Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Which Bible-reading plan will *you* abandon?

Friday, January 1st, 2010

As I said on Twitter recently, now is the time of year when Christians across the nation are deciding which read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan they’re going to give up on in February.  Teehee.

To encourage Discipline and avoid Discouragement, we have:

1.) My choice:  The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan.  It’s a member of the “read from four different sections of the Bible each day” species of reading plan.  Benefits:

  • Scope. I love the read-from-different-sections plans.  Among other things, it makes it much easier to slog through the rougher patches, like Leviticus, Number, & Deuteronomy.
  • Flexibility. There are four readings for each day–but you can do just one, or two, or three.
  • The most awesomest super-cool feature: Good for slackers! It only has 25 days worth of readings for each month, giving you free days to catch up if/when you fall behind.
  • It’s also recommended by both my own pastor, and John Piper. So it’s gotta be good.

2.) Good news for those of us who look to the ESV Bible as the One True Translation™ (I kid, I kid): The ESV.org people have put together a fantastic site with 10 different reading plans.  Including a podcast feature for listening to the readings!  According to Justin Taylor, the plans can be accessed by:

  • web (a new reading each day appears online at the same link)
  • RSS (subscribe to receive by RSS)
  • podcast (subscribe to get your daily reading in audio)
  • email (subscribe to receive by email)
  • iCal (download an iCalendar file)
  • mobile (view a new reading each day on your mobile device)
  • print (download a PDF of the whole plan)

Here’s all 10 ESV Reading Plans

JT also explains how to sign up for these plans as podcasts in iTunes.  (They don’t show up in the music store, but you can still easily add them.)

3.) Finally, we  have The Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers.  It doesn’t mark the readings by date, so you can never tell that you’ve “fallen behind” if you missed a day.  There’s no such thing as falling behind!

The advantage of this plan is that it provides guidance as we read each day but does not put us on an internal guilt trip if we miss a day – we just pick up with the next reading on the day it happens to be.  Also, this plan allows us to see the many interconnections between sections of Scripture. So, as Margie puts it, on the same day you may be reading about God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis and a few days later read Paul’s commentary on the Abrahamic covenant in Romans.

4.) A couple other suggestions from Facebook friends:  Jennifer Lawton pointed out that having other people to encourage you can help keep you going.  And LaNette Lathem said that reading from an unfamiliar translation can keep things fresh.  (If you’ve got any other suggestions for avoiding the doldrums–or if you have a favorite plan I missed–then please leave a comment!)

Good luck to you all!  Er, I mean, “Good providential outworking of God’s plan for your life!”

New Features! (And more on Romans 9)

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Two bits of news!

First, I finally replied to Bob, in our discussion of the church and Israel in Romans 9-11. I recap the situation, and then look more closely at Romans 9:24-27. I also include a couple diagrams to help visualize what I’m thinking vs what Bob is thinking. Here’s the direct link.

Second, I’ve recently added a few features to the blog, so I thought I’d point them out.

1.) “Recent Comments”. In the sidebar, there’s now a list of recent comments next to the list of recent posts.

2.) Threaded comments. I didn’t know, but apparently WordPress added threaded comments a year ago. But my theme didn’t have what it needed to use it. So I updated my theme this weekend, and now the threads work! Woo.

3.) Gravatars! Gravatar is a picture that accompanies your comments. Like a user-pic on a forum website. It stands for “globally recognized avatar”. Basically, you go to the Gravatar website, sign up for free using your email account, and upload a picture.  Then when you post a comment at gravatar-enabled websites, the image will show up.

4.) Lost the WYSIWYG editor. I had a plugin for a WYSIWYG editor for the comments–giving you buttons for bold, italics, etc. But it was breaking the threaded comments, so I had to turn it off. I might be able to replace it soon.

5.) Broken theme! Well, this is a bug, not a feature. For some reason, when updating my theme, a grey border appeared around the main column. I’ll try to get around to fixing it sometime.

Update:

6.) Whoops, I forgot one!  There is now a check-box when you leave a comment, which lets you sign up for email notifications when people reply.  That way you don’t have to remember to check the entry.

Integrity & Struggle with Sin (Plus awesome mp3s! More D.A. Carson!)

