I’ll be preaching this Sunday, week 17 of our current sermon series through the Gospel According to John. Specifically, I’ll be preaching from John 7:53–8:11, the story of the woman caught in adultery.
As I was doing some reading for this weekend I ran across this passionate quote by Bruce Milne :
It is surely a remarkable fact that he who is the embodiment of divine holiness, the ‘I AM’ who met the people of God at Sinai in fire and thunder (Ex. 19:16ff.), should say to a self-confessed sinner with the guilt of the broken commandment heavy on her conscience, neither do I condemn you. Here is the miracle of the grace of God. There is no greater wonder than this. The turning of water into wine, the healing of a dying lad by a word, the feeding of five thousand and more with a snack lunch, the walking on a storm-tossed sea; none of these, nor all of them together, compares with this, that Jesus said neither do I condemn you. In this sentence, and in the heart of mercy which lay behind it, is all our hope and all our salvation for ever.
The miracle of the grace of God indeed!
After months of work, I present to you the new, redesigned 2PillarsChurch.com!
Our website has needed some serious TLC for some time now. With help from a local entrepreneur and the hard work of three developers in the 2 Pillars body, we were finally able to go live this week.
I’ll be posting in the future about some of the back-end details, including why we chose Squarespace, the platform on which our new site is built.
Until then, give it a look and let me know what you think.
Telling people NO can be difficult and uncomfortable. Julie Zhuo’s lays out her simple strategy for doing it well:
- Be honest and direct. A no is a no, and that should be communicated in the first or second sentence and not something that needs to be read between the lines.
- Talk about what you are prioritizing instead. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but it should be true. Few things are ever no in a vacuum, so it tends to be about the tradeoffs, and people get that.
- If you’re even the slightest bit interested in the opportunity but can’t pursue it at the moment, mention that the no is for right now. In the future, who knows? Don’t prematurely rule out possibilities if you think things might change.
eBook Deal: Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax
Currently on sale for $2.99.
Why I Am a Continuationist by Sam Storms | The Gospel Coalition
See next link.
Why I Am a Cessationist by Thomas Schreiner | The Gospel Coalition
See previous link.
Apple – Thirty Years of Mac
The Big 3–0! Thirty years ago Apple introduced the Macintosh computer.
The Best Calendar App for iPhone | The Sweet Setup
Last week, Steven Owens explained why Fantastical 2 is the best calendar app out there for your iPhone. If you haven’t tried out Fantastical 2 (or the equally as good Fantastical for Mac), then you should give it a look.
Denny Burk on a Friday New York Times article about the recent resurgence of Calvinism among evangelicals and comparisons between the reformed resurgence and the emergent church:
The emergent church represented theological innovation. The reformed resurgence is a rallying around something old. The emergent church comprised a theologically liberal impulse. The reformed resurgence comprises a conservative one—one rooted in the rallying cry of the reformation Sola Scriptura.
Read the NYT article here.
My friend, Todd Bumgarner, just launched a new blog. Check it out and consider subscribing. He’s already posted some great content.
There are some great app deals out there this Christmas season. Here is a running list of my favorites:
Fantastical ($19.99 –> $9.99)
ReadKit ($6.99 –> $2.99)
1Password ($49.99 –> $34.99 for the rest of 2013)
Forklift ($19.99 –> $1.99)
PopClip ($4.99 –> $1.99)
Day One ($9.99 –> $7.99)
Boom ($6.99 –> $4.99)
Due ($9.99 –> $3.99)
Cobook ($9.99 –> Free)
Chatology ($19.99 –> $9.99)
Marked 2 (20% off until December 26)
Dispatch: Action-Based Email ($4.99 –> $1.99)
Fantastical 2 ($3.99 –> $1.99)
Bugshot ($0.99 –> Free)
Weather Line ($2.99 –> $1.99)
Agile Tortoise Holiday Sale
1Password ($17.99 –> $9.99)
Tweetbot 3 ($4.99 –> $1.99)
Delivery Status ($4.99 –> $2.99)
Day One ($4.99 –> $2.99)
Launch Center Pro ($6.99 –> $2.99)
Calendars 5 ($6.99 –> $2.99)
Jump on these soon—who knows how long the discounts will last.
Josh Blount posted an interview with Tim Keller on the topic of pastors, writing, and ministry on the Gospel Coalition blog today. The short interview is packed full of wise words, especially for young pastors who desire to be published writers:
I do get approached often on this subject. And I say this: write essays and chapters, not books yet. Hone your craft through short pieces and occasional writing. But don’t tackle books yet. Writing a whole book takes an enormous amount of energy and time, especially the first one(s). But as a younger man you aren’t being fair to your family or your church if you are giving the book the time it warrants. And you aren’t being fair to the reading public if you don’t. This way you can prepare for writing your first book later.
