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Tim Challies

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August 21, 2009
Chernobyl Then and Now
Here is an interesting series of photos showing Chernobyl back in 1984 and showing what it looks like today.
The Greenback Effect
Warren Buffet, in an op-ed at the Times, shares some staggering facts. “Congress is now spending 185% of what it takes in; the deficit is a post WWII record of 13% of GDP; the debt is growing by 1% a month; the US is borrowing $1.8 trillion a year.”
Josh Harris in Towers
Josh Harris is featured in SBTSTowers magazine (is it a magazine? a publication? whatever…).
30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge
That’s the name of a challenge you can read about at Revive our Hearts. It is “a challenge to speak positively to and about your husband each day.”
The Senior Pastor Model
STR writes about (another) scandal involving (another) pastor and uses it as a bridge to discuss the potential failings of the senior pastor model.
August 04, 2009
Monergism Announces Redesign
Monergism has redesigned their site. This is phase 1 of what they hope will be a 2-stage overhaul. It looks good!
Bad Boys Turned Christian
Owen Strachan: “A recent NYT article chronicled an encouraging if unexpected development: a bunch of professional skateboarders and bike riders are boldly witnessing to their faith in Christ.”
A Hymn for Ordinary Christians
Bob Kauflin writes about “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” “The story behind Great is Thy Faithfulness should encourage every Christian who thinks of their life as ordinary. There’s no tragic story (think “It Is Well” by Horatio Spafford) associated with this hymn. It’s just the fruit of a faithful man with a simple faith in a faithful God.”
Rose, Laura and Little House
This article at the New Yorker tries to understand the working relationship of Rose Wilder Lane and Laura Ingalls Wilder as they sought to write the books that Laura has become known for.
The Case for Early Marriage
Dr. Mohler discusses an article in the latest edition of Christianity Today. “In ‘The Case for Early Marriage,’ sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas in Austin argues that far too many American evangelicals have attempted to deal with sex without understanding marriage. In particular, he asserts that the ‘prevailing discourse of abstinence culture in contemporary American evangelicalism’ has run aground.”
Too Critical? On the Contrary…
I enjoyed this article in The Globe and Mail about critical book reviews. “As Philip Marchand, one of this nation’s few critics willing to appear negative, once put it: ‘If I have erred as a critic, I have erred by being too appreciative. I don’t think there’s a single negative word about any author’s book that I would take back, but I seriously wonder about some of the praise I have dispensed.’”
How Whitefield Studied the Bible
Looking to Dallimore’s biography of Whitefield, Ray Ortlund shows how Whitefield studied Scripture.
January 07, 2009
On Our Watch
Ray Ortlund has six valuable suggestions on how to combat the shocking biblical illiteracy that exists in the church today.
God’s Problem
This is a thoroughly enjoyable review of Bart Ehrman’s book God’s Problem written by William Willimon.
Updates @ DR
Yesterday we added quite a few new reviews to Discerning Reader (as we do most Tuesdays). Why not check in to see if there is something there that interests you?
Atheists Play Their Hand: Probability
Dr. Mohler covers the bizarre and completely non-threatening advertising campaign by British atheists—placing billboards on buses saying “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Mohler: “I must admit that I find the British campaign nearly humorous. In any event, it is certainly not threatening to the Christian message. No one is really likely to be converted to atheism by seeing a sign on a bus — and almost certainly not by a sign that declared that “there’s probably no God.” Probably?”
The Best of Boundless Webzine
Boundless gives a roundup of their most popular articles in 2008. There are some good ones there if you care to take the time to look through them.
Deal of the Day: Sponsor a Child, Get a Gift Certificate
I almost feel bad linking to this as the deal somehow just seems wrong. But here it is. “If you sponsor a child online today and make your first month’s payment by credit or debit card, you’ll receive a $25 gift card for Christianbook.com.” So if you’ve been considering sponsoring a child through Compassion, this is as good a time as any to begin!
January 06, 2009
Why Are there Never Enough Parking Spaces at the Prostate Clinic?
Carl Trueman offers more than a great (and original) title in this article about the Christian obsession with culture. “Plenty of talk about Christian approaches to art, music, literature, sex, even international politics. All very interesting subjects, I’m sure, and the topics of many a chardonnay-fuelled discussion after a hearty dinner party. But what about subjects that aren’t quite so interesting? Take street sweepers, for example; or hotel lavatory attendants; or workers on an umbrella manufacturing line. Why no conference on the Christian philosophy underlying these vital callings and trades?”
Mohler on Carson
Some valuable advice from Dr. Mohler: “Here is a simple rule to keep in mind: When D. A. Carson writes a book, buy it.”
Calvin on Knowing the Truth
Kevin Boling’s “Knowing the Truth” radio program will be featuring many Calvin experts in the coming days. Check the site for a schedule.
Calvin Audio Links
Martin Downes is collecting calvin-related audio links for those interested in hearing instead of reading about him.
Blake Hicks
Blake Hicks has an album (available on Noisetrade) called Songs of a Pious Heart. It is a tribute to Augustine’s confessions. You can read a review of it here.
August 09, 2007

