A Mid-Summer Family Update

It is a holiday weekend here in Canada—a strange holiday that goes by various names across the different provinces and even across different cities within the provinces. I know the first Monday in August as the Civic Holiday, but in Toronto proper it’s known as Simcoe Day while in B.C. as British Columbia Day and in Alberta as Heritage Day. As far as I know, Quebec doesn’t observe it at all. Strange, that. Either way, the majority of people in these parts have a day off to mark the very middle of summer.

Become a Patron

I am choosing to work on the Monday, though, since I am preaching the following Sunday and generally prefer a six-day lead-up to a sermon. I find I am most comfortable in my preparation when I dedicate the best two or three hours of each day for six consecutive days. At that pace, my sermon is usually complete by Thursday or Friday, which gives me a couple of days to tinker with it—a process that typically involves sharpening illustrations and cutting about 30% of the content. I find that my sermons are almost always improved more by subtraction than addition. I’ll be preaching on “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I’m excited to mine that little text and learn from it before I preach it.

Another reason I won’t be taking Monday off is that my family has just recently returned from a couple of weeks of vacation. We had a wonderful time together seeing new places and experiencing new things. Abby and Nate were able to be with us, as was Ryn, so we traveled as a group of six and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Ryn said afterward, “I’ve learned that Challies vacations are actually adventures more than vacations.” And I guess she’s right, though we tend to alternate so that one summer we do something that mostly involves lying around a beach or a lake while the next we do something that involves more flying or driving or other forms of movement. I kind of like that mix.

Abby and Nate are now well settled into married life. My paternal observation is that they are doing very well and enjoying one another in these early days. They’ve moved into on-campus housing at Boyce College/Southern Seminary where they each have a year or two of classes remaining, depending on the pace they choose. Nate is also working full-time which keeps him plenty busy. Michaela, meanwhile, is at the midway point of her summer vacation and working a good number of hours at the grocery store—covering for the vacationing full-timers, I suppose. As for Aileen, she is beginning a new part-time job next week and eager to see how that goes.

The whole group of us will be heading to the Getty Music Sing! conference over Labor Day weekend (that’s Labour Day for the Canadians) since that’s where I’ll be holding the launch event for my book Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God. (Pre-Order the book here!) Alistair Begg will be joining me for a conversation and then the band CityAlight will be debuting a new song they’ve written that was inspired by the book. Though the Sing! conference is an event you must pay to attend, my launch event is absolutely free for everyone, so if you’re in the Nashville area, please do drop by. You don’t even need to going to the rest of the conference! It would be great if you’d pre-register here so we know you’re coming. The event runs from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM on Monday, September 5.

The book, meanwhile, has been printed and should be on its way to the publisher’s warehouse right now. I am eagerly awaiting my own copy of it. It is always an interesting experience for an author to meet a new book—there is a bit of fear (that there will be something wrong with the printing or that I’ll notice a brutal typo on the book cover despite so many layers of fastidious editing), a bit of hesitation (wondering if anyone would ever want to read the book anyway and what possible good it could do if they did) and, of course, a bit of joy and relief (it’s finally complete and finally ready to serve the church). Mostly I’ll be glad to finally have it in my hands and on my shelf.

Thanks for reading this far! I hope you enjoy your weekend, whether it’s a holiday weekend or just a normal one…

(And, just for fun, I had to take someone to the airport early Saturday morning, so decided to head into the city to catch a sunrise. As always, I snapped a photo and thought it came out quite nicely…)

Toronto