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Category: Wednesdays on the Web

Wednesdays on the Web (21/06)

Stop Telling Me God is My Father In light of American Fathers Day recently, this article provides a poignant perspective from a person whose story is more common than we realise, and yet we can be remarkably dismissive through our Christian clichés. The Problem with Pet Sins There’s a number of reasons why I find this post fascinating and valuable. First, because I’m currently reading James K. A. Smith’s You Are What You Love in which I’m seeing more clearly the importance of self-awareness when it comes to re-calibrating our hearts away from the practices of the world and forming habits that align our spiritual compass to the ‘true North’ of Jesus Christ, and second because it answers the popular question of “Does God always…

Wednesdays on the Web (14/06)

The Gospel Domino Effect Here Courtney Yantes discusses “the grand chain reaction of dominoes”, and how these dominoes continue to crash into each other throughout human history for our good and the good of others. Proceed at Once to the Text I was reading a sermon by Charles Spurgeon not too long ago, wherein his opening remarks he stated, “Let us proceed at once to the text!” That little, almost insignificant phrase struck me in a way that made me pause. No jokes, no personal stories, no novelty; just procession to the text. How could the man dubbed the “Prince of Preachers” attract thousands upon thousands, week upon week, by simply proceeding to the text? A Graphically Expressed Third Way on Gender Stuff in a Messed…

Wednesdays on the Web (07/06)

The Danger of “Has God Called You?” You will notice that missing from the list of qualifications of elders and deacons is an “inner call”. It’s just not there. So why then do we add extra-biblical qualifications? I wonder if what we are really asking with this “inner call” is whether or not somebody wants to do it. Do you feel compelled into this ministry? Do you desire the work of an elder? But that makes us uncomfortable so we’ve sanctified our language a bit. It’s sounds so much better to say, “God is calling me into this ministry” rather than saying, “I’d really like to preach”. But the Bible speaks the way of the latter more than the former. Do you want to? Are…

Wednesdays on the Web (31/05)

Don’t Pursue Feelings. Pursue Christ. I am far from emotionally intelligent. I have a long way to go before I can perceive all the nuances of emotion and develop a greater awareness of emotional well being in myself as well as in others. When it comes to considering feelings with regard to our Christian faith, emotion has an important part to play here too; just make sure it isn’t the lead role. Know Your Doctrine “Doctine Divides.” “I find doctrine boring.” This article doesn’t speak to a single crowd, denomination, or ‘tribe’ of Christianity; all of us have a responsibility to pursue the God that we love by learning his ways, and doctrine does not merely inform our minds, but also warms our hearts and reforms our…

Wednesdays on the Web (24/05)

Keep Your Phone in your Pocket “Once your brain has become accustomed to on-demand distraction, Nass discovered, it’s hard to shake the addiction even when you want to concentrate. To put this more concretely: If every moment of potential boredom in your life—say, having to wait five minutes in line or sit alone in a  restaurant until a friend arrives—is relieved with a quick glance at your smartphone, then your brain has likely been rewired to a point where, like the ‘mental wrecks’ in Nass’s research, it’s not ready for deep work—even if you regularly schedule time to practice this concentration.” Where Are the Women who will Write like Him? I’ve seen this call somewhere else recently. Too often Christian women authors seem to be…

Wednesdays on the Web (17/05)

Fast From Food, Not Facebook I cannot fully convey how much I agree with this article. For years I’ve pushed back against the idea that fasting from social media is a valid engagement with this valuable spiritual discipline. It’s not. While I can appreciate those who have specific medical conditions that prevent them from biblical fasting (food), I completely agree with Tim on this one. And while we’re here quit calling the Daniel Fast biblical too. It’s a health gimmick thinly veiled. The End. Learning a “Different World”: Loving Families with Special Needs I have yet to meet a parent of a child with special needs who brags about methods, achievements, plans or systems. Parents of children with special needs, specifically those in the church, are…

Wednesdays on the Web (10/05)

