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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

March 25, 2016

When I Didn’t Love My Adopted Child

I appreciated this honest bit of writing. “That maternal instinct God gives mothers is an incredible force for good—and something I didn’t have with our adopted daughter like I have with my other kids.”

What Do Expiation and Propitiation Mean?

Let Dr. Sproul explain those important terms which are especially appropriate to consider on Good Friday.

How To Preach A Terrible Easter Sermon

“Like the spirits who plagued the Demoniac, my mistakes in Easter-preaching have been legion. The subject is always lively, but the preaching is sometimes grave! So in a deeply ironical tone, neither to be copied or encouraged, here are seven ways to preach a terrible Easter sermon. Please, I beg of you, do not try this in your pulpit this Sunday.”

Smithsonian Magazine’s 2015 Photo Contest

There are some pretty amazing shots in Smithsonian’s photo contest.

The Quran’s Deadly Role

Nabeel Qureshi writes for USA Today and explains “Western recruits for jihad are inspired by the literal interpretation of Muslim sacred texts. This is what we must fight.”

This Day in 1951. 65 years ago today, missionary and martyr Jim Elliot wrote, “When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.” *

How Nike lost Steph to Under Armour

You’ll probably need to be a sports fan, though not necessarily a basketball fan, to find this one interesting.

Adam Young Scores

If you enjoy the music of Adam Young (aka Owl City) you might appreciate this one-year project he has taken on. Every month he is creating a score to go along with a major event, Apollo 11 last month and the Titanic this month.

Keller

Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. —Tim Keller

March 24, 2016

The Message of Islam vs. The Gospel of Jesus

Don Carson, Graham Cole, Douglas Sweeney, and Harold A. Netland teamed up to write this article that compares Islam and Christianity. “Rather than trying to answer directly whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God, it’s more helpful to consider similarities and differences in the beliefs of Muslims and Christians, noting areas of both agreement and disagreement.”

Shouting “Christ Is Risen!”

Vance Christie writes about William Sangster: “When he learned of the diagnosis, he made four resolutions: ‘I will never complain. I will keep the home bright. I will count my blessings. I will try to turn it to gain.’ Later he wrote: ‘There have been great gains already from my sickness. I live in the present. I am grateful for little things. I have more time – and use it – for prayer.’”

Christ or Chaos?

Check out this week’s deals at Westminster Books for some good deals on apologetic books for new and young believers.

Brussels Points Us to Calvary

It its own way, the tragedy in Brussels points us to Calvary.

Spider Web Time-Lapse

BBC: “We filmed a garden orb web spider building their amazing spider web in this time lapse as well as slow motion footage as they capture their first prey with it!”

Three Mistakes to Avoid in Good Friday Preaching

Pastors preparing that Good Friday message may wish to give this article a read to ensure they aren’t making these mistakes.

This Day in 1820. 196 years ago today, blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby was born. *

Abiding Beats Busywork

There is a good challenge here for pastors. And, as it happens, this passage was in my morning Bible reading, so I especially appreciated the application.

How Many Trees Are There?

How many trees are there in the world? This video takes a shot at an answer. Turns out that previous estimates were way off.

Spurgeon

Fighting sheep are strange animals, and fighting Christians are self-evident contradictions. —C.H. Spurgeon

March 23, 2016

Brussels Pastor: ‘Our City is in Pain’

WORLD magazine talks to a Brussels pastor about the events that unfolded there yesterday.

Rob Ford: 1969-2016

Toronto’s former mayor, Rob Ford, died yesterday. Though he made himself an international laughing stock, please keep his family and young children in prayer. His family has many connections to local churches and Christians, so pray that the Lord would use this for his glory.

Honor Your Wife as the Weaker Vessel

John Piper takes on this tricky text in his most recent Look at the Book.

Political Correctness

Steven Harris looks at the good and the bad of political correctness. “Nevertheless, it is important that we, as evangelicals, realize our dual role in such a chaotic PC culture—advocate and herald.”

Donald Trump: Do Character, Morality and Kindness Still Matter?

I link to very little related to American politics. However, when Randy Alcorn speaks I tend to listen. This article is worth a read. He asks this: What are Trump’s character qualities and moral standards, and should they matter to Christ-followers?

