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Tim Challies

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A La Carte

April 09, 2009
Meet Carlos Contreras
C.J. Mahaney continues his interview series by interviewing Carlos Contreras, who ministers in Juárez, Mexico. “If you are current with the news, you probably know that Juárez has become a violent front line in the war on drugs. Between January 2008 and March 2009, almost 2,000 drug-related murders have taken place in the city as a war rages that involves the drug cartels, local police, and Mexico’s military.”
Risking the Truth
Martin Downes shares Sinclair Ferguson’s Foreword to his new book Risking the Truth. It looks like quite an interesting book!
Audio of Phil Johnson at OBC
“In this session Phil, while rockin’ his team pyro t-shirt under his coat, gave an overview of five major heresies that the church has battled against (Judiaziers, Gnosticisim, Arianism, Pelegianism, and Socinianism).” There is also an interview with Phil.
The Empty Tomb and the Emptied Urn
Russell Moore takes a look at cremation. “While speaking of the Christian belief in the resurrection of the flesh, I called my hearers to reconsider what their funeral plans testified about their hope for the future. I reiterated a position — long-held in the history of the church — that burial, not cremation, best pictures the imagery of death as a sleep from which one is awakened at the last trumpet.”
A Review of Titanic
I just had to share this laugh out loud review of Titanic (scroll down the page about half way and look for bold type). An excerpt: “Anyway, our hero Jack puts Rose on a lifeboat. Of course, being safe is not enough, so she jumps back onto the sinking ship — a prime example of great decision-making. After it goes down, Jack is safe on a door of some sort, but he has to give up his spot to save Rose. Now Rose is on the door, and Jack is stuck in the freezing waters. So in a sense she kills Jack in a slow, frigid, painful way — sort of like the experience I felt while watching this movie.”
The Dark Side of Dubai
A fascinating article on Dubai. “Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out. This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing - at last - into history.”
Deal of the Day: Practical Works, Vol 1: The Christian Directory
RHB has this volume by Richard Baxter on sale today for fully 50% off its usual price.
April 08, 2009
The Challenge of Islam
Dr. Mohler offers some level-headed thinking about Islam and about President Obama’s remarks about it. “I criticize President Obama, not for stating that America is not at war with Islam, but for failing to be honest in clarifying that we do face a great civilizational challenge in Islam. Islam is, in effect, the single most vital competitor to Western ideals of civilization on the world scene.”
The Hunt for Gollum
Ray Fowler brings a bit of information about a movie by fans and for fans that takes place in the world of Middle Earth. “he production values look impressive for a home-made film. (I read somewhere they did this for only $3,000? That doesn’t seem possible.) Started over two years ago, the 45-minute film will be available for free download or live streaming at the official Hunt for Gollum website on May 3, 2009.”
Of Kellie Martin and Breast Pumps
6YearMed brings another funny little tale from the hospital. “Last week, I took care of a little boy referred from a few hours away by a doctor who visits his Amish community. The beginning of our encounter could have truly been a scene out of a made-for-TV-movie starring Kellie Martin.”
Missing the Woman I Fell in Love With
I enjoyed this poignant article by Josh Lerman (posted at Parenting.com). “Somehow in the past ten years or so since our first daughter was born, in the mad swirl of breastfeeding and colic, of Pull-Ups and wipes, dinners and playdates, car repairs and sweeping, versions of each other that we used to take for granted — versions of our relationship — have gone missing.”
The Paul Edwards Program
Yesterday I was a guest on the Paul Edwards program, talking about technology. I was on after a rather interesting interview with atheist Christopher Hitchens. The audio is available here if you feel like listening in. I came on around an hour and a half into the program, I believe.
Editing Memory
The Times has rather an interesting article about a scientific “advance” that is really spooky in its potential ramifications. “Suppose scientists could erase certain memories by tinkering with a single substance in the brain. Could make you forget a chronic fear, a traumatic loss, even a bad habit.”
April 07, 2009
An Interview with Ligon Duncan
“Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III came to Australia in April 2009 as the guest speaker for the 150th Anniversary of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria. This provided an opportunity to request an interview with him. Graciously, he agreed…”
The Best Prepared Award
This article explains why Canada is uniquely placed as we encounter this economic downturn. A good quote: “And the most impressive thing of all about Canada’s position is that you are probably reading about it for the first time. Canadians are so sensible they even have the sense not to brag, in case things turn out badly for them after all. ”
That’s Easter
Here are two videos courtesy of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate. They are evangelistic and meant to be viewed around Easter.
Greek and Hebrews Reader’s Bible
John Dyer offers this resource which looks very helpful for students of the original languages. (HT:JT)
An Interview with William Black
This interview is very, very interesting. Bill Moyer interviews William Black who suggests that this economic crisis had its origins in the outrageous greed of a very few people and that the government is simply making it worse. And all this from a vocal Obama supporter.
April 06, 2009
Read to Save Your Life
This is the kind of article I like to read: “Well, here is a health alert we can all understand. Researchers at the University of Sussex have determined that the very best way to relieve stress, both physical and mental, is to read a book. Got your attention?”
