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The Final Word On The iPad

Everyone has an opinion on the iPad, it seems.
This video puts the hype in some perspective.

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more about "The Final Word On The iPad", posted with vodpod

HT: Justin Taylor.


Now That’s A Study

Albert Mohler shows us through his study.
Wives of book-collecting pastors everywhere faint.
Book-collecting pastors everywhere spend the day struggling with the tenth commandment.
When people see a pastor’s library just about everyone asks: ‘Have you read them all?
‘In Mohler’s case the answer is probably ‘Yes’.

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HT: Thabiti Anyabwile.

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Ten Signs You’re In A Bad Ministry

Tim Challies writes ‘Hello From Savannah‘ and, along with some unnamed friends, composed a “top ten list of ways you know you’re working for a bad para-church ministry.”
10. You incentivize financial giving by offering to send your donors inanimate objects that have been prayed over.
9. You’ve convened a committee to decide the name of your new Gulfstream jet.
8. Your ministry even has a Gulfstream jet.
7. Two words: scheduled revivals.
6. Your broadcast goes out only in tongues.
5. Every member of the board of directors has the same last name.
4. The guy you raised from the dead this morning is starting to smell pretty bad.
3. Your job postings include, “teeth-whitening a must.”
2. Your annual budget includes a line item for hairspray.
1. You read this list out loud and they fired you.

Which reminds me of this:

This is funnier if you’ve heard of lolcats and, much loved by younger males.
HT: (for the image) tominthebox.


Keller and Mohler Visit The Shack

Paul Young’s novel ‘The Shack’ continues to sell to Christians and non-Christians.
Honestly, I can’t bring myself to put money in anyone’s pocket by purchasing a copy, or invest the time in reading it.
The challenge for the reader is that the book clearly aims to provide an insight into the nature and character of God.
When deficiencies or error in that portrayal are pointed out, the general defence seems to be: it’s only a work of fiction.
I actually believe that Young absolutely believes everything involved about his portrayal of God in the book. He wrote it for his children. Why would he lie to them about his understanding of God?
Rising universalism (everyone is saved, some folk just don’t accept it) among people professing to be evangelicals will be a major issue in the 21st century.
The Shack marks an initial popular expression of that doctrine.

Anyway, this post is prompted by two recent articles on the book by Tim Keller and Albert Mohler.
Keller offers us ‘The Shack – Impressions‘ at Redeemer City To City. (This article is not a full review.)
Mohler provides ‘The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment‘ at his self-named blog.

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The Difference Between Christian Preaching and Preaching Done By A Christian

There’s nothing more disheartening to me than to have the expectation that I’m going to hear the Bible preached and then to hear a talk full of life principles and moralisms with a few Bible references thrown in for good measure.

This article goes on at length about what Gospel and Bible centered preaching should be.
It has a Lutheran emphasis on not using the Law in sermons as a direction about how Christians are to respond to the Gospel, but rather than dilute it with various qualifications, just take the article at face value and sort through the stuff you don’t like.
Many preaching sacred cows well and truly barbecued.

“As a wise pastor once said, “Any sermon can claim to be Bible–based. But the Bible wasn’t nailed to the Cross to pay for your sins.” The central message of the Bible is Jesus Christ crucified and risen for sinners. If a sermon is really Bible–based, it will preach that Gospel.
There is no conflict between Bible–based preaching and Christ–based preaching. Christian preaching should be Bible–based and textual. That means drawing Law and Gospel from specific passages from every part of Scripture. Moses’ and David’s “material” testifies to Christ crucified for sinners just as much as Matthew or Paul.
Christian preachers aren’t called to preach the Bible in general or truth in general; they are called to preach a very particular biblical truth. In Paul’s words, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” A sermon that lacks this truth can’t be called a good sermon, and it can’t be called a Christian sermon.
Often, the difference between good preaching and bad preaching is not in what is said, but what is left unsaid. More often, what is left unsaid is the Gospel itself.”

