Tim Challies

Moments With My Father (and My Son)

I have many fond memories of my father—memories accumulated over the 43 years we shared this earth. I have fond memories based on my first twenty-one years when I lived in his home and saw him nearly every day. I remember him taking me to old Exhibition Stadium to watch the Blue Jays play. I remember going on a road trip together—just the two of us traveling across Georgian Bay and onto Manitoulin Island. I remember getting up early in the morning and finding that he was already awake, already reading his Bible, already spending time with the Lord. I remember this and so much else.

Then I have fond memories based on the next 23 years of life after I had gotten married and moved out, and after he and the family had left Canada to settle in the American South. Our visits became less frequent then, but no less significant. I remember his joy on those rare occasions when the whole family could be together, the entire collection of kids and grandkids under a single roof. I remember looking out from many church pulpits and conference podiums and seeing his face in the crowd. I remember notes and letters he would send at important moments or following significant events.
But my favorite memory of all is my final memory of all. In June of 2019 dad turned 70 and the family threw him a surprise party to mark the occasion. I made the long journey from Toronto to my sister’s home in Georgia to be part of the fun. It was a wonderful afternoon spent with friends and family, all of whom had gathered to honor dad as he reached a significant milestone. Though I talked to him on the phone after that day, I never actually saw him again and formed no other lasting memories. Just a few months later he collapsed and died at a time that was unexpected but in a way that was exactly as he wanted—with dirt on his hands.
Just months after my father went to heaven, my son followed. It has been more than a year since I last saw Nick, more than a year since I dropped him at Southern Seminary and watched as he walked away, arm-in-arm with the woman who would soon be his fiancée. Though we often spoke on the phone after that time, and though we sometimes connected by video chat, I never actually laid eyes on him again before he, too, collapsed and died at a time that was unexpected and in a way we could never have imagined.
In the aftermath of those two great sorrows, I often find myself thinking back to dad’s final birthday and to my final memory. Though I had decided to make the long journey, the family had determined they would not tell dad that I was coming. Because of flight schedules I was not able to arrive until an hour or two after the festivities had gotten underway. Dad was by the side of the pool when I got there, chatting with a friend. He saw me, he blinked in shock, and his face lit up with joy—the joy of a father who is surprised and delighted to see his son. It was a special moment.
It was a special moment that, in its own way, points me toward another special moment, for on his birthday dad unknowingly foreshadowed the joy I will experience when I finally see my Nick again—the pure and sweet and unadulterated joy of a Father whose heart has longed for the son he loves, the son he misses, the son he so wishes to see, to hug, to hold, to enjoy. The delight that flashed in his eyes, the smile that broke over his face, the tears that glimmered in his eyes, all point me to a time in the future when what is broken will be made whole, when what is sorrowful will be soothed, when what has been torn apart will be stitched back together, a time when son and father and father and son will be reunited, never more to part, never more to grieve.

A La Carte (September 1)

May the Lord bless and keep you today.

This week’s deal from Westminster Books is on a new book by Dane Ortlund.
How Heaven Changes Us
I’ve known many parents who have wondered this. “I’ve often pondered what Ben will be like in heaven. I used to think that he would still have Down Syndrome, since it comes knit into his every chromosome. But the longer we deal with not just the delights but also the deficits and struggles that Down Syndrome brings, the more I am convinced that the transformation we undergo in heaven will heal him of even this.”
Go Narrow, Go Deep
This is good counsel from Darryl Dash. “Read all of Scripture, and read other dead people (as well as some living ones). But dedicate your life to mastering — and being mastered by — your two main texts and your one main dead person.”
Examining the Dangers “Carnal” Christian
This article by Tom Sugimura looks at the idea of carnal Christians.
Finding Gods Will (Not Just Yours) for Your Children
“Sometimes, however, our desires for our children’s future lives collides with God’s will. It’s not that we intentionally disregard God’s plans—no thoughtful Christian parent would want to do that—but it’s terribly easy to confuse or commingle our plans with what we think God’s plans are (or should be).”
The Problem of Online Therapy Culture
Samuel James raises some interesting points about online therapy culture in this edition of his newsletter. “There’s a particular epistemological relationship between members of therapy culture and outsiders; anyone who doesn’t show the necessary signs of experience and understanding are not to be trusted, but are most likely trauma-inducers themselves. And there’s an active doctrine of revelation whose canon is opaque but that can be discerned through memes and influencer mantras.”
What Do They Hear?
It’s a question worth asking. “What is the song of your life people around you hear? Do they hear something that sounds like Jesus? Are they able to pick out from among the chords and notes of your daily life a song that reminds them of the Savior?”

