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

Tim Challies

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May 11, 2004

Misc Rambling 1: We have a rather large refrigerator in our living room. It is in the corner between the bookshelf and the couch, right where the rocking chair usually sits. Now you may want to ask “Tell me, Tim, why do you have a fridge in your living room?” I won’t leave you hanging. Like most people we have a fridge in our kitchen but it is not behaving very well these days. It does silly things like freezing the vegetables and thawing the meat. It’s also dripping some horrible green liquid onto the floor. So several weeks ago I told my landlord about this and last night he brought us a new fridge. He was thrilled to find one for a good price and that the price didn’t include delivery he found a way to get it for nearly free. You see, our neighborhood runs on an economy of beer. If you want your driveway cleared in the winter, you talk to Bob and he’ll do it for the appropriate amount of beer. Similarly if you want some help cleaning out your garage, you wave some bottles of beer around and the help will magically appear. My landlord bargained a truck from a guy down the street in exchange for a case of beer and used that truck to deliver the fridge. So anyways, back to the explanation of why there is a fridge dominating my living room. A new fridge, unfortunately, has to sit for 24 hours before it can be plugged in. We will not have room for it in the kitchen until the old fridge moves out, so for now we have two – one in the kitchen and the other in the living room. It is a situation we hope to remedy by tomorrow.

Misc Rambling 2: I can never tell which articles here will catch people’s attention and which will not. I have written articles that I thought were brilliant pieces of writing and would surely be the spark to fuel a worldwide revival. But it seems whenever I think something is really good I am the only one who thinks so. Other times I will throw together an article and barely even proof-read it only to find it posted all over the Internet (that’s an exaggeration) and reads tens of thousands of time (that’s not). Whenever that happens I find myself wishing I had taken a lot more time to proof-read it and tidy it up! It’s quite embarrassing, really.

Misc Rambling 3: At this very moment you can order a piece of Challies Dot Com memorabilia that I’m sure will be priceless some day. Or do I mean valueless? David Cloud has published a book about The Passion of the Christ and included one of my articles in it. I am sure more people would consider that a shame than an honor. I’m on the fence about it.

May 11, 2004

I am looking for a domain name for another project I am thinking of starting. I am working on a “plausibility study” for a site dedicated to Christian music news and reviews. It would be a project I would take on in addition to this blog (though this site will always be my foremost priority)! So I am looking for a name for the site, and of course a domain name to go along with it.

If you are the creative sort and would like to suggest a name I am all ears. Before you do so you might want to check here to make sure it isn’t already taken.

If your name is the one I choose I will be happy to buy you a CD or something as thanks…

So please, post your suggestions in the comments.

May 09, 2004

I had to go to the doctor today and chose to visit a new little walk-in clinic that recently opened near my house. Because I live in Canada health care is “free” (as free as it can be when we pay some of the highest taxes in the world) and I try to visit the doctor every now and then just so I feel like I am getting my money’s worth.

When I walked into the office I saw that the doctor had a teenage girl as receptionist, so I walked up and gave her my health card so she could get my information. She asked me to take a seat and said she would be with me shortly. As I waited she called across the room to another patient and said “Why do you need to see the doctor today?” The lady pointed to her daughter and said something I couldn’t understand, at which point the receptionist led the woman into one of the examination rooms. After they had left I spoke to the only other woman in the room and remarked that I thought it was against standard protocol to publicly ask people why they were visiting the doctor. It is one thing to have your mechanic call across the garage to ask what’s wrong with your car, but it’s another thing altogether to have to announce publicly why you are visiting the doctor. After all, people often visit the doctor for personal reasons! The woman started to laugh and told me she had just seen the movie Outbreak the day before and suggested I tell the girl that I thought I had the Ebola virus. We chatted for a minute and had a laugh but like naughty school-children who took advantage of their teacher’s momentary absence we quieted down when the receptionist returned.

The girl took my health card and a moment later called out to me and said “Is there a reason you wanted to see the doctor today?” At that point all sorts of thoughts flashed through my mind. What I really wanted to say was “No! I really just came in here to catch up on three-year old issues of People magazine!” Somehow, even though this office is brand new and the doctor has never had his own practice before, he has managed to amass a collection of magazines that predate his clinic by several years. Where does he get these things? Did he root through the dumpster outside some other doctor’s office? If he’s making doctor money why can’t he spend $50 and get some decent magazines? But I digress. I also thought it would be fun to explain to her that perhaps her question was not very appropriate. But being a generally polite sort of person I just said “ear-ache.” Just as I mumbled “ear-ache” the woman I had been speaking with called out in a much louder voice, “He got bit by a monkey!”

