I’m a sucker for a biography. I love how they transport you to another time and place, but a real time and place. I’m also a sucker for any movie that begins with the caption: ‘based on a true story’. Somehow the events grab my heart so much more tightly – even if they are ‘based on a true story’ (about as much as my attempts at butter chicken are ‘based’ on authentic Indian cuisine). Anyway, enough about movies. Let's talk books, in particular this month’s book – Anne Bradstreet: Pilgrim & Poet’ by Faith Cook.Read More
I became a Christian when I was in high school, and I remember being really excited about the Bible. Reading verses for the first time was amazing. My best friend and I used to pass notes to each other in class, writing Bible verses on them, and writing stuff like, “Check this out!”, “How cool is that!”. Those were great days. These days, I’m still walking with God and the Bible has certainly sustained me across the years. But I have to admit, I don’t feel that wonder and delight as frequently as I did. There’s times when that joy springs up again, but often the Bible can feel like a duty, instead of a delight.
I think that’s why I found Christopher Ash’s book, Bible Delight so helpful. I think for me, it addresses an issue that not many of us Christians want to talk about. We don’t really want to admit that we often don’t feel excited about the Bible.
The True Story of Why Jesus Died and Rose Again
If you love Biblical Theology, and if you love really good kids books, and especially if you teach kids you will enjoy this book. At Easter I read The Garden, The Curtain and The Cross to my kids, I read it to my scripture class and I read it to the kids in crèche at church. The illustrations are beautiful and most importantly, it teaches the whole story of the Bible and shows God’s amazing plan of salvation through Jesus.Read More
Book covers can only tell you so much. If it’s a book by Peter Carey or Jane Austen, then I know I am going to love it. I am personally working hard to spread my love of these two authors to anyone who will listen. Book reviews can help us go a bit deeper and see if we want to commit, and whether this will be the right book to give away. Maybe you have been thinking of giving Harriet Connor’s Big Picture Parents: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life to someone for Christmas? In this second post I will be telling you a bit more about this great parenting book, with some specific readers in mind. And during December I will also be reposting some previous reviews on books that would be ideal to give as gifts. In January, Equip Book Club will all be taking a break. Time for some novels, a biography or two and some more good Christian books.Read More
Do you like to read parenting books? Maybe you are past that stage, or not in that stage at all, but you would like to be able to recommend a good parenting book. Harriet Connor’s Big Picture Parents is like a breath of fresh air in a world filled with blogs, lists of top tips and Instagram pictures of everyone else’s perfect family. Sometimes it’s all a bit overwhelming and you need to step back and see the big picture.Read More
Reading about the life of each woman in “Reformation Women” has given me a wider picture of what happened as the Reformation spread across Europe during the 1500s and 1600s. It was encouraging to follow the work of the gospel down through generations and also sobering to see how many endured terrible persecution. Here is a little more about some of the remaining women profiled in Rebecca VanDoodewaard’s book.Read More
In Reformation Women, Rebecca Van Doodewaard profiles 12 women and their influence on the growth of the Protestant church throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. They came from different countries, backgrounds, families, and socio-economic levels, and but each of them was committed to sharing the true gospel. Here is a snapshot of each of these women we learn more about… (VanDoodewaard writes about these women using their maiden names, mainly to avoid confusion between them when some were married multiple times.)Read More
What would someone say about you in 500 years? That’s the question that struck me as I read this month’s book, “Reformation Women” by Rebecca Van Doodewaard. I don’t expect that anyone will be writing about me in 500 years, but it’s a good way to reflect on who we are and what we hold as important, don’t you think? Well, here’s a possible suggestion…
“She used her gifts for gospel change in her own sphere in whatever ways possible.” (p24).Read More
What was church like on Sunday, 500 years ago? The church itself is staggering, the soaring vaults, the smell of incense and the spectacle of the mass: Christ being re-sacrificed all over again. But you wouldn’t have had much choice as to whether or not to go. There’s images of purgatory and hell assailing you everywhere and the church is omnipresent in life. You definitely go. Can you understand any of the service? Not if you don’t speak Latin, and only the highly educated do. You go into the box and confess your sins to a priest. You have no sense of assurance and no way to address the alarming fact that you still sin. The emphasis is on doing good works to earn your salvation. God seems distant and your predicament is rightly desperate and frightening. Well might you cry, “How on this earth do I get right with God?”
Reading the final section of this book on the Psalms has made me totally shocked at how spiritually needy and starved ordinary people must have felt at this time.
Last week’s blog post ended with a prayer for God to reveal how comforting, healing and rebuking His word can be. You might have read that sentence and felt a longing for the Bible to wrap you in a warm hug - but then you may have missed the word, “rebuking”!Read More
Have you ever flipped to the back of a Gideons Bible in a hotel room - late at night - searching for something in there to help you when:...you are lonely...struggling with addiction...grieving...need peace and comfort...assurance...when there is a kind of darkness you can’t put your finger on.Read More
Balloons and Streamers
This year marks the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation! If this were an iPhone text and not a blog post you’d read that sentence while confetti rained down around it. On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther, greatly distressed by the corruption in the medieval church, nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. This sparked a debate about repentance and where forgiveness is truly found and so the Reformation began.Read More