Making Exhibitions of Ourselves
Carl Truemen offers some good food for thought in this article about the weird, exhibitionist culture we live in.
Derivatives Explained
We hear a lot of talk about derivatives and their impact (and yet-to-come impact) on the economy. This little parable helps explain them, at least to a point. “Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit. In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).”
Dubai: How Not to Build a City
This is totally random, I know, but I found this article quite interesting. It describes the rise (and potential coming fall) of Dubai. “Its vast wealth notwithstanding, the things that make Dubai liveable are those that happened when the planners weren’t looking. But life will out, even in a city built by oil-fuelled hubris.”
An Article on Ben Zobrist
Tim Ellsworth, writing for Baptist Press, has written a couple of stories on Ben Zobrist who plays professional baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Deal of the Day: Bookends of the Christian Life
Today only, Monergism Books is selling Jerry Bridge’s new book The Bookends of the Christian Life for half off the regular price. It’s a good book and definitely worth that price!
April 03, 2009
The Magician’s Nephew
Russell Moore writes about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew and gives his take on which comes first. I agree with him. “The Magician’s Nephew is what would be called in today’s film lingo a “prequel,” rather than a beginning. The narrative takes place chronologically before the other stories. But it makes sense only when read after them. That’s because it ties together loose ends and throws further light on the origins behind some of the characters and plotlines readers have already grown to know.”
ESV Free for Kindle
The ESV is currently available for the Kindle for free!
The Europeanization of America
Mark Steyn: “Most Americans don’t yet grasp the scale of the Obama project. The naysayers complain, oh, it’s another Jimmy Carter, or it’s the new New Deal, or it’s LBJ’s Great Society applied to health care… You should be so lucky. Forget these parochial nickel’n’dime comparisons. It’s all those multiplied a gazillionfold and nuclearized - or Europeanized, which is less dramatic but ultimately more lethal.”
The Modesty of Personal Restraint
Lydia Brownback pens a fantastic article about single women and the modesty of personal restraint. Though most people, when they think of modesty think of necklines and hemlines, “We are just as prone—if not more so—to overexpose what’s under our skin. Revealing too much about ourselves is immodest too.”
The Public Rebuke of False Teachers
James MacDonald: “I do not view Brian as an ‘erring weaker brother,’ worthy of sympathy or olive branches, but rather as a dangerous false teacher who repackages mainline liberal theology. (Have the past 50 years not been adequate to see how liberal theology empties churches and damns souls?) More dangerous still is that McLaren packages his false teaching and denials of Scripture as solutions to some of the excesses currently plaguing evangelicalism—the danger being his winning over of young people who have legitimate complaints about the current church, but who lack the discernment to see that his solutions are often unbiblical even when his critiques are fair.”
Easter and Commercialism
Slate suggests why Easter stubbornly resists the commercialism that swallowed Christmas. “So what enables Easter to maintain its religious purity and not devolve into the consumerist nightmare that is Christmas? Well, for one thing, it’s hard to make a palatable consumerist holiday out of Easter when its back story is, at least in part, so gruesome. Christmas is cuddly. Easter, despite the bunnies, is not.” And incisive quote: “Easter is an event that demands a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ There is no ‘whatever.’”
With the Debt, I Thee Wed
Owen Strachan looks to the reality of so many young couples entering marriage burdened with huge debts.
The Blackaby View of God’s Will
Dan Phillips is looking at Henry and Richard Blackaby’s very popular but very faulty view of God’s will and making decisions.
April 02, 2009
I Hate That Music
Bob Kauflin writes about why we should not be so fast to write off music we do not initially like. Of his ten points, I liked this one best: “Listening to music the masses have never heard of doesn’t make us better.”
An Interview with Keith Mathison
Alex Chediak has an interview with Keith Mathison. They discuss From Age to Age: The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology, Mathison’s massive new book on eschatology.
What Does it Mean “To Me?”
John MacArthur asks “what does it mean ‘to me?’” and says “That’s a fashionable concern, judging from the trends in devotional booklets, home Bible study discussions, Sunday-school literature, and most popular preaching. The question of what Scripture means has taken a back seat to the issue of what it means ‘to me.’”
Is Obama Skidding or Crashing?
While there are probably not a lot of things on which Penn Jillette and I would agree, I do enjoy some of his commentaries. This one is, well, interesting. I think he asks questions a lot of people are asking. “Obama tells us that we can spend our way out of debt. He tells us that even though the government had control over the banks and did nothing to stop the bad that’s going on, if we give them more control over more other bank-like things, then they can make sure bad stuff doesn’t happen ever again. He says we can get out of all those big wars President Bush caused by sending more troops into Afghanistan. And I don’t know. I really don’t know.”
Deal of the Day - A Calvin Package
Reformation Heritage Book has packaged four books on Calvin and Calvinism and is offering them at a great discount.
April 01, 2009
Did Evangelicals Curb the Housing Bubble?
