John Piper; Answering Homosexual Activists; Marriage Thoughts; Immigrant Policy; Dealing with Terrorism

Links for Life and Ministry

Grace StonesI am away this week taking the last class for a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. My posts this week will be few and short as a result. Walk with Jesus and have fun. Proclaim the excellencies of Christ by living passionately for and like Christ.

The Power of Prayer Winning the Lost and Comforting the Afflicted (Unforgettable story of tragedy, loss, redemption and a decade of prayer.)
Three Misconceptions that Christians Have about Marrying Non-Christians  (Helpful as far as it goes, but it never cites Scripture.)
15 Reasons We Would be Wise to Use Hymnals Again  (Ponder Aknew)
Book Review: Great Commission, Great Confusion or Great Confession?  (Don’t miss this one. All of us need to think better about what we mean when we say “Great Commission”)
How do We Make Disciples?  (Chuck Swindoll keeps it simple and biblical.)
Is God’s Word Enough?  (Crossway Books—every generation has to make a decision, but the word never changes.)
Grace for Every Need  (John Piper—daily devotional.)
Immigrants: What is a Christian Response?  (Long overdue for Christians to begin to think hard about these issues.)

Better Engagement with Culture and Politics

Ryan Anderson Responds to a Gay Man Who Wants to Redefine Marriage  (Two excellent short videos.)
Former Homosexual Reveals “Unmitigated Disaster” of Gay Marriage  (The freight train of gay “marriage” is headed over a cliff.)
More Brits Signing Up to Fight with ISIS Terrorists than Signing Up for Army Reserve  (Allen West reports. Alarming. Could it happen here?)
Blame Obama and American Evangelicals for the Persecution of Iraqi Christians  (Some real food for thought for all evangelicals. President Obama may be a disaster, personally I think so, but that doesn’t mean that everybody else, Christians included get a free pass.)
A Line Crossed in the Middle East (First Things)

For Fun and Health

Coolest Bookstores in the World   (I love bookstores and hate to see them disappear.)

Lazy Atheists; John Stewart’s Prejudice; Tim Keller on Suffering; Government Homosexuality Numbers; Smart Phones Making us Dumb and more

Weekend Links

Dan, Owen and Ellie (Day One of Being a Big Brother)

Dan, Owen and Ellie (Day One of Being a Big Brother)

I am a grandfather again!  Meredith and Dan just had their second child. Young Owen has a baby sister, Ellie Leta, born this morning weighing 7lb. 1 oz and measuring 18″ long.  We are excited for them and us and excited to see our new family member. Enjoy the weekend links.

Better Thinking about Politics and Cultural Engagement

A Primer on Race  (Joseph Stowell–pre-eminent black conservative and economist reviews a new book on race and how some help hurts the ones we try to help.)
Atheists Were Not Always as Intellectually Lazy as Richard Dawkins (Know Nothing: The True History of Atheism—Gone are the days when atheists took important questions seriously.)
How many Americans are Homosexual: New Government Survey Tells Us  (Much lower than they expected and revealing of a number of other lifestyle choices.)
Megyn Kelly Eviscerates John Stewart Over His Misleading Information in the Hobby Lobby Case  (What, a journalist doing her job?!)

Better Thinking About Ministry

9 Reasons Tim Keller’s Book on Suffering is a Book You Ought to Read  (Review of Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering)
10 Reasons Some Churches are Not Reaching Millennials (Frank Powell—some good counsel and insightful observations.)
God and the Gay Christian: A Response to Matthew Vines and Others  (Al Mohler—great interview with some weighty and compassionate thoughts.)
Three Reasons Why Staying Neutral is Not Biblical  (And unhelpful. Leslie Vernick brief article on counseling.)
Still Learning on Sundays: The Community as Gospel Apologetic  (Ed Stetzer–very short but helpful in answering those who want to distance themselves and the rest of us from the importance of gathering regularly in Christian community.)
9 Things You Should Know about Mormonism  (Pray for your Mormon neighbors.)
Six Ways Your Smart Phone is Changing You  (An interesting article and interview with David Wells.)

