Worship fully. Spend less.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

It is Christmas season. While we may lament the encroachment of a hectic, rushed season that seems to come earlier and earlier, let us not forget that it is a time to be joyous for what those who believe. If we have been made a new creation through Jesus Christ, then we are to actively seek good for those around us, for His sake. I’ve just become aware of Advent Conspiracy, which is a way of putting Ephesians 2:10 into practice during this wonderful time of year.

If we really believe that we are not to be conformed to the image of this world, then we need to rethink how we celebrate Christmas. The idea that we spend less and worship fully is something we can all do well to put into practice.

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I love Tim Keller

There’s plenty to love about Twitter, and the wisdom of people like Tim Keller is one example.

Free online books from John Piper: A great resource from Desiring God

I’ve been meaning to share this for some time because it’s been a great help to me. Did you know that you can go online and find several of John Piper’s books for free to read online (or download and read later)? It’s true. Desiring God, which is a great ministry seeking to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ,” offers the books. You can find them here. New books are being added all the time, and often there are books in languages other than English if you want to use them to minister in that way. One of the ways I use them is I read them online and then bookmark that link so I can go back to them in a web browser without having to go to the home page first.

Thank you, John Piper, for the many inspiring, encouraging, challenging, informative books you have written. And thank you, too, Desiring God for making them available.

Crossway introduces ESV Study Bible app

While you can still download the ESV Bible app for free, Crossway has now announced that you can get the ESV Bible + app (the ESV Study Bible) for iPad and iPhone (and iPod Touch).  For the next 48 hours, you can get the ESV Bible + app for $9.99, after which it will be at the introductory rate of $12.99 until Aug. 7. After that it will go for $14.99.

While that may seem like a steep price for something you can get for free (the ESV Bible app), you have to remember that the print version of the ESV Study Bible goes for $49.99. The ESV Study Bible is an amazing resource and to be able to carry that around with you in your pocket it amazing.

Remembering Dietrich Bonhoeffer today

BonhoefferOn April 9, 1945, just three weeks before World War II ended, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged at the Flossenberg prison camp for his part in a conspiracy to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Bonhoeffer is remembered well for his strong faith and has been remembered beyond his death for his writings, including The Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer’s legacy is a great one, and it is good to remember what he taught, even 65 years later.

In 2003, filmmaker Martin Doblmeier produced a documentary, Bonhoeffer, that looked at the German pastor’s life. In an interview on PBS’ Speaking of Faith, Doblmeier discussed Bonhoeffer with host Krista Tippett. The program is a great introduction to the man and what kind of turmoil produced some of thing he wrote.

This year a new biography is coming out on Bonhoeffer.  Written by Eric Metaxas, who also has written a biography on Wilber Wilberforce called Amazing Grace, the new book is called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. I look forward to reading it.

Costly forgiveness

“All should be forgiven, and the thoughtless especially.” — Leo Tolstoy, Where Love Is (New York, 1915), page 20.

From Ray Ortlund, at The Gospel Coalition blog:

The Lord taught us to forgive at two levels.

Deep in our hearts, forgiveness is unconditional, since God has forgiven us: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). This forgiveness is absolute, before God.

At the level of our relationships, forgiveness is conditional: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). After all, how can one forgive a sin that hasn’t been confessed? For the relationship to be restored, the sinning brother must repent.

But what if he doesn’t repent? Or doesn’t even realize the harm he has done? Sadly, the relationship remains broken. But deep within, “. . . and the thoughtless especially.” This is the most costly forgiveness, because it is unseen, unthanked.

But God sees. As in everything else, all that ultimately matters is who God is, what God says, how God works.

Crossway’s free ESV Bible app now available for iPad

So, you have a new iPad and would like to actually do something with it that doesn’t look like you’re worshipping it. You know that free ESV Bible app that Crossway released for the iPod/iPod Touch last month? It’s now available for iPad as well — also for free. Now, this will only be cool if you actually take time to read it. Maybe you won’t need to download as many other apps if you get this one. Just a thought.