Flashback: The Beauty of a Defiant Church
They proclaimed that death may have accomplished a minor setback, but that the war has already been won. They stood together in the face of death and raised the roof with the message of the one who has overcome death.

We are not Christians so that we can be part of a cause; we are Christians so that we can know a person: Jesus Christ. —Michael Kruger

A La Carte (August 31)

May the God of love and peace be with you today.

(Yesterday on the blog: The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Space)
The Parachurch in Light of the Church
Jared Wilson: “My new friend fumbled around for an answer. It turned out he was more of a ‘freelancer.’ He had a very clear idea about how his work would benefit the Church with a capital C, the universal church. But he was less clear on how it served any particular body. And therein lies an important matter for the future viability of many parachurch models and the churches they aim to support.”
The Gold Mine in the Local Church
This article encourages you to look for the gold mine that can be found in the local church.
Small Acts of Faithfulness
“Why am I so concerned about personal success?’ I crave accolades for my teaching, mentoring, writing, even my ministry in the church. I long for and expect God to use me in big ways. But what I’m realizing is that God is not interested in what we think of as success. In fact, he most often loves to use weak, obscure people to accomplish his purposes.”
The Liturgy Of Social Media
What is the liturgy of social media, how does it form us. That’s the question this article answers.
Hell and the Lake of Fire?
George Sinclair says, “I was part of the Anglican Church of Canada for many years. This sometimes led me into some odd and surprising conversations. Once I was at a day-long ‘teaching’ event. During one of the breaks, a fellow sought me out in conversation. Given some of the things I had said in our small discussion group, he suspected that I was, in his language, a fundamentalist.”
Why You Should Preach the “Family Gospel”
Kendra Dahl: “My parents endured several years of suffering as I wandered away from my faith. My feelings towards God ranged from ambivalence to hostility as I questioned everything I’d been taught to accept as true. But even as they prayed for me and spoke the truth to me, calling me to repentance and faith, they also did something else. They made sure I knew I could always come home.”
Flashback: War, Women, and Wealth
God, through his Word, calls us to find our reputation and protection in him, to be strong in him even if that makes us weak in the eyes of the world.

‘Fear NOT.’ There is no qualification, no exception, no modification; it is as plain a command as, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ —Frances Ridley Havergal

AGTV Continues to Grow 10 Months After Launching

This week the blog is sponsored by AGTV.

In October 2020, the team that produced American Gospel: Christ Alone launched AGTV. Some see it as a Netflix for Christian teaching. The network hosts over 800 hours of carefully curated content. Much of it is available for free. There is now a long list of premium content and exclusive films and series for AGTV subscribers.
AGTV’s premium roster includes the following films:

American Gospel: Christ Alone
American Gospel: Christ Crucified
AG: Chapter & Verse (episodic versions of the AG films)
Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer
The Church: Pillar and Ground of the Truth
Spirit & Truth: A Film about Worship
Knox – The Life and Legacy of Scotland’s Controversial Reformer
Logic On Fire – The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones
Every Tribe: Cambodia, Laos, & Vietnam – Dispatches From the Front
I Once Was Blind: West Africa – Dispatches from the Front
Islands on the Edge: Southeast Asia – Dispatches from the Front
Father, Give Me Bread: Ethiopia & South Sudan – Dispatches from the Front
Matthew Henry – The Life and Times of the Bible Commentator
Fight of Faith: Meeting Machen

and the following series:

EPIC: An Around-the-World Journey through Christian History (10 Episodes)
Behold Your God: Rethinking God Biblically (13 Episodes)
Behold Your God: The Weight of Majesty (13 Episodes)
The Bergers: Voyage of Life (7 episodes)
Christ Crucified: Chapter Walkthrough – Defend & Confirm (10 Episodes)
The God Who Speaks: Sunday School Kit  (9 Episodes)
Discipleship Explored (8 Episodes)
Life Explored (14 episodes)
Christianity Explored (10 Episodes)
Adventures with Ranger Joe (25 Episodes)
AG Roundtables (9 episodes)
AG Uncut (10 videos)
Answering Progressive Christianity – Alisa Childers (5 Episodes)
Freedom – Costi Hinn (6 Episodes)
Law & Gospel – Mike Abendroth (5 episodes)
Spiritual Warfare: Truth or Territory? – Jim Osman (8 Episodes)
The Genesis – Biblical Theology with Emilio Ramos (6 episodes)
Steve & Paulette’s Place
God Doesn’t Whisper – Jim Osman

An AGTV subscription is $5.99 per month, and a three-day free trial is available at www.watchagtv.com. Once you register on the web, you can use the AGTV apps available for iPhone, AppleTV, Android, Android TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire Stick.

