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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

August 04, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Many volumes in the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series, The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History by Kenneth Curtis and Jesus Revealed by Mark D. Roberts. Get those deals and others here.

Westminster Books has their annual sale on the excellent Resources For Changing Lives booklets. They’ve got a number of associated books on sale as well.

God’s Sovereign Grace in Timbuktu

Randy Alcorn tells a neat little tale and he tells it well.

How Can You Get a Mentor?

“I often hear from Christians who want to find a mentor, but aren’t sure how to go about that. Often these believers know they would benefit from this kind of relationship, but they don’t know how it starts or what they should be doing. Here is some guidance on finding a mentor…”

Religious Liberty In Canada

Paul Carter did some research and found the situation is pretty good when it comes to the legal protection of religious liberty here in Canada.

Four Reasons to Pray for Your Pastor Daily

Please do!

Don’t Write It Off As Law

Please don’t! “We ought not to be too hasty in labeling everything ‘Law’ for fear that it may contradict the balm of grace. Don’t write off the commandments of God as being somehow anti-grace and, therefore, anti-gospel.”

This Day in 1892. 124 years ago today, Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell arrived in Labrador, Newfoundland where he laboured as a missionary and physician for 42 years, helping build orphanages, hospitals and other community organizations. *

4 Ways the World Will Pressure You To Conform

Trevin Wax came across some useful materials in which the author “lays out four ways in which the Babylonian empire sought to bring the Jewish exiles in line with their pagan ways. These strategies show us how the world, in every era, can pressure Christians to conform.”

America’s Largest Outdoor Theatre

Atlas Obscura (a site I really enjoy) writes about America’s largest outdoor theatre and how it’s filled with 700 lip-syncing Mormons.

Cry Out!

True Woman is hosting a simulcast event later this year that may be of interest to you. “What could be more vital at this critical time, than for women to bow together before the God of heaven and earth and cry out to Him for mercy and supernatural intervention in our world, our nation, our churches, our cities, and our homes.”

Flashback: Help, Lord—The Devil Wants Me Fat!

Here’s an old Christian book meant to help you lose weight. It’s…different.

Schaeffer

Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world. —Francis Schaeffer

August 03, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals are pretty good. We’ve got Exploring Christian Theology by Michael Svigel; How Could a Loving God? by Ken Ham; Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear; Cross edited by John Piper; and Harmony of the Gospels by Kendell Easley. Get them here.

America’s Lost Boys

“Where have America’s young men gone? According to Erik Hurst, an economist from the University of Chicago, they haven’t gone anywhere—they’re just plugged in. … The average low-skilled, unemployed man in this group plays video games an average of twelve, and sometimes upwards of thirty hours per week.”

What Was It Like to Hear Billy Sunday Preach?

Justin Taylor provides a fascinating look at what it was like to hear Billy Sunday preach.

136 Years of Baby Names

Here are some neat interactive visualizations showing 136 years of baby names in America. You can even search for your name to track its history.

Six Practical Reasons ‘Free Will’ Matters

John Piper continues his mini blog series on free will.

Don’t Despise Small Beginnings

Mark Altrogge has a brief word of encouragement.

This Day in 1858. 158 years ago today, Maltie D. Babcock, American Presbyterian clergyman, was born. He is remembered today for his hymn, “This is My Father’s World.” *

The International Bestseller Written in Three Days

Mindy Belz digs up a surprise bestseller from a few decades ago. “Later in life Wurmbrand declared Tortured for Christ ‘has no literary value.’ He acknowledged only that it was written ‘with pen and tears.’ And that, in a nutshell, is its secret formula for success.”

How Much Should a Pastor or Elder Tell His Wife?

A lot of pastors and elders struggle with this question. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to it.

Why Did the Concorde Fail?

The Concorde was a technological marvel that was far ahead of its time. Why did it fail? This 10-minute video explains.

Flashback: Through New Eyes

One of the great joys of being a Christian is the ability we gain to look at the Bible and, through the Bible, to see the world in the way God sees it. It is like the Bible is a pair of glasses through which we gain God’s vision and God’s perspective.

Spurgeon

A little sin, like a little pebble in the shoe, will make a traveler to heaven walk very wearily. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 02, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals are excellent! They include Gospel Assurance and Warnings by Paul Washer; Raised? by Jonathan Dodson & Brad Watson; Proof by Daniel Montgomery & Timothy Paul Jones; Worldly Saints by Michael Wittmer (I highly recommend this one); The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission by John Dickson; Know the Creeds and Councils by Justin Holcomb; The God I Don’t Understand by Christopher Wright; The MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV). Get them here.

Logos users may want to grab this month’s free book. There are also some monthly deals to be had. I will sort through them later this week and make some recommendations.

