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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

April 18, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include a selection for pastors from Crossway: Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp ($3.99); The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson ($3.99); Expositional Preaching by David Helm ($3.99); The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine ($3.99); and Preaching for God’s Glory by Alistair Begg ($2.99).

Covenant College Women’s Tennis

I admire this resolve. “On Sunday, Kyle Taylor released a statement as director of athletics for Covenant College about the upcoming championship match. The match was scheduled for the Covenant women’s tennis team, a group that deserves a great deal of respect for a remarkable season, standing 15-5 overall and 11-1 within their conference. The problem arose, however, when the team was slotted to compete for the championship on April 17th, a Sunday, against Methodist.”

The Tragic History of RC Cola

Why is RC Cola a has-been instead of a major player in the soda wars? This article explains. It also tells why RC missed its big chance.

Outsourcing Memory and Wired for Distraction

Make sure you don’t just skim this one: “Over the last few years I have had a minor, but growing, niggle about my ability to remember and make connections with clarity and sharpness. Was it simply growing older, or the impact of several general anaesthetics in a short space of time, or was it something else?”

Was C.S. Lewis an Evolutionist?

“Was C.S. Lewis an evolutionist? I’ve heard this charge laid against him more than once, sometimes by admirers but more often by those who would prefer us to be reading and quoting someone else. The best way to answer this question is to look not just at one-off comments, but at Lewis’s intellectual trajectory as a whole.”

Farm to Fable

The long and short of this longform article is that many or most restaurants lie when they tell you that they use local ingredients.

This Day in 1587. 429 years ago today, John Foxe, known for his Book of Martyrs, died at 71. *

Does Satan have Access to our Minds?

Allan Murray: “This is a very important question for the christian. To answer it we have to go back to the basics of human existence in the fallen state.”

Be Quick to Read and Slow to Comment

Nathan has a challenge for those of us who comment online. “When a Christian comments without reading an article, it suggests they don’t value their brother or sister in Christ. To comment before reading an article is to elevate your words above those of the author. And to make it more dishonoring, it is often done on a platform they built—it’s their blog or Facebook page after all.”

Powlison

Christ-less, grace-less attempts at change conclude either with the praise of your own glory or with your shame. —David Powlison

April 16, 2016

This weekend’s Kindle deals include: The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield ($0.99); The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones ($3.99); Depression by Ed Welch ($2.99); Love Into Light by Peter Hubbard ($0.99).

Pray Together with Your Guests

This is a helpful admonition about making sure you pray when you have guests in your home. It’s encouragement for other believers and evangelism for unbelievers.

The Minecraft Generation

The New York Times has a long and interesting piece about Minecraft. “At a time when even the president is urging kids to learn to code, Minecraft has become a stealth gateway to the fundamentals, and the pleasures, of computer science. Those kids of the ’70s and ’80s grew up to become the architects of our modern digital world, with all its allures and perils. What will the Minecraft generation become?”

Stott Bowdlerized

Here’s an alarming look at what Eerdmans has done to “improve” John Stott’s classic Basic Christianity. “My curiosity aroused, I went through the new book and compared it, sentence by sentence, with the old one. The sheer amount of revision is startling. Two out of every three sentences, I estimate, involve some new wording.”

Jesus Paid it All

You may enjoy this video they showed at Together for the Gospel—elder DJ Ward preaching on “Jesus Paid It All.”

Ten Tips for Leading Church Well

You probably won’t agree with everything here, but you’ll still find some sound wisdom on leading church services well.

What’s Your Conscience Worth?

“Bruce Springsteen says he won’t perform for North Carolina, as long as the state upholds its recently passed law regarding gender and public restrooms. Springsteen is doing what millions of Americans are taught, in classrooms and in culture, to do: Standing up for his conscience, and drawing lines accordingly. But in our era, the question becomes: If this is counted to Springsteen as righteousness, why is it counted as sin to North Carolina?”

Tomorrow in 387. 1,629 years ago tomorrow, Saint Augustine of Hippo was baptized. *

The Great Monarch Butterfly Migration

Sometimes this great butterfly migration stops in our yard. It’s an amazing thing to see every tree blanketed in butterflies.

Everyone Files Their Taxes At The Last Minute

“Americans are a nation of procrastinators. Our tax returns prove it. Last year, 21.5 million Americans waited until the last minute – or at least the last week – to submit their tax returns. That’s roughly one in seven filers, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.”

