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Personal Reflections

April 28, 2008

I’m not much of a do-it-yourself type. I’m well aware of my limits. You know, I’m pretty comfortable changing light bulbs and painting walls, but beyond that I tend to put a call out to my father-in-law (for low priority jobs) or a paid expert (for high priority jobs). We’ve got a few neighbors who are involved in the trades and I’ve been known to get them to come in to do cabling or minor wiring. When they come I play the role I used to play with my dad—holding the flashlight or passing the wrenches. Nice guys that they are, they either work for free or for favors (“I’ve got a computer that just isn’t working right…”). Rumor has it that they also accept beer as currency, but I’ve never been too comfortable with alcohol as currency.

We are having some plumbing issues in the Challies household at the moment. What started yesterday as a clogged drain has become a rain shower in the dining room. When I went to bed last night it looked like I’d be making a fairly routine call to a plumber in the morning; when I woke up the whole dining room ceiling was looking just a bit too convex for my liking. Again, I’m no expert, but as I understand it, ceiling are supposed to be pretty well flat. I took a nail and pushed it into the ceiling. I don’t think I should be able to push a nail through drywall with only my thumb, but this one went through with little resistance. I pulled it back out and water began to pour pretty freely. I guess that explains why the ceiling was buckling a little bit.

We’ve now got an assortment of buckets throughout the living room, catching water as it pour from various little holes and crevices. Replacing that ceiling has been on our long list of things to do and I guess this has bumped it to a much shorter list. At this point I think the ceiling will survive without crashing to the floor. But it may surprise me still.

All this is to say that I didn’t have time or opportunity to write what I wanted to write today. So I’m going to post a book review instead (not something I generally like to do on Mondays). But the plumber is here and he’s probably going to need me to hold a flashlight for him or something…

April 11, 2008

It has been a tough couple of days. On Wednesday I wrote about the perfect storm of being away from home and returning only to have Michaela (my two year-old daughter) come down with some kind of illness. Well, that illness has progressed and yesterday she was admitted to the hospital. The doctors aren’t quite sure what is wrong with her, though at least they’ve been able to eliminate several awful things. At this point they are thinking that she likely has some kind of viral infection, but for the time being they need to keep her there. She hasn’t been able to keep any food or drink down for almost three days now so they’ve had to hook her up to an I.V. to keep her hydrated. Thankfully it seems that she is doing a little bit better than she was yesterday.

Aileen stayed with her all day yesterday and through the night so I’m going to head over there now and spell her off so she can come home and get some sleep. Here’s a picture of my two girls (with Michaela being the younger of the two, of course). We covet your prayers!

michaela_abby.jpg

Afternoon Update: I got home from the hospital a short time ago. Michaela is definitely doing at least a little bit better and she’s getting her fight back in her. Though I hate to see the sin in my kids, at least this time around I’m taking it as a good sign! She’s very bothered by the I.V. in her arm and by the bracelets on her ankles (but quite pleased with the Snoopy band aid). She’s grumpy and irritable, but at least she’s showing some emotion. The past two days she was so out of it she didn’t even talk or complain most of the time. The doctor figures it is just some nasty virus and thinks she should be set for release sometime on Saturday afternoon. So we’re thankful and hopeful. We are grateful for your prayers and for your concern!

April 09, 2008

Today was a perfect storm. I spent Monday and Tuesday in Grand Rapids to meet with a client out there and got home yesterday evening. I came home to find Michaela (who is a month away from turning two…can you believe that?) just starting to show some signs of illness. Sure enough she spent the night doing her utmost to keep the rest of us awake while dealing with the inevitable consequences of some kind of stomach virus. This is, by my records, the 437th time a member of the Challies family has been sick this winter/spring. We can’t figure out why this is!

