Monday, 12 December 2011

Timeless Stories

This book took me by surprise. I had pigeonholed it in my mind as a collection of short biographies, along the lines of Faith Cook's recent 'Out of the Shadows.' In fact I was interested to see how this new kid on the block, author Vance Christie, compared to her. The first surprise was in the arrangement of the book. Story follows story, but biography doesn't follow biography. It is thematically arranged, with brief, almost 'bedtime story' type pieces. This is fresh, and makes a comfortable reading length. It therefore suits Christmas schedules(!) as well as commuters, or the elderly, or just those who want meditations prompted by lessons from the past. Indeed, preachers might find stories here to illustrate sermons. However the downside is that those who are not familiar with the individual lives of the likes of George Muller, C H Spurgeon, Dwight Moody, Corrie ten Boom, Billy Graham and others, will find it a bit chaotic. Christie does compare well with Faith Cook in my opinion in terms of historical research and attention to detail. His writing also holds the interest of the reader (always a help!) But, and this was my second surprise, he apparently finds no difficulty in lumping these very different famous Christian men and women together. There is no discussion of doctrinal differences, no critical analysis in that sense, although there is evaluation as well as appreciation of the experiences of the characters involved. This falls short of Faith Cook - whether you agree with her judgment or not.
'Timeless Stories. God's incredible work in the lives of inspiring Christians' is published by Christian Focus Publications (CFP) for £8.99. It is written by Vance Christie, who is an evangelical pastor from Nebraska, USA.
CFP have also published 'Women of Faith and Courage' by him, which costs the same but has a more conventional arrangement. It contains fascinating mini-biographies of Susanna Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Catherine Booth, Mary Slessor and Corrie ten Boom. (Susanna was my favourite). Again, the same absence of biblical assessment of their spiritual experience and ministry was a problem for me. It is as though as long as the broad banner of 'evangelical' can be draped around them all is well.
Jeremy

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas Update

We're running desperately late with our December Bulletin so thought I ought to do a little update on Christmas stock.  Books have been flying off the shelves over the last few weeks, but don't worry if the book you are looking for is not in stock, most suppliers are able to send us more stock within a few days so there is still plenty of time to order before Christmas. 
Our Charity Christmas cards are sold out apart from 1 design...

Robin & postbox - Pk of 10 Charity Christmas CardsRobin & Postbox Selection - Pk of 12If it's Robins & Postboxes you like we still have plenty of the packs of 12 with 3 designs in...
Have a look at all our remaining cards via this link Christmas Cards


Words of Jesus Calendar2012 calendars are also disappearing fast. The only appointment calendar left is Words of Jesus which is a really nice contemporary style for £3.99.  We have plenty of the AV Block Calendar
plus stock of the TBS calendars (Words of Life & Golden Thoughts).  Take a look at all the calendars on our site for more details.

Give us a call if you have any queries - we will do our best to help.
Lorna

Monday, 21 November 2011

A Reformed Publisher?

I don't like doing bad reviews and I really don't like to totally slate a publisher or author but... Two new children's books recently came in from a well known publisher, a reformed publisher, one which states that it is committed to being faithful to God's inerrant, infallible Word.  One I can trust to produce Biblically sound books within a reformed framework then? I was sadly disappointed.
Some may call me 'hyper' (those that want to will know what I mean), but since when has 'free-will' been part of TULIP?  Since when have Calvinists encouraged 'Decisionism'?  I'm sorry, but a storyline that encourages the main character to 'make a decision' about being a Christian or even to 'pray a prayer' to become a Christian strikes me as being decidedly Arminian.
I don't particularly want to 'Name & Shame', but I am interested to know how books like this can pass through a reformed editorial team and be deemed as suitable for publication.  Perhaps I am too straightlaced for many, but where are the standards?  If you are a Calvinist, stand up for the 5 Points.  Why should we accept watered down theology, and certainly let's not put this in the hands of innocent children.
Lorna

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Latest News

The day after the night before.  We're just getting the shop back to a Christmas look after a very successful special sales night.  It was really encouraging to see the response to the invitations sent out to this event, when all new books were on sale at a minimum of 20% off, and secondhand books were half price.  It's always good to see local pastors setting an example and heading our way.  Thanks for your support!  Obviously coffee and cakes help oil the wheels on such occasions too...
The last week or so has been particularly busy.  We have also done two external events - bookstalls locally and further afield.  The AV block calendar is selling steadily despite the small price rise which we regretfully had to make.  The Savannah Charity Christmas cards have proved so popular that we are going to get two of the designs reprinted to meet demand.  However it's not just Christmas/New Year stock that has been bought up, but now that we are able to take some of our secondhand books out for browsing through, they have sold well too.  We hope to get a spreadsheet listing of some secondhand stock online soon to give better exposure to them.  Finding the time is the hard part.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Pitfall!