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

While we’re on the subject of hypocrisy (I’m not done with the series yet), I’d like to share some awesome mp3s.

Last night in my small group, we listened to D.A. Carson answering a question about progressive sanctification, and sins that don’t seem to get better.  This was in the context of talking about pastors whose ministry collapsed in sin & scandal.  He talked about the concept of integrity in Scripture, and our struggle when we see that who we are on in the inside isn’t the same as who we try to be on the outside.  Open this mp3, and go to 1:05:20.  It lasts about 4.5 minutes.  (We listened to the second part of a 3-part answer.)

Background:  The mp3 comes from a conference for Christian ministers in South Africa.  The two speakers were D. A. Carson (the guy we listened to) and Mark Dever.  I love both of them. Here are the Q&A sessions:

Q&A Pt 1
Q&A Pt 2 <– the one we listened to
Q&A Pt 3
Q&A Pt 4

More about the two speakers:

D. A. Carson:  Probably my favorite guy to listen to.  He’s a NT professor at Trinity seminary in Illinois.  He manages to combine being very intellectual, very academic, very theological, and very pastoral.  There’s a lot of heart in what he says, and a lot of application.  (He has some really good stuff on evil & suffering.)  And he does a great job of being biblical when he’s doing theology–he’s not just talking about ideas, he’s not being dryly academic.  He’s teaching the Word.

I’ve had a link on the right to some Carson mp3s.  But there is now a massive collection of Carson mp3s available, at his page at the Gospel Coalition, so I’m changing the link.  443 files, at the moment.  It’s organized by topic.  That’s where I found these Q&As.  (If you listen to many of the mp3s, you’ll start to recognize illustrations & stories he uses a lot.  They become very familiar.  :) )

Mark Dever: He’s the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in D.C.  He has an organization called 9 Marks, named after his book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.  The description of the organization says, “9Marks wants to help local churches re-establish their biblical bearings and re-think their ministry methods. We exist to help local church pastors and leaders in the discovery and application of the biblical priorities that cultivate health and holiness in the local church.”

Anyway, they have a page of mp3s, too.  Most (all?) of the mp3s have Mark Dever interviewing someone about some topic. Or group interviews.  I haven’t listened to all of them, but there’s some pretty interesting stuff.  So, look through the files, and if you see a topic that interests you, you’ll probably profit from it.

One more recommendation about Dever:  This year, he spoke at a conference called Together For the Gospel.  The other speakers included John Piper, Albert Mohler (of SBC’s Southern Seminary), John MacArthur, RC Sproul, and CJ Mahaney (who is from a charismatic quasi-denomination called Sovereign Grace Ministries.)  There was also a guy named Thabiti Anyabwile, who gave a really interesting message on race & ethnicity.  Anyway, here are the mp3s.  There are the sessions themselves, and then panel discussions.

Update: Oh, cool!  For some reason I didn’t think to check Dever’s page at the Gospel Coalition.  They’ve got a lot of mp3s for him, too.

Free Apologetics Cruise!

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Another interruption to my series:

Free Apologetics Cruise!

Well, not really free.  But it’s cheap-as-free.

In Ft. Lauterdale, FL, on Jan. 21,  James R. White will be debating Bart Ehrman on the question, “Can the Bible be inspired, in light of textual variation?” The debate will be followed by a 4-day cruise with apologetics lectures.  Due to a flailing economy, the cruise line has cut the price of the inside cabins by half, to $150.  (You’ll also need to spend about $150 for the hotel on the night of the 21st, and airfare, of course.)

FYI, Bart Ehrman is the author of Misquoting Jesus, a best-selling (well-written) book on textual criticism.  (Dan Wallace has a good review–both a short and a long version.)  Ehrman is now an agnostic, but was once an evangelical graduate of Moody Bible Institute.  He lost faith in the inspiration of Scripture, for a strange reason:

He thinks that if God miraculously inspired the Bible, then He would miraculously protect every copy that was ever made, so that we would have zero variation in manuscripts.  (None of those footnotes in your Bible that say, “Some manuscripts read…”)  It’s an odd bit of theology, and Dr. White will be challenging him on it.  (Ehrman later became agnostic, because of the problem of evil & suffering.)

