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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

July 28, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace ($1.99) (He also has a new book out next week called God’s Crime Scene); A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada ($0.99); The Most Misused Verses in the Bible by Eric Bargerhuff ($1.99); Preaching by Calvin Miller ($1.99).

SCOTUS: Too Much and Too Little - Rosaria Butterfield: “I have no right to complain. The blood is on my hands. For a decade, I lived as a lesbian who advanced the cause of gay rights. The world we see today is the one I helped create.”

God Doesn’t Need My Kid To Beat the Odds - This is a powerful and comforting article: “It was so definitive, those conclusive words of the neurologist: ‘He will never walk or talk. In many ways he is incompatible with life.’”

Does The Bible Say Anything About Sleep Habits? - Nothing is more mundane than sleep, but few things have a deeper impact on life.

Tim Tebow, Reinvented - Sports fans may appreciate this article about Tim Tebow’s ongoing attempts to prove that he can be an NFL quarterback.

How to Launch a Nuclear Missile - Well, it’s a little bit melodramatic, but you’ll still enjoy seeing how to launch a nuclear missile.

The Only Bad Word Left - Melissa talks about the only bad word that’s left in our vocabulary.

A Call to Teenagers To Be Free - John Piper puts out the call to teenagers. “Be wise and strong and free from the slavery of culture-conformity. To put it another way, I am calling teenagers to a radical, wartime lifestyle.”

The gospel is not made more powerful by a dynamic preacher or a rockin’ band; the gospel cannot be improved. —Jared Wilson

Wilson

 

No Platform High Enough
July 27, 2015

When it is platform you crave, when it is the size or the popularity of your following that you use as the measure of your success, you will inevitably and eventually find that there is no platform high enough. No success will ever perfectly fulfill your ambitions.

When it is recognition that you are after, affirmation of your hard work, affirmation of your skills or wisdom or contributions, there can be no reward fulfilling enough. There will always be one more acknowledgment you want and one more you are sure you need.

When it is the size of your congregation that motivates your actions and serves as your goal, not even a megachurch will satisfy. There is no church big enough. Even if the church is packed to the rafters, and even if it expands to campuses around the city or state, you will remain unfulfilled.

When it is money that motivates and money that promises joy, your satisfaction in money will only ever be hollow. If joy promises that it is just a salary increase away, you will find that joy remains forever just out of reach. There is no wealth great enough. You will always crave just a little bit more. 

When it is the CEO’s office that promises completion and fulfillment, when it is the top job at the top firm, no job title will satisfy. There is no position and no compensation package grand enough to satisfy your desire for joy.

When it is possessions that holds out the promise of joy, you will find that even the most stuff and the nicest stuff fails to bring satisfaction. You can fill your home, your basement, your garage, your storage unit with the best stuff money can buy, but the ache inside will not go away.

When it is conference invitations you want, there will never be a conference big enough. There will never be a crowd large enough. There will never be a fanbase adoring enough. There will never be a location distant enough. Satisfaction will remain frustratingly elusive.

When it is book sales that drive your ambitions and promise joy, there will never be a book that sells well enough. Even a runaway bestseller and a round of morning talk show invites will leave you feeling hollow.

When it is sexual satisfaction that promises true fulfillment, no lover will fulfill. No succession of lovers will fulfill. Each episode and each person will only increase your desire for what you cannot find. There is no sexual pleasure fulfilling enough.

No matter your goal, no matter your god, it will not and cannot bring lasting satisfaction. In this world, God’s world, these kinds of desires were never meant to bring ultimate satisfaction. Rather, all the pleasures of this world are meant to be subordinate, to point beyond themselves to the satisfaction that is found in God. The deepest joy this world offers, and the only lasting joy this world offers, is the joy that comes from seeking his kingdom instead of your own.

Image credit: Shutterstock

July 27, 2015

Happy Monday! Crossway has some good deals this week on the Kindle versions of 3 excellent marriage books: No Ordinary Marriage by Tim Savage ($3.99); What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp ($3.99); and This Momentary Marriage by John Piper ($3.99). (From a different publisher, Dave Harvey’s When Sinners Say “I Do” is $1.99.)

Looking Away From Abortion - Ross Douthat has a good and powerful editorial on the situation surrounding Planned Parenthood.