Just for Fun and Health

Two Women’s Normal Boring Chitchat becomes Hilarious When Lip-synced by Their Son and Nephew  (Funny)

Thomas Sowell; Bonhoeffer; Tim Keller and Suffering; Millennials and how to Reach them; God and Gayness; Pornography Danger and much more

Weekend Links

Bayoone Tear (A gift from Russia to the USA to commemorate those who died on 9//11/2001)

Bayoone Tear (A gift from Russia to the USA to commemorate those who died on 9//11/2001)

Late with the Links. Went for 20+ miles on the bike this afternoon. Completely bushed now. Can’t wait to see my bride tomorrow—returning from a funeral in West Virginia. I’m such a fortunate blessed man. 

Better Thinking about Politics and Cultural Engagement

A Primer on Race  Thomas Sowell—pre-eminent black conservative and economist reviews a new book on race and how some help hurts the ones we try to help.)
Atheists Were Not Always as Intellectually Lazy as Richard Dawkins (Know Nothing: The True History of Atheism—Gone are the days when atheists took important questions seriously.)
This Map Shows Why County Rights Need to be Protected  (Startling map of where people are and who is dictating to the country how others ought to live.)
The Forgotten Lesson of Bonhoeffer’s Life for the American Church  (Let’s be a church that doesn’t need a Bonhoeffer. Let’s live out what it means to belong to Christ before the church fails in its mission to America.)

Better Thinking About Ministry

9 Reasons Tim Keller’s Book on Suffering is a Book You Ought to Read  (Review of Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering)
10 Reasons Some Churches are Not Reaching Millennials (Frank Powell—some good counsel and insightful observations.)
God and the Gay Christian: A Response to Matthew Vines and Others  (Al Mohler—great interview with some weighty and compassionate thoughts.)
Married Men: Your Porn Habit is an Adultery Habit  (Jesus says so. Another on target post from Matt Walsh.)
A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism: A Rebuttal  (There is a lot of nonsense out there with regard to the doctrine of submission in marriage. This article addresses one of the most recent abuses of this doctrine. Ladies, if your man is abusing you, pray and seek outside help to get him to stop. Don’t fight the battle alone. He is wrong and you need protection.)

10 Fun Facts about Millennials  (Information is important if we are to reach the next generation.)

There are a lot of great things being written and discussed out there but the new book, How to be a Christian without Going to Church is not one of them. This Review will give you the material you need to fight the unchurching of some millennials.

What I’m Learning About Life from Jack Bauer and 24  (Kirsten Wilson is a professor at Colorado Chrisitian University. I don’t know her but her father has led a remarkable life and for a brief period, was one of my students. [If you knew him, you would know how absurd that sounds. I should have been his student.] Insightful article.)

Ending Abortion

This Supermodel was Pro-Abortion Until She Talked to Planned Parenthood  (Exposing the evil of abortion.)

For Fun and Health

How Cell Phones are Changing and Destroying Restaurant Culture and Maybe much more (Fascinating. People put your cell phones away and show some consideration to the wait staff.)

Jesus Drinking; Sexual Ethics in a Post Christian Culture; Hobby Lobby; Crazy Love; Matt Walsh and much more

Weekend Links

Anybody want to carve this door for my house?

Anybody want to carve this door for my house?

Opps! Forgot to post the weekend links. A little late, but always helpful. Better Thinking About Politics and Cultural Engagement

10 Fascinating Facts about the Founding Fathers and American Independence  (Good read for 4th of July Weekend.)
Democracy and Morality: Ancient and Modern  (Some of this thinking is going to influence a post I am working on for the future related to how to deal with the drug problem in America.)
The Hobby Lobby Agent–It Should Have Been 9-0 Ruling  (Lots to think about.)

For Better Ministry

Best Sellers: Crazy Love!  (Review by Tim Challies)
Hobby Lobby Wins: Where Do We Go from Here?  (Ed Stetzer—practical direction and ideas for the road ahead.)
Did Jesus Drink Alcohol?
 (Mark Dever—one of the best answers I have ever heard, not only on the facts [YES] but on how to think about the issue today in our culture.)
Biblical Theology and the Sexual Crisis  (9Marks, R. Albert Mohler—calm, reasonable thinking about a an important topic.)
Millennial Need a Bigger God Not a Hipper Pastor  (Sanity. Sanity. Sanity. O how great is your wisdom.)
The Number One Reason for Attendance Decline (Thom Rainer)
Evangelicals, Divorce and Same-Sex Marriage (Greg Strand)

Ending Abortion

Just Pretend that this Dead Lion is a Human Baby and It Won’t Upset You Anymore  (Matt Walsh with another incisive commentary on the weirdness of our world.)

