Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Taking a break...

Sorry, the shop is shut for the remainder of this week. We plan to re-open after the New Year Bank Holiday on Tuesday 4th Jan. A great big thanks to all our friends and customers for their support this past year, we look forward to continuing to serve you.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns

Subtitled 'How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal.'  A lover of music will enjoy the level at which this book is pitched.  Anyone concerned really to approach worship biblically will benefit from it.  The author asks a question of those who want to be 'relevant.'  Have they produced something which is better than what has been acceptable in the church up until recently?  This enquiry is pursued relentlessly.  I think he is more successful in his arguments from scriptural principles than when going down the line of musical analysis.  Although I found that fascinating and informative, it is also probably not going to convince the sceptical.  Nevertheless it is a fact that not only popular music but multimedia has invaded worship in many churches.  It may make it easier for first-timers to attend, but is that not because the 'offence of the gospel' has already been suppressed in such places?  The world has already converted the church - the tail wags the dog.  Thus Mr Average can't sing hymns because they are unfamiliar and he is uncomfortable with them.  He expects any part of the worship service to be laced liberally with entertainment.  That is how teaching is carried out in other subjects, so why not when it comes to God?
Gordon is sound on the fundamentals with this book, and I recommend it to anyone forced onto the back foot on worship issues. 
'Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns' by T. David Gordon is published by P&R and costs £7.99.
PS. The timing of this review doesn't relate to just happens to be when I finally completed the book. Apologies to anyone wanting a suggestion for a present. I'm sure Lorna can supply that.

Friday, 17 December 2010

December Offer

For customers wanting last minute gifts our Hymnmakers CD offer has proved to be a winner - so much so that we have now run out of stocks.  Sorry folks, to those who have missed out.

Friday, 10 December 2010

More Jungle Doctor?

I must admit to being a bit sceptical when the sales rep produced a new Jungle Doctor series from his folder a few months ago.  With 19 books in the Jungle Doctor series, I felt that really we were Jungle Doctor-ed out. However, we were persuaded to order a set and they duely arrived a few weeks ago.  I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. This new series is the Jungle Doctor's fables (as opposed to the first Jungle Doctor series which is about the Jungle Doctor's experiences while a missionary in Africa).  It is a series of short stories using animals as the characters and each with an underlying gospel message.  As such they are aimed at a younger audience than the first series. I am often unsure about whether children really understand allegories, or whether they just accept the story as it stands and miss the point behind it. Having a houseful of willing 'guinea-pigs' I took home one of the books and tried it out.  Our children love them!  The animal stories have obviously grabbed their imaginations and they always ask for Jungle Doctor at bedtime.  What I am most pleased about is they also 'get them'.  Without any prompting our five year old this evening said, 'so the elephant is really like God isn't he?', our seven year old piped up 'of course he is, he is The Way, and Crunch the Crocodile is like Satan'.  This lead on to much further discussion about the dangers of the deep dark pool and the safety of the Great Rock that some of the animals use for shelter. Each story helpfully ends with some Scripture references and pointers for bringing out the deeper meaning to the story.
So, next time I see the rep, I will thank him for being so persuasive and I will order more of this series!
To see all the titles in the Fables series click here

Saturday, 27 November 2010

104 books per year?

I just saw an interview with Mariella Frostrup (broadcaster & journalist) and am amazed that she reads 104 books per year. Okay, so it's her job, but still pretty impressive.  Perhaps I should aim for the same... at 2 books a week, it will only take me 38 years to get through our current stock list of nearly 4000 books. Of course, that's assuming that we don't add any new books to the list in that time.  If however we add around 300 new titles a year as we have this year, even assuming an average of 50 titles a year going out of print, it looks like I will never meet my target of reading all the books in the shop.  
So, I apologise now if when you contact us I am unable to fully advise on every title in the shop.  Sometimes I just have to admit... I haven't actually read them all. 

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Late night shopping

It's that time of year again... time for our annual 'ladies evening' at the bookshop.  Except that this year I have given up advertising it as a ladies evening because every year at least one chap manages to slip in.  The focus as usual is on the delicious homemade... oh no sorry, the focus is on our 3 for 2 offer on all children's books.  The extra benefits of late night shopping at our shop is the relaxed atmosphere for browsing, the friendly fellowship and advice, the free cuppa and of course the delicious homemade cake.  For anyone local to the shop, it is an experience not to be missed.  And the offer of getting 3 children's books for the price of 2 is certainly not one to be passed over at this time of year.  If any of our mail order customers are feeling aggrieved at not being able to come, don't worry, if you ring us during our late evening opening and make an order, we will be happy to give you the offer too.  Monday 22nd November, anytime from 7pm... put it in your diary, on your calendar, on your fridge, or even on your hand, just be sure not to forget it.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

What Think Ye of Christ?

