-engine without a fire, a ship without compass and rudder, a watch without a mainspring, a stuffed carcase without life, all these are useless things. But there is nothing so useless as a Church without the Gospel.” (J. C. Ryle, Light from Old Times)
by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
Feliz Friday! I pray your weeks have been a blessing to others, and a pointer for others to Christ and His loving Lordship. May this week’s links be another encouragement towards that end. Here they are!
- Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro recently interacted with a college student on the issue of abortion, which has been shared and liked by many who are pro-life. Timothy Brahm warns of using Shapiro’s tactics in personal dialogue with those whom we disagree with three differences/tips to use instead. I wholeheartedly agree.
- RTS President Michael Kruger sat with Bill Mounce, President of BiblicalTraining.org, and talked (for three hours!) about the New Testament canon and its origins. You would be wise to listen in and learn from both men on this vital topic today.
- Tim Challies, with Andy Naselli’s help, writes 10 strengths (and dangers) of systematic theology, with the hope that you would be aware of the benefits and pitfalls in delving into this area of study. I’d add that this would definitely be useful for younger guys to read and heed.
- Pastor Kim Riddlebarger answers a common question believers have: why does God command us to rejoice always?
- Kevin DeYoung gives a wonderful illustration of the truth that the internet is not a library. It may make you want to pay a visit to your local library again.
- Natasha Crain argues the case that Facebook can make you a better parent. Intrigued? Click on the link to find out why she would write such a thing.
- Ana Maria Dumitru offers a story, likening embryo-destructive research to an orphanage. Before you consider that a worthy comparison, you should read how she makes them parallel, and it may not be quite what you expect.
- Dan DeWitt gave a talk answering the question, “how can there be a supernatural God when there is science?” Make sure to pass this on to anyone who is in need of answers and encouragement concerning this important topic.
- Challies is also writing a series on how to advance in different areas of the Christian life for believers in their teens and 20s. This time around, he is covering wisdom. You know what to do.
- Here’s something you don’t read every day: a positive view of Christianity in The Huffington Post through the work of Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga.
That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for all the SDSU students who are graduating this weekend. Congrats! See you all on Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria
by Stephen Rodgers
Alright…welcome to the first Friday in May! As is our custom, here’s a small pile of free resources that you can enjoy this month…
- The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Steve Lawson (free audiobook) – You’re definitely going to want to pick this one up. It’s a combination of a good author and a good subject, which typically results in a great biography.
- Live in Liberty: The Spiritual Message of Galatians (free Logos resource) – No clue about this one. It may be fantastic, or it may be abysmal. But it’s free in case you want to check it out.
- “Why Are We Reformed?” (May Tabletalk) – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Tabletalk is probably the most under-rated free Christian resource out there. If you haven’t checked it out yet, there’s no time like the present.
- Themelios 42.1 (free journal) – TGC’s journal is always an interesting read, if only for the book reviews. It can be a bit more academic than some people like, but it’s always worth skimming to see what you can find, even if you don’t read it cover to cover.
And since I always try to throw in at least one little bonus link, CredoMag has been doing a series of videos on the Reformers:
“Christianity is not a religion that has its primary source in nature, or in experience, or even in an individual’s salvation. The source for Christianity is the Revealer, Jesus himself, who has much to say about nature, experience, and salvation. Our salvation is not something we can earn through works or that we deserve. Christianity comes to us as a gift from God.” [K. Scott Oliphint, Know Why You Believe (KNOW Series)]
by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
Feliz Friday! Apologies for the late delay, but here are this week’s links!
- Ligonier Ministries has produced a new album celebrating the Reformation called Post Tenebras, Lux, which is Latin for, “After Darkness, Light.” For a brief period, it’s free to download. Don’t miss out on this!
- Do you know how to present the pro-life case for the unborn? Nathan Apodaca, from the Life Training Institute, gives three steps that has come to be called the ‘Ten Second Pro-Life Apologist.‘
- Kevin DeYoung continues his theological primer series by giving a succinct summary of the term, ‘the 144,000‘ as found in Scripture. This is a crucial topic to spend some time on, especially if you talk with a Jehovah’s Witness about this area.
- You may be surprised by this, but Netflix doesn’t consider Amazon or HBO to be its main competitor. Who are they truly competing against, they say? Sleep. We may need to rethink our priorities based on that sole observation, as Tim Challies does.
- Professor David Murray tells 13 truths that a congregation needs to hear in light of their fallen pastor. This is worth reflecting, even if your pastor has not gone this route. This is also a reminder to pray for your pastor…right now.
- What are the implications of the doctrine of definite (aka limited) atonement? Most think negatively of the teaching, but Jonathan Gibson gives two that can bring about godly change within the body of Christ. This is sound doctrine as it’s meant to be taught.
- Randy Alcorn points us to an interview Tony Reinke did with Alastair Roberts, who offered 10 questions to evaluate the appropriate use of our smartphones. Chances are, you will not leave unscathed, so read carefully (especially if it’s on your smartphone!).
- Is there a way to read the Bible in order to find God’s signature in it and through it? Sounds like a question John Piper is asking, which he has, and has an answer to. This can revolutionize your Bible reading. Let him help you see the implications of God’s purpose behind the reading of His Word.
- Have you ever been told that you are a bad listener? That you talk too much? How can you grow in your listening skills? Timothy Brahm, of the Equal Rights Institute, gives a short answer that will train you to learn to allow space for the thinking pause. If you aren’t sure how this relates, watch or listen to his thoughts.
- Sean McDowell (son of Josh McDowell, in case you were wondering) interviewed David Marshall on his newest book, Jesus is No Myth! The Fingerprints of God on the Gospels. Whether you read the book or not, you will be fascinated with some of the questions he answers. Many of the topics he covers in his book is at the forefront of what you will hear whenever criticism of Christianity comes your way. You will not be disappointed.
That’s all for this week! Please pray for all the flocks that meet this week, and pray for God to be glorified in the lives of the saints this weekend. See you all on Sunday!
Soli Deo Gloria