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Tim Challies

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February 21, 2006

Codex HostAs you may have noticed, I am now offering a small amount of advertising space on this site. It may or may not be coincidence that I began offering advertising at the same time as I bought my first house and began facing mortgage payments for the first time. I am handling all advertising requests personally and attempting to ensure that I only run advertising that might benefit the readers of this site. I have no plans to run BlogAds, Google AdWords or anything of that nature. These are not pay-per-click ads, but you can still support this site by clicking through and reading about whatever product is being offered. If you are interested in running advertising on this site, please feel free to contact me.

This week’s sponsor is Codex Hosting. Kevin, the owner of the company, has become a friend of mine. He is one of the few readers of this site whom I have met personally (he convinced me to drive all the way to Niagara-on-the-Lake to meet him!). He is positioning Codex Hosting as a company that will provide all the space, bandwidth and features needed for a wide variety of web sites, but in particular as a company that will provide great support. For those familiar with budget web hosting, I’m sure you are familiar with companies that oversell their products and underdeliver support! Kevin hopes to correct this trend, offering “more disk space and bandwidth than you need” (feel free to hold him to that!) and “most importantly, we offer friendly, personal service.”

Codex is offering a 20% discount to anyone who signs up for the service through my site. If you are in the market for hosting for a personal site, blog, church site, etc, why not give Codex a try. By doing so you’d support both Kevin and myself. What more could you want?

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming.

February 18, 2006

My friend Justin Taylor sent me an article this morning discussing the Evangelical Climate Initiative. Concerned Women for America has done the legwork and found something quite surprising and disturbing. “A new effort to mobilize evangelical Christians on the problem of global warming received $475,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the top funders of abortion programs in the United States and abroad.”

Sure enough, a couple of Google searches turn up evidence that the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has given significant amounts of funding to organizations that stand opposed to Christian values. Among them are:

  • Activities of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, the most dominant pro-abortion organization, and its subsidiaries in Latin America, where it promotes the �legalization� of abortion, the morning-after pill, and �sexual and reproductive health and rights issues,� which stands for graphic sex education, abortion, sterilization, and the mainstreaming of homosexuality.
  • More than $2 million in the last three years for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal advocacy organization that works through courts to impose abortion on demand.
  • A $1 million grant for Planned Parenthood to provide its services, including abortion and the morning-after pill, to those hit by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Gifts totaling $739,000 in 2001-2003 to the National Abortion Federation, the �professional association� for abortionists.
  • The Abortion Care Project, to train abortionists in Vietnam.
  • The Abortion Access Project, which works through medical students and trains medical professionals in the United States in �abortion care.�
  • The University of California, San Francisco�s Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy, which attempts to counter the stigma attached to abortion and the lack of medical professionals willing to do abortions through studies, papers, and advocacy.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America says �Hewlett Foundation is one of the most prodigious and unabashed funders of abortion causes, with much money going to make abortion acceptable. Its significant grant for this initiative, along with the controversial Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, reveals where this effort could lead. They would not fund something that contradicts their main missions.�

She seems to hit the nail on the head when she says, �The radical environmental, pro-abortion lobby has learned to adopt language to win over unsuspecting, well-intentioned people. I am sure that most of the evangelical leaders who signed on have no idea of the history and missions of the groups that have made this initiative possible with their financial backing,� said Wright.

This has become something of a theme lately in the evangelical world. Evangelicals are being drafted into service by organizations that are seeking ends diametrically opposed to Scripture. It seems that, in many cases, Evangelicals are allowing themselves to be used. Even when the end result is admirable, Christians are still culpable before God for the means they use to get there!

February 11, 2006

Feeling a little housebound of late, Aileen and I decided we would head to the mall this morning to do some shopping and have lunch out with the kids. The mall is not my favorite place to be, of course, but sometimes it is a necessary evil. So we did our thing and then headed to the food court. Immediately in front of the entrance to the food court was a table advertising free samples of 2 in 1 personal lubricant and massage oil. A handful of people who looked like they were in their late teens or early twenties were milling around offering samples to people walking by. I brushed aside the invitation to accept a sample simply out of habit. Walking behind me was a middle-aged woman with her two young children. One of the young men approached her and offered her a sample. She said, “What is it?” He replied, “It’s personal lubricant and massage oil. Just try it out tonight and see what happens.”