The latest editorial in the New Focus magazine caught my eye and is worth replicating in full...
We have Anglicans and Adventists, Brethren and Baptists, Catholics and Charismatics, Presbyterians and Pentecostals, Methodists and Mennonites, Church of this and Church of that, and never, perhaps since the first century, has so little been known of Jesus Christ. What can account for such widespread ignorance, even amongst professing Christians? Simply this, despite all of the outward trappings of Christianity and all our religious activity, rarely is Jesus Christ truly preached.
There is a type of Christianity for every kind of person and every occasion. Take your pick. We can do light and fluffy or formal and strict, we can do sacramental or ceremonial or entertaining – dazzle with lights or deafen with music. We can do ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty ... We can preach morality like Pharisees or theology like academics. Yet, seldom is Jesus Christ actually preached.
We do rite of passage services for baby to bereavement, calendar commemorations for Christmas carollers and Easter morning early-risers. We specialise in children’s work or youth group, or old folks’ work or ladies’ group or missionary weekends, and societies of every kind. But, hardly ever do we minister the simple truth of Christ.
Then there are church programmes. We do social work and community service, home visitation and hospital runs, Saturday morning football and outings for the elderly. We do special teas and lucky dips, coffee mornings and prayer breakfasts, evangelistic suppers, Alpha courses, cookery courses, golf courses. All too infrequently, we preach Jesus Christ.
We seek God’s help for revival and commit to pray all night. We hire top communicators and sponsor topical debates. We discuss creationism, political involvement, Islam, falling membership and church pensions policy. We have fabric committees, evangelism committees, deacons’ meetings, elders’ meetings, joint elders’/deacons’ meetings. Yet, for all of our activity we rarely preach Christ.
“What think ye of Christ?” asked the Master. Who? “Christ!” “Whose son is He?” The Pharisees of the Lord’s day had no answer. The public thought He was Moses, or Elias, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Only Peter, to whom it was supernaturally revealed had the right answer. He was the man Jesus, of Nazareth, evidently, the Son of David by descent. But He was also the Son of God, Christ, the Messiah. What do you think about His person? What of His works? What of His words? What of His death and resurrection?
We long for numbers, growth and revival. Fine. So be it. But let us remember that the means of church growth, the means of revival, the one and only way given to the church by which the elect of God will be gathered in, is the preaching of Jesus Christ. Peace with God, reconciliation with God, fellowship with God can only be had through Jesus Christ. Sinners will only ever think properly upon Him when Jesus Christ is faithfully preached in their hearing. You can have preaching without Christ but you will never have Christ without preaching.
For more excellent editorials and articles go to New Focus or better still subscribe to receive the bi-monthly magazine.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

God's Mighty Acts...

It's not often you read a children's book which makes you sit and think, seriously and profitably.  The author of these two books, Starr Meade has a way of writing that makes you do just that. These books are written for the 8-12yr bracket, but they do not shy away from weighty doctrinal issues.  Yet at the same time these issues are written about in a way that this age group can understand.  There's quite a skill in doing this and I think Starr Meade hits the nail on the head. 
The books are written with short chapters (no more than 2 pages) which can be used as daily devotionals and some points for further thought and discussion are given at the end of each chapter.  
God's Mighty Acts in Creation guides the reader through each day of creation with the main aim of showing how God is revealed through the things he has made.  For example, 10 chapters are spent on Day 1 (Light and Water) covering some great gospel truths such as Jesus the light of the world, the Holy Spirit shining light into a sinner's heart, Christ the cleansing fountain of water, and Christ the living water. I have started reading this one with my 7yr old and have found the illustrations used really grabbed him e.g. science experiments, camping trips, and the doctrinal applications have been clear without trying to be too simplistic.
God's Mighty Acts in Salvation looks in detail at the book of Galatians and aims to highlight the main teaching about God's saving work.  Again, the difficult doctrinal issues are not avoided and hard words such as justification or righteousness are not watered down but instead used and explained.
Both are books I would recommend.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

One Good Reason For Not Blogging...

...This is the best reason I can think of. A very special delivery, outside of normal Shop hours. Katie Jayne Roe arrived on Sunday 24th at 11.43pm, thankfully not on the premises, but in our temporary location at Dewsbury District Hospital. She was a 9lb parcel. Lorna has now taken on extra duties, but is still being retained in a consulting role - so be reassured ladies! She is able to give her usual helpful advice even though with senses reeling from the idea of a girl in the house. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and thought about us at this time of great change. It is one way of increasing footfall in a time of recession! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

We Just Had to Laugh...

...A lady customer comes into the shop, looks at some Bibles, and then notices Lorna's bump. "You're not going to be with us much longer are you!" she exclaims. We laugh - what else is there to do? I said to Lorna afterwards "I didn't think you looked that old and sick!"
But everyone seems to feel free to comment on the size of a pregnant woman, as Lorna has found out on many occasions. Total strangers do it!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Sorry, Christmas has come!