Anyways, I had great plans for writing book reviews today, and perhaps posting an article entitled “Don’t Let the Redneck Choose the Restaurant” (based on experience gained in Grand Rapids) but those plans have gone by the by. I’ve long since learned not to try to write anything profound (or humorous) while existing on far to little sleep. Michaela’s sickness combined with my trip left me unable to do any good writing. I did manage to update Discerning Reader and you may like to catch up on reviews over there. We’ve also got the scoop there on a long list of forthcoming titles by your favorite authors (check September, for example, to see what the next books will be from Mark Driscoll, John Piper and C.J. Mahaney). So check out DR and see what’s happened there since you last visited.

I’ll leave you with a couple more quotes from David Well’s forthcoming The Courage to be Protestant. In the book he focuses a lot of attention on two segments of the church: the emergents and the church growth advocates. Here are a couple of snippets where he discusses emergents. Next time I’ll share some of his thoughts on the church growth movement.

Emergents—at least those who read theology—seem to have stumbled on the postliberals, and this is what is now driving this new understanding of the function of Scripture. They have taken up this fad as if it were the most current, cutting-edge expression in contemporary thought, though in the academic world it has already disappeared.

And again,

Plain language and clear communication are not in vogue in postmodern circles. They reveal the speaker as being too much of a realist, too obviously rational, too modern, too unchic. No, we can’t have that! The required alternative speech is subtle parody, contradiction, being indeterminate, being ironic, being playful. This, however, is not as easy to do as it seems and many postmoderns, lacking the skills, settle simply for being obscure.

There are tricks to this. A plain speaker might write of someone else’s “view.” A “view”? How flat-footed and prosaic! How about that person’s “voice” or, better yet, their different “vocality”? And prefixes are a treasure trove for those in search of depths beyond the grasp of the reader, prefixes such as pre-, hyper-, post-, de-, ex-, and counter- - as in words like de-confusing and re-constructing. These all open up new possibilities as do a new constellation of suffixes to go with them. We today, you see, are living in a moment when the multivocalities of post-colonial others are entering our intra/post/spacialities and are exposing the anti-sociality concealed in the hegemony of our discourse and sensibilities.

Listen to the emergent church and this kind of empty obfuscation is what we hear all too often, though usually without this kind of veneer of intellectual sophistication. In its place (and usually on the internet), we hear the confidence of those who have a sense of being on the edge of What-is-Happening-Now but who, for that very reason, are diffident, unsure, tentative and, more often than not, simply confused.

I guess you’d have to agree that Wells cannot be accused of using obfuscating language of his own. He says it as clearly as you could hope.

March 30, 2008

Some time ago my mother made me aware of a poem her grandfather had written many years ago. My great grandfather was an Anglican minister somewhere in Quebec’s Eastern Townships and, to be honest, beyond that I know very little about him. But I really enjoyed this poem (which would have been ideal to post a week ago, perhaps on the Saturday before Easter).

O little child of Salem
Why weep ye so today?
I weep the gentle master
Who wiped my tears away.
Last night in Joseph’s garden
All cold and white he lay,
And now my heart is breaking
While other children play.

O little maid of Jairus,
Why weep ye so today?
Your dusky lashes trailing
The cheeks of ashen grey.
I weep the mighty master
Who waked me from my sleep,
But now in Joseph’s garden,
He slumbers, still and deep.

O Mary, timid Mary,
Why weep ye so today?
I weep the gentle Saviour,
Who took my sins away.
My spices all are gathered
To grace the rocky bed,
For now in Joseph’s garden,
My Lord is lying dead,

O child, O maid, O Mary,
Lift up your eyes and see,
The lilies all a-rocking,
In winds of Araby.
The turtle-dove is calling,
The birds are singing gay,
And there in Joseph’s garden,
The stone is rolled away.