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Space

Back in the 1950s, humanity entered into a great age of space exploration as the United States and the Soviet Union battled to be first to the moon. It seems to me that we are now entering into a second great age of space exploration as billionaires battle it out to see who can be first to establish a permanent outpost in space.

We don’t need to push our minds too hard to imagine a scenario in which one of these billionaires announces he is establishing a new nation somewhere beyond earth. We might imagine him making an announcement and saying, “This world is falling apart, the earth is collapsing under the weight of war and epidemic and pollution, so we are going to start over. We are putting out the call to help create Humanity 2.0. Join me as I found the Kingdom of Space.”
The billionaire who is founding this state might explain something like this: “This new nation will be better and greater than any nation or any civilization in the whole history of mankind. Because we are going to recreate humanity, we need to ensure we bring along only the best of the best—only the sharpest minds, only the most impressive personalities, only the most beautiful bodies, only the most accomplished individuals. We need the wise, the winsome, the winners, the well-to-do so together we can fulfill our potential and become all humanity can be. Come to me all who are mighty and self-sufficient. Bring in the rich and the beautiful, the impressive and the accomplished.”
Jesus, too, has founded a kingdom—the kingdom of heaven—and his kingdom could hardly be more different. It’s a kingdom where the call goes out to the low instead of the high. Its king says “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden,” and “bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.” But even that’s not enough. He sends his emissaries to the halfway houses and drop-in centers and group homes and says, “Bring them all in!” If the human instinct is to build a kingdom upon those who are strong and mighty, impressive and successful, God’s instinct is to build a kingdom upon those who are weak and lowly, who are meek and merciful.
Keeping these two perspectives in mind, let me present you with two different visions for humanity. Let’s imagine now that our billionaire is ready to blast off to begin his Kingdom of Space. He has chosen the cream of the human crop to accompany him, and now together they are parading toward the great ship will that take them to their new nation.
At the head of the parade is our billionaire himself. He sits tall, proud, and resplendent in an open-roofed limousine. The crowds cry out their praise to this champion among men. Behind him come a whole host of winners of the Nobel Prize, each of them displaying their medal. Behind them walk the founders of the world’s great corporations carrying huge stacks of their money. Next are kings and queens, holding the scepters of their power. Next are athletes clutching their trophies, musicians displaying their awards, actors holding their Oscars and Emmys. It is a parade of the powerful and beautiful, the wealthy and accomplished, the influential and formidable. The crowds stand and applaud as these great people parade by. And soon enough they rise to the stars to found their new nation. But what they don’t know is that their kingdom, too, will end, for though it may be a kingdom beyond the bounds of this earth, it is still within the kingdom of this world. Their medals and scepters and money and trophies and everything else they cling to, everything else they count as a credential, will rust and decay and turn to dust.
But now let’s watch a second march. Let’s watch as the citizens of the kingdom of heaven pass by. At the head of them all come the humble, the ones who can barely lift their faces but can say only, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Their hands are empty. Next come people whose eyes are red with mourning over their sin and sinfulness. They too have empty hands. Some of them limp by on crutches, some roll by in wheelchairs. Behind them are the ones who are meek and the ones who have waged a lifelong battle to become holy. Watch now as people pass by who dedicated their lives to extending mercy to the overlooked and marginalized, then people whose hearts and hands have remained pure in a world that tempted them so sorely. Then see the ones who brought peace where there was conflict, and ones who stood strong even when they were hated and beaten. See how among them there are representatives from every nation, every tribe and people and tongue. See how they each have empty hands, see how each of them wears just a simple white robe, unadorned by medals or ribbons or regalia.
Last of all, comes a simple man all alone who looks despised and rejected. He has no form or majesty that we should look at him, no great beauty that we should desire him. He comes in the form of a servant; he is humble and lowly and riding on a donkey. Look carefully and you will see that his hands and feet are deeply wounded, that blood runs down his forehead from where thorns have been pressed into it. Listen to the crowds as they raise their voices to jeer and hiss and boo.
But look again, look closer, look with eyes of faith, and you will see that as he passes you by he is utterly transformed. Look and see that this lowly servant has become a king, a warrior whose name is Faithful and True. See that his lowly colt has become a mighty white horse, that his crown of thorns has become the crown of a king, that the crowds suddenly fall to their faces before him. See that as he passes by he turns and looks you in the eye and he opens his mouth and he says, “Follow me.”
And so, my friend, if you have not already done so, hear his call, heed his welcome, receive your citizenship, take up your place in his march and follow him into the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom that has now begun but which will never, ever end.