For Fun and Health

Every Story Fits One these Eight Plots  (Kurt Vonnegut—8 sentences for all those who write anything.)
A List of Pastor’s Retreats and Getaways that are Either Free or Discounted  (Ed Stetzer—not exhaustive but a great list of places around the country where a pastor get away with his bride and relax, refresh and restore his soul.)
Tegu – the wooden toy company making a difference in Honduras.
Mowing Memories – The Art of Mowing a Hay Field  (Sibyl Spann–friend and writer, who is always clever and fun.)

Links for Better Ministry: Better Living; Better Defense of the Gospel and much more

Weekend Links

Second Most Sacrad Place for Shia Worship in Afghanistan

Second Most Sacrad Place for Shia Worship in Afghanistan

Lots of links this week and most of them related to ministry in some way. Enjoy.

Better Thinking About Ministry

What Churches Will Exist in Ten Years?  (Analyzing trends is always iffy but here’s an article that suggests some trends that need to be changed if the church is going to remain relevant in American culture.)
You’ll Never Believe What is Drawing Millennials to Church  (Great article about a church in Washington, DC and one that goes against the national trend of irrelevance to millennials. Just this last month we baptized 6 people, five one of them millennials so this got my attention.)
Why I’m a Baptist with a Small “b” (Bill Keynes–gracious article seeking peace with all who have believed in Christ.)
10 Very Possible Reasons Your Church is Not Growing (Carey Nieuwhof–Take seriously any one of them that apply.)
Christian Singer Shares Struggle with Pornography  (A story of honesty, redemption and hope for those who struggle with the drift of our culture.)
3 Questions to Ask before Joining a Church  (Steve Timmis–very helpful short piece, the like of which, every church should have as a training tool available to all of its greeters.)

The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy  (And what we can do about it.)
5 Tips for Better Bible Reading  (Pass this link on to every one you know.)

Better Thinking about Apologetics and Defending the Faith

Contradict: They Can’t All be True  (Personally, I would put this book cover on my car bumper in a heart beat. Good book review.)
Big Bang Theory Takes a Major Hit  (Scientists say it can’t account for the beginning of the universe.)
Scientists Find Huge Underground Ocean  (Some of the findings reflect quantities of water three-four times that of what is already on the surface. Can anyone say Genesis 7:11?)

Finding the Will of God When Decisions are Hard (Tim Challies–And when aren’t they?)
Divorce Rate Among Believers Way Lower than the General Culture  (Harvard researcher with long over-due research.  I have said this for years, the divorce rate often ascribed to the church is wrong but now the facts are clear—they are really off.  Divorce rate among those who refuse to live together before marriage may be as low as 5%.  Good news for defending the faith.)

Better Thinking about Sexual Issues

9 Things You Should Know about Transgenderism  (Gospel Coalition –becoming informed about the nuances of the argument is part of the defense of the faith and biblical morality that we can’t escape in the 21st century.)
Same Sex Couples Entitled to Adopt: Can the Clear “Majority” of America be Wrong?  (YES! Why yes they can.)

For Fun, Health and the Environment

The Most Efficient Wind Turbine in the World  (And you could put on your roof!)
6 Strategies to Sleep, Soundly, Wake Rested and Accomplish More   (Sleep! What a wonderful gift from God.)
Never Be Afraid of Getting Poison Ivy Again  (I wish I knew this when I was a kid!)

Better Thinking about Politics and Culture

The Story You Haven’t Heard about Bowe Bergdahls’s Desertion  (Michelle Malkin)

Business Ideas

The Paint Bar  (Is this a business opportunity for all the artists in our community?)

