WORLD’s Top 10 Books of the Year, by Marvin Olasky

1. The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion, by Rodney Stark

2. Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help — And How to Reverse It, by Robert Lupton

3. From Prophecy to Charity: How to Help the Poor, by Lawrence Mead

4. Coming Apart, by Charles Murray

5. The Intolerance of Tolerance, by D. A. Carson

6. We the People: A.D. 1600 to 1800, Christian History Project, Vol. 10

7. What is the Mission of the Church?, by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert

8. Gospel-Powered Humility, by William Farley

9. The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson

10. A Life of Gospel Peace, by Phillip Simpson

Go here and here for his run-downs of the top three.  At the bottom of the second link, where the final 7 books are listed, there are links for WORLD’s reviews of all the books.

On the Nature of Divine Election

Patrick Schreiner has a put together a good synopsis of the arguments put forward by Brian Abasciano (corporate emphasis/conditional election) and Tom Schreiner (individual emphasis/unconditional election) here.

He includes the two opposing articles (Abasciano’s article is a response to Schreiner’s work some ten years before, and Schreiner’s article is a response to Abasciano’s response).  I want to highly suggest you reading them both.  They will stretch your mind, and that is good.  And depending upon what side of the debate you are on at present, I would encourage you to a cool frame and tempered, teachable disposition in reading the article that exegetes and argues contrary to your position.  As Piper has said, “it is more important to learn what they are saying than to hear what you want to hear” (paraphrase).

I will tell you, also, that after reading them both, I still land somewhat predictably and unhesitatingly with Schreiner’s position.  I won’t bother you with my own thoughts beyond that.  Just read the articles and we can talk later.  And, p.s., I don’t think this is a peripheral issue!

Psalm 127.3-5: Why We Aren’t Done Seeking To Have Children After One Boy and One Girl

May 6, 2010 Jenny and I had our first child, a boy whom we named Luke.  March 28, 2012 we had our second child, a girl whom we named Kate.  And believe it or not, we aren’t done seeking to have children, although the comments from many seem to suggest a wisdom to the contrary.  This is a wisdom from the world.  Two children is to some two too many.  Two children too many is time to stop.  And apparently, when the two you have been given by God are a boy and a girl, you’re all done.  Well, we aren’t done seeking to have children.  We aren’t done seeking the Lord for this mercy.  This is one purpose for our marriage (Malachi 2.15).  Along with this, it just makes sense when our worldview is shaped by Scripture, and particularly the overarching truth that we are at war.

I do not mean war in the political sense.  I do not mean war in the present national sense.  I mean war between God and every being at enmity with God, and therefore every being at enmity with us (Psa 120.7) because we preach the gospel of God’s reign in Christ (Isa 52.7; Mk 1.15; Acts 2.30-35).

As bullets fly by, the soldier at war desires as much weaponry and armory as possible.  It is simply reckless to go into battle underprepared.  Legalos is a fool if he only carries one or two arrows into the battle at Helm’s Deep.  And I am a foolish warrior if I only carry two children with me into the fray of spreading Christ’s victory and battle cry.  Now, I have many, many friends, dear brothers and sisters whom the Lord has not granted children.  These are not fools because they cannot carry what has not been granted.  But a fool I am if I carry not what God has granted for that purpose.

So we aren’t done seeking to have children after one boy and one girl.  Why?

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Psa 127.3-5).

Why?  Because the Bible tells me so.  Because in the truest sense, we are at war, not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers of the air, and God gives children, biologically (Psa 127.3), by adoption (rooted in Eph 1.5), by conversion (1 Thes 2.7) or discipleship (1 Tim 1.2), in order that we might be well-equipped for the fight — a fight fought because Christ has already won.

Honoring God in an Unequally Yoked Marriage, by Sarah Flashing

There is an important question that needs our attention: How does a wife honor God’s intended plan for marriage in a circumstance that doesn’t comport with God’s plan to begin with?

Go here as Flashing unfolds her answer while dealing with the ministry of wives to husbands, the issue of functional egalitarianism in such marriages, and the necessity of the wives own personal spiritual health and its impact upon the health of unequally yoked marriages.

Pointing Preschoolers to Jesus, by Gloria Furman

I also have young kids (5 yrs, 3 yrs, & 18 mos). Honestly, most days I just try to convince them to not kill each other because Jesus came to give us life (John 10:10). That counts for pointing my preschoolers to Christ, right? ☺

You can read about one occasion where a conversation I started was punctuated with one child climbing into the refrigerator and the other child dissolving into a sulking, hot mess. Sometimes I have great conversations with my kids about Jesus and they’re receptive and engaged; other times they’re more interested in My Little Pony. I can relate.

I think the simplest thing you can do to point your children to Christ during the day is to make them aware of the times when you have been reminded of Christ.

Go here for the rest of this article.

That Awkward Moment When We Speak the Gospel, by Ken Currie

A practical help for evangelism:

Evangelism is counter-cultural. It’s true everywhere on the planet, but perhaps it’s especially so in our increasingly post-Christian Western society. We live in a polite culture, for the most part. Talk about religion? You just don’t go there. Talk about how many tornadoes have come through, and how the team is doing, and how the city has new recycling bins. But Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners and risen from the dead? You just don’t go there. So they say.

For the time being, it seems the greatest threat to gospel-telling in such a society is not that we will be hauled before the city council, beaten, and have our property taken away. What we are really dealing with is some awkwardness.

Awkwardness is perhaps the biggest threat to evangelism for far too many of us.

Go here for the full post.

Motherhood as a Mission Field, by Rachel Jankovic

There is a good old saying, perhaps only said by my Grandfather, that distance adds intrigue. It is certainly true — just think back to anything that has ever been distant from you that is now near. Your driver’s license. Marriage. Children. Things that used to seem so fascinating, but as they draw near become less mystical and more, well, real.

This same principle certainly applies to mission fields too. The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as to become home.

This is the fourth of these posts that I have re-posted.  They have all been really insightful to me on the task of Christian motherhood.  I hope these have been encouraging to you also.  This one was, perhaps, my favorite.  Go here for the full article and be greatly challenged by the Great Commission in your home.