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

Tim Challies

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June 2004

June 22, 2004

Over the past two years I have been very fortunate to receive free hosting for two of my Web sites, Challies Dot Com as well as Websonix. Today I found out that I will no longer receive free hosting. The owners of the server have decided to no longer offer hosting and have asked me to move along as soon as I can. While it’s disappointing that my hosting will no longer be free, I can’t say I blame the people.

So…I do have plenty of other hosting options available. I am not the least bit concerned with moving the site. What does concern me is the thought of moving Movabletype (the software that runs my blog) and phpBB (the software that runs the Forums to a new server. That could prove to be a terrible headache!

Now that I am going to be paying for hosting, perhaps I have reason enough to add a “tip jar” to my site! Nah. I can’t stand those things. I’ll only do that if I really need to…

So I guess I should warn that there may be some turbulence ahead as I attempt to seamlessly move this site to a whole new server…

June 21, 2004

Yesterday I wrote about 1 Timothy 2:8 being the inspiration for the song �Unchanging� which includes the lyrics �so we raise up holy hands / to praise the holy One / Who was and is and is to come.” I said that this verse cannot be used to prove that we are given license to raise our hands while we sing for two reasons. First, the context of the verse shows that it applies specifically to men and second, it speaks of prayer, not singing.

Since I posted that there has been a bit of discussion in the forum about raising hands in worship and I thought I would post a few thoughts on that.

I will start by stating that I have never had a real problem with people raising hands during singing. There was a time when I was encouraged to try it out and was told that it made the experience of worship more intimate. I was told that raising hands to God was similar to the act of a child reaching out to hold his father�s hand. So I thought about trying it, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that there was no way I could do it without it being very artificial. Though others may not have noticed this, I knew that I would be so self-conscious of what I was doing that it could not be a real act of worship.

The questions I would ask about raising hands in worship are:

  1. Why? Why do you want to raise your hands during music? What does it mean to you? Is it merely learned behavior or does it really have a profound meaning to you?
  2. When? When do you raise your hands? The Bible tells men to raise their hands in prayer? Are you able to raise your hands during prayer or only when the music is playing? Worship is more than music, so shouldn�t you also be able to raise your hands during the reading of the Word, during preaching and during the sacraments? Further to this question, are there certain songs that make you raise your hands while others do not? If so, why?
  3. Where? Where is the Scriptural proof that we are given license to do so? As a Reformed Protestant I always hold the Bible as the plumb line. If it does not line up with Scripture I can�t support it.

I know that there are many reasons people raise their hands. In some churches various gestures carry specific meanings. For example, two hands raised with palms turned inward is a posture of surrender whereas two hands raised with palms turned outward is a posture of receiving (as in receiving God�s blessing). Because hand-raising can have different meanings depending on who does it and how they do it, I guess there will be different ways of justifying the act.

So are you a hand-raiser? Were you a hand-raiser? Let�s discuss this a little bit�

June 20, 2004

Several months ago I had an idea about something I thought might be a fun activity for myself and some of my fellow bloggers. Now, several months later, after receiving some positive feedback about the idea and having spent more time thinking about how it would work, I am finally going to present it to you and see who is interested in participating.

My idea is to have regular BlogSwaps. A BlogSwap is where, for one post, another blogger will write on your site and you will write on someone else’s site. Here is how it would work:

June 20, 2004

I don’t like capris pants (those pant-short hybrids that come down to about mid-calf). While I strongly dislike them on women, I really don’t like seeing men wearing them. Yes, you read that correctly. I have seen men in capris pants. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen lots of men wearing capris pants. While we were wandering around the zoo yesterday I saw several men wearing them. And in case you are wondering, these were not particularly feminine men - they were just guys out for the day with their families. I am guessing the male version of capris pants has a masculine name. They are probably sold as “hiking shorts” or “macho masculine legwear” or something. I will never wear them. I promise.

I did some quick math this afternoon and estimate that today I filled out my two thousandth blank. I figure that each sermon has an average of 8 to 10 blanks to fill out. I have been attending churches that hand out the “fill-in-the-blank” message outlines for about four years now, so I should be right around 2000 blanks.