Tim Keller on Prayer; Disputing Matthew Vines; John Piper; Kevin DeYoung; Same-Sex Adoption; Christians Under Fire; Mark Howell

Weekend Links


Freshly Cut Garden Lettuce  Waiting to be Washed

Freshly Cut Garden Lettuce
Waiting to be Washed

Two days and my wife returns from a good visit with her mom in West Virginia. I’m looking forward to my lonely house being filled with her radiant smile and presence. This week’s links are filled with controversy. Good time to remember that Jesus is in control and is always trustworthy.

Better Thinking about Small Groups

Do You have an Acts 2 Small Group in an Acts 17 Culture? (Mark Howell—good questions and directions from a small group guru.)

Better Engagement with Politics and Culture

Full Screed Ahead (New York Times—Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist. This is a must read if you read anything on the internet. You may not agree with all of the analysis but there are some significant points made about the trivialization of journalism.)
Scary, Scary, Scary, Scary  (End the Department of Education if this is the result of 35 years of their work. Especially since some of these students (sic) are from my alma mater. Our educational system, elementary through college is failing and parents need to wake up.)
Glorious Days for Radical Islam  (Thanks to our President and a chaotic foreign policy.)
Colleges and Evangelicals Collide Over Bias Issues  (The abuse of the constitution continues to change the face of America.)


Garden Lettuce, Just Washed And Waiting for My Tastebuds!

Garden Lettuce, Just Washed
and Waiting for My Taste Buds!

Better Thinking about Ministry

4 Principles about Praying Better Prayer from Augustine  (Gospel Coalition—Tim Keller , worth reading, more worth applying.)
9 Fascinating Facts About Those Who Attend Mega-Churches (Get the facts before you do you analysis.)
Why “God and the Gay Christian” is Wrong   (Christianity Today, Christopher Yuan—Christopher is a former member of New Song Church and bold defender of the faith and the biblical view of sex, marriage and homosexuality. Good article.)
How are Women Saved through Child-bearing?  (John Piper–excellent treatment of a difficult text to understand.)
Think Before You Post  (Sound counsel from Kevin DeYoung.)

The End of Homosexuality  (Good resource on a hot button topic.)

For Fun and Health

Warning: Ingesting this Substance Could be Hazardous to Your Health  (Not a joke, then it is.)
Losing Belly Fat After 40  (I need to make some changes.)
Eight Reasons to Stop Using Bottled Water  (Some of these are overstated, but some are spot on and include good alternatives.)
Why We No Longer Have Health Insurance  (More and more families and churches are going to choose this route.)

Worship Wars aren’t Over; Bart Ehrman; Mark Dever; Tom Nettles; Verge Network on Multi-site; and much more

Weekend Links

The Glory of Green (Lake Geneva, WI)

The Glory of Green (Lake Geneva, WI

My bride is away this week and next visiting the wonderful woman who gave here birth and the house is lonely without her and her beautiful smile lighting up the room. Yesterday, I went for a twenty mile bike ride, pretty good for a fat tire bike weighing 40 pounds powered by a man my age. After a cool down and shower, it was off to the hospital for visitation and gospel proclamation. I met three lonely figures without family who are facing difficult days. Pray for Donna, Corrine, and Patricia. Today it was cutting the lawn and planting more carrots that occupied my time.

The links below are from my reading this week. Some very interesting ones related to the state of contemporary worship in evangelical churches. As always, presence doesn’t mean endorsement. But I hope all of them help you think about the beauty of Christ.

Better Engagement with Ministry

The Gospel is for Everyone: What We Mean by “One holy, catholic church”  (Mark Dever —clearing up Protestant confusion.)
Are We Headed for a Crash? Reflections on the Current State of Worship Ministry  (Thoughtful and helpful for worship pastors and and senior pastors alike and the whole church.)
Changes in Pastoral higher Practices  (Rainer on Leadership. Important information for elder boards to process.)

