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My 12 Books of Christmas #12

drd

Faith of Our Father: Expositions of Genesis 12-25

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1761/-/sr_1

Now this is the only book of my Christmas 12 that I haven’t read because I’m keeping it. I do that with books sometimes. I deliberately put them to one side as a treat to look forward to and that’s something that a Dale Ralph Davies book is – a treat. This time it’s a festive treat.

This is going to be the book I start reading on Christmas day.

What do I have to look forward to in a DRD book?

Great theology.

Cracking stories.

A warm pastor’s heart.

Chicken soup for the soul doesn’t have a look in … this is steak.

With all the sides – and the desert.

Vegetarians – replace the word steak with something else gutsy and nutritious. I’m not sure if nut loaf has the same dramatic emphasis – but you get my drift.

I’m looking forward to this book, and will review it here after the new year.

Have a great 2016 – get into some great books.

God bless.

My 12 Books of Christmas #11

9781845502928

The Parables of Jesus

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1091/-/sr_1

So much of what I’ve been reading this year has been influenced by what I’ve been writing. Several weeks during the spring and summer were taken up with writing a new series for children called Stories of Jesus, a set of books on the parables.

Now if you’ve grown up in a Christian home, been part of a Sunday school or church then the stories that Jesus told will have featured in some way or other in church services or a kids story time.

Many of you will feel that you know the parables… the lost sheep, the good Samaritan, the prodigal son. I know I did. However, it was when I was reading Terry Johnson’s book: The Parables of Jesus, that I discovered that although I did know those stories, there was a lot more to them than I at first realised.

The parables introduce us to God. He has the central role in many of these stories, you just have to be aware that he is the Father running down the road towards the young boy smelling of pig shit. He is the shepherd racing around the neighbourhood shouting ‘Rejoice I have found my lost sheep.’ He is the foreigner showing up the religious goody-two-shoes who have abandoned the wounded traveller at the side of the road.

The parables also introduce us to ourselves for we appear in these stories too… we’re the foolish girls who have no oil for their lamps on a dark night, we’re the numb-skull servant who succeeds in doing nothing except seriously offend his master, we’re the brash builder who takes the easy route only to get the hard lesson.

This book is actually my favourite read of the last twelve months.

But I haven’t read book number 12 yet…

Countdown to Christmas 4, 5, 6

O.K. so here are another three books that I’d like to point you to for a Child’s Christmas.

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a Victorian or two… so here are two of O.F. Walton’s best titles.

A Peep Behind the Scenes

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/621/-

and

Christie’s Old Organ

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/173/-

These are heartwarming stories with a good Gospel message. If your kids like stories such as The Christmas Carol by Dickens, and other classic stories like that these two titles are perfect, curl up by the fire, cosy reads.

If you’ve never read an OF Walton title before you’ve a treat in store.

And for all those kids out there who are longing for snow – I know several who have sledges just waiting on the blocks in the garage – well if it doesn’t happen on the day and we don’t have ‘Snow for Christmas’ maybe this book will be a good compromise. It’s a good choice for those readers who don’t engage so well with fiction.

Antarctic Adventures

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1567/-

My Twelve Books of Christmas #9 & 10

A huge part of my life this last twelve to eighteen months has been the Book of Acts.

That’s why I’m blogging about two books in this one post here… my Bible Study has been working through the books of Acts with the help of these two titles in the Geared for Growth series.

The Early Church: A Study in Acts 1-12

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1492/-/d_series

Worldwide Evangelistation: A Study in Acts 13-28

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/826/-

What can I say about these books…. they’ve been a fairly new discovery for our Bible study group though my mum and dad have been singing their praises for years. So listen to your parents!

The good thing about the whole Geared for Growth series is that they are books that are great for new believers and for mature believers. The questions can be simple and straight forward but also draw out in depth discussions. They can encourage you to get into the meat of a topic. These books not only get you reading the passage of scripture, but point you to other parts of the bible that are relevant. The questions often bring in your life experiences, and when you have a varied study group like we do that means input from different professions, ages, backgrounds… the new Christian and the older Christian learning from each other. And these study books really facilitate that.

These books on Acts have been exciting because Acts is exciting. Every chapter either has a journey or a riot or a dramatic escape! It’s non stop! And there are so many practical challenges that we need to engage with as the church today.

The Early Church has a lot to teach us, and these books are a great tool for that.

The additional feature that this study series has that others don’t is how it is designed in such a way that you can use it as a personal devotional book throughout the week.

My Twelve Books of Christmas #8

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One of the things I love about writing for children is how it takes me on a journey of learning for myself. When I wrote the book: The Bible is God’s Word – The Evidence http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1725/-/sr_1 – it introduced me to a set of books on the authority of scripture. I was reading a genre, I suppose you would call it, of Christian books that I hadn’t really explored before. And it has been of huge benefit to me.