I was shocked. What right does a young man have to speak to a woman this way? What right does any man have to speak like this to anyone but his wife? If that guy had spoken to my wife like that he and I would have had words! There is something wrong with our society that we all this type of thing to happen.

Alright, I think I have finished my rant. I am going to watch the Canadian women’s hockey team take on the Italians. I believe last time they played Canada won 30-0. They are expecting this to be a romp. The Italian coach says that the team’s goal is to keep it within 20!

Speaking of the Olympics, I was unfortunate enough to watch some of the opening ceremonies last night. What a ridiculous spectacle. I’ve got to say, if you think it’s bad hearing Yoko Ono sing, you’d better hope that you never have to hear her speak. She read some type of a speech that sounded like it was written by a grade schooler. Anyways, I was interested to hear the vow the athletes take. They vow to play fair “for the glory of sport.” Maybe those people have a case who say that professional sports in general, and the Olympics in particular, are little more than idolatry.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday and I hope and pray you will enjoy a blessed Lord’s Day tomorrow.

February 02, 2006

C.J. Mahaney is not humble. It must be true because one of his close friends, Mark Dever, said so. Strangely, he said so in his endorsement of one of C.J.’s books. Here is the complete text which I have taken from just inside the cover of Humility: “C.J. Mahaney is not a humble man. At least, that’s what he’ll tell you. And that’s one reason he’s so well qualified to write this book. I’ve read it. I’ve seen humility in his life - and in the lives of those he’s taught. If you’re fighting pride - like I am - you should read it, too. And if you’re not fighting pride, you really need to read it!”

C.J. Mahaney not humble, but there is more! He is also irritating. Again, one of his good friends shares this secret, this time in Albert Mohler’s foreword to the new book Living The Cross Centered Life. “I must also be honest with you. C.J. can be irritating at times. He tends to be very honest about sin and very clear about the fact that we can do nothing at all to deserve our salvation. This is a book that will humble the proud. Then again, that’s the power of the cross…”

Now that two of three of the other members of the Together for the Gospel have zinged Mahaney, I’d suggest that it is Ligon Duncan’s turn. I will wait patiently to see what he will share about his friend C.J. I great enjoy watching the interaction between this group of friends and am glad that they have allowed us a glimpse into their relationship through their new blog

January 29, 2006

I’m going to give you an opportunity to end a friendly little marital dispute. Feel free to chime in through the comments section as we try to solve this one.

Aileen believes it is rude to ask yourself over to another person’s home. I disagree. I see nothing wrong with asking a person if we can come over either just to hang out or even for lunch. This may be as simple as saying, “So how about we come by your house for lunch after church next Sunday?” I’ve been known to do this and Aileen thinks it is rude. She’s actually a little embarrassed when I do this.

Now let me qualify by saying that I am thinking of someone who is not a complete stranger and neither is it a family with whom we are very close.

So tell me, am I committing some horrible social faux pas or is it acceptable for me to ask someone else if they’d like to have us over?

PS - Paul - Depending on the outcome of this discussion I may owe you an apology and may have to retract an email I sent you not too long ago!

January 27, 2006

I read a lot of books last year. I didn’t bother to count them but I know it was well over 100. It is inevitable that, having read that quantity of books, some of them made little impact on me. Some of them were read and slowly (or even quickly) drifted out of my mind. But there are a few that have stayed with me. There are a few that stand out above the rest.

One of the best of the best I read last year was The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy. Here is the deliberately short review I posted of Professor Leahy’s book:

Sometimes I read a book that has come with such numerous and lofty recommendations that really it can only be disappointing. Having heard so much about how the book will change my life and cause my faith to grow in leaps and bounds, I have often found the reality to be disappointing. Conversely, sometimes a book comes unhyped and unheralded and takes my heart and mind by storm. Such is the case with The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy.