Spurgeon

What I have found of God in Jesus Christ is so wonderful, I am eager for others to know it too—and to know him. —C.H. Spurgeon

April 15, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites by Bradley Wright ($0.99); Reformation by Carl Trueman ($2.99); The Band That Played On by Steve Turner ($1.99); How To Talk So People Will Listen by Steve Brown ($0.99). New from GLH Publishing is The Spirit of Prayer by Nathaniel Vincent ($0.99).

Where Are They?

I appreciated this short, sweet, comforting reflection from Ed Welch.

Three Things Pastors Can’t Do Too Much

Jared Wilson: “I’m not a big fan of overdoing it. Not a huge proponent of overcooking your sermons, overproducing your worship service. But there are a few things I think pastors probably could do more of than they already do, no matter how much they already do.”

He Shall Reign

You may be interested in downloading this free study on Daniel from Alistair Begg. (Or this one on Ruth.)

6 Reasons Why the Church Is Not Singing

Josh Buice suggests 6 reasons why the church is not singing—or at least not singing like she used to.

When Tests Detect Birth Defects

This is not the least bit surprising, is it? “New research suggests women who terminate their pregnancies because of an abnormal prenatal test may be aborting perfectly healthy babies.”

This Day in 1892. 124 years ago today, Corrie ten Boom was born. She was known for her devotional writing and for hiding Jewish refugees in her home during World War II. *

Six Questions About Physician-Assisted Death

My friend Ewan Goligher wrote a really good peace for The National Post (a national newspaper) about why he, as a physician, objects to physician-assisted death.

Accused MK Counterfeiter Asks To Be Released to YWAM

Here’s a bizarre story as reported by Christianity Today. “A man on trial for allegedly heading a $2 million international counterfeiting ring has asked to be released into the care of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) while he awaits trial in Pennsylvania.”

Does Grammar Matter?

Me sure hopes so.

Packer

To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater. —J.I. Packer

April 14, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Starlight & Time by Russell Humphreys ($2.99); Preaching to a Shifting Culture by Various ($2.99); and Depression by Ed Welch ($2.99).

Porch Preaching

I love this! Joe Holland has Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on his door. “They gave me a Watch Tower tract and invited me to an Easter service at the local Kingdom Hall. I responded with a short paragraph I’ve used dozens of times when pairs of evangelists visit my home.”

Pray for R.C. Sproul

Please pray for Dr. Sproul as he faces continued health problems and is once again in the hospital.

When Your Congregation Isn’t Singing

Jamie Brown: “I would suggest that if a worship leader is observing (over a period of months or years) his or her congregation isn’t singing, that some difficult questions need to be honestly asked and answered. In no particular order or importance, here are questions a worship leader (and his or her pastor) should consider…”

Painful Pruning

Kelly Needham: “Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, ‘Does it have to be this way? Can’t I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?’”

On Reading the First Commentary

I enjoyed reading this post, about one reader’s first experience of reading a commentary (as part of my reading challenge).

Read Scripture: Jonah

The excellent Read Scripture series of videos continues with an overview of Jonah.

This Day in 1988. 28 years ago today, Desiring God hosted their first Conference for Pastors. J.I. Packer was the main keynote speaker. *

Darrin Patrick Removed from Church

I’m never sure whether or not I should share this kind of news. I’ve chosen to this time since I’ve so often mentioned Patrick’s books and what has just come to light is important information to consider.

Men for God

If you are in the Vancouver area (or looking for an excuse to visit), I’d love to see you at this year’s Men for God conference. It takes place June 24-25.

Carson

As the social cost of claiming to be a Christian increases, the percentage of nominal Christians decreases. —D.A. Carson

April 13, 2016


Libraries Struggle to Remain Relevant

WORLD reports on the struggles libraries face as they attempt to stay relevant in a digital world.

Thinking? Conference 2016

If you are in or near Toronto, be sure to think about coming to the Thinking? 2016 conference which takes place next weekend.

Sitting In God’s Lap to Slap Him In The Face

“What’s being described here is that this other person is borrowing something from God in order to then argue against him. They’re borrowing something that only fits in the Christian world view to then argue against that world view, which is actually kind of a circular argument.”

To Every Tribe

I’m so glad there is a new episode of Dispatches from the Front. And I’m so glad that Westminster Books has a sale on it. Don’t miss these DVDs!

