Posts Tagged ‘Tim Challies’

Happy New Year to one and all! Can I start off my thanking those of you who take the time to log in and read some of my thoughts from time to time. I am constantly amazed at the numbers who read this blog from around the globe. It is with this in mind, alongside the launch of 20schemes, that this will be my last week blogging as Niddrie Pastor. I will leave this site active as a place to log on and find archives but, as of the 7th January, I will be blogging from my 20schemes site. I will keep you posted over the next week as I make the change. Can I encourage those of you who subscribe to the site to consider following me over to this new site. Thanks so much!

Now, the blogosphere is awash with reading plans for 2013 and, perhaps, the most comprehensive can be found on The Gospel Coalition website. Please click on the link here to find reading plans galore! There is also a great blog post form Matt Smethurst on the dangers of being sucked into Bible reading Plans with the wrong motivations. Worth a read here.

The Ligonier blog always comes up with the goods! Happy hunting for various plans here.

The 19th Century Scottish minister, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, (sometimes spelled McCheyne) who lived from 1813-1843, prepared a plan for Bible reading to take readers through the New Testament and Psalms twice a year, and through the rest of the Bible once each year. His plans can be accessed easily here.

Tim Chester has some great words of advice on his blog and his reading plan(s) can be accessed here. What I like about Tim’s is that it has a communal element to it (although to be honest every plan could be communal if you wanted it to). Worth a quick look though.

For a helpful perspective on the whole reading plan thing, Garrett Kell offers some honest and wise words on his provocatively entitled blog post, “Why I Plan To Read Less Of The Bible This year”. Check it out here.

My own personal plan is snappily called: Professor Grant Horner’s Bible reading System. Google it or you will find it on most of the blog sites above. I have been using the system throughout 2012. Basically, I read 10 chapters a day from various parts of the Bible. I have worked out that I have read the entire Bible at least 3 and a half times this past year. That’s probably more than I did in the whole of the previous 5 years! I admit that the early weeks were a struggle but, with perseverance, I managed to stick to the plan with amazing ease. I have found it particularly helpful to be able to download the plan onto my iPhone. You can download that here. As usual, the great Tim Challies has produced a list of resources to go along with the plan. These can be found here. Finally, for mutual encouragement and accountability you can access the Facebook page here.

No, it hasn’t made me Godlier or holier and no I don’t think Jesus likes me better than  people who’ve struggled through their devotions this year. At times it has been a chore but after the first few weeks I really got into the groove. Now, I didn’t use it devotionally but instead just read the chapters through at normal reading speed. Like a spiritual shower if you will! Besides this reading I followed my own personal, spiritual routine which enabled me to soak a little longer in the bath! I just found the habit of constantly reading scripture daily nice – that’s all. What I found helpful, particularly when I went through a spiritual ‘dry patch’ in terms of my own devotions, was that I was at least reading huge chunks of scripture as a matter of coarse even when I didn’t really feel like it. Make of that what you will but the point is my head was in the Bible rather than in the TV when I was having some tough times. Remember our faith rests in Christ and not on how we do in these things. Let’s all guard our hearts and watch our motivations.

I hope that we will all grow in truth and grace in 2013 as we wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Sexual Detox – A guide for guys who are sick of porn by Tim Challies (Cruciform press, 2010)

This is a small book (about 85 pages in length with some appendices at the back) looking at some of the issues around sex. Given its size, it does not offer us any kind of biblical depth concerning the issue but it does at least raise the very real porn problem sweeping through much of our culture in the West.

It looks at how pornography damages relationships because it is, by its very nature, something selfish. Marriage, on the other hand, is about the union of two people. ‘Sex is intended to be a means of mutual fulfilment, an expression of love in which a husband thinks foremost of his wife, and the wife thinks foremost of her husband. As they fulfil each other’s needs, they also have their needs fulfilled. It is a beautiful picture of intimacy!’ (p41)

He has an interesting little chapter on masturbation with some helpful questions to think about at the end (as does each chapter). Also, about two thirds of the way in he tries to deal with the issue of what is and isn’t acceptable in the bedroom (something dealt with in more graphic detail by Mark Driscoll in his Peasant Princess series on Song of Songs). He recommends that before engaging in any bedroom activity we should consider the following: (1) Where is your heart in this? (2) Is this the act of a conqueror or a servant? What he means is that much of pornography and sexual fantasy is about domination whereas biblical sex is about mutual loving. (3) Does this bring pleasure to one or both? (4) Does this trouble either your conscience or hers? (5) Can you thank God for this?

Was it helpful? I suppose so. The problem with it was that it was very Bible ‘lite’. I know I am going to get into trouble for saying that because Challies is very popular in the ‘blogosphere’ at the moment (I am one of his admirers incidentally). Scripture does not explicitly address pornography and masturbation and I felt the book could have better gotten to grips with the whole issue of lust, idolatry and the heart. But, still a helpful starting point and maybe something to give to the men in your church in order to start discussion and encourage more accountability in this area.