I took a group of children up to the National Coal Mining Museum today - it is very local to us and is well worth a visit.  School holidays are a particularly good time because extra arts & crafts activities are usually laid on for children, but at any time of the year this is a really informative and interesting place to wander around.  Today we took part in a Living History session with the Pithead Baths' attendant which really brought to life the old mining ways and reminded me of a book (surprise, surprise!)... 
Pitfall! was originally published as a little hardback by Zoar Publications in 1972 and is a short fictional story written for children (around 6-10yr olds).  It had long been out of print when in 2005 we decided to republish it in response to growing demand particularly from the Christian School community.  It really is a little gem of a book with a gripping story line about a coal mining disaster in a small mining village.  The black & white scraperboard pictures have often been praised as being very evocative of the blackness of the mining times. I remember reading this book as a child and I found it just as spine-tingling when I read it to my own children a few years ago. Gospel truths are clearly and simply taught throughout the story and this can lead to many a fruitful discussion.
Sadly the National Coal Mining Museum have refused to stock this book in their shop with some muttering about the Christian message being too blatant.  A sad sign of the times I'm afraid, but we shall continue to press it as the opportunities arise.
Pitfall! by Barbara Hallihan, published by CBO Publications, priced £2.95 (now a staplebound paperback).  See more details here.
Lorna

Saturday, 15 October 2011

She's made it!

At one time or another as each of the children grew up and became more mobile they made the mountainous journey up the big steps from the office into the shop.  Yesterday Katie independently negotiated this tricky route and triumphantly made her way to what has always been a favourite spot with young children - watching the cars from the doorway!  Suddenly a whole new world has opened up to her - specifically a shopful of books ready and waiting to be pulled off the shelves.  It is a hard lesson to learn, but they all had to go through it - you can look at them but you can't grab them & slobber all over them!  
Lorna

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Have a Tea Break for Charity!

In hard pressed economic times charities can be the first to suffer the effects of general belt-tightening.  Perhaps this is not quite so true of christian charities as of others.  We certainly had good support back in July when we donated a proportion of sales to Caring for Life.  Also at the moment we are seeing great interest in the charity cards within our Christmas card range (proceeds to the Savannah Education Trust this year).  However non-christian charities do not often retain the loyalty of the public to the same degree, and so are going to be under tremendous pressure - in fact fighting each other for 'market share' in people's giving.  This is a tragic reality.  Perhaps I am going to make a bad thing worse, but I will be fundraising for the sake of an unsung cause next Friday (21st October).  Epilepsy Action have designated this day as 'National Tea Break' - have a cuppa, a chat and give what you can.  They are the UK's largest epilepsy charity, but you may well not have heard of it, because epilepsy doesn't receive the same attention as most other medical problems.  But although it isn't some killer disease, it is a life changing condition.  I know because I have it.  God has wonderfully overruled it for good in my life, but it is and has been a great trial to me and my family.  Statistics are that 1 in every 103 people in the UK have some form of epilepsy.  Now, many mysteries remain in the understanding of it medically, so more money for brain research is required.  But equally, basic things like enabling sufferers to cope, training specialist 'Sapphire' nurses, and greater public awareness are all needed as well.  Epilepsy Action's current campaign is about educating people as to what to do to help in the event of coming across someone having a seizure.  So I will be in my workplace on the day next week, making tea for all who come in the bookshop to donate.  Lorna is providing cakes - an even bigger draw I'm sure!  In addition, 10% of the day's takings will be given to Epilepsy Action, and this includes mail order.  So prepare your wants lists, contact us, and support a worthy cause at the same time.  And if I can find such a thing as a virtual cup of tea, I'll happily pour you one!
Jeremy

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Articles of Faith

At the outset it must be acknowledged that this book may well not circulate widely outside of those of a particular Particular Baptist persuasion(!)  But a fresh treatment of the doctrinal position of the denomination called Gospel Standard (GS) Baptists is welcome to me.  And this is the first of what promises to be an excellent new series on the GS 35 Articles of Faith, reinvigorating the Gospel Standard Trust's publication list.  Ken Matrunola has a clear, easy to read style.  This is remarkable in view of the fact that his contribution to the book was originally given as a lecture in the late 1980's, and has been transcribed without being edited.  He addresses the subject of the need for Confessions of Faith initially, before going on to an examination of Article 1, regarding the Bible.  In a brief reference to the history of Particular Baptist Statements of Faith, and of the rise of the GS Articles, he notes that further research was desirable as to precisely how the latter came to be constituted in their present form.  This has been amply supplied in an Appendix which is longer than the lecture!  Here Timothy Abbott brings documentary evidence from an extensive enquiry into this matter.  Much is referred to, but more important matter has been reproduced, thus bulking out the Appendix.  This is good for those who desire to dig into it deeply - but it needs to be read selectively (at least at first go!) in order for the thread not to be lost.  A tip here is to focus on the italicized portions.  The clear stamp of William Gadsby's theology placed upon John Gill's initial contribution is conclusively shown to be fundamental to a correct understanding of the GS Articles.  This has considerable implications for the denomination as a whole, particularly in drawing a clear line of demarcation based upon doctrine rather than upon tradition.  It should cause major heart-searching for both young and old in GS churches, but probably won't.  Anyway the quote from William Gadsby at the end really is worth the modest price of the book alone!
'Articles of Faith. Why and where from?' by Ken Matrunola and Timothy Abbott. Gospel Standard Trust Publications. £5.50.  Just out now - they haven't yet got it showing on their website (as of today).
Jeremy

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Enough.