March 21, 2008

I was in a bad mood yesterday. For weeks now I’ve been trying to figure out something simple with a nearby bank—or something that should be simple. It has been a comedy of errors, really. Every time I try to do something (anything!), it seems that their incompetence or ignorance is working against me. I’ll receive a phone call telling me to come in and sign papers, but when I get there I’m told that the papers are actually still at the head office. “We didn’t call you!” they’ll insist. Was the phone call a figment of my imagination, then? No, I guess it just turns out that the call center and the branch don’t have the best communication. The next time I went to the bank they ran around the branch scraping together some paperwork, all the while calling across the branch with personal details of my account and its contents (despite all kinds of other customers milling about). After a couple of weeks of this I had to admit that I had been holding on just to satisfy my own morbid curiosity as to whether they could actually follow through on any of their promises.

Yesterday I was told I could drop by to fill out the paperwork for a safe deposit box they had reserved for me. I took a few minutes around lunch time and drove up there. When I arrived at the branch I was told that all of the boxes were already spoken for. A little vein in my forehead started throbbing. I tried to explain with decreasing self-control that every time they called me to the branch I took time out of my day only to find that they had been wrong. The girl behind the counter explained that her manager and all other superiors were out at the moment but that they would call me when they arrived later. Of course I could also wait at the bank if I preferred. Well, I am a busy guy and can’t be waiting at a bank for a manager to arrive, so I rolled my eyes, barked something grumpy and stormed away with a black rain cloud over my head.

Fifteen minutes after getting home the branch called and left a message to say that there was a safe deposit box for me after all. Later that afternoon, when I had put aside work for the day, I headed back to the branch. I was just hoping that I’d be able to get in a word or two with that manager. There was so much I wanted to say. “I’d keep my money in a sock under my mattress before I’d open another account in your half-rate, two-bit institution!” I was ready. I was prepped.

I got to the bank and stood in line. In just a few seconds it was my turn and I marched up to the wicket to see the same girl there that I had spoken to that morning. This was going to be good. It was time for some justice.

And right then and there, God whacked me on the chest with a two-by-four. Or if felt like it, anyways. It was like my conscience was something physical, something palpable and something that was anxious to pull out of my chest. Suddenly I didn’t feel like fighting. All I could say was, “I’m sorry I was a jerk this morning.” She replied as people always seem to: “That’s okay!” And I said, “No, it isn’t okay. I shouldn’t have acted like that and I’m sorry.” And then, after many more delays, we opened my safe deposit box.

As humbling and humiliating as this was, I’m grateful to the Spirit that He struck my conscience in the way He did. I need His help. I’ve been trying to become a better apologizer. I’ve been trying to take the initiative, as the leader of my household, in apologizing. Too often I’ve seen apologizing as weakness—that a real man never apologizes. What will my wife and children think of me if I’m always apologizing to them? They’ll catch on that I’m pretty well a jerk and that I sin, you know, at least occasionally. But God has really helped me to understand that taking initiative in apologizing is the mark of a leader, not the mark of someone who is weak. God knows how many opportunities I have to practice apologizing. And He is showing me how important it is that I take them.

As I’ve been working on becoming a better apologizer, I’ve come up with just a short list of tips. I’ll post them in the hope that maybe they can help you, too.

Just Do It

Just apologize. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t let bitterness take root. Don’t let pride sever your relationships. If there is anything that will keep you from apologizing, it is pride. Your pride will rebel against humbling yourself before God and before another person. Don’t trust your pride. Just apologize. When you offend someone, just apologize. If you’re anything like me, you won’t ever lack for opportunities to practice apologizing. As times goes on it may not get any easier or any less humbling, but it will become something you do sincerely and out of a desire to please God and to honor people created in His image.

Ask for Forgiveness

It is easy enough to say, “I’m sorry, ” But far more difficult to ask, “Do you forgive me?” Asking forgiveness allows both you and the offend party to understand that you are not merely seeking to salve your conscience by apologizing, but that you are seeking true reconciliation. Forgiveness is something that needs to be both given and received.There may be times when actually asking for forgiveness will be very awkward and there may be times you will choose not to actually force the question (as I did yesterday. The girl at the bank was already looking at me funny. I was worried she’d hit the panic button if I pressed much more). But you will generally want to ask for forgiveness.

