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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

September 27, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: A new one from GLH Publishing, Essentials of Prayer by E.M. Bounds (50% off for the first week). Also consider Living in God’s Two Kingdoms by David VanDrunen, Reading God’s Story by George Guthrie, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl, The Absurdity of Unbelief by Jeffrey Johnson as well as the many volumes of the Christ-Centered Commentary series that are on sale. Get it all here.

What Is Shakespeare’s Most Popular Play?

Go ahead and guess. You’ll probably be wrong.

Cross Ways

A Pastor in Corpus Christi has determined he’ll build the tallest cross in the US. Here’s the story from Texas Monthly.

Yes, You Should Say Something

Nancy Guthrie talks about overcoming the awkwardness with grieving people. “When someone you love has died, it’s as if a hurdle has been placed between you and every person you know, and that hurdle stays in place until your loss has been acknowledged in some way.”

Toward a Better Reading

I’m interesting to read this series from Wendy Alsup and Hannah Anderson. They’ll be discussing the ESV’s decision to modify Genesis 3:16 and 4:7.

You Cannot Vote Your Conscience

Bryce Young talks about the role of the conscience and why it’s not quite right to say “Vote your conscience.”

This Day in 1805. 211 years ago today George Mueller was born. Best known for his orphan ministry, Mueller built five orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime while pastoring a church. *

Only Our God Speaks

“Because Christians worship a speaking God, we approach worship differently than any religious sect or worshiping community.”

Love Lives On

Don’t we all love these stories? “When the minister said, ‘For better or for worse, or rich or for poor, in sickness and in health,’ I meant it. And she meant it,” he said.

How To Be a Writer

There are some good tips in this list from Rebecca Solnit. “If you’re not passionate about writing and about the world and the things in it you’re writing about, then why are you writing? It starts with passion even before it starts with words.”

Flashback: The Days I Need the Gospel Least

I have heard many people say that there is value in preaching the gospel to myself every day, whether or not I find myself carrying the guilt and shame of sin. I’ve always thought of preaching the gospel to myself as a reactive thing, but Jerry Bridges has helped me to see it as proactive. Here’s why…

If prayer actually changed God’s mind, I would stop praying. —Burk Parsons

September 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include several from Crossway on the Trinity: The Deep Things of God by Fred Sanders (a personal favorite), Communion with the Triune God by John Owen (edited by Justin Taylor & Kelly Kapic), Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn, and more. Matthis Media also has several: God’s Good Design by Claire Smith, Born This Way by Steve Morrison, and Women, Sermons, and the Bible by Tony Payne. Then consider One Perfect Life by John MacArthur and The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips. Get them here.

Also, on the subject of Amazon, their deal of the day includes DVDs of many great BBC natural science series: Planet Earth, Life, etc.

Appreciate Your Spouse

This is a good read courtesy of Melissa. “The truth is that there are a million different things about Chad that I fail to appreciate on a daily basis. I get in terrible ruts where I focus only on what he isn’t doing that I wish he would do. Or I wish that he would say no to a few things. Or that he would quit answering his phone. Or that he would write me daily love letters.”

Singing Man: Behind the Viral Video

“The students and faculty poured out of the buses and onto his lawn, and sang worship songs. With his window open, Ben leaned forward into view and sang along.” The video went viral. Russ Ramsey tells the story.

What Is God Doing in My Pain?

J.D. Greear uses the stories of Naaman and a little girl to illustrate some of what God may be doing in times of pain.

Trello Inspiration

Trello is really neat software that’s good for planning and organization. I use it for my blog’s editorial calendar. Here’s a great list of sample uses for it.

The Political Magic of C.S. Lewis

This column in the New York Times takes a look at some of what C.S. Lewis had to say about politics.

Accusations of Sexual Abuse

Randy Alcorn offers some important cautionary words for when we hear accusations of sexual abuse.

This Day in 1861. 155 years ago today Abraham Lincoln issued a national day of prayer and fasting “in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for his mercy” *

The Less Than Romantic Realities of Village Life

Dave Hare writes from his home in a village in Cameroon to dispel some of the romantic notions about village life.

3 Questions to Ask Before Long-Term Missions

David Sills writing for SBTS: “An old saying goes, ‘Marry in haste, repent in leisure,’ which assumes that the unhappy married person will not divorce but will quietly regret his or her decision for life. That same dynamic is true in missions…”

Flashback: The Excitement and the Anticipation

Why do we anticipate great things when we go to a conference but anticipate small things when we go to church?

All death can do to Christians is make their lives infinitely better. —Tim Keller 

September 24, 2016

It’s hard to believe that we’ve come to Autumn at last. It was a hot, beautiful, brilliant summer but I’m glad to see it finally give way to fall. I get to spend my day today in a church baseball tournament, but will leave you with a collection of interesting reading:

Glasgow University archivists find John Knox’s Bible

This is neat: “Experts believe a unidentified bible held by Glasgow University may have belonged to John Knox - a founding father of the Protestant Reformation.” 

In His Own Words

I enjoyed reading Grant Osborne on the thrill of learning and teaching God’s Word: “Even after fifty years of studying and sharing I still get thrilled as I uncover the deep treasures of meaning about Galatians or Romans, and then I have the privilege of writing them down to thrill countless others who will read them…” 

The Bible Project Reading Plan

This looks like it could be an interesting way to read the Bible beginning in January.

Which Parts Of The Brain Do What?

This short video explains how researchers figured out which parts of the brain perform different functions.

Breakfast Leftovers

James Faris has a strangely interesting one here: “My students seemed to find history more palatable when they see that they are already familiar with it. So, let’s check out your breakfast menu…”

This Day in 1986. 30 years ago today five Muslim professors in Pakistan demanded Daniel Scot to convert to Islam, resulting in Scot becoming the first Christian charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. *

The Hidden Hours of Ministry

Peter Tong provides a strong encouragement for pastors to take sin seriously. “I want to discuss how struggles with sin, even if they are hidden from others, can undermine your ability to serve God more broadly.”

What Type of Steward Are You?

Pastors (and others) will want to check out Mike Leake’s excellent article on two kinds of stewardship.

When Toronto Was Eerily Empty

Torontotonians will find this photo essay interesting. It shows a time when the city had huge pieces of empty land downtown, something that’s almost impossible to imagine today.

Sand Bubbler Crabs

God created some strange and remarkable creatures. Like these Sand Bubbler Crabs.

The Lord is a friend who never changes. There is no fickleness about Him: those whom He loves, He loves unto the end.J.C. Ryle

September 23, 2016

If you’re into Kindle deals, you may want to grab This Is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes, Table Grace by Douglas Webster, and/or The Social Church by Justin Wise. I believe this is the first time This Is Awkward has ever been on sale. Get the deals here.

If you’re into audiobooks, perhaps consider starting a free trial with Christian Audio. I’ve selected 4 great books you’ll get for free and to keep if you begin your trial.

If printed books are more your think, Westminster Books has a deal on some accessible Puritan works. Their deals on parenting books are still in effect as well.

Leviticus Scroll Discovery Shows Scripture’s Inerrancy

WORLD reports on a neat discovery. “When archeologists in the 1970s found a charred scroll in the Holy Ark in the Synagogue of Ein Gedi, an ancient Hebrew town burned in AD 600, they never imagined they might be able to read it.” But then they found a way. (See also Joe Carter’s FAQ.)

Older, Restful, and Reforming

Jared Wilson reflects on the ten-year anniversary of Collin Hansen’s “Young, Restless, and Reformed” article in Christianity Today.

Why America Burned Spurgeon’s Sermons

Why would people in America have burned Spurgeon’s sermons? Christian George (who, by the way, is doing some top-notch blogging these days) explains.

Practical Guidelines for Reading the Old Testament Laws

If there’s any part of Scripture that’s especially hard to read and understand, it’s the OT laws. Here’s some guidance.

Why Are There So Many Varieties of Apples?

It’s apple season in Ontario. This video explains how we came to have so many different varieties (and, in theory, how you could create your own).

If We Are Really So Burdened…

Here’s a great question: “If we believe that God is good, sovereign, and holy and that he has told us to cast our burdens on him in prayer then, where are the public prayer meetings by God’s people? If we are so exercised by injustice and depravity, why don’t Christians flood to church prayer meetings to gather with their brothers and sisters and plead with God in prayer? Why aren’t prayer meetings overflowing with burdened and broken people who want God to intervene and act?”

This Day in 1950. 66 years ago today Tim Keller was born. Happy birthday, Tim! 

Delight in the Good

I enjoyed a lot about this essay by Karen Swallow Prior, though I’ll need to think more about some of her conclusions. (I believe she references the show I mentioned here.)

The Immense Value of Missionary Biographies

Yes! Missionary biographies can be a joy and a challenge to read. This article tells of their value and offers some recommendations.

Flashback: The Depth of My Depravity

My depravity was better displayed in my rejection of God and his grace than in my sins and unrighteous deeds. I proved my rebellion more in denying God, rejecting him, and shunning his grace than in any of the sinful acts I committed or could have committed. 

The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears. —Sinclair Ferguson

September 22, 2016

Here are some Kindle deals: New from GLH Publishing is Til He Come: Communion Meditations and Addresses by Charles Spurgeon. There are several Warren Wiersbe books on sale: Be Equipped (Deuteronomy), Be Strong (Joshua), Be Concerned (Minor Prophets), Be Right (Romans), Be Mature (James).

The Abuse of Authority in Prosperity Gospel Churches

D.A. Horton: “It became clear there’s not been enough reflection on the abuse of authority in prosperity gospel churches. I hope this article will jumpstart a worthwhile discussion that will ultimately recalibrate hearts toward a biblical understanding of authority as a good gift that God intends to be expressed in the context of a healthy local church.” Death to the prosperity gospel! 

Dealing With Someone Else’s Sin

As pastors (and leaders) we are often left dealing with other people’s sins. Jared Olivetti says, “Consider this my cheat sheet – gathered through study of God’s Word and more-or-less successful conversations with others.”

Collecting the World

This video is too short, but still a neat glimpse behind-the-scenes at the Smithsonian.

The Naked and the Nude

Karen Swallow Prior: “The recent skirmish over Facebook’s removal of a harrowing image—the Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1972 photograph of a young, naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm explosion—certainly raises questions of censorship. Yet it also strikes me as a symptom of our porn problem.”

This Day in 1871. 145 years ago today Charlotte Elliot, English devotional writer and author of “Just As I am”, died. An illness had left her invalid at 33 and for the next 50 years of her life. *

Save Your Soul: Stop Writing

Here’s a thoughtful article from Lore Ferguson Wilbert: “As writers, we often hand over our souls and stories for the price of approval, advances, page-views, speaking opportunities, and more book deals. But sometimes (not always) the best thing to do is to be silent. To listen. To hear. “

What is the New Perspective on Paul?

Dr. Robert Cara of Reformed Theological Seminary answers the question in 5 minutes or less.

Let’s Get Serious about the Sacred Mystery of Sleep

“God created us not only with a need for sleep, but with an incredible capacity for it—most of us need to spend at least one-third of our life in sleep. Is all this sleep really a waste? a luxury we can’t afford? a haven for the lazy? Or is it an expression of our humanity, an act of submission to God, a celebration of his creation? Might it be valuable in its own right?”

Flashback: On the Shore of Glory

“Old age is the harvest of all the years that have gone before. It is the barn into which all the sheaves are gathered. It is the sea into which all the rills and rivers of life flow from their springs in the hills and valleys of youth and manhood.”

You can’t understand God’s love if you don’t understand his anger. Because he loves, he’s angry at anything that harms those he loves. —David Powlison

September 21, 2016

This week’s deal from Westminster Books is a significant discount on Paul Tripp’s new book on parenting (which I intend to review shortly). They’ve got some other parenting resources discounted to go along with it.

Today’s Kindle deals include just two: Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down and Preaching with Bold Assurance by Hershael York.

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

This is a good one from Jason DeRouchie: “In my years of pastoral ministry and parenting, I have regularly encountered confusion regarding the meaning of a well-known verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Let me offer some reflections on it, considering its lasting significance for the church.”

Giving to the Church Is Not Paying Your Bills

“How do you view giving in the local church? As I listen to what Christians say and read what they write I get the impression that many people think of giving simply as paying another bill. Giving is just like paying the utility or cable bill. Is this what you think?”

Watch Your Reviews

This video explains how reviews with the “free or discounted” disclaimer are often heavily biased.

Made To Flourish

Made to Flourish is an organization that “provides resources and training to empower a growing network of pastors to connect Sunday faith to Monday work for their churches.” They’ve just relaunched their website and offer lots of great resources.

Is the Bible Foundational to Christianity?

Michael Kruger has a substantial challenge to Andy Stanley’s recent suggestion that Christians need to stop basing their faith on the Bible.

This Day in 1522. 494 years ago today the first edition of Martin Luther’s German translation of the New Testament was published. *

12 Myths About Calvinism

Michael Patton attempts to dispel a few common misconceptions about Calvinism.

How Methodists Invented Your Kid’s Grape Juice Sugar High

This article is tongue-in-cheek but still informative. “If your church uses grape juice for Communion, you’ve adapted an ancient ritual by grafting in a beverage that’s roughly as old as Coca-Cola. Whether that bothers you or not, I think we all can admit that it’s still kind of…weird.”

US-Canada Border Slash

“The US-Canada border is the longest in the world. Stretching 5,525 miles from Maine to Alaska, traversing land, sea, and untouched wilderness, you’d assume that this colossal border would be left untouched by mankind, merely an invisible line on a map. You’d be wrong.”

Flashback: Did You Marry the Wrong Person?

I think most married people wonder that at one time or another. It may not be a question filled with true angst and regret, but one that may persist at the back of their mind.

Jesus Christ knows you completely. Why would you ever run from someone who knows everything about you and still loves you? —Colin Smith

September 20, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: The Pilgrim’s Regress by C.S. Lewis, A Better Way by Michael Horton, Preaching by Calvin Miller, and Women and Ministry by Dan Doriani.

Samsung’s Rush to Beat Apple

I took 4 flights this weekend and on each one we were told repeatedly not to use or recharge a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on board the plane. This article tells how they ended up with such a serious but preventable problem.

10 Things You should Know about 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Sam Storms continues his excellent series by turning his attention to “10 things we should know about the most controversial passage in the Bible when it comes to the role/relationship between men and women.”

Why Complementarianism Remains Important

On a similar note, Richard Phillips tells why complementarianism remains an important subject. He says “I am … grateful for the way this controversy, though regrettably contentious, has highlighted massively important issues of theology that tend to receive little attention. At the same time, my hope is that this attempt to reform the complementarian position will not truly damage the important stand it takes.”

My Mom Grew Up in a Utopian Colony in Iowa

What an interesting story about Amana, Iowa, and the people who once lived there.

The Sent God

Fred Sanders offers a really neat reflection on the Trinity. Only in Christianity could we rightly say “God sent God and God.”

10 Things That Are True When I Confess My Sin

“Ponder these thoughts concerning God, sin, grace, forgiveness, and the sufficiency of Christ and his sacrificial work on your behalf. When I confess my sin…”

This Day in 1884. 132 years ago today Dr. Horace Newton Allen arrived in Korea where evangelizing was illegal. Refusing to flee during the Seoul rebellion, Allen was given the opportunity to tend for a prince. Grateful, the king lifted restrictions on Christianity. *

10 Ways to Practice Normal Evangelism

Sometimes we need the simple reminders.

Don’t Let Email Zombies Eat Up Your Day

Ouch: “Let’s face it: Email is killing our productivity. The average person checks their inbox 11 times per hour, processes 122 messages a day, and spends 28 percent of their total workweek managing their inbox.”

Flashback: How To Lose Your Zeal for Christ

Are you zealous for Christ? Do you have a genuine zeal to live for him and to advance his cause in the world? Or have you lost the zeal that once marked you? 

The life of a Christian is wondrously ruled in this world, by the consideration and mediation of the life of another world. —Richard Sibbes

September 19, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include a pretty good selection from Crossway (Ancient Word, Changing World by Stephen Nichols & Eric Brandt; Understanding Scripture edited by Wayne Grudem; Why Trust the Bible? by Greg Gilbert; Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? by James Hoffmeier) and Matthis Media (Saving Eutychus by Gary Miller & Phil Campbell; Wisdom in Leadership by Craig Hamilton; One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm; etc). Browse them all here.

A Trillion First Responders

“It’s the largest security force in the world. A teeming network of first responders that live on nearly every surface of your body, inside and out. They’re not part of the body, like your immune system—they’re immigrants—but they’re still naturalized citizens, and without them your world couldn’t function.”

The Frozen Standard Version

Alan Jacobs provides his take on the final text of the ESV (both the reality of a final text and the actual text they chose to finalize).

The Mystery of Van Gogh’s Final Breakdown

“Researchers and biographers have speculated for years what exactly caused his mental deterioration, but no one has been able to definitively say, though a recent analysis by a team of experts concluded that Van Gogh suffered from repeated ‘psychosis’ in his final 18 months.”

Find a Friend to Wound You

“After the initial assault on my pride, a wave of gratitude and relief washed over me. Finally, the truth I had been evading — the God I had been evading — caught me. God used a friend’s honesty to awaken me from spiritual slumber.”

What Is Preaching Anyway?

Jared Wilson: “Contrary to popular wisdom, good preaching has little to do with eloquence, fashion, or the length of a sermon. Good preaching is all about content and posture.”

This Day in 1853. 163 years ago today James Hudson Taylor set sail from England to China where he later founded the China Inland Mission. *

Why Do We Say “Roger” or “Roger That?”

Here’s the orgin of “roger” or “roger that” as a form of confirmation.

The Biggest Temple in Town

David Mathis: “Many Christians aren’t allured in the least by spectator sports. God bless you. But for those of us who claim Jesus as Lord and also get hyped about our favorite teams, we need a regular soul-check. And especially at the onset of football season.”

Flashback: How an App Revitalized My Prayer Life

It has been at least a couple of years since I made the move from organizing my prayers in a book to organizing my prayers in an app, and, at least for now, I don’t ever see myself going back.

God loves you right now. He doesn’t love some future version of you that tries harder or is more obedient. —Justin Holcomb