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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
A La Carte
December 03, 2013
Here are a couple of Kindle deals: Marriage Matters by Winston Smith (free); A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture by Keith Mathison (free); The Millennials by Thom Rainer ($0.99); Doxology and Theology by Matt Boswell ($3.99); When Missions Shapes the Mission by David Horner ($2.99); Scripture Alone by James White ($3.99); Renewing Your Mind by R.C. Sproul ($3.99); The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton ($3.99); Basics for Believers by D.A. Carson ($3.99); Why Cities Matter by Stephen Um & Justin Buzzard ($2.99)
Family Worship and its Benefits - This is true for so many: “Family worship. I know your reaction when you read those two words. I used to have the same response! Whenever that term or one like it was mentioned, I would inwardly cringe. Similar to the reaction many of us have when the word evangelism is uttered. Guilt begins to creep in, our shoulders begin to ache, and our spirits sink.”
The Calvinist - Here’s a new poem by John Piper titled “The Calvinist.” It’s set to video and read by Matt Chandler, R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg and others…
The Drone Hype - I tend to agree with this guy: “Jeff Bezos’s ‘plan’ for drone deliveries is little more than a publicity stunt – timed for the biggest online shopping day of the year.”
Flatterers look like friends as wolves look like dogs. —George Chapman
December 02, 2013
I’m always sharing deals on Kindle books, but today, for Cyber Monday, Amazon has discounted their flagship Kindle devices by $50 each: Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HDX. There’s a big list of Kindle deals here: Cyber Monday Kindle Deals for the Christian Reader. You can find other deals here: Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals for Christians.
Genderqueer Rising - This is a fascinating but distressing article on the weird things that happen when people try to eliminate gender.
How Shall I Go To God? - Logos users will want to go and get their free book of the month: Horatius Bonar’s How Shall I Go To God?
Petra Live, 1978 - You’ll enjoy this if you’re a Petra fan: It’s a live concert from 1978!
Thinking About Rap - Al Mohler is thinking about rap. And Bach.
My Ministry Is Harder Than Yours - Mez McConnell has some good thoughts about difficult ministry.
That’s Not Ironic - Here’s a word we misuse an awful lot.
Meet Derrick - Ligonier Ministries: “The Lord is at work redeeming and sanctifying a people for Himself. We are grateful for the opportunity to share this story of God’s grace with you. Meet Derrick.”
No time is so well spent in every day as that which we spend upon our knees. —J.C. Ryle
November 30, 2013
I continue to update Black Friday Kindle Deals for Christian Readers and Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2013 Deals for Christians as I learn about new and interesting bargains.
9 Recommended Books on Leadership - Matt Perman has a list of 9 books on leadership you may want to consider reading. He also provides a helpful defense of reading general market books on leadership.
Engagements: The New Weddings - Yes, engagements have turned public and competitive. “It used to be that the most important decision a man had to make (after choosing the girl) was what type of ring to buy. Now he’s got to plan a knockout proposal—at least something cool and clever enough to go viral on YouTube.”
Does God Listen to Rap? - Justin Taylor: “Recently a panel answered a question on reformed rap.” He offers some resources and points to a new book by Curtis Allen you may want to check out. Mike Cosper also adds to the conversation, though I think parts of his reaction may be a little too strong.
Clara’s Heart - Jesse Johnson shares a sweet video: “Joe and Jo Portnoy are part of Immanuel Bible Church (the church I pastor), and this year they have been through a tremendous trail with their only child, Clara. On Thanksgiving they told our church how thankful they are for God’s goodness, for God’s salvation, and for the constant reminder that no story ends in this life.”
Free Speech - Here’s a good, short video on the value of free speech. Real free speech, that is.
Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell. —David Platt
November 29, 2013
I’ve got a long list of Kindle deals you’ll want to check out over here: Black Friday Kindle Deals for the Christian Reader. Most of them are short deals for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Four Little Words - Read this one! “Recently, I heard an experienced urban minister reflecting on the reality that in most urban contexts, among most young Christians — even reformed evangelicals — church attendance peaks at around 2-3 Sundays per month.”
How Much Weight Did You Gain? - Here’s the good news: you probably didn’t actually gain all that much weight from that massive Thanksgiving meal you ate yesterday.
The Diet from God - I always cringe a little when I see articles like this one: “The Daniel fast is growing in popularity, often prompted by Christians’ desire for a deeper form of prayer. Many are reporting lasting physical benefits, too.”
