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Browse Worthy: Shots in the Arm

So often the news and even blogosphere can be depressing to read, from the latest political scandal to the next ecclesiastical controversy. Though living in this sin-drenched world means we have to deal with negative news, meditating on the grace of God in Christ can fill us with the Spirit’s goodness. Here are a few good reads along those lines.

The State of Evangelicalism in America and all that Blah Blah Blah | Tim Challies

Encouraging to read our Canadian brother reminding those south of him how we should be grateful to God for all that he is using the American church to do around the world.

Assurance: a Pastoral Conversation | Jeffrey Stivason

An imagined but all-too-real conversation that shows how a pastor might help a parishioner whose mind is troubled regarding assurance of salvation.

Why and how do we sing to one other? | Matt Merker

A short video clip from 9Marks that explains that our congregational singing is not only to God, but to one another.

When Everything Is Missions | Kevin DeYoung

This article is a review of a book by this name (When Everything is Missions by Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison) that explains its thesis: everything is not missions, should not be missions, and when […]

A 2016 Thank You!

During a busy holiday week with friends and family coming and going, I have been on the internet less and face-to-face more. So I was a bit delayed in receiving some good news brought to my attention by some of my fellow GenRef Gents. Gentle Reformation was named as one of “My Top 10 Blogs of 2016” by Tim Challies. So I had to sneak away from company this morning and write a bit!

For several reasons, this recognition is quite an honor for us. Though some of us have attended conferences or interacted personally with Pastor Challies on occasion, for the most part he has been a “mentor at a distance” to us. The rich content of his blog combined with his caring, pastoral tone – qualities we sought to capture in the naming of our blog – have set a high mark that we have tried to emulate here. So as one who is a father and leader in the Christian blogging movement whom we respect highly, having Tim think of us in this way is surprising and quite humbling. To be honest, as Tim’s linking to us draws far more attention our way than we normally receive, it feels a bit like […]

Meet the Puritans

Pardon me for a Thursday afternoon interruption. I just wanted to steal a moment of your time and give a shameless promotion. Fortunately, it’s not a shameless self-promotion, so hopefully you aren’t too deterred. There’s a new blog in the neighborhood and I want to commend it to our readership. But before I do let me qualify this recommendation by saying I rarely do much to advertise blogs. King Solomon was right when he said: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is weariness to the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Be warned then, there is no end to the writing of blogs! I know some people have myriads of blogs they like to frequent and suggest to others. A bit tangentially, I even knew a chap at a seminary who admitted most of his theological “education” came from blogs. That’s a truly frightening prospect! Anyway, for what it’s worth, I’m not one of those people frequently suggesting this or that blog. I know that probably sounds strange since I’m a regular contributor to Gentle Reformation which is, in fact, a blog. But my consistency (or lack thereof) is not the subject of this post. I only say […]

Browse Worthy: Relationships

Several helpful articles on relating to others.

Pushing Back the Darkness – Kara Dedert at En Route continues to share heart lessons the Lord has taught their family in having a child severely affected by a virus during her pregnancy.

Loneliness as Deadly as Lack of Exercise – David Murray demonstrates statistically what the title asserts then offers positive encouragements as well.

Burning and Yearning – Tim Challies makes the helpful and heart-searching distinction between pure and sinful sexual desires in this article. “Burning is desire perverted and unrestrained. Yearning is desire surrendered.”

Before You Read Another Book on Marriage – More good advice from Mr. Challies on how to approach the plethora of marital books out there in a strategic way.

Across the Race Divide – Kevin DeYoung has written a lengthy piece reviewing and interacting with David Kennedy’s insightful book Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America.

Browse Worthy: As the Foundations Crumble

As Psalm 11:3 asks, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Though rhetorical in nature, still one thing the righteous must do is assess the damage accurately. Here are a few important reminders of our culture’s self-destruction that call us to pray for the Lord’s mercy and deliverance.

The ninth video of the Center for Medical Progress on Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of fetal body parts has been posted. “Behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string” (Psalm 11:2).