“The Gospel isn’t Jesus your example, educator, life–coach or therapist. The Gospel is Jesus, your crucified and risen Savior from sin and death. So, listen for the Scriptural verbs of salvation: The Jesus Who lived for you, suffered for you, was crucified for you, died for you, and rose again for you. The Jesus Who forgives you, redeems you, reconciles you and has mercy on you.
How often is Jesus mentioned? Is He the subject of the verbs? What are those verbs? This simple test doesn’t answer every question about good preaching, but it does answer the most important question: Is this a Christ–centered, cross–focused sermon? Is this sermon about what Jesus has done to save me, a sinner? Did this sermon proclaim the Gospel?
Finally, one last check for Law and Gospel. When you’re finished listening, step back and get the big picture. Ask yourself, “Did the preacher diagnose my problem as sin, or as something else? And did the preacher provide the solution to my sin in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?”

If the sermons that you hear leave you thinking “What can I do for Christ” (or worse, “What can I get from what Christ has done for me”) instead of “What has Christ done for me”, then you’re either not hearing it properly or the wrong thing is being said.

HT: J.D. Greear.

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The Bishop As Comedian

“The acting that one sees upon the stage does not show how human beings actually comport themselves in crises, but simply how actors think they ought to. It is thus, like poetry and religion, a device for gladdening the heart with what is palpably not true. But it is lower than either of those arts, for it is forced to make its gaudy not-true absurd by putting it alongside the true. There stands Richard Coeur de Lion – and the plainly enough, also stands a poor ham. Relatively few reflective persons seem to get any pleasure out of acting. They often, to be sure, delight in comedians – but a comedian is not an actor: he is a sort of reductio ad absurdum of an actor. His work bears the same relation to acting properly so called as that of a hangman, a mid-wife or a divorce lawyer bears to poetry, or that of a bishop to religion.”
H.L. Mencken.

Yeah, I do think that the ‘bishops’, so called in the New Testament, are local church pastors.
I’ve got to remember: Don’t fall into the trap of living a role. Be a real person.

HT: Geneva Redux.

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Leadership Advice From Carl Trueman

Anything by Carl Trueman is worth reading.
C.J. Mahaney conducts an interview with Trueman on the Sovereign Grace Ministries blog.
Read Part One here and Part Two here.

Among other questions, Mahaney asks: “What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your leadership?”

Trueman answers:
“Again, I have to plead to be allowed to break the rule and list four things.
(a) Pick your battles. Not every hill is worth dying on; and not every battle is something you are competent to fight. As a younger man, I wanted to fight all comers and win every battle. Neither necessary nor possible.
(b) Be part of a team who care for you and whom you trust to tell you when you are going the wrong way or crossing a line that should not be crossed—and listen to them. Yes-men are fatal to good leadership. A trustworthy colleague who is prepared to oppose you to your face is worth his weight in gold.
(c) Understand that leadership is lonely; being liked by everyone is a luxury you probably cannot afford. Deal with it and get on with the job. If you want to be liked, be a circus clown; if you want to lead and lead well, be prepared for the loneliness that comes with it. This is why, for me, a happy home has been crucial for it has been a place where work is, as far as possible, kept far away. Home is the one place I can go each night and know that I am loved, and I guard it fiercely. I have even banned my kids from Googling my name—if there is nasty stuff out there about me, I deal with it at work; I do not allow it into my house.
(d) Don’t waste time defending your own name for the sake of it. If Christ’s honour is at stake, or the innocent are made vulnerable by some attack on your character, you need to respond; otherwise, let it be. If I responded to every wannabe crank who thinks I’m arrogant, hypocritical, lying etc. etc., I’d never have the time to do anything else. The secret is not caring about your own name except as it impacts upon others.”

The rest is good stuff too, including one of Trueman’s favourite books on preaching which I might have a look for.