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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

February 06, 2014

Here are just a couple of Kindle deals: True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts is an excellent little book ($2.99); From the same publisher is Will You Be My Facebook Friend? by Tim Chester ($2.99) and The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller ($1.62).

God at Three O’Clock - Here’s one especially for the moms. “Have you been there? In those 3am moments? When it feels like the whole world is sleeping soundly, but you are up wringing your hands or watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with a miserable baby or crying out to God that He will take away your pain, take away your child’s pain, hear you when He feels so far away?”

Delaying Marriage and Same Sex Attraction - Lore Ferguson wonders about the connection: “The longer marriage is delayed into the 30s and later, the more I have women especially coming and confessing SSA or the existence of a SS relationship in which they have engaged.”

A Consensus on Airplane Seat Reclining - I quite agree: We need guidelines on when, if ever, it’s OK to recline one’s seat. Mostly, never.

Dear Donald Miller - Lots of people took the time to respond to some recent comments from Donald Miller. This was probably my favorite.

So Much More Than Manners - Julian Freeman: “I want to provide you with my compilation of New Testament texts and teaching on thankfulness. I think the best way to use it is to download the PDF, print it, go through the texts one-by-one and make notes on them. That being said, I know that many of you (a) won’t do that, or, (b) won’t do that without convincing, so I’m going to offer a few highlights here.”

An Imperfect Mom Is Still a Good Mom - I guess every mom gets to this point: “Perfect Mother was out of the question.  My blotted record had shown me that already.  But maybe Good Mother could be enough for my little ones.”

Waiting for an answer to prayer is often part of the answer. —John Blanchard

Blanchard

February 05, 2014

The Church About Nothing - Here’s some good counsel: “What do we want to do when we want to learn about a church? Well, typically, we read their websites and maybe listen to a sermon or two. This is definitely helpful. However, I’d like to suggest another option: listen to members talk.”

Preaching the Wrath of God - Steve Lawson: “Faithful pulpit ministry requires the declaration of both judgment and grace. The Word of God is a sharp, two-edged sword that softens and hardens, comforts and afflicts, saves and damns.”

Remember Who Your Children Really Are - This is a really good and helpful reminder. “These daughters whom I adore will remain my children for this life only. I am the father of Hannah and Skylar until death, but—inasmuch as they embrace the Gospel—I will remain their brother for all eternity. Put another way, if your children stand beside you in the glories of heaven, they will not stand beside you as your children but as your blood-redeemed brothers and sisters…”

The Ham-Nye Debate - Al Mohler has a substanial recap of last night’s debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. (And while we’re talking Al Mohler, you may also like to read his article on The New American Religion)

Who Owns the Pastor’s Sermons? - Here’s a modern conundrum the New Testament church probably didn’t have to face. “Who owns the pastor’s sermon? Church or pastor? When sermons become books that make millions in royalties, the answer is important.”

Romans 1-7 For You - Westminster Books has some good deals this week, including Tim Keller’s Romans 1-7 For You, and two other books I’ve read and recommended in the past couple of weeks.

The basic needs of the human heart never change. The answers to that need never change. —William G. Hughes

Hughes

February 03, 2014

Here are just a couple of new Kindle deals. New for Kindle from GLH Publishing is A Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge ($0.99); Doxology and Theology by Matt Boswell ($0.99). Also, most of the Kindle tablets are on sale for a short time; you can see details at Amazon.

When Neighbors Begin - Doug Wilson responds to Rachel Held Evans and her thoughts on when life begins. “The size of these tiny people only affects the clarity of the situation if we define the humanity of others on the basis of our limited eyesight. But why is the question of a soul connected to size, as though the naked eye were in charge of these things?”

Forged in Forgiveness - “This is a remarkable story. Erik Fitzgerald was a youth pastor in Georgia when he awoke one day to the terrible news that his wife and son had been killed in a car accident.” A video tells what happened after he met the man driving the other car.

