Blogroll Category: Christian Resources

I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 21 posts from the category 'Christian Resources.'

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The Self-Denial of True Rest

The Good Book Company - Tue, 24/05/2022 - 06:00

The other Friday night my wife was out for the evening with her sisters. It had been a tiring week, with emotionally draining conversations and too many demands on my time to pray or process them properly. In my mind there were a few jobs that needed doing around the house and in my heart there was a nagging, formless anxiety. Just before she left, Felicity wisely advised me not to try to get things done, but to rest. I spent the evening trying to cram in all the different, restful things that immediately came to mind.

I played a game with our daughters (genuinely restful) and then settled them into bed. Afterwards I wanted to spend some time in prayer and thought, going over the week, read a spiritual book I had been finding encouraging and a page-turner of a novel whose pages had gone unturned. Then there was a sci-fi box set I was enjoying. Friends had recommended about a dozen movies that sounded really good. All this along with heating up a pizza and chilling out. By the end of the evening I was angry, frustrated and full of self-pity. It had been neither refreshing nor restful, neither godly nor glorious!

How do we rest in the world of frenetic activity? How do we rest in the way Jesus calls us to rest? How do we rest in a way that leaves our souls refreshed, our hearts overflowing with love, our minds at peace and with space for creative thought, and our hands willing to do good works? For me, one answer is the sea.

There is a powerful convergence of Scripture and Creation that gives deep refreshment to heart, mind, body and soul.

Resting by the Sea

‘I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’

These are the opening lines of Sea Fever by John Masefield. At school I had to memorise the poem and the first two lines have been with me ever since and rise to my mind whenever I see the ocean’s grey swell or sparkling wave crests. I loved reading C.S. Forester’s Hornblower stories as a boy, with the shy, awkward sailor turning his frigate’s bows towards the danger of storm or battle in Nelson’s era. I have clear childhood memories of a trip on a friend’s sailing yacht. I was in a bed down in the cabin, rocked by the swell and looking up through the hatch at the burning stars and burning cigar ends as my dad and his friend sailed the boat through the night.

‘For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.’

This line from Habakkuk 2v14 is the other one that comes to mind when I set eyes on the sea. Since the Lord saved me as a young man, my delight in the sea has deepened, for I know the One who ‘puts the deep in storehouses’ (Psalm 33v7). Last week was as busy as the previous one. We had friends staying for the weekend and so Friday night was lovely, and yet I was so tired. On Saturday we drove up to Overstrand on the North Norfolk coast and walked along the cliffs to Cromer. Fish and chips on the beach, a sandcastle epically defended against the late winter tides, a wind blowing and ice creams despite the cold, and my soul was full of praise, joy, light and wonder at the resurrection.

Refreshed

Devotions for a holiday that’s refreshing in every way.

Resting in Christ

Of course the way we rest is not the sea but Christ. My point is that there is a powerful convergence of Scripture and Creation that gives deep refreshment to heart, mind, body and soul. Christ is the one who spoke Creation into being. Christ is the subject and hero of the Spirit-wrought Bible. To bring Scripture and Creation together is a powerful gift to us. It is a gateway into Christ’s goodness and glory that lifts us from the busy pace of life, fears and anxieties of a world spiralling out of control, and the pain of walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

For you it may be the mountains, woods, park or field. Where do you dream of being when it feels as though work or life will break you? As you unravel in the face of the worries and demands of your life, where does Christ call you so that he might draw you together again in his love? For even Christ himself knows the blessing of such rest.

Towards the start of his ministry Jesus had many demands, not least the need to appoint the twelve apostles. His response was to seek his Father (and what else is rest but a soul-seeking of our God?). Luke records, ‘In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God’ (Luke 6v12).

Surely Christ wanted peace and uninterrupted time with his Father, and the mountain would supply both. Yet praying through the night would most likely guarantee these anyway. We are not told why Jesus chose the mountain, yet he does seem to like them. He called Abraham, Moses and others to meet him on mountains; he preached and prayed on them himself. He knew that the Creation is part of our walk with the Creator. We would be silly not to follow our Lord into his world.

This will take time, thought and, most-difficult, a turning aside from busyness. I know that I will serve Christ more faithfully and joyfully if I leave my desk and appointments each day to walk the country lanes around my home. I know I should get to the sea more often. I must deny myself, my desire to work my own significance, to rest. Yet what a Lord, who has set the lonely sea in my soul. It is really not that hard.

Categories: Christian Resources

Help for Men Facing Miscarriage

The Good Book Company - Thu, 19/05/2022 - 06:00

There will be a day when every child of God will be invited to the one funeral that we will all want to attend: we will be invited to the funeral of death.