It's a long two weeks since I last posted.  Christmas has arrived at the Christian Bookshop, the cards and calendars are all in stock and displayed in the shop, and we have been inundated with new titles all vying for the coveted position of being No. 1 Christmas gift.  We haven't yet got all these books processed and reviewed, but keep an eye on our just in page for new titles being added regularly.  Notably, the new Faith Cook novel has arrived... I have had a quick read of it and found it a nice relaxing read and historically informative. There are also some great new titles from Christian Focus for children... the Jungle Doctor series has been added to, also the Risktakers, and the Little Hands.  All worth a look.  Don't forget, if you can't find the information you want on our site, just call (or email) and we will be happy to discuss and advise.
Have a look at the Christmas stock too (pdf), there are some lovely cards being sold in aid of Savannah Education Trust and of course a good selection of calendars, not forgetting the popular AV Block Calendar.


Thursday, 30 September 2010

Too Low Key?

The most observant amongst you may have noticed a major but low key change to our website over the past week... we have finally gone 'e-commerce'.  You can now order online using a 'shopping basket' and if you wish you can also pay online using a secure payment method. Our main reason for taking this step was (believe it or not!)... you!  We believe that customers find it easier to 'add to basket' when on the website rather than to type up an email order. Plus orders can be paid for by card at any time of day or night rather than having to wait until shop opening hours to give us card details.
What we also need to emphasize is that we have not suddenly become a big impersonal organisation. We are not your typical e-commerce driven site - we will not start demanding payment upfront.  You can make your order via the site and we will contact you before despatch to confirm availability and prices.  Your order will then be despatched with an invoice in the usual way.  On receipt of the order you can choose to pay however and whenever you like... by cheque, by phoning us with card details (we always love to speak to you!), or, if you happen to be a night owl you can click the 'make a payment' link on the site (on the bottom left of every page) and enter your card details to pay securely online.
We are hoping that this will make life easier for you... customer satisfaction is, as always, our top priority!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Reading Initiative Award

I don't want to embarrass him, but I think that David Farrow deserves recognition in the field of christian literacy. He is so keen to encourage good reading. The pastor of Hethersett Reformed Baptist Church in Norfolk, he naturally has a concern for the spiritual education and nurturing of his flock in that remote spot. But beyond this he is striving with might and main to encourage the reading of sound books through his websites (yes, plural) as well as his blog. He has exchanged ideas with us and the result is the start up of a 'Book of the Month' feature on his church website. This is not intended so much to highlight new titles as to bring profitable ones to the forefront. We wish him well, and that many will benefit from reading his short monthly reviews. As you will see from checking out the links below he is proud to be a Norfolkman through and through, although secondary to his heavenly citizenship by grace. That is the subject of his first book 'The Christian's High Calling' by Maurice Roberts (Free Church Continuing, former editor of the Banner of Truth magazine).

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Crushed yet Conquering

Crushed yet Conquering is a historical novel based on John Huss and the Hussite Wars. Although placed in our 11+ section I would hesitate to recommend this book to someone of such a young age.  It is a typical Deborah Alcock story, accurately historical, spiritually sound and a gripping read.  My reservations are only because the first part of the story dwells on John Huss and his theology in some detail using his writings at length to describe his defence before the 'Holy' Council and his eventual martyrdom at the stake.  This section takes some ploughing through at times, but is helped by the fictional story woven around it and becomes an easier read as the Hussite wars following the death of Huss are described.  I certainly learnt a lot about the history of this time and the theology of the Church as it was developing in the period leading up to the Reformation.
Crushed yet Conquering by Deborah Alcock, published by Inheritance Publications, £12.50

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Christmas Evans

No, I'm not getting ahead of myself - this is not about Christmas. Just about a man who was named after the day he was born on! He lived from 1766-1838 and became a Baptist minister in Wales. Have you heard of him? Read this commendation by Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones no less: 'The great Christmas Evans, whom some would say was the greatest preacher that the Baptists have ever had in Great Britain'. This is quoted from the short biography written by B A Ramsbottom, published by The Bunyan Press at £2.95. I took this little book on holiday as we stayed on the Lleyn peninsula, scene of some of Evans' labours. It is hard to imagine now the powerful revival that came to that rugged and beautiful place through his ministry. There were 5 chapels on the peninsula built for him, but he used to preach in every village he visited, and 5 times on a Sunday! He also found time to translate John Gill's Commentary into Welsh, which shows the nature of his theology I think.
Following the careful directions given in the book we managed to locate the ruins of one of the chapels, before continuing on up to the top of Rhiw Mountain (not a true mountain at all!) where fine views over land and sea may be enjoyed. The cause of the ruination of the chapels was not time, but the fatal infection of false doctrine. Sandemanianism (bare belief in the facts of the Bible and Christ's redeeming work is sufficient for salvation) wreaked havoc where great blessing had been known. The Baptist cause suffered greatly and Christmas Evans was turned out of his beloved Anglesey, to their loss. Many good men and women found a new home amongst the Calvinistic Methodists. History has lessons for us...
Tim Shenton has written a book about Christmas Evans. It is a larger hardback published by Evangelical Press, but sadly out of stock from them at the moment. Last price was £11.99. Day One have also published a paperback by him at £8 (contains historical photos). We have this one in stock.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Just the Two of Us?

