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

Tim Challies

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October 2011

October 31, 2011

John Piper BloodlinesI typically give away free stuff on Fridays, but I’ve got a bonus giveaway this week courtesy of Desiring God—50 copies of John Piper’s new book Bloodlines. The only catch is that they can be shipped only to American and Canadian mailing addresses.

Here is a description of the book:

Genocide. Terrorism. Hate crimes. In a world where racism is far from dead, is unity amidst diversities even remotely possible?

Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to organizations, education, famous personalities, or government programs to address racial strife, Piper reveals the definitive source of hope—teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife, and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God.

Learn to pursue ethnic harmony from a biblical perspective, and to relate to real people different from yourself, as you take part in the bloodline of Jesus that is comprised of “every tongue, tribe, and nation.

And if you are interested in some of the background to the book, you may enjoy this 18-minute documentary.

Again, there are 50 copies to win. So have at it! The giveaway will close Tuesday at midnight.

October 31, 2011

Steve Jobs Walter IsaacsonIt had not been deliberately planned that Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs would release just days after Jobs died. Not really. Jobs had known for many years that he could not keep his cancer at bay forever and he had specifically asked Isaacson to be his biographer. The book was completed, the publication date set, and then Jobs’ condition worsened and he died. And so it happened that a biography—a real biography, not a quick-to-the-presses tabloid pseud-biography—arrived on store shelves so quickly after the death of its subject.

Over the past several years Isaacson had been given almost unfettered access into Jobs’ life and world. He recorded close to 40 interviews and spoke extensively with family, friends and enemies. This led to a biography that goes deep into the world of its subject and unearths the good, the bad, the shocking and the inspiring. It is an utterly fascinating biography—easily one of the most interesting I’ve read. That may owe, at least in part, to the fact that Jobs impacted my own life through the devices he created—many of which I use every day (and one of which I am using as I type these words). What is undeniable, whether you use Apple products or not, is that Jobs was a fascinating character who had a profound effect on the world in which he lived. Whether his legacy is judged to be good or bad, he certainly left a legacy that has touched the entire world.

I do not intend to write a review of this biography as much as I would like to make a couple of observations about it.

Let’s get one thing out of the way up-front—the thing that has been the subject of thousands of articles and blog posts in the week since the biography was released. Steve Jobs was not a nice person. In fact, he was often downright horrible, bearing lifelong grudges, throwing tantrums and berating the people who worked for him and with him. He seemed to have a binary view of the world where some things were wonderful and other things were horrible; there was little space between. He despised the mediocre or even the merely good. He used his keen intuition about other people to find and then exploit their vulnerabilities in a way that maximized the hurt he could inflict upon them. He was a brutal boss and a brutal man. He was the kind of man who would praise his own parents for adopting him and then pretty much abandon his own daughter.

While examples of his temper and tantrums have been widely discussed and dissected, I think a lot of people have missed the root of it all. Jobs was a lifelong student of Eastern religion and Zen Buddhism in particular. Along the way he became convinced that he was an enlightened being, that he existed on a higher plane than most people. From this exalted position he was able to see and to judge; he had the right to. He was able to stand, if not in the place of God, at least in the place of a judge. He felt that it was his right to speak the truth—the truth as he understood it—to others. After all, he was enlightened and they were not. His arrogance knew no bounds.

October 31, 2011

3 Ways to Make the Reformers Proud - This is a good and clever article from The Cripplegate blog. “Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon, Bucer, Farel, and countless others lived and died to leave a legacy of passion and proclamation. They showed that when you love Jesus and his word, you would rather die than keep quiet. If they inspire you, here are 3 ways to make the Reformers proud today…”

Camping Repents - “With his speech sounding somewhat slurred and labored, Family Radio Stations Inc. founder and chairman Harold Camping sought to address in a recent message why Christ failed to return on Oct. 21 as the Bible teacher had predicted. Camping confessed, after decades of falsely misleading his followers, that he was wrong and regrets his misdeeds.”

Why I Hate Halloween - I’m on board with this. “But besides the candy, I spend most of Halloween cringing in fear. The scary part is, of course, the costumes. Because it is in our costuming on Halloween that all of our cultural angst gets played out.”

Luther, Sproul and a Free Download - Ligonier Ministries: “In honor of Reformation Day, we are making Dr. Sproul’s newest children’s audiobook, The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, available as a free download through Reformation Day (Oct. 31).”

Reformation Day Deals - CBD Reformed has some Reformation Day deals that are worth checking out (including Carson’s The Cross and Christian Ministry at a deep discount).

It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls. —Vance Havner

October 30, 2011

Last week I shared a quote from Edward Donnelly’s book Biblical Teaching on the Doctrines of Heaven and Hell. Today I wanted to share another one that stood out to me as a great encouragement. Read it and be blessed on this Lord’s Day!

What is … amazing is that our Lord and Saviour will himself be thrilled as he looks at us in heaven. Gazing upon his people, he will be filled with affection and delight. “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied” (Isa. 53:11).

That will be true of his redemptive work in general. Christ will see all his sheep safely gathered in, everyone of the elect in glory. There will be no empty spaces, no one missing or lost. He will feel no sense of incompleteness or regret. He will be satisfied with the results of the labor of his soul.

But the Lord Jesus will also be satisfied with each of us individually. We may find that hard to believe, because we are far from satisfied with ourselves. All too aware of our weaknesses and limitations, we are often discouraged with ourselves, ashamed of what we are. We do not see ourselves as loveable, so how could Christ love us? A nagging fear enters our minds that, although he will be gracious and kind as he welcomes us into heaven, he will at the same time feel a distinct sense of disappointment. We may not be what he hoped for.