Your Kids Aren’t the Priority Many married couples would have come across (or had thrust upon them) the advice that you must put your relationship with your husband or wife as the primary one.  Here, Ann Swindell adds value to this discussion on how to be purposeful about growing as spouses “even as we parent those small humans who are making lots of noise in the house”. Make Room for Different Kinds of Discipleship Notwithstanding the need for Christians to always be active members of a local gathering of believers, there are many other secondary ways in which Christians can engage in discipleship, mentoring, and be spiritually nourished. It’s good to be creative and reflect on how we can sharpen each other in our many and varied…

Wednesdays on the Web (03/05)

Lord, Search my Heart The glorious gospel miracle is that what God requires of us in Micah 6:8, he purchases for us and accomplishes in us. A Marriage Checklist So here’s a book that’s been on my shelf untouched for too long. At a guess, I’d say I’ve read 5-7 books on marriage since purchasing Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage, while it sits with a bookmark at page 1. Expanding on the old idea of Love Languages, Keller discusses love “currency” and here David Murray shares a practical list which is well worth frequenting. Simple, practical, über beneficial (if you get it right!). Grace and The Non-Instagrammable Church The real church is just that. It’s real. It hasn’t been photoshopped. There’s no filter or adjustable…

Wednesdays on the Web (26/04)

This week’s edition is smaller than normal; but only in numbers, not in content. The reason it has fewer items is because each of these issues is producing so much heat and light on the Internet at the moment that whatever else has been said has been left standing just outside the limelight. Jesus is Greater than your Depression Here’s a wonderful story of hope on the blog of my friend Kyllum Lewis. I’ve never met Bethany, but her story is all too familiar for many. Her resilience in the face of depression is compassionately informative for those on the outside providing support, and comforting for those in the storm. Depression tells me that there is no hope. Jesus tells me that I am safe in…

Wednesdays on the Web (19/04)

How Can a Busy Mom Become a Better theologian? I’m currently reading Gloria Furman’s book Missional Motherhood, and I can tell you that she has a remarkable insight into the highs and lows of family life, and looking to the gospel of Jesus Christ for her strength, guidance, and joy in all things. No Muse, No Music Great art and music are inspired. In order to capture the world’s attention, they must have a muse, a muse that touches the soul. I’m a Master of Divinity and I don’t know my Bible While I don’t resonate with everything in this article, there is enough here that everyone could take away something of value. The Mission Field Under My Roof I wrote about this a little…

Wednesdays on the Web (12/04)

Deeper Magic In light of Easter – but not specific to it – I’ve had conversations around the resurrection of Jesus Christ more and more as the single point on which the validity of Christianity stands or falls. I’ve been collecting a number of apologetic works on this one, but as always, the authors at Wondering Fair bring something new in a way that I never could. The Curious Christian I read and reviewed Barnabas Piper’s latest book a short while back. Aaron Armstrong’s take on this helpful book is motivating and reminds me that curiosity is a healthy habit every Christian should practice and improve. Helping Women Engage Culture So much about this article is important for every Christian – not only women. However, there’s something…

Wednesdays on the Web (05/04)

Folding Singles into Family in the Life of the Church I’ve just finished reading John Piper’s This Momentary Marriage, and I found the words that he wrote in this language of ‘folding’ others into your life (particularly folding singles into family) profound and wonderful. This article by Sean DeMars expands Piper’s thought and provides some practical strategy. The New City Catechism More than once I’ve tried a different approach to the way we do family devotions. More than once I’ve bought a different book with content appropriate for different children’s ages. More often that not, it’s fallen flat and I’ve been discouraged. I didn’t grow up with catechisms, but I’ve become increasingly convinced of their importance. The New City Catechism is 52 questions and answers developed and adapted from…

Wednesdays on the Web (29/03)