Of course we both started giggling again at our little inside joke. The receptionist just scowled and led me off to an examination room.

Turns out that all I need are some $35 ear drops and I’ll be good as new in a week. That is if I don’t have Ebola.

Anyways, I guess the moral of the story is that teenagers make poor receptionists at doctor’s offices.

May 08, 2004

Each week I examine the song at the top of the CMCentral charts . Since last week’s song, Dare You To Move by Switchfoot has not budged from the number one spot, this week we will look at the number two song which is More by Matthew West.

Take a look at the mountain
Stretching a mile high
Take a look at the ocean
Far as your eye can see
And think of Me

Take a look at the desert
Do you feel like a grain of sand?
I am with you wherever
Where you go is where I am

And I’m always thinking of you
Take a look around you
I’m spelling it out one by one

(Chorus)
I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I’ll say it again and again
I love you more

Just a face in the city
Just a tear on a crowded street
But you are one in a million
And you belong to Me

And I want you to know
That I’m not letting go
Even when you come undone
(Chorus)
I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I’ll say it again and again
I love you more

Shine for Me
Shine for Me
Shine on, shine on
Shine for Me

(Chorus)
I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I’ll say it again and again
I love you more

West has been playing on college campuses for years and has gathered quite a following. Based on his popularity he was given a cooperative record deal between Sparrow Records and Universal South. Universal South is providing mainstream distribution and Sparrow distribution within the Christian market. Unfortunately it seems that neither one is able to ship the album to Canada so it has to be ordered from an American company.

More is a song that expresses the amazing love God has for us. God loves us more than anything else in creation and His love for us is the same yesterday, today and forever. Though in comparison to many other parts of creation we seem so small – we may feel like mere grains of sand in the midst of a desert – God values us more highly than anything else He made.

Though written in a slightly generic way (West uses pronouns instead of the word God, for example) the lyrics are very obviously directed at God and there is no way this could be mistaken for a song directed at anyone other than Him. The point of the song is clear: Though at times we may lose site of this fact, God loves us always and forever. His love is greater than our fears, our humanity and our sinfulness.

May 07, 2004

Just for kicks, here are some links to fully legal MP3s.

Grassroots Music has a huge selection of legal downloads from some major releases (By The Tree, Tree 63, Derek Webb, Carolyn Arends, etc).

Third Day has 3 bootlegs you can download.

Jason McGibbon (a good friend of mine) has the song I Am Broken available.

Dale Nikkel has five songs.

Feel free to leave other recommendations in the comments section.

May 07, 2004

If you are Canadian this post should require little explanation. CBC wants to let Don Cherry go after 23 years of commentary as part of Hockey Night in Canada. Needless to say we cannot let this happen. There is petition you can sign here that will be presented to CBC. Go ahead and do the right thing!

May 07, 2004

Last week a reader recommended a spam blocking tool called SpamBayes. I looked it up and since it was a free install I decided I would give it a try. It snaps seamlessly into Outlook and took only seconds to install. Once the program is installed it takes a few days to “train” the program what is spam and what is not. This is as simple as clicking a button each time an email comes in. After doing that for two or three days it has since been 100% effective in blocking spam.

If you would like to give it a try you can download it here.

May 06, 2004

Several months ago I ripped my entire CD collection to MP3 and the collection totaled something like 5000 songs. Since I work on my computer all day long I listen to a lot of music. Just for fun I ordered my music by play count. So the following is a list of the 10 songs I have listened to the most times in that period. I can’t really imagine anyone cares, but here goes:

  1. Dale Nikkel - Postcards from Home
  2. Stuart Townend - Grace
  3. 12 Stones - The Way I Feel
  4. Switchfoot - You Already Take Me There
  5. Switchfoot - Might Have Ben Hur
  6. Thousand Foot Krutch - Rawkfist
  7. Bleach - Get Up
  8. The Swift - Wake Up
  9. Caedmon’s Call - Ballad of San Francisco
  10. Dakona - Trampoline