The Sunday Reader: Vol. 1 | #39

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.39 AM.png

Free Book: The Story of Redemption

This month, Crossway is giving away digital copies of an overview of the whole Bible. Basically, each book of Scripture receives a 1-2 page summary connecting it with the Gospel and other major themes.

Cultural winsomeness will not be enough for Christians

“No amount of cultural sophistication or intelligence will absolve the Christian from being seen as a backward-thinking bigot.” An important reality check, especially for our younger members.

What Are the “High Places” in the Old Testament, and How Does That Apply to Us Today?

Randy Alcorn provides some biblical background and explanation for this recurring phrase.

The Tree of Life

So what’s the deal with the tree of life in Genesis? Patrick Fairbairn, an esteemed Scottish minister and theologian, provides his take.

ABOUT — The Sunday Reader shares articles we've found particularly insightful, thought-provoking, or edifying this week. While not always representing the views of our Pastors and Elders, these selections offer a mix of viewpoints to broaden and frame your understanding of God, Scripture, ourselves, and the world we serve in Christ's name.

The Sunday Reader: Vol. 1 | #38

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.39 AM.png

Ten Things You Should Know About the Ten Commandments

Number six resonated with me in particular.

Apostasy and How it Happens

Sinclair Ferguson writes, “The solemn fact is that none of us can tell the difference between the beginning of backsliding and the beginning of apostasy. Both look the same. So what are the tell-tale signs of this sickness unto death? Are there early symptoms that might alert us to our spiritual danger?”

The Jordan Blockage Re-Examined

Following on last Sunday’s morning sermon, here’s an archeological overview of how some interpret the stopping of the Jordan river in Joshua 3. “We will never know exactly what means God used to accomplish His purposes that day in the spring of 1406 BC. … [But] the fact that the blockage occurred at the right place and at the right time clearly points to Divine intervention.“

Free Audio Book: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

In case you missed it, Christian Audio’s free book of the month is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs read by Nadia May. There’s a selection of other classics for sale, including Nadia May’s wonderful reading of The Pilgrim’s Progress.

ABOUT — The Sunday Reader shares articles we've found particularly insightful, thought-provoking, or edifying this week. While not always representing the views of our Pastors and Elders, these selections offer a mix of viewpoints to broaden and frame your understanding of God, Scripture, ourselves, and the world we serve in Christ's name.

The Sunday Reader: Vol. 1 | #37

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.39 AM.png

Free Audio Book: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Christian Audio’s free book of the month is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs read by Nadia May. There’s a selection of other classics for sale, including Nadia May’s wonderful reading of The Pilgrim’s Progress.

How to Leave a Church

Too often, when people leave a church they either go out with a bang or vanish without explanation like ghosts. Neither is good for the Body. This post is good for all of us to read in case the day comes.

The Very Heart of the Reformation

R.C. Sproul gets at a fundamental difference in Protestant and Roman beliefs about our justification before God: “The Roman Catholic view is known as analytical justification. This means that God will declare a person just only when, under His perfect analysis, He finds that he is just, that righteousness is inherent in him. The person cannot have that righteousness without faith, without grace, and without the assistance of Christ. Nevertheless, in the final analysis, true righteousness must be present in the soul of a person before God will ever declare him just.”

Does Pornography Use Ever Justify Church Discipline?

Brad Wheeler of 9Marks offers a nuanced answer to this increasingly common problem. His list of questions to discern repentance is helpful.

ABOUT — The Sunday Reader shares articles we've found particularly insightful, thought-provoking, or edifying this week. While not always representing the views of our Pastors and Elders, these selections offer a mix of viewpoints to broaden and frame your understanding of God, Scripture, ourselves, and the world we serve in Christ's name.

The Sunday Reader: Vol. 1 | #36

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.39 AM.png

Audio Book App Recommendations

Pastor Spotts shares some tips for listening to free educational content.

A Statement on I Kissed Dating Goodbye

As one who was a teen right when Joshua Harris’ highly influential book came out, it is interesting and instructive to see him issue a retraction and revision of his prior views. It’s a lesson on humility and the greater nuance that tends to come with years.

The Doctrine of Justification According to Gabriel Biel and Johann v. Paltz

Who were Luther and 16th century Protestants actually responding to? This old but useful article shows how late medieval figures such as Gabriel Biel, “condemned Pelagius, but their teaching was only another form of Pelagianism.”

How Should Christians Respond to the Imprecatory Psalms?

How should Christians respond to psalms that invoke calamity or curses upon one’s enemies? From Ligonier’s 2016 National Conference, W. Robert Godfrey, Albert Mohler, and William VanDoodewaard consider biblical prayers of judgment.

ABOUT — The Sunday Reader shares articles we've found particularly insightful, thought-provoking, or edifying this week. While not always representing the views of our Pastors and Elders, these selections offer a mix of viewpoints to broaden and frame your understanding of God, Scripture, ourselves, and the world we serve in Christ's name.

Audio Book App Recommendations

pexels-photo-1522182.jpeg

Recently, I was asked what is the “best and least expensive way to listen to audio books.” The person went on to explain, “I have such a hard time sitting down to read a physical book other than my morning devotions. However, I have no problem listening to podcasts when going to the gym…” Thankfully, if that describes your situation, there are many fine options without having to resort to an Audible subscription ($15/month).

Here’s how:

  1. First, make sure to register online for a Phoenix library ecard

  2. Next, download these free apps: 

  • Libby  (nicer controls, better selection of books)

  • Hoopla (fewer audio books; includes different titles and movies)

Basically, your Phoenix tax dollars have already purchased access to much of the Audible catalog for you. Both Libby and Hoopla apps allow you to "borrow" items (audio/video/text) for 14-30 days with your library card. You can even move between devices (phone/tablet/computer) and continue where you left off. Like physical libraries, sometimes there's a wait time for popular books. Also, you can also have child-friendly settings if your kids use the apps.

Some books I've listened to for free:

Note: There are many others available that I have not mentioned. Those below are just from the past two years when I began using these apps.

  • Christianity

    • Basic Christianity by John Stott (Libby)

    • Prayer by Tim Keller (Libby)

    • The Reason for God by Tim Keller (Libby)

    • Justified by Faith Alone by R. C. Sproul (Hoopla)

    • Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield (Libby)

    • On the Incarnation by Athanasius of Alexandra  (Hoopla)

    • The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis (Hoopla)

    • Practice Resurrection by Eugene Peterson  (Hoopla)

    • Life Together by Bonhoeffer (Hoopla)

  • History & Biography

    • Sailing the Wine Dark Sea (Libby)

    • How the Irish Saved Civilization (Libby)

    • John Adams by McCullough (Libby)

    • Washington by Ron Chernow (Libby)

    • A Little History of the World by Gombrich (Hoopla)

    • Plutarch's Greek and Roman Lives (Hoopla)

    • Absolute Monarchs (papal history) (Hoopla)

    • Beautiful Boy (Libby)

    • A Bridge Too Far (Libby)

    • Jerusalem by Simon Montefiore (Libby)

    • Hero of the Empire (Churchill) (Libby)

    • John Chrysostom by Blackburn  (Hoopla)

  • Self-Help

    • A Random Walk Down Wallstreet (Libby)

    • Investing for Dummies

    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Libby)

  • Science

    • The Fabric of the Cosmos by Greene (Libby)

  • Fiction

    • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (Libby)

    • 1984 by George Orwell (Hoopla)

    • Aesop's Fables (Hoopla)

    • Les Miserables by Hugo  (Hoopla)

Willing to pay?

Check out Audible.com and ChristianAudio.com for even more content.

PS: Two podcasts I recommend: 

  • Al Mohler's Briefing

  • Dan Carlin's Hardcore History series. While not exactly suitable for children, the ones on the Assyrian and Roman empires have lots of overlap with biblical history.

Enjoy!

The Sunday Reader: Vol. 1 | #35

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.39 AM.png

What does it mean that “God is the head of Christ”?

A thoughtful exegetical examination of this perhaps puzzling phrase in 1 Cor 11.

Why we need “blue laws,” the religious tradition that sanctifies life outside of work

This piece is especially interesting as it comes from a highly liberal publication. Whether or not you agree with the author on the need for blue laws, the point is that even unbelievers are beginning to rethink (and recognize) the wisdom of remembering the sabbath.

Elders are to Be Hospitable, Not Just Their Wives

If you have ever aspired to the office, here’s something to consider.

A Holy Crime: The Night Missionaries Smuggled One Million Bibles into China

Here’s a fascinating story of the lengths Christians have gone to share the written Word.

ABOUT — The Sunday Reader shares articles we've found particularly insightful, thought-provoking, or edifying this week. While not always representing the views of our Pastors and Elders, these selections offer a mix of viewpoints to broaden and frame your understanding of God, Scripture, ourselves, and the world we serve in Christ's name.

The Sunday Reader: Vol. 1 | #34

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.39 AM.png

Glorifying & Enjoying God Through Reformed Spiritual Disciplines

Tom Schwanda offers biblical and historical insights on how our tradition has exercised itself unto godliness.

Fasting in an Age of Fast Food

While we’re on the subject of spiritual disciplines, Daniel R. Hyde provides a good summary of what biblical fasting is and why Christians—even you—might do so.

The First Two Minutes Matter Most

“Here’s the challenge: Determine right now that when the service ends, you will do your utmost to give the first two minutes to someone you don’t know or to someone you don’t know well. The temptation will be to turn straight to your friends, to immediately catch up with the people you know the best and love the most. There will be time for that.”

John Calvin: Who He Was and Why He Matters

We’re coming up on Reformation Day, so it makes sense to revisit the significance of this seminal figure.

ABOUT — The Sunday Reader shares articles we've found particularly insightful, thought-provoking, or edifying this week. While not always representing the views of our Pastors and Elders, these selections offer a mix of viewpoints to broaden and frame your understanding of God, Scripture, ourselves, and the world we serve in Christ's name.

The Sunday Reader: Vol. 1 | #33

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 11.53.39 AM.png

Let’s bring back the Sabbath as a radical act against the always-on economy

I wasn’t expecting Fast Company to publish an article praising the wisdom of the Lord’s Day. Quite interesting.

Why Millennials ARE Coming to Church

Stephen McAlpine describes why people in their 20-30’s attend his church. In his opinion, it partly owes to the counter-cultural experience they receive in old-school worship.

If Creeds Aren’t Infallible, Why Use Them?

Like the title says, this article offers a brief but helpful answer.

Animation Presents Ancient Corinth During The Roman Period (Video)

Pretty neat to get a sense of this prosperous city in the time of the Apostle Paul.

ABOUT — The Sunday Reader shares articles we've found particularly insightful, thought-provoking, or edifying this week. While not always representing the views of our Pastors and Elders, these selections offer a mix of viewpoints to broaden and frame your understanding of God, Scripture, ourselves, and the world we serve in Christ's name.