Don’t Drop the Rock!

It happens often—too often—in the Christian world. Another celebrity preacher, celebrity author, celebrity speaker, is exposed as a hypocrite, as one who takes advantage of position and prominence to pursue not heavenly rewards, but fleshly lusts, fading treasures, or fleeting power. When yet another one is exposed, it is like a huge boulder is dropped into an otherwise still pond. There is a great splash, a great disturbance, a great series of ripples that flow outward, until the whole body …

The Greatest Christians and the Most Visible Gifts

I’m convinced we’re prone to make entirely too much of the most public gifts and entirely too little of the most private. We laud those who stand at the event podiums to preach the Word. We celebrate those who sit on the conference panels to answer our questions. We honor those who pen the few bestselling books. When given the opportunity, we surge forward to shake their hands, to snap a selfie, to share encouraging words. None of these actions …

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Would It Be Okay For Me To Be Angry With God?

It felt like a test—a test of my faith, a test of my convictions, a test of my love for God. Soon, very soon, after I learned that my son had died, I received a message from an old acquaintance. Her intentions were good—she wanted to offer consolation. But her instructions were suspect—she wanted me to rage against God. Paraphrasing one of her favorite authors she said “It’s okay to be angry with God about this. It’s okay to tell …

Why Is There Only One Way To Heaven?

It is an audacious claim of the Christian faith that there is only one way to heaven. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” we believe. Not most, not some, but all. Since all of us have sinned, all of us are lost and in need of saving. And this saving we so badly need can come from only one Savior since “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under …

A La Carte (January 6)

Grace to you and peace. May you know and experience the blessings of the Lord today. The first sale of the year from Westminster Books is a good one. It offers good deals on many of the best books from 2020. Lessons in the Transitions of Life Amber Thiessen offers some lessons that come from life’s transitions. “Little by little, trials develop resilience inside us, as we walk with the Lord in them. We learn to trust more, to see …

Grief Should Always Make Us Better

Death is the great interrupter. Death is the great interrupter because, far more often than not, it strikes when it’s least expected. When death comes it invariably interrupts plans, dreams, projects, goals. One author observes how very sad, how very pathetic it is, when a man dies suddenly and we go into his home or his place of business “and see the unfinished things he has left—a letter half written, a book half read, a picture begun but not completed. …

Our Hearts Smile, Even If Our Faces Do Not

We went to visit Nick on Christmas morning. “Visit Nick”—that’s what we’ve decided to call it when we spend time at his graveside. “Going to the cemetery” focuses on the place, not the person, so is too impersonal, too abstract. “Paying our respects” is another option, but sounds too formal to describe going to the place where our son’s body lies. So we “visit Nick,” just like we did on Christmas morning. We sleep in for a while, then eat …

The Death of My Son and the Birth of My Savior

I expect it’s going to prove a difficult holiday in the Challies home. Christmas is usually our favorite day of the year—one of the few holidays for which we’ve developed distinct family traditions. We get up early so the kids can sort through the trinkets in their stockings; then we pause for a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and croissants; then we open gifts; then we relax for a while before beginning to prepare a feast. We’ve developed this tradition over …

On Following Mediocre Leaders

We human beings have a strange relationship with leadership. We love it, but hate it. We crave it, but resent it. We long to be led, but contend with those who lead us. We witness this phenomenon in toddlers, in seniors, and in everyone between. As soon as we have the ability to shake our fists, and for as long as we have the ability to shake our fists, we shake them at those who lead us. Our tendency is …

Singing in the Dark

“How are you doing?” I’ve been asked that question countless times since my son went to be with the Lord. I never really know how to answer it. While at that exact moment I might be doing okay, it’s possible that 15 minutes prior I was so overwhelmed with sorrow that I could barely stand. It’s possible that 15 minutes in the future I’ll be reveling in the joy of knowing my son is safely home in heaven. I can …