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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

August 29, 2015

We are cruising to the end of a week and the end of a month. I do not have any new Kindle deals to share today, but I do anticipate having some interesting ones on both Monday and Tuesday. In the meantime, here is some weekend reading for you.

Looking for Abortion Truth in Big Media

This is a solid and important article. “Sometimes we are confronted with such naked, aggressively obvious journalistic mischief that to not call it out would be to bury our heads and consciences in the sand.”

15 Religion Treasures at Yale

You probably weren’t aware of all these books and objects of religious significance housed at Yale. It’s quite a collection!

How to Survive World Religions 101

“Michael Kruger entered his freshman year at the University of North Carolina as a committed Christian. He thought he was ready for the intellectual challenges college would mount against his faith—that is, until he found himself sitting in a New Testament introduction class with Bart Ehrman as his professor. It left him shell-shocked.” He tells how to survive World Religions 101.

This Day in 1792: Charles Finney was born. Finney would become a preacher and revivalist in the years following the Second Great Awakening. Though many continue to regard him as a hero of the faith, his legacy includes destructive, unbiblical, man-centered theology. *

New Words

The Oxford English Dictionary has added some new words to their dictionary including awesomesauce, hangry, butt-dial, pocket-dial, and many more.

Letters to a New Believer

Aaron Armstrong has written an interesting and very personal letter to a new believer. It may be helpful to those who have just come to Christ and are trying to understand how to live as Christians.

Why Are Anti-Judgmental People So Judgmental?

Randy Alcorn: “There’s a growing trend I’ve noticed and have become concerned about: namely, that people who are anti-judgmental are SO judgmental of anyone else they perceive to be passing judgment.”

Duncan

We are not the reason the gospel works; the gospel is the reason the gospel works. —Ligon Duncan

August 28, 2015

I have a handful of new Kindle deals for you today. Next week will bring more. Today’s include Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand’s great account of Louis Zamperini’s life ($1.99); Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told by Bradley Wright ($0.99); Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn ($4.61); When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper ($4.61).

A Note to Christian Men

The title could probably be stronger, but the article is rock-solid. Matthew Holst writes about “the look”—the way men look at women when they allow their eyes to roam.

Fasting for Beginners

“Chances are you are among the massive majority of Christians who rarely or never fast. It’s not because we haven’t read our Bibles or sat under faithful preaching or heard about the power of fasting, or even that we don’t genuinely want to do it. We just never actually get around to putting down the fork.”

The Gospels

Westminster Books is both selling and giving away a neat new edition of the ESV that includes only the gospels in an ultra-readable format.

This Day in 1960: Mark Dever was born. Today he serves as pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, president of 9Marks, and co-founder of Together for the Gospel. You can wish him a happy birthday at @MarkDever.

Five Ways to Deepen Your Preaching

Each one of Gavin Ortlund’s preaching tips is very good.

What We Do in Secret

Derek Thomas: “It is altogether possible to practice an outward display of piety—to ‘talk the talk’—without demonstrating any inner reality of godliness. This is true of every professing Christian, and it is especially true of those engaged in Christian ministry.”

10 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Weariness

 Mark Altrogge assures us than “When we’re weary we can find fresh strength, joy and motivation in Christ. Here are 10 ways to do that…”

Southern Baptists Will Cut 600 to 800 Missionaries and Staff

Here is a concerning bit of news from Christianity Today: “Two months after promoting plans to send out ‘limitless’ numbers of missionaries, the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) faces a financial crisis.”

Stetzer

A church without the broken is a broken church. —Ed Stetzer

August 27, 2015

I found no new Kindle deals today but did want to answer a question I have often been asked. What I post day-by-day is a list of curated deals. They are almost all books I can vouch for one way or another—I have read them, they come from a solid publisher, or they have trusted endorsers. There are many more deals to be had, but I focus on deals for good books. And hopefully there will be more tomorrow.

Congregationalism Doesn’t Stop at 8 PM

This is a very strong article on congregationalism and the responsibilities of each church member to all the others. Don’t let the word “congregationalism” intimidate you—read the article!

Should We Watch Murders on Social Media?

I agree with Russell Moore—we’ve got no business watching people get murdered. Wasn’t it Postman who warned that if we watch news we can do nothing about, we are probably actually just entertaining ourselves to death?

Banning Child Labor

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? We should ban child labor and refuse to support companies that use it. But this article at The Guardian says, “A categorical ban on child labour is a well-intended but poorly thought out measure, because it ignores the direct and indirect effects of such a ban. It is a policy with its head in the sand, one that will overshoot the intended goal of improving the lives of children workers.”

