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Tim Challies

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July 22, 2014

Here’s a handful of new Kindle deals: John A. Broadus by David Dockery ($0.99); The Gospel Commission by Michael Horton ($3.99); Five Points by John Piper ($5.99). The next two I’m not familiar with, but they may be worth a look: Effective Staffing for Vital Churches by Bill Easum & Billy Tenny-Brittian ($3.99); Five Secrets Great Dads Know by Paul Coughlin ($0.99). If you’re in the market for a Kindle, Amazon has the 7” Kindle Fire HDX at $100 off today only.

Gavin Peacock’s Moment - CBMW is venturing into longform writing and they get it started well with this article.

9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day - Rich versus poor is not the world’s most important distinction, but I did find these 9 differences quite interesting.

Was Bonhoeffer Gay? - A recent biography of Bonhoeffer has focused on his sexuality and suggested he had same-sex attraction. Trevin Wax responds.

Why a Lustful Man Doesn’t Want a Woman - Denny Burk highlights a particularly brilliant quote from the particularly brilliant C.S. Lewis.

An Abandoned Dog - Here’s your feel-good video du jour.

The Dangers and Duty of Confessing Sin to One Another - Nicholas Batzig looks at the dangers and the duty of obeying the Bible’s command to confess your sins to one another.

The world is filled with God’s glory. You can’t turn without bumping into it. —R.C. Sproul

Sproul

July 21, 2014

Reading is kind of like repairing a bicycle. Kind of. For too long now my bike has been semi-operational. It has one brake that just doesn’t want to behave and all my attempts to fix it have failed. Why? Well it turns out that I haven’t been using the right tool. To get the bike working I need to use the right tool. And when it comes to reading, well, you’ve got to use the right tool—you’ve got to know what kind of reading to do. Here are seven different kinds of reading.

Studying. Studying is reading at its best, I think, but reading that can and should be done with only the choicest books. Life is too short and there are simply too many books to invest a great deal of time in every one of them. And this is where so many readers go wrong—they spend too much time and invest too much effort in books that simply don’t deserve it. When you study a book, you labor over it, you read it with highlighter in hand, you flip back and forth, you try to learn absolutely everything the book offers. Only the smallest percentage of books are worthy of this level of investment, so choose carefully which books you study. (Suggestions: Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen or The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul)

Pillaging. Pillaging is one of my favorite forms of reading, and especially when the book is in a familiar category and written to be very practical. I will often buy the latest and greatest books on business and productivity and read them at a rapid pace. As I do this, I am looking for tips that I can ponder and apply. I do not intend to allow these books to teach me a whole new form of getting things done—I have my system and it works well. However, I am eager to pillage these books for ideas that can tweak my system and make it better. (Consider: Essentialism by Greg Mckeown or Habit Stacking by S.J. Scott)

Devotional. Devotional reading is reading deep truths meant to make a deep impact on your faith. This is slow and meditative reading that requires an open Bible and plenty of prayer. The Christian faith has many wonderful devotional works that are drawn from the Bible and will, in turn, draw you to the Bible. Read these ones day-by-day and allow them to lead you closer to God as he reveals himself through his Word. (Consider: The Reformed Expository Commentary series or Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon)

Skimming. In recent years we have heard a lot about the evils of skimming, and it is true that for many people skimming is now their dominant form of reading. This is not a good development. But having said that, skimming still has its place. Some books are worthy of little more than a skim, and especially if you have already read extensively in that category. If you have read six books on marriage, you probably don’t need to do more than skim the seventh. Most books will benefit from a skim before in-depth reading as it will both help you understand whether it is actually worthy of study and help you better understand the flow of the author’s argument. Do not making skimming your only form of reading, but also don’t feel guilty if you find yourself skimming twice as many books as you read in depth. The more books you read, the more you earn the right to skim.

Stretch. Stretch reading is going beyond the popularizers and reading the sources. Some of us find that we much prefer reading books by the people who write on a popular level and who make their topic eminently accessible. But sometimes we ought to force ourselves to read more difficult texts—the Church Fathers or Reformation-era writers, the historians or scientists. (Suggestions: The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards)

Rerun. Rerun reading is returning to an old favorite to read it again. This may be that old novel that you fell in love with so many years ago and returning to that novel is like journeying back to an old vacation spot. It may be that formative Christian living book that meant so much to you when you were first saved. Either way, your purpose in reading this book is almost entirely pleasure; you are not reading it to learn from it as much as for the plain enjoyment of finding comfort in its familiar words and phrases.