What Are America’s Largest Seminaries?

The results are interesting. So too are the comparisons to 20 years ago. (Joe Carter interprets the results.)

10 Things You Should Know About General Revelation

I’m a sucker for Sam Storms’ “10 things” posts. In this one he discusses general revelation. “Because of our focus on the inspiration and inerrancy of God’s written revelation, the Bible (i.e., Special Revelation), we often tend to ignore the other ways in which God has made himself known more generally to all mankind.”

Big Families Lift Burdens

Even with all of 3 children we get stares in our middle-class, two-child town. “Underlying our culture’s distaste for large families is, among other things, the assumption that couples should only bring enough children into our overcrowded world to replace themselves. That is to say, no family really needs to have more than two children.”

Idolatry’s X-Ray

Maybe I’m just sharing this one because I’m hungry. “Cheesecake is not an abomination; cream cheese and graham cracker crumbles are gifts from the Creator (1 Tim. 4:4). God has given us many gifts to enjoy. Sports, laughter, mountains, and music are all gifts from God. Yet, we are able to twist his gifts, contort, and reshape them into an idol, spitting in the face of the Giver.”

Why Are So Many Corpse Flowers Blooming at Once?

The corpse flower is apparently just about the stinkiest plant in the world. The question is, why are so many blooming at once?

This Day in 1947. 69 years ago today, Chinese Protestant leader Liu Tingfang died of tuberculosis. His strong faith and intellectual gifts left a lasting mark on Chinese Christianity. *

What to do When You Are in a Spiritual Dry Spell

You must know these times: “We sing in worship and feel nothing. We read the Bible and stare blankly at the words. We pray and think we are talking to ourselves. The joy is not there, and it seems as if God is a thousand miles away.”

Yes Christian, You Need the Church

You know this, I’m sure, but it’s good to be reminded.

Flashback: An Angry God

God’s wrath is revulsion. It is not mere emotion and is not at all irrational. It is so much more than emotion.

Ryle

A Christian is a walking sermon. We preach far more than a minister does, for we preach all week long.J.C. Ryle

August 01, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include a good selection: Atheism Remix by Albert Mohler; Reasons We Believe by Nathan Busenitz; Is Jesus the Only Way? by Philip Ryken; Reasons for Faith by Norman Geisler; How to Be An Atheist by Mitch Stokes; and What’s Best Next by Matt Perman. Get them here.

Free from Christian Audio this month is The Brothers Karamazov. They also have a lot of other great classics discounted.

The Story of Iran’s Church in Two Sentences

“It’s a simple story that can be summarized in just two sentences: Persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church. Instead, the church in Iran has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ. As simple as it is, such an amazing story is worth examining deeper.”

China’s Christian Future

We go from Iran to China: “Two years later, the Holy Spirit made fellowship with me and allowed me to confess my sins. The Lord gave me the chance to repent and he accepted me as his humble servant. I was baptized on Christmas Eve. Our Bible study group became an ark. As human rights lawyers, independent writers, journalists, and Tiananmen survivors joined us aboard our vessel, our community of faith also became a thorn in the regime’s side.”

50+ Old Fashioned Insults We Should Bring Back

Yeah, I think we could do with a revival of some of these—dunderhead, gadabout, gollumpus, etc.

Stop Having ‘Quiet Times’

David Powlison is always worth reading. “In the verbal actions of the psalms—rejoicing in who God is, asking for needed help, expressing heartfelt thanks—we’re talking to someone. It’s fair to say that having a ‘quiet time’ is a misnomer. It’s more of an out loud, ‘noisy’ time.”

The Gritty, Grace-Filled Virtue of Self-Control

“In a culture of ‘gospel-centered (fill in the blank)’ and grace-filled (again, fill in the blank), have we bypassed perhaps the supreme virtue of Christianity: a gritty, unwavering control of our passions, thoughts, words, and behaviors for the sake of Christ?”

This Day in 1834. 182 years ago today, Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China, died at age 52. *

3 Types of Legalism

R.C. Sproul discusses legalism: “The gospel calls men to repentance, holiness, and godliness. Because of this, the world finds the gospel offensive. But woe to us if we add unnecessarily to that offense by distorting the true nature of Christianity by combining it with legalism.”

Three Men You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

This neat animation shows how three men you’ve probably never heard of helped end the Second World War.

Flashback: And Also Much Cattle…

“We need to answer the question. You and I. Do we really believe that nothing in all the world is more valuable than people? Do we bear this out in our lives?”

Parsons

I want to hate my sins more than I hate the sins of others who sin differently than I do. —Burk Parsons

July 30, 2016

Logos users may like to know that several major new works have just made the transition to the Logos format: Zechariah by Mark Boda (NICOT); Romans by Richard Longenecker (NIGTC); and The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures by D.A. Carson.

