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Tim Challies

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A La Carte

July 08, 2009
MJ’s Religion Thriller
Boston.com tries to unravel Michael Jackson’s religious beliefs. “In those days since the King of Pop died, I’ve now seen so many items about his faith that my head is starting to spin. He was a Jehovah’s Witness. A Muslim. He accepted Jesus before he died. The Vatican loved him, but was that right? There’s even a Jewish angle of sorts. Not to mention the unending discussion of what it means to call him an icon, or an idol. Some folks have suggested that his funeral will shed some light on his final faith practices, but I’m not holding out much hope for that. ”
True Woman ‘10
Next year there will be not one but three True Woman conferences (could we say it’s kind of equivalent to a Together for the Gospel directed specifically at women?). The 2008 version of the event was excellent. Click the link for information and a video.
How Bad Are Auto Sales?
TIME answers the question in this brief article.
Why Palin Quit
Here’s an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal: “People close to Sarah Palin say national political reporters and pundits have missed the real reasons for her surprising decision to resign as Alaska governor. The national media have dismissed or downplayed her real motives, which had little to do with any plans to run for president in 2012.”
Self-Help is No Help
“Bridget Jones is not alone in turning to self-help mantras to boost her spirits, but a study warns they may have the opposite effect. Canadian researchers found those with low self-esteem actually felt worse after repeating positive statements about themselves.”
July 07, 2009
How to Overspiritualize Everything
A comic.
Calvin 500
Calvin500 is underway and you can read updates about what’s going on there at the Calvin500 blog. Mike Dewalt is also blogging from Geneva.
Historic Bible Pages Online
About 800 pages of the earliest surviving Christian Bible have been recovered and put on the internet. Visitors to the website www.codexsinaiticus.org can now see images of more than half the 1,600-year-old Codex Sinaiticus manuscript.
Being Degraded by Reality TV
“In their new book, ‘The Mirror Effect,’ addiction medicine specialist Drew Pinsky and business professor S. Mark Young argue that following the foibles of reality TV stars and other celebrities is not a wholly harmless pastime. The more time we spend observing the shocking, materialistic and egotistical behavior of reality TV stars, they argue, the more likely we are to mimic that behavior in our own lives and view the pathological self-centeredness of these ‘Joe Six-Pack’ celebrities as normal. ”
Deal of the Day: Our Sovereign God
This book is a transcription of the lectures given at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology from the years 1974-1976. Contributors include Roger Nicole, Stuart Sacks, R.C. Sproul, and John Stott. It is available, while supplies last, at less than half price.
July 06, 2009
Rachel Goes Home
Rachel Barkey, whose message titled “Death is Not Dying” became a bit of an internet phenomenon, went home to her Lord on July 2, 2009 at 37 years of age. If you have not yet heard “Death is Not Dying,” this is a good time to do so.
Reviewing the Lincoln Bios
At the New Republic, Sean Wilentz has a lengthy essay in which he seeks to understand, based on all of the new biographies, who Lincoln was and was not. A long read, but an interesting one.
Heteronormativity
I learned a new word this morning and just had to share it: “heteronormativity.” “Researchers at the University of Michigan have concluded that the love stories told in classic Disney and other G-rated children’s films - such as the Little Mermaid - are partially to blame for the pervasiveness of what they label ‘heteronormativity.’”
Deal of the Day (Month)
Through the month of July, Monergism Books is offering free shipping on all orders over $25 (all orders, that is, shipping to American addresses). You can get details and the coupon code at the link.
July 03, 2009
Virginity Rocks…But not on a T-Shirt
This article from Boundless is worth reading just for this one section: “You see, since being married I’ve learned a lot about the differences between the male and female mind. I’ve learned how something that may seem innocuous to me may be viewed as sexual by a male. I’ve learned that a young man reading “Virginity Rocks” on a tight, hot pink t-shirt is probably not going to immediately start contemplating purity. And it was discouraging that this young lady didn’t seem to be aware that her message was not matching her medium.”
Duncan and Keller on Women in the Deaconate
Here is the audio from the discussion that Ligon Duncan and Tim Keller had at the 2009 PCA GA concerning the role of women and the deaconate. I think Duncan does an especially good job of arguing that the deaconate is open only to qualified men.
Good News for Toronto
My friend PMac is interning at our church this summer, working as an evangelist. He has begun a blog to share some of his experiences.