Helen Roseveare is a very practical & down to earth writer.  She is so honest about her failings in her Christian walk it becomes easy to admit to yours.  In this book she has challenged me again. The general thesis is that Christ is enough to fulfil all our needs.  Sounds obvious and I'm sure we all know the theory and the scripture texts to prove it.  But do we really live it out?  Really?  Honestly? 
What about all those 'respectable sins' - worry, perfectionism, that ever-so-small feeling of discontent, the grumbling about the weather, impatience, moral superiority - we may talk about them as little weaknesses or failings but they are certainly not very Christ-like. How longsuffering our Lord is!  Do we really rely on Him to know what is for our real good? 
What about that sneaky 'Jesus... plus'?  If we could just be successful in this situation, if only God would provide a spouse/a new house, if only those around me would respect me more, life would be so much better.  Since when was Jesus and Him alone not enough for our complete happiness? 'The joy of the Lord is your strength' (Nehemiah 8:10).
These 'not enough' errors that Helen talks about are so subtle, but ring horribly true. Suddenly I have become more aware of far too many of them tucked away in my own heart where no-one would necessarily see them - except a Holy God of course.  This is very humbling and could lead to feelings of despair of never being good enough - but Helen deals with this too.  Indeed we fall far short of pleasing our Heavenly Father, but the death of Christ is enough to cover all our sins.  Enough.
This is a book that I found searching and profitable.  It's only small and takes less than an hour to read through.  Buy it and digest.  In fact don't bother buying it - the copy I picked off the shelf in the shop has since had tea spilt on it (an over-enthusiastic little helper!) so I'm happy to give it away free. All you need to do is 'like' us on our facebook page (or get a friend to like us if you don't have a facebook account), then let me have your address & its yours for keeps!
Lorna
Enough.  by Helen Roseveare, published by Christian Focus, £2.99

Monday, 19 September 2011

Dealing With Depression

Books on depression depress me, as I often facetiously remark.  Firstly, as a bookshop manager deciding what to stock, there is too much choice on this subject.  The 'Christian Life' section could be chock full of them! Secondly, and more seriously, I actually find them disturbing to read.  They draw out depressive tendencies, and poor old Lorna has to bear the brunt of a storm of self analysis...
The reason for stocking this book is that the read is neither too complex nor too long.  It arose out of a series of seminars in which the two authors brought their different skills together (medical and social sciences) to address a problem they felt was far too overlooked amongst Christians.  You will not be blinded with science here - the book helpfully gives a guide to further reading on the subject, along with details of some useful internet resources.  So, with a lot of the 'heavy' material handled like that, it leaves the book just about right for both sufferers and helpers of this terrible affliction.  It is shocking to learn that depression is now the third most common reason to consult a GP in the UK.  This 'black dog', as Winston Churchill called it, is not of necessity a spiritual malady, but neither can it be rightly considered outside of a biblical framework.  That balance is struck here and brief, constructive lessons are brought out from the Psalms and other places in the Bible where the sovereignty, wisdom and care of God is displayed.  Another feature of the book is that at the end of each chapter there is a feature piece about different people's own experiences.  This culminates with an extended testimony from the well known Yorkshire based evangelist Roger Carswell.
Overall, 'Dealing with Depression' by Sarah Collins & Jayne Haynes is a great little book.  It has just been published by Christian Focus Publications at a price of £4.99.  We are currently running an offer on it for £3.50.
Jeremy

Monday, 12 September 2011

August - A Wash Out?

Lorna has just posted about our Annual bulletin.  Yes, the boys were a great help, but it went off a bit late this year.  What happened to August?  Did we get anything done apart from a family holiday?  Well, strangely, it was a great success.  Looking at the month from more than the narrow commercial perspective, it was one of our best times.  We held two holiday activity mornings for pre-teen children plus parents, which were runaway successes.  They were begging for more!  It was so satisfying to get across a literary theme through crafts and quizzes as well as book readings.  More than 60 children were there which was fabulous.  It was particularly nice to see many from non-Christian families.  We were kindly allowed the use of the Chapel next door to give us the needed space, and had a great support team as well.  Thanks everyone!  We have a gallery of photos on our Facebook page.  Remember you can view this even if you do not have a Facebook account.
The problem now is that we have probably made a rod for our own back for future holiday times, and left ourselves playing catch-up as we start the long run in to Christmas!  But at least we do so feeling more fulfilled than ever.
Jeremy

Saturday, 10 September 2011

With a little help from my friends...

Well ok, just one little friend...
One more job ticked off the list - perhaps now we can get back to blogging more regularly!
If you haven't received a copy of our annual news bulletin by post or email have a look at it on our website... http://www.christianbookshopossett.co.uk/Bulletin.pdf (tons of news about secondhand books, ebooks, social networking, 2012 Calendars, Charity Christmas Cards & more).
Lorna

Monday, 15 August 2011

Shop Local

Have a read of this from the Christian Bookshops Blog it's worth giving it some thought...

Listening to Liz Pilgrim, a riot-hit small retailer from Ealing on BBC R4 tonight was an inspiration, providing a strident rallying call for support to the High Street.Events of this past week have demonstrated that the UK High Street is hurting badly – in more ways than one. Shops in riot affected areas will have an uphill struggle to get their businesses back on track. Retailers everywhere are finding it hard work to make headway against strong and adverse economic headwinds.
If these local businesses are forced to leave their High Streets, it will be very hard, if not impossible, to open them again. Does that matter? Yes, I think it does. Those communities losing local traders are negatively impacted in a considerable way. We could all do much more to help – by stopping to think whether we can buy locally, by switching our purchasing from the internet to local shops (where possible) and from chain stores and supermarkets to the local trader. Yes, there’s often a price differential and I know that we all have time constraints but there is a positive social impact.Some of you might say that it’s already too late. It’s not. You can make a real difference locally.
So much of retail in the UK is comprised of fairly small units and these outlets provide considerable levels of local employment in so many of our towns and cities. It cannot be all about Tesco’s and Debenhams.
Use local markets wherever possible as these too continue to help commercial life to thrive in our neighbourhoods and communities. Yes, it’s hard to do this but it’s also worthwhile. At the moment, any help for smaller retailers, and sole traders in particular, is very welcome.
If you agree with this please post it elsewhere and let’s help bring more footfall to our High Streets. Do we really want to live in a homogenous world? Do we want all of retail life to move online? We all have to buy ‘stuff’. The only question is; where will we actually do our purchasing?
So go on – Support your own High Street. Support your local retailer. Support your small shops. Support your local Market. You might even enjoy yourself!
Lorna

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Price Matching - Moral?

