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.