Happily Ever After - I guess this is one for women: “Even at my age I still love princess stories. Growing up I was committed to my role as princess whenever playing dress up. Honestly, I wish we still dressed in big flowing gowns. I am all for chivalry, I love movies with happily-ever-after endings, and am totally into reading Monarchical History. I am a romantic through and through.”

Bible Translations and Bible Reading - Here are some helpful distinctions in Bible translations and helpful counsel in Bible reading and studying.

Amazing Olympic Facts - I think “amazing” might be overselling it; “random and interesting” is more like it.

Ask R.C. Live - Here’s a link to the recording from last week’s “Ask R.C.” online event; there’s also a list of all the questions he answered if you’re looking for something in particular.

May your character be not a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock. —C.H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon Rock

February 03, 2014

R.C. Sproul’s The Prayer of the Lord is free for Kindle this month. You know what to do! In other deals: Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore (just a fun read) ($3.99); Against the Gods by John Currid ($3.99); What Is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever ($1.99); Hedges by Jerry Jenkins ($4.99); the HCSB Study Bible ($2.99).Grounded in the Faith by Ken Erisman is a great deal at $3.99 (see my review).

(In case you didn’t check in on Saturday) When Helping Hurts - This month’s free audiobook from ChristianAudio is a good one: When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert. It would be downright ridiculous not to download it! Meanwhile, Logos users will want to grab this month’s free Logos book: Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence.

Do Women Earn Less Than Men? - According to The Daily Beast, “It’s the bogus statistic that won’t die—and president deployed it during the State of the Union—but women do not make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns.”

5 Reasons to Preach Expositional Sermons - Here from Dr. Hershael York are 5 reasons we ought to preach expositional sermons.

The Crux of the Matter - There has been some recent debate about whether persons were crucified in the nude or not, and whether there is evidence that could settle this issue. Ben Witherington reports.

How to Preach a Stale Sermon - This is a good word for pastors. “Preparing a sermon is not only about exegesis, reading commentaries, articulating propositions, and finding appropriate illustrations. Sermon preparation is also about personally discovering, digesting, and delighting in the truth.”

Queen Latifah’s Grammy Mass Wedding - Carl Trueman: “Traditional political institutions seem comparatively impotent in the face of an entertainment industry which grips the imagination in a way that the gray suited denizens of Washington or Westminster do not.”

Sin and the devil will always find helpers in our hearts. —J.C. Ryle

JC Ryle

February 01, 2014

Every month Amazon has a selection of Kindle books at $3.99 or less. Of special interest to Christian readers may be Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas ($3.99) and the HCSB Study Bible ($2.99). You can check out the rest of the list (it includes biographies, novels, etc) here. Also on sale is The New Answers Book 1 by Ken Ham ($4.99). Grounded in the Faith by Ken Erisman is a great deal at $3.99 (see my review).

When Helping Hurts - This month’s free audiobook from ChristianAudio is a good one: When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert. It would be downright ridiculous not to download it! Meanwhile, Logos users will want to grab this month’s free Logos book: Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence.

Pilgrim’s Progress: A Guided Tour - Ligonier has a new course from Derek Thomas: Pilgrim’s Progress: A Guided Tour. If you haven’t ever looked at Ligonier Connect, maybe now’s the time. I think I’m going to take this one before long…

So Many Popes - Michael Horton has a valuable reflection on church leadership. “Even in our circles, there is a tendency to create stars whose models of ‘doing church’ divide the ordered life of local and wider assemblies of mutual accountability. Few actually set out with that purpose.”

Blessings Too Big - When God said that children were a blessing, he wasn’t kidding (Psalm 127:3). I’ve got blessings doing cartwheels in my living room and blessings smeared on my kitchen nook windows. The signs of this shocking blessedness is all over the place. My wife and I spend our evenings mopping up the remnants of this blessing, regrouping, catching our breath, getting ready for another day of drinking this blessing from the fire hose of five insanely cute, creative, and (let’s admit it) slightly crazy people under the age of ten.”

Those Who Doubt Their Faith - Here are eight diagnostic questions to ask of people who doubt their faith.