War RoomNew in Theaters: Tomorrow marks the release of War Room, a new film by the Kendrick brothers (Fireproof, Courageous.) Plugged In has an early review. “Even if there’s a degree of cinematic idealization regarding the instant outcome of prayer … the message that the Kendricks deliver here is no less valid or profitable: Prayer is where God reshapes and remolds our souls into the image of His son, Jesus Christ.”

Want Faster Wifi?

Here are some simple, user-friendly tips just about any of us can implement to help the strength of our wifi signal.

Ashley Madison’s Users

This is fascinating, pathetic, and somehow not at all surprising: Almost 100% of the female accounts registered at Ashley Madison were fake. “Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there.”

Invent a Ministry

As a pastor, I absolutely love to see this in action. “While most churches need workers in the existing ministries, the inability to fit well in one of them may be God’s prompting to start a new one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formally recognized ministry.”

Washer

There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God. —Paul Washer

August 26, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Old-Earth Creationism On Trial by Chaffey & Lisle ($2.99); Mary—Another Redeemer? by James White ($1.99); Read the Bible for Life by George Guthrie ($2.99); Faith and Learning by David Dockery ($2.99).

Another 50 Livers a Week

The Center for Medical Progress has released their eighth video, which shows a meeting with StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer. WORLD has the video and the story along with some analysis.

Pro-Life? There’s An App For That

I think most people on the pro-life side have already understood this. But it is still interesting to consider the vast chasm between the way we speak of an unborn child if we want that child versus if we do not.

When Culture Feels Scary

In the midst of all kinds of bad and scary news in the world, Tim Lane has some genuine encouragement. It came to me like a breath of fresh air.

Which Major Has the Most Expensive Textbooks?

Maybe you want to keep this in mind as you nudge your kids toward college.

This Day in 1708: Ebenezer Erskine was converted. He would soon create, and live by, this covenant: “I offer myself up, soul and body, unto God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I flee for shelter to the blood of Jesus. I will live to Him; I will die to Him. I take heaven and earth to witness that all I am and all I have are His.” *

Should Women Wear Head Coverings?

Writing for The Gospel Coalition, Benjamin L. Merkle offers a helpful answer to the question of head coverings. He argues that there are both cultural and transcultural issues at play, and carefully separates them.

4 Simple Ways Fred Elliot Discipled His Children

Fred was the father of Jim, of course. And this article describes 4 simple but effective ways that Fred discipled his children. “Because the saying is true that disciples aren’t born they’re made, it is difficult to understate the influence Fred had on Jim’s spiritual formation.”

Spurgeon

God is so boundlessly pleased with Jesus that in him he is altogether well pleased with us. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 25, 2015

There are lots of good Kindle deals today. Begin with this refreshed two-part Puritan work called “Building a Godly Home”: A Holy Vision for Family Life and A Holy Vision For Raising Children ($2.99 each). Then consider some of B&H’s “Perspectives” series: On the Extent of the Atonement (new and just $0.99); On Family Ministry ($2.99); On Your Child’s Education ($0.99); On Christian Worship ($2.99); On Election ($2.99); On the Sabbath ($2.99). And a few others that are worth checking out: Uneclipsing the Son by Rick Holland ($2.99); In My Father’s House and Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian ($2.99 each); Divine Design by John MacArthur ($2.51).

9 Things You Should Know About Margaret Sanger

For a variety of reasons, Margaret Sanger’s name is back in the news. Joe Carter gives you 9 things you ought to know about her. (Be sure to read points 7 and 8 since we do not further our cause by passing along incomplete or incorrect information about her views on race.)

Friends of a Certain Age

Perhaps this has been your experience: “In your 30s and 40s, plenty of new people enter your life, through work, children’s play dates and, of course, Facebook. But actual close friends — the kind you make in college, the kind you call in a crisis — those are in shorter supply.”

Teaching Our Children the Raw Parts of Scripture

Nick has some counsel on teaching our children the raw parts of Scripture—the parts we may find ourselves eager to skip over.

NIV Zondervan Study BibleNew Book Release: Today marks the release of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, edited by D.A. Carson (and not to be confused with the venerable NIV Study Bible). You can learn more about it at NIVZondervanStudyBible.com and buy it at Amazon.

Convictions and Cultural Change

This afternoon at 3 PM EST Ligonier Ministries will be hosting a Google hangout featuring Dr. John MacArthur and Stephen Nichols. You can find information at the link.

Making Ocean Water Drinkable

California’s Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will start operating later this year, will process more than 104 million gallons of seawater daily, turning about half that into drinking water. Here’s how they do it.