Be Grateful Without Comparing

Barnabas Piper discusses gratitude. “While there is a sense in which we should be jarred into gratefulness by the reality that others have it worse than we do, these kinds of statements are a pretty horrid kind of instruction on gratitude.”

Top 10 Most Challenged Library Books

“Last year, the American Library Association (ALA) fielded 275 formal challenges to materials in school libraries—a record low. Making the top 10 list of challenges for the first time: the Bible.”

This Day in 1742. 274 years ago today, Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah premiered in Dublin’s Fishamble Street Musick Hall. *

What’s the Point of Christian Conferences, Anyway?

“If conferences can be messed up and can lead me to idolatry, why should I even consider going?”

Malcolm Gladwell Got it Wrong

“The 10,000 hour rule” – enshrined in Gladwell’s bestselling 2008 book Outliers – holds that mastery in any field can be achieved with 10,000 hours of practice. But Ericsson, a Florida State University researcher who has spent his career breaking down the science of what makes people extraordinary, says Gladwell missed the point.”

Tripp

Worship is designed to remind you that in the center of all things is a glorious and gracious king, and this king is not you. —Paul Tripp

April 12, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include several from Reformation Heritage Books: Planting, Watering, Growing by Daniel Hyde ($2.99); Sing a New Song and Encouragement for Today’s Pastors by Joel Beeke ($2.99 each). Also consider Follow Me by David Platt ($4.99); The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler ($4.99); Why Believe the Bible? by John MacArthur ($2.99).

7 Suggestions for When You Preach about Homosexuality

It can be done so well and it can be done so poorly. Brad Hambrick wants to help you do it well.

Marriage: So Much More Than a Partnership

Truth: “Marriage isn’t about two lives coming together and compromising where the road splits, it’s about two lives joining and becoming one life, on one road for better or worse.”

Best New Testament Commentaries

I wanted to toss out another mention of this commentary collection from Logos. I worked with them to build a heavily-discounted collection of one great commentary for each book of the New Testament.

Eleven Lessons

I enjoyed this: Eleven lessons Mitch Chase has learned from his professor Jim Hamilton.

Bart Ehrman debates Richard Bauckham

Denny Burk: “Attention, fellow Bible nerds. The audio above features two big-hitters debating the authorship of the Gospels. Bart Ehrman, a well-known skeptic, squares-off against Richard Bauckham.”

This Day in 2015. 1 year ago today, The Gospel Coalition hosted their first Hispanic National Conference. *

Having a Pilgrim Mentality about Money and Possessions

Randy Alcorn: “The more holdings we have on earth, the more likely we are to forget that we’re citizens of another world, not this one, and that our inheritance lies there, not here.”

Is Speaking Your Mind a Christian Virtue?

“We live in an age where ‘speaking your mind’ is considered a virtue and hailed as a sign of good leadership. But is this trait something the Bible commends? Should Christians be known for ‘speaking their mind?’”

Sibbes

Christ looks more at the good in them which he means to cherish than the ill in them which he means to abolish. —Richard Sibbes

April 11, 2016

As predicted, there are a lot of Kindle deals related to Together for the Gospel. Let’s start with 4 biographies from Crossway: John Newton ($2.99), Martyn-Lloyd Jones ($3.99), William Wilberforce ($1.99), and George Whitefield ($3.99). Then some reference works from Zondervan: The Christian Faith ($8.99) and Pilgrim Theology ($5.99) by Michael Horton; Historical Theology by Gregg Allison ($7.99); Church History Volume 1 by Everett Ferguson and Volume 2 by John Woodbridge ($7.99 each); Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations by Bob Kellemen ($6.99 each). Then you’ll find some other books as well: God Is the Gospel by John Piper ($2.99); The Pastor’s Ministry by Brian Croft ($3.99); Gospel Coach by Scott Thomas & Tom Wood ($2.99); Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones ($3.99).

Speaking of T4G, I am heading that way today, arriving late this evening. If you are there, I’d love to meet you. I believe there will be an obvious Visual Theology setup in the bookstore and I’ll be there sometimes, at the 20schemes booth sometimes, and other times just wandering. If you see me, say hi!

Tips for T4G

J.A. Medders offers up some important (and a few not-so-important) tips on surviving and thriving at Together for the Gospel.

