Friday, January 10, 2014

All Around the Web - January 10, 2014

HT: Everyday Theology

Albert Mohler - Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books
A few initial suggestions:

1. Maintain regular reading projects. I strategize my reading in six main categories: Theology, Biblical Studies, Church Life, History, Cultural Studies, and Literature. I have some project from each of these categories going at all times. I collect and gather books for each project and read them over a determined period of time. This helps to discipline my reading, and it also keeps me working across several disciplines.

2. Work through major sections of Scripture. I am just completing an expository series, preaching verse by verse through the book of Romans. I have preached and taught several books of the Bible in recent years, and I plan my reading to stay ahead. I am turning next to Matthew, so I am gathering and reading ahead—not yet planning specific messages, but reading to gain as much as possible from worthy works on the first gospel. I am constantly reading works in biblical theology as well as exegetical studies.

3. Read all the titles written by some authors. Choose carefully here, but identify some authors whose books demand your attention. Read all they have written and watch their minds at work and their thought in development. No author can complete his thoughts in one book, no matter how large.

4. Get some big sets and read them through. Yes, invest in the works of Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and others. Set a project for yourself to read through the entire set and give yourself time. You will be surprised how far you will get in less time than you think.

5. Allow yourself some fun reading, and learn how to enjoy reading by reading enjoyable books. I like books across the fields of literature, but I really love to read historical biographies and historical works in general. In addition, I really enjoy quality fiction and worthy works of literature. As a boy, I probably discovered my love for reading in these categories of books. I allow some time each day, when possible, for such reading. It doesn’t have to be much. Stay in touch with the thrill.

6. Write in your books; mark them up and make them yours. Books are to be read and used, not collected and coddled. (Make an exception here for those rare antiquarian books that are treasured for their antiquity. Mark not thy pen on the ancient page, and highlight not upon the manuscript.) Invent your own system or borrow from another, but learn to have a conversation with the book, pen in hand.

The Gospel Coalition - The New Year for Your Children
Be mindful of teaching moments. The opportunities for teaching and showing our children Jesus are endless. Yet it is so easy to miss these moments. Ask God to open your eyes to see them when they happen. Be prepared to stop whatever you may be doing to relate everyday experiences and situations to God and his Word. Make efforts to use the truths of the gospel in your everyday conversations with your children.

Discuss with your spouse areas to target with your children. Perhaps you've noticed a tendency toward lying. Or maybe they struggle with sharing. Whatever it is, select a couple of heart issues to target and help your children. Work together with your spouse to find ways to communicate your concerns with your children. Pray together about your child's spiritual growth. Seek out opportunities to teach lessons that point your children to Christ and what he has done for them.

Make intentional plans for what you will teach them this year. Teachers have lesson plans. They have goals for the school year. There are specific lessons a child needs to learn in each grade in order to progress on to the next. In a similar way, we as parents can set goals for what we want our children to learn each year. As they mature and grow, the lessons become deeper. For example, what theological terms are your children ready to learn about this year (for example, the Trinity, sacraments, justification, sanctification, God's sovereignty, God's omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence). What verses are they capable of memorizing? Maybe they are ready to memorize the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, or the books of the Bible. Consider teaching them catechism questions and creeds from the early church.

Ask the Lord to help you be sensitive to his promptings. Above all, be in prayer, asking God to show you what your children need to learn. Make it a daily prayer that he would make you sensitive to teaching moments as they arrive. Seek God's wisdom to guide you as you teach your children about who God is and what he has done for them through Christ.

9Marks - Why Has the Prosperity Gospel Prospered?
1. My way!
2. Narcissism and the Entitlement Culture
3. Skepticism and Pragmatism
4. A Greater Distribution of Wealth
5. The American Dream on Display

Special Report - Bret Baier takes you beneath the Capitol 

The Gospel Coalition - Anthony Carter on Writing and Ministry
A young pastor comes to you wanting to be a published writer. What advice do you give him? How should a pastor evaluate and pursue a call to write?

All pastors should seek to get published. The process of writing and being published is a great learning experience. It causes you to think about how you communicate outside of sermonic sound bites and gives you another venue through which you can communicate to the congregation. So I would encourage the young pastor to write.

However, I would caution him against thinking more highly of his writing than he should. As I said, consider writing as an extension of the pastoral calling, and be contented if no one but people in your local congregation read your book. After all, you have been called to the local flock, not the world. If my congregation reads and is encouraged by what I write, I should consider myself blessed.

God with us

God With Us (Charles Spurgeon) from Free Christian Church on Vimeo.
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