Truthfully, I do not remember where I first heard of this book. I was surprised one day to see it turn up in the mail and I soon realized that at one point I had added it to my Amazon wishlist. I knew nothing about it other than what the cover told me: “Meditations on the sufferings of the Redeemer.” Edward Donnelly writes in the foreward that this book has three virtues: it provides solid instruction; gives full play to a disciplined and sanctified imagination; and it recalls the neglected art of meditation. He says further that “in rereading these chapters, I found myself more than once compelled by emotion to stop - and then to worship. I cannot help feeling that this is exactly how they were written and that the author’s chief desire is that each of us who reads should be brought to gaze in fresh understanding and gratitude upon ‘the Son of God,’ who loved me and give himself for me.” As with Donnelly, I was often compelled to stop and worship, to stop and meditate, or to stop and dry my eyes, thanking Christ for His immeasurable sacrifice.

The book is comprised of thirteen chapters, each of which is a short meditation or reflection on a different aspect of Christ’s sacrifice, from the close of the Last Supper to the blotting of the sun from the sky while He hung on the cross. It truly strikes to the very heart of the Gospel.

But I hesitate to say more. Perhaps part of the beauty and significance of this book, was that it came unannounced. There was no lofty position for it to attain to. And perhaps it is best that way. And so I will leave it with merely my wholehearted recommendation and the knowledge that I will return to it often. This short book is an invaluable treasure and I am certain that the reflections it contains will stay with me and come to heart and mind whenever I meditate upon the cross of Christ.

The Cross He Bore is a powerful and beautiful book. I learned this morning that Professor Leahy died just a few weeks ago. He died only two hours after submitting the manuscript for his most recent book. An obituary in Lisburn Today says, “Rev. Leahy, who was 83, was accompanied on the walk from his home to the Post Office on Wednesday January 4 by his devoted wife Margaret. After passing the text of ‘The Hand of God’ over the counter at the start of its journey to publishers ‘Banner of Truth’ she suggested he purchase a new notebook to start work on his next manuscript.” Leahy’s response was simple and contained more truth than he knew. “Margaret, I think I’ve said all I want to say.” He entered his eternal rest only two hours later and finally came face-to-face with the Savior of whom he made so much during his lifetime.

“His minister, Rev Prof Robert McCollum paid tribute to Rev. Leahy describing him as ‘a dedicated servant and faithful ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. He fought the good fight, he finished the race and he kept the faith,’ concluded Rev. McCollum.”

The Cross He Bore is also recommended by Mark Loughridge and Jacob Hantla. Jacob writes, “I recommend that you read this book in a quiet place with little destraction with your Bible by your side. Read it one chapter at a time and then sit and re-read, and pray. Let the Spirit take you back to the foot of the cross where you gaze up at your only hope, the King of the universe hanging in misery, damnation, and ultimately victory. Look at the cross he bore and realize that with such a high price to secure our salvation, anything that we hope to add or to repay will only be an insult to His gift, diminishing its value and His glory. Let the Spirit take you to the foot of the cross where you realize who we are, we are all beggars.”

The book is available from Amazon. You can read Professor Leahy’s obituary here.

January 24, 2006

Stephen HarperWe have a new Prime Minister here in the Great White North. After thirteen years of the Liberal Party reigning in Canada, the Conservatives have fought back. Thirteen years of corruption and mismanagement left Canadians angry and disillusioned with a party that seemed as intent on destroying Canada as they did on protecting it. Now it is the Conservative’s turn to prove that they can do better.

There is much reason for hope. For the first time in far too long a Prime Minister has been elected who hails from the Western part of Canada - the area of Canada that is much more conservative socially and spiritually - the part of Canada that so rarely has a voice in our nation. For the first time in far too long the Prime Minister will not be from Quebec. And that is a good thing. And, in fact, for the first time in a long while the Prime Minster will not be Roman Catholic. And that is also a good thing. I don’t know if Stephen Harper is a Christian. He was raised Presbyterian, I believe, and attends Christian and Missionary Alliance congregations in Calgary and Ottawa. I hope and trust that he is a believer. But even if he is not, he represents a conservative perspective that is far different from what has driven Canada for the past decade.