Price Matching. Just to be clear I understand this to be an offer by a retailer to sell an item at the lowest price a customer can find it elsewhere. It is an aggressive marketing ploy, if completely successful aiming at the elimination of all competitors. During the early phase the consumer benefits. He is king, and appears to call all the shots, driving down prices until the retailers creak under the strain. Great for him - until one retailer succeeds in out-muscling the others, perhaps putting them out of business in the process. From this point the boot is on the other foot, and over a period of time prices will rise, as the retailer dominates. This is sheer market economics in the raw, at its ugliest - dog eats dog.
I have been pondering the morality of this as it applies to the market in christian books sold by self proclaimed christian companies. Is it fitting that publishers, bookshops and online retailers employ Price Matching? But then, it is a difficult time as the recession bites and the waterhole is shrinking. Temptation abounds.
Sometimes it is consumers who provoke a price war. Last week we had someone ring up to ask "Do you do price matching?" She had located a book cheaply elsewhere and wondered if we could or would sell it for the same. Now we were not going to play the rival Supermarkets game. But was that a christian attitude for her to have? I freely confess that I myself shop around and look at all the options and deals on and offline when buying goods, so am I just being hypocritical here? However is it not one thing to set your stall out and sell at what you can afford (maximising customer service and other enrichments as well) thus creating healthy competition, and another to advertise Price Matching? I feel that oversteps the mark. Managing a Christian Bookshop, I want to earn a living, but I want others in the same field to as well. Otherwise Biblical principles regarding love to our neighbour are violated. Price Matching discredits christian retailing, and it is shameful for sober christian people to provoke it. Feedback wanted please!
Jeremy

Monday, 18 July 2011

Gleanings From The Past

This is the name of a 3 book series now republished in paperback by Scripture Truth Publications, and new to our bookshelves. The editor was Hamilton Smith, not a name widely known outside Brethren circles. His desire was to bring older classic writers 'back to life' by taking their work and producing a cut down form of them, more accessible to the average reader. Now, considering that he did this around the turn of the First World War, he by far anticipated later efforts like Banner of Truth's Puritan Paperbacks, and Grace Publications' Great Christian Classics series. But there is also one very different and unusual way in which he set about his task. He took material and arranged it by subject. Thus there might be sections entitled 'Afflictions,' 'Contentment,' 'Thanksgiving,' 'Warning,' 'Sin and Guilt,' 'Faith,' etc as well as more closely specific ones like 'Giving,' and 'Reading.' This all has the advantage of encouraging people to dip in and be benefited without being baffled or deterred by the typical Puritan writing structure. Of course it does have the downside of shredding and re-setting, which can put material out of context. I have to say, particularly in the case of Thomas Watson, it would have been much more informative to have cited the source of each dollop. It works more easily with Rutherford's sublime letters, although it will not be pleasing to the purist. But that's not the point! Vol 2 on Gurnall is actually the famousm 'Christian in Complete Armour,' albeit given this thematic treatment. I feel these books do have their place and usefulness. A good point is that the authors are quoted without being tampered with - just some obsolete words are explained, and also the Authorised Version is used.
Try them for £6 each, and let me know what you think of the Hamilton Smith treatment!
Jeremy

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Recommended Devotional Readings

Reformation Heritage Books are to be congratulated for being constrained to reprint this classic, after a year of it being unavailable.  Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was vicar of Charles in Plymouth, and conscious of the poor amongst his congregation, published these meditations for them on texts of scripture in small, affordable penny portions.  The eventual result was this Christ-centred devotional, which still satisfies the 'poor in spirit, who are rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom.'  I am really pleased to have got a good stock of these on board - possibly the first in the UK to have done so?!  Our price is £24.95, which is not bad for a chunky hardback book (730 devotions for the whole year) now with a stylish new cover design.  Joel R Beeke has written a very informative and warm introduction to Dr Hawker and his ministry, which he feels has been 'largely overlooked by modern scholarship.'  May these daily doses of free grace doctrine be to the benefit of many readers.  I'm using them at the moment and I would encourage you to do so too.  This isn't a sales plug - beg, borrow or buy a copy from whoever you can!  You won't regret it.
'The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions' by Robert Hawker DD.
Jeremy

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Books into schools

Back in April we teamed up with the youth worker at our local Anglican church on an initiative to get good Christian books into the local primary schools.  Yesterday we received a pile of thank you letters from the pupils of one of the schools.  We really enjoyed reading through them all and would like to share some of the enthusiasm... (spelling mistakes just add to the charm, all you need to do is read with a Northern accent to really get the message!)
"We would like to say a huge thank you for the books you gave us for ower libary, ower book's we had befor were great but your book's are wonderful"
"Thank you for giving us them free books."
"It was very nice of you to give some books to us I havent read a Book yet but Recan they are gona be Fab, they look really good exspeasli the Jungle Doct's Fables"
"Every week every class goes to Library and that's where the awsome books are kept."
"Thank you for all these amazing books what I'm dyeing to to read all aspsely Water or Goo and Jungle docters fables"
"even thow I have not had the chance to get my hand's on I will one day they look fantastic"
"I want to eny one of them as long as it is a funny on I am ful of funnynes"
"Thank you for the book's like Danger and dedkation [Danger and Dedication] when that is free I will try and get it and book's mak leaning fun.  I am shor i will like it" 
Aren't they great?  and who says children don't read nowadays?
How refreshing!
Lorna