Delayed Adolescence - Erik Raymond begins by talking about delayed adolesence in the culture around us, then says “I am a pastor. My concern is with the attitude and culture of delayed adolescence in the church.”
When Black Friday Becomes Mission - Yes! “With the Christmas season and all its commercial blitz and glitz upon us (seen especially on Black Friday), let’s lay aside the grousing and see the grace. No throwing wet blankets over Christmas.”
The Freedom to Be Slaves - Phil Colgan writes about spiritual maturity.
Anyone who wants to go to heaven must first go to the cross. —Philip Ryken
November 28, 2013
The Cool Pastor: Oxymoron or Just Moron? - “I had to do a double-take when I saw the tour bus. There it was, idling softly in the parking lot, with the pastor’s name and newest book title emblazoned large—in bright yellow letters—across either side. Being advertised on that conspicuous rolling billboard was a ‘special evening,’ (no doubt repeated dozens of times in select cities across the nation) with the newest ‘it’ pastor.”
Take Time to Give Thanks - “What are you doing to ready your heart for Thanksgiving? Regardless of the kind of year you’ve had, Scripture teaches us to see all circumstances—good and bad—as an opportunity to give thanks. That’s easier said than done, however. How are we to spot these good and perfect gifts that have come down to us from the Father of Lights? Below are three simple instructions for preparing your heart to give thanks this Thanksgiving…”
Story of the Bass - This video series on instruments has been fascinating. Here they look at the bass.
African Safari - Here’s an amazing photo gallery of an African safari.
Happy Thanksgiving From R.C. Sproul - “How much thanks do you give each year? In this special two-part message, R.C. Sproul reminds us of what is missing from so many Thanksgiving feasts and the fundamental sin we are guilty of everyday.” It’s free for the day.
Why Do Pastors Get a Housing Allowance? - “Last week a federal judge ruled that the long standing practice of churches (and synagoges, mosques, dioceses, etc.) giving their pastors a housing allowance was unconstitutional. This story is likely to pick up steam in the media, and my experience with this topic is that most people (including many elders and pastors) have no idea how housing allowances work, or why they are there to begin with.”
The Many Marriages of Henry VIII - Timothy Paul Jones takes a look at how the many marriages of Henry VIII changed the history of Christianity.
Doctrine is only the drawing of the bow; application is hitting the mark. —Thomas Manton
November 27, 2013
Here are a few new Kindle deals. Be sure to consider at least the first two! Delighting in the Trinity (an amazing book!) by Michael Reeves ($2.99); Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson ($2.99); Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey ($3.99). Finally, The Gospel at Work by Greg Gilbert & Sebastian Traeger is on pre-order for $4.99.
The World’s Most Expensive Book - The story is a day old, and the book sold for $14 million, so the Bay Psalm Book is now the second most expensive book in the world. It is the first English language book ever printed in North America.
The Book of Tebow - This is a long and interesting story on Tim Tebow (remember him?).
Here are a few holiday themed articles: Russell Moore on How to Deal with Holiday Family Tensions; Elisha Galotti on Five Ways to Make the Holidays More Peaceful; National Geographic on Storm Warnings (how do we know when it’s safe for planes to fly?); Desiring God on Five Truths About Thanksgiving. Finally, here’s a Misery Map of how many of today’s flights are running late!
The Future of Family - “As more people move into cities, natural resources decline, climate change heats up, and the “sharing economy” continues to pick up steam, our notions of family will continue to shift. Dragon Rouge, a design and innovation firm in London, has come up with a vision of what family will look like in 2030—and how brands can respond to these future changes.”
Sock Puppets and Other Godly Provisions - I think we all know this experience: “There are times, actually many times, when I do not feel capable of doing what I’m called to do. I look at the day’s schedule of counseling and other commitments and say, ‘No, God, I can’t.’ But as soon as I’ve brought him into the conversation, something changes. ”
It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. —Tim Keller
November 26, 2013
Here is a list of notable Kindle deals: Sex and Money by Paul Tripp ($6.99); Name Above All Names by Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson ($3.99); Everyday Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis ($2.99); Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman ($2.99); Not a Chance by R.C. Sproul ($3.99); Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous ($0.99); The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken ($0.99); Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear ($0.99); Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler ($2.99); Gospel by J.D. Greear ($3.99); Simple Church by Thom Rainer ($2.99). Also, Malcolm Gladwell’s books are on sale at $3.99 each. He’s not a Christian author, but the books are fun and fascinating: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw.
