Serving Him, of course.

New England Pastors: Duncan and Anyabwile in May 2011

duncanGreat news for New England–just got this from Dave Ricard of the New England Center for Expository Preaching:

“I was informed tonight that Ligon Duncan has agreed to join Thabiti Anyabwile at Island Pond Baptist Church for NECEP 2011 Pastors’ Conference on May 2-3, 2011.

Pastors will be given first priority for seating since this time is designed specifically for them.

Pastors can pre-register here.  Note:  This does not reserve seats.  It simply gives those who pre-register first notice when registration begins. (There are already 40+ people pre-registered for next year.)”

I’m glad to hear this from Dave.  If you’re in New England, make sure to sign up and mark this on your calendar.  It would be worth driving a good while–whether on I-95 or far from it–for the excellent teaching and fellowship (and the chance to meet Dave Ricard).

Also, if you are interested in an internship in this region, look here and think seriously about the NECEP, which is accredited by numerous seminaries.

Great news for New England–just got this from Dave Ricard of the New England Center for Expository Preaching:

“I was informed tonight that Ligon Duncan has agreed to join Thabiti Anyabwile at Island Pond Baptist Church for NECEP 2011 Pastors’ Conference on …

The Essential Edwards Collection, Half Off (!)

640x3601Update: links fixed!

Some of you out there may remember the Essential Edwards Collection (Moody, 2010).  Doug Sweeney and I wrote it for Moody Books in order to make Jonathan Edwards and his treasure trove of theology and godly living accessible to a wide audience.

Nobody wants to read the blog of the guy who flogs his books, but I wanted to let interested folks know that Westminster Books is right now selling all five volumes for a 50% discount from the cover price ($44.95).  From today, Tuesday July 27th, through Monday, August 2nd, they will sell the books for $22.50, the equivalent of one free book relative to the current Amazon price.  We are thrilled at this feature and the opportunity it presents for folks to get the books on the cheap.  In fact, I’m so stirred, I’m thinking of writing a blog essay entitled “Jonathan Edwards on Free Books and Discount Opportunities.”

I include some basic info about the books below, including a couple of just-now-published videos that Sweeney and I shot to promote the books.


The promotion:

–WTS Books is featuring the set online for a week starting Tuesday, July 27th, through August 2nd, a Monday

–They are selling it at 50% discount (!) ($22.50)…

Baseball Uniforms Should Be Crisp

mannyThis is a cross-post from the blog of Vitamin Z, where I am guest-blogging this week.

I don’t know about you, but I find baggy baseball uniforms weird.  So does Wesley Morris, writing “The Sportstorialist” at  Morris writes with a crisp, tongue-in-cheek style of recent sartorial changes to baseball uniforms:

There’s no functional reason for a baseball jersey to evoke the National Hockey League, but there were the Brewers, baggy in uncharacteristic Dijon mustard, calling to mind the Boston Bruins. After most plays, assorted batters and outfielders could be seen tucking in their shirts. (Surely, someone at home was delighted to see adjustments occur at the belt rather than below it.) Eventually, the pads on Rickie Weeks’ elbows began to eat his sleeves. By the time Casey McGehee crossed the plate on a sixth-inning Corey Hart double, the improbable had occurred. His shirt had managed to billow from his pants without coming untucked. Apparently the shirttail found McGehee’s inadvertent dishevelment as embarrassing as some of us did. 
You won’t necessarily agree with the entirety of the column, but I appreciated the point, if only because I admit that I have always found the baggy baseball uniform distasteful.  I like baggy shorts in basketball …

Great Books: Josh Moody’s “No Other Gospel”

joshmoodyWithout a doubt, one of the preachers I most look up to and learn from is Josh Moody of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois.  Josh is a humble man with an outsize résumé–BA from Cambridge, PhD from Cambridge (in none other than Jonathan Edwards), missionary to Georgia (the country, not the Dawgs) and Azerbaijan, husband to Rochelle and father of three adorable children.

If you are a looking for examples of the modern pastor-theologian, you should look directly and sustainedly at Dr. Moody’s ministry.  He reminds me of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the “Doctor,” due to the intelligence, crispness of expression, and soaring view of God found in his preaching.  College Church is a historic church (Kent Hughes formerly pastored it) and it just celebrated its 150th anniversary.  It is in the hands of a faithful expositor of God’s Word, one whose preaching reminds me of the speakers and leaders one finds in such organizations as Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition.  If you have not listened to Josh’s sermons, do so immediately (and here’s his website).  Here’s what Josh says about his passion:

My passion is the gospel.  By that I don’t mean the cheap, cheesy, man-centered gospel that tells you that heaven can be won

Mike McKinley and the Wimps of Church Planting

mckinleyYou might have heard about Mike McKinley’s recent book on church planting: Church Planting Is for Wimps (Crossway, 2010).  If you haven’t, it’s a great read.

Mike is the senior pastor of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia.  In God’s grace, he oversaw the revitalization of the church.  Church Planting Is for Wimps is the story of how that all happened.  Though the book is ostensibly about church planting/revitalization, it is an encouraging account of church life and Christian ministry.  I don’t think you would need to be a pastor to enjoy it and profit from it.  Uplifting stories about God’s work through His local church can be hard to find–particularly doctrinally savvy ones–but this text is exciting, easy-to-read, and quite funny.