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

July is Charity Month

It's nearly July so I think it is worth mentioning that for the first time we will be running a Charity Month.   For the month of July we are pledging to give 50p to our chosen charity for every book sold.  The charity we have picked is local to us and one we have mentioned in previous blog posts (see here).  Caring for Life is a charity that works really hard with some of the most shunned in society and they all seem to have a lot of fun in the process.  Take a look at their website and then take a look at ours to decide what book to buy so that you can support them too.  Better still, if you're on holiday in the area during July, buy a book for your holiday reading then pop up to Caring for Life for your lunch - you won't regret the experience! For those not on holiday but having to work their socks off in local offices we will be staying open late every Thursday during the charity month... just for you!
The essential details:
For every book sold, 50p goes to Caring for Life
Late night opening every Thursday until 8pm

I'm hoping our Charity Month will become a regular event so anyone who would like us to consider their favourite charity for our next one please let us know.
Lorna

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Think Bookshop, Think Bike

Did you know that this week (18th - 25th June) is designated Independent Booksellers Week? Indies, as they are known, are putting on a splash to remind the public that bookshops do still exist, and can provide a unique service that Amazon or even Tesco cannot match. Events are planned for this week, offers, reading groups...whatever the ingenuity of the managers can conjure up. But it's tough just to survive in the current climate, so you may have to travel a bit to find an Indie and admire the special window displays. How will you travel there I wonder? Co-incidentally it is also Team Green Britain Bike Week as well, and they have all sorts of promos going on to get the nation cycling. So fight obesity! Get your rusting bike out of the garage and do a perfect double whammy - cycle to your local bookshop. Especially if it's a Christian Bookshop! Just think of the health benefits for mind and body... Amazon, etc, promote laziness on both counts. You slouch at a computer and locate a title for purchase which you have been recommended to. No chance to look through it and compare it with others on the same subject, within the pleasant ambience and the informed advice to be found at a well run bricks and mortar bookshop. And, yes, there even are books to be found there which will be cheaper than on Amazon. To prove it check out: http://www.christianbookshopossett.co.uk/product.php?&id=163&
Remember to include Amazon's postage costs.




Katie goes for bricks and books...
Just needs to work on her cycling!








Jeremy

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Temptation of Christ

This is not a new book, and certainly not a new author, but I looked at it in the course of preaching sermons on Christ's temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).  One of the joys of having a Christian Bookshop is the resources it provides for personal use!  Christian Focus Publications have this in their Christian Heritage range, and thankfully have maintained it in print for 15 years or so now.  For £5.99 it is a well-selected, well-edited edition of this careful study of a deep subject.  I believe Maurice Roberts (Free Church of Scotland Continuing minister, ex-editor of Banner of Truth magazine) did a commendable job here.  He has taken Thomas Manton and made his work more suited for reading by someone who has never visited the Puritans before.  But he has not done this by dumbing it down.  He first carefully explains in the Introduction the typical Puritan style and structure of sermonizing.  Then within the text he makes frequent use of square brackets to explain words or obsolete phrases.  This may be a bit OTT for anyone who is used to reading Puritan writings, but the point is that it is targeting a certain (growing?) sector of younger evangelicals who are alienated from such as Manton.  Modern Bible versions have also not helped in this trend.  A generational dislocation from godly and profound authors from the past is a sad injury to the church of God.  Men like Thomas Manton still deserve a hearing - they were above all men of the Bible, and who suffered for it.  He was one of the 2000 men ejected from their livings in 1662, but who still were determined to preach and became an Independent.  In earlier times he had been a chaplain to Oliver Cromwell and preached before Parliament.  So he experienced the same as the Apostle Paul (Philippians 4:12).
This is not a long book by any means, but amply demonstrates the revitalising truth of Christ's full identification with his people in their temptations (Hebrews 2:18), and has many practical applications re struggling against Satan's attacks.
Jeremy

Thursday, 26 May 2011

God's Names

I like this book.  It is written along the same lines as the 'God's Mighty Acts...' series (see http://christianbookshopossett.blogspot.com/2010/11/gods-mighty-acts.html ). With an easy style of writing it focuses on one biblical name of God in each short chapter (no more than 3 or 4 pages). Difficult theological concepts are not shied away from and the characteristics of God are reverently described and explained with plenty of application. Interaction is encouraged with suggestions for further reading and activities at the end of the chapters. An introduction for parents explains the aims of the book and gives suggestions for how it could be used.  I think it would be helpful and profitable whether it was used as an individual devotional book or a children's group teaching resource. It is attractively produced with colour pages and illustrations and would make a lovely gift or Sunday School prize. Suitable for around 5-10 years.
You can view the contents or a sample chapter on the publishers website here
God's Names by Sally Michael, published by P & R, priced £12.99
N.B. ESV Scripture texts are used throughout.
Lorna

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Wonderful and Unfinished History

