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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

August 08, 2014

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored Harvest House Publishers. They are offering a prize package this week that features 4 books they think you’ll love. There will be 5 winners, and each of them will receive these 4 books:

  • Radically NormalRadically Normal by Josh Kelley. “Do you feel that your life is pleasing to God—almost? When you hear about pastors, missionaries, and popular speakers, do you feel just a bit second-class, as if your life appears lukewarm and not as radical as theirs? You’re not alone. A vague sense of guilt is common in the church. We know God’s grace is the key to eternal life, but it’s so much more than that—it’s the key to a joy-filled walk with Him every moment. Josh Kelley shows why you don’t have to give away everything you own to be a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ. He demonstrates that God is crazy about you right where you are; you are just as important as any other member of Christ’s body; the work you do every day can be pleasing to God.”
  • A Year of Prayer by John MacArthur. “This book is filled with weekly inspiration that will greatly enrich your prayer life. You’ll find your prayers becoming more focused, more powerful, more God-centered in ways that are truly life-changing. This collection is comprised of prayers lifted up to God by John MacArthur on the Lord’s Day. They speak of God’s majesty and His wonderful love and care, and make transparent the deepest longings of the human heart. Through these prayers you’ll find yourself lifted up…in true worship, praise, and thanksgiving.”
  • Being a Dad Who Leads by John MacArthur. “As a Christian father, you bear a tremendous responsibility—to raise your children through both biblical instruction and personal example. But how can you succeed in a society that attacks the role of fatherhood and godly family values? Are you sometimes tempted to give in or give up? The rewards of being a dad who leads are well worth making the effort to stand firm. The Bible offers clear guidance for dads on how to parent effectively.”
  • Called to Stay by Caleb Breakey. “Will You Stay? Caleb Breakey prays to God you do. In Called to Stay Breakey takes a refreshingly honest look at the church, the problem of Millennials leaving, and the stark reality of why the church desperately needs them. He holds nothing back as he unleashes an ambitious rallying cry to heal the church and inject his generation’s desire for truth, passion, and conviction into other believers. Caleb knows that answering the challenge of his own generation leads to a transformed church. And a changed church can change the world.”

Enter to Win

Again, there are 5 prize packages to win. And all you need to do to enter the draw is to drop your name and email address in the form below. (If you receive this by email, you will need to visit challies.com to enter.)

Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. 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 Saturday at noon.

August 08, 2014

Amazon’s Big Deal is back and that’s good for all of us because it includes some excellent books: Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell ($1.99); Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung ($1.99); Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes ($1.99); When I Don’t Desire God and Bloodlines by John Piper ($1.99 each); What Is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert ($1.99); The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken ($2.99); The Promises of God by R.C. Sproul ($0.99); Transformational Disciplineship by Geiger & Kelley & Nation ($1.99). Also, here are a couple of general market bestsellers you may enjoy: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown ($2.99); Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin ($4.99). You can find the complete list of deals here.

Al Mohler Responds to Ann Coulter - “From a Christian concern we cannot leave the issue of the Ebola outbreak without turning to another kind of atrocity. In this case the atrocity was an opinion piece published just yesterday by conservative commentator Ann Coulter.”

Sign - Here’s an interesting idea for a new restaurant.

Was Adam a Historical Person? - “In the modern world, skeptics have long questioned or denied the historicity of Adam.” And the historicity of Adam makes all the difference to our faith.

Marks on the Green Monster - This is fun, but only if you’re a fan of baseball.

Four Moments I’m Preparing Students to Face - “As I listen to and observe the faith journeys of former students and young adults, I often see pivotal moments along the way that constitute ‘make or break’ tests of their faith. Discipling my students, I am preparing them for these four moments.”

I do not think the devil cares how many churches you build, if only you have lukewarm preachers and lukewarm people in them. —C.H. Spurgeon


August 07, 2014

B &H has some good Kindle deals today: Perspectives on the Doctrine of God by Various ($2.99); The Lord’s Supper by Tom Schriner & Matthew Crawford ($2.99); Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer ($2.99); Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer & David Putman ($2.99).

Cultural Disintegration and the Revival of a Moral Imagination - With a title like that, you know it has to be worth reading.

Gay, Christian and … Celibate - Sarah Pulliam Bailey has an interesting article about the changing face of the homosexuality debate.

Is Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Enough? - “Is being a stay-at-home mom enough? Is just being at home with my children today satisfactory? If so, why the tension, and what’s with ‘just’ entering the conversation? (When’s the last time you heard someone say, ‘I’m just a teacher,’ or ‘I’m just a doctor’?)”

Care for Single Women - I have appreciated many of these “Pastor’s Reflections.” This is an important one about the neglect of single women.

We Can’t Ignore Mark Driscoll - This is a level-headed response to some of the recent news about Mark Driscoll.