I was thinking today about the song “Unchanging” by Chris Tomlin, a song that many churches sing on a regular basis. The chorus includes the words “so we raise up holy hands / to praise the holy One / Who was and is and is to come.” Nice words and a great tune. I got to thinking, though, about the Biblical inspiration for the song and realized that the verse it comes from, 1 Timothy 2:8 reads “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” The context of the verse is about how men should worship and is followed by a few verses speaking about women and worship. According to this passage, then, only men should be lifting their hands during this song. Actually, even more correctly, men should be lifting their hands in prayer, not in song.

This song also contains a grammatical error…I think. It says “wide is your love and grace.” Shouldn’t that read “wide are your love and grace?”

Coming up this week I have a review of Brian McLaren’s book More Ready Than You Realize. I am also working on a series of interviews to be posted (eventually) on this site. I have a few other things I am working on so hope to have a productive week of writing.

June 19, 2004

Admission to the zoo: $46.00
Lunch at the zoo: $16.58
Gas to get to the zoo: $10.00
Pony ride at the zoo: $4.00
Watching your daughter see an antelope and screaming “MOOOOO!”: Priceless

We had initially decided to have a quiet day at home today, but round about 9:30 Aileen said “why don’t we do something today?” So after some discussion we arrived at the idea of going to the zoo. So we packed ourselves into the car and drove clear across Toronto to the Metro Toronto Zoo. It was a great day to be there. The crowds were as sparse as they are likely to be on a non-rainy summer Saturday and the weather cooperated very well, varying between clouds and sun, but without letting go a drop of rain.

The kids had a great time seeing all the animals they know from the Bible, their stories and of course, the occasional Disney movie.

So it was a nice day. I don’t understand how anyone can go through that sort of exhibition and still doubt the existence of a Creator. But perhaps I am biased!

Of course I had wanted to do some writing today and that isn’t going to happen now, so hopefully I’ll be able to get some done tomorrow.

Until then, enjoy your weekend!

June 18, 2004

Here in Canada we are rapidly approaching a federal election. The aptly-named Liberal Party has been in power for the past three terms and has been the predominant party in Canada since the 1960’s. Tired of the terrible corruption and lack of morality in the party, many Canadians seem to be turning on the party in favor of the not-as-aptly-named Conservative Party (now known as the Conservative Alliance). The majority of Christians will be voting for the Conservative Party because of their more traditional stands on the issues of homosexual rights and abortion. This is not to say that they will make any great changes to Canada’s laws in these matters, but at least they will slow the slide into the moral morass.

Many Christians are being drawn by the Christian Heritage Party. This is a fringe party that seems to show up every election and draws a few hundred votes in the various constituencies where they have a respresentative. Christians are drawn to this party simply because of their name and the fact that many of the party members are professed Christians. The party does not have a solid platform. Frankly, the party does not need a solid platform as they have less chance of winning the election than the Green Party or the Marijuana Party. Christians seem to think that if only this party were to gain prominence and maybe even gain power, the country would turn back to God.

It occurs to me as I consider how to vote in the approaching election that God does not tell us that political parties are His means of promoting change in a nation. God has ordained that the nations change through the preaching of the gospel. If we want to see Canada change and return to her Christian roots, we, as the church, need to take our responsibility to preach the gospel more seriously. It is the church that is the hope of the world and not any political party!

Of course I see many Americans similarly equating the Republican Party with Christianity and the Democratic Party with anti-Christianity. I am sure you could find more Christians in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party, and were I American, I’m sure I would vote Republican, but again, do remember that a political party will not make the change your country needs. The responsibility is yours!

You and I and other believers really are the hope of this world. It is up to us to take the gospel to our nation and to other nations. We are the respresentatives of Christ on earth, not as members of political parties, but as ambassadors of He who is Sovereign over this world.

June 18, 2004

Do you know what your clipboard is? It’s that little area in your computer’s memory where it stores things that you have recently copied and pasted. You can find out what is in it by going into a program like Word and pressing the key combination of CTRL-V.

The contents of my clipboard are currently:

http://hopeforbaghdad.com/v-web/b2

Fascinating, isn’t it?

What is in your clipboard? Post a comment and dump your clipboard there!

June 17, 2004

My son bought a toy today that came with a tiny piece of paper with some miniscule drawings of how to assemble it. Below that were the following printed directions:

At assemble other that process inside,if feel difficult,please face home to look for the help.The sketch map possibility that this assemble the method is different from the actual product have a little bit.

Seems to me my four-year old could have written better directions than that! I have absolutely no idea what the instructions mean, nor what they are intended to show!