I want to introduce you today to one of the key books that I read during my research, it’s not difficult, it’s not long but it may be one of those titles that have just missed your radar as it has been in print for a while. So I’m taking the opportunity of giving it a big thumbs up.

It’s a good starter title for someone who wants to get into apologetics. Spurgeon did say that we don’t need to worry about the Bible – it’s like a lion – just let it out and it will look after itself. But as believers we need to have information to help us engage with unbelievers about the truth of God’s Word. This book by Colin Peckham does just that.

The Authority of the Bible

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/24/-/sr_1

If you have friends who insist that science has proved the Bible to be wrong a book like this is just what you need to read.

Just an idea: If you want to give different members of your family the gift of a book how about giving them a book on the theme of the Bible appropriate for their age range/level.

Could be interesting to have everyone round the dinner table talking about the Bible?

The Bible’s Big Story: http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1592/-/sr_14

The Bible is God’s Word: http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1725/-/sr_1

The Authority of the Bible: http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/24/-/sr_1

Confident: How we can trust the Bible: http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1724/-/sr_8

My Twelve Books of Christmas #7

everything.jpg

I’ve posted a couple of times about this on face book. The Title has come out at just the right time for me as my pastor is working through the book of Ecclesiastes in our church services. He confessed to how Ecclesiastes had been one of those books he had been anxious about preaching through, but that he thought that pastors should tackle those books of the bible they weren’t so confident about.

I’ve been enjoying his preaching and I’ve enjoyed this book. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the subtitle – The Gospel in Ecclesiastes. I do believe that Jesus Christ can be seen in all the scripture but I have to admit I stopped and looked twice at this subtitle. I suppose it’s not a new concept to me… but it was still something of a surprise.

Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1762/-/sr_1

Though I’m blogging about this title I haven’t yet finished it, I’ve been keeping it for Sunday reading. But I’ll whet your appetite for it by giving you a couple of the paragraphs that have jumped out at me:

Almost every verse in Ecclesiastes shows us how much we need a Savior to make all things new. When John Wesley preached his way through this great book of the Bible, he described in his journal what it was like to begin his sermon series. ‘Began expounding the Book of Ecclesiastes,’ he wrote. ‘Never before had I so clear a sight either of its meaning or beauties. Neither did I imagine, that the several parts of it were in so exquisite a manner connected together, all tending to prove the grand truth, that there is no happiness out of God.’20

Remember this whenever you get frustrated, sad, angry, or disappointed with everything in life that is getting broken, falling apart, and going wrong. Remember this when you feel overwhelmed and are tempted to wonder why you should even bother—with your work, with a relationship, with your faith. You were made for a new and better world. The very fact that you are weary of this life is pointing you to Jesus as the only One who can satisfy your soul.

 

We should not leave Ecclesiastes 1 without remembering that Jesus entered into all the vanity and vexation of life under the sun to show us the wise way to live. If we follow Jesus and His wisdom, we will not try to bend what is crooked back to our own purpose, but humbly submit to the way God wants things to be, just as Jesus did when He went to the crooked cross and died for our sins (see 1 Pet. 2:21-24).

If we follow the wisdom of Jesus Christ, eventually life will add up … it may not seem to add up on this side of eternity. But leave the final calculations to Jesus, and He will make sure that all the books balance in the end, including our personal account, which He has reconciled with His own blood.

Our present vexation will not last forever, including all our struggles to understand the meaning of life. Soon, our sorrows will be over. We will be with Jesus forever, and find the answers to all our questions in Him.

You can definitely see the Gospel in this book!

 

My Twelve Books of Christmas #6

living.jpg

For the sixth book in this series I swithered about putting in one of our new titles that has had a lot of publicity and then decided against it. Just a few moments ago I decided instead to go with an old favourite.

Effective Christian Living by Jack Selfridge

http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/219/-/sr_c_1_i

I have a soft spot for this book because I think it is well written, with great teaching – something that has got real meat to its message but is easy to digest. If you get my drift.

And Jack Selfridge was my very first author. As a newbie out of a Vocational Course in Publishing at Napier University, I was allowed to cut my teeth on his biography – Jack of All Trades, Mastered by One. http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/1755/-/sr_c_1_i

But Effective Christian Living is a book that points us towards the fact that as Christians our lives should bear fruit. There are twenty four short chapters to encourage us towards spiritual growth, with challenging questions at the end of each study.

Looking again at this lovely little title I can’t help but be struck by how ideal it is for the run up to Christmas. We’re into December now – its definitely the advent season. I’ll think I’ll pull down my old copy of this, and read it again. It will be a bit like revisiting an old friend in more ways than one.