One Truth that Changes Worship - Jason Helopoulos: “Worship is not so much about what we receive, nor about what we give, rather, it is about being. … Worship is not primarily caught-up with giving or receiving. It is primarily about being, meeting with God. Or more rightly put, God meeting with us.”

Guard your thoughts, and there will be little fear about your actions. —J.C. Ryle


August 06, 2014

I’ve got just a few new Kindle deals for you today: Learn to Read New Testament Greek by David Alan Black ($7.99); Calvinism by Brad Waggoner & Ray Clendenen ($2.99); Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer & Mike Dodson ($2.99)

Should I Tell My Spouse about Struggles with Sexual Purity? - Here is a good and helpful article from 9Marks.

Can There Be Thrills in Heaven? - If there is no risk in heaven, can there still be thrills? Randy Alcorns answers.

Perfect For Me - I like this: “My father-in-law has a profound little saying that sums up a biblical attitude spouses should have for one another. She’s not perfect, but she’s perfect for me.”

Top 15 One-Album Wonders - You’ll probably only enjoy this if you’ve been listening to Christian music for a long time.

9 Things You Should Know About Hamas - Courtesy of Joe Carter, here are 9 things you should know about Hamas.

It’s Okay to Believe the Bible - Yes, it is!

A repeated, fundamental assumption in the New Testament is that if you let Jesus into your heart you will let strangers into your home. — Sam Allberry


August 05, 2014

Today’s Kindle deals: Surprised by Suffering by R.C. Sproul (free); The Life, Teaching, and Legacy of Martin Luther by Andrew Lindsey ($3.99); Walking Like Jesus Did by Larry McCall ($3.99). Zondervan has some great deals: PROOF by Danial Montgomery & Timothy Paul Jones ($3.99); What’s Best Next by Matt Perman ($3.79); Raised? By Jonathan Dodson & Brad Watson ($3.99); The Gospel at Work by Sebastian Traeger & Greg Gilbert ($3.99); The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission by John Dickson ($3.99); The God I Don’t Understand by Christopher Wright ($3.79); Know the Heretics & Know the Creeds and Councils by Justin Holcomb ($3.99 each). (Also, Amazon has the Kindle Fire HDX at $130 off today.)

The Longest Brooding Period - “Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four and one half years—longer than any other known animal.”

2 Bible Belt Filmmakers - “It’s the Hollywood ending every studio wants: Low-cost production and high returns at the box office.” Christian films are showing the ability to do that very thing.

This Is What Anne Frank’s Arrest Looked Like - Here’s an excellent article on the tragic life and death of Anne Frank.

Feelings Are Real - “I don’t have anything against feelings. They are a gift from God. But I’m grateful that early on in my Christian life I heard a truth that helped me immensely: Feelings are real but they are not necessarily the truth.”

Mini Sermons For the Soul to Sing - Yes! “I’ve come to enjoy thinking of the great hymns of the church as ‘mini sermons for the soul to sing.’ This is one of the main reasons why we should study, cherish and preserve hymn-singing in our churches.”

A Fine Line - I enjoyed this article from Aimee Byrd. And this line: “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore looking like an idiot.”

The role of a pastor is not to grow a big church. The pastor’s role is to grow mature disciples who make disciples. — Rick Howerton


August 04, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: The Case for Classical Education by Douglas Wilson ($1.99); The Liberal Arts by Gene Fant ($0.99); When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper ($1.99); Liberal Arts for the Christian Life edited by Jeffry Davis & Philip Ryken ($1.99); The Christian Encounters series is on sale as well: Isaac Newton, Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, Winston Churchill, Sergeant York ($0.99 each). Be sure to check out Saturday’s deals if you missed them.

Stumbling into the Future - Tim Keesee writes about the uncertainties of the past and the certainties of the future.

Not Exactly Rocket Science - You’ll have to look past a bit of evolution talk so you can marvel at the intricacies of the human body.

10 Myths About Lust - “If you embrace these 10 myths about lust, then you will find no remedy for your lust. Instead, you will dive into a ‘black hole’ of sin. Embrace Truth; reject these 10 myths…”

Your Work + My Life = Balance - This one is thought-provoking.

Pray For Your Husband - Mike Leake is hosting a thirty-one challenge of inviting wives to pray for their husbands.

A Closed Door - Kim Shay writes about closed doors and God’s will.

The custom of sinning takes away the sense of it, the course of the world takes away the shame of it. —John Owen


August 02, 2014

I am looking forward to spending some time this week in Indiana, speaking at the Association of College Ministries National Student Conference. That’s a mouthful! I will be speaking about technology, pornography, the will of God, and a few other subjects. It should be fun! But before I head to the airport, here are some book deals and some recommended reading.

I’ve got lots of great Kindle deals for you today: Scripture Alone by James White ($3.49); The God Who Is There by D.A. Carson ($3.99); Excellence by Andreas Kostenberger ($0.99); King Solomon by Philip Ryken ($0.99); The Heresy of Orthodoxy by Andreas Kostenberger & Michael Kruger ($1.99); Understanding English Bible Translation by Leland Ryken ($0.99); The entire collection of R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series is free in ebook formats; they’ve got the complete list for you here. Happy clicking!