Don’t Rationalize Your Sin

I try to teach my children that an apology does not include the words “but” or “if.” We do not say, “I’m sorry if I offended you.” We do not say, “I’m sorry I did it, but if you hadn’t…” We apologize sincerely and from the heart. If we cannot apologize without rationalizing our own sin, we are not truly apologizing. We will want to examine our hearts before attempting to make a true and sincere apology. We cannot make apologies that are really our attempts to forgive ourselves for the wrongs we’ve committed. So apologize sincerely and apologize from the heart, not as an attempt to clear your own record but as a step of love and obedience.

Learn to Forgive

And finally, learn how to forgive. As difficult as I find it to be the one asking forgiveness, I find it even more difficult and even more awkward being on the giving end of forgiveness. You may well feel the same. Far too often, when someone apologizes to us, we are embarrassed and inadvertently excuse their sin. “That’s okay! It didn’t bother me…” we may reply. But it is not okay; sin is never okay. So learn how to forgive.

If God grants me my three score and ten, I’m not even halfway through life yet. And while he has certainly been gracious in helping me overcome sin, plenty remains. I’m still a committed sinner. Dave Harvey, in his book When Sinners Say ‘I Do’ said something I love—that the more you get to know him, the more respect you’ll have for his wife. The same is certainly true of me and of my wife. Get to know me and you’ll soon see the kind of person that Aileen is. It’s not always an easy calling for her to be my wife. But even more, the same is true of me and my God. Get to know me and you’ll learn just how gracious and loving a God I serve that He would be willing to forgive a jerk like me.

Postscript

I was wrong to bark at the girl at the bank. There’s no doubt. And I truly am sorry. But the fact remains that the bank really is a half-rate, two-bit institution and I really do think I’d keep my savings in a sock under my mattress before I entrusted them to this particular branch. Then again, they now have a safe deposit box in my name. Dare I entrust them with whatever I might want to stuff in there?

March 05, 2008

Elizabeth is a public nuisance. Her status is not official yet, but it will be soon. The local police have encouraged the families in this neighborhood to fill out the paperwork that will fulfill the legal requirements. It’s probably the best thing to do. When that paperwork is complete the police will no longer be forced to respond to her every call. And she calls a lot. When a car parks a little too far into the road, she calls the police. When she believes someone has trespassed on her property, she calls the police. When the children are playing outdoors and a ball rolls into her yard, she calls the police. She has the reputation of a person who must sit by the window with phone in hand. Nine and one are already pushed and she’s just waiting for a reason to hit the one again. She was one of the first people we were told about when we moved to this neighborhood. “You’re going to have to watch out for Elizabeth…”

Everyone in the neighborhood knows who she is. Her yard is easy to spot as it’s the one that is completely overgrown. In most cases people who do not care for their yards have it cut by city hall and receive a bill in the mail. In her case she’s managed to convince them that this chaos is a gardening style. Her house is over an aquifier she says, one of the few in the area, and that is why the trees grow so well and why they remain so dense. She’s the one who hands out apples or oranges on Halloween. She’s the one who has lived in the neighborhood since before many of the rest of us were even born and long before the other houses were built.

A few weeks ago Aileen came into the house and told me that Elizabeth was out shoveling her own driveway. She is definitely too old to be doing this. So I put my coat on, grabbed my shovel, and walked up the street to her home. She had propped herself up with a crutch under her one arm and was holding a broom in the other, trying to sweep the snow away. We had seen a good ten centimeters fall and it was wet, heavy snow. A broom wasn’t going to cut it, and particularly so along the edge of the driveway where the plows had pushed it into hard piles at least a couple of feet high. I asked if I could help her and she hesitatingly agreed. She gave me a few pointers on how to best shovel and told me she’d be pleased if I’d just deal with the big piles close to the road. She asked if I would like to be paid and I said, “Absolutely not.”

