Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

August 23, 2014

Zondervan and Thomas Nelson are having a great $0.99 sale: Death by Living by N.D. Wilson; Strange Fire by John MacArthur; Jesus on Every Page by David Murray; The Dude’s Guide to Manhood by Darrin Patrick; Couples of the Bible by Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth; Risky Gospel by Owen Strachan; Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke; Yawning at Tigers by Drew Dyck.

This blogger has a powerful letter he wrote to a judge as the judge prepared to sentence his son’s kidnapper.

An awful lot has been written about the situation in Ferguson; Justin Taylor’s article is one of the most helpful, at least in my assessment.

The Bridegroom’s Incredible Vow is a good piece on marriage from Jared Wilson.

Last year I went to Scotland and, in one of my dispatches, mentioned a young lady who is laboring in the schemes. It was a joy to read that there is now a church plant being started in that very community.

Vance Christie has put together a challenge for you: Who’s Who in Church History?

If you’ve thought about attending the Doxology and Theology conference, you can use the coupon code CHALLIES to take the cost down to $149.

Disciplined faith is a faith that is likely to survive and lead to faith in others. —Alister McGrath

McGrath

August 22, 2014

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by our friends at CBD Reformed. As they always do, they are offering some great prizes. There will be 5 winners this week, and each of those winners will receive the following 3 books:

  • Galatians For YouGalatians For You: For Reading, for Feeding, for Leading by Tim Keller – Retail Price $22.99
  • Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper - Retail price $15.99
  • ESV Compact Bible - Retail Price $24.99

In addition, CBD Reformed is offering a 4-day sale (August 22 - 25) on the following three products:

Enter to Win

Again, there are 5 prize packages to win. And all you need to do to enter the draw is to drop your name and email address in the form below. (If you receive this by email, you will need to visit challies.com to enter.)

Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Saturday at noon.

August 22, 2014

I love to discover what I call “faith hacks”—practical methods or techniques for living the Christian life. As I read, as I listen to sermons, as I speak to people, I am always looking for insights on how other Christians live out their faith in practical ways. I recently shared an ultra-practical way to display servant leadership. Today I am shifting to prayer.

The Bible tells us not only that we can pray, but that we should and must pray. Prayer is one of the great responsibilities and the great privileges of being a Christian. Yet prayer is also difficult. It is difficult to pray effectively and it is difficult to pray systematically.

Christians have created many patterns and systems to help them as they pray. One of my favorites is John Piper’s model of praying in concentric circles. In a January, 2000 sermon on Paul’s call to prayer in Colossians 4:2 he gave a description of how he organizes his prayers.

Consider praying in concentric circles from your own soul outward to the whole world. This is my regular practice. I pray for my own soul first. Not because I am more deserving than others, but because if God doesn’t awaken and strengthen and humble and fill my own soul, then I can’t pray for anybody else’s. So I plead with the Lord every morning for my own soul’s perseverance and purification and power.

Then I go to the next concentric circle, my family, and I pray for each of them by name: Noel, Karsten/Shelly/Millie, Benjamin, Abraham, Barnabas, Talitha and some of my extended family.

Then I go to the next concentric circle, the staff and elders of Bethlehem. I name them all by name.

Then I pray for you, Bethlehem Baptist Church. And then I go out from there to different concerns and groups at different times: our missionaries, our denomination and its schools, the Baptist General Conference, Evangelicalism in general and the church around the world, especially the suffering church. The wider circles include the city and the state and the nation and the cultural and social issues of the world.

You can’t pray for everything every time. So there need to be differences. And your heart will dictate much of your burden. Some days one family member or one staff member or one crisis in the church or the world will consume most of your time. But if you have a pattern—like the concentric circles—you won’t spin your wheels wondering where to start.

It is that simple and that practical: Begin close and pray in widening circles.

See: Devote Yourselves to Prayer at Desiring God.

Circle image credit: Shutterstock

August 22, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals. To start, Cruciform Press has 5 books marked down to $0.99: Servanthood as Worship by Nate Palmer; Broken Vows by John Greco; But God… by Casey Lute; Contend by Aaron Armstrong; Innocent Blood by John Ensor. Also consider The God Who Justifies by James White ($3.03); Jesus, the Only Way to God by John Piper ($0.99).

Lead with Empathy, Love Your Neighbor, Let the Truth Come Out - Here’s Al Mohler writing on the situation in Ferguson.

Kent Brantly’s Remarks - Here is Dr. Kent Brantly speaking following his release from hospital (where he was successfully treated for Ebola).

In Defense of Dawkins - Well, kind of. (And another one teeing off Dawkins.)

Female Adult Gamers - Adult women are now among the major users of video games. “Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (36%) than boys age 18 or younger (17%).”

Which Gospel Tracts Do You Use? - Here are some recommended resources for evangelism.

How Do Tornadoes Form? - Watch this brief video and you’ll find out.

Access to God under all circumstances is guaranteed by Christ’s one sacrifice that covers all transgressions.J.I. Packer

Packer

August 21, 2014

A little while ago I shared an article titled Abortion: Making the Case. This was a simple way to structure a discussion on abortion while anticipating common responses and objections. Since then I have had the opportunity to teach on abortion and I prepared a slideshow to go with my presentation. I am sharing that slideshow today in case you can benefit from it. It works just fine as a standalone—you can simply click through the slides and read them in order. I have also included the file in Keynote, Powerpoint, and PDF formats if you would like to download it and use it in any other setting.