This Day in 1775. 241 years ago today, Patrick Henry (who was a committed Christian) delivered his speech with the famous line, “Give me liberty or give me death.” *

Early Underwater Warfare

“Like the innards of some hellish behemoth gutted on the banks of the Tyne, these photographs show the cramped, claustrophobic interior of U-boat 110.” 

Expositional Imposters

This article has some helpful information on common expositional mistakes.

Carson

The better we know God, the more we will want all our existence to revolve around him. —D.A. Carson

March 22, 2016

The Bible Returns to Cuba

This is exciting to hear! “For the first time since diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were restored, one of the world’s largest private Bible collections was made available to all Cuban people – free and open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – on display from February 6 – March 13.”

20 Questions You Never Thought to Ask about the Gospels

Though the questions are actually an advertisement for a course, they are great questions.

A Gentle Political Recalibration

Erik Raymond: “Without minimizing the importance of the election or impugning anyone who is a political junkie, I want to offer a gentle reminder for Christians who might be getting a little too wrapped up in the election. Call it a gentle calibration.”

The Christian Life Isn’t Meant to Be Effortless

Donald Whitney explains how and why God “calls us to live the Christian life with the full—though God-centered—use of our minds and judgment and everything else that is a part of our humanity.”

Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit

This is a good bit of writing: “In the storyline of the Bible, this question pierces to the heart. Will you trust God? In some ways, this question is the very essence of true discipleship. Jesus calls each of us to turn from our former lives of death and sin and turn to a life of following him. That is predicated on this very question: do you trust God?”

This Day in 1758. 258 years ago today, pastor and scholar Jonathan Edwards died in New Jersey. *

Was the New Testament Written Early?

“Atheists and skeptics usually try to discredit the New Testament by indicating that it was written hundreds after the events. Is there evidence for this claim?” Frank Turek answers.

Tullian Tchividjian Confesses Second Affair

This ugly news broke yesterday: “This weekend, Tullian Tchividjian’s past two churches confirmed rumors that the Florida pastor had another affair prior to the one that prompted his resignation last summer.”

Lawson

Depth in the word produces height in worship, length in ministry, and breadth in outreach. —Steven Lawson

March 21, 2016

Logos Final 8

Logos’ March Madness is down to the final 8. Get your votes in!

Keep Lexi Home

Please read about Lexi, a little girl whose family attends John MacArthur’s church.

From Sermon to Small Groups

Tim Chester has a helpful article on tying small groups into the sermon.

How Do You See Me?

Today is World Down Syndrome Day and this video goes with the day. Also be sure to check out Dear Future Mom from two years ago.

Freedom from the Performance Treadmill

Paul Tautges describes how he was set free from the horrible performance treadmill.

Foolish Things I Used to Believe about the Ministry

Scott describes some of the foolish things he once believed about ministry.

This Day in 1788. 228 years ago today, Charles Wesley died. He and his brother John are well known for their hymn writing and gospel preaching. *

The Molasses Flood

I remember reading about the Boston Molasses flood when I was a kid. This video covers it in just 4 minutes.

Why Flying Is Awful

This short article tells why flying is such a difficult experience and explains by using your sad, lonely little apartment.

Who Crucified Jesus?

Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers the question. (HT)

Raymond

The beauty of the gospel is that while we were infinitely sinful we were also unfathomably loved. —Erik Raymond

March 19, 2016

Gender Identity in Children

Justin Taylor: “The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds)—a socially conservative association of pediatricians and healthcare professionals in the United States, founded in 2002—has issued the following statement on gender identity in children.”

Repentance vs. Defensiveness

Here are two responses to criticism and the difference between them.

The Shame Culture

“Some sort of moral system is coming into place. Some new criteria now exist, which people use to define correct and incorrect action. The big question is: What is the nature of this new moral system?” David Brooks answers the question with some help from Andy Crouch.

Pay-to-Pray Scam

“Seattle-based website with 1 million Facebook fans used deceptive methods to entice people to pay $9 to $35 for prayers.” I can’t believe this site was actually real. And I don’t believe they will actually refund everyone.

A Marathon Mentality for Ministry

It is so important to approach ministry with the right expectations and the right mentality.

If the World Were 100 People

This video breaks the world down into 100 people and shares some surprising facts.