The value of inviting and pursuing correction.

A couple of days ago I wrote a short article called Her Good or Mine. The purpose of the article was simple: to ask whether I really try to help my wife seek after godliness or whether instead I try to help her seek after my own selfish goals. Do I try to help her become ever more conformed to the image of Christ or do I selfishly try to help her become conformed to some standard I have set. I must not have made this point very clear because a few people used the article to accuse me of being a domineering husband who scolds my wife like a naughty child.

Now I’m certainly not the husband I could be and am not the husband I’d like to be, but I don’t treat my wife like a child (and checked with her to make sure I’m not blinded to my own faults in this way). However, I do take sin seriously not only in my own life but in the life of those who are near to me. I seek to help my wife grow in godliness and sometimes this can only be done by occasional loving confrontation—I confront her with evidence of sin in her life and, if necessary, seek to show her why this is sin and why she should address it. I try hard not to play the role of the Holy Spirit, the one who convicts us of sin, but only the one who makes her aware of a sin and potentially its outworkings and effects on those of us who are closest to her. I agree with those who said that it is the role of God to bring about change. I agree entirely. Yet I also know that God often uses people as the agent of change or, at the very least, to be the one who makes another person aware of a sin.

I’ve often heard C.J. Mahaney share a story about being in a restaurant and spotting a well-dressed businessman heading out of the store. He was wearing a suit and tie and was dressed to make the big sale. But he walked into the business world with a big splotch of cream cheese on the side of his face. C.J. uses this as a metaphor for sin in a person’s life, showing that sometimes a certain sin may be apparent to everyone but the person who commits it. And from there he teaches on the need for inviting and pursuing correction. It is not enough to desire to be corrected when there is sin in your life. Sometimes you need to deliberately seek correction.

After I read some of the comments about my first article both on this site and on other sites, I spoke to Aileen and said, “You do know that it is always open season on my life, right?” And what I mean by that is that I am always open to her coming to me to confront me with sin. Again, this is not shouting, screaming, accusing, vindictive confrontation, but loving, compassionate, biblical confrontation that seeks to draw the other person closer to Christ. I want to reaffirm to her that if there is sin in my life, she is uniquely placed to see it before anyone else and I want her to address it before anyone else. I would far rather have her address my sin than to head out into life with a big old chunk of cream cheese hanging from my beard. I know that she feels the same. My close friends will attest that I also seek correction from them. They know me well and I want them to make me aware of sin they see in my life. I try not to be only reactive when it comes to sin, but to invite correction. And I don’t think anyone has taught me more about this than Mahaney. In his books and blogs and sermons and sessions at conferences I’ve often been challenged with his understanding of the need and value of this kind of correction. And in my own life I’ve seen its value.

And this is what I was discussing the other day. I was simply suggesting that I have had to be careful when addressing sin in the life of my wife that I am addressing sin from God’s perspective and not from my own—that I am addressing behavior that offends God and not just me.