When NOT Helping Hurts

Here’s a tough situation to navigate: “One major principle is to not do something for someone that they can do for themselves. Good-hearted giving from Westerners sometimes (maybe even most of the time) creates dependency, encourages sinful habits and removes motivation to work hard. That is exactly where I find myself.”

Conversing Diversely

I’m thankful to Jemar and Tyler of the Reformed African American Network for discussing my articles from last week on their latest podcast.

That Smiling Missionary Family

“You see that happy missionary family smiling out of the postcard on your fridge? Their marriage is probably hanging by a thread.” Here’s valuable advice on caring for and praying for missionaries.

9 Ways to Respond after a Less than Spectacular Sermon or Lesson

At some point every preacher or teacher needs to grapple with having delivered a poor, or just very average, sermon or lesson. “For all of us who feel like we missed it yesterday, let these thoughts encourage you as you begin the new work week…”

This Day in 1836. 180 years ago today, George Mueller opened his famous orphanage on Wilson Street in Bristol, England. *

Switching Fields

Gavin Peacock tells about his transition from professional soccer in the UK to pastoral ministry in Canada.

Pope Francis and the Footnote that Could Split the Church

Trevin Wax: “Here’s what I’m going to do in this lengthy post. I’m going to summarize and quote from some of the most important parts of the document. At the end, I’m going to get to the most controversial aspect (including that footnote)…” 

Benton

We cannot infer from prosperity that God is pleased with us, nor can we infer from adversity that he is displeased with us. —Wilson Benton

April 09, 2016

I trust you are enjoying your weekend as it begins to get underway. Aileen is off at a conference today so I’m pulling double-duty here at home. Then we swap for next week as I head down to T4G. These are busy days, but good ones. Here are a few links for your weekend reading.

Here are two quick Kindle deals: The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever ($2.99) and 1 Peter for You by Juan Sanchez ($2.99).

Common Misconceptions About Calvinism

Cole Brown is beginning a series on some of the most common misconceptions about Calvinism. He begins, of course, with the word itself: Calvinism.

What Is Love?

What is love? This, for sure. What a sweet video.

Why Hospitality Beats Entertaining

Jen Wilkin circles back to her most regrettable social media mistake. “On November 6, 2010 I tweeted the most regrettable tweet of my mediocre social media career. In anticipation of the holiday season, I decided to weigh in on hospitality. The tweet was a flawless blend of selective memory and self-righteousness, designed to heap condemnation on the heads of my followers under the guise of offering wise counsel. It was a verbal “selfie” snapped from my best angle, positioned to make me look very, very good. Let’s have a look at it, shall we?”

The Church’s Law-Grace Throwdown

“A group of 18th-century Scottish churchmen fought bitterly over the right teaching. How we can we avoid veering toward their extremes?” Andrew Wilson reviews Sinclair Ferguson’s book in Christianity Today.

Six Reasons North Carolina Got It Right

Frank Turek tells why North Carolina got it right. Things like this are not at all surprising: “On Monday Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who helped call the special session to pass HB2, called the executive in charge at one large protesting company and simply asked him if he or anyone there had actually read the bill.” Of course, they hadn’t.

3 Reasons Why Religious Liberty Laws Don’t Discriminate

“One of the most ubiquitous phrases is that such bills are a ‘license to discriminate.’ According to this line of thinking, it is invidiously discriminatory if a baker, florist, or photographer declines to use his or her creative talents in service of a same-sex wedding ceremony. This is decidedly not invidious discrimination. Here are three reasons why religious liberty legislation does not protect or allow for invidious discrimination.”

Proof of Evolution That You [Can’t] Find on Your Body

“Anatomist, biologist, and creation scientist Dr. David Menton responds to popular YouTube video ‘Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body’ (posted by VOX) from a biblical and scientific worldview. Are certain features like goosebumps, of the human body really just left over from our ancestors?”

This Day in 1945. 71 years ago today, the Gestapo killed Dietrich Bonhoeffer by hanging him in Flossenbürg, Germany. *

The Great Battle of 2016 for Dar es Salaam

This is a thoroughly enjoyable bit of writing from Amy Medina.

Q&A with Nabeel Qureshi, author of Answering Jihad

Thanks to Zondervan for sponsoring the blog this week with their Q&A with Nabeel Qureshi.

Sibbes

God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. —Richard Sibbes