I got to work while she headed indoors. I cleaned up the piles and then got to work on the rest of the drive. A few minutes later she emerged from the house to chat. She told me that the driveway had been widened many years before and they were able to fit at least eight cars in it. That explained why I was winded. She told me about her broken leg and then about her sons, both of whom live in the area, I believe, and both of whom seem quite well-to-do. She seemed perfectly pleasant, even for a public nuisance. She was grateful that she was going to be able to get out of her driveway that day, because she had a schedule with a physical therapist. When the job was done I told her to get in touch with me anytime and headed home.

Since that day we’ve had several snowstorms and we’re in the midst of the snowiest winter in years. Last I heard we had seen 142 centimeters and that was three storms ago. We’re in the midst of another one today. The schools are canceled and it’s as good a day as any to just stay off the roads.

Whenever the snow begins to accumulate, I cross the ditch and shovel her out. There was one time that I somehow forgot but she called a neighbor (she didn’t have my phone number) and asked him to come and knock on the door. He passed along the message and I hurried right over. By my count there are at least twelve or fifteen neighbors who are closer to her home than I am. They drive by while I’m shoveling or they use snow blowers to get the snow off their drives at the same time. But none of them help her. I don’t know if she has burned all of those bridges or if this is just a symptom of the times we live in. Even the neighbor who came to knock on my door didn’t offer to help.

Today is my son’s eighth birthday. Eight years ago we brought him home from the hospital and we were wearing shorts and t-shirts. Today it is well below 0, we have already seen 15 centimeters of snow, and it continues to fall. “In like a lion, out like a lamb” is what they say about March. I hope that old adage proves true this year. The last thing I wanted to do today was shovel out a long driveway covered in 15 centimeters of heavy snow. I grumbled to Aileen this morning, saying “I picked quite the year to start helping Elizabeth, didn’t I?” She lovingly scolded me and I went on my way. Though it’s his birthday, I told Nick to come along and to help me out. He did so quite willingly, despite having some new toys and games to play with and Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii demanding his attention. And off I went, perhaps a bit resigned to my fate.

We got to work, chipping away at the driveway. After a few minutes of hard work Nick piped up. “Daddy, this is what the Bible says, isn’t it? That anyone who has a need is our neighbor?” And he was right—that’s exactly what the Bible says. But Scripture also makes it clear that any good things I do are utterly worthless when I do them with a grumbling spirit. In that moment I saw that I had been going about this all wrong. My little boy (who really isn’t so little anymore) ministered to me this morning as we cleared the driveway of our neighborhood’s public nuisance. My boy is a blessing to me in more ways than he knows.

February 10, 2008

The Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology wrapped up last night with Dr. Carson speaking on “Preaching Christ Crucified.” It was, I think, a very useful conference and one that seems to have touched many of those who attended. The staff and the team of volunteers were very kind and very eager to serve. I always love the conferences that are held at local churches as they give such great opportunities for service. It was a joy to see so many people serving and to be able to meet so many brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you live in the Nashville area (or even if you don’t) and you’d like to get out to a conference next year, NCCT ‘09 will be featuring John MacArthur and Bruce Ware (and probably at least one more speaker). It will be another great one, I’m sure, and will be worth adding to your calendar even now.

My parents drove up from the Chattanooga area to spend some time with me, so this morning we’ll head over to Community Bible Church for the morning worship service (where D.A. Carson will be preaching once more) and then we’ll go out for lunch before I begin my journey back to Toronto. If all goes well I should be home for dinner!

Thanks for those who took the time to pray for me and for the other speakers. My first conference plenary session went about as well as I could have hoped, I suppose. I’m still far more confident behind a pen than behind a pulpit, but over time that may well change.

I do apologize for the shortness of the posts over the past couple of days. Because I have not been blogging this conference, I’ve been leaving my computer at the hotel and have been doing just little snatches of writing here and there. Hopefully by tomorrow we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming around here.