There were groans around me as I unpacked this book from the publisher... 'oh no, it's another issues book' my colleagues were thinking!  But I felt able to fully justify my choice - we have only one other book directly on this subject in the shop, I often get them in but don't often feel they are good enough to take up shelf space.  This is one I will be putting on full view in the shop.  'Just the Two of Us?' is subtitled 'help and strength in the struggle to conceive' and is a really useful book for anyone to read, whether directly facing these issues or not.  Firstly, it is British - not only does this help when discussing the medical options available, but it also defines the style of writing (and I won't specify why for fear of causing offence to our friends across the water).  Secondly, it includes men, who let's face it are one half of every couple facing infertility issues.  Thirdly, it continually directs the reader to Scripture and reminds us of where our priorities lie in our Christian walk even when faced with such emotional and life changing (as planned by us) circumstances.  Written by two women who have walked this pathway with differing outcomes, it covers a wide range of issues including secondary infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth.  I found it sensitively written and usefully interspersed with a lot of anecdotal testimonies.  It is a good reminder to us all of how we can be sensitive and supportive to those suffering these particular trials in our Church families.
'Just the Two of Us?' by Eleanor Margesson & Sue McGowan is published by IVP, £7.99.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Even Heroes Need Holidays!

Yes, I can confirm that this is true - and it includes their families too! We are heading for Christmas Evans country tomorrow for a week, hoping that the weather will not live up to his name. The bags are bulging with books to read: a hopelessly optimistic number. But watch this space for further reviews. The news for now though is that the shop will continue to operate usual opening hours even though Lorna and I are away, and orders will be attended to as soon as possible on our return.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

What a Hero!

Isn't it great when customers think you are heroes?  I can't take any credit for this one... Jeremy managed to source an out of print Bible for a customer and they were so pleased he got some chocolates for his efforts!  I always knew he was a hero!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Activity Morning

Back in the Easter school holidays we trialled running a children's activity day at the shop.  The idea was to encourage more footfall from the local community so that they a) realise there is a Christian Bookshop in town, b) realise it is not staffed by aliens, c) enjoy spending time here, d) become enthusiastic about reading, e)... (I won't bore you with any more!).  It was a success! That first activity day saw 19 children with their Mums in the shop enjoying crafts, colouring, book quizzes & storytelling.  Okay, so it didn't really generate sales, but that is not always the sole aim behind our ventures. 
We were encouraged to give it another go during the June half term holidays, which turned out to be such a gorgeous day that the morning ended with a game of football in the carpark (supervised by the Dads). 
Yesterday we had the first of our Summer holiday sessions.  Thankfully we knew in advance that we could have an abundance of folk and therefore moved to Plan B which was to set up the activities & a selection of books in the Chapel building next door (our shop floor is pretty small).  No less than 31 children turned up and this time we actually sold a few books too (bonus!). Much to Jeremy's dismay the homemade cakes were also demolished and there were scant leftovers to take home.
For anyone who missed out on the fun yesterday, we are planning a second session at the end of the holidays.  Friday 3rd September is the date to mark on the calendar, drop in anytime between 10am and noon.  See you there...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Gospel Invitations

I have recently read a little booklet by Daniel Whitaker (1800's) on the subject of the Nature and Design of Gospel Invitations.  It is well worth reading and clearly distinguishes between the errors that are so widely preached in many churches and the truly biblical Gospel Invitation.  The following quote is taken from his concluding comments...
"When men attempt to set forth the invitations of the gospel, of a spiritual nature, in an indefinite, unlimited manner; there is such an uncertainty in the sound, that the poor, needy and disconsolate sinner, for whose sake they are designed; knows not what is piped, or what is harped.  Therefore, while such men attempt to encourage all, they in reality encourage none; but only discourage the real character, for whom they are intended; namely, the hungry, and the thirsty, the labouring, and the heavy-laden.
But when they are set forth, as they really are in the gospel, in a definite way, the character being described, the blessings pointed out, and their freeness shown; then the mind and will of the Lord is clearly manifested; as in the following invitation: 'Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden: and I will give you rest' (Matt 11:28).  Here the love of Christ is set forth to the persons invited; and his readiness to receive and entertain them, and bestow his blessings needed by and promised to them; for he means them to come and enjoy the blessing; it being his delight to give it to them."
I would love to quote more, he seems to hit the nail on the head so many times!
The booklet is published by Huntingtonian Press, a small publisher specialising in experimental high calvinist literature click here for their full list of publications.
The Nature and Design of Gospel Invitations by Daniel Whitaker, published by Huntingtonian Press, £2.20