A La Carte (August 30)

Good morning. May grace and peace be with you today.

Today’s Kindle deals include a long list of excellent resources from Crossway.
(Yesterday on the blog: A Prayer for the Dying Day)
The Wife Who Sailed with Adoniram Judson
Sharon James: “Ann’s determination to serve Christ shone, undimmed, to the end. What fueled her resolve? To answer that question, we have to go back to her profound conversion, which resulted in a passionate concern for God’s glory and a powerful certainty in God’s promises.”
British vs American vs Canadian
While admitting that I’m perhaps a bit too easily impressed with videos like this, I really enjoyed this look at the differences between British, American, and Canadian English. (And yes, our milk does come in a bag.)
What Do I Do With “Wasted Years?”
This article grapples with what to do with stretches of time that seem as if they’ve been wasted.
Don’t Forget the Hope
Barbara Harper says “this post isn’t primarily about modesty. It’s about remembering to share hope with our children, students, readers, those whom we’re discipling. Sometimes we’re so passionate about whatever we’re warning against that we forget to offer the hope that God extends to His people.”
When You Can’t Gather: Help and Hope for Those Worshiping from Home
Kathryn Butler reminds us that “not all disciples who worship can gather. As we lift our voices in thanksgiving each Sunday, we mustn’t forget our brothers and sisters whose seats remain empty. Some of them are immunocompromised, and at high risk for COVID-19 despite vaccination. Others suffered from crippling conditions long before the coronavirus became a household word. In all cases, disciples among us find themselves cut off from the body of Christ, just as they’re enduring trials when they most need God’s life-giving Word.”
It’s Just Semantics; It Really Is!
This article compares quite a list of definitions of “biblical counseling.”
Discipleship Is a Type of Suffering
“I feel the costliness of trying to disciple others and trying to raise up local leaders. I feel it keenly.” As this article points out, discipleship can be a form of suffering.
Flashback: Why We Must Emphasize A Pastor’s Character Over His Skill
When it comes to pastors, God looks past men of great talent or achievement to call men of character. We must do the same.

Every prayer is a rebuttal to the “look within” logic of our age. To pray is to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers in ourselves. We don’t have sufficient wisdom to make complex decisions. —Brett McCracken

A Prayer for the Dying Day

I recently came across a wonderful prayer penned by Archibald Alexander many years ago. In it he prays that God would bless and protect him through the years of old age and into the gates of heaven. May his prayer be ours!

O most merciful God, cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength declineth. Now, when I am old and grey-headed, forsake me not; but let Thy grace be sufficient for me; and enable me to bring forth fruit, even in old age. May my hoary head be found in the ways of righteousness! Preserve my mind from dotage and imbecility, and my body from protracted disease and excruciating pain. Deliver me from despondency and discouragement in my declining years, and enable me to bear affliction with patience, fortitude, and perfect submission to Thy holy will.
As, in the course of nature, I must be drawing near to my end, and as I know I must soon put off this tabernacle, I do humbly and earnestly beseech Thee, O Father of mercies, to prepare me for this inevitable and solemn event: Fortify my mind against the terrors of death. Give me, if it please Thee, an easy passage through the gate of death. Dissipate the dark clouds and mists which naturally hang over the grave, and lead me gently down into the gloomy valley. O my kind Shepherd, who hast tasted the bitterness of death for me, and who knowest how to sympathize with and succour the sheep of Thy pasture, be Thou present to guide, to support, and to comfort me. Illumine with beams of heavenly light the valley and shadow of death, so that I may fear no evil. When heart and flesh fail, be Thou the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. Let not my courage fail in the trying hour. Permit not the great adversary to harass my soul in the last struggle, but make me a conqueror and more than a conqueror in this fearful conflict.
I humbly ask that my reason may be continued to the last, and if it be Thy will, that I may be so comforted and supported, that I may leave a testimony in favour of the reality of religion, and Thy faithfulness in fulfilling Thy gracious promises; and that others of Thy servants who may follow after may be encouraged by my example to commit themselves boldly to the guidance and keeping of the Shepherd of Israel.
And when my spirit leaves this clay tenement, Lord Jesus, receive it. Send some of the blessed angels to convoy my inexperienced soul to the mansion which Thy love has prepared. And O! let me be so situated, though in the lowest rank, that I may behold Thy glory. May I have an abundant entrance administered unto me into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for whose sake, and in whose name, I ask all these things. Amen.