Let me end with some valuable advice I’ve heard C.J. dispense a few times. Gentlemen: set aside two or three hours when you can be alone with your wife and free from interruption (if you are not married, do the same with a close friend or your pastor and ask questions that will probe deeply into your behavior). Then ask her two very specific questions. Where do I need to grow in serving and leading you? Where do I need to grow in serving and leading the children? And without anger or defensiveness, allow her to speak to you about your sin and about your life. Invite correction, pursue correction, and let the Spirit convict you of sin, knowing that He will provide the power to overcome it.

July 16, 2007

Our culture has an obsession with underappreciation. Everywhere you look there are discussions about this topic. I cannot think of many subjects that are discussed more in the sports world; there are always and forever discussions about which player is the most underappreciated or which position generates the lowest amount of recognition. Look around and you’ll soon find discussions of songs, films, actors, blogs and books that are underappreciated—that are not getting the attention they deserve. It seems that we are always looking for the next breakout hit, the next breakout actor or song. We’re all looking for people who are just a little bit better than we might surmise from their current position. We’re looking for people whom we feel deserve better than what they’ve had so far.

“Appreciate” is one of those multi-faceted words. It can have several meanings, yet most of these are insinuated together when we use it. The most common meaning is “To recognize the quality, significance, or magnitude of.” I can also mean “To be fully aware of or sensitive to; realize.” Yet it can also suggest “to be thankful or show gratitude for” or “to admire greatly; value.” So when we declare our appreciation for a film, for example, we are suggesting that we recognize its quality and the magnitude of its contribution to our lives or to film in general. We are thankful for it and admire it.

Of course when we seek something that is underappreciated we are looking for something that has quality and significance, yet does not receive the recognition that we feel it deserves. We find something we admire and seek to recognize it before others so that they, too, can come to know and appreciate it. We are suggesting that something has not gotten the praise it deserves. We are suggesting that a person or thing gets its significance from the value and importance we place on it.

Though I have met him only a few times and have never spent any really significant time with him, C.J. Mahaney is a man who has had a profound influence on my life. His books and conference messages have made a deep impact on me. They have challenged me on a level that I am not often challenged. But there is something that has probably had an even deeper impact on me. Whenever I hear people speak of C.J. I hear things that affirm that he does not just write good books, but that he lives what he teaches. People who spend time with him continue to say that he walks the talk. He is the real deal. I admire that greatly. I’m sure we can all think of times that we have found ourselves disappointed in the reality of those we admire. Far too often people present themselves in one way publicly, but in another way privately.

I think that the ministry of C.J. Mahaney would be considered underappreciated by many. But I also think he wants it that way. Ask C.J. how he’s doing and he’ll always reply, “Better than I deserve.” And isn’t that the truth? With that little phrase he preaches the gospel to himself and others, and allows himself to focus on what is true: that he has received far more than he deserves. He has received more talent, forgiveness, love, and appreciation than is his due. When peering into the pages of Scripture, he sees that, despite all he has done to advance the kingdom, despite all the praise that he receives, he is overappreciated. He deserves nothing, but gets so much more.

As I have pondered underappreciation, I have come to see that this is exactly where Christians ought to be. Yet far too often we seek to raise ourselves or other people to a level that is simply too high. It would be interesting to know how some people become popular within Christian circles. Sometimes we look at the men (or women) leading huge churches or massive, international ministries and can only wonder how they achieved such a position. So often it seems that they have forsaken the gospel and sound theology, yet somehow have been propelled to great heights. Surely there are people with greater talent, greater gifting and more holy lives laboring throughout the kingdom. They may preach from the pulpits of tiny churches far from the lights and the cameras. They may labor overseas as missionaries in near-total isolation. They may drive the buses or taxis you took to work this morning.

Jesus taught us “blessed are the meek.” The meek are the humble, those who show humility and submission before God. They are the underappreciated, yet those who know that in reality they are overappreciated. They have nothing to offer God, but have been accepted by Him. They are aware of the significance of the gift that has been given them. They are aware that they have gotten better than they have deserved.

Blessed are the underappreciated.

November 03, 2006

Friday November 3, 2006

Conference: Information for the 2007 Children Desiring God conference has been released. Speakers include Piper, Grudem and Mahaney. (HT: JT).