Why Fireflies Glow - You know that they glow, but scientists are only just figuring out why they glow.

The Frequency of English Words - Here’s an interesting video that talks about one of my favorite things: words.

Don’t Pray About the Book of Mormon - Mormon missionaries often ask you to take the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. This article explains why you shouldn’t do that.

Don’t Blame Trump, Blame America - I usually try to avoid politics (and especially U.S. politics) but I think Canada’s Rex Murphy says a lot of insightful things in this article. He places Trump’s popularity in the middle of today’s cultural and ethical mess.

TGC Church Directory - The Gospel Coalition has a very helpful (and newly updated) directory of associated churches. It’s a great place to begin the search when you’re traveling or relocating.

We Will Not Bow - “Last Sunday night (July 19), John MacArthur addressed the church’s response to an American society that is growing increasingly hostile to biblical morality and the truth of the gospel.” You can read, listen, or watch as you see fit.

The ungodly are not half so restrained in their blasphemy as we are in our praise. —C.H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon

 

July 26, 2015

Sometimes I just need to be reminded about the seriousness of sin. And sometimes I just need to be reminded off the slipperiness of sin. Those reminders came this week through Charles Spurgeon and a sermon he preached on June 29, 1890.

Many men are violent against one sin; but the true saint abhors all sin. You are a teetotaler; I am very glad to hear it: you will not allow the sin of drunkenness to have dominion over you. But are you selfish and ungenerous? Have you learned habits of strict economy in regard to religious donations, so that you always give a penny where you ought to give a pound? What have you done? You have only changed your idols. You have dethroned one usurper to set up another.

If you were once profane and are now hypocritical, you have only changed iniquities. It is a very curious thing how one sin feeds on another: the death of profligacy may be the resurrection of greed; the flight of pride may be the advent of shameless folly. The man who was lewd, riotous, brawling and irreligious has killed those sins, and on their graves he has sown a handful of a poisonous weed called pride, and it flourishes amazingly.

It may be London pride, country pride, or English pride, or American pride; but it is rare stuff to grow, and to grow over the rotting carcasses of other sins. Unbelief may dethrone superstition, but its own reign may be no real improvement upon that of credulity [gullibility].

If you only throw down Baal to set up Ashteroth, what progress have you made towards God? Little does it signify [matter] which of the false gods is set up in the temple of Jehovah, for he hates them all. The right prayer is, “Let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

 Some sins are of respectable repute and other sins are disreputable among men; but to a child of God every sin is loathsome. Sins are all what Bunyan calls Diabolonians and not one of them must be suffered to live in the town of ManSoul. “Let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” I can see the throne set up within the heart of man. Who shall sit on it? It cannot be empty; who shall fill it? This sin, that sin, or the other? Nay, Lord, help me to keep every intruder out of it.

Whether he come as an angel of light, or in his true character as the devil, help me to treat every one as an enemy that would seek to supplant thee in thy dominion over me. Oh, that God may reign over us from morn to eve, through every day of every week of every year!

July 25, 2015

It’s the weekend at last! I have spent this week with my family at Muskoka Bible Centre, hanging around during the day and preaching every evening. This is a great place to enjoy some summer vacation and we are sorry to have to head home today. While we pack up and head back to the city, here are some articles and videos you may enjoy:

Doug Wilson comments on ISIS and Planned Parenthood and Their Respective Beheadings. He pulls no punches.

If you are up for a long and interesting kind of read that illustrates the Trouble in Utopia—any kind of Utopia—you may enjoy this.

U.S.-style megachurches are taking over the world according to The Washington Post. They discuss the rise of the megachurch across the globe.

CCEF has released a new edition of The Journal of Biblical Counseling and David Powlison’s editorial is always worth reading. This month he discusses How the Bible Gets Personal.

This storm chaser went to 10 states in 14 days to capture some remarkable footage.

R.C. Sproul Jr. gives you 5 Things to Look for in a Church. He ends this way: “If you find this list disheartening, if you feel there is no such body near you, get to work. A good church is less something you find, more something you build.”

The headline just about says it all: Challenging the Culture of Quarrelsome ‘Discernment’ Blogging. “I do not challenge biblical discernment. But I do want to challenge quarrelsome discernment: a counterfeit ‘discernment’ that revels in the fight, refuses to listen to others, and is careless with the truth.”