Productivity or Virtue? It’s uncanny (and simultaneously encouraging) how much this author is like me, both then and now. The ability to be self-aware of how I’m prioritising goals, relationships, and unexpected demands for my time is vital if I’m to be the kind of person I think I should be. Preaching and Personality I’ve mentioned this article more than a few times in the last week, and I continue to think about it in light of my preaching this week. Gary Millar is as qualified as anyone to discuss the tension between being faithful to the text, but also recognising that God is interested in letting your personality tell the story, as long as Christ remains the only focus. 10 Fun Things to do…

Wednesdays on the Web (15/03)

When Suffering is the Megaphone and God is the Whisper A helpful reminder from Mike Leake that God is faithful to his promises, even when in the midst of our great pain we can’t hear his voice, let alone respond believingly to his promises. Complaining Never Wins the Culture In light of recent events – from Trump winning the election to that gay moment in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie – I’ve come to see more clearly that Christians tend to be defined more for what they complain about. I’ve read Trevin Wax’s blog for years, and he’s certainly come (for me) to be a trusted cultural interpreter. BONUS: J.D. Greear weights in along similar lines, and Nathan Campbell also adds value for the…

Wednesdays on the Web (08/03)

God Wants our Sad Esther Fleece from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission reminds us that while the culture around us pushes the message that sadness is a ‘negative’ emotion and we should aim to avoid it at all costs (whether by medication, or distraction, or relationship, or whatever) God has not only given us these emotions, but also the language to express them, and a book which is full of lessons on how to face suffering on the days when we don’t have it together. Pixels are People In light of its potentially destructive power, why would any Christian use social media? The short answer is because the Lord is sovereign and pixels are people. There are more than three billion Internet users around the…

Wednesdays on the Web (29/02)

Marriage, Hospitality and the Spiritual Life Dr. Stuart Devenish makes four observations for Christian couples. He writes “if our faith isn’t being put to work in our marriage-relationships, it can hardly be put to work in relationships outside of marriage” Why Papa of The Shack is not Aslan of Narnia The follow-up to last week’s post on why you should not waste your time or money on the upcoming movie of The Shack. Challies has three excellent points (he had me at allegorical fiction). Read this, and you’ll be persuaded that life is too short for bad films. Growing (in) Humility If the world, the flesh, and the devil continually tempt us to pride, and humility is essential for spiritual progress, what are some practical…

Wednesdays on the Web (22/02)

  Please Stop Saying “God Told Me” Unless this kind of language is immediately followed by Scripture, it’s a big red flag. Josh Buice discusses why (oh, and I agree with him). Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility ‬This post is a little longer than normally keeps my attention span, but John MacArthur has been doing this a long time. His words are carefully chosen and they’re well worth your time. For Better Conversations Here’s some insight into the lost art of conversation from the President of Christian Communicators Worldwide. Off the back of Barnabas Piper’s new book: The Curious Christian this is a fascinating, valuable read. Keep your focus on the other person as you talk to each other. Look at him or her, probe…

Wednesdays on the Web (15/02)

Marital Love Must be Sexual In the last of a four part series on the Puritans’ theology of marriage, Joel Beeke makes a solid case from scripture (and the Puritans) as to why marital love absolutely must be sexual. While the Puritans would never be seen as reducing marriage to sex, they emphasized that sexual intimacy is the “due benevolence” that married people owe to their spouses, and in this way they demonstrate God’s design for marriage as the fullest, most intimate form of love on earth. An Intro to the Institutes More and more lately I’ve become convinced that I need to get into Calvin’s Institutes. Karl Barth once said: “I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my…

Wednesdays on the Web (08/02)

How to Create a Kingdom Culture in your Home Talking to our family members happens naturally. Having spiritual content to those conversations doesn’t. God knew this and made it a command in Israel. We can talk about the weather all we want, but bring up something spiritual and you get…crickets. Kingdom culture requires kingdom conversations. Not only is it an opportunity to teach our children, but the conversation itself elevates the culture of the home toward the things of God. The Father is Not the Son The theology nerd in me loves conversations like this, and I’ve kept track (from a safe distance) of the ongoing debate that raged in the latter half of 2016 over the functional relationship of the members of the Trinity.…