I like this title of a little booklet excellently written by Peter Hallihan and issued by the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS).  You should like the price - just 60p!  In fact they are too cheap to bother ordering alone, so we will give one free with each order during this momentous month of May.  Exactly 400 years ago the Authorised Version (AV) of the Bible was issued, and linguistically as well as spiritually we are in its debt.  How good God has been to English speaking peoples!  But how few acknowledge it now, and indicate it by an insatiable appetite for yet another new translation.  Hallihan remarks 'Is it not ironic that where the Gospel went by word of mouth, the immediate hunger was for the independent stability and endurance of the written word of Scripture, whereas today vast sums are spent trying to make the written word look and sound like a short-lived, ever-shifting spoken form!' (p19).
Now here is a rather murky preview of a book hot off the press of Gospel Standard Trust Publications!  'The King James Bible: Its History and Excellence.'  This paperback is also amazing value for money at £3.50.  We have just received it in this week.  It contains articles by former Strict Baptist chairmen of the TBS on reasons for the usefulness of the AV today, and also has a history of the English Bible by John R Broome.  Interestingly the original 'Translators to the Reader' found in the 1611 version is reproduced.  Only some TBS Bibles have this in them nowadays.  It helpfully outlines the principles of translation, and the reason for a new one, and was written by Myles Smith on behalf of the translators.  Colour as well as black and white photos are included.
An indication of the endurance of the AV was brought home to me today.  I have just packed up Matthew Henry Study Bibles for a destination in Zambia, which will be used by pastors and others.  The request insisted on the AV.  By implication also the language of the puritan Matthew Henry (harder to follow than the AV) is acceptable also!  It just shows that where there's a will there's a way.
Jeremy

Friday, 13 May 2011

Reading Together

Do you ever start a book and struggle to finish it?  I certainly do.  This was my motivation for starting a virtual reading club 'Reading Together' nearly a year ago.  We have just come to the end of our second book which was The All-Sufficient God by Lloyd-Jones.  I wouldn't rate it as my favourite book by Lloyd-Jones but this doesn't mean there was nothing to gain by reading it.  Lloyd-Jones is always structured and straightforward to read and there was much to muse over and discuss with other members of the club.  Perhaps not as much detail to discuss as there was in our first book by Thomas Watson.  But then he was a Puritan... I need say no more!
So hopefully then, the group serves to bring together likeminded Christian ladies (sorry, no men allowed) and encourages them to read books they would normally struggle to get through.  I have definitely found it helpful and am looking forward to getting going on the next book, which is...
Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther.  No, don't groan at the thought of some unwieldy tome... together we can read through this book, enjoy it and profit from discussion about it.  This is my sincere hope and prayer.  Please let me know if you are interested in signing up to the virtual reading club - we would love to have you on board!
Lorna

Friday, 6 May 2011

Christian Warfare

When you meet with a trial, look not to men, but to Jesus.  Pray for patience to bear it, and look up for a blessing upon it.  Then all things shall work together for good (Romans 8:28).  Let every temptation make you more careful, and put you on a closer watching against the enemy.  Cleave to Jesus by faith and prayer, like a child to its parent when it sees an enemy coming towards it.  Behold Him, flee to Him, rest upon Him, and then you will rejoice in Him.
Quoted from 'A Golden Treasury for the Children of God' by Bogatzky published by Gospel Mission.  

Monday, 18 April 2011

Social Networking Media

To Know and To Be Known
Have a read of this article written by the popular American blogger Tim Challies.  I think it a very good analysis of the nature of purely online relationships.  It is easy (and tempting) to go out and seek to impress the many, but it is the opinion and advice of the few who truly know us which really matters.  Otherwise we begin to believe our own virtual image, and idolise ourselves.  'If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself' (Galatians 6:3).  That's a motto I have had written on a yellow sticky next to my desk for many years now.  What perfect biblical wisdom!  The humble walk safest and surest.  Lorna and I are very conscious of these matters as we run blogs relating to the Bookshop, and have now launched out into the deeps of a facebook page:-
www.facebook.com/pages/Ossett-United-Kingdom/Christian-Bookshop-Ossett/208558682504427
Perhaps we make things look and sound too rosy here.  The gritty reality is that it is hard work, for which we are untrained, often mundane, routine and yet unstructured every day, creatively wearing, and busy so much that there is no time to read!  Talk about frustrating!  If it were not that we are persuaded of God's care, we would say that it is a very precarious business to be in.  That's not to say we would rather be elsewhere - there are many compensations - but perhaps it helps close the gap between appearance and fact.
Jeremy

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Candle Discovery Series

The boys and I have recently had some fun making the Tabernacle model from this book in the Candle Discovery Series.  I think it's a great way to really fix in the mind the proportions & details of the Tabernacle and the significance of each area.  This book not only includes the cardboard model (all die-cut, so just glue needed to make it) and lots of info about the Tabernacle, but also a brief history of the Israelites from Abraham to David. Really worth £6.99. Lorna

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Pierced

The 21st century evangelical world has been sent reeling by the emergence of a heresy hitherto perceived to be the province of liberal scholars.  It is no less than the denial of Christ’s real, personal suffering under the wrath of God for the sins of his people upon the cross.  At Easter time particularly the true meaning of the cross needs to be affirmed ie. Substitutionary Atonement.  In the first part of this book the three authors from an evangelical Anglican background set out to make plain how definite the teaching of the Bible is upon this subject.  To lay the foundation some Old and New Testament passages are closely examined.  Then the theological framework is put in place, and the views of some major figures in the history of the church consulted.  The second part consists of ‘Answering the Critics’, thus making the book very helpful, though unashamedly controversial in the best sense.  A must have for pastors, elders and the concerned person in the pew.
'Pierced For Our Transgressions' by Jeffrey, Ovey & Sach. Published by IVP.
RRP £17.99, but we have 2 on offer at £12.99.
Jeremy