Failed. Failed reading is an important part of any balanced reading diet. I speak to far too many people who feel it is wrong to stop reading a book before they have finished it. But sometimes you just need to admit defeat and stop reading. The more books you read, and especially the more books you study, the more you earn the right to give up on a few of them.

Book image credit: Shutterstock

July 21, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick ($1.99); Faithful Women and the Extraordinary God by Noel Piper ($1.99); The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook by Various ($2.99); The Gospel As Centered edited by Tim Keller & D.A. Carson ($2.99); To the Glory of God by James Montgomery Boice ($1.99); The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel ($1.99); A Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig ($3.99).

Testing Your Faith in Divine Intervention - Sandy Grant writes about some of the evil events in the news today and assigns the blame accordingly.

3 Scriptures for Financial Hardship - Here are three passages (out of many) that may console in times of financial hardship.

Being a Better Online Reader - The New Yorker has some tips on being a better online reader.

Through Heaven’s Doorway - Randy Alcorn has an encouraging (yes, encouraging!) post about death.

Convert, Pay the Tax, or Die - “Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul.”

Ministering to Families Battling Cancer - Here is how (and how not) to minister to families battling cancer.

The more of heaven there is in our lives, the less of earth we shall covet. —C.H. Spurgeon 

Spurgeon

July 20, 2014

In R.C. Sproul’s book The Glory of Christ, he focuses on the moments of great glory in the life of Christ—a life marked by so much that was inglorious and not at all befitting the King of Glory.

A crucial aspect of Jesus’ humiliation was the hiddenness of His glory. His identity was often concealed. We hear the protests from the wounded egos of famous people when they are not recognized. They complain, “Don’t you know who I am?” It is humiliating to them to go unrecognized. Because people do not recognize them, they feel treated beneath their dignity. If any human being was ever subjected to such repeated indignities during His life, it was Jesus. During His earthly ministry the ones who most often and most clearly recognized Him were the demons from hell.

Some time ago I read the book and wanted to share some of my favorite quotes:

Every human being longs for a savior of some type. We look for someone or something that will solve our problems, ease our pain, or grant the most elusive goal of all, happiness. From the pursuit of success in business to the discovery of a perfect mate or friend, we make our search.

We are not merely redeemed by the death of Christ; we are also redeemed by the life of Christ. His death on the cross reveals the nadir of His humiliation as He bears the curse for us. But that is only part of His redemptive achievement. It is not enough for us merely to have our sins atoned for. To receive the blessings of the covenant we must possess real righteousness. We need what we cannot supply for ourselves. This merit of righteousness is earned for us by Jesus’ life of perfect obedience.

Some argue that the purpose of miracles is to demonstrate the existence of God. But this reverses the role miracles play in the Bible. Before a miracle can be perceived as a miracle, the existence of God must be established first. It is the existence of God that makes miracles possible in the first place.

God is so holy that He cannot gaze upon sin. It is repugnant to His eyes. Before Jesus ascends to the cross He is altogether lovely in the sight of the Father. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person. As such Christ is, in the eyes of the Father, a thing of unspeakable beauty. He is the Father’s beloved. 

On the cross Jesus becomes in the sight of God the most grotesque display of ugliness imaginable. He is now polluted with the cumulative filth of the sin He bears for His sheep. Now the Father breaks fellowship with Him; He averts His divine glance; Jesus as the very incarnation of sin is consigned to the outer darkness.

July 19, 2014

Our vacation continues, though we’re reaching the end. We left South Carolina yesterday and drove almost due north to spend the last few days in Pennsylvania. I’m due to be back in my office by Wednesday, so time is running out! We really enjoyed our time in South Carolina and I, at least, would rank it as one of my favorite states.

And now, without further ado, here are some links for your weekend reading:

Europe 24 is a beautiful look at European air traffic over the course of a day.

