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January 2006

January 31, 2006

pursuitofholiness.gifIt took me twenty five years to read Jerry Bridge’s book The Pursuit of Holiness. A short while ago I received the “25th Anniversary Edition” and devoted much of this weekend to reading and absorbing the book. This book has become something of a modern day classic. Having read it, I know why! It is a deeply challenging book and one I’m sure I will read again before another twenty five years have elapsed.

The premise of Bridge’s book is that holiness, like almost everything else in life, is something that we must strive for. Holiness is a gift of God and is something that can never be accomplished apart from the work of the Spirit. Yet it is our responsibility to strive for it and to work towards this goal. Bridges illustrates this by writing of a farmer.

January 31, 2006

Tuesday January 31, 2006

Conference: Justin Taylor has posted the topics and list of speakers for this year’s Desiring God National Conference. I am planning on liveblogging the event again this year.

Theology: Randy Alcorn has decided to weigh in on the whole End of the Spear controversy. He has sought to bring biblical reconciliation between the parties.

Review: Mike went to see The End of the Spear and shares some thoughts about it. “I will say that it was not a bad movie…[but] there is something missing from the story in this movie: ‘Heart’.”

Interview: Adrian Warnock recently interviewed Mark Dever. I have not yet had time to read the interview so have no commentary for you!

January 30, 2006

It was just about a year ago that I first posted an article about my Aunt Nancy, a woman who was the subject of a popular, mysterious song written decades ago. Every few months I find myself reflecting once more on the life of my aunt. Despite having something else I had planned on writing for today, it just seemed right to me to spend some time editing an article I wrote last year. For those who have read this before, I’d encourage you to read it again as I made many changes and additions to it.

In 1969 Leonard Cohen released an album entitled Songs From A Room. The fifth song on that album is “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy.” The song has become one of Cohen’s more popular ones and has subsequently been recorded on one of his live albums and has also been covered by several other artists. If you have never heard the song, you can listen to a short clip here.

January 30, 2006

Monday January 30, 2006

Review: Reformation21 has a review of Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. While suggesting that Bell was well-intentioned, the reviewer says this, “is not a healthy book and the emergent church movement it belongs to is not a healthy movement.”

Theology: Andrew of “Faith & Practice” asks Is John MacArthur a Fundamentalist?

Blogspotting: Rebecca, in her ongoing quest to get organizes, provides proof that she is not Tim Challies. Yeah, that Tim Challies.

Du Jour: Tim Irvin pays tribute to his friend and his… barber. When I move one of the first things I do is try to find a “Joe” - an old-school, masculine, career barber who doesn’t frost, highlight, gel or say “fabulous.”

January 29, 2006

I’m going to give you an opportunity to end a friendly little marital dispute. Feel free to chime in through the comments section as we try to solve this one.

Aileen believes it is rude to ask yourself over to another person’s home. I disagree. I see nothing wrong with asking a person if we can come over either just to hang out or even for lunch. This may be as simple as saying, “So how about we come by your house for lunch after church next Sunday?” I’ve been known to do this and Aileen thinks it is rude. She’s actually a little embarrassed when I do this.

Now let me qualify by saying that I am thinking of someone who is not a complete stranger and neither is it a family with whom we are very close.

So tell me, am I committing some horrible social faux pas or is it acceptable for me to ask someone else if they’d like to have us over?

PS - Paul - Depending on the outcome of this discussion I may owe you an apology and may have to retract an email I sent you not too long ago!

January 29, 2006

King for a Week is an honor I bestow on blogs that I feel are making a valuable contribution to my faith and the faith of other believers. Every week I select a blog, link to it from my site, and add that site’s most recent headlines to my left sidebar. While this is really not much, I do feel that it allows me to encourage and support other bloggers while making my readers aware of other good sites.

The first article I remember reading written by J.D. Wetterling was a tribute to his father posted in honor of Father’s Day (you can read it by clicking here and scrolling down to the entry from June 17, 2005). I saw immediately that he is a very talented writer. He posts only once per week proving the old adage that less is more. He has written for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and World Magazine. His book, NO ONE…” Finding Certainty in an Uncertain World is due to be published later this year by Christian Focus Publications.

For the next few days you will be able to see the most recent headlines from J.D.’s site in the sidebar of my site. I hope you will make your way over to the site and look around.

I continue to accept nominations for King of the Week. If you have a site you would like to nominate, feel free to do so by clicking on the “suggest” button below the King of the Week box. Thanks to those of you who nominated this week’s honoree.