Wednesdays on the Web (01/02)

Recovering Godly Speech in an Age of Profanity It no longer shocks us when vulgar language appears in movies, on stage, or in our workplaces. For the most part, we flippantly approve of it with statements like “well, that’s why it’s rated M”. But the bible has a very different response to this, and our attitude as Christians is to be increasingly countercultural. Performing a “Time Audit” of Your Life Time is the resource that governs all others. J. D. Greear provides this thought-provoking (even if you don’t actually DO it) perspective to help us all be more self-aware of where our time is actually going, and how the quality of everything else can be positively – or negatively – impacted by how we manage…

Wednesdays on the Web (25/01)

Reading Out of Love for Others As an avid reader who sometimes feels guilty for taking ‘selfish’ time to read, I appreciated every point that Tim Challies makes here. As with most things, reading is about the motivation of your heart. This is a great list to help keep me in check by asking “who am I reading for?” Your Responsibility to the Church Contrasted with the prolific (and dangerous) variety of “churches” available today, John MacArthur sums up everything a church should be. So what is an ordinary church? What do you mean an ordinary church? I mean a normal, customary, regular, common, ordinary church. Well, what would that be like? Well, here we go. You’d have a saved congregation, a saved congregation; that’s…

Wednesdays on the Web (18/01)

When a Marriage Dies This profound, humbling honesty from Barnabas Piper still resonates with me a week after reading it. Piper writes with self-awareness and insight (both of which I could use more of); whether or not you can personally relate to his subject matter, you’re guaranteed to be moved by his words. Christianity and Transgender I’m almost positive that I don’t have the right categories in which to rightly think about this. Sam Allberry shares some thoughts on how and why Christianity offers the only real solution to transgender issues. Why You Should Not Use Your Phone for Personal Devotions Perhaps you’ve never struggled with using a phone for your devotional times (like I have). David Murray argues five reasons to avoid using technology…

Wednesdays on the Web (11/01)

Are You Curious? I don’t know a whole lot about what I’ll be doing in March, but I know I’d love to be checking out Barnabas Piper’s new book The Curious Christian. While I wait (with bated breath, whatever that means..), I can content my curiosity by checking out his 12 Ways to be a Curious Person. In this teaser to the book, Piper outlines ways in which curiosity is a gift from God which we are to engage for our growth and his glory. Alongside encouragements to explore, ask (and really listen!), read, and try new things, he reminds us Curiosity is about God and for God. It is an expression of worship and it honors Him by exploring the depths and breadth of…

Wednesdays on the Web (04/01)

More Than Just a Mom Gloria Furman snapshots a correct biblical theology of motherhood to correct misconceptions. There’s no such thing as “just” a mother. 2017: A Year of Digital Detox David Murray has decided to dedicate much of his time on the Head Heart Hand blog this year to opening our eyes to the reality that digital technology is not only diminishing our relationships (with others and with God), but killing our peace, our health, and our morality. We need a serious overhaul of our self-control, self-awareness, and digital self-discipline, and Murray is determined to help us get there. Digital technology has punctured every part of our being and is slowly psssssssing the life out of us. I, for one, will be following along with what he has…

Wednesdays on the Web (27/12)

So it’s that unusual time of the year between Christmas coming to an end and the new year having not quite begun. That time of year where I’m not really sure where I am, or what to call it, or what I should be doing. I haven’t found much time for technology in general (which, of course is a good thing in many respects). Here’s this week’s round-up. Christmas (and Shopping) for Others Jessica at Wondering Fair shares some wonderful reflections. While Jesus’ birth announces the coming of a kingdom of peace and justice, the coming of that kingdom is also a new proclamation of war against the brokenness, suffering and evil that so frequently characterize the world. Dealing with Darkness at Christmas A beautiful…