Weekend A La Carte (August 28)

I’m very thankful to ACBC for sponsoring the blog this week which news of their upcoming in-person or online conference featuring Kevin DeYoung, Michael Kruger, and others.

Today’s Kindle deals include some classics for now…
(Yesterday on the blog: New and Notable Christian Books for August 2021)
The Path to Apostasy
Erik Raymond considers the often-treaded path to apostasy. “First let me give you a bottom-line proposition: The path to apostasy is paved by bricks of apathy towards Christ. If you want to persevere, then give attention to your affections. Now, how does this happen? This walk down the road to apostasy is intended to illuminate a dark and often camouflaged way.”
OnlyFans and the Sexual Revolution
Samuel James looks at the recent furor around a site that specializes in porn and draws some interesting conclusions. “If you look carefully, you can see how sobriquets such as ‘sex worker’ give away the game. The contemporary liberated social order is an order of workers: naked bodies laboring round the clock, sacrificing dignity and reputation for the opportunity to nibble the crumbs that fall from Big Tech’s table. Our civilization’s efforts to commodify sexuality cannot deliver what they promise.”
The Situation in Afghanistan, and Ways to Pray and Help
Randy Alcorn provides an update from a source inside Afghanistan. “What can we do to help the believers? Literally the only thing they currently ask for is prayer. That’s not strange or overtly spiritual. If they had a thin layer of protection and justice, it’s now gone. Jesus is literally all they have left. The Christians are seeking ways to stay safe and to survive. We stand with them in their time of greatest need.”
Why It’s So Hard to Escape from North Korea (Video)
Some have wondered by more North Korean Christians don’t escape to a place where they can have greater freedom. This video aptly explains why it’s not just that easy.
Be My (Hypothetical) Guest
“In a highly-verbal honor/shame culture, public displays of hospitality and generosity (or at least displays of intent) are very important. But the whole system gets jammed up when those on the receiving end don’t know that in order to be honorable themselves, they need to politely and profusely refuse these repeated offers.”
Sometimes I Need a Sunrise
Glenna Marshall: “The trouble with discouragement is that you can set up camp there in complete obscurity and isolation. If you don’t call out for help, you might just stay for a while. We tend to feel that when we’re struggling with faith or doubt or pain or loss that we should hide those weaknesses from others. Circle the wagons, you know? When we’re in a better place mentally or spiritually or physically, we’ll show up to our life.”
Flashback: Is It Time To Go Back to The Heart of Worship?
…the heart of worship is not a great band, a perfect key change, or a soaring chorus, but human voices lifted together to God.

Every time we lead the church in worship we’re doing more than singing songs. We’re leading believers in a battle for the truth. —Bob Kauflin

Free Stuff Fridays (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors)

This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by ACBC, who also sponsored the blog this week.

[embedded content]