Your Work Never Goes Unseen

This is sweet and encouraging: “God sees. And all things done for his glory and in his name are never wasted. That includes the laundry we fold, the meals we prepare, and all the quiet, mundane acts of service we provide for our family.”

Online Bible Study Resources

Nathan Busenitz shares some of his favorite free online Bible study resources.

The Best Way to Organize Your Desk

“When you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest features of your workspace–such as the position of your monitor or the height of your chair–can greatly affect your productivity and even your health. Here’s what science says about the best way to set up your office for ergonomics and productivity.”

Machias Seal Island

I didn’t know that there are ongoing territorial disputes between Canada and the US. “Little known to most Americans and Canadians, the U.S. and Canada hold five border disputes to this day.”

The Power Is in the Word, Not in Methods

Here’s a short but important reminder from R.C. Sproul.

The Most Relentless Propagator of Racism

This is important considering how many people are drowning in a cesspool of porn: “ugly and brutal racial stereotypes are being crassly perpetuated by one of the largest capitalist enterprises in the United States of America: the porn industry.”

This Day in 1956. 60 years ago today, “In God We Trust” became the official motto of the United States by an act of Congress signed by President Eisenhower. *

The Decline of British English, Visualized

Even I, as a Canadian, have pretty well given up on British English.

How to See Productivity from a Biblical Perspective

“Productivity sometimes seems like a bad thing, or at least a purposeless one. We work and produce more, more more, but to what end? Is there a purpose to all our productivity? From a biblical perspective, there is.”

Flashback: Paul Washer’s 7 Concerns with the New Calvinism

A few years ago I interviewed Paul Washer and he laid out 7 concerns with the New Calvinism. Are they still valid today?

The Tyranny of Tolerance

My thanks goes to Impact360 for sponsoring the blog this week with “3 Practical Steps to Resist the Tyranny of Tolerance.”

Quote

Peace in the gospel is not just a ceasefire, but the ability to look at people who were formerly foes and call them family. —John Onwuchekwa

July 29, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 3 books I highly recommend: The Gospel by Ray Ortlund; Core Christianity by Michael Horton; and Church History 101 by Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, and Michael Haykin. You can find the deals right here.

On the print book side, Westminster Books has a great sale on the venerable NICNT commentary series. You can build yourself a commentary collection in a hurry with these volumes. (For specific commentary recommendations, you can visit my Best Commentaries page.

Godly Compassion for Hurting People

John MacArthur describes “a wonderful, practical, real-life illustration of God’s compassion.”

The Word of God and the Academy

Tim Grant: “I have noticed that those from the academy give the impression that the Bible belongs to them—that they have a special claim on it and that they have a special claim to understand it, due to their great learning, general smartness, or a PhD they completed at some point in the past. They are, at this point, deeply mistaken.”

The Camera Adds 10 Pounds

You’ve heard it said before that the camera adds 10 pounds. This quite gif shows how that’s the case. It’s all about the lens!

Touched by Biblical Beauty

George Guthrie: “The world may be ‘death impregnated,’ as one of my mentors used to say, and most of us know the bite of suffering in one form or another, but it also is brim-full of beauty because it everywhere bears the mark of his thumbprint, his “It was very good” (Gen. 1:31). The common graces of tastes, sights, touch, sounds, enduring friendship, love, joy, community. And much, much beauty has been squeezed into the world through the funnel of God’s good Word, the Bible.”

This Day in 1775. 241 years ago today, the U.S. Army Chaplaincy was founded, making it the second oldest branch of that service after the Infantry. *

The Attractional Church’s Growing Irrelevance

Jared Wilson does what he does so well: “I find it incredibly interesting, sort of amusing, and more than a bit sad that the attractional church—what we used to call the “seeker church”—hasn’t seemed to grow up at all. Yes, it’s grown big. But growing big and growing up aren’t the same thing.”

The Rearview Mirror

“We see Providence in the rearview mirror. In my experience, it is usually far less clear looking over the dashboard. It’s when we look back that we can see how God was working all things together for his glory and our good.”

Trumped

Despite the title, this is not really an article about Trump. It is, in fact, about the church and a role the church ought to play.

Flashback: Why We Fail at Family Devotions

Here are some common reasons that we fail in our good desire to have family devotions.

Carson

If we harbor bitterness and resentment, praying is little more than wasted time and effort.D.A. Carson

July 28, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa by Vance Christie; Patrick of Ireland: The Boy Who Forgave by Karen Murdarasi;Foundations by Peter Mead; As It Is Written by Kenneth Gentry; An All-Round Ministry by Charles Spurgeon. Find them all (and others!) here.