Fancy Fast Food
I love the premise of this site. “These photographs show extreme makeovers of actual fast food items purchased at popular fast food restaurants. No additional ingredients have been added except for an occasional simple garnish.” They can somehow make a Big Mac look delicious.
July Wallpaper
Fancy up your desktop with some new wallpaper courtesy of Smashing Magazine.
<a href=”Deal of the Day: Fabulous Fridays
CBD has a few good deals in this week’s Fabulous Friday sale. There are a couple of Randy Alcorn books for $5.99 and $0.99, Prince Caspian book plus audio book for $3.99, Mohler’s Culture Shift for $5.99 and a picture book of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for $1.99.
July 02, 2009
Church: Love It, Don’t Leave It
Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck are guest voices in the Washington Post, talking about the church. “Here’s what Bono, Oprah, and the guru speakers on PBS won’t tell you: Jesus believed in organized religion and he founded an institution. Of course, Jesus had no patience for religious hacks and self-righteous wannabes, but he was still Jewish. And as Jew, he read the Holy Book, worshiped in the synagogue, and kept Torah. He did not start a movement of latte-drinking disciples who excelled in spiritual conversations. He founded the church (Matt. 16:18) and commissioned the apostles to proclaim the good news that Israel’s Messiah had come and the sins of the world could be forgiven through his death on the cross (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:14-36).”
Free Christian Audio
This month’s free download from Christian Audio is Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, a book that is well worth reading and/or listening to.
My Canada Includes Canada
An opinion column from the Ottawa Citizen that may interest my fellow Canucks. “I will not, and vow I will never, call it “Canada Day” without inverted commas. It would not matter to me if every other living Canadian called it that without further thought. It continues to be Dominion Day, in my view: the patriotic anniversary of my own country. God Himself cannot rewrite history; I recognize no Act of Parliament that attempts to do so.”
The Worst First Page Ever
This may well be the worst opening page of a novel in all of human history. I think we can blame self-publishing for this monstrosity!
Death by Show Business
Jim Spiegel: “The death of Michael Jackson last week is in some ways a distinctively American tragedy. While there is nothing new under the sun about the soul-crushing effects of fame and fortune, the dynamics involved in the demise of the greatest pop icon of his generation are eerily familiar.”
Top Commentaries
Keith Mathison has completed his look at the top five commentaries on every book of the Bible. You can see a series roundup here.
June 30, 2009
How Rude Was Jesus?
This week Mounce looks to Jesus’ words to his mother at the wedding of Cana to seek to understand whether (as many have said) those words were rude.
Letter to a Pastors’ Wife
From the True Woman blog: “Believe it or not, one of the things I would love to be is … a pastor’s wife! Obviously, there’s not much I can do about that. But, I did have fun asking several current and former pastors’ wives to share their words of wisdom with me—just in case God has this in store for me. The following letter is from my current pastor’s wife, Holly. I love it. I hope it will help you as you seek to support, love, and respect your pastor and his wife as they shoulder the responsibilities and burdens of shepherding the church daily. So, here you are…”
Keeping a Child’s Gender a Secret
Jill Stanek reports on this awful story. “Pop’s parents, both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few - those who have changed the child’s diaper - nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.”
Firefox 3.5 Review
Firefox 3.5 releases today and Slate has an early review. If you’re still using Internet Explorer, this is probably a good day to make the switch.
Deal of the Day: Ligonier Clearance
Ligonier Ministries has a great clearance area where you can get some good bargains. For example, Onward Christian Soldiers which originally sold for $16.00 is now marked down to just $6.08. There are lots of good titles, both new and old.
June 29, 2009
World Reaction to Jackson’s Death
When a celebrity dies I’m often amazed to see how many people had, in a sense, lived vicariously through him. This is easy to see in this photo essay of people remembering Michael Jackson.
Piper vs. Wright on Justification
Trevin Wax has an article in Christianity Today that serves as a primer on the justification debate between Piper and Wright. It is a good way of getting oriented in the debate.
See it to Believe it
This car makes quite the statement.
Counting the Cost of Sexual Immorality
Randy Alcorn: “About twenty-five years ago, while pastors at Good Shepherd Community Church, my friend Alan Hlavka and I both developed lists of all the specific consequences we could think of that would result from our immorality as pastors. The lists were devastating, and to us they spoke more powerfully than any sermon or article on the subject.”
The Buzz Around the SBC Meetings
Denny Burk explains why there’s a bit of a buzz around this year’s SBC meetings (at least if you read certain blogs!).
Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics
Just owning this set of four volumes adds about 3 points to your I.Q. and is guaranteed to impress your friends. Monergism Books is offering it $79 or a 61% discount.