Two New Blogs

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I’d like to highlight two blogs that I recently added to my blogroll:

The Lindsley Life — A new blog from a friend and co-worker. So far, her entries have focused on adventures in organic food (including exploration of Stevia as an alternative sweetener to sugar), her baby Eli, and one on free will & moral responsibility.  She says that she was talking about that with some guy named Tim.  He sounds wonderful. :)

Think Theology — The blog of Luke G., a young Reformed charismatic pastor from Wisconsin, and a recent commenter on my entries. Good stuff. And I like his blogroll. Not just because I’m on it.

Baptism Resources

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

I wrote my two entries on infant baptism because I’ve been encountering the subject in a few different places lately.  If you’re interested in thinking about the issues, you might check some of them out:

John Piper’s recent sermons

John Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist, is dealing with a question of church membership.  Baptism is a standard requirement for membership–so Baptist churches have to decide, “Should we allow people to become members who were baptized as infants and will not be baptized as an adult, professing believer?”  (Piper would like to widen the existing policy to allow it.)  He has recently preached on How Important Is Church Membership?, and What Is Baptism, and How Important Is It?

The latter is a pretty good basic case for believer’s baptism.  If you only have time for one thing to listen to/read, I would recommend that.

Update: Also, the former is a pretty good case for why Christians ought to be committed to a particular local body of believers.

Debates

Dr. James White (a Reformed Baptist) and Pastor Bill Shisko debated baptism a couple years ago.  I’ve listened to it multiple times since I first downloaded it last year.  It’s a fairly accessible, if you’re studying the issue for the first time.  It’s a well-structured, pleasant debate.  It has some good back-and-forth, some cross-examination, and some audience questions. I would recommend this, if you’re willing to devote a couple hours. Here are the mp3s.

Dr. Robert B. Strimple (a paedobaptist) and Dr. Fred Malone (a Reformed Baptist) debated the subject at Westminster Seminary.  I think Dr. Strimple’s arguments are deeper than Pastor Bill Shisko’s–but I think Dr. White’s may have deeper than Dr. Malone’s.  Dr. Strimple presents a fairly strong case for the covenantal aspects of the paedobaptist view.   (But this debate has less interaction between the two, so I think it’s less useful in some ways.)  Here it is:  The Proper Subjects of Baptism

Some blog discussions

Sparked by Piper’s sermons, there has been some discussion lately in the blogosphere.  Frank Turk (aka centuri0n) has had some entries, with some challenging discussion in the comment sections.  (You’ll find some comments by me.) You can check them out at:

  1. First Up, Lutherans
  2. Kobra Konquest
  3. Corresponds to What?

Segment from Issues, Etc.

Here’s the segment that I mentioned in the previous entry, from Issues, Etc.

“Answering Objections to Infant Baptism” with Pastor Tim Pauls

My Christian Radio Shows

Friday, August 31st, 2007

There are a few Christian radio shows that I listen to regularly, all available for downloading online. I’ve found them each to be in some measure informative, interesting, edifying, encouraging, educational, and/or profitable. (Of course, that doesn’t mean I always agree with everything they say. I have disagreed with all of them. It means I appreciate them enough to listen to them.) In the order in which I discovered them: (1) Stand to Reason, with Greg Koukl, (2) The Dividing Line, with James R. White, (3) The Narrow Path, with Steve Gregg, and (4) Iron Sharpens Iron, with Chris Arnzen.

Keep reading for a nutshell description of each show and links to their online archives.

(Feel free to leave a comment with your own recommendations for good Christian radio available online.)

(more…)

D. A. Carson Audio

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

D. A. Carson is a professor of the New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is one of my favorite preachers. Another blogger has collected links to many of his lectures & sermons here:
D. A. Carson Audio sermons and lectures.

There’s something about his style that warms my heart–something about his language, his heart, his passion. I appreciate his strong exegesis, his broad scholarly awareness, his pastoral focus.

His various lectures on the Emerging Church are an informative & helpful contribution to that broad conversation. His sermons on the way the book of Hebrews quotes the Old Testament is meaty. His two sermons on evil and suffering are touching.

Enjoy!