“A new study by Christopher W. Crowe, an economist for the International Monetary Fund, found that during the last two housing booms in the United States, regions with high concentrations of evangelicals saw lower gains in home prices and less volatility than similar regions with fewer evangelical residents.”
Saddleback Silliness
This is a rather bizarre invitation from Rick Warren to the people in or near his church. “1. Open your heart to Jesus Christ. 2. Attend Class 101: Discovering Your Church Family. 3. Sign our membership covenant (explained in class). 4. Be baptized the way Jesus commanded and modeled for us. YOU CAN FINISH ALL 4 REQUIREMENTS IN ONE DAY - THIS SATURDAY!”
Speed Listening
If you haven’t already discovered this blog, you should give it a look. Dr. David Murray of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary is releasing an ongoing series of short video blogs, each of which covers an interesting topic.
The Green Letter Bible?
“A nicely presented bible (NRSV) with the added bonus that verses that relate in anyway to the environment are shown in green, there is a special index for them and a “Green bible trail” is plotted. Includes 126 pages of essays from folks such as N. T. Wright, Brian McLaren and Wendell Berry. Cotton/Linen cover, recycled paper, soy based ink, water based coating of course.”
Deon
Deidox films has a new short film ready to view. This one looks at a police officer who works on Skid Row in LA.
March 31, 2009
Doug Wilson on Fireproof
“If I set myself to think of couples in marriages that I think would be greatly helped by watching this movie, I would run out of fingers inside of a minute. I can also think of Christians who would be offended by the schlock, but many of them would be those who know more about how a movie ought to be made than about how a woman ought to be treated. And they would rather watch a movie about a woman being abused so long as the movie was made right than to have the woman treated right in a movie that offended their refined sensibilities.”
CT Reviews Death by Love
“Sadly, Driscoll and Breshears too often become mired in relentless proof-texting, cheap shots against “flaccid church guys,” and obsessive branding of non-Reformed theologians as heretics. Yet even so, they bravely follow Christ in his descent to hell to preach to those who are held captive by sin and death. Despite their faults, the authors take their stand at the foot of the cross as witnesses to the power of the gospel in a dark, despairing world.”
Tales of Christian Tailgaters
A little tale or parable from Ben Witherington.
Earth Hour Pictures
You don’t have to have celebrated Earth Hour to enjoy this pictures of various public locations going dark. Be sure to click the photos…
Pupils Will be Taught to Twitter
The fun in this article is in the sidebar where they have condensed many subjects into Twitter format (i.e. human reproduction or World War II in 140 characters or less).
Deal of the Day: Wii Games
Amazon is offering various Wii games at a steep discount today.
March 30, 2009
Al Gore’s Earth Hour
“President of the Tennessee Center For Policy Research Drew Johnson takes a Saturday drive by Al Gore’s during the time most environmentalists went dark. … The kicker, though, were the dozen or so floodlights grandly highlighting several trees and illuminating the driveway entrance of Gore’s mansion.”
Shaun Groves on Life in the Speck
“On your first day on the other side of the grave, do you think you’ll look back on this life and be flooded with gratitude for hours spent watching episodes of American Idol and Lost? Will you wish you’d done more of that? Do you think you’ll look back fondly on the effort and money spent remodeling the kitchen? Will you wish you’d had a nicer home?…”
Challies’ Path to Family
That’s the title of an interview Aileen and I completed with Steve and Candice Watters who interviewed us on starting our family.
Totally Looks Like
I got a laugh from this.
Deal of the Day: Reformed Expository Commentaries
Monergism Books is offering a 50% discount on all of the books in the Reformed Expository Commentaries series. This is a limited time offer, while supplies last. One each per customer.” The 50% discount applies to any of the 10 titles. This is a great time to get started on your collection of this set!
March 27, 2009
Facebook Faceoff
“I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking as he pulled out his iPhone and took advantage of a new Facebook application — right in the middle of the sermon. It was then that I realized the narcissistic machine that is Facebook.”
Toronto Pastors Conference
Today is the last day to register for the Toronto Pastors Conference at earlybird pricing. Come join us as we hear Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker teach about the local church.
Does Satan Exist?
You’ve probably heard by now that Mark Driscoll participated in a televised debate on this question. You can watch the debate online. Be sure to check out Deepak Chopra’s totally bling glasses.
ESV Bible Widget
Crossway has put together an ESV dashboard widget for the Mac OS X users.
9 Wackiest Tax Deductions
Here are a few not to try this year. “As audacious as these stories might be, rest assured that the Internal Revenue Service is not amused when taxpayers fail to file, misfile, underreport income or otherwise attempt to avoid taxes.”
How to Understand Huge Numbers
“As Obama proposes a $1,000,000,000,000 rescue plan, Marcus du Sautoy offers a handy guide to the mind-bogglingly big numbers being bandied about.”
The Ears of the Deaf
The discussion for the article I wrote earlier this week has become very interesting in its discussion of deaf ministry. If that is of any interest to you, be sure to read some of the comments.

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