We need not be afraid, for we will by then be changed, conformed to his likeness. God’s work of grace in each and all of us will have been brought to such a pitch of perfection that the Lord will be ravished with love for his bride, “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (Eph. 5:27). We will be all he wants, everything he desires. We will be the people he chooses to be with him for ever. “Behold, you are fair, my love!” he will exclaim (Song of Sol. 1:15). We will then be able to say with joyful assurance, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” That will be heaven.

It is himself that Christ will see in us, himself that he will love in us. That is why we are promised that “we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2). For it is nothing other than his own holy beauty that he will admire.

October 29, 2011

One of the unique features of this blog is the little counter down in the bottom right of the site. It’s a little feature that simply increments by 1 number each day. Today it stands at 2,920.

What this means is that it was 2,920 days ago that I decided to make this blog an every day affair. Divide 2,920 by 365 and you get 8, which means that it has now been 8 years since I made that decision to blog every day (and since I began to keep that commitment). Even though this site dates back to September of 2002, which is when I registered the domain name challies.com, it was about a year later that the blog really became what it is today—or, at least, that it began to become whatever it is today.

It was back then, at the very end of October 2003, that I decided to blog every day for a year. Even though the site had been in existence for a year, it was not going very well. I wasn’t at all committed to the site and was adding a new article only every week or two. I decided that I needed to either make it into something worthwhile or just give up and find something else to do with my time. I set the challenge: I would blog every day for a year or I would throw in the towel and find a new hobby. So I set out with the daily blogging. It wasn’t always easy and the results weren’t always good, but things improved over the course of the year. When the end of that first year came around, I decided to recommit to the daily writing and have done so ever since.

Some people have suggested I need to ditch this counter—that it is in some way prideful. I don’t see it that way. I see it as a little bit of the site’s history and something that I’d hesitate to remove. Yes, 2,920 seems like a silly number, but I guess it just reminds me of when the number was 2 or 200 or 365—when I was using it as motivation to slog through another day on my goal to 1 year of daily blogging. I hardly ever look at it anymore, but I’m glad that it’s there, day after day, slowly incrementing just like it’s done every day for 8 years.

October 28, 2011

A few days ago I wrote up a blog post welcoming Westminster Books to Canada. A lot of people left comments, which means that Westminster Books has now issued a coupon code for 15% off any order to Canada. The code is valid until November 1, so you will want to get shopping ASAP if you’d like to take advantage. Here’s a brief note from Westminster.

Thank you for your overwhelming support for our Canada Shipping launch!

Here is a coupon for an additional 15% off our already discounted prices on one order (good through Tuesday, November 1st). The coupon code is CANADA and is only good for shipments to Canada*. We invite you to give us a try.

About Wtsbooks.com:

We are a small, non-profit ministry of Westminster Theological Seminary. We believe you’ll find us competitively priced, but our #1 priority is content. We exist to serve the Kingdom by distributing high quality, biblically faithful, Christian books and resources.

We aim to influence Christian publishing by creating avenues for the best resources to flourish. We feel that shipping to our brothers and sisters in Canada is a vital part of fulfilling our mission to the church. Thank you so much for your warm welcome and for partnering with us for his kingdom!

*Enter “CANADA” into the shopping cart screen. Though it is not clearly itemized, your discount will be applied to everything you add to your cart.

October 28, 2011

Free Stuff Fridays
This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is themed for Reformation Day and sponsored by Ligonier Ministries. They are offering 1 grand prize and then 4 other prizes (that are grand, but not quite as grand). 

Reformation Study BibleThe grand prize winner will take home this amazing package of prizes:

There will be 4 other winners and each of them will win 1 of the following prizes:

There are lots of prizes to win, so go ahead and give it a shot!

Giveaway Rules: You may only enter the draw once. Simply fill out your name and email address to enter the draw. 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.

Note: If you are reading via RSS or email, you may need to click through to see the form.

October 28, 2011

Guidance - Paul Tautges has been posting a series of articles on the subject of guidance. He goes into subjective and non-subjective means of guidance. If you went through my recent series, you’ll know that my emphasis is a bit different, but I think the series are largely complementary.

Church and Technology - “Tyndale University College & Seminary conducted a survey in the summer of 2011 to see how Ontario churches are interacting with technology, and how they see it changing the church. Three hundred and sixty-eight churches replied to the survey ranging from rural to urban, from 20 member congregations to 5,000+, and from multiple denominations and ethnicities.” There are some interesting findings there.

$5 Friday - Ligonier has a few Reformation-themed deals for their $5 Friday. 

Bathing in Toilet Water - I think we’re supposed to laugh along with my youngest sister in her bizarre misadventures. Yesterday’s involved a very pregnant woman and a very broken toilet.

Young, Hip and Mormon - The Times writes about a new wave of Mormons who are a little bit different from the guys who come knocking on our doors.

A Mighty Fortress - Just in time for Reformation Day, Redemption Hill music is offering a free download of a new version of “A Mighty Fortress.”

Halloween on Mission - David Mathis has a great blog post about Halloween on Mission. “What if spreading a passion for God’s supremacy in all things included Halloween—that amalgamation of wickedness now the second-largest commercial holiday in the West?”

A drop of praise is an unsuitable acknowledgment for an ocean of mercy. —William Secker