Liveblogging: There will be liveblogging at this weekend’s Alpha & Omega National Conference which will include a debate between James White and John Shelby Spong. You can keep up with the conference here.

Audio: Paul has posted links to “Haykin’s History of the Whole Church,” a series of lectures delivered by Dr. Michael Haykin. “We crammed well over 100 folks into our gym and for one Saturday climbed aboard a luxury airliner with Dr. Haykin at the helm, guiding us over 2004 years of Christ’s work in preparing His bride. It was glorious!”

Interview: Here is the transcript of Dr. Mohler’s interview with Andrew Sullivan.

November 02, 2006

Thursday November 2, 2006

Children: Amy points out a phenomenon my wife and I also noticed: “Whoever invented Daylight Saving Time did not have a baby in the house.”

Health: Jollyblogger points to a strange and interesting story about “Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert - how he lost his voice and got it back.”

Audio: Earlier this week John MacArthur was guest on Al Mohler’s radio program. You can hear the discussion here.

Church: Thabiti Anyabwile shares pictures from a baptism service he conducted for his new church on Grand Cayman.

Politics: An article by SunMedia shows how many immigrants find ways of bringing parents and siblings into Canada - quite simply, they marry them!

September 26, 2006

Tuesday September 26, 2006

Courses: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is offering several courses free online. There are a couple by David Wells that are sure to be especially good.

People: Phil Johnson has begun a new series on TeamPyro and begins with an interesting “word of personal testimony” that describes how he was saved.

Music: I am a few days behind the times here (how am I supposed to know Bob has posted on his site when his RSS feed has stopped working!) but Bob Kauflin has posted some information about the upcoming Christmas album from Sovereign Grace Ministries, including the lyrics to a new song by Mark Altrogge.

Debate: Audio of the “debate” on Calvinism between Al Mohler and Paige Patterson has been posted online.

September 14, 2005

They say bad news comes in three’s. I don’t quite know who the “they” are that keep spreading such words of “wisdom,” but I’ve often heard people express this type of superstition. I don’t believe it. Yet it seems to me that good news often arrives in bunches. Today I am going to share with you two pieces of good great news. For your reading pleasure I present this news in a handy, tabular format.





Together For The Gospel - I can think of few conferences I would would be more eager to attend than Together for the Gospel. It runs from April 26-28, 2006 and is hosted by Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C.J. Mahaney and Albert Mohler. Special guests for this conference include John MacArthur, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul. This is a who’s who of pastors and theologians I greatly admire. I have read books and articles written by each of these men, and many of them have been foundational in forming my theology.

And guess what? The organizers of this conference would like me to live-blog it. It is an incredible honor to be considered for this.

Number Three - Throwing up in the mornings? Check. Hardening of the belly? Check. Feeling different? Check. Blood tests? Check. Well what do you know? God has seen fit to bless us once more with a child. We discovered only a few days ago that Aileen is expecting. The children are over the moon and are eager to tell everyone they come across that, “Mommy has a baby in her tummy.” Aileen and I are just as exicted as we were the first two times around and are looking forward to meeting “number three.”

We are thankful to God for this blessing, which we expect to arrive sometime around the 14th of May.

Uh oh

Uh oh? Hey, I’m not complaining! Trust me, I’m thrilled. But do you notice a potential conflict here? There are a mere two weeks between the conference (which will be held about 8 hours due south of my home) and the expected due date. Now experience shows that Aileen tends to deliver late. In fact, both of our children were born more than a week late. There is another complication in that Aileen’s blood pressure tends to climb a little bit towards the very end (though last time this did not happen until after the due date).

Clearly I do not want to miss the birth of my child or be absent if my wife encounters medical complications. And clearly I know where my priorities lie. So this is going to require some thought and potentially some planning!

I am tentatively planning on attending and live-blogging the conference, but we are going to have to wait to give final confirmation until a little bit later, once we know how this pregnancy is shaping up.

In the meantime, we’re rejoicing in God’s goodness and looking forward to the end of morning sickness, and eventually, to the day we get to meet the child God has seen fit to lend to us.

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