Thursday, 15 July 2010

William Gadsby

William Gadsby is still alive and well today. Reports of his death have been much exaggerated (apologies to Mark Twain). His hymns, full of gospel doctrine, are used today in hymnbooks outside of his own selection. Gospel Mission Books also maintain his 'Select Works' in print. Cost £6.95. This is a reprint of Volume 2 of his full Works, not easy to get hold of secondhand, and includes miscellaneous material. There are some trenchant pieces, eg. 'An Everlasting Task for Arminians,' and 'The Nature and Design of the Marriage Union.' Very gracious sermons, eg. 'The Glory of God's Grace,' and 'The Publican's Prayer.' But also there is 'A Few Thoughts on Sunday Schools,' which although 170 years old, is still relevant. His references to general education are now (thankfully) obsolete, in the UK anyway. But he is good on the basic purpose of them and the principles by which the teachers should be led. In connection with this he produced his Catechism, intended for children, but which is also helpful for adults. Indeed today many might think it too hard to use! However it gives real doctrinal backbone, particularly to the gospel through which we are to be saved, and by which we are to live. We have found it useful for teaching our own children. It can be had separately as a booklet for as little as 75p, or £1.50 if you prefer a much smarter Gospel Standard publication.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Helpful Truth in Past Places

There has been a resurgence of interest in the Puritan writings in recent years.  Banner of Truth were at the forefront of reprinting Puritan writings when they began back in the 1950's, but it seems that even in the last 5 years or so there has been an even greater flood of publications that are edited versions of the Puritans.  One such book that I have recently been reading is called Helpful Truth in Past Places.  It is subtitled 'the Puritan Practice of Biblical Counseling' and whatever your bias for or against Biblical Counselling (a controversial issue in some quarters!) you cannot deny that many of the Puritan writers have much practical advice that is solidly biblical and whose principles can certainly be applied to contemporary issues.  The aim of Mark Deckard the author of this book is to take the reader through some of these Puritan writings, to draw out some of the principles and to make the applications relevant. 
'Why is this happening to me?' is answered through John Flavel's The Mystery of Providence, the anxious and dissatisfied Christian is encouraged through The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs and those who have lost all joy are comforted with A Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge.  Writings by Thomas Brooks, Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan and John Owen are also examined.  I haven't finished the book yet, but so far I have found it useful for an overview of some of these older writings and thought provoking in its applications.
Helpful Truth in Past Places by Mark Deckard, Christian Focus Publications, £11.99

Monday, 28 June 2010

Anne Bradstreet

This is the most recent book I have read, and one which we are promoting on an offer price of just £6.00 (RRP £7.99) until the end of this week! (03/07/10)
You can just sense the empathy Faith Cook has with the subject of this her latest biography, Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672). Anne was a woman of literary talent, along with a sense of family and public duty. There are questions as to the boundaries of a Christian woman’s role even today, but this is nothing compared to the received opinion in the 1600s. A Bunyan might be allowed to write a classic, but not a Bradstreet. They were both persecuted nonconformists, whose suffering sharpened their quills, but his work was readily published whilst hers only reached the press via a series of acts of providence. Nonetheless she has the remarkable distinction of being America’s first published poet of either sex! Quite amazing! Anne is regarded as American, because she left England with her family at just 18 years old in search of freedom – part of a mass migration of Puritans. In the tough New World she reflected the ethos of a culture already beginning to diverge from the mother country in hundreds of lines of rhyming couplets. But above all, her faith shines out through her verse. Fear, danger and death were never far away in the New England colonies, and all were sanctified to Anne. She viewed her life as a pilgrimage to glory. Beware, this book will cause some serious heart-searching. Take this sample:

Why should I live but to thy praise?
My life is hid with thee.
O Lord, no longer be my days
Than I may fruitful be.


Wednesday, 16 June 2010


"In spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea and supper - and sleep too - than not pray.  And we must not only talk about prayer; we must pray in right earnest.  The Lord is near.  He comes softly while the virgins slumber."
Andrew Bonar

Quoted in Contagious Christian Living by Joel Beeke, Bryntirion & RHB, £6.99

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Reading Together

Those of you who receive our monthly bulletins will be aware of our plans to set up a reading club.  This is now up and running - we have a new blog called 'Reading Together' which is limited to subscribed members only.  Initially the club is also limited only to ladies - sorry chaps.  This is essentially because I am facilitating it and not Jeremy.  If our gentlemen customers would be interested in joining a reading club they need to pester Jeremy and he may be persuaded to set one up. 
The first book we have chosen to read together is 'The Great Gain of Godliness' by Thomas Watson in the Puritan Paperback series.  This is subtitled 'practical notes on Malachi 3:16-18'.  The aim is to read a planned portion of the book over a 2 week period and make comments and discussion points on the blog.  Our vision is that this will encourage a discipline of regular reading of books at a higher level than 'easy-reading', at the same time as being supportive and edifying to each involved. Another plus is that you get a discount on the book being read if you buy it from us! 
I for one am excited to be getting going on my copy of the book and am hoping that lots of you will join us (first come, first served - the blog is limited to 100 members!).
Drop me a line if you want to know more,

