This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by Ligonier Ministries, who also sponsored the blog this week.
As Protestants celebrate the work of God in the sixteenth-century Reformation, one name keeps coming up: Martin Luther. Who was this early Reformer, and what should Christians think of him today? To help us think through these questions, Ligonier Ministries is offering the ebook edition of The Legacy of Luther as a free download for Challies readers. Edited by R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols, this ebook explores Luther’s life, teaching, and enduring influence. Ten Free Friday winners will receive the hardcover edition.
Learn more about the book here.
Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. When you enter, you agree to be placed on Ligonier Ministries’ email list. The winner will be notified by email. The giveaway closes on November 17, 2023.
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By Tim Challies — 3 weeks ago
Good morning. Grace and peace to you today.
Today’s Kindle deals include a number of books on apologetics.
(Yesterday on the blog: A Prayer for Times of Anxiety)
Conrad Mbewe shared yesterday that his son Mwansa has gone to be with the Lord. I know you’ll want to be in prayer for the Mbewe family.
How Adoption Mirrors God’s Love for the Fatherless
Amy DiMarcangelo: “Throughout history, God has faithfully used Christians to play a pivotal role in orphan care. Until Christ’s return—when he brings full restoration and makes all things new—we’re called to continue this work.”
4 Aspects of Being Made in God’s Image
What’s bound up in being made in God’s image? Doug explains here.
Lamenting the Church Plant Fad
“I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the quality of church planting movements I have been a part of and a cheerleader for in the last decade across our country. I have seen a genuine uptick in church planting taking its rightful place as a critical value for many denomination and mission organizations. It is right and a beautiful answer to prayers for our nation. It also is in jeopardy of becoming a fad.”
What is Mormonism? And is it different than Christianity? (Video)
This video from Radical helpfully lays out the issues with Mormonism.
Order and Beauty: A Little Theology of Christian Writing
Greg Morse provides a little theology of Christian writing and does so by looking at the Bible’s Wisdom Literature.
Thankfulness (and other habits)
“Historically, Christians have sometimes been too quick to over-spiritualize all anxieties and mental struggles. They recognize the sin and spiritual brokenness that is at the root of all issues, but sometimes offer only spiritual solutions without considering all the complicated mental issues that may be underlying it. In recent years as conversations about mental health are becoming more and more common, some people have gone too far the other way.”
Flashback: A Reflection of Christ
In my leadership am I providing an accurate picture of Christ? Or do the ones I lead see an image of Christ that is warped and distorted? Do they see me looking out for their well-being as Christ looked out for the well-being of those he loved?
‘Wait on the Lord’…is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. —J.I. Packer
By Tim Challies — 2 years ago
Bounded by a lake on its southern side, the city of Toronto and the suburbs that surround it are being steadily pushed to the east, west, and south. In these regions, developers are buying great stretches of farmland and converting them into dense neighborhoods. With hundreds of thousands of people arriving in Canada each year through immigration, and with hundreds of thousands more being born here, the demand for housing is insatiable and the city is expanding outward like a slow-moving tsunami.
Yet if you push outside the bounds of the city and drive past the new suburbs, it still does not take long to come to farmland. And at this time of year the farmers have just finished sowing their seeds. Some of the early crops went into the ground in the opening days of the month, but it’s in the later weeks of May—weeks when it becomes less likely that nighttimes will bring frost—that most crops can be safely sown.
If you were to trace the life cycle of a single plant, you would see that it is planted in May, that it pushes above the ground in the warming days of spring, and that it reaches maturity in the summer. When the farmer determines that it is fully ripe, he harvests it and ships it to a nearby grocery story or farmer’s market where it is sold as fresh local produce.
At that market a shopper—perhaps a clerk at a clothing store downtown—, adds it to her cart, takes it home, and serves it for dinner. Her husband, who works at the nearby automotive plant eats that same meal, as do their school-aged children. The meal feeds and sustains them for another day, providing the nourishment and strength they need to carry out their tasks. And thus, in a roundabout way, the farmer plays a quiet but key role in that clothing store, in that car plant, and in that school.