Outrageous Adolesence of the F-16 - “is is the story of two brothers, who happen to be airplanes. The older brother, the F-15 Eagle, entered the world fully formed, and his doting parents—the U.S. Air Force—nurtured him and quickly forgave minor transgressions. The younger brother, the F-16, was born prematurely, with no name, and scrambled to catch up.”

You are always on duty in the Christian life, you can never relax. There is no such thing as a holiday in the spiritual realm. —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

MLJ

January 31, 2014

Here is are just a couple of month-end Kindle deals: Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper ($2.99); Evangelical Press’ Bite-Size Biographies are a good deal at $3.99 or so each. You can find John Knox here and scroll down to see many of the others in the series. They are good, short biographies of important Christians.

Superbowl Fact-Checker - “Super Bowl myths. You’ve heard them all before. You’ve probably even passed them along to friends and family (I know I have). While Scripture forbids us from spreading a false report. (Exodus 23:1), sometimes, because of lack of information, we unintentionally pass along false reports in the form of myths and urban legends.” Joe Carter looks into them.

Exhaustion - I like the sound of this: Take back Sunday!

Without Love I Am Nothing - In light of 1 Corinthians 13, here is a word to Bible students, seminarians, and disciple-makers.

What Are We Missing In Our Worship? - I completely agree with this: “I often miss an element of the service when visiting other churches that I have come to love more and more. It is an element that has a long history in the worship of the church. It is pastorally sensitive, encourages the believer, exhorts the unbeliever, and is entirely biblical.”

Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep - “The fact is humans need sleep, between 7–8 hours a day. But most of us aren’t getting it. According to studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deprivation is epidemic. In the last week articles and infographs have been circulating the web with convincing evidence that this is the real deal. In addition to that content, here are three reasons why you should get some sleep.”

The voices of childhood echo throughout life. The first learned is generally the last forgotten. —C.H. Spurgeon 

Spurgeon

January 30, 2014

How To Keep Your “I Do” In The Present Tense - This is a powerful one. “Don Henley of Eagles fame once sang, ‘I had a good life, before you came.’ And so it was with me. I was single. I pastored the little white Church on the corner…” And then he met her.

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals - John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is $2.99 for Kindle.

A Catechism on the Heart - In this article from Tabletalk, Sinclair Ferguson provides a short catechism on the heart.

The Stealth Prosperity Gospel - Jared Wilson: “The real devil in the details of the prosperity-type teaching permeating so much of evangelicalism is not really that it skips over the stuff about sin. Sure, it does that too, but the pernicious paradox of this stuff is that it champions “’victorious Christian living’ yet does not equip believers for sustainable discipleship.”

The Priority that Isn’t - Tony Payne has a word for church leaders: “So which items are you going to prioritize? And which areas will (sadly but perhaps inevitably) have less effort put into them, and just potter along for another year?” He has a good suggestion.

Winter Storm Havoc - Here’s a photo gallery of that winter storm that swept through the American south. I’m grateful to the Christian family who kindly took in my sister and niece after they were stranded on the freeway for 12+ hours.

Your Grammys’ Church - Dr. Peter Jones reviews this year’s Grammy’s. Meanwhile, Tripp Lee has 5 Questions for Beyonce who was, I guess, the “star” of the show.

When we are weak, then are we strong. When most empty of self, we are most full of God. —Charles Hodge

Hodge

January 29, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography by Vicki Tiede ($2.99); True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts ($2.99); When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search by Chris Brauns ($5.77); Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas ($2.99); What Angels Wish They Knew by Alistair Begg ($5.77); Can We Know the Truth? by Richard Phillips ($1.99).

Authenticity, Honesty, and the Stay-At-Home-Mother - Here’s a challenge: “The mommy wars have made great advances in battling the false fronts of picture-perfect blog posts, where dinners always look fabulous, children are always beautifully dressed, and husbands always come home with roses. But we’ve replaced those filtered versions of our lives with other versions…”

Church Size - “If you are a pastor, church planter, or key leader, you need a healthy and theologically sound attitude for dealing with church growth, size, and numbers.” Here are 5 important things to remember when it comes to church size. 