Yes, it really is true—death will die and eternally be no more. Along with it will die all the grief, pain, fear, sadness, suffering, and loss that death always drags with it. The completely righteous life of Jesus, the acceptable sacrifice of Jesus, and the victorious resurrection of Jesus, all accomplished on our behalf, guarantee that the enemy of everyone living—death—will finally and forever die.

This is a wonderful hope for every child of God to hold on to.

But if you’re a man dealing with the horrible shock and sadness of miscarriage, you know that we’re not there yet.

The grief of miscarriage

You and I still wake up every morning in a place where death is a dark reality that casts a fearful shadow over us. We all know that somehow, someway, death will burst through our door and shatter the safety of our most intimate places.

Death is always hard, but the death of an infant occupies a category of its own. We sort of expect elderly loved ones to die someday; it is hard to let go of them, but their passing is not beyond the realm of our expectations. But the death of a child still in the womb seems particularly strange and irrational.

Babies aren’t supposed to die. How is it that life is allowed to grow in the womb, only to be snatched away before life outside the womb is ever given a chance to begin? Death is always hard, but a miscarriage just seems senseless to us.

Suffering through miscarriage as a man

When you face a miscarriage, there is something fundamental to understand. You won’t just suffer the miscarriage, but you will also suffer how you suffer the miscarriage.

We never come to these shocking and sad moments of life empty-handed. We always carry into them ways of thinking about God, ourselves, life’s meaning and purpose, hardship, and what God has promised us, which will shape how we experience the painful thing we’ve gone through or are now going through. Wrong thinking always deepens the effects of already painful experiences.

This is why the book Ours by Eric Schumacher is so important and helpful. Being a man who is suffering through miscarriage brings with it a set of seductive, hard-to-resist temptations. 

Death is always hard, but the death of an infant occupies a category of its own.

Perhaps for you, it is anger, bringing God into the court of your judgment and questioning his goodness and love. Maybe it’s the temptation to numb yourself in some way from the pain using busyness, media, chemical substances, or food. Perhaps for you, life seems unpredictable and dangerous in new ways, and you’re tempted to give way to fear. Or maybe you’re tempted to cope by denying the emotional, spiritual, and relational toll that miscarriage has taken on you. Perhaps for you, the temptation is envy: to be bitter as you see others enjoying what has been taken away from you.

None of these things will produce a good harvest in your heart or your marriage, and all of them will make your suffering even more painful. In my time of loss, I think I have fallen into all of these temptations in some way.

You may be thinking, “Ok, Paul, I am struggling; where can I find help?” My immediate answer to that question is Ours by Eric Schumacher.

What Ours by Eric Schumacher offers

This book is a fountain of help for any man going through the dark valley of miscarriage. Let me tell you why.

(1) It offers the healing of biblical faith

Eric Schumacher understands that biblical faith—that is, trust that is rooted in God and his work on our behalf—will never ask you to deny reality. If you deny the reality of what you have gone through or are going through, you may achieve some temporary peace, but you’re not experiencing the full healing power of biblical faith.

This book is written by a man who has walked through the dark valley of miscarriage again and again. So, the painful realities of its hardship and loss splash across page after page. If you’re a man dealing with the emotional, spiritual, and relational trauma of miscarriage, you will find yourself in this book, and you will come to understand your experience of loss more fully and deeply.

But even more importantly, you will realize more fully, maybe more than ever before, that God understands every aspect of your suffering, and because he does, he is never put off or disgusted by what you are going through.

You can bring your anguish to him and find mercy and grace form-fitted for that particular moment of need.

(2) It draws the suffering to God himself

There is a second and even more glorious theme in this book. This theme is why I will recommend what Eric has written here again and again. He has come to understand that when we are suffering, God’s greatest gift to us is not an answer to all of our questions. No, his greatest gift to us is way better than a set of answers.

God’s greatest gift to a man going through the pain of miscarriage is the gift of himself. He carries everything you need into this moment of pain and loss in his loving, wise, and almighty hands. If you are God’s child, it is impossible for you to be alone in the dark night of miscarriage, and it’s equally impossible for you to be left to your little bag of coping mechanisms.

This book is a fountain of help for any man going through the dark valley of miscarriage.

In the gift of himself, God gives you so much more than you could ever stretch your imagination to ask him for. The book describes in remarkable detail what it means to know that, in hardship, God gives himself to you. It describes how the glorious truth of God’s faithful and loving presence changes how you think about and walk through the dark night of miscarriage.

I can give no higher praise than to say that, with all of its helpful insights and answers, the best thing this book gives you is Jesus. No, not in some super-spiritual, other-worldly way, but in showing us a Jesus who lives with wisdom, power, faithfulness, and grace in the dark cracks and crevasses of human suffering.

This is a Jesus who gets what you’re going through, and, because he does, offers you just what you need. If you have walked through or are now walking through a miscarriage, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. I wish I’d had it when we lost our first child.