February 09, 2008

It’s day two of the Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology. Things kicked off last night with a session from Dr. D.A. Carson in which he introduced the Emergent Church and Emerging theology. He also dipped into postmodernism and a variety of related topics. For those unfamiliar with the whole movement, I’m sure this proved a useful introduction. You will be able to download audio from the conference site after things have wrapped up. I’ll post a link when it’s available. When his session was complete he fielded some questions which allowed him to clarify a few matters. It was a helpful session, I think.

Today will begin with Dr. Steve Lawson speaking on the Power of the Gospel and he’ll be followed by Carson who will speak on The Gospel and Postmodern Minds. Later this afternoon, after Dr. Lawson’s second session, I’ll take a kick at things and discuss Loving God with your Mind. I continue to covet your prayers on my behalf and on behalf of the other speakers today. Nashville, it seems, represents a rather unique church setting.

Speaking of which, I am going to go through my notes one more time before heading over to the church. I pray you have a great and relaxing Saturday. I may check in a little bit later if I have time or opportunity!

February 08, 2008

I’m a little bit later than usual in updating this site, but I’m also a timezone removed from where I usually update it. Yesterday, after spending over a hour shoveling out the car, the house, and a neighbor’s driveway, I left behind the cold and the snow and caught a flight to Nashville (where it’s merely cold—there doesn’t seem to be any snow). I am here for the Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology where I’ll be speaking tomorrow afternoon. We’ll also be hearing messages from D.A. Carson and Steve Lawson. I’ll be spending much of the day preparing for my message tomorrow. The conference kicks off this evening with Dr. Carson giving a message on “Keeping Up with the Conversation”—an overview of the Emergent Movement and the Emerging Church.

Whenever I travel I tend to buy myself a book at the airport and it’s usually something popular and easy to read. I love to just veg out on the plane by reading something enjoyable but not too serious. I typically spend just about every moment between the time I get onto the plane and the time I get off reading. I’m so boring. Yesterday I browsed around the airport bookstore and couldn’t find the right book. Nothing really leaped out at me. Eventually I settled on a book called Sugar. It is a 400+ page history of sugar. Needless to say, it is quite fascinating. No, really! The author shows just how great an impact sugar has had on the world and through the first couple hundred pages I’ve learned a lot. Honest. I’ll write a review when I’ve finished it.

Yesterday’s flight was interesting. Because it was Air Canada, it was an hour late leaving the ground. They compensated for their tardiness by offering free alcohol—something I’ve never seen before (and a deal I’m not interested in taking advantage of!). I was sitting next to a guy who staked his claim to all neutral ground and to about 30% of my space. He wasn’t a particularly big guy, but somehow he seemed to overflow. The seats on this plane were particularly narrow so perhaps that didn’t help. Before we even left the ground he had already fallen asleep and was continually moaning rather than snoring. He’d take a deep breath and then go “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Again and again. It was kind of funny, really. He didn’t say a word the whole time but did take the time to scowl at me when a little corner of the packet of the snack we had been given blew over into his area. You never know who you’re going to be rubbing shoulders with (quite literally) when you fly. I’m never sure if a prefer the surly, quiet types or the happy, chatty types. I’m always hoping for the opportunity to have some good conversation, but so far that has usually eluded me.

And that’s all I’ve got for you today. I will check in with some conference updates over the weekend. Meanwhile, if you would be willing to pray for me, that God would bless me as I seek to share His Word tomorrow, I’d be grateful!

And by way of P.S., since I did not have opportunity to write an A La Carte today, I thought I’d make you aware of this. Boundless Magazine has just published an article I wrote called Involuntary Community. It is based on an article I first wrote here but has been extended, tidied up, and I hope, made better.

February 01, 2008

It’s a snow day today. We woke up to a pretty good blanket of the stuff on the ground and it’s supposed to keep up all day. It’s an absolute mess on the roads which makes me doubly glad that I am able to work from home. It’s a good day to stay in. The kids saw their schools canceled today, so I expect they’ll be heading outdoors soon to have some fun. It’s a good day for that, at least!