Keller also discusses his own writing practices. For example, which disciplines have helped him to become a better writer:
Reading. That is far and away the most important discipline. You must read widely in general for years before you become capable of recognizing good writing. And then before you write a book on a subject, you should read 20 or 30 good books on the subject carefully and skim another 20 or 30. If you just read three or four (and refer to another three or four), your book will be largely a rehash and will offer few fresh insights.
Take a few minutes and read the entire post here.
Ryan Huguley on sermon length:
I’ve gone for over an hour before and the only people more tired than I was after the fact were the people I’d punished by preaching so long. After 200+ sermons over the last four years, 37-40 minutes is my sweet spot. Less than that and I feel rushed, more than that and I did not prepare well enough.
I haven’t preached enough to know my sweet spot quite yet, but I do know my sermons need to be consistently shorter.
As I was doing some Advent reading this morning, I came across the following in a piece contributed by John Piper:
The Spirit is shy; he is self-effacing. When we look toward him, he steps back and pushes forward Jesus Christ.
Therefore, in seeking to be filled and empowered by the Spirit we must pursue him indirectly—we must look to the wonder of Christ. If we look away from Jesus and seek the Spirit and his power directly, we will end up in the mire of our own subjective emotions. The Spirit does not reveal himself. The Spirit reveals Christ. The fullness of the Spirit is the fullness that he gives as we gaze on Christ. The power of the Spirit is the power we feel in the presence of Christ. The joy of the Spirit is the joy we feel from the promises of Christ. Many of us know what it is to crouch on the floor and cry out to the Holy Spirit for joy and power, and experience nothing; but the next day devote ourselves to earnest meditation on the glory of Jesus Christ and be filled with the Spirit.
What an incredible picture of Christ-exalting humility we have in the Trinity!
For further reading on this topic I highly recommend Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance by Bruce Ware. It’s an approachable and highly practical work on the doctrine of the Trinity.
Crossway’s ESV Study Bible+ universal iOS app is available today for only $1.99.
A new project by Shawn Blanc:
The Sweet Setup exists because I wanted a site that highlights the software that has proven to be the best, not necessarily the newest.
Here we will be recommending only the apps which are proven to be the best rather than new.
There is never a lack of new apps and shiny objects for my Apple devices. Websites and blogs that write about these new apps are a dime a dozen as well. I really like the idea of a site dedicated to identifying the best. That’s really what I’m interested in—the best, not the newest.
I definitely plan to follow The Sweet Setup. If you use a Mac, iPad or iPhone, you might consider doing the same.
Mark Dever in a recent Gospel-Centered Discipleship post on 5 Things Mistaken for Evangelism:
By far the greatest danger in apologetics is being distracted from the main message. Evangelism is not defending the virgin birth or defending the historicity of the resurrection. Apologetics is defending the faith, answering the questions others have about Christianity. It is responding to the agenda that others set. Evangelism, however, is following Christ’s agenda, the news about him. Evangelism is the positive act of telling the good news about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation through him.
Apologetics is a good thing, but it isn’t the power of God:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 ESV)
My list of bookmarklets is always growing. I have bookmarklets to save to Instapaper for later reading, send articles to my Kindle, create tasks in Omnifocus, save links to Pinboard, and shorten links using Bitly. The list goes on and on.
The problem with bookmarklets is that, the more you use, the more difficult it is to keep them all straight and easily accessible. You can only fit so many onto your browser’s bookmark toolbar and clicking them with the mouse can be clumsy and inconvenient.
Keyboard shortcuts are the way to go.
In the past, I’ve written about how I use keyboard application shortcuts for my most-used bookmarklets. Today, Patrick Welker introduced me to yet another solution: Backtick.
Backtick works much like one of my favorite and most-used apps, Alfred. Spotlight works similarly as well. Simply press the backtick on your keyboard ( ` ) and start typing the name of the bookmarklet you’re looking for. It’s that easy.
Backtick is available for Chrome only and comes with a predefined list of commands .
Try it out for free. If you like it, consider supporting the developer by purchasing a license for $5.
Brett Kelly, Evernote genius and author of Evernote Essentials, wrote about 5 Apps That Make Evernote Even Better yesterday. You should definitely check out this list if you’re an Evernote user.
Drafts is the only app on the list that I currently use. I was most interested in Powerbot, however. Brett highlighted Powerbot for Gmail specifically, but their service also integrates with Google Calendar—a combo that could prove to be extremely useful for organizing and maintaining meeting notes and support materials. I’m planning to give it a test drive over the next couple of weeks and follow up here with my conclusions.