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Mother's Day

Only a week until Mother's Day (3rd April). Don't forget to pick up a card, and this year instead of flowers and chocolates, how about getting her a book? Just ring if you need some help choosing! Lorna

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

New Focus Conference 2011

It is a real pleasure to take good books where they are really appreciated.  This has always been the case at the New Focus Conference.  After doing a local bookstall at the Pennine Bible Witness last Friday evening, we went down to Gornal, near Dudley, West Midlands, for the day on Saturday. It was a tough schedule, but the Lord blessed us.  The driving conditions were ideal, the children were commendable, the books were mopped up by avid readers, and there was some good fellowship, ministry, and conversations.  Not to mention the excellent hospitality!  Where else in this country could you take books and easily sell edifying old authors like Robert Hawker and William Gadsby?  If you can tell me, I'd love to know!  Given half a chance, we would move heaven and earth to go, and count it a real privilege to do so.
Jeremy

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Romance of Protestantism

This is a book that gripped me more as I went on, rather unexpectedly. Protestantism and romance are words which some would see as mutually exclusive. But as Deborah Alcock wrote this book a hundred years ago the word 'romance' conjured up different ideas then than now. It is to be understood in the sense of drama, thrilling heroism and true nobility. So the chapters of the book (which were originally given as 'talks') take in a broad sweep of church history in order to highlight these themes. This is done in a very informative way, and although somewhat coloured by the attitude of her era, it is also tantalising enough to make one want to know more about the people, events and circumstances. Fortunately this can be done by taking up her other books which, although strictly speaking are fiction, are more focused historically, eg. 'Crushed yet Conquering' (John Huss and Bohemia), 'Dr Adrian' (William of Orange and the Dutch Republic) etc. What I found of especial interest was what she handles here along the lines of, What is Protestantism anyway? The history of the name itself, and its meaning is excellently dealt with. It is always to be remembered as a testimony for the truth of the Bible, and not so much a protest against Roman Catholicism and/or Government policy. (ie. religious or civil powers). And so the ages furnish many examples of those who were willing to sacrifice all for this principle. It is very challenging, and makes the words of Romans 8:35-39 come searchingly alive.
The edition we sell is from the Canadian publisher Inheritance Publications and costs £8.00.
Jeremy

Friday, 11 March 2011

World Book Day Vouchers

Though World Book Day was actually back on March 3rd, the good news is that you can redeem book vouchers all month. Most children will have got one by now, and they are worth £1 off any book. Strictly it is only applicable to books costing over £2.99, but we are generous here...we'll bring that down to £1.99. So you can get a good read for as low as 99p! What do we have at that price? Well, just for example, The Essential Bible Reference series from Candle is a great option for getting background helps to bible study, in a colourful and readable way. Matt went for one of these, so they are suitable for around 6 years plus, and I am not ashamed to dip in and learn either! Ignore the 11+ years tag on our website catalogue - that's dreamt up by Lorna! Just type in 'Bible Guide', for instance, in the Quicksearch box on our home page and Tim Dowley's book will come up. Click to get all the details and a picture of it, and then if you click on the 'Series' box a full list of all the others will appear. Bob's your Uncle. Go for it - http://www.christianbookshopossett.co.uk/ .
Jeremy

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Christian Unity

It is now exactly 30 years since the death of Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He was a champion of expository preaching, but not dry, like so many that have tried to emulate him since. I think his Ephesians series is one of his best. It was preached on Sunday mornings between 1954 - 1962, and is available in an 8 volume set. Lorna and I found Vol 6, 'Life in the Spirit in marriage, home and work' of great profit in the run up to getting married (on that amazing day in August 2000!)
Vol 4, 'Christian Unity' is very applicable to today's christian world. It covers Ephesians 4:1-16 - the start of the more 'practical' second half of the epistle. However Lloyd-Jones shows that the vital doctrines defined earlier underpin the issues handled in this part of the epistle. One subject, of intense interest to churches and their members, is that of unity. The tragedy of the church by and large today is that it has placed unity above truth. Thus the ecumenical movement prevails, while at the same time it fails when examined by biblical testing. Lloyd-Jones correctly analysed the situation 50 years ago and it is only different today by being worse. I find these sermons are not too long, and engage without being taxing. They are bound in a good quality hardback by Banner of Truth, but with a forgettable dustjacket - hence no cover picture shown here! The price is £16, but if you get hold of us quick enough we have a copy of Vol 4 with a slightly faded spine on sale at half price.
Jeremy

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Only a Handful?