August 21, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Rythms of Grace by Mike Cosper ($0.99); Reasons for Our Hope by Wayne House ($4.99); new from GLH Publishing is that classic The Autobiography of George Muller ($0.99).

60/50 Ocean Way the Live Room Sessions - For my fellow NEEDTOBREATHE fans: Be sure to check out the new Liveroom EP at iTunes or Amazon. It’s amazing. Also, their most recent studio album Rivers in the Wasteland is $6.99 this week (iTunes, Amazon).

Telling People What To Do - There’s some sound counsel here from Rick Thomas. I appreciate his three-legged stool approach to integrating the Word of God and the Spirit of God with the community of God.

The Most Liveable Cities - It’s good to see Toronto place right near the top of the world’s most liveable cities. It’s one of the most liveable and least churched cities in the world. We’ve got work to do.

The Wonder Working God - Westminster Books has some good book deals this week, including a new one by Jared Wilson.

Blindness, Loneliness, and the Abundant Christian Life - I enjoyed this article from a Reformation21 guest blogger. 

Corn on the Cob - Here’s a simple trick to get rid of all those annoying little threads that always hang around your cob of corn. 

Mistreating Creation - Justin Holcomb explains why it is wrong for us to mistreat creation.

The man who prays with fasting is giving heaven notice that he is truly in earnest. —Arthur Wallis

Wallis

August 20, 2014

It is a question I have received a number of times lately: Can you suggest some blogs written specifically for women? As it happens, I follow quite a few blogs written by (and often for) women. I am going to share a list of them today, knowing that I have undoubtedly forgotten some very good ones and owe a few apologies! So please accept this as an incomplete list.

Aimee Byrd. Aimee goes by Housewife Theologian and writes both here and at Reformation21. I enjoy her writing for its depth and its emphasis on spiritual discernment.

Charlene Nelson. Charlene writes articles and poetry and often focuses on theological topics.

The Christian Pundit - This blog includes contributions from William and Rebecca VanDoodewaard. Rebecca posts occasionally, but always with insight.

Elisha Galotti. Unlike most of the other bloggers on my list, Elisha was a friend in the real world before she was a friend online—we’ve known each other since we were kids! I appreciate Elisha’s honesty and her ability to draw lessons out of real life.

Everyone Needs a Little Grace in Their Lives. Amy writes from the mission field, and writes mostly about the realities of life in East Africa.

Gloria Furman. Gloria, who currently lives in Dubai, is well-known as an author and as a contributor to quite a few different sites. Through it all she continues to blog once or twice a week at gloriafurman.com.

Jen Thorn. Jen, husband of Joe (who also has a great blog), is a very good writer.

Jen Wilkin. Jen is author of Women of the Word and blogs occasionally at her own blog (and regularly at other sites). Her favorite subject is knowing and studying the Bible.

Maryanne Challies Helms. She’s my little sister (and she’s on a blog break).

Practical Theology for Women. Wendy’s blog is primarily a lecture to herself (aren’t most blogs?) but you’re welcome to read along. She covers a lot of difficult subjects.

Rebecca Writes. I have been following Rebecca’s blog for the better part of a decade; I love her emphasis on theology and sound doctrine.

Sayable. Lore Ferguson provides gut-honest and theologically-rich insights on all kinds of important issues.

Worship Rejoices. Lindsey has scaled back quite a lot in the past few months, but there is lots to read in the archives, and I hope she will return with more in the future.

Your Mom Has a Blog. I am a relative newcomer to “Your Mom Has a Blog” which is written by Melissa Edgington. She writes well, and always from the perspective of real life.

Group Blogs

Here are a few blogs where you will find content by a variety of people.

Boundless. Boundless (associated with Focus on the Family) focuses on issues related to young adults and has a mix of male and female writers.

CBMW. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has various “channels,” one of which is dedicated to women. They involve quite a number of writers, many of whom blog elsewhere as well.

Desiring God. The Desiring God blog often welcomes female guest writers.

The Gospel Coalition. The Gospel Coalition offers several new articles each day, and they include many female writers.

Out of the Ordinary. This group blog includes contributions from half a dozen authors who are ”bound by a common love for sound theology and a desire to live out that sound theology in our ordinary lives as we serve our extraordinary God.”

True Woman. The True Woman blog shares new content every day, sourced from a variety of writers (including the occasional article by Susanna Rose, another of my little sisters!).

Let me close with an observation. I was struck, as I went through all the blogs I follow, how many have gone cold. It may be that there has always been this much attrition in the blogosphere, or it may be that blogging is in decline, having given way to other forms of social media. It is hard to know. But I found a lot of blogs—former favorites—that had not been updated in months. Many of them ended with notes from the author saying that she would return at an undefined point in the future. I wonder how many will.

August 20, 2014

Ask R.C. Live - Today at 4 PM EST, R.C. Sproul will be answering questions via Twitter. You can click the link to get more information.

What Are Gospel Issues? - D.A. Carson takes on a phrase we may use a little too freely: “gospel issues.”

The Funniest Joke - Here’s the funniest one-liner of the year: “I decided to sell my Hoover … well it was just collecting dust.” You can read the other finalists as well.

See The Conqueror - This is a great hymn, and I do believe we may soon be singing it at Grace Fellowship Church (sans the bridge).

College Doesn’t Change Your Heart - College doesn’t change your heart; it reveals it. Sammy Rhodes writes from the perspective of a campus minister.

The Heart of Family Worship - This looks like it will be an interesting series on family worship—one of those topics where we can always use a refresh.

Sin is guerrilla warfare that is deadly. Just when you think you are in control, it seeks to devour you. —Ed Welch

Welch