Pastors are often compared to farmers and for good reason. For in much the same way, the pastor plays a quiet but key role in the lives of the people of his church. He labors in his office throughout the week, prayerfully studying the Bible, carefully planning a worship service, and diligently preparing a sermon. Then, when Sunday finally arrives, the church gathers to sing and to pray together, to read the Scriptures and to celebrate the ordinances. The pinnacle of the service is the preaching of the Word in which the pastor exposits a passage and applies it to the daily lives of the people. The congregation listens carefully, searching the Bible to ensure all of these things are true, and considering how they can take those truths and live them out day by day. By the time they hear the final “amen” and shake the final hand on the way out the door, they are equipped and energized for another week of life in a difficult and hostile world.
In this way the pastor, like the farmer, is in the business of feeding people as they go about their lives and fulfill their vocations. The people come to church each week weary and hungry, eager to be fed. And it is the task of the pastor to meet their need for spiritual sustenance, to equip them for their God-given duties, to feed them good food. It is his privilege to fill them up and send them out full and satisfied.
And so the calling upon pastors is to feed their people. What will truly energize them for another week in this world is not entertainment and not platitudes, not feel-good phrases and not motivational speeches. What will truly meet their spiritual hunger is the spiritual food of the Word. They need to be fed from the Word and this is the pastor’s responsibility, the pastor’s task, the pastor’s privilege.
And church members, the calling upon you is to be fed, to diligently attend the services and to attentively listen so you can receive the good food the pastor has prepared for you. Then, having been filled with such nourishment, you can go beyond the walls of the church to carry out your God-given tasks—the sacred tasks of fulfilling your vocation, loving the people around you, and telling the world about Jesus. You can go full, fed, satisfied, and energized to do all God has called you to do.
By Tim Challies — 2 years ago
May the God of love and peace be with you today.
(Yesterday on the blog: Another Week in a Difficult and Hostile World)
Grief Is Not the Enemy
“Like love or joy or hope, grief is not less than an emotion, but it is also much more. And certainly, love and joy are tightly connected with grief. We cannot truly grieve something or someone unless we love them first and take joy in them. It would be natural to think of grief as the opposite of joy, or the absence of love, but that’s not quite right.”
How to Think Wisely About Becoming a Social Media Celebrity
“Most of us are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. There’s got to be that perfect job out there somewhere, where I can make a ton of money, impact the world for good, be respected and adored, be myself, and do what I love.” For a growing number of younger people, that’s being a social media influencer.
How Will I Find My Ministry Calling?
Whatever vocation you’re pursuing, here’s some counsel from John Piper on finding it—though it’s especially related to ministry.
Join Tim Challies At The SING! Conference
Build lifelong patterns of worship that ground your family and your congregation in Gospel-centered truths! This September 5-7, join thousands of believers from around the world for three days of deep theology, timeless artistry, and congregational singing led by speakers and artists like Keith & Kristyn Getty, Tim Challies, John Piper, Joni Eareckson Tada, Mark Dever, Paul David Tripp, D. A. Carson, Andrew Peterson, Shai Linne, Matt Merker, and dozens more.
EXCLUSIVE: Visit singconference.com and use code ‘CHALLIES35’ to save 35% before General Registration closes June 17. (Sponsored Link)
The Churches of Antarctica
I enjoyed this little roundup of the churches of Antarctica. It’s a continent so thinly-populated that it’s possible to show photos of almost all of them.
We Rest to Work
Guy Richards continues his series on rest: “Rest in a post-Fall world should be directed to the end of enabling us to fulfill our mandate to work. This sets boundaries on how much we rest and what that rest looks like. It tells us that we should, generally speaking, rest only as much as we need to in order to work.”
With Us Now and til the End
“Do you believe Jesus is with you? Or is he standing off in the heavens, waiting to join the glorified you at the end of the age?” Do you believe he’s with you when you suffer? When you sin?
Flashback: Whatever Is False, Whatever Is Immoral, Whatever Is Prejudiced…
We must deliberately discipline ourselves to consider only what honors God, only what is pleasing to him, only what results in his sweet peace.
You are not to rest partly on Christ, -partly on doing all you can, -partly on keeping your Church, -partly on receiving the sacrament. In the matter of your justification Christ is to be all. —J.C. Ryle