Please Be Careful of Tip Overs - “According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies roughly every two weeks due to tip-over incidents. The vast majority of victims are under the age of five.”

Thanks to RPTS for sponsoring the blog this week with Ancient Greek for the Digital Age.

There is no sin that exists that is more powerful than the grace that is to be found in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. —Paul Tripp

Tripp

 

July 24, 2015

This week's Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Christian Focus. Christian Focus Publications, based in the North of Scotland, produce a range of books from well-known authors such as John Piper, Tim Chester and J.I Packer. Their mission is to "reach out and stay faithful," serving every corner of the world with high-quality Christian literature. You can connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

They are giving away some great prize packages this week. There will be 5 winners this week, and each of them will receive the following books:

Motyer A Christian's Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament: One Book, One God, One Story by Alec Motyer. Packed within this book is a love for the Old Testament cultivated over nearly ninety years. It presents the insight of a seasoned scholar in a way that is both pastorally warm and intellectually accessible. This accessible yet powerful addition to the Pocket Guide series draw together the threads of Scripture to help us understand the power of God's word when viewed in its completeness. "Now 90, Alec Motyer retains all his old clarity, warmth and charm as he shares his infectious affection for, and insight into, Jesus's Bible. This is a first-rate get-you-started book." (J. I. Packer)

Rubies Far Above Rubies: The Life of Bethan Lloyd-Jones by Lynette G. Clark. The galleries of the great heroes of faith contain many inspirational women; although not always placed in as prominent a position for all to see, their service has been invaluable in God's kingdom. The wife of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones was such a woman. Bethan Lloyd-Jones' portrait has long been hidden in a part of the gallery known only to her family and certain close friends. Lynette G. Clark brings this portrait into view, capturing the wit, wisdom and faith of a godly wife, mother and friend. "What a rich and colorful portrait, of a godly woman who served her Savior with wit and wisdom...This is a portrait worth stopping to relish and study." (Kathleen B. Nielson, Director of Women's Initiatives, The Gospel Coalition)

Moody How Church Can Change Your Life: Answers to the 10 Most Common Questions about Church by Josh Moody. Google books on church, there will be no shortage of choice! Some will be helpful, others less so. So why another book on church? Josh Moody, is, in fact, asking a very different question: why should I go to church at all? Filled with practical advice, this book will help you answer questions you maybe should have known the answer to and other questions you never knew to ask! "... a powerful and needed reminder of the central role the local church should play in the life of every Christian." (R. Albert Mohler)

Chester Crown of Thorns: Connecting Kingdom and Cross by Tim Chester. Within evangelicalism today it can sometimes seem there are two competing versions of the gospel. There is the gospel of the kingdom with its focus on God's plan to restore the world. And there is the gospel of the cross with its focus on the offer of forgiveness. These two emphases create contrasting models of discipleship and mission. In Crown of Thorns Tim Chester shows how these two gospels are really one gospel - the message of the King who establishes justice in a surprising way. "This book is an absolute gift for those who want a holistic discipleship that 'teaches them to obey everything I have commanded you.''"(Daniel Montgomery, Senior Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, Kentucky)

Enter Here

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. If you are viewing this through email, click to visit my site and enter there.

July 24, 2015

New deals today include I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer ($0.99); Revelation commentary by Paige Patterson ($2.99); and Suburbianity by Byron Yawn ($2.99).

5 Reasons to Keep the Kids In - This article largely describes my preference when it comes to children and worship services.

The Coming of the Age of Gibberish - Carl Trueman highlights the kind of ridiculous statement that is suddenly becoming so common.

Logic on Fire - You may have heard of the excellent documentary Logic on Fire which looks at the life and ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The DVD is being offered at quite a discount.

How Boa Constrictors Kill - So maybe boa constrictors aren’t actually killing their prey by suffocation.

The End of Christianity in the Middle East - The New York Times magazine shows how the last vestiges of Christianity are being stamped out in the Middle East.

The Great Work Taking Place in Our World - Rick Phillips reminds us of the great work that is taking place in our world.

Plan B - I was sorry to read this story, about Washington State forcing objecting pharmacists to dispense Plan B.

All the preaching in the world cannot make a man see the truth so long as his eyes are blinded. —C.H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon