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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

April 22, 2016

VT @ WTS

Westminster Books launched a sale yesterday that has Visual Theology marked down to just $10.

$5 Fridays

This week’s $5 Friday from Ligonier is a good one. “If you spend at least $20 on this week’s discounted resources, you will receive a $10 gift certificate for a future purchase in our store. Spend $50 or more and we will instead provide you with a $25 gift certificate.”

Reviewing a Classic

I love this review of a classic Christian work. If you haven’t read this one, you really should.

Why N.D. Wilson Writes Scary Stories for Children

“The goal isn’t to steer kids into stories of darkness because those are the stories that grip readers. The goal is to put the darkness in its place.”

Gladys Aylward – Touching with God’s Love

I’m really enjoying these mini-biographies Vance Christie has been writing. 

T4G Talks

Most of the Together for the Gospel talks are now available to watch.

How the Hillsong Cool Factor Changed Worship

This is quite an interesting article about Hillsong and how the cool factor changed worship for good and for ill.

Evangelicals and Toxic Masculinity

This is a good word. “Before confessional Christians can speak prophetically to toxic masculinity out there, we must first be honest about it in here.”

This Day in 1864. 152 years ago today, American coinage first displays the motto “In God We Trust.” *

Ultra High Definition (4K) View of Planet Earth

Beautiful.

Ministering to the Sick

Paul shared some helpful bullet points on ministering to the sick, and especially to those who are in the hospital.

Finn

If the message you preach isn’t good news for every person from every tribe, tongue, & nation, then it isn’t the real gospel. —Nathan Finn

April 21, 2016


Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman will soon be on the American $20 bill, so perhaps you should read this quick refresher from Christianity Today. (And, of course, there is Joe Carter’s 9 Things You Should Know about her.)

10 Reasons Pastors Must Be Prayer Warriors

Pastors, please make prayer a crucial part of your ministry. Congregations, please free your pastor from other responsibilities so he can dedicate time to prayer.

Book Tribalism

I think you’ll appreciate the challenge Jim Elliff brings in this little parable.

Drinking Deeply of the Tenderness of Christ

This video is a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of God.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Conscience

“Your conscience can function like a moral version of your nervous system. The guilt that your conscience makes you feel when you sin should lead you to turn from your sin to Jesus. That sense of guilt is for your good. And it is some­thing that God—not your mother or father or anyone else—gave you.” (Excerpted from the new book Conscience)

Should You Use Illustrations from Movies?

Here’s one for preachers to consider.

This Day in 1897. 119 years ago today, A.W. Tozer was born. Tozer was an influential pastor in the Christian & Missionary Alliance and author of The Pursuit of God. *

Timeshares and Manipulation

Ed Welch: “They promise what I want, which is a reasonable vacation, in a nice place, where we can take our daughters and their families. Sometimes I merely want that. At those times I am in my right mind. Other times I really need it, well I almost need it. At those times I go into a hypnotic trance, induced by the voice of one who tells me everything I want to hear.”

Something Rotten in the Local Church

Lore Ferguson says, “As humans we can be tempted to respond in a few different ways to conflict within the local church. Philippians 4:1-9 has a clear pathway for how Christians walk through conflict.”

Piper

This is a very serious act of treason: when you love other things more than you love God. —John Piper

April 20, 2016

Why We Need Anonymous, Plodding Church Planters

This is so good and so important. “Unfortunately, for us to plant the kinds of churches we need to plant the men who feel called to planting must change their expectations and their definition of ‘success.’ We cannot bear another generation of church planters who want to be the next big thing. Men hungry for acclaim will do nothing to make a dent in the number of people in our culture who do not know Jesus.” (Jared Wilson’s article Listen to the Little Guy Too is complementary.)

When Her House Was Scheduled for Demolition

I love to hear of the lives and faith of Christian brothers and sisters from far across the world.

Making Manuscripts

This video from Getty Museum shows what went into making a medieval mansucript. It is incredibly labor intensive!

Reformed Theology is Indigenous to African American Christianity

“No matter how you define it, the core tenets of Reformed theology are woven into the fabric of African American Christianity. The sovereignty of God over all of life, his special prerogative in issues of salvation, and the authority of the Bible are endemic to the black church tradition.”

Isolation from the Church Is Dangerous

I can’t tell how many times I’ve seen the pattern: First people isolate themselves from the church, then they begin to distance themselves from Christ.

This Day in 1718. 298 years ago today, David Brainerd, missionary to New England’s Native Americans, was born in Connecticut. *

Theological Primer: The Holy Spirit

Kevin DeYoung put together a 1,000-word primer on the Holy Spirit.

Secret Shame Of The Middle Class

Rod Dreher on the way we spend our money: “I think this must be an extraordinary thing, in terms of history: people who spend recklessly to give themselves the lives they think they deserve. If you think about it, though, our culture, which valorizes Authenticity, encourages this.”

A Response to Swaim’s “Stott Bowdlerized”

Since I linked to the original article it’s only fair that I link to the response from Eerdmans.

DeYoung

Make no mistake: to be at peace with your sin is to be at war with God. —Kevin DeYoung

April 19, 2016

Living an Others-Oriented Life

Here’s Mark Dever on living a life oriented away from self and toward others. (It’s an excerpt from his new book Discipling.)

Aurora Borealis from Space in Ultra-High Definition

Wow. Here’s the Aurora Borealis shown from Space in ultra-high definition.

Preaching and Preachers

If you are into podcasts, you may want to add Jason Allen’s new podcast Preaching and Preachers to your list.

Ten Principles for Personal Productivity

John Piper shares some helpful tips. “Give 10% of your focus in life to avoiding obstacles to productivity and 90% of your focus to fastening on to great goals and pursuing them with all your might.”

Why a Short White Man Isn’t a Tall Asian Woman

It shouldn’t be difficult to explain why a short white man isn’t a tall asian woman. But today’s students just can’t tell you.

5 Reasons Why We Need to Rest

I find that I need to remind myself of truths like this each and every week. Rest is just so easy to neglect!

Toronto Workshop on Biblical Exposition

If you’re in or near Toronto and if you teach or preach God’s Word, be sure to check out these workshops. 

This Day in 1529. 487 years ago today, German Lutheran Reformers were first called “Protestants” at the Diet of Speyer in Germany. *

The Local Church Isn’t Going Anywhere

No, the local church isn’t going anywhere no matter way the doomsdayers and naysayers tell us.

Real-Time Titanic

Here’s an interesting animation that shows the sinking of the Titanic in real-time.

McGowan

People may not agree with our theology but they shouldn’t be able to argue with our lives. —John McGowan

April 18, 2016

Covenant College Women’s Tennis

I admire this resolve. “On Sunday, Kyle Taylor released a statement as director of athletics for Covenant College about the upcoming championship match. The match was scheduled for the Covenant women’s tennis team, a group that deserves a great deal of respect for a remarkable season, standing 15-5 overall and 11-1 within their conference. The problem arose, however, when the team was slotted to compete for the championship on April 17th, a Sunday, against Methodist.”

The Tragic History of RC Cola

Why is RC Cola a has-been instead of a major player in the soda wars? This article explains. It also tells why RC missed its big chance.

Outsourcing Memory and Wired for Distraction

Make sure you don’t just skim this one: “Over the last few years I have had a minor, but growing, niggle about my ability to remember and make connections with clarity and sharpness. Was it simply growing older, or the impact of several general anaesthetics in a short space of time, or was it something else?”

Was C.S. Lewis an Evolutionist?

“Was C.S. Lewis an evolutionist? I’ve heard this charge laid against him more than once, sometimes by admirers but more often by those who would prefer us to be reading and quoting someone else. The best way to answer this question is to look not just at one-off comments, but at Lewis’s intellectual trajectory as a whole.”

Farm to Fable

The long and short of this longform article is that many or most restaurants lie when they tell you that they use local ingredients.

This Day in 1587. 429 years ago today, John Foxe, known for his Book of Martyrs, died at 71. *

Does Satan have Access to our Minds?

Allan Murray: “This is a very important question for the christian. To answer it we have to go back to the basics of human existence in the fallen state.”

Be Quick to Read and Slow to Comment

Nathan has a challenge for those of us who comment online. “When a Christian comments without reading an article, it suggests they don’t value their brother or sister in Christ. To comment before reading an article is to elevate your words above those of the author. And to make it more dishonoring, it is often done on a platform they built—it’s their blog or Facebook page after all.”

Powlison

Christ-less, grace-less attempts at change conclude either with the praise of your own glory or with your shame. —David Powlison

April 16, 2016

Pray Together with Your Guests

This is a helpful admonition about making sure you pray when you have guests in your home. It’s encouragement for other believers and evangelism for unbelievers.

The Minecraft Generation

The New York Times has a long and interesting piece about Minecraft. “At a time when even the president is urging kids to learn to code, Minecraft has become a stealth gateway to the fundamentals, and the pleasures, of computer science. Those kids of the ’70s and ’80s grew up to become the architects of our modern digital world, with all its allures and perils. What will the Minecraft generation become?”

Stott Bowdlerized

Here’s an alarming look at what Eerdmans has done to “improve” John Stott’s classic Basic Christianity. “My curiosity aroused, I went through the new book and compared it, sentence by sentence, with the old one. The sheer amount of revision is startling. Two out of every three sentences, I estimate, involve some new wording.”

Jesus Paid it All

You may enjoy this video they showed at Together for the Gospel—elder DJ Ward preaching on “Jesus Paid It All.”

Ten Tips for Leading Church Well

You probably won’t agree with everything here, but you’ll still find some sound wisdom on leading church services well.

What’s Your Conscience Worth?

“Bruce Springsteen says he won’t perform for North Carolina, as long as the state upholds its recently passed law regarding gender and public restrooms. Springsteen is doing what millions of Americans are taught, in classrooms and in culture, to do: Standing up for his conscience, and drawing lines accordingly. But in our era, the question becomes: If this is counted to Springsteen as righteousness, why is it counted as sin to North Carolina?”

Tomorrow in 387. 1,629 years ago tomorrow, Saint Augustine of Hippo was baptized. *

The Great Monarch Butterfly Migration

Sometimes this great butterfly migration stops in our yard. It’s an amazing thing to see every tree blanketed in butterflies.

Everyone Files Their Taxes At The Last Minute

“Americans are a nation of procrastinators. Our tax returns prove it. Last year, 21.5 million Americans waited until the last minute – or at least the last week – to submit their tax returns. That’s roughly one in seven filers, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.”

Spurgeon

What I have found of God in Jesus Christ is so wonderful, I am eager for others to know it too—and to know him. —C.H. Spurgeon

April 15, 2016

Where Are They?

I appreciated this short, sweet, comforting reflection from Ed Welch.

Three Things Pastors Can’t Do Too Much

Jared Wilson: “I’m not a big fan of overdoing it. Not a huge proponent of overcooking your sermons, overproducing your worship service. But there are a few things I think pastors probably could do more of than they already do, no matter how much they already do.”

He Shall Reign

You may be interested in downloading this free study on Daniel from Alistair Begg. (Or this one on Ruth.)

6 Reasons Why the Church Is Not Singing

Josh Buice suggests 6 reasons why the church is not singing—or at least not singing like she used to.

When Tests Detect Birth Defects

This is not the least bit surprising, is it? “New research suggests women who terminate their pregnancies because of an abnormal prenatal test may be aborting perfectly healthy babies.”

This Day in 1892. 124 years ago today, Corrie ten Boom was born. She was known for her devotional writing and for hiding Jewish refugees in her home during World War II. *

Six Questions About Physician-Assisted Death

My friend Ewan Goligher wrote a really good peace for The National Post (a national newspaper) about why he, as a physician, objects to physician-assisted death.

Accused MK Counterfeiter Asks To Be Released to YWAM

Here’s a bizarre story as reported by Christianity Today. “A man on trial for allegedly heading a $2 million international counterfeiting ring has asked to be released into the care of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) while he awaits trial in Pennsylvania.”

Does Grammar Matter?

Me sure hopes so.

Packer

To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater. —J.I. Packer

April 14, 2016

Porch Preaching

I love this! Joe Holland has Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on his door. “They gave me a Watch Tower tract and invited me to an Easter service at the local Kingdom Hall. I responded with a short paragraph I’ve used dozens of times when pairs of evangelists visit my home.”

Pray for R.C. Sproul

Please pray for Dr. Sproul as he faces continued health problems and is once again in the hospital.

When Your Congregation Isn’t Singing

Jamie Brown: “I would suggest that if a worship leader is observing (over a period of months or years) his or her congregation isn’t singing, that some difficult questions need to be honestly asked and answered. In no particular order or importance, here are questions a worship leader (and his or her pastor) should consider…”

Painful Pruning

Kelly Needham: “Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, ‘Does it have to be this way? Can’t I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?’”

On Reading the First Commentary

I enjoyed reading this post, about one reader’s first experience of reading a commentary (as part of my reading challenge).

Read Scripture: Jonah

The excellent Read Scripture series of videos continues with an overview of Jonah.

This Day in 1988. 28 years ago today, Desiring God hosted their first Conference for Pastors. J.I. Packer was the main keynote speaker. *

Darrin Patrick Removed from Church

I’m never sure whether or not I should share this kind of news. I’ve chosen to this time since I’ve so often mentioned Patrick’s books and what has just come to light is important information to consider.

Men for God

If you are in the Vancouver area (or looking for an excuse to visit), I’d love to see you at this year’s Men for God conference. It takes place June 24-25.

Carson

As the social cost of claiming to be a Christian increases, the percentage of nominal Christians decreases. —D.A. Carson