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Ossett Chapel Anniversary Service

Our little garden at the chapel may be small, but as you can see it's got a beautiful silver pear tree in the midst of it. No, it's not Eden - although the old serpent is still on the attack! But there is another tree I think of - the tree of life, sustained by the river of water of life, and fruitful (Revelation 22:2). May the church meeting in the chapel next door be just like it, supplied with grace to reflect God's praise. Certainly we have much to thank him for after another year, as well as much to still seek him for. You are welcome to join our little gathering for our anniversary service at 3pm next Saturday, 19th June, when our pastor Norman Roe will preach, God willing. A tea will be provided afterwards, and of course the bookshop will be open beforehand.

Are you contagious?

This little book compiles Joel Beeke's 4 addresses at the Aberystwyth Evangelical Movement of Wales conference in 2009.  They are typical Joel Beeke style, easy to read but punchy. Entitled Contagious Christian Living, each address focuses on one Bible character and draws out a 'contagious' aspect of their living. Jephthah's daughter is highlighted as an example of Sacrificial Submission, Bartimaeus for his Christ-centred living, Jacob for his Perseverance, Prayer and Penitence, and Daniel for his Consistent Integrity. 
Although perhaps a little too much poetic licence has been used at times, the book is peppered with applications for contemporary Christian living, many very pointed and thought provoking.  How much are we prepared to truly submit to the Lord's will for us?  Is our daily walk and talk God-honouring? At times of darkness do we wrestle with and cling to the Lord so that like Jacob we say 'I will not let thee go, except thou bless me'? With worldliness and temptation all around us, are we able to be consistent in our walk by faith?  Certainly none of this can be done without sustaining grace freely given by God. What a reminder therefore to persevere in prayer 'Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you' (James 4:8).
Contagious Christian Living by Joel Beeke, jointly published by Bryntirion Press & Reformation Heritage Books, £6.99

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Declension in Love

A decay of love to the saints of God, is a strong evidence of a decay of love to God himself. If we love God with a sincere and deepening affection, we must love his image wherever we find it. It is true, the picture may be but an imperfect copy, the outline may be but faintly drawn; there may be shades we cannot approve of; yet, recognizing in the work the hand of the Spirit, and in the outline some resemblance to Him whom our souls admire and love, we must feel a drawing out of our holiest affections towards the object; we shall not pause before the surrender is made, to inquire to what section of the church of Christ he belongs, what name he bears, or what the colour of his uniform; but, discovering the man of God, the meek and lowly follower of Jesus, our heart and our hand are freely offered.

This quote taken from 'Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul' by Octavius Winslow, made me stop and think when I came across it today. I pray that as many of us meet with our brothers & sisters on the Lord's Day and throughout each week, we remember that 'This commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also' 1 John 4:21
Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul, Octavius Winslow, published by Banner of Truth, £5.50

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Afterwards I Knew

I enjoyed this book. A collection of short stories, fictional but based around historical events and facts they are gripping and each carry a subtle spiritual message. Often the stories finish abruptly or on a cliffhanger leaving you to contemplate what might have been and leading you to reflect on the underlying spiritual implications. The book is aimed at 13+yr olds - I think I come into that category!
Afterwards I Knew: Short Stories from the First and Second World Wars by Christine Farenhorst, published by Christian Focus, £5.99

Saturday, 29 May 2010

His People

James North has done a sterling job of pulling together all that is left of William Tiptaft's sermons in a new book out from Gospel Standard Publications: 'Sermons of a Seceder.' Good value at £9.00 for a hardback. Some biographical notes help profile this man (1803-1864) famous by name amongst Strict Baptists, but whose ministry is not at all so well known. The great thing about Tiptaft was his integrity. Everything fitted in with what he was convinced of by the scriptures. His earnestness, zeal and liberality all stemmed from a conviction at heart of the doctrines of grace. He did not have this when he was ordained into the Church of England, but as his spiritual eyes were opened more and more, he could no longer remain among them, though it cost him greatly. His example led J C Philpot to do the same.
This collection contains 'His People', which caused an uproar! It was boldly preached before the assembled mayor and town council in the Great Church in Abingdon on Christmas Day 1829. Although ridiculed in the press and at Oxford, it is a fine, very direct sermon on Matthew 1:21 - who are really God's people? He quotes from various articles of the C of E to demonstrate that he taught no new thing when he preached sovereign grace and living faith in those days before his secession.
'His People' is also available in booklet form. Published by Reiner Publications, it is only 50p from us.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Hive of Activity

What a beautiful day - sun shining, temperatures soaring, we had a real hive of activity going on down at the shop today. Okay, so the shoppers decided to stay in their own gardens (just 2 customers all day!), but we made the most of the carpark space and enjoyed the weather. The co-manager was even seen attempting to skateboard (I wouldn't like to say which co-manager exactly!)
Here's the sort of fun going on...