Is God an Egotistical Maniac? - “There is a popular notion among Evangelicals that I think has become part of our folklore. Indeed, it is the shibboleth (secret pass code) of my fellow Calvinists. When I call this ‘folklore’ I don’t necessarily mean ‘not true’ (as we will see), I simply mean that it is uncritically accepted without much thought. Many would say that God’s sole purpose, intent, and motivation for creating humanity and all of creation was for His own self-glorification.”
Singing Together - Mark Altrogge: “Why is it so important that we sing together on Sundays? Why can’t I just go out in the woods and sing or just light up a fire in my fireplace and sing to God by myself in the cozy comfort of my den?”
11 Minutes, 100 Commercials - Here’s something to think about when you sit down to watch the football game: “An average professional football game lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes, but if you tally up the time when the ball is actually in play, the action amounts to a mere 11 minutes.”
Praying for the Seminaries - Justin Taylor provides some ways we can all be praying for seminaries.
Know Your Christanese - Joe Carter introduces some Christanese related to prayer.
As the first step heavenward is humility, the first step hellward is pride. —John Mason
November 25, 2013
First off, there will be a lot of Black Friday deals this week (see Amazon, as an example of week-long deals) and I’ll try to keep an eye out for good ones you may like. I know some publishers will be getting into the mix. For now, you may want to get Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell (which is now down to $1.99) or the classic God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew ($2.99). Also, one of Richard Belcher’s theological novels has just come to Kindle: A Journey in Grace ($2.99).
Visual Theology - If you’ve ever thought of buying one of my Visual Theology posters, well, this is the time. If you use coupon BUSTER50 you’ll get 50% off your order.
Sex and the Church - “For too long the church has allowed culture to own the discussion of sex. God created sex and declared it good. When we distort sex, God can redeem our guilt (if we have sinned) or our shame (if we have been abused).” Brad Hambrick has a selection of excellent resources.
The Trouble with Self-Deprecation - I quite agree! “Self-deprecation is intensely self-centered, just the opposite of what it appears.”
The Blank Check - I appreciate this article from Staci Eastin who writes about giving God a blank check with our lives. It’s a biblical concept. But then “we push the blank check across the counter to God, only to be miffed if he writes ‘nursery duty’ in the line.”
Hold Your Tongue - Here are ten times it may be wise to hold your tongue.
The Rise and Fall of Daily Deal Sites - I really enjoyed this article on the rise and fall of Groupon and its many imitators. “It spawned thousands of competitors looking to cash in on the daily deals craze. Investors salivated at the prospect of a company that some bankers thought would be worth more than $30 billion.”
For a Christian, our fears about the future are rooted in those places where our will differs from God’s will. —Mark Dever
November 23, 2013
Here are a couple of notable Kindle deals: The Complete Words of E.M. Bounds on Prayer ($2.99); Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell ($3.99); Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy by various contributors (Preorder) ($3.99).
The Hunger Games - Christianity Today has a long review of the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. It’s probably worth reading since that seems like it’s the movie event of the year (or of the holiday season, at least).
Commerical Pilots and Manual Flying - My inner geek, the part that loves flying just a little bit more than I hate it, quite enjoyed this article on whether it’s true that the automation of aircraft makes us less safe.
Is It Actually Hard To Be a Pastor? - I give this a retweet, a plus one and a thumbs up. “As a pastor who often hears other ministers teach and preach, I am disturbed by the number of times pastors allude to their jobs as being particularly difficult. Yes, we face many challenges—ministry may involve times of high emotional and spiritual duress—but I don’t think these difficulties merit special recognition with regard to other vocations.”
The Story of Marion Stokes - This is amazing: “In a storage unit somewhere in Philadelphia, 140,000 VHS tapes sit packed into four shipping containers. Most are hand-labeled with a date between 1977 and 2012, and if you pop one into a VCR you might see scenes from the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Reagan Administration, or Hurricane Katrina. It’s 35 years of history through the lens of TV news, captured on a dwindling format.”
Being in the Word Every Day - Here’s a solid answer to that usual question: “I struggle with being in the Word every single day. Is there any direction you can offer me to help? I’m open for all suggestions.”
Busiest People in the World - Here are 5 productivity tips from some of the busiest people in the world.
If an unholy man were to get to heaven he would feel like a hog in a flower garden. —Rowland Hill