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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

April 06, 2016

Followed By The God of Grace

Be sure to read Garrett Kell’s story of being followed by God: “It was early in my junior year at Virginia Tech—and I felt like everywhere I turned, God was following me around.”

Is WebMD Trustworthy?

Can you trust WebMD? Kind of. But not really.

Fulfilling God’s Call to Christian Service

Vance Christie shares a mini-biography of Gladys Aylward, focusing on the early days of her ministry.

Sheep Tragi-Comedy #1,317

This is good: “Amusing sheep stories abound. Some of my moments of more rigorous chortling have been in response to real-life sheep tragi-comedies. One of the more recent involves what is called the ‘Draad Kruiper,’ which I heard from my good friend, Pastor Anton Van Straaten. ‘Draad Kruiper’ is Afrikaans for, ‘fence crawler’.”

5 Leadership Questions

I was recently a guest on the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast with Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper.

The Universe Had a Beginning

“In this excerpt from his message at [Ligonier Ministries’] 2012 National Conference, Dr. Stephen Meyer tells the story of how Hubble showed Einstein that the universe was not eternal but must have had a beginning.”

This Day in 1932. 84 years ago today, Olympic runner Eric Liddell made his evangelistic debut by sharing his testimony to a group of men in Armadale, Scotland. *

Foundry Bible Immersion

This looks like a pretty amazing program for college-aged students.

New JBMW

A new edition of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is now available. It’s a free download.

Watson

The more outrageous the wicked are against the truth, the more courageous the godly are for it. —Thomas Watson

April 05, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include The NIV Zondervan Study Bible edited by D.A. Carson ($3.99); The Grace of Repentance by Sinclair Ferguson ($2.99); Discovering the God Who Is by R.C. Sproul ($2.99); To the Glory of God by James Boice ($1.99); Each for the Other by Bryan Chapell ($1.99); The MacArthur Bible Handbook by John MacArthur ($2.99).

9 Things You Need to Know about Backpage.com and Sex Trafficking

This is awful but important. “Many assume sex trafficking is restricted to the darkest corners of the Internet. The online classified ad company ‘Backpage,’ however, has become the Walmart of sex trafficking and prostitution. For a modest fee, traffickers can post sex ads of women and children they control with force or fraud.”

Why Porn Kills Sex

On a similar note, Russell Moore looks at the recent edition of TIME, which has a cover story on porn, and talks about why pornography is so destructive to healthy sexuality.

My Pastor Uses Pre-Made Sermons

This is surprisingly common today. John Piper tells why it’s a bad idea.

Methuselah’s Age and the Patience of God

I enjoyed Nathan Busenitz’s reflection on the man who lived the longest.

5 Ways To Wound Immature Believers

“Making fun of immature Christians has turned into quite the lucrative market. The more mature Christians among us seem to have discovered this, as more and more spoof sites are cropping up.” Hmm… 

This Day in 1524. 492 years ago today, “Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli marries Anna Reinhart for the second time—this time in public.” *

The Institute for Expository Preaching

Steve Lawson is leading one of his institutes for expository preaching here in Toronto. You can get details at the link.

Facing A Task Unfinished

“On February 21st, 2016, Getty Music in partnership with OMF International led an estimated 1.1 million believers together across 100 countries for an unparalleled ‘Global Hymn Sing’ featuring the hymn ‘Facing a Task Unfinished.’” Between you and me, I think the hymn was oversold a bit as “the greatest missions hymn ever,” but it is still really amazing to see how many people sang it!

Explainer: The Lexi Page Case

Joe Carter explains the Lexi Page case which you may have heard of via social media.

Barrett

An evangelicalism with no boundaries will inevitably result in an evangelicalism with no orthodoxy. —Matthew Barrett

April 04, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: One True God by Paul Washer ($2.99); Pujols: More than the Game by Scott Lamb & Tim Ellsworth ($0.99); Glory Hunger by J.R. Vassar ($2.99); What’s In the Bible by R.C. Sproul & Robert Wolgemuth ($1.99); The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper ($4.99); Taking the Bible at its Word by Paul Wells ($3.99); The Beauty of Intolerance by Josh McDowell ($2.99).