Water bombs

Roller skating
Press ups (why??!)
Car washing/water fights
urrr... not sure what was going on here!
Who said life at work is dull?

Essential Bible Reference Series

The Essential Bible Reference series may well be familiar to many of you, but it is worth highlighting again because it has recently been reprinted in a smaller (and cheaper) format.
This is the old look...
and this is the new look...
An excellent series for giving children a good overview of Bible lands, history, culture and festivals, this is also a great resource for Sunday School teaching. With good colour illustrations and photos, each book is very visual as well as giving a multitude of facts and information about each subject. Here are a couple of double-page (ish) spreads to give an idea of the layout of the contents...We have reduced our stock of the old edition from £2.99 to £1.50, and the new edition is priced at £1.99
It is also worth mentioning that some of the old Essential Bible Reference titles have now been reproduced and put into a new series called Candle Discovery Series. These are bigger books, mostly hardbacks and are more interactive (bits to pull out, stickers to stick in, models to make etc!).
Highly recommended.
(to check our stock, just put Essential Bible Reference or Candle Discovery Series into the quicksearch box on the homepage)

Friday, 14 May 2010

Customer Feedback

This is Angle Tarn, a place of wild beauty around 2000 feet up in the Lake District. A lovely location for team building in a month where fellowship has been the buzzword of the Christian booktrade. Unity is strength, but only if it is more than superficial.
The Lord blessed us with some fine weather, and then I was greeted by this sunny comment in an email on our return...
I would normally order them (books) direct, but given the current state of Christian bookshops across the country I feel it's right you get my custom even if I live hundreds of miles away!
This was accompanied by another, in an email from Australia...
I really like your website, well done!
Short but sweet, just like our time in the Lake District.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Dealing It Out

This is John Blanchard at his best. Dealing with atheism, albeit within the compass of a slim paperback, but with devastating effect. Evangelical Press, now rebranded as EP Books, have produced this cheaply (£2.50) in their Popular Christian Apologetics series, so it is readable by anyone. It is a pretty quick read too. The great thing about this Blanchard contribution to the Dawkins debate is his focus. He doesn't lock horns as a scientist, because he isn't one. But as an experienced debater with atheists, Blanchard goes for the jugular - politely. The 'new atheism' which Richard Dawkins is devoted to, claims that science has disproved God's existence. Blanchard shows how unscientific this idea is in itself. He further exposes the flaws in Dawkins' arguments, chipping away at rash claims and doubtful statements across the whole range of books he has authored, not just 'The God Delusion.' He also shows what a sterile and savage philosophy atheism is when it takes Darwinian evolutionary theory to its logical conclusion. But we need to understand that this is what underpins the attempts of the intellectual establishment to marginalise Christianity and influence governmental policy in the field of ethics in Britain today. Although Blanchard may be faulted for his view of conversion (no mention of regeneration as a distinct work of the Holy Spirit), the body of this book is most helpful in 'Dealing with Dawkins' and his chums.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

3 into 1 Does Go...Just!

10th - 16th April 2010.
7 days, 3 events.
2 out-of-shop bookstalls, 1 in-shop activity day. What a week!
No shortage of helpers for setting up one of the bookstalls...The activity day...

Plenty of children in the children's corner... just what we like to see!

Exhausted, but encouraged I think is my assessment at the end of a busy week.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Footsteps of the Past

I picked out some activity books from the shop to occupy our boys on a long journey this week and discovered a winner for Matt. His current favourite subject is history, so I headed for the Day One 'Footsteps of the Past' series, and picked out William Tyndale. This is a great series written by two deputy-headteachers who aim to introduce key figures in Christian history. The booklets are full of facts and fun activities - some, like code cracking can be completed in the car, and others like 'Make a Quill Pen' take a bit more time and mess! Our destination being a quiet country spot in Wiltshire, Matt was out early this morning chasing pheasants in an attempt to catch a feather for his quill pen. Unfortunately the pheasants were faster than him so he had to settle for a rather more plain pigeon feather that he found in the garden. Then he needed some berries (oh dear, wrong time of year but thankfully Granny had some in the freezer!), some salt, some vinegar and away he went...