Yet he will have to tread carefully. Those hoping that he will make radical changes to abortion policy or policies regarding homosexual marriage probably hope in vain. He holds only a minority government and it is rare that a minority government last out its mandate in our system of government before it is toppled in a vote of non-confidence. He has promised free votes in parliament on a variety of important issues and these will go a long way to showing what Canadians really want. The Conservative government will have to prove itself to skeptical and disillusioned Canadians and will have to exercise great judgment and discernment in doing so.

Today is a big day for Canadians. It is a big day for Canadian Christians who have, for the first time in quite a while, been given just a glimmer of hope that perhaps the moral decay that has pervaded our country and that has been encouraged by the Liberal government, will be tempered, at least for a little while. And so please join with me today in praying for this country. I love Canada. I truly do. I want the best for Canada and plead with God that He will take what is largely a pagan nation - a nation that has been declared a mission field by the Southern Baptists and other denominations - and begin a fresh work here by and through His people.

January 23, 2006

Veteran film producer Robert Halmi is remaking The Ten Commandments for ABC Television. The two-part film will be broadcast over the upcoming Easter weekend. ABC will not break with tradition by cancelling its traditional broadcast of the original version of the film (produced in 1956) which starred, of course, Charlton Heston.

ABC President Stephen McPherson said, “Do viewers come in to watch the old one and then get enticed to watch a new one?” he said. “Or is that too much of one thing and viewers say, ‘Eh, why do I want to watch a new one?’ We’ll see … what works in better with our schedule.”

The film will star Dougray Scott as Moses, Omar Sharif will take on the role of Jethro and the Rameses role made famous by Yul Brynner will be played by Paul Rhys. In case you are wondering, Dougray Scott is heterosexual (see! He’s got two kids a wife).

IMDB has more details of the casting and the few other details available at this time.

January 17, 2006

First off, I’d like to take an opportunity to clarify something about the article I posted this morning. My friend Paul Martin posted a comment here and at his blog (and at Justin Taylor’s blog, for that) where he warned against making the issue of watching the film The End of the Spear an issue of clear, biblical right or wrong.

“In issues like this one, it our duty to think in the realm of revealed truth (“true Truth”) and ask of the Biblical text which Scriptures inform our decision as to whether or not to watch the film. Reading through the comments, some Scriptures are mentioned, but there is very little in the way of direct application…”

Paul is right. None of the Apostles took the time to tell us whether or not to watch movies led by homosexual actors. This, as with many areas, requires thought and falls into an issue of conscience.

I sometimes take for granted that people understand this web site to be my reflections on life and the results of what happens when I wrestle with an issue. I did not mean for my article to say, “You are evil if you watch The End of the Spear” or “A good Christian wouldn’t see it.” I merely meant to reflect on some of the deeper issues beyond simply whether or not the movie does a good job of portraying some Christian heroes. If people understand the deeper issues behind the film and pause to reflect on them, I think we’ll all be better for it. I agree with Paul when he says “It seems to me that the worst thing that could happen is that our endorsement or rejection would harm the unity we share in Christ.” We musn’t let peripheral issues like this divide us. At the same time, it does benefit us to consider and wrestle with them.

And now the real reason I posted this afternoon:

Albert Mohler is scheduled to be a guest tonight on Larry King Live (on CNN, of course). He will be discussing the film Brokeback Mountain. According to the show’s description, “The debate over gay love and marriage heats up with “Brokeback Mountain’s” big night. Gays face off with religious conservatives. Tune in at 9 p.m. ET.” Thanks to Justin Taylor for the tip. Let’s pray that the Spirit empowers Dr. Mohler to share the truth and to present the gospel to those who tune in this evening.

January 11, 2006

After posting a hopeful note earlier in which I hoped (against hope, really) that everything on the site had been worked out, I ran into more trouble. I’ve now blown an entire day on this problem and have had little choice but to revert to the older Movabletype-based commenting system. You know, the same one every other blog has. So much for originality. Anyways, you should now be able to post comments and you’ll no longer have to register in the forums as you once did. I suppose this means you’ll even be able to post anonymously. What this will do for discussion around here is going to be interesting. I hope that it will prove less intimidating and that more people will comment.

So thank you for your patience and please continue to bear with me as I try to resurrect this beast of a site!