We care for souls because God gave the church as His community of care,
His Word as our guide for care, and His Spirit as the empowerment of our care. Our vision of care should be shaped by what God has revealed to us in His Word and the person of Christ, not by what our therapeutic culture claims to be legitimate care for struggling people.
Join ACBC for this year’s Annual Conference, O Church, Arise: Reclaiming a Culture of Care,  October 2021 as we explore the important task of soul care in the church.
We’re offering a special discount for Challies readers. Enter code CHALLIES at checkout to receive 10% off of your registration. Prices increase August 31st.
You can join us in person this year as we meet together in Charlotte, NC on October 4-6, 2021!
If attending in person is not possible, we are excited to invite you to join us virtually!
Have a group of 10 or more joining from your local church? We made the Group Watch option just for you!
This Week’s Giveaway: Sufficiency (eBook) & Counseling Resource Package
The sufficiency of Scripture is one of the core doctrines of the biblical counseling movement. This book celebrates biblical counselors’ commitment to Scripture for theology and practice by presenting key writings on sufficiency through the years. In this powerful collection of essays, you’ll be exhorted to stand on the sufficiency of Scripture for counseling.
Everyone who enters this week’s giveaway will receive a free eBook copy of Sufficiency: Historic Essays on the Sufficiency of Scripture from ACBC.
Three winners will receive a bundle of books from key leaders in biblical counseling that will challenge and prepare you for the ministry of counseling.


New and Notable Christian Books for August 2021

With summer fading into the rear view and the busy winter publishing season approaching, we are beginning to see publishers release some very interesting books. I sorted through the many books that came to my door in August and wanted to share about some of this month’s new and notable releases. In each case I’ve shared the editorial description.