Organic Food, Essential Oils, and the Gospel of Grace

Quite right: “While eating organic foods and using non-traditional medicine certainly can be valuable, the danger comes when we develop a sense of superiority to go along with it.”

Encouraging Parents of Prodigals

“What could be more grievous to Christian parents than to have their adult child reject the Gospel?” This article offers encouragement to those parents.

Ortlund

I would rather fail in the weakness of the Spirit than succeed in the power of the flesh. —Ray Ortlund

August 24, 2015

This week Crossway is offering John Piper’s “The Swans Are Not Silent” series at just $3.99 each. These are excellent short biographies of key Christian figures. The Legacy of Sovereign Joy; The Hidden Smile of God; The Roots of Endurance; Contending for Our All; Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ. You will also find Heaven by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson for $3.99, and Matt Chandler’s To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain for free.

You Really Don’t Need To Work So Much

“The past fifty years have seen massive gains in productivity, the invention of countless labor-saving devices, and the mass entry of women into the formal workforce.” So why do we all work so many hours?

Reflections on a Planned Parenthood Protest

John Piper reflects on Saturday’s Planned Parenthood protests. You may also want to read this article from a different source but dealing with the same subject: Now We Know Why Reporters Won’t Cover The Planned Parenthood Videos.

Hurricane Katrina Photos

This is very interesting. “10 years on, Getty Images photographer Mario Tama has been back to New Orleans to revisit the scenes of his iconic images to see how the once obliterated areas have changed.” He has done so through some during and after photos.

A New Song: “We Are Not Overcome” by Bifrost Arts is a song you may enjoy. We have adapted (simplified) it for use in our worship services and it is quickly becoming a favorite.

Keep on Welcoming

There’s some wisdom here on welcoming people to your church. This is the one I most needed to hear: “Weeks three, four, and beyond are also key.”

Ashley Madison: Faithfulness

There are some important takeaways in Mark Jones’ article on the Ashley Madison fiasco. “Basically, Paul describes ‘Ashley Madison’ long before computer hackers made many of us aware that such a website existed.” Also read Scotty Smith’s meditative prayer based on Proverbs 7.

Go, and Be

This little tribute to the Scottish highlands may be a little bit overdone but, oh my, is the scenery ever beautiful!

Washer

The true convert does not receive the gospel as an addition to his previous life, but in exchange for it. —Paul Washer

August 22, 2015

Today we will see protests against Planned Parenthood all across America. If you have time this morning, why don’t you consider attending. They will run from 9am to 11am, and you can find location information at ProtestPP.com.

What Causes Cage-Stage Calvinism?

We’ve all seen it, I think. Most of us have probably fallen into it at one time or another. R.C. Sproul Jr. explains why and how.

The Danger of Comparison

I am one of those people who is prone to the comparison trap, so I enjoyed this article. “Jealousy dethrones God’s sovereignty by feeling entitled to another person’s blessings in life. Jealousy makes everyone a thief of what you should have.”

How Big Is a Blue Whale’s Heart?

This video will show you. The answer, not surprisingly, is “very big.”

3 Things to Remember Before You Criticize Someone’s Theology

Justin Taylor offers 3 important reminders. “Critique done poorly—whether through overstatement, misunderstanding, caricature—is a losing proposition for all. It undermines the credibility of the critic and deprives the one being criticized from the opportunity to improve his or her position.”

Meditation and Sermon Preparation

“The difference between a message that is a ‘Bible study’ and a message that is a ‘sermon’ is the additional meditative substance in the latter, by which God speaks through His word, and through the preacher.”

Mastering the Giant Comma

One of my weaknesses in writing is properly using semicolons. So I needed to watch this.

Why You Need a Fighting Faith

Thanks to P&R for sponsoring the blog this week. Sponsors are integral to the ongoing operation of this site, so I am grateful for each one.

Spurgeon

I believe the holier a man becomes, the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 21, 2015

New from GLH Publishing is a Kindle edition of Jonathan Edward’s must-read book Religious Affections at just $0.99. Also consider Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper ($0.99); Pleased to Dwell by Peter Mead ($5.64).

Planned Parenthood: Invitation, Explanation, Indignation

John Piper: “I am writing with an urgent invitation, a personal explanation, and renewed indignation.” He calls you to protest Planned Parenthood tomorrow.

Why I Am Going to Protest Planned Parenthood

In a similar vein, J.A. Medders explains why he will be participating in this weekend’s Planned Parenthood protests.