My favorite section of the text involved McKinley’s account of how his church, planted from Capitol Hill Baptist Church of Washington, DC, reached out to local Hispanics.  At one point, McKinley and his wife hosted a dinner for a number of folks from their diverse neighborhood.  One of them told the couple as he left the house that he had never been inside an American home except to work.  That was a stunning story, one that shows just how wide natural divides are–and how incredible the power of …

Another Essential Book to Add (!)

Turns out the book sale mentioned yesterday isn’t the only piece of literary news right now.  I caught this in a web search yesterday–it will be of interest to many readers who peruse this little blog:

home_book: The Essential Sampler Quilt Book – by Lynne Edwards – David & Charles. (expand)
I could scarcely type the words out, I’m so excited about this one.  Remember–you heard it here first.
Also, be careful what you search for.

Evangelical Guilt in Evangelism–and How John 3 Helps

Do you struggle with guilt related to evangelism?  Do you feel like you do very little as a Christian to “draw” lost people?  I sometimes struggle with this feeling–and sometimes, it’s justified.  It’s a very healthy thing to examine one’s evangelistic witness, and to push oneself out of one’s comfort zone (read: the evangelical church/parachurch bubble, oftentimes) into the pathways and patterns of lost people.

But it is also possible to carry the weight of the lostness of the world on your back.  If so, here’s a helpful text from John 3:20-21:

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

Sometimes, we can think that we are repelling lost people by living a God-glorifying life.  In fact, this may be true.  People don’t want to be around the light when they live in darkness.  They want to stay in the darkness.  They are justly ashamed.  They hate the light.

This doesn’t give us a permanent excuse for not evangelizing lost people, of course.  Just as Jesus did, we need to

The Endless Evangelical Quest for Ultimate Transformation

obamaA few days back, CJ Mahaney posted on Kevin DeYoung’s message from the “Next” conference in May 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  CJ lauded Kevin’s call for “plodding visionaries” and listed several points from Kevin’s talk that developed his understanding of this term.

This term and the idea behind it caught in my filter, as the kids say nowadays.  I don’t know how it strikes you, but that term seems to me to nicely sum up biblical Christian living as a “missional” believer.  This isn’t necessarily the line of thinking that sells the most books, but it captures, I think, both the Christocentric idealism and the conscionable realism of the biblical authors.  I want to look into this below (and would commend Hunter’s To Change the World, which has stimulated my thinking).  This will be a bit lengthy–I’m warning you up front.  Adjust your goggles; set phasers to stun.

There is a need for this kind of thinking and communication in our day among young people.  Twentysomethings are notoriously and historically idealistic, of course.  This isn’t new to our day.  But it’s interesting to survey the culture at present.  Idealism–even an unnuanced idealism–is alive and well.  This despite a twentieth century marked by devastating wars, political corruption, the overturning of …

Salvation by Conversation–Or, How an Hour a Week Can Save Your Marriage

Mike McKinley posted a few days back at 9Marks on how pastors serve everyone but their wives.  That caught my attention.  Wow.  What a scary and damning reality.  It made me think of a helpful article by Biola theologian Rob Lister on husbands leading their wives in regular conversation on the state of their marriage.  This is by no means the solution to adultery; however, it could aid husbands in creating a strong “culture” for their marriage.  Some husbands just died a quiet death; stick with me.
Here’s Rob’s intro to his piece:
Thanks to Jiffy Lube, most of us know the drill by now: either do it yourself, or take your car in for a regular tune-up and oil change every three months or three thousand miles. Fail to maintain your vehicle in this fashion, and you run the risk of your engine locking up and stranding you on the side of the road somewhere in the middle of rush hour traffic.  How odd, then, that many of us would be so committed to the routine maintenance of our vehicles, and yet so often overlook the necessity of giving similar routine attention to our marriages. Clearly, one of the main purposes of marriage is to function as a

Why Forbidding Little Girls from Wearing Victoria’s Secret Is Deeply Christocentric

Dads, you should be aware of what your little girl is wearing at all times.  It’s not something you necessarily understand perfectly, but this matter requires your fatherly care and leadership just as much as what church to go to or what devotional book to read together.  The issue covered below is only going to heat up in coming days, so I encourage you to read on.

Over at Christianity Today, I’ve written a piece entitled “Tiger Dads vs. Sexualized Daughters” on gospel-driven modesty inspired by LZ Granderson’s recent CNN column decrying tiny girls dressing sexy.  The CNN piece got 440,000 “likes” on Facebook, so I thought it worth considering in light of a redemptive cultural hermeneutic.

Here’s a snatch:

Should you get Botox for your ten-year-old daughter? What would you think of breast augmentation for your eleven-year-old girl? These and similarly startling issues cropped up in a recent CNN column by LZ Granderson. Writing in an outraged style, Granderson tackled how parents allow the culture to sexualize their daughters. The piece, entitled rather prosaically “Parents, don’t dress your daughters like tramps,” began with a word of personal experience (from Granderson):

“I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.

Her beautiful, long