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Tim Challies

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November 2011

November 22, 2011

I went to bed at 10:05 last night, and wouldn’t you know it, my site went down at 10:10 (or so I learned in the morning). I’ve had to dedicate some time this morning to trying to resurrect it. At this point it seems a little bit stable—stable enough to try to post this. However, it may well crash again. There is a team of people trying to fix it and they seem to be making a little bit of progress.

Trying to get the site running stole from my writing time. So instead of posting something spiritual and profound, I found this post, a work in progress, that tells you why you shouldn’t live in Canada. Don’t get me wrong; there are hundreds of great reasons to live in Canada. But I can’t deny that there are also some good reasons not to live here. Here are a few of them.

Amazon Hates Us

Amazon offers only a small portion of their total catalog to Canada. They offer CDs, but not MP3s, DVDs but not streaming video. They have a few other categories of products, but overall it’s a rather sad collection compared to what Americans can take advantage of. As if this is not bad enough, they also have no equivalent to Amazon Prime (which is the greatest deal in tech, don’t you know).

3-Year Cell Phone Contracts

All of Canada’s major carriers will only offer their good best smartphones with 3-year contracts. The only alternative is to buy the phone outright which incurs a large up-front cost. You might think the 3-year contract would then mean that the carriers could offer lower monthly rates, but the opposite is actually true: Canada is one of the most expensive countries for cell phone use.

Hockey Obsession

A long time ago someone invented a silly game that involves slapping a puck across an icy surface. For some reason most of my fellow Canadians are obsessed with this game. While I can grant that it makes an occasional entertaining distraction, and especially so during The Olympics, I simply cannot understand why people get so carried away with it.

November 22, 2011

Parenting and the Image of God - Mark Lauterbach on parenting: “They are image bear­ers.  They are crea­tures, made by God and for God.  They are given glory and honor by God.  They have inher­ent value, of greater worth than ani­mals.  How we treat the image of God is how we treat God.  The dig­nity of humans is built into the Law and the Prophets and the Gospel.  And we must see our chil­dren as image bearers.”

Preaching Texts You Don’t Understand - If you preach verse-by-verse, sooner or later you will come across a text that you just don’t understand. Carl Trueman is really helpful here.

Leading Family Devos - I guess the title pretty much says it all: “How My Wife Helped Me Man-up & Lead Family Devo’s.”

Dispatches from the Front - These DVDs, a must have for a church library, are on sale for $40 for all 4 volumes. Totally worth it. 

National Geographic Photo Contest - Here are some of the highlights from National Geographic’s 2011 photo contest.

Blogging Scholarship - Mark Lamprecht is a Christian blogger who is trying to win a blogging scholarship. In 2 seconds you can place a vote for him. So you probably should.

It’s Just the Truth - The audio is way better than the video here. Nobody “brings it” quite like Paul Washer.

No sin makes less noise, but none so surely damns the soul, as unbelief. —J.C. Ryle

November 21, 2011

AIDSIn 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta published a report saying that they had identified, without probable cause, five cases of a rare strain of pneumonia among men in Los Angeles. By the following July, this disease, now appearing in isolated pockets around the world, was given the name Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Just two years later, proclaiming that we would soon be able to inoculate people against this disease, the United States Health and Human Services Secretary said, “yet another terrible disease is about to yield to patience, persistence and outright genius.” Almost twenty years later, we know a great deal more about the disease, but we still have no cure and no inoculation. Since its discovery AIDS has claimed over 25 million lives.

Yet AIDS has never killed anyone; not in the truest sense. As scientists researched AIDS in the months and years after its discovery, they came to see that it was not really a disease itself but was in fact a collection of symptoms and infections stemming from a common cause that they soon identified as what we now know as Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.

But HIV does not kill people either. HIV is what is known as a retrovirus—a kind of virus that can insert its DNA into a host cell’s genome and then reside there indefinitely. Transferred through bodily fluids, HIV primarily attaches itself to important cells in the immune systems—cells that defend the body from infection and disease. As infection spreads to greater and greater numbers of certain types of these cells, the body becomes susceptible to infections, tumors and other life-threatening illnesses. Viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi that a healthy immune system can easily defeat soon rage unchecked by the weakened immune system. Eventually most HIV patients develop what we know as AIDS. While it typically takes nine or ten years for HIV to become AIDS, a person with AIDS has a life expectancy of less than one year.

November 21, 2011

Capitalism’s Spoiled Children - “The Occupy movement does not represent ‘the 99%,’ as its defenders like to claim. They are not a cadre speaking up for the vast proportion of the population against the tyranny or greed of an imagined ‘1%.’ Judging from the speakers I have seen and heard, either on news broadcasts or the multiple sites offering live-broadcast or YouTube coverage, the people in the various Occupy camps represent a petty sub-sample of the hard left…”

Deals - There haven’t been a lot of really good Kindle deals this month (though I’m hoping for more as Black Friday approaches). But here are a couple worth pointing out: Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn, which I found tremendously helpful. And Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey. Also, I know nothing about The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, but it’s free this month at ChristianAudio. Oh, and Amazon has begun their Black Friday sales with at least one big deal per day (today it’s a camera) and a lot of smaller deals to go along with it. It’s worth checking in if you’ve begun your Christmas shopping.

Loving Lewis, Hating Bell - I appreciate Michael Patton asking and answering this question: Why do we love C.S. Lewis but hate Rob Bell?

