Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Christian Behaviour by John Bunyan

Those that know me will know that I have a certain fascination with books on 'Child Training' - I am always tempted to buy them in, then they sit on my bedside table for months while I decide if they really are any good and if they are worth stocking. Having now read 'Christian Behaviour' by John Bunyan I realise that really all these books could be boiled down to a few pages - and John Bunyan does this perfectly. This small paperback (76pp) starts by expounding Titus 3:7,8
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
and, as you read further you realise how important this introductory section is. The 'ground rules' are laid down: Faith is all important. Bunyan then moves on to the specifics - the master of the family, parents, correction of children, masters to servants, duties of wives, duties of children to parents, servants to masters and neighbours to each other. He writes in typical puritan style with lots of subheadings and sub-subheadings but he is easy to follow and very practical in his applications. For only £2.95 (maybe the low price explains the poor cover design?), I really would recommend this as a useful addition to any bedside table!

Monday, 28 January 2008

Overtime Reflections

Slogging doesn't make for blogging! Hence the lack of them during our Special Sale week last week. I know I've used a negative word, but it rhymes better than the others, and certainly we had a full programme. Our generous sell-off was noticed! I felt the evening opening times were a fair success. Two local pastors in particular did a bit of arm twisting, and so got a few to turn out. Monday's weather was so bad that this was amazing in itself. I don't think we could sustain 7pm - 10pm every week: it isn't easy on the family, and I do far too much washing up of customers' coffee cups! However more creative thought needs to be given to the issue of being open for people at the time when they want to shop...

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Honey out of the Rock

This is the free booklet we are giving away with each purchase during our Sale Week. From the 'Apples of Gold' series of Puritan reprints, it is worth buying anything else just to get it! Willcox was a Particular Baptist pastor among those incredibly brave men and women who dared to be nonconformists in the England of the 1660's. He was buried in Bunhill Fields (the dissenter's burial ground in London) alongside more famous names like Bunyan and Gill, but his short tract based on Psalm 81 v 16 is not worthy of any such treatment. It was recommended by William Romaine in his day. Even today, with very light editing, this tract is very readable. Willcox is direct and pithy. He gets at the essence of true religion - a personal experience of God-given faith in Christ, and its results. This is really searching stuff. I know of a local pastor who reads this booklet every year in self examination. It was blessed to his soul many years ago and he recommends it to everyone. The tract has been translated into foreign languages over the years. At the back of the booklet there is a short but remarkable account of how it was used by God to bring about a revival in Finland in the 18th century. We still want it to be freely circulated - may it be greatly blessed yet.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Sale Week Jan 21st - 26th

We spent the afternoon today re-arranging the shop for our sale week next week, all I have to do now is some baking - more than one of our customers has said they intend to come along to our late nights (7pm-10pm Monday & Thursday) for the cakes -hum, better not burn the buns or they may never come back! For those who are not yet in the know, these are the deals...
20% off all the books in the shop
Lots of selected books at massive discounts - up to 75%
A free booklet with every purchase (I'll get Jeremy to tell you more about that in a later post)

For those of you who are not local, don't worry, the only thing you will miss out on is the cakes (they don't travel well in jiffy bags). Just browse the site remembering that everything will cost you 20% less than normal and then check our special sale page for all the higher discounts on selected books. There really are some bargains not to be missed.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

An Anthology

Wow, the version of Winter virus that hit me really knocked me for six. I'm just about getting back to my feet and hoping to be running at full speed again in time for our Special Sale Week next week. Whilst lying lethargically around I picked up a copy of Grace Magazine and my eye was caught by a review of 'The Dawn of Heaven Breaks' (edited by Sharon James). The review was very positive and made me want a better look at the book (trouble is that sometimes we overflow with new books coming in and some get no more than a cursory glance before they go on the shelf). Subtitled 'Anticipating Eternity' the book is an anthology put together for the elderly. I have to admit that anthologies aren't really my 'thing', but I found myself getting quite stuck in to this one. Hymns, writings and quotations, some practical, some spiritual are grouped together in themes such as 'times of illness and pain', 'aging', and 'facing death'. One of the pieces was written by a pastor about his experience of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's and how this affected him as his condition worsened. Very poignant but also incredibly informative for us all - particularly those that work closely with the elderly. The book also ends with some helpful notes which give further details about some of the extracts for those that want to read more.
The Dawn of Heaven Breaks - Sharon James (ed) - £7.95

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Thanksgiving Service

We have much to be thankful to the Lord for. The bookshop reaching 25 years old is a milestone indeed, but there is another cause which has no less claim on our attention. I refer to the provision of the new chapel next door. On Saturday at 3pm the Shop will close whilst we join the Thanksgiving Service which has been arranged in the Ebenezer Particular Baptist Chapel, although it is due to open again afterwards to satisfy public demand! The chapel stands as a testimony to what can be achieved when we walk by faith and not by sight and people have a will to give sacrificially to the Lord. No fund raising has been employed over the last 4 years since the decision was made to go ahead. But Saturday's service is intended to glorify God, not Man, nor indeed the distinctly 'non-churchy' building, for He has brought all things to pass. Everyone who has a heart to echo Psalm 126 v 2 'the LORD hath done great things for them,' is welcome to meet with us then, and indeed at usual Sunday services at 11am and 6pm, if free to do so.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Struggling Start to Silver

We've been decimated by germs since New Year. Not the friendliest welcome to 2008, but one that serves to remind us of how fragile we and the bookshop work are. I reckon bugs and nasties must just love all those family gatherings at Christmas and New Year, like crocodiles watching with amazement as the wildebeest decide to join each other in a relaxing bathe in their waterhole!
Still, the orders have been dealt with so far, and emails answered, often from home. There's no let up either on preparations for this month's amazing Sale week (January 21st - 26th). Posters should go out this week about it. If you are around and free on Monday or Thursday evening we'll be staying open until 10pm to allow you to get at heavily discounted books. The basic is 20% on stock (plus the tea and cakes which were so sought after at our last evening event). I just hope we're back to full fitness by then.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
Today was a day for celebration and thanksgiving. It is the very day that the shop was first opened 25 years ago! Jeremy's Dad who started the work all those years ago hosted a small reception for the staff and supporters. The shop has been through many ups and downs but the focus of the work remains unchanged.

Here they are... the oldest (founding) member and the youngest member of the staff/support team.
p.s. We are planning a series of events and special promotions to mark our anniversary year - check the events diary on our site, or just keep an eye on this blog for details.