Beneath The Evangelical Earthquake

Paul Carter writes about the word “evangelical” and our increasing reticence to be described that way.

The Intelligent Life of the City Raccoon

Well isn’t this fascinating: city raccoons are smarter than country raccoons because they have to reason their way through more complex challenges.

18 Things to Pray for Your Church

Jonathan Leeman provides 18 different things you can pray for your church.

Love Ain’t Easy

I’m looking forward to this series from Melissa Edgington as she discusses some of the difficult parts of marriage. The first part gets the series off to a good start.

Writing Advice

David Qaoud has collected writing tips from 5 of today’s most influential Christian writers.

This Day in 1968. 48 years ago today, civil rights leader and Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. *

The First 12 Hours

This is an interesting timeline and article from the New York Times as they tell how they responded in the first 12 hours after the recent bombings in Brussels.

The Omni-Directional Blessing of Bible Reading

Jemar Tisby shows that the simple discipline of reading and knowing your Bible works itself out in your life in many different ways.

Brooks

A preacher’s life should be a commentary of his doctrine; his practice should be a counterpart of his sermons. —Thomas Brooks

April 02, 2016

I did not come across any new and noteworthy Kindle deals today. If you’re in the mood for some reading, perhaps browse through this week’s A La Carte entries and look for the many deals I listed there. (I lied: True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts is great value at $2.99.)

12 Things to Know About the Anti-Christ

“We, in the Calvinistic and Reformed church, have not done justice to the Scripture’s teaching on this matter. We often rightly respond to the ‘Left Behind’ industry with dismay and sarcasm. In so doing, however, we have, perhaps inadvertently failed to sufficiently and soberly grasp Scripture’s teaching on this period of history which will be instrumental in bringing about a catastrophic and irreversible apostasy.”

Making Jesus in Our Own Image

I think you will enjoy this brief, challenging excerpt from an interview with Sinclair Ferguson.

Of Burner Phones and Busy Lives

This is a wise and challenging reflection on modern technologies and the ways they captivate us.

How To Become A Better Theologian

Edmondo Sanganyado had the novel idea of writing a long list of people to ask how to become a better theologian. The results are quite interesting, I think.

I’m a Christian and I Hate Christian Movies

I’m not convinced by the solution offered in this article, but I do think the author does a good job of explaining why Christian movies can be so disappointing.

Tomorrow in 1593. 423 years ago tomorrow, English poet George Herbert was born. *

The Right Kind of Code

Barnabas Piper talks about a recent locker room scandal: “When expressions of friendship and manhood mean covering up the misdeeds of another, especially from the one being wronged, it is neither friendship nor manhood—it is twisted cowardice.”

A Follow-up Response to Professor Keathley’s Erroneous Claims

This article is, to my knowledge, the most recent in a chain of respectful back-and-forth arguments that included my recent entry on Ken Ham and his view of evolution.

The Top 10 Books on Reconciling Divine Sovereignty and Free Will

Thanks to P&R for sponsoring the blog this week with “The Top 10 Books on Reconciling Divine Sovereignty and Free Will.”

Sibbes

There is never a holy sigh, never a tear we shed, which is lost. —Richard Sibbes

April 01, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Andrew Davis ($0.99); Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace ($0.99); How to Read the Bible in Changing Times by Mark Strauss ($4.99). As always, Amazon has their monthly selection of general market books at $3.99 or less that may be worth browsing through.

Logos users will want to download the free book of the month. You may also be interested in this Tim Keller pre-pub deal.

This month’s free audiobook from Christian Audio is Kevin DeYoung’s Taking God at His Word.

Andy Stanley’s Problem with the Bible

“Andy Stanley knows the Bible. As the son of the popular Baptist pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley, he has grown up under Bible teaching and preaching. As a pastor of a very large megachurch, North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, Andy Stanley has spent much time reading and studying the Bible. So, why does it seem that Andy Stanley has a problem with the Bible on so many different levels?”