This article is a sample of the foreword that Paul David Tripp wrote for Ours by Eric Schumacher, a 31-day devotional giving biblical comfort and practical support to men processing miscarriage. The book is available on July 1, 2022. If you are purchasing this book for care packages, you can find bulk deals at thegoodbook.co.uk.

Categories: Christian Resources

Summer Reading Checklist

The Good Book Company - Tue, 17/05/2022 - 06:00

One of the best things about longer days and time away is getting to read more. Staycation, vacation or simply living at a slower pace over the summer are all great excuses to settle down with a book you've been wondering about or to dive into a topic you don't normally have the headspace for.

Get ready for summer reading by:

1. Getting new books to read this summer

Summer is the time to work through your to-be-read list! Cross off books you've heard a lot about for a while now and some books with covers or concepts that make you curious. We'd recommend 12 Things God Can't Do, for instance. It's the right balance of intriguing, uplifting, and deep.

2. Stocking up on colouring books and fun books for kids

"I'm bored" is something you're likely to hear at some point this summer if you have kids, especially if you have long car rides or plane trips planned. Colouring books are a great way to pass the time, and our colouring and activity books also encourage kids to interact with the Bible as they have fun. Seek and Find books are also great ways to occupy little ones.

On top of our colouring and activity books, many of our kids' storybooks also have free extras such as read-through videos that your kids can watch on YouTube or free downloads such as bonus crafts.

3. Downloading a few audio or ebooks for your travels

When you're waiting in the airport, in a traffic jam on the way to the beach, or even just out for an early morning run before the day gets too hot, audiobooks allow you to read hands (and eyes) free. If you find nonfiction hard to follow out loud, we recommend Finding My Father since it's story-based (not to mention powerful!)

If you're planning to be a passenger, or travelling with limited space in your bags, ebooks are also a great way to keep reading on the go. Most of our adult books are available as ebooks, plus you get a free ecopy with every physical copy!

4. Planning ahead for fall reading

Don't reach the end of summer, and the end of your to-be-read list, with no good reads left to look forward to! Check out our "coming soon" section to preorder a few books you can countdown to reading this autumn.

We recommend Write It On Their Hearts if you're a parent desiring to disciple your kids. This book will help you to practically and realistically be intentional with your time as a family so that your kids are encouraged and equipped to grow in Christ. There's a free discussion guide for parents to use together or in groups, too.

Another recommendation is Dream Small, a book about true self-worth and contentment in Christ and his plans, which is a great way to ground yourself in Christ before you enter a busy autumn.

Categories: Christian Resources

Recommended Reads For Your Summer Holiday

The Good Book Company - Thu, 12/05/2022 - 06:00

As you write out your packing list for your summer holiday, don’t forget to include a few books to enjoy at the beach, poolside or even in the car! Here’s what we would recommend this summer and why.  

Refreshed By John Hindley

What to expect: You can pick and choose which of these 30 devotions to read depending on the type of holiday you are on (for example, city break or beach.) There are optional family activities and questions linked to each devotion giving other family members an opportunity to reflect alongside you if you’d like.

Why it’s great for your holiday: This devotional is specifically written for your time away to help you get refreshed spiritually, not just physically or emotionally. 

Refreshed

Devotions for a holiday that’s refreshing in every way.

The Art of Rest by Adam Mabry

What to expect: This book helps us to see how as Christians we can stop and be refreshed by having faith to hit pause and experience the rich rewards of God-given rest.

Why it’s great for your holiday: You’ll think more deeply about what your time away means and why it’s important.

The Art of Rest

Discover the secret to real, realistic, non-rules-based rest

Colouring and Activity Books for Kids

What to expect: Our colouring and activity books reinforce the kid’s books they are based on, helping children to dwell on the Bible and the truth while having fun.

Why it’s great for your holiday: These are great for long car rides, plane rides and for rainy days away. 

 New Testament Activity Book

Colouring and activity book based around the New Testament Bible stories Seek and Find book.

The Air We Breathe by Glen Scrivener

What to expect: In this fascinating book, Glen Scrivener takes readers on a journey to discover how the teachings of Jesus not only turned the ancient world upside down, but continue to underpin the way we think of life, worth and meaning.

Why it’s great for your holiday: This is the kind of book you can get lost in as you’ll learn loads and will walk away wanting to share about what you’ve just read. 

The Air We Breathe

Discover the Christian roots of the values we prize in western society.

Deeper Still by Linda Allcock 

What to expect: Full of down-to-earth anecdotes and practical advice, this warm and accessible book is designed to help make biblical meditation part of your everyday life.

Why it’s great for your holiday: Your time away is a great time to practice dwelling on God’s Word and to get ready to get into a Bible-reading routine when you return.