How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election

Here’s an interesting fact of the modern world: “Google has the ability to drive millions of votes to a candidate with no one the wiser.”

Is There Any Demand for Same-Sex Marriage?

Joe Carter: “One question the Court ignored—and which few people ever truly considered—was whether there is an actual demand for same-sex marriage.”

This Date in 1741: George Frideric Handel began to compose his great work Messiah. He would finish the work 23 days later. It would become his most famous composition and, as you know, is still treasured today. *

Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web

This article dives into the problem at the heart of the modern web: So many banner ads are ugly, evil, and intrusive, and yet they are also at the heart of the online economy.

Snake Island

Did you know that there’s an island off the coast of Brazil that has so many venomous snakes on it that people are forbidden from even docking there?

Campbell

Holiness is not freedom from temptation, but power to overcome temptation. —G. Campbell Morgan

August 20, 2015

Here are some Kindle deals: Hebrews in The New American Commentary series ($2.99); Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace ($0.99); One Race One Blood by Ken Ham ($2.99); Sermon on the Mount by Charles Quarles ($2.99); The Ten Commandments by Mark Rooker ($2.99).

What Are We to Make of Donald Trump?

Tom Ascol offers some thoughtful reflections on Donald Trump. “In some sense it is like a car accident—you just can’t look away no matter how hard you try.” Be sure to read the final lines before flaming Ascol (or me).

Guardian Angels?

Do we have guardian angels? “While many other objections may be raised … of this much we can be sure–God will not spare to send the entire host of heaven to the aid of His people if He so chooses.” 

The Everyday Question of Motherhood

I think Christine Hoover is bang-on here: “As a mother, there is a constant, uncomfortable battle that rages inside of me. It is not the big or dramatic…”

Tools for Evangelism

This week’s deals from Westminster Books will help equip your evangelistic efforts (as an individual or as a church).

This Day in 1920: Seven men, including the now-legendary Jim Thorpe, gathered to organize a professional football league. Has ever a sport had a greater impact on Christians and (American) Christianity than football with its Sunday schedule? *

God For Us, or God Against Us?

Is God for us or against us? Ray Ortlund says, “If we are in Christ, the answer is: maybe both. God is certainly for us, and God might also be against us.”

The Gruesome Reality of Fetal Organ Harvesting

Here’s WORLD’s recap of the new and 7th video in the series exposing Planned Parenthood. (Stand to Reason also has a good article on the matter.)

Finally, here is a challenging and encouraging word from Charles Spurgeon:

CHS

Sin is a sovereign till sovereign grace dethrones it.C.H. Spurgeon

August 19, 2015

There are once again some good Kindle deals to be had: The Pastor’s Family and The Pastor’s Ministry by Brian Croft ($3.99 each); The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity by Alex McFarland ($1.99); Compelled by Ed Stetzer & Philip Nation ($2.99); Colossians & Philemon by Murray Harris ($0.99); Enthroned on Our Praise by Timothy Pierce ($0.99); Faithful Preaching by Tony Merida ($2.99); Theology of the Reformers by Timothy George ($2.99).

Little Screens and Corporate Worship

I’m not sure I agree with everything H.B. Charles Jr says here about corporate worship and digital devices, but I do think his article is worth reading and considering.

When Is Divorce a Sin?

Christianity Today interprets a recent study on Christian views of divorce. As is so often the case, it seems to me that the questions are too broad to be very helpful. Is divorce sinful when spousal abuse has occurred. How could people answer confidently without knowing other details like the kind of abuse and the extent of the abuse? Still, it’s worth looking at.

Credo Magazine

A new issue of Credo magazine is ready for free download or online reading. This issue “brings together some outstanding contributors to teach both parents and those in ministry alike how to better approach children so that they know God in a saving way.”

This Day in 1662: Blaise Pascal died at the age of 39. A French scientist by trade, he is remembered today primarily for his Pensées, an apologetic for Christianity. *

The Divisive Person

Jared Wilson on the true nature of division: “It isn’t those who believe the Bible when it says sin is sin that are being divisive; it is those who are introducing the idea that some sins aren’t.”

4 Principles for the Exercise of Christian Liberty

Sinclair Feruguson offers guidance on properly exercising Christian liberty.

When You Get the Raw End of the Deal

It happens to all of us at one time or another, doesn’t it? “You’ve been mistreated. Gotten the raw end of the deal. Unjustly overlooked in a promotion. Spent many hours trying to help someone only to be rejected…”

Wax

Hell is full of people who think they deserve heaven. Heaven is full of people who know they deserve hell. —Trevin Wax

Pages