The finished product!
I think this is an inspiring series for 7+yr olds, plenty of biographical information interspersed with well thought out activities. For anyone planning a trip to the British Museum the series also includes 2 books intended to take a child through the Museum particularly relating the history to the Old Testament (Kings, Pharaohs and Bandits) and the New Testament (Romans, Gladiators and Games). At only £2 these booklets are really excellent value for money.
It is also worth noting that this 'Footsteps of the Past' series is linked with the adult 'Travel with...' series - something for all the family!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

New Focus Conference 2010

Thank you to Peter Meney for once again inviting us to take a bookstall out to the New Focus Conference this year. It has been a heartwarming occasion in the past, meeting old friends and some regular mail order customers of ours. Please come along if you can. We will just be there on the Saturday, but the Conference runs from 9th - 11th April. See the official details here:
The location in upper Teesdale is utterly charming (as are the hosts!) When I go up there I am torn between sneaking off and hiking up to the high fells and doing my duty and attending to the Conference. No, seriously, it promises to be a bigger event than ever this year and I look forward to ministry from some men I haven't heard before, as well as Don Fortner from Stateside. May the Lord grant safe journeys and happy landings to all.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

World Book Day Vouchers

Great news! Parents want their children to read good Christian books. Not rocket science really, or at least it shouldn't be. But I have been surprised (perhaps I shouldn't be) at how many people have used their World Book Day £1 voucher in the shop. Actually, I'm more than surprised... I'm excited! In fact, so encouraged that it has spurred me on (with a little push from my enthusiastic admin assistant) to organise a children's activity day during the Easter school holidays. We want parents & children to come to the shop, to spend time browsing, to spend time doing fun activities, to listen to stories, to eat home-made cake (ok, not that important!) to enthuse about READING and to discover that their local Christian Bookshop is not a scary place to go to. If you're around and you fancy popping in, Friday 16th April is the day to put on the calendar. We'll give you more details later or give us a call to find out first.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Filling a gap

I think this new book from Catherine Mackenzie fills a gap for children. Aimed at 8-12yr olds it presents the evidence for Christ's death and resurrection in an investigative style. The book is quite 'interactive' - it directs the reader to look up different sections of the book at different points in the investigation, whether it be a fact file, a Bible introduction or a short quiz to illustrate a point. I suspect this style would especially be enjoyed by boys. Almost like a John Blanchard book for children, it is full of facts and easy to read. Catherine Mackenzie also makes it clear that true belief in the reality of the death and resurrection of Christ comes only through faith given by God.
I have to admit, that I was initially unsure of the book (never judge a book by its cover - you would think I should know that by now!), but having read it I think the contents are more seriously treated than the cover and illustrations give the impression of. It is different to anything else on the market for children on the Easter subject, and would certainly answer a lot of the 'whys' that children of this age are likely to ask.
Jesus Rose From the Dead - The Evidence, by Catherine Mackenzie, £4.99, published by Christian Focus Publications.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Quietly Does It

It's dropped rather quiet on the sales side in the last week, but though I should be complaining, I'm not. All hands are needed at the pump - producing enhanced book information on the new website. It seems a mammoth task just to do the Gospel Mission titles, which largely come without publisher's cover blurb. However I'm concentrating on these as they are distributed by us here in the UK. Great work is being put in by other supporters on other book ranges, which is HUGELY appreciated (I can't praise higher than capitals on a keyboard!) Lorna is getting book images in asap. It will all take a long time - we know it's a marathon not a sprint, but we also can't rest satisfied with the website until it's really functioning to give browsers the support they (you?) need. It does also give us an opportunity to review our stock and consider how best to shape up. A shocking statistic was sent to me today, that around 100 christian bookshops had closed or gone into administration in 2009 alone! These are truly unprecedented times. I feel I should be more thankful that the Christian Bookshop Ossett is even here. And as long as others do too then it will continue in its present form.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Psst! We're Live

Yes, 8 years after we built our first website for the bookshop, today we have gone live with our new one. It is now database driven, so fully searchable, as well as easier for us to maintain (vitally important). The quality of information content may be lacking for many books at this point in time, but that will continually improve as we bang it in. We decided our switchover point to the new site would be reached once it could provide at least as much for the user as the old one did. So here we are, and now watch us go. As Winston Churchill once said, 'this is not the beginning of the end; this is only the end of the beginning!'
Try it out for yourself. If you have any problems please email us. We believe it is sound, but welcome feedback.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


This is an unusual book, and not just because the front cover is the kind of thing only highway engineers can appreciate! The contents are also fairly specialist - though compelling I found. This is partly because of the way in which they have been derived. Martin Downes (a new face) has conducted a whole series of interviews with a 'star studded cast' of evangelical and reformed church leaders. The result is a book (slightly obscurely) called 'Risking the Truth' published by Christian Focus Publications for £8.99 p/b. The book is laid out in Q & A format and it is fascinating to see the way different men deal with the same questions. These all revolve around error and the way in which it should be dealt with. Downes sets before his interviewees such things as: Have they been personally tempted away from the straight and narrow? Confronted pastorally by error? How can heresies be headed off? What advice would they pass down to young ministers from their experience? So you have got men like Geoff Thomas (Wales) alongside Iain Campbell (Scotland), Michael Ovey (England), Conrad Mbewe (Zambia), Joel Beeke (USA) plus a load more Americans. One theme (sub-theme?) that struck me was a repeated lesson learned from experience - the vital need to maintain personal prayer. All that is done publicly and ministerially cannot substitute for it. Without it one will not be a 'tree planted by the rivers of water' (Psalm 1) and be fruitful in word and example.