June 26, 2009
Windows 7
As of today, Amazon is selling offering pre-orders of Windows 7. If you’re using a Windows PC, this is said to be a must-upgrade. If you order through Amazon, they’ll make sure it’s delivered on the software’s release date.
Hitler’s Stealth Fighter
An article at National Geographic looks at a stealth fighter that was under development during World War II but which never went into production.
Piper on TV and Movies
John Piper explains why he does not have a television and why he only rarely goes to movies. He also explains what boundaries he sets in terms of content. (HT:Everyone else in the Christian blogosphere).
The Descent into Credit Card Debt
Mint.com shows how you can so easily slip into serious credit card debt.
The Cap and Tax Fiction
“Despite House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman’s many payoffs to Members, rural and Blue Dog Democrats remain wary of voting for a bill that will impose crushing costs on their home-district businesses and consumers. The leadership’s solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics.”
Driving While Texting
Car and Driver Magazine tested how long it takes to hit the brakes “when sober, when legally drunk at .08, when reading and e-mail, and when sending a text.” Here are the results: Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake; Legally drunk: add 4 feet; Reading e-mail: add 36 feet; Sending a text: add 70 feet.”
Deal of the Day: In the Hands of God
In the Hands of God, the new album from Newsboys, is on sale at Amazon for a limited time at just $3.99.
June 25, 2009
Gossip Affects Your Spiritual Waistline
Chris Brauns: “Bits of gossip are like chocolate nuggets: smooth and creamy, they melt in your mouth: it tastes good to be in the loop; it is sweet to hear someone else notice the same weaknesses in another that have frustrated you; it feels spiritual to ask for prayer - - gossip and grumbling and complaining are a tempting treat.”
A More Powerful Fed
Just what America needs: “During the debate over financial regulation, the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, has been surprisingly quiet. But behind the scenes, he has been a forceful proponent of giving the Fed more power, both defending his management of the economic crisis and arguing that more authority would help the agency act more decisively to reduce the chances of a recurrence, according to interviews with lawmakers and officials from the Fed, the Treasury and the White House.”
How to Live Well Financially
Randy Alcorn offers wise counsel about making wise financial decisions.
A Wedding Story
Ali shares a great little wedding story from the other side of the world. “Bright and early on Saturday morning, we got our whole group down to the dock to find that, in typical West African fashion, the drivers we had chartered were ready to go, but refused to leave until we paid them an extra ten thousand cefa (about twenty US dollars). It was seven fifteen in the morning, the wedding was scheduled to begin at two thirty, and we were off to a promising start.”
No Country for Burly Men
I found this rather interesting: “A ‘man-cession.’ That’s what some economists are starting to call it. Of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men. Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan, characterizes the recession as a ‘downturn’ for women but a ‘catastrophe’ for men.”
Deal of the Day: Does Grace Grow Best in Winter?
RHB has Ligon Duncan’s new book on sale, today only.
June 23, 2009
To Be Like Jesus
Bob Kauflin has announced the release of the new CD from Sovereign Grace Music. It is titled To Be Like Jesus and “contains twelve worship songs that teach the fruit of the Spirit in a creative and memorable way. Through these songs kids will learn that Jesus is our perfect example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. More than that, they’ll discover that we can’t be like Jesus unless we trust in the power of his cross to forgive us and the power of his Spirit to change us.”’
A Letter from Ray Ortlund to his Family
Josh Harris: “I came across a letter that the late Ray Ortlund wrote for his family before he went to be with the Lord. His son, Ray Ortlund, Jr., found it in his father’s desk and I’m grateful that he and his mother chose to share it with others. I know very little about this man, but I’d like to end my life like him, trusting God and encouraging my family to love and serve Jesus Christ. Read the letter.”
Everybody Needs a Little Love
Here’s another entry in “Mondays with Mounce.” This week he looks at the well-worn Greek words for love.
What Scott asked Kurt
Scott Anderson: “Today, at the Marketplace One Leadership Institute, our class had the interesting opportunity to do about 40 minutes of Q&A with Kurt Warner, quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.” Scott asked a good question and got a great answer.
Greenwash
Something to think about while shopping: “More than 98% of supposedly natural and environmentally friendly products on US supermarket shelves are making potentially false or misleading claims, Congress has been told. And 22% of products making green claims bear an environmental badge that has no inherent meaning, said Scot Case, of the environmental consulting firm TerraChoice.”

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