This Day in 1980. 36 years ago today, John MacArthur and Grace Community Church held the first Shepherd’s Conference. *

Look at the Book

If you downloaded John Piper’s Look at the Book for Logos this month, you may want to check this article to see how best to use it.

The Need for Perfect Obedience

This is a short but powerful statement of truth by Derek Thomas.

No Such Thing As “Secular”

I’m grateful to The Master’s College for sponsoring the blog this week with “No Such Thing As ‘Secular’.”

Spurgeon

When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love. —C.H. Spurgeon

March 18, 2016

The Modesty Debate

This is a very good article on the never-ending modesty debate. “We men do not need modesty laws to have a pure heart. What we need is Christ. We need to stop blaming the girls, the advertisers, the catalogs, the TV shows, and point the finger right where it belongs. At our filthy, corrupted, sinful hearts.”

Are Millennials Selfish and Entitled?

I’m glad Russell Moore said this. “Most of the Millennial-age gospel Christians I know are far more theologically rooted than their parents’ generation. Most of them are far more committed to reaching outside of Christian subcultures to share the gospel with people not like them. Would some of them rather discuss theology than evangelize? Yes, just as many in the last generation would rather discuss evangelism than evangelize.”

The Title of “Brother” Means Something

Though it may seem like an antiquated word, “brother” is full of meaning.

Every Tribe

I’m really excited to see the next video in the excellent Dispatches from the Front series. It will be out next month. You can watch the trailer here.

A Theology of Creation in 12 Points

D.A. Carson subs for John Piper on Ask Pastor John and offers a brief theology of creation.

This Day in 1861. 155 years ago today, the Metropolitan Tabernacle first opened in London. It was the church at which English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon pastored. *

A Helpful List of Short Apologetic Videos

Here, from Stand to Reason, is a list of short apologetic videos.

It’s Not the Years, Honey. It’s the Mileage

I’ve really been enjoying Samuel James’ writing recently. Here he writes about Harrison Ford and yet another Indiana Jones film.

6 Distinguishing Marks of a Call to Gospel Ministry

Steven Lawson: “Lloyd-Jones identified six distinguishing marks of this divine summons to the pulpit. He himself had felt the gravity of each of these realities weighing heavily upon his own soul. He believed the same spiritual forces should come to bear on all preachers.”

Alexander

A humble Christian studies his own infirmities, and another’s excellencies. —Thomas Watson

March 17, 2016

Who’s Your Daddy?

“Christianity unapologetically places fathers (or father-types) at the head of the church and the table and the household, but commands that they lead with a servant’s heart with Christ as their model. The problems stem not from obeying the godly mandate, but from shirking it.” The article goes on to look at the problem of fatherlessness in literature.

A Willingness to Listen

Yes! This was one of my big takeaways from reading Black & Reformed. “Making your church more diverse is about more than just adding another shade to your elder board. It often means having a willingness to learn and be challenged by opposing viewpoints.”

The Theology of Donald Trump

Writing for Christianity Today, Michael Horton takes a look at the theology of Donald Trump. His unfortunate conclusion: “If the working theology of American spirituality is a combination of ‘moralistic, therapeutic deism’ (Christian Smith) and pragmatism (William James), then perhaps Donald Trump is after all exactly the right candidate for the moment.”

Punting Isn’t An Option

“I hear women talking about wanting to go deeper with God, so they buy books written by women who talk about their experiences of God. To me, that is robbing ourselves of a much richer treasure. If you want to go deeper with God, go to the source: the Bible. That is where you will see God, high and lifted up, exalted, in His glory. That will change you.”

This Day in 1780. 236 years ago today, Thomas Chalmers was born. Chalmers was a pastor, social reformer, and one of the founders of the Free Church of Scotland. He preached the important sermon, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” *

When Faith Is Under Attack

This one-minute video (a sermon excerpt) is worth watching.

Your Meaningless Ministry

“We all want to succeed. We all want our efforts to mean something in the end, to be worth it when all is said and done. But when death comes knocking, I would hate to find I received my entire reward here on earth.”

In Praise of Administration

Put your hands together for the invisible administrators who make our lives so much better and our churches so much stronger.

Alexander

A healthy body that houses a sick soul is not something to be coveted. —Eric Alexander