I am going to use this Friday, as I sometimes do, to post a few short notes that have been accumulating in my inbox or my favorites folder.

Reformation Trust

At long last and after much encouragement Reformation Trust (the publishing arm of Ligonier Ministries) has given in to the inevitable and has begun listing their books on Amazon. This is good news for those of us who have grown strangely reliant upon Amazon. Most of their catalog is now listed there:

The Elisha Foundation

In the past weeks you may have seen advertising on my site for The Elisha Foundation. Over at his unpronounceable blog, Paul (my pastor) has written about the Foundation and why he does all he can to endorse and serve it. “TEF exists to serve parents of kids with special needs – and it does so in the best of ways. Every year, they hold one or two family retreats. These parents are invited to bring their families for a few days of peace as a team of volunteers cares for their special needs child and the rest of their kids. While the kids are being ably cared for, mom and dad are being ministered to. The TEF folks bring in volunteers to lead worship (imagine half an hour of uninterrupted corporate singing!), preach, provide meals, consult on educational, governmental and financial issues and even things like a relaxing manicure for mom! Three days of respite. For some parents, the first such break in many years. Yes, years.”

If you have someone in your family who has special needs, or you know a family that does, why not point them towards The Elisha Foundation? It will be a blessing to them.

Soli Deo Gloria Publications

At Reformation Heritage “Book Talk”, the blog for Reformation Heritage Books, they’ve announced that they have acquired Soli Deo Gloria Publications. “For the past few years, Soli Deo Gloria books have been produced by Ligonier Ministries in Orlando, Florida. In 2007, Ligonier asked Reformation Heritage Books for guidance on managing Soli Deo Gloria Publications and later invited Reformation Heritage Books to publish and distribute the Soli Deo Gloria titles.” This is great news to those who have enjoyed reading the resurgence of Puritan literature.

Reformation Heritage Books has received nearly 50,000 Soli Deo Gloria books that are currently in print… Plans are under way to publish numerous additional Puritan titles. Reformation Heritage Books has agreed to continue publishing a select number of titles under the Soli Deo Gloria imprint, which Ligonier will continue to advertise in its catalogs; meanwhile, most Soli Deo Gloria titles will now be reprinted with the Reformation Heritage Books imprint. Reformation Heritage Books and Ligonier Ministries look forward to collaborating in order to promote Puritan literature around the world.”

You can read more here.

Prayer for Kenya

Jon has shared an article and prayer request for a ministry in Kenya: “My uncle helped found an orphanage in Kenya on an island in Lake Victoria. There are more than 300 kids, many of which were orphaned by the HIV epidemic. Some of the kids are HIV positive. It is without a doubt the most visceral representation I know of what it means to share God’s love. And tonight it might be burned down.”

He shares an article from the director of the orphanage:

Thanks to you and to all our fellow-servants who are in USA for lifting us and our bleeding country to the Lord. After receiving perhaps the most direct and serious threats from the mainlands, to the effect that we the only operating school in our region, I decided to call off my trip to Nairobi by the MAF plane which was coming to pick me. I called all staff and told them about the threats of those who were demanding that we close down or be burnt. I then gave each one room to say what in their view we needed to do and only two people were in favor of closure, with everyone else feeling strongly that we cannot release the children to all the dangers awaiting them outside of the orphanage. We will stay with the children.

Deep inside I am reminded once more that this place is the true home many of these precious jewels of the Lord have. I asked myself, ‘Should I send them out there in the wild, or should I continue God’s work even when it is risky?’ I chose the latter and all I ask for is not sympathy but prayer that God would put his arms around these tender lives. This evening our plea to be allowed to continue serving the orphans for the sake of Christ was aired on the radio. Mention was made of us by name that we should be spared the ordeals going on throughout our country by now.

Tonight the men will be working as guards of children, women and property as a response to the night attacks. We have no weapons but wholly rely on the Lord and the guarding angels of light. May the Lord bless and keep you.

Read more here

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