May the Lord be with you and bless you today.
I continue to marvel at the amazing Kindle deals that are so consistently available to us. What a blessing to be able to build a substantial library at just a couple of dollars a book!
(Yesterday on the blog: 2024 Christian Reading Challenge)
Casey McCall raises a valid concern about beginning evangelism with the question “If you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?” “The promise of eternal life is a powerful motivator for faith and a precious promise of hope and comfort for God’s people. However, I fear that the church has so emphasized ‘going to heaven when you die’ that we sometimes give the impression that’s all faith is good for.”
This is a helpful article about the internal and external call to vocational ministry. A legitimate call is best understood as involving both of them.
Karen Harmening: “‘When will they stop talking about it?’ A question that is perhaps thought more often than spoken regarding grieving parents who continue to talk about their children and their sorrow. I’ve only heard it asked a couple of times, but have thought of it countless times since, and this month in particular.” She explains why she can’t and won’t stop talking about it.
Barnabas considers Christ’s first and second advent and the dramatic differences between them.
Here are six reasons that the virgin birth was necessary.
Justin considers relationship online and offline. “As Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) improve and gain prominence, proximity will seem less important. It’s not. God made us with physical bodies to live in a physical world. Technology brings us closer, but digital connection is like frozen pizza, it tastes like the real thing but can never replace it.”
Though we crave rest and need it so very badly, too often it simply will not come. But always we can rest on this sweet promise: God gives his beloved sleep.
Christ went more readily to the cross than we do to the throne of grace.
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By Tim Challies — 2 years ago
This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by RHB Publications. Everyone who enters the prize draw will have the opportunity to be one of three people picked to receive a copy of all the following new titles from RHB:
The Puritan Path:
From the Reformation to the Modern Era: A Pictorial Witness by Joel R. Beeke & Stephen McCaskell
A pictorial history across two continents about the origins, growth, and influence of the Puritans. Includes additional essays on the Puritans and the filming of the documentary, Puritan.
The God and Me series
Joel and Mary Beeke
I Need to Trust in God
I Need to Hope in God
I Need to Love God
I Need to Love Other People
(For ages 4-7.) Based on scriptural verses on faith, hope, and love to God and neighbor, essential concepts are expressed in simple forms in conversation, prayer, actions, and thoughts.
How God Renews Your Mind to Make You More Like Jesus by Esther Engelsma
Are you being transformed into the image of Christ, or are you just frustrated? Transformed shows how the Holy Spirit helps us think in obedience so more Christlike behavior follows.
God with Us (2nd ed.):
Knowing the Mystery of Who Jesus Is by Danny Hyde
In God with Us, Daniel R. Hyde explores the historic, orthodox understanding of the person called Emmanuel—God with us. A clear and practical introduction to classical Christology.
A Practical Theology of Family Worship:
Richard Baxter’s Timeless Encouragement for Today’s Home by Jonathan Williams
Baxter’s belief in the importance of family worship meant every family in some Kidderminster streets upheld the practice. Williams examines Baxter’s methods and shows how they can work in churches today.
Bible Doctrine for Younger Children (2nd ed.)
Using over 150 stories and illustrations, educator James Beeke teaches children aged nine years and up how to live out the Christian faith. Suitable for homeschooling, church, or family use.
God’s Grace Shining through the Law
Joel R. Beeke (ed.)
Christians struggle to understand the relationship between God’s law and grace: neglecting law resulting in antinomianism or grace resulting in legalism. Instead, here’s how you can live in joyful obedience.
Rejuvenated Classics from RHB
Disease, Scarcity, and Famine:
A Reformation Perspective on God and Plagues by Ludwig Lavater (translated by Michael Hunter)
Outbreaks of disease and famine are nothing new. Ludwig Lavater, a leading pastor in sixteenth-century Zurich, explains the ultimate source of plagues and God’s purposes and promises during them.
The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, volume 1
The first of a three-volume set that presents all Gillespie’s known shorter works, carefully edited from the most accurate texts – includes newly transcribed writings not included in 19th-century editions of his works.
The Pearl of Christian Comfort
Petrus Dathenus (Translated by Arie W. Blok)
Using a dialogue between a mature believer and a young Christian, Dathenus explains the relationship between faith and works in an experimental manner, typical of the early Dutch Further Reformation.
3 people will get a free set of all these books
Again, there are three sets to win. And all you need to do to enter the draw is to drop your name and email address in the form below.
Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. When you enter, you opt-in to receive marketing emails from RHB. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes on Thursday 30th September 2021 at midnight.
By Tim Challies — 4 months ago
This week the blog is sponsored by The Missionary Conference (October 2024, Jacksonville, FL). Plan to attend it to hear from John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Kevin DeYoung, Conrad Mbewe, and many others.
There are many, many Christian conferences, all with varying values. Why another conference? And why put missions front and center? Here are four reasons why the Missionary Conference is worth attending:
1. This conference celebrates the 500-year anniversary of William Tyndale translating the Scriptures into English.
In 1524, William Tyndale began the task of bringing the word of God into his native tongue, and in the process changed the world. Good missions have always been rooted in the Scriptures no matter the day and age. For English speakers, this achievement is worth remembering, pondering, and celebrating.
2. It is united by missions and speaks pointedly and practically.
While we remember and celebrate the work of Tyndale, the burning question remains, what of those who still have no gospel, no church, and no translation in their language? Sponsors like Desiring God, Crossway, Radius International, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and many more are united by the spread of the gospel to tongues that still live in darkness. This conference will speak to that task and how churches and individuals can be tangibly involved inthe Commission that still is binding on the church today.
