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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
2004 - The Year In Review
December 31, 2004
I am in a pensive mood today. I spent some wonderful time with the Lord this morning, just basking in His presence in a meaningful time of personal worship. Some days I can sit for an hour or two hours, reading and praying but getting nothing out of it. I allow my mind to wander and find myself wishing I was doing something else - anything else - other than spending time with God. Other days I just delight in His presence and have an awesome time of just resting in Him. Today was one of those days. How I wish I could spend time with Him that way every day. I am rational enough to know that I am the only one standing in the way of that happening.
After spending time with God I spent some more time thinking about the year that was. (In case you are wondering where I found all this time, I took the day off). Nine hours from now the clock will strike midnight and another year will be behind me. Already I can feel 2005 breathing down my neck. But on the whole I think 2004 was a good year, perhaps even a banner year. Here are just a couple of the highlights as they related to my life and, in particular, this web site (an increasingly difficult distinction to make):
The Passion of the Christ - What a huge deal that movie was. Evangelicals were calling it the greatest opportunity for evangelism since Pentecost. The whole world was buzzing with the name “Jesus” - asking who He really was, what the purpose of His death was, and whether He has received fair treatment in history. But it was short-lived. The movie failed to have any measurable impact in evangelism and in the end, proved to be “just another movie.” Perhaps a well-made movie and one that deserves some recognition in the area of cinematography and direction, but it was still just a movie. I wrote some harsh reviews that quickly became the most-read articles on this site. One of the reviews was even published in-whole in a book dealing with The Passion. There was mixed response to the reviews with many readers registering outrage and others support. In the end I believe The Passion was a failure because it did not do the one thing necessary to change lives, and that is share the Gospel. Perhaps Evangelicals will be more cautious in the future about the next big thing. Then again, probably not.
31 Days of Wisdom - In March I began a 31 day study of Proverbs, posting a daily reflection right here. I found the study very memorable and enjoyed every day of it. I enjoyed it to such a degree that I may start anew in March of 2005. One can never have too much knowledge of Proverbs!
Worshipping The Seeker - This was an article that pretty well slipped under the radar, but it was very important in my spiritual development this year. I can’t even quite explain how or why, yet somehow at the time I wrote it it meant a whole lot to me and it continues to be significant in my life to this day. I suppose what I learned in the Scripture just changed all my perceptions about who is the One doing the seeking in our churches.
41 Books - That is how many books I reviewed on the site this year. I had set a goal of 50 but somehow ran out of time. There were a couple of periods where I didn’t read a word for several weeks at a time and that surely hurt my chances of attaining the goal. In 2005 I intend to reach 52. I suspect my current reading list must have close to that many books on it already!
The Best Book - I wanted to honor the book I felt was the best of all the titles I read in 2004, but looking back at the list I am having a difficult time singling one out. I suppose if I had to choose I would go with Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton. I found it a wonderful, fresh look at the doctrines of grace and it introduced me to an author for whom I have since gained great respect. I will give honorable mentions to 20 Controversies That Almost Killed A Church by Richard Ganz and Hard to Believe by John MacArthur.
You! - Of course the greatest blessing of this site in 2004 was having the opportunity to meet and interact with so many of you! Staunch Arminians, outspoken Calvinists, proud Papists - it seems there is quite a diverse mix! This site has allowed me the opportunity to meet so many people who have encouraged, challenged and exhorted me. I am honored to have developed so many friends that I respect and feel I truly know, though I have never met most of you. It is amazing how the Internet has allowed fellowship among believers so that we can be united as brothers and sisters without ever really meeting each other. I do hope to have the opportunity to meet many of you face-to-face at some point in this lifetime, but if we do not, be sure to keep a date open in your calendar so we can meet for a cup of coffee in heaven.
The Year Ahead - Tomorrow I will post some information about the year ahead. I am excited about 2005 and will share some of what I’ve got planned!