Paul Washer Snaps

This anecdote from Paul Washer cracked me up. (And, on a satirical note, In Lieu Of Sermon, Paul Washer Glares At Congregation For 43 Straight Minutes.)

I Slept with My Girlfriend — Now What?

John Piper may no longer lead a church, but he still has the heart of a pastor.

Does the Pro-Life Movement Want to Punish Women?

Russell Moore: “Regardless of whether or not Trump’s comments come from a genuine and convictional pro-life worldview, all pro-life Americans need to make this issue clear: Protecting unborn babies is not about punishing women, but punishing an industry and a culture that dehumanizes human beings.” (Denny Burk also comments.)

Drugs You Don’t Need for Disorders You Don’t Have

I enjoyed this longform article on the pharmaceutical industry and how they can bamboozle us into buying ineffective and unnecessary medications. (Note: Click the button on the bottom-right to skip the splash page.)

This Day in 1743. 273 years ago today, David Brainerd began his missionary work among the Native Americans of New Jersey. *

Speed Limit 101

This short video explains all need to know about speed limits (and why your speedometer never quite matches your GPS).

How “God’s Not Dead” Fails Christians

I guess God’s Not Dead 2 comes to theatres this weekend. In the meantime, here’s a review of the first movie that does a good job of explaining objections to the first one.

Wragg

Spiritual credibility springs from a holy and pure life. —Jerry Wragg

March 31, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis ($0.99); Love Into Light by Peter Hubbard ($0.99); The Shorter Catechism Made Simple by Andrew Conway ($0.99); The End of Reason ($2.99) and Walking from East to West ($1.99) by Ravi Zacharias; Igniting the Fire by Jake Hanson ($1.99); Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions by Ken Ham ($2.99).

Pillar New Testament Commentaries

Westminster Books is offering a great deal on the Pillar New Testament Commentary series. This is a top-notch series edited by D.A. Carson and suitable to anyone who wishes to better understand God’s Word.

My Side, Your Side, or Neither

You may benefit from this reflection on church conflict. “Both sides will convince themselves that they are more than just right; they will convince themselves that God is on their side. When the inevitable resolution comes, the ‘winners’ will rejoice in God’s vindication. Meanwhile, the ‘losers’ will consider themselves martyrs who will one day experience God’s eschatological vindication. Thus, in victory or defeat, both sides refuse to give up their claim that God was on their side.”

You Don’t Deserve This

Ray Ortlund: “So you’re a faithful pastor.  You’re walking with the Lord. You’re preaching the gospel. You’re loving the people. You’re trying to evangelize, teach, pray, be an example, lead, do your job. You’re not perfect, and you admit it, but your heart is given to the Lord. And there is a faction in your church set against you.”

Band of Bloggers

Band of Bloggers is filling up fast. If you’re at T4G (or even just in Louisville) be sure to check it out. And be sure to check out the list of free books you’ll receive…

Admit It: Atheists Have a Point

Here’s a call for honesty. “We can diminish our credibility—not to mention the perceived reasonableness of the gospel—when we fail to admit that the opposition has some decent arguments. If we underestimate the strength of the objections, or overstate our own case, we ultimately make matters worse.”

Why Don’t We Follow All the Laws?

Christians are often charged with picking and choosing the Old Testament laws they follow today. J.D. Greear explains why not all laws are equal.

This Day in 1980. 36 years ago today, John Piper published his first book, Love Your Enemies*

ICWA, Lexi, and the Worst of American History

You may have heard of Lexi, the little girl who was taken away from her foster family (who attend John MacArthur’s church). Jesse Johnson gives a summary of what happened and why it matters.

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything

There is both challenge and encouragement in this article.

Duncan

There is nothing whatsoever surprising about sin. Holiness, however, is the most surprising thing in the world. —Ligon Duncan

March 30, 2016

 

Hope for a Hopeless Marriage

This story of hope in a hopeless situation may be an encouragement to you.

The Joy and Pain of Consistent Parenting

Parenting in a nutshell: “This morning I awoke at 12:30AM to the blood-curdling screams of my two-year old daughter. She wanted a new band-aid for her toe. Her screaming fit caused her one-year old brother to wake up as well.”