3. It has a strong group of speakers who are passionate about biblical missions.
Hear from renowned preachers and teachers including John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Steven Lawson, Kevin DeYoung, Conrad Mbewe, Brooks Buser, Harshit Singh, and many others.
4. It features the premiere of the documentary film Missionary: Obeying the Great Commission.
The Missionary Project is a 5-year in-the-making film that focuses on six pioneer missionaries and a timeless theme exemplified in each of their lives. Each lesson is 35-45 minutes and will feature a study guide for Sunday Schools, Small Groups, and any group interested in diving deeper into missions. Each clip is shot on location where they grew up, went to church, where they served overseas, and many where their bodies were laid to rest.
The six missionaries are:
William Tyndale—The Primacy of Scripture
Amy Carmichael—Singleness and the Sufficiency of God
Adoniram Judson—Suffering and the Sufficiency of God
Hudson Taylor—Culture and Language Fluency
John Paton—The Primacy of the Church
Join us for this remarkable one-time conference that will bring together hearts of thankfulness for what our God has done, and if He tarries, hopefulness in what He will do—even to the ends of the earth.
Register for the conference today: https://missionary.net/conference
By Tim Challies — 6 months ago
Aileen and I have just wrapped up a lovely little vacation on New Zealand’s South Island. Having just reached our twenty-fifth anniversary and with both our girls now in college, we took the opportunity to let Air Canada travel miles take us as far as they could. We enjoyed ourselves a lot and at the end of it all offer these brief reflections on New Zealand.
Friendly people. There are lots of friendly cultures out there, but I have never experienced people as consistently friendly as New Zealanders (and this was true of my last visit as much as this one). From strangers in the towns to employees in the stores to Christians who were eager to offer hospitality, we didn’t encounter a single person who wasn’t eager to meet us or serve us.
One lane bridges. Somewhere way back in New Zealand history someone must have decided that the country could save a lot of money by making bridges only one lane wide rather than two. And so driving involves routinely slamming on the brakes to wait for oncoming cars to make their way down that single lane. Quirky! And probably a bit annoying during peak tourist season.
Tourists. Speaking of which, we chose to visit at the exact opposite of peak season. We would rather see a place when it may not be quite as beautiful but when it also won’t be quite so crowded. That worked well. It was wintery for our visit, but that suited us fine. The driving was always simple enough and never dangerous (though we did just avoid a couple of road closures by no more than a day or two). And even at non-peak some of the touristy sites were quite busy, making us wonder what it’s like in summer. And especially so in a place like Milford Sound.
Beauty. There are many nations that boast an incredible amount of natural beauty. While I have not visited them all, I have been blessed to visit many. New Zealand is without a doubt right up there. I still think Norway is probably the most incredible place I have been, and both Switzerland and Scotland rank highly as well, but New Zealand now takes its place among them. Everywhere you go there is something wonderful to see, some of it mountainous and harsh, some of it pastoral and green, some of it roiling and oceanic.
Uninhabited. We were surprised at how much of New Zealand is uninhabited. Much of the land is committed to conservation and so is largely untouched for that reason. But then much else is simply the way it must have been many hundreds or thousands of years ago. We drove 2,500 kilometers so truly saw the country, and we often encountered stretches of 100 kilometers or more with no homes, no towns, no people. And, very often, no cell phone reception. It was glorious. But we did quickly realize we needed to make sure we kept our gas tank relatively full.
Doubtful Sound. I have been to many beautiful spots in the world, but Doubtful Sound may top them all. If not, it’s well within the top-five. Milford Sound was incredible as well and had by far the better drive, but we visited Doubtful Sound on a day that was dark and brooding and it was truly a sight to behold. I took many photos but none of them really seem to adequately capture its haunting beauty. I can’t recommend making that day trip too highly. The Lord very nearly outdid himself when he created that area. It is utterly magnificent. (And, despite the name, is a fiord rather than a sound.)
Speed limit. The otherwise-unmarked speed limit in New Zealand is 100 km/h (62 mph) versus 80 km/h in Canada and something roughly similar in the US. This is true even when roads are just one lane in each direction and when they are twisting, winding, and wet. We were assigned an SUV that came with a rollover danger warning and this made things … interesting. And fast. If you don’t drive the limit you are soon guaranteed to have an eager driver hanging on your tail and waiting to sneak by you, probably just beyond the next one lane bridge.
Sandwiches. New Zealand has great sandwiches. Every time we wanted lunch we stopped at a little cafe or restaurant and every time we received a great sandwich or toasty. The food was consistently expensive but consistently good.
Coffee. Australia and New Zealand are different countries (much to the surprise of one of my friends when I told him I was coming here) but they are bound together by this—they both have bad coffee, at least by my assessment. They say the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing while hoping for a different result. Well I keep ordering the long black hoping to eventually experience a really good one. I’m still waiting.
Trash. If Jesus had lived in 21st century New Zealand rather than first-century Palestine, he might have replaced his “camel through the eye of a needle analogy” with “it is easier to find a garbage can in New Zealand than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And everyone would have marveled at how difficult it is for a rich man to be saved. Because good luck finding a place to throw out your trash in New Zealand. We even stayed in hotels that insisted we take it with us rather than leave it behind!
We had a really good time here, both interpersonally and in exploring a delightful country. We very much hope to return in the future.