If you’re not into reading, Amazon has several BBC collections on sale today, including some classics.

Tony Reinke writes about The Van Gogh that Breaks My Heart. I know nothing about Van Gogh, so enjoyed the way Reinke set the context as he looked at the painting. 

R.C. Sproul Jr. compares attending a megachurch to living in the city—it is easier to hide in a crowd than in a smaller group. “Like mega-cities, monstrous churches not only carry the temptation of invisibility, but such is one of their selling points.”

Only someone as rooted in church history as Vance Christie can bring neat little devotionals like this: Coming to God with Empty Hands.

I enjoyed this brief interaction in which Ryan Anderson responds to a question about the redefinition of marriage.

One of the most common questions I receive is “What program do you use you to make your daily quote graphics?” My “program’s” name is Kate, and she’s a great designer. You can check out her work here and you can find the complete collections of quote graphics she has made at Pinterest.

Matt Heerema offers One Simple Rule for Applying Old Testament Narratives. And it’s a good one: let them help you fix your eyes on Jesus. Don’t go looking for the moral of the story; look for Jesus in the story.

Peace is the smile of God reflected in the soul of the believer. —William Hendricksen


August 01, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals for you: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi; The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur ($5.98); God’s Lineup by Kevin & Elizabeth Morrissey ($2.99); How Do We Know the Bible is True? by Ken Ham ($2.99); you may want to rummage through Amazon’s monthly collection of books at $3.99 or less.

This month’s free book from Logos is Creation and Fall, from the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer; free from ChristianAudio is Anna and the King of Siam.

Westminster Books is giving you a $5 coupon, good for anything in the store, if you watch a 5-minute video (about a product that looks really good).

Emotional Bullying - Emotional bullying is not an effective means of leading children to Christ.

Should You Wait Until You Can Afford Kids? - We are told that we should wait to have kids until we can afford them. Is that sound counsel?

The Five Strangest Rules in Baseball - This one is for the sports fan.

Fact-Check the Sermon - “Preachers love to drop statistics and historical tidbits into their sermons. Too bad so many of their facts are untrue.”

Bring Back the Holy Kiss - Food for thought. (R.C. Sproul says the same thing in his excellent book A Taste of Heaven.)

We belong to Jesus because He has purchased us by His blood. He will not return or exchange what He has bought. —Anthony Carter


July 31, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Jesus, the Only Way to God by John Piper ($0.99); Faithful to the End by Terry Wilder ($0.99); Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary ($4.99); Mere Apologetics by Alister McGrath ($4.99).

The Next Chapter for Christian Publishing - Here’s one person’s take on the future of Christian publishing.

Moving In and Moving On - A couple of key highlights from this one: “As cohabitation has grown more common, cohabiting couples have become less likely to transition into marriage.” And “Cohabitation seems to be moving toward being a form of dating with no implications about a couple’s odds of marrying.”

Welcome to the Nuclear Command Bunker - NPR was given a relatively rare look inside a nuclear command bunker. “At its heart, this is what nuclear deterrence comes down to: two officers, 60 feet underground. Working, watching movies, and waiting.”

The Use and Abuse of Video Church - Rick Phillips explains why you ought to be physically present in a church instead of watching it via video.

Wisdom Is Content and Experience - There is more to wisdom than just blurting out a phrase from the Bible.

Axiety and Depression - “Though I wouldn’t wish anxiety or depression on anyone, I am strangely thankful for the unique way this affliction has led me, time and again, back into the rest of God.”

He Wears a Medal of Honor - This is the story of Sammy Davis, who received the Medal of Honor many years ago.

Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. —Jaroslav Pelikan


July 30, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: A Fistful of Heroes by John Pollock ($3.99); Taking the Bible At Its Word by Paul Wells ($3.99); Table Grace by Douglas Webster ($3.99); Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition by Calvin Miller ($1.99); Preaching With a Plan by Scott Gibson ($1.99).

The Parable of the Lawn Mower - Here’s a helpful little parable to help explain why we must preach the gospel rather than only attempting to display it.

The Gospel and the Shower Curtain Liner - Read this one for the great illustration of the shower curtain liner, and the idea of cleaning up ahead of the cleaner.

Two Questions - Kevin DeYoung has offers two questions that may just help your church’s ministry.

The Exclusivity of Treasure Pursuit - Paul Tripp distills it all the way down: “it’s spiritually impossible to pursue the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of self simultaneously.”

Books for Pastors - Westminster Books’ sales this week are geared toward pastors. There are lots of good titles there at very reasonable prices.

Am I in Trouble? - Here is some encouragement for those who haven’t opened their Bibles in too long.

The love language of all marriages is self-denial. —Burk Parsons