In Kentucky, county clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She may be jailed for her actions. So many details make this story fascinating – the open hostility of the homosexual community and her relative calmness in the face of it; her open witness that she is taking this stand because of the authority of God’s Word; her own background that includes being in her fourth marriage; the protests in and outside the county building. In light of the media consistently claiming Mrs. Davis is “breaking the law,” I found this article by the America Family Association clarifying. “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in […]

Browse Worthy: The Best of the Best

I like to call them the “BBB” – Big, Bad Bloggers.  You know, the ones who publish regularly, frequently, and with great quality. Spending time at their sites never feels like a waste of time.  These are the ones the “bbb” – bitty, baby bloggers like us – look up to.  Here at Gentle Reformation we try to highlight the best of the best around the web a time or two each month.

Anyway, here’s some of their recent and most helpful material.

How to Offend a Room Full of Calvinists – Tim Challies picks up the old question of “How you can believe in predestination and still be committed to evangelism?” and applies it in a personal and very convicting way.

Triviality of Trivialities – Surely you have had someone you know unexpectedly start gushing about how much they like Joel Osteen, leaving you feeling like any quick response you might offer would be akin to stomping on their teddy bear? David Murray is working his way through Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, offering thoughtful responses to its teaching. With links at the bottom to this series, this is a good resource for helping others to stop drinking the Osteen Kool-Aid.

Theological Primer: Eternal Sonship – In his engaging, concise writing […]

Browse Worthy: David Murray’s Student Tech Tips

With school getting into full swing these days, it is important for students to work on their organizational abilities.  In this increasingly technological age, boxes of crayons and notebooks with tabs are being replaced with digital apps and files it seems.  Not only that, but even yesterday’s technology gets replaced in a blink of an eye.  My youngest daughter’s Christian school just told her to leave last year’s flash drive at home and sign up for Dropbox.  Trying to keep up with the best ways to use and organize the technology can be overwhelming.

That’s why I am thankful for the series of “New Student Tips” Dr. David Murray is doing over at his HeadHeartHand blog.  Clearly explained and carefully linked, he guides you through the top web applications that can help you not only order your educational life, but all of it.  I am not sure how many more he intends to do in this series, but here are the links of the articles so far.  They have been beneficial to me, and I have even learned more about the ones I am already using.  Also, the good news is that these are all free!

So whether a new student or an old one like me,  take […]

Browse Worthy: Brokenness

Click the following links and marvel at how how the Lord works in the midst of brokenness, and especially how He uses it, to bring healing to His people.

Indispensable – Greg Lucas regularly blogs about life with his disabled son at Wrestling with an Angel.  In this post he shares what happened in his congregation when his son applied the pastor’s message with unbridled joy.

Redemption for the Scars – After an abortion, Kendra Dahl tried to find emotional healing through a variety of means, including motherhood.  Here she shares how the gospel of Christ alone was able to heal the scars in her soul.

Living with Guilt – What would you do if you had reason to believe decisions you had made lead to your child’s lifelong, and potentially life-shortening, disability?  Kara Dedert at En Route shares these comforting truths.

Nick and Joni – Many know of the worldwide ministry of Joni Ericksen Tada.  Here is an interesting post of her meeting Nick Vujicic, the man with no arms nor legs who has become a well-traveled motivational speaker and, according to Joni, a preacher.  Their offices happen to be across the street from each other.

Browse Worthy: Presidential Inauguration Controversy

Recently, an evangelical pastor named Louis Giglio withdrew from participating in the president’s second inauguration ceremonies last week.  His reason?  Comments he had made against homosexuality, from a sermon preached fifteen to twenty years ago, set off a firestorm after pro-gay groups discovered  the message and used the internet bullhorn to make it known.

This incident has generated some excellent commentary from pastors.  Here are three of the best.

Albert Mohler – Not only does Dr. Mohler offer his typical clarity and insight as he uses this incident to warn us about our nation’s increasing godlessness, he also has the best title hands down.

Joe Carter – He explains the situation thoroughly, echoes Russell Moore’s warning (Guess I’m sneaking in a fourth article!) about how the government is in effect establishing a state church, and reminds us that one of our Lord’s promises is that His followers will be hated.

Kevin DeYoung – This post is an excellent read as it shows Christians how to respond in a way that demonstrates that our true citizenship is in heaven.

Bobby, We Know Why

Last April, Bobby Petrino was fired from the head coaching position for the Arkansas Razorbacks after a flurry of embarrassing debacles, including a motorcycle accident and the subsequent revelation of an affair with a woman he had also hired. This week he granted an interview with ESPN for the first time since his firing. Here’s the theme of the interview that was most striking:

How could I put what we had in jeopardy?