This Broken, Beautiful World

For some it was a day of great rejoicing. For some it was a day of deep distress. Though Solomon’s temple had long since been destroyed by the order of King Nebuchadnezzar, the people had now returned from exile and had commenced work on a new temple, a new home for their God. Once the builders had finished laying the foundation, the priests and musicians called for a celebration, a time to praise God for the work begun. Then, as …

What Jesus Does Not Pray

The final night that Jesus spends with his beloved disciples is a night of much prayer. Before he prays privately in the garden he prays publicly in the upper room. Before he prays for himself and his own endurance, he prays for them and theirs. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world,” he prays to his Father, “but that you keep them from the evil one.” What he does not pray is as noteworthy as …

Become a Patron

The Ministry of Sorrow

The church would be impoverished if Joni Eareckson Tada was not a member of it. Christian history would be lacking if it did not involve the accounts of Marie Durand and Corrie Ten Boom. We would be missing out on much encouragement if its ranks did not include Amy Carmichael and Elisabeth Elliott. What binds these precious saints together is not first their common gender, but their common faithfulness in suffering. By facing trials in a distinctly Christian way, by …

The Path to Glory

Jesus did not tell his followers to take up a feather and follow him. He did not tell them to take up a scepter or a sword, a flag of surrender or a trophy of triumph. Rather, he told them to take up a cross, to shoulder a rough and heavy burden that was synonymous with pain. It should be no surprise, then, that his followers’ path to glory is paved with much sorrow and much suffering. He told us …

A Prayer About Brokenness

Every now and again I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this because there are few examples of pastoral prayers online and I thought these may serve to inspire themes, passages, or ideas as other pastors and elders prepare to lead their churches in prayer. Here is one I prayed before our church not too long ago. (For context, it was my first time leading in a service after Nick’s death, …

Waiting with Faith

Have you ever bitten into a green tomato? Have you ever sunk your teeth into a fall apple during the heat of summer or into a summer strawberry during the cool of spring? Have you ever listened to a choir’s first rehearsal, read a book’s first draft, gazed at an artist’s initial sketches? Have you ever tasted a chef’s half-baked dish, watched a choreographer’s first dance, listened to a song’s initial lyrics? If you’ve eaten that apple or read that …

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 …

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. …

When All Seems To Be Gain, Plan For Loss

A friend of mine was part of a rapid deployment unit in the military. The task of his division was to be in a perpetual state of readiness, able to be deployed at a moment’s notice. When a need for their services arose, those soldiers were to be geared up, loaded up, and wheels up within hours. Because they could not know when a conflict would arise or what manner of conflict it might be, they had to be prepared …

The Funeral for My Son, Nick Challies

On Saturday, November 21, 2020, we will be holding the funeral service for my dear son, Nick. Because the entirety of my family and the majority of Nick’s friends are in America, and because the borders between our two countries are functionally closed, we will be live-streaming the service. Those who did not know him are welcome to watch as well. I have created a page you can bookmark and visit at the time of the funeral to find the …