January 28, 2006

howtointerpret.gifRichard Mayhue is Dean of Studies at the Master’s Seminary and has sufficient credibility to write a volume about how to properly interpret the Bible. Writing in a simple and straightforward manner, he describes the process of “cutting it straight,” a term he borrows from Paul’s message to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15. Though the passage is most often translated “handling accurately the word of truth” the literal sense is “cutting it straight.” This book is thus divided into three sections. The first deals with how to make straight cuts, the second with avoiding crooked cuts, and the third with living out your cuts.

In the first several chapters Mayhue lays out the proper methods for studying Scripture. He speaks about presuppositions, methodology and rules for interpretation. A significant portion of the section is devoted to recommended study tools - concordances, dictionaries, commentaries and so on.

January 27, 2006

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, this has been a bit of a crazy week. The primary reason is a really good one: Aileen and I just completed the purchase of our first house. We are now waiting only for a piece of paper to change hands from our lawyer to our real estate agent and it’s a done deal. While we would have preferred a single home property, housing prices in this area are sufficiently high that we decided to buy a townhouse - a good, cost-effective way of building some equity towards a “real” house in the future. So we found a nice, upgraded, four bedroom townhouse that should serve us well. Best of all it is quite near our current house so we will not have far to move. We take possession of the house near the end of March.

So this is all very exciting for us! After eight years of paying rent we will be thrilled to finally pay our own mortgage rather than someone else’s. We are exceedingly grateful to God for providing a home for us. We have perhaps not been as diligent as we should have been in seeking such a blessing, but my mother and sister have been praying on our behalf for a long time. This house is the answer to many prayers. One blessing this house will provide is a more natural setting to invite people over. The house we live in now, where we have been for the past five years, is very poorly-suited to entertain people, primarily because there is nowhere for the children to play except for where the adults are trying to converse. The new house remedies this with a large, bright, finished basement that will become the children’s play area. One of the upstairs rooms will become the new headquarters of Challies Dot Com and should be able to fit enough bookshelves that I can be in the same room as my books.

We are looking forward to meeting our new neighbours and to, hopefully, sharing our faith with them. When I was growing up my family’s house was always that house on the street where all the children gathered. My mom was the mom that all the children turned to. Our house was always buzzing with activity and the door was always open. I hope and pray that our house can be that house.

So if you live in the Toronto area and are interested in getting some exercise on or around March 25, do let me know!

Last night I was browsing through a book of verse and found a little poem by Robert Herrick that seemed timely. Here is Herrick’s “A Thanksgiving To God For His House.”

LORD, Thou hast given me a cell

                  Wherein to dwell ;

And little house, whose humble roof


                  Is weather-proof ;

Under the spars of which I lie

                  Both soft and dry ;


Where Thou my chamber for to ward

                  Hast set a guard

Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep

                  Me, while I sleep.


Low is my porch, as is my fate,

                  Both void of state ;

And yet the threshold of my door

                  Is worn by th’ poor,


Who thither come, and freely get

                  Good words or meat ;

Like as my parlour, so my hall

                  And kitchen’s small ;


A little buttery, and therein

                  A little bin

Which keeps my little loaf of bread

                  Unclipt, unflead.


Some little sticks of thorn or briar

                  Make me a fire,

Close by whose living coal I sit,

                  And glow like it.


Lord, I confess, too, when I dine,

                  The pulse is Thine,

And all those other bits, that be

                  There placed by Thee ;


The worts, the purslain, and the mess

                  Of water-cress,

Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent ;

                  And my content


Makes those, and my beloved beet,

                  To be more sweet.

‘Tis Thou that crown’st my glittering hearth

                  With guiltless mirth ;


And giv’st me wassail bowls to drink,

                  Spiced to the brink.

Lord, ‘tis Thy plenty-dropping hand,

                  That soils my land ;


And giv’st me for my bushel sown,

                  Twice ten for one.

Thou mak’st my teeming hen to lay

                  Her egg each day ;


Besides my healthful ewes to bear

                  Me twins each year,

The while the conduits of my kine

                  Run cream for wine.


All these, and better Thou dost send

                  Me, to this end,

That I should render, for my part,

                  A thankful heart ;


Which, fired with incense, I resign,

                  As wholly Thine ;

But the acceptance, that must be,

                  My Christ, by Thee.