This article looks at Why Some Preachers Get Better while others do not.

One excursion I made this week was to Traveler’s Rest, SC, to meet Tim Keesee. His new Dispatches from the Front DVD releases next week. It is fantastic.

Ligonier Ministries is giving away 200 copies of R.C. Sproul’s Everyone’s a Theologian. All 200 copies will go to one person to distribute at his or her church. Enter the draw here.

You know by now that I enjoy infographics. Well, here is one that displays the timeline of the book of Acts.

Third World Osteen overlays Joel Osteen’s quotes with pictures of the poorest of the poor. I find it quite effective in displaying the weakness of what he teaches. If you visit, be sure to read this article as well.

I agree with this Dating Advice You Actually Need from Derek Rishmawy.

Aimee Byrd looks at a sad article to reflect on Your Naked Truth.

When I see Thee as Thou art, I’ll praise Thee as I ought. —John Newton

Newton

July 18, 2014

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by our friends at CBD Reformed. They are giving away 5 prize sets today, and each of the prizes will contain the following 3 books:

  • WorldviewWhat’s Your Worldview? An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions by James Anderson - Retail price $10.99
  • Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations For Busy Moms by Gloria Furman - Retail Price $10.99
  • Strengthen My Spirit by Charles Spurgeon – Retail Price $7.99

In addition, CBD Reformed is offering a 4-day sale (July 18 - 21) 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.

July 18, 2014

I’ve got some new Kindle deals for you: Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites by Bradley Wright ($3.99); The Cross and Christian Ministry by D.A. Carson ($1.99); Renewing Your Mind by R.C. Sproul ($3.99); Reasons for Belief by Norman Geisler ($1.99). At Cruciform Press we’re doing a $0.99 sale on 5 of our books: Brass Heavens by Paul Tautges; Grieving, Hope, and Solace by Al Martin; Does God Listen to Rap? by Curtis Allen; Cruciform by Jimmy Davis; Smooth Stones by Joe Coffey.

Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? - This long article from Christianity Today explains that today’s controversy is far more complicated that religious freedom versus LGBT rights.

5 Insights Into Idolatry - J.D. Greear offers five valuable insights into idolatry. Since we are all idolaters on some level, we should all pay attention!

Do Planes Really Fly Themselves? - Here’s a (kind of angry) pilot explaining that despite what you’ve probably heard on the news, commercial airliners don’t come close to flying themselves.

5 Specific Prayers for Unsaved People - Here are five specific prayers for the unsaved people in your life.

Tattoo Removal Surges - Something to think about before getting that tattoo: Revenue for tattoo removal has surged 440% over the last decade. Not surprisingly, the main customers are people in their 30s or 40s.

The 8 Steps of Sin - An old sermon on Hebrews 3 traces the 8 steps of sin.

The Road to Jericho and the Border Crisis - Russell Moore comments on the current border crisis.

On this side of the cross misery persists, but the scales are tipped in favor of joy. —Ed Welch

Welch

July 17, 2014

I am a sinner. And as a sinner I exhibit all kinds of behaviors both odd and ugly. The more I come to know myself, the more I see the ways in which I am a product of my sin, in which I view the world through the lens of my sin. When I look outward, and when I look at others, I see them through sinful eyes and interpret them through a sinful mind. As I do that, I fall into the trap of sin projection.

Sin projection is when I project my sin upon others, assuming that they are prone to the very same sin and, therefore, falling into it as much as I am. I am not the only one who does this, either.

The adulterous husband wonders if his wife is committing adultery. The lying child assumes that he has been lied to by his teacher. The angry mother is quick to accuse her children of being angry toward her. The power-obsessed pastor believes the associate pastor is maneuvering to displace him. The young man with the lustful eye has trouble trusting that his girlfriend’s eyes are not equally prone to wander. The thief can’t trust others because he assumes they will steal from him just as he will steal from them. The envious musician assumes that others are being competitive toward him.

And on it goes. I see the world through my own sin and project my sin upon others. I see my sin in them, even where it doesn’t exist. I unfairly and sinfully accuse them of my sin.

I am a sinner. And as a sinner this is just one more of those odd and ugly behaviors.