Mind Blowing Apple Fact of the Day

The financial Times reports this Mind-Blowing Apple Fact of the Day: “Barclays Capital estimates that based on reporting thus far earnings growth for S&P 500 companies was 7 percent in Q4. But if you strip out Apple, that plummets to 2.9 percent.”

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Seven Texts on Evangelism

Tim Challies posted this helpful piece, Seven Texts on Evangelism. Following are the seven texts:

1. There is work to be done

Matthew 9:37-38
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

2. Jesus has commanded you to do it

Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (more…)

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Topography of Faith in the U.S.

This Pew Forum research project shows some remarkable religious differences between states and regions. (Click on the state to see the religious configuration that exists there. You can view this by clicking here.) Notice the spread between Arkansas which 53% evangelical, while California is 18%. Utah’s numbers are staggeringly different from the rest of the country with 58% Mormon while the rest of the states are at around one half of one percent. The most secularized regions of course are the West coast and the Northeast with disproportionately high numbers of people who call themselves religiously “unaffiliated.”

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NYC Mayor Bloomberg: ‘Government’s Highest Duty’ Is to Push ‘Healthy’ Foods

Government Sinks to New Low – NYC Mayor Bloomberg: ‘Government’s Highest Duty’ Is to Push ‘Healthy’ Foods. My friend Jason Dohm comments, “Outlawing Twinkies is the highest duty of government?  Depressing…”

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The No-Kids-Allowed Movement

For many years, we have been advocating a pro-child philosophy in church life which functionally means that we integrate children – and all ages – in normal church activities. I remember a very eerie feeling a few years ago when I was in a church service, and it was all old people. It felt very sterile and unnatural. The rejection of children in our world has come to such great proportions that some are calling it, “The no-kids-allowed movement.” One author says it is spreading. She cites Malaysia airlines and others banning babies from first class cabins. She documents the banning of children in restaurants and the creation of “child free” travel destinationsEven the health food chain, Whole Foods has jumped on the band wagon. Unfortunately, the church has been on this bandwagon for a very long time.  We think it is no small issue since it is contrary to sound doctrine and have actually made a film about it – Dividedthemovie.com 

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The Danger of Bad Doctrine

This past Sunday, I preached on Matthew 16:1-12, where Jesus warns His disciples to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees.

Matthew 16:12 says, “Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”

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Unhappy Calvinists

Spurgeon once said:

There is a certain breed of Calvinists, whom I do not envy, who are always jeering and sneering as much as ever they can at the full assurance of faith. I have seen their long faces. I have heard their whining periods, and read their dismal sentences, in which they say something to this effect—“Groan in the Lord always, and again I say, groan! He that muourneth and weepeth, he that doubteth and feareth, he that distrusteth and dishonoureth his God, shall be saved.” That seems to be the sum and substance of their very ungospel-like gospel. But why is it that they do this? I speak now honestly and fearlessly. It is because there is a pride within them—a conceit which is fed on rottenness, and sucks marrow and fatness out of putrid carcasses.

– from The Free Grace Broadcaster on Assurance and Perseverance, page 13

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Is Your Repentance Real?

Phil Johnson recently wrote a post entitled: How Can We Tell If Our Repentance Is Deep Enough. He writes:

It’s impossible to judge the depth of someone’s conviction or the genuineness of a believer’s penitence based on the potency of an emotional reaction alone. If the question is whether your repentance is genuine or not, I personally think what you “feel” emotionally has very little significance. Judas wept bitterly; Esau shed many tears. Neither of them truly repented. By contrast, the thief on the cross seemed almost stoically resigned to his fate. But there was enough genuine repentance in his dying plea that Jesus assured him of salvation on the spot.

You can read more by clicking the link above.

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Girls, 13, Given Contraceptive Implants at School

The Telegraph reports that an arm chip that prevents pregnancy is being implanted in girls to prevent teenage pregnancy – without parents’ permission.

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A Picture of True Conversion

So it is with souls, when first translated into the marvelous light of Christ, to behold the beauties of the new creation. They see a new glory in him, that hath quite sullied the desirableness of all earthly diversions. And they see a new guilt and filth in sin, that gives them an utter abhorrence of its old delight and pleasures; and so of other things. Now, whilst these and the like springs are kept open, in the souls of converted sinners, they constrain them to vigorous active holiness. They can never do enough for God.

– John Owen, Nature, Power, Deceit and Prevalency of Indwelling Sin in Believers, 263

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The Frugality Idol

There are those who are good stewards of the possessions that God has given them. Others are quite wasteful. Then, among all the other categories, there are those people that make an idol about taking the worst of what is offered or available.

Maybe this will help you think it through. Here is John Calvin on over spiritualizing our frugality:

“If a man begins to doubt whether he may use linen for his sheets, shirts, handkerchiefs, and napkins, he will afterward be uncertain also about hemp… For he will turn over in his mind whether he can sup without napkins, or go without handkerchief. If any man should consider daintier food unlawful, in the end he will not be at peace before God, when he eats either black bread or common victuals, while it occurs to him that he could sustain his body on even coarser foods. If he boggles at sweet wine, he will not with clear conscience drink even flat wine, and finally he will not dare touch water if sweeter and cleaner than other water.”
– from John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill (1559, reprinted Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), 1:839.

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Check Out the Discerning History Civil War Tour

Here is a really significant opportunity for education delivered by my fellow elder, Dan Horn. It is the Discerning History Tour on September 3-8, 2012.  He will be covering the second half of the Civil War, starting at the battle of Chancellorsville and visiting places such as Gettysburg, the trenches at Petersburg, and the wonderful Museum of the Confederacy.  After many more interesting locations, he will end up at Appomattox with the surrender of Lee’s army and the end of the Confederacy.

This tour will be on Labor Day Week. This is a very affordable history tour. You won’t be disappointed.

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A Young Girl’s Journey From Death to Life

My friend Carlton McLeod at Calvary Revival Church Chesapeake blogged about a story of a young girl at the church. Regeneration can sound like such a technical theological word, but the sweetness it brings to the human soul is the most wonderful thing as this story shows.

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Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married

Pew Research Center has recently studied marriages since 1960. Amazingly, “Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married – A Record Low.  And, what is even more striking is that, “New Marriages Down 5% from 2009 to 2010.”

The world needs the Gospel. When the Apostle Paul says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…” (1 Cor. 6:9), we need to realize that most of our culture engages in fornication. God says that they will not (except they repent) inherit the kingdom of God.

Therefore, when we see reports come in of the low percentage of people being married, we ought to understand that there is a serious problem. For in addition to their eternal welfare, they are also warring against one of God’s pictures of the Gospel in the world.

Here is a message that I preached about Gospel-Centered Marriages. I would encourage you to listen to it and discuss on this blog.

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The Powerful Work of Womanhood in Childbearing

In John Hartley’s commentary on Leviticus, he makes an insightful statement about the powerful work of womanhood in childbearing. Commenting on Leviticus 12, he writes:

“Birth is fraught with mystery, wonder, and danger. As a mother approaches the door of death, she brings new life into the world….In giving birth the woman challenges the penalty of death on mankind for sinning against God in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2.16-17), for each birth insures the continuation of the race. Symbolically each birth strikes a blow on the head of the paradisaical serpent, the champion of death (Gen 3.15). Giving birth was a momentous act of victory. But the regulations of ritual purity did not allow a new mother to exalt herself as divine in her great accomplishment. These regulations relegated her triumph to the sphere of this earth without diminishing her great joy in bringing forth new life.” (John Hartley, Leviticus: Word Biblical Commentary), pp. 169-170

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