The Grace and Truth Study Bible NIV edited by Albert Mohler. “Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the foremost voices for evangelicals worldwide, heads up the editorial team for the NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible. This group of scholars and pastors is committed to delivering a trustworthy and approachable guide to Scripture to Bible readers. The warmhearted and faithful notes will provide first-time Bible readers reliable guidance while simultaneously nourishing veteran students of the Word with fresh insights. Unwavering in its commitment to evangelical steadfastness, this study Bible paints a stunning canvas of the goodness of God’s redemptive plan revealed in the gospel of Jesus. As a study Bible intended for the greatest range of English-speaking Christians, it is set in the New International Version (NIV) text, today’s most widely read contemporary English translation, and typeset in Zondervan’s exclusive easy-to-read NIV Comfort Print typeface.” (Buy it from Amazon)
Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ is Essential by Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman. “Since a global pandemic abruptly closed places of worship, many Christians have skipped church life, even neglecting virtual services. But this was a trend even before COVID-19. Polarizing issues, including political and racial strife, convinced some people to pull away from the church and one another. Now it’s time to recommit to gathering as brothers and sisters in Christ. In Rediscover Church, Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman discuss why church is essential for believers and God’s mission. Through biblical references and personal stories, they show readers God’s true intention for corporate gathering: to spiritually strengthen members as individuals and the body of Christ.” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
Consider Your Counsel: Addressing Ten Mistakes in Our Biblical Counseling by Bob Kellemen. “Biblical counseling is not an easy calling. How do you effectively communicate the gospel to hurting people? Theological training and learning from other counselors are both key to growing in the wisdom, love, and skill needed to apply Scripture to yourself and others. Preparation is key, but sometimes the most effective training comes after you’ve jumped into the ring—when a coach puts his arm around your shoulder and helps you take a look at what you’ve done well and where you can grow. In Consider Your Counsel, Bob Kellemen comes alongside counselors and shares where he and others have missed the mark. Drawing on more than three decades of counseling supervision experience, he unpacks ten of the most common missteps that he has noticed in his own counseling, as well as those he has mentored. From teaching before listening to targeting sin but not suffering, Kellemen helps counselors of all ages see where they may need to reassess their methods and continue to grow. Each chapter briefly discusses a typical counseling mistake, then delves into a discussion of alternative approaches and practical suggestions for maturing as biblical counselor. This uniquely helpful book will help readers do an honest assessment of their counseling and encourage them to grow as counselors and friends.” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
The Whole Life: 52 Weeks of Biblical Self-Care by Eliza Huie & Esther Smith. “Many of us live at a pace that is impossible to keep. Unrelenting busyness might feel necessary, but it can lead to chronic stress and burnout that hinders our love for God and others. Instead of adding more to our long to-do list, counselors Eliza Huie and Esther Smith guide readers in how to think biblically about their whole life. They give Christians a framework for biblical self-care that will help them live for Christ by stewarding the spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical aspects of life. The Whole Life: 52 Weeks of Biblical Self-Care outlines a balanced life of stewardship, offering practical strategies for Christians to grow in honoring God and caring for others. The authors focus on six key areas: faith, health, purpose, community, work, and rest. Each chapter addresses a specific topic and guides readers in thinking biblically about their whole life. Breaking down the misconceptions that self-care is not biblical, The Whole Life reveals that caring for yourself doesn’t mean you are being selfish or lazy. Instead, it’s a way of stewarding every part of your life for God’s glory and the good of others. Contrary to what our culture might lead us to believe, exhaustion and burnout are not unavoidable pitfalls of a faithful Christian life. Instead, they are warning signs that we need to turn to God for daily help. This book will reorient readers to the core value of resting their heart, mind, and strength in Christ.” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
The Path to Being a Pastor: A Guide for the Aspiring Pastor by Bobby Jamieson. “A man who’s been transformed by Christ and desires to preach the gospel might say he feels called to be a pastor. This personal conviction, while heartfelt, doesn’t acknowledge important, challenging steps necessary to be a qualified leader. So where should full-time ministry begin? In The Path to Being a Pastor, Bobby Jamieson explains why it’s better to emphasize ‘aspiration’ over ‘calling’ as men pursue the office of elder and encourages readers to make sure they are pastorally gifted before considering the role. Emphasizing the importance of prayer, godly counsel, and immersion in the local church, Jamieson encourages men to ask Am I qualified? instead of Am I called? when considering a life in ministry.” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
Lead Them to Jesus: A Handbook for Youth Workers by Mike McGarry. “Do you feel overwhelmed with the logistics of starting or keeping a youth ministry going? What about the tricky theological questions that keep you and your fellow youth workers on your toes? It’s a lot for what is usually an ‘all-volunteer army.’ Help is here! Veteran youth pastor Mike McGarry offers a practical, comprehensive tool to jumpstart your youth ministry and help youth workers with biblical answers to the tough questions students ask. In a two-part approach, he tackles both the practical skills and biblical depth needed for effective gospel-centered ministry to today’s youth. He leads readers through twenty theological truths they should be equipped to discuss with students and offers twenty practical skills every youth worker should cultivate. Lead Them to Jesus offers insight into the religious worldview of Gen Z and illustrates how to connect the gospel to their questions and core desires. Not only are young people ready to discuss hard issues such as suicide, suffering, and navigating difficult relationships, they are looking for authentic leaders who are committed to speaking truth and investing into their lives. McGarry prepares both youth pastors and ministry volunteers to go deep with students about what they believe and why. He also helps them think through the strategic role of fun and games and shares how to navigate conflict and cliques. Lead Them to Jesus shows youth workers how the gospel shapes every part of how they do youth ministry and will get your whole team on the same biblical and logistical page.” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
Wonderfully Made: A Protestant Theology of the Body by John W. Kleinig. “Why do we have bodies? When it comes to thinking about our bodies, confusion reigns. In our secular age, there has been a loss of the body’s goodness, purpose, and end. Many people, driven by shame and idolatry, abuse their body through self-harm or self-improvement. How can we renew our understanding and see our bodies the way God does? In Wonderfully Made, John Kleinig forms a properly biblical theology of our bodies. Through his keen sensitivity to Scripture’s witness, Kleinig explains why bodies matter. While sin has corrupted our bodies and how we think of them, God’s creation is still good. Thus, our bodies are good gifts. The Son took on a body to redeem our bodies. Kleinig addresses issues like shame, chastity, desire, gender dysphoria, and more, by integrating them into the biblical vision of creation. Readers of Wonderfully Made will not only be equipped to engage in current issues; they will gain a robust theology of the body and better appreciation of God’s very good creation.”(Buy it from Amazon)
Covenant: The Framework of God’s Grand Plan of Redemption by Daniel Block. “Leading scholar Daniel Block helps students of the Bible understand the big picture of God’s covenants with humanity as they play out in both the First and the New Testaments. After fifty years of teaching and preaching around the globe, Block brings a lifetime of study and reflection on the First Testament and relationship with God to this comprehensive volume. The book focuses on God’s covenants as the means by which God has reached out to a fallen humanity. It examines the heart and history of God’s redemptive plan and shows why the covenants are essential for our understanding of the Bible.”(Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
When Prayer Is a Struggle: A Practical Guide for Overcoming Obstacles in Prayer by Kevin P. Halloran. “A struggle to pray reveals a desire to pray, and when you have that desire, you can address the obstacles to prayer by facing them head on. Writing as a sympathetic and practical guide, Kevin Halloran helps you to pinpoint areas of weakness in your prayer life and take immediate steps to overcome them. Examine your heart, implement practical measures, and experience the joys of faithfully drawing near to God.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Scroll to top