Deeper Still

Finding clear minds and full hearts through biblical meditation.

Welcome To BibleWorld by Mike Nappa 

What to expect: This search-and-find activity book will help kids get to know the Bible in a fun and engaging way. Think “Where’s Wally?” but as a fun way for kids to learn about the Bible. 

Why it’s great for your holiday: Keep kids engaged with the Bible on long drives, plane rides or on rainy days away. 

Welcome to BibleWorld

This search-and-find activity book will help kids get to know the Bible in a fun and engaging way.

I Forgive You by Wendy Alsup

What to expect: Learn from the story of Joseph how to forgive, find peace, and move forward, even when it’s hard.

Why it’s great for your holiday: Although forgiveness is a hard topic, this book offers a lot of biblical hope and encouragement. You’ll find you used your holiday well by renewing your mind regarding forgiveness and relationships.

I Forgive You

Learn from the story of Joseph how to forgive, find peace and move forward, even when it’s hard.

12 Things God Can’t Do by Nick Tucker

What to expect: Prepare to have your mind blown in the best way through this book on God’s greatness that helps you to trust him, grow in faith and live confidently.

Why it’s great for your holiday: This book will give you plenty to ponder and praise God for as you take time away to reflect. Plus, you’ll have a lot of fun tidbits and concepts to share with anyone you’re spending your holiday time with!

12 Things God Can't Do

A book on God’s greatness that helps you to trust him, grow in faith and live confidently.

Categories: Christian Resources

Showing Kids What Grace Means

The Good Book Company - Tue, 10/05/2022 - 06:00

What is it about grace that’s so hard to grasp? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked children and young people from Christian homes why Jesus died, or what difference forgiveness makes to our lives, and they’ve come back with thoughts about how you ought to behave—no grace in sight. Or I’ve asked them what grace means and they’ve triumphantly told me it’s God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, but without being able to explain what that means in practice. “What riches?” I say. “Ummm…” they reply.

Maybe one thing that makes grace hard to articulate is that it’s an experience. It won’t work just on the page, an abstract concept. It has to be lived.

We need to figure out how to help children really experience grace in their lives.

The teeter point

What is grace, as an experience? Maybe it’s best described as the coming together of two experiences—the experience of guilt, and the experience of love. Each of these viewpoints seems incompatible with the other. It’s only grace that brings them together.

On one side, there’s the terrible feeling of being bad, guilty, irredeemable, worthless. “I’m bad,” a young mum told me she’d heard her toddler say despondently not long ago. He could see no possibility of anything else.

Maybe it’s best described as the coming together of two experiences—the experience of guilt, and the experience of love.

On the other side, there’s the enjoyment of freedom, the comfortable feeling of being loved, the good works Christ calls us to. And when we’re doing well, when we’re being praised for our godliness or good behaviour, when we can see our spiritual growth, doesn’t it seem that of course Jesus loves us? Our utter undeservingness is easily forgotten.

It’s like heat or cold. When winter bites, you can’t imagine how you could ever have worn shorts last summer. Or when you’re packing for a trip to a colder country, you can’t imagine you could ever need this much knitwear. In either state, it can be impossible to imagine the other.

Grace is a kind of teeter point. It’s the rotating door between a centrally-heated interior and the freezing fresh air outside (or an air-conditioned interior and the sweltering heat outside). When grace is put into action, we see our guilt and God’s love—both at once. I am a sinner, and justified. I am justified, and a sinner. Suddenly it’s breathtaking. Amazing grace.

Experiencing grace

However clearly we explain grace to our children, if they haven’t experienced it for themselves I fear it’ll be like reading about a hot country they’ve never been to, or seeing the Arctic on the TV without ever having heard the crunch of their own footsteps in snow. They might understand it, but they haven’t lived it.

But when children do experience that teeter point for themselves, they will really grasp what Jesus’ death means for them—what riches are offered, what an immense expense was paid, and how scandalously, extraordinarily amazing that is.

Whenever they mess up—and they will—we can take the opportunity to point them to the one whose grace gives the greatest riches of all.

Thankfully there are plenty of ways to demonstrate grace with children. Whenever they mess up—and they will—we can take the opportunity to point them to the one whose grace gives the greatest riches of all. We can turn their everyday experiences of guilt and love into something that will help them know God’s amazing grace for themselves.

Melissa Kruger’s book His Grace is Enough aims to help parents do exactly this. It starts with a child hiding or running away, having done something wrong and not knowing how to make it all right again. The experience of guilt.

But as the book goes on, we learn that although we can’t make it all right again, God can. “God’s grace is enough”—and readers are drawn into an experience of God’s love and all that it means. The wonder of forgiveness, and the freedom of living for him.

It’s an invitation into the teeter point. A glimpse of God’s