Internet Busybodies - Timmy Brister: “It seems that in recent years, several groups of people have sought to use the Internet and in particular blogs to ‘expose’ or ‘hold accountable’ Christian leaders.  And so often, we are prone to believe what other people say about a brother or sister in Christ, especially if it is critical or some sort of expose.” He looks to the pre-Internet age to find wisdom.

Married to a Non-Christian - Ed Welch offers wisdom for Christians married to non-Christians.

Flights Overhead - This is a geeky but downright amazing Wolfram Alpha trick.

Resume vs Reality - I know you can identify with this:

Resume vs Reality

The resurrection and the judgment will demonstrate before all worlds who won and who lost. We can wait. —A.W. Tozer

November 20, 2011

This morning we had Dr. Charles Woodrow preach at Grace Fellowship Church. For over 20 years, Dr. Woodrow has served as a missionary to Mozambique. Our church has been supporting him in this work for the past several years. In his sermon he quoted Jim Elliot—not the Elliot quote we all know (“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”), but one that I hadn’t heard before. I thought it was worth sharing.

We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the twentieth century does not reckon with. But we are “harmless,” and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are “sideliners” — coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!

November 19, 2011

Hipsterification - “On the streets of Franklin and Nashville and almost every town throughout America now, hipsters scuttle by on scooters, zip around in Zipcars or Smart cars, roll by on fixed-gear bikes or walk about in snazzy high-top sneakers and longboard shorts. They snap Instagram photos of each other — in black skinny jeans and T-shirts with funky epigrams…”

$5 DVD Sale - Desiring God is having a $5 DVD sale. So I guess it’s a good time to stock up for Christmas. 

The Internet Kills Productivity - “The Internet is the world’s greatest productivity tool, but also the world’s greatest time suck. Even email, which has put all executives on communication hyper mode since the BlackBerry, wastes a lot of time…” This article gives 3 simple tips that will help.

Identical Snowflakes - Here is a fascinating scientific explanation as to why no 2 snowflakes are the same. “Now, it’s not a law of nature that no two snowflakes could be truly identical. So, on a very technical level, it’s possible for two snowflakes to be identical. And it’s entirely possible that two snowflakes have been visibly indistinguishable. But probability dictates that this is incredibly unlikely. “

Inferno - This book review is so well written it just makes me want to read the book. Or at least buy it and leave it sitting on my bookshelf.

24 Hours in Photos - This is amazing (and you’ll need to click and look at the photos): “This installation by Erik Kessels is on show as part of an exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam that looks at the future of photography. It features print-outs of all the images uploaded to Flickr in a 24-hour period…”

Brave - The trailer for Pixar’s next film.

Praying without faith is like shooting without a bullet; it makes a noise but does no execution. —Francis Burkitt

November 18, 2011

Free Stuff Fridays
This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Crossway, a ministry and publisher that is well-known to you, I’m sure. Crossway is offering up a package of some of their new and exciting products. Actually, they are offering up 5 prize packages, each of which will contain the following 3 products:

My copy of Lit showed up just a couple of days ago. I actually read it several months ago and wrote this little endorsement for it: “Tony Reinke does not just read, but he reads well, and these are two very different things. If you are not much of a reader, consider Lit a part of your education. Tony will teach you to read, to read widely and to read well. If you are already an avid reader, consider Lit an investment that will instruct you in how to read better. In either case, this book will be a blessing to you.”

I’m also looking forward to reading Work Matters. Here’s what the publisher says about it: “Work. For some this word represents drudgery and the mundane. For others work is an idol to be served. If you find yourself anywhere on the spectrum from workaholic to weekend warrior, it’s time to bridge the gap between Sunday worship and Monday work. Striking a balance between theological depth and practical counsel, Tom Nelson outlines God’s purposes for work in a way that helps us to make the most of our vocation and to join God in his work in the world. Discover a new perspective on work that will transform your workday and make the majority of your waking hours matter, not only now, but for eternity.”

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 Thursday at noon.

Note: If you are reading via RSS, you’ll need to click through to see the form.

November 18, 2011

Forgiveness - Russell Moore writes about what forgiveness is and isn’t. “The most difficult math problem in the universe, it turns out, is 70 x 7. Perhaps the hardest thing to do in the Christian life is to forgive someone who has hurt you, often badly. But Jesus says the alternative to forgiving one’s enemies is hell.”

Wallpaper - National Geographic has an amazing collection of wallpapers suitable for computers and mobile devices. 

The iPod Generation - This isn’t good. “Are the iPod Generation Ruining Their Hearing For Good? Pardon? What you say? Apparently the ear-bud touting masses are ruining their hearing, one Justin Bieber song at a time. Because one in five Americans over the age of 12 have hearing loss in at least one ear.”

Fathoming Amazon - This infographic shows just what an immense and immensely powerful company Amazon has become. Did you know, for example, that Amazon’s warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens?

The Face of Modern Slavery - This is just horrifying and very hard to take. But what do we actually do about it? What can we do? “When I write about human trafficking as a modern form of slavery, people sometimes tune out as their eyes glaze over. So, Glazed Eyes, meet Srey Pov.”

Mohler and Wallis - Al Mohler and Jim Wallis recently debated social justice. You can watch it here.

Nothing lies beyond the power of man if it is within the will of God. —James Crowther