A Little Gem in Job

James Faris says and shows that “One of the beautiful but subtle gems of Scripture is found in the book of Job.”

Missionaries are Supposed to Suffer

Amy Medina: “I’m going to let you in on one of missionaries’ biggest secrets: They are terrified to tell you about their vacations.” In other words, missionaries are supposed to suffer…so are they allowed to eat lobster?

5 Reasons to Host a Q&A After Your Worship Service

Tim Keller explains why he used to host a Q&A after his services and why you may wish to consider one as well. At Grace Fellowship Church we have a brief, moderated Q&A related to the morning service at the very beginning of our evening service. We find it very helpful.

The Oppressive Gospel of ‘Minimalism’

This article from the New York Times has some good insights as it looks at the new gospel of minimalism. “It has become an ostentatious ritual of consumerist self-sacrifice; people who have it all now seem to prefer having nothing at all. And, as with watching birds or going Paleo, talking about the material purge is just as important as actually doing it.”

Prophetic from the Center by Don Carson

Here’s a new, free ebook from TGC. “Prophetic from the Center is a short e-book adapted from D.A. Carson’s plenary address at The Gospel Coalition’s inaugural public conference in 2007. It is an extended exposition of I Corinthians 15:1-19, and embodies TGC’s mission to make the gospel central to the Christian life. It is a powerful and bracing call to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This Day in 1540. 476 years ago today, Thomas Cromwell, who served King Henry VIII as chief advisor, was executed after refusing to support Henry’s divorce against Anne of Cleves. *

10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time

Here are a few useful tips to address a common problem.

14 Lions, 1 Elephant

Who would you pick as the winner? (I was able to see but not hear the video, so forgive me if anything is said that is inappropriate.)

Flashback: What Gives God Pleasure

What makes you happy? What pleasures do you pursue? That might be one of the most important things about you. And let’s ask a related question: What makes God happy? What pleasures does God pursue? That might be one of the most important things about God.

Welch

The cross is the quickest and best summary of what God says to unworthy people. —Ed Welch

July 27, 2016

There are a couple of new Kindle deals today: Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton and the NIV Lifehacks Bible by Joe Carter. Or if you are into printed books…

9Marks’ Building Healthy Churches is a great series meant to, well, build healthy churches. Westminster Books has discounted the whole series and the discounts increase as you buy more of them. A lot of other 9Marks books are also on sale. Buy them for yourself, for your pastor, or for your church.

Marriage Manifesto for Men

Ed Welch’s article is pretty short as manifestos go, but a good read. He talks about responsibility in marriage and, despite the title, it applies to both husbands and wives.

The Bug With the Great Big Eyes

It has been a long time since I’ve linked to a collection of photos. Here are some quality ones from the BBC. “From the macro to the massive, deserts to underwater worlds, here is a selection of our favourite photographs from the Earth Capture community this week.”

14 Rules for Being a Godly Employee

Jordan Standridge: “Not too long ago I found a little article a professor shared with us that was written by an old pastor. He offered 14 rules that he tried to live by in order to be the best pastor possible. As I looked through his ‘rules’ it was obvious that this didn’t just apply to pastors, but rather it could be applied to any job anywhere.”

Accountability Software Roundup

Steven Kryger: “Accountability software is a powerful tool in the pursuit of purity online. Here’s a comparison of 5 of the best tools on the market today.”

Ask Pastor John

Andy Naselli just finished listening to all 900+ episodes of Ask Pastor John and shares what he considers a few of the strongest episodes. If you’re new to the podcast, you might like to begin with these ones.

This Day in 1945.71 years ago today, Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s parents learned of his execution through a broadcast emanating from London. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian, active in the resistance to Hitler and Nazism.*

Dutch Men and Latvian Women

This interested me primarily because I grew up among tall Dutch folk. “Dutch men and Latvian women are now the tallest in the world, height study reveals. Where do you stand on the global height chart?”

How My Special-Needs Sister Teaches Me to Trust God’s Heart

I enjoyed this article by Allyson Todd. “It seems like part of growing up is finally realizing how much your childhood affected your adulthood. You start to realize that you have habits and presuppositions because of your family, and you also have interests and values that are shaped by your experiences as a kid. One of the most formidable things that shaped who I am today is my sister, Amanda. She is now 21 years old, reads more books than I do, just graduated high-school, and has Down’s Syndrome.”

Flashback: No Platform High Enough

“No matter your goal, no matter your god, it will not and cannot bring lasting satisfaction. In this world, God’s world, these kinds of desires were never meant to bring ultimate satisfaction…”

Tripp

We will never be so holy as to meet God’s standard and we are never too wicked as to be beyond his rescue. —Paul Tripp