What’s Your Worldview? - What’s Your Worldview is an interesting new book. It uses a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style to answer life’s biggest questions. Westminster Books has it on sale in paperback. Amazon has the Kindle edition for $7.19.

A Lukewarm Interpretation of Hot and Cold - “ ‘Because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.’ Here’s an interpretation of this often-misused verse.

An Interview with Ben Zobrist - I enjoyed this interview with Ben Zobrist. And I appreciated his token shout-out to the Blue Jays.

Good Piper Quotes - For years now this blogger has been mining funny and quirky quotes from John Piper’s sermons. This is the last batch.

The Historical Reality of Adam - Guy Prentiss Waters gives the lay of the land in the battle over the historical Adam.

Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. —John Piper

Piper Sin

January 28, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Christian Worldview: A Student’s Guide by Philip Ryken ($3.99); unPlanned by Abby Johnson ($2.99); John A Broadus by David Dockery ($0.99); Gospel Commission by Michael Horton ($3.99).

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers? - “Many people have wondered why our all-powerful and loving God doesn’t answer the prayers of His people.” We have all wondered it at one time or another. This article provides a helpful take on it.

How Can It Be - You’re treading on sacred ground when you add to or take away from a hymn as well-loved as “And Can It Be.” But this version from The Falls Anglican is pretty good. It’s also a free download.

Grace Sharjah - Just over a year ago I was in Dubai visiting a couple of churches in Dubai and heard about their desire to plant new churches. Grace Sharjah is their new church plant in Sharjah and it launches on Friday. Any time a new church begins in the Middle East, it’s worth praising God for and worth praying for.

Don’t Give My Husband Romance Lessons - I got a chuckle out of this: “I am not an overly romantic person, and that’s good, because my husband isn’t the type, either. And that’s okay with us. If he was to sit down, at candlelight, look into my eyes, and recite poetry, we’d both end up laughing. We love candlelight, but we have never been what I would call romance lovers.”

Credo Magazine - The newest issue of Credo magazine looks deep into the great doctrine of justification. Contributors include Thomas Schreiner, Michael Allen, Michael Horton, Philip Ryken and others.

Babies Are Murdered Here - This new documentary on abortion is worth watching (though I am not crazy about the too-close link between Old Testament Israel and contemporary America). About You is another reflective look at abortion.

This Beautiful World - These photos highlight just a little bit of the beauty of this earth.

True Christian prayer is the faith and reliance of the soul breathed forth in words. —Jonathan Edwards

Edwards on Prayer

January 27, 2014

Here are a few Kindle deals worth checking out: Wesley on the Christian Life by Fred Sanders ($4.99); Covenantal Apologetics by Scott Oliphant ($4.99); An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis ($4.99); One With Christ by Marcus Peter Johnson ($4.99); A Concise New Testament Theology by I. Howard Marshall ($5.68); Fallen edited by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson ($4.99); The Finished Work of Christ by Francis Schaeffer ($4.99).

Those Dragons Underneath Our Beds - Matthew Westerholm shows that how we approach a situation reveals what we expect to find and then applies that to our approach to our worship services.

Music and Alzheimer’s Patients - This is a fascinating video which displays some of the power of music. A non-responsive Alzheimer’s patient listens to the music of his youth and is transformed.

Has Authenticity Trumped Holiness? - This is well worth considering: “Often, what passes for authenticity in evangelical Christianity is actually a safe, faux-openness that establishes an environment where vulnerability is embraced, only up to a point.”

Origins of Common Words - If you’re into words you’ll probably be interested in this collection of maps that shows the origins of common words.

The Shortest Commentary on the Bible - Here is the shortest commentary on the Bible: Each book of the Bible summarized in a single tweet. Some of them are very well done. Example: “Philippians: Even in chains, Paul is freer than wild horses. Even in prison, his joy is boundless as the skies.”

Dying Well - You should watch this video of Nick Magnotti who battled cancer for two years and whose faith was strong throughout. He went to be with the Lord earlier this month.

To accept Christ’s righteousness alone, his blood alone for salvation, is the sum of the gospel. —Thomas Wilcox

Wilcox

Pages