6 Great Threats to the Christian Family

“The Christian family is under constant assault. Western hemisphere Christians have awakened to this reality in recent years as Western nations embrace everything from homosexual union as marriage, to legally forbidding parents from disciplining their own children, to restricted parental rights regarding health care. As serious as these issues remain, some of the deadliest enemies of the Christian family come from within rather than from without.”

Preaching or Counseling?

Pastors and church leaders would do well to read and consider Ed Welch’s article on preaching and counseling.

Four Warnings for Your Twenties

“The same temptations that were murdering the believers under Moses are waging a spiritual war against believers today: entertainment, sexual immorality, impatience, and contentment. … These four warnings were lived out by Israel, but meant by God for you, and for me.”

This Day in 1661. 355 years ago today, Presbyterian preacher and author Samuel Rutherford died. *

Are You a Self-Starter, But Not a Self-Finisher?

It’s a question that’s well worth asking yourself. If you don’t know the answer, ask a few people who know you well. (I recently had some trusted friends tell me something very similar to this.)

5 Ways To Protect Your Kids At Church

All of these ought to be implemented in every church.

Exercising an Idle Mind

I’m really enjoying Kelly Needham’s writing these days. “Most days my mind is ready and active to tackle the challenge of overanalyzing any situation, whether it be my marriage, my children, recent conversations or exchanges I had with so-and-so, future plans, and more. There’s never a lack of things to think about. But an idle, purposeless thought life creates a downward spiral of self-focused thoughts and fantasies about problems that aren’t yet in existence. An idle mind can very often be the devil’s playground.”

Watson

One scandalous hypocrite makes the world suspect that all professors are so. —Thomas Watson

March 29, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include A Model of Christian Maturity by D.A. Carson ($2.99); Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine ($2.99); Doxology and Theology by Matt Boswell ($2.99); Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job by Hugh Ross ($2.99); Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax ($2.99). New from GLH Publishing is Walking with God by Richard Baxter which is starting out at $0.99.

Ligonier is offering this month’s issue of Tabletalk as a free download in various formats. It deals with the timely subject of Islam.

15 Reflections from My 15 Years of Experience as a Pastor

Brian Najapfour offers up 15 excellent reflections based on his 15 years of pastoring.

Faithlessness Shrinks You Down To a Grasshopper

Trevin Wax: “Thinking too little of God sometimes leads you to think too little of yourself. For years, I thought it was the other way around. I always thought that seeing God as big meant I needed to see myself as small. Or, to put it another way, the bigger my vision of God grows, the more my vision of myself will shrink. Wrong.”

Will Phoebe Have Down’s Syndrome in Heaven?

This is a short but powerful reflection in which a father answers his son.

The Hardest Thing About Being a Missionary

It turns out that the hardest thing about being a missionary is also the hardest thing about being a pastor. That leads this pastor/missionary to a meditation on loving people even when it is difficult.

Love and Entitlement

Over the last little while, Melissa has been penning a lot of small articles like this one that reflect on the nature of true love compared to versions that are fraudulent or ridiculous. This time it’s “making sure that our relationships are about US getting what WE want, and if the other person can’t deliver on our list of demands, then they just aren’t worthy of us.”

This Day in 1788. 228 years ago today, evangelist and hymn writer Charles Wesley died. *

Homophobia Has No Place in the Church

“Simply put, homophobia means a fear of homosexuality and, more specifically, homosexual people. And while it is not the same as loving, biblical opposition to certain behaviors or beliefs, this fear-based attitude often leads to unhelpful stereotypes, prejudice, and even cruel mistreatment. So let’s call a spade a spade. Homophobia exists, and it has no place in the church.”

How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root

The Washington Post has a long and interesting explanation of how Hillary Clinton’s email scandal began and took root.

Syria and My Prayerlessness

I think we have all had these moments: “My heart sank on Sunday morning when someone prayed aloud for the Syrian refugees. I had forgotten all about them.” I appreciate Laura Booz’s reflection and determination.

Greear

In the Bible we find no gap between the call to follow Jesus and the call to engage in mission. —J.D. Greear