Doctrine:  How Jesus Became God: A Review  (Theologians from down under challenge Bart Ehrman’s conclusions and offer alternatives. Excellent review and expose of Bart Ehrman)

Better Thinking About Ministry

I Think You Need to Read Romans 8:29 Too  (Tribute post to the retiring Dr. Tom Nettles from Southern Seminary. God give us more pastors, profs, and leaders like him.)
Monday is for Missiology: Making Disciples  (Ed Stetzer, always thought provoking and well researched.)
The Bible has Power  (Powerful article and story about the power of the Bible to change lives.  Dad’s this is one for you.)
Why They Don’t Sing in Church Anymore  (From the director of the film, WHEN GOD LEFT THE BUILDING.)

Better Thinking about Worship

Seven Ideas for Leading Multi-Site Worship  (Verge Network)
What is the Real Problem with Evangelical Worship  (Things we need to think about.)
Worship Music is Horrible. And It Should Stay That Way  (

Ending Abortion

The Washington Post is super confused About Where Babies Come From  (The Federalist —read it, pray for the end of abortion, act locally to change hearts.)

For Fun and Health and Goodness

Eye Twitching Causes and Remedies (I have had this problem recently, and found out it is pretty common)
Plan a Trip to This War Memorial Soon
10 Snacks and Foods that Men Who Want to Lose Some Pounds Need to Add to their Diet (I’m going to work on these foods and ideas.)

Stanley Hauerwas and Al Mohler; Homeschooling; Ken Howard; Phil Johnson; John MacArthur and much more.

Weekend Links

Dying TreesKen Howard over at Practicing Paradoxy made an interesting comment in an article titled “Adapt or Die.” What caught my attention in the paragraph below is the one that I have bolded and the second that I have underlined.

As congregational leaders, we must confront the fact that our churches are dying. While we may wish they were timeless and eternal, at the core our churches are living human organisms, and dying is what all living organisms eventually do. But first they are born, live, adapt, create new life, and pass on their DNA to the next generation. We cannot insulate our churches from death without isolating them from the very process that would empower the next generation, not just to survive but also to thrive.

Your church, my church, every church will likely die at some point (unless Jesus comes back before the funeral) and our job is to pass on DNA and empower the next generation that will live on WITHOUT our church. It is simple but not simplistic. Let’s be faithful in that task. When the “tree” that is our church dies, make sure there are others that have been planted. As always the links below will stimulate thought but that doesn’t mean I support every point or conclusion. 

Better Thinking about Ministry

6 Different Kinds of Grace (Paul Tripp–often used words are not always understood. This is one we care not misunderstand.)
Phil Johnson and John MacArthur on Heaven is for Real  (Always analyze what you hear through the spectacles of the Scripture.)
Evaluating (and Condemning) Reader’s Digest Christianity  (Gospel Coalition and Tullian Tchividjian –Good article and commentary)
Reaching Men with a Post Worship Huddle   
(This is a GREAT idea. I am stealing this myself.)
Humanity in the Presence of God: Was the Ascension a Bad Evangelism Strategy  (Short article on the significance of the ascension of Christ.)
What to Do Before You Begin Another Church-wide Campaign  (Mark Howell)
Al Mohler Interviews Stanley Hauerwas “Nearing the End: A Conversation with Theologian Stanley Hauerwas  (Worth your time.)

Better Thinking about the World Economy and Culture

Benzene Poisoning of Millions of Children in China is the Price of $1 off on Your Smart Phone  (What will you do?)

Absolutely Two Worst Arguments Against Homeschooling (Matt Walsh classic. Read just a few of the comments too.)

For Fun and Health

National Anthem Song in a Minor Key  (Beautiful)
Using Reclaimed Lumber and Hand Tools a Husband Creates a Beautiful Table for His Wife
The Picture that Makes Cars Look Dumb
(Simplistic but suggestive of a direction we should be more open to.)

The Nonsensical World of Public Policy and Better Ministry in Light of It.

Weekend Links

So much nonsense in the world! So much. There once was a time when a right-wing newscaster or a left-wing newscaster could at least be trusted to present facts. They might have different interpretations of the facts but it was facts that both were trying to deal with. Today, people on the right and the left, deliberately slant some facts, cover up others inimical to their position, or outright lie to win arguments and poison the atmosphere of honest debate. As Christians examine the culture, we need to do all we can to present truth in love while at the same time, maintain a deliberate dependence upon Christ and the gospel rather than our activism to rescue the culture from the brink of oblivion.

political-debateBetter Thinking about Politics and Culture

Casual Marijuana Usage Linked to Brian Abnormalities  (The news that Colorado doesn’t want to hear and health officials will be discussing for some time.)
Harvard Scientists Study the Brains of Pot Smokers and the Results Don’t Look Good  (Who will pay attention?)

Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green Launches a New Bible Curriculum Project for Public Schools (Very interesting.)
How Bill O’Reilly Got History Wrong on Civil Rights  (Ann Coulter—insightful article from one of America’s most controversial figures.)

The High Cost of Liberalism  (Thomas Sowell–brilliant, short, and probably too clear for those with a liberal agenda to palate.)
The High Cost of Liberalism Part 2
 (Thomas Sowell–presses the observations of part 1 into the sphere of gun control and what is happening in Ukraine.)

Black Marine Stands Up for Clive Bundy  (Liberal media has taken Bundy’s admittedly in-elegant comments and spun them to make him look like a racist. He isn’t. Compares the whole interview with what the media has doctored to make Bundy look bad.)

Better Thinking in Ministry

Four Ways to Empower Others in Worship Ministry  (Aaron Ivey at Verge — great counsel not just relevant for worship leaders, but any leader who wants to multiply him or herself.)
When Pastors Fail: Why a Full and Public Repentance Matters  (Ed Stetzer—I think in many cases this is also true for any who are in prominent positions of leadership, whether or not they are pastors.)

Phoney Music, Phoney Singers: The Dirty Secret of the Music Industry  (Hypocrits)

How Muslims are Becoming Great Evangelists for the Gospel  (God is at work in the Muslim world.)
God’s Hot Pursuit of a Former Bank Robber  (Transformed life testimony.)
Analyzing Matthew Vines Exegesis and Support for Homosexuality  (A thoughtful and on point critique. Don’t let Matthew Vines, Brian McLaren and others pull the wool over your eyes. Homosexuality is not supported by any fair reading of the Scripture.)

For Better Health, Fun and Sustainability

Brilliant Idea that Could Help a Lot of People

Helping You to be in the World, Not Out of the World

Weekend Links

new-waterfallsExtremely busy week as we prepare for Holy Week and also made a trip to Bolingbrook to run in the New Song Christian Health Center (dba Bolingbrook Christian Health Center) 5k which underwrites much of the budget for the clinic. This ministry is now about 12 years old and serves between 700-800 patients a year. It also provides gospel witness and compassion to all who come and is a sweet smelling aroma to Christ. It was fun to see familiar faces, support the ministry and also get a chance to see two of my daughters, my son-in-law and our precious grandson. Enjoy the links for the weekend.

Better Thinking About Ministry

Alternatives to Obamacare aka Affordable [ha] Health Care  (More churches ought to look into these options.)
Fault Lines of an Evangleical Earthquake  (Trevan Wax –thoughful article about a growing rift among evanglicals over a wide range of cultural issues.)

20 Reasons to Buy and Read Kevin DeYoung’s TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD  (Gospel Coalition)
6 Trends for the Bible in 2014  (Barna Research Group –thanks to one of my elders at Trinity Church [Wil Koester] for pointing me to this link.)
10 Lessons from a Hospital Bed  (John Piper–suffering is a doorway to understanding and perspective. Let a fellow sufferer show you the way.)
Six Christian Leaders Answer Questions from the Audience on Same Sex Attraction, Marriage and much more  (Ligonier Ministries–Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Albert Mohler, and R.C. Sproul) 

Sexual Atheism: Christian Dating Data Reveals a Deeper Spiritual Problem  (Kenny Luck and — this is an important and alarming article.)

Better Engagment with Culture and Politics

Why are they Called Homofacists?  (Read this article and find out. Christians are going to become outcasts in our culture. Unable to hold jobs, get elected to public office or decide their own associations.  It will happen in the next 30 years unless one of two things happen: 1) Jesus returns, or 2) the people of God get on their knees for revival and God graciously grants a reprieve.)

For Fun and Health

Junior Bridgeman: Former NBA 6th Man, Now Approaching Michael Jordan in Net Worth  (Great story about hard work and vision working together.)