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Favorite Encouraging Podcasts

I listen to a lot of audio content: sermons, lectures, books, etc. Over the years some episodes/sermons/lectures/conferences have been particularly encouraging, and I have compiled all the ones that are freely published (not ones I have paid for) here for others.

I won’t bother with disclaimers about this or that person or topic. I got something useful from these resources, and I want to pass them on to you.

I keep a page at podcast.iharder.net that’s easy to remember, and I can pass on the reference to people in conversation. Check them out. Hope they bless you too.

Reading Plans, Part 3

I gave up on my previous work to create a chronological M’Cheyne reading plan. The four independent streams made the reading too fractured.

Instead we went back to reading the “Battle” plan, and I added a new by-day-of-the-week Psalm reading:

  • Sunday: Psalm 19
  • Monday: Psalm 1, 15
  • Tuesday: Psalm 23, 121
  • Wednesday: Psalm 25
  • Thursday: Psalm 139
  • Friday: Psalm 100, 146
  • Saturday: Psalm 8

I made bookmarks for everyone. By the end of the year, these great Psalms should be extra familiar to us.

Reading Plans, Part 2

This year we began using the M’Cheyne reading plan as a family, breaking our reading into four times during the day. I wrote about this earlier. It is a more complicated reading program, but I really like that we are continually returning to God’s Word throughout the day.

What I really miss is reading the Bible chronologically. The M’Cheyne arrangement is simply ordered according to the standard arrangement. I really see the disservice of this after reading the plan by Battle, which is chronologically arranged.

To that end, I am working on a chronological M’Cheyne reading plan that merges the two. I hope to begin using it next year (2013). I will post it either this year, with many disclaimers about it needing to be ironed out, or just wait until next year and post it in time for 2014, after some inevitable bugs are worked out.

A Friend’s Blog

I recently rediscovered a dear friend’s blog, which had fallen off my radar. Mike Beck is more eloquent than I, and while I am still trying to digest everything he says, I pretty much end up saying a hearty “Amen!” at the end. Here are some of my favorite posts:

My Personal Definition of God
What a beautiful summary! We do not serve a God of our own devising or an unknowable God. He is a magnificent God, and He reveals much about Himself to us
The Bible: Inspiration and Inerrancy
A beautiful defense of the Word and what we can and do know about it.
Choosing a Church
Amen! This is a tough thing about moving around every few years.
Under the Law
Well here is no light topic. I am still processing this one, and definitions can really mess us up here.

I hope you consider reading these and that they move you to a better understanding of God.

To Save Men or to Glorify Himself

I found a recording of a sermon from a church in Arizona entitled “Right Thinking About Missions.” The church is going through the book of Romans, and in Romans 10 their Pastor Adam Roland turns aside for just a moment (OK, most of the sermon) to address a very important question:

Is God’s ultimate purpose to save men or to glorify Himself?

The way you answer this question impacts the way you live and especially the way you evangelize. I encourage you to listen to the sermon.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:14–15 KJV)


A friend referred me to some related resources that I thought I should share. The first is a John Piper book called Let the Nations Be Glad! 2nd Edition. There is a PDF excerpt available online.

The second is a John Piper article called Did Christ Die for Us or for God? What an eye opener. Here’s an excerpt:

That is what the passing over of sin communicates: God’s glory and his righteous governance are of minor value, or no value.

But, according to Romans, this is the most basic problem that God solved by the death of his Son. Let’s read it again: “He did this [put his Son forward to die] to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance (or patience) he had passed over sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous . . .” (verses 25b-26a) God would be unrighteous if he passed over sins as though the value of his glory were nothing.

A Congressman Resigns

I do not consider political leaders for whom I would not vote “enemies,” but I meet the recent scandal in Congress and the recent announcement of a representative stepping down with humility and sadness of heart. I am reminded of the following verse:

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Or the LORD will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.
(Proverbs 24:17–18 NAS95)

Instead let us remember to pray for our leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1–4 NAS95)

Southern Baptists Adopt Plan to Appeal to Minorities

The New York Times ran an article called Southern Baptists Adopt Plan to Appeal to Minorities, and I could see trouble right from the start—not with the article but with the state of affairs on which it was reporting.

Quote: “Southern Baptists Adopt Plan to Appeal to Minorities”

Problem: The only “appeal” any church organization should be thinking about is the Holy Spirit drawing sinners to repentance (with regard to “outreach”). Sorry to use a business analogy, but not focusing on “core competencies” is a losing proposition.
Continue reading “Southern Baptists Adopt Plan to Appeal to Minorities”


A friend of mine recently preached a sermon on Denominationalism (mp3), and it got me thinking about some misgivings I have often had. He and I both seem to have an aversion to people identifying strongly with a denomination. Of course it would help to define “denominationalism,” but we’ll leave that be for the moment.

Sometimes I see people identify more strongly with a denomination than with truth, so that they are not willing to carefully examine the Bible if they think it might contradict what they’ve been taught. How absurd is that! Of course when they say, “No, no, I’m just a Christian, plain and true,” but in fact their words and actions betray them.
Continue reading “Denominationalism”