Another encouraging editoral in the New Focus Magazine...
"These few comments are for you who worship with only a handful of believers or are forced, by reason of conscience or convenience, to worship alone in your own home.
It has long been an encouragement to the saints that where two or three are gathered in God’s name, the Lord Jesus has promised to be there in their midst. Remember those who gathered on the hillsides of Scotland during the covenanting years, or met in forests of the Soviet Union for fear of the authorities. They did not meet without the presence of their Saviour.
Even where one worships alone the pledge of the Lord is, ‘Lo, I am with you always’ Matthew 28:20. Those who are housebound, or hospitalised, or even the prisoner in his cell, may be sure that invoking the name of the Lord in worship is not a vain exercise. His spiritual presence is with us to assist us in our worship, to comfort us when discouraged, to supply us with His grace, and to protect and preserve us from evil; which is a great reassurance.
Yet, there is more, if more be needed. Not only has the Lord promised to be with His people, but He does not come alone. When believers go to worship they enter spiritually ‘into the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem’. There they join ‘an innumerable company of angels’. More, they are accompanied by ‘the general assembly and church of the firstborn’ which are ‘the spirits of just men made perfect’ (Hebrews 12:22-23).
When God’s people worship they immediately join a heavenly choir more numerous and melodious than any mega-church choral society. When they pray, eyes closed and concentrating on Christ, the empty seats next to them fill with fellow-worshippers of the Most High God. When the gospel is preached enthusiastically, warmly, and sincerely, the hearers are not the few familiar individuals dotted around the room. They are the massed church of the Firstborn, the general assembly of the Lord’s redeemed.
I always smile when our little congregation of a dozen souls sings Charles Wesley’s rousing hymn, ‘O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise.’ It may be that in this life you and I never actually get the opportunity to stand in a congregation of a thousand and sing our great Redeemer’s praise. But in a finer way, each time we pray or sing the praise of our Saviour we join a throng so numerous, a crowd of witnesses so joyful and glorious that our frail human minds cannot comprehend it.
If you find yourself alone next Lord’s Day morning, or if your congregation amounts to but a few faithful souls, do not be discouraged. Spread throughout the land are faithful friends just like you, meeting in small congregations or at home alone, whose fellowship in the gospel is yours.
As you sing, lift up your voice and remember the heavenly choirs with whom you make melody. As you close your eyes and pray, reflect that your thoughts are merging with those of a countless throng in the worship of King Jesus. As you listen to the gospel, remember you are only the most recent generation in a long line of saints for whom Christ preached is light, love and life."
See www.go-newfocus.co.uk for more like this.
Lorna

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Going snowboarding?

Not just the cover, but also the contents of this book - another reprint of Paul White the Jungle Doctor - are in a very different style from the Jungle Doctor or Fables series.  Written for older youth this book has nothing to do with snowboarding but is essentially a practical guide for Christian living.  Paul White speaks of his own conversion and uses anecdotes from his own life and missionary days to illustrate his points.  Solidly sensible advice is given on a huge variety of topics such as regular Bible reading & prayer, money, guidance, careers, marriage, the occult and much more.
I have to admit, after the first few chapters I was decidedly negative about the book.  For one, he quotes a lot of Scripture - not a problem for me except that he insists on using the Phillips translation which is essentially a paraphrased version of the Bible and not to my taste.  Secondly, there was a distinctly Free Will element to some of his writings which jarred with my Free Grace views. Gradually though, his down to earth style won me over and I do think that with careful and discerning reading, this immensely practical book could be really helpful.  The publishers say that it is suitable for 12+yrs.  I think I would be more cautious and say 16+yrs.
Lorna
Get Moving by Paul White, published by Christian Focus Publications, £4.99

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Time Travel

Lorna is just back from the Elizabethan age. It has inspired her dress sense. Just look what you poor unfortunates miss by not seeing her at the counter! I only hope her management attitude hasn't been influenced as well or else I might be the victim of a Tudor temper... I don't want to prejudice my case any further, but it rather reminds me of the cover picture of Lady Jane Grey on 'Coronation of Glory.' A lot of English people immediately think Faith Cook in connection with her, but Elisabeth Elliot (no less) raved about this book by Deborah Meroff. 'Miss Meroff…has fictionalized the story of Lady Jane Grey in a thoroughly absorbing manner…she has succeeded in making me believe this is what really happened. I kept wanting to read on – the book is full of action and interest.'
Soberly published by Inheritance Publications, £8.50. Try doing some time travel for yourself!
Jeremy

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Child Labour?

It might be February but the end of year stocktake is only just finishing - a real joint effort was made today and finally all the bookmarks, cards, posters and little odds & ends were all counted up.  Having said that, when you have a four year old involved you can't really guarantee that it has been done accurately!
Lorna


Thursday, 27 January 2011

Some new books

We seem to be innundated with new titles at the moment!  Here's a few new children's books that have arrived from the Banner of Truth...
 'Wait till you see the Butterfly' is a book of short stories for boys and girls.  The stories are divided into 3 different age levels but range from 4-12yrs.  I have randomly picked out some from each age category to read and found them very well written and each with a Gospel application. All scripture references are from the Authorised Version.

'Heroes of the Faith' is a new series written by Sinclair Ferguson. The series starts with Ignatius, Polycarp and Irenaeus.  Published as quality hardbacks and with lovely illustrations, these would make good gift books.
Lorna

Thursday, 20 January 2011

White Monday

January 17th was Black Monday.  So we decided to paint this week white!  The whole of our office and storeroom is being covered in brilliant white - the first time for many years. The grubby walls have been crying out for a coat of paint, and we have echoed them.  I took a photo today of the state of the office as we moved furniture to make space for our extremely hardworking and highly to be recommended decorator.  Some might say that it doesn't look a lot different than normal...but don't believe them - Lorna's not at her desk!  We can't promise business as usual, but we are still taking orders and dealing with them as best we can.  Please bear with us.  All being well Friday should herald a return to normal service.  I hope so because I'm stuck up in the packing room with a laptop!
Anyway out with the old and in with the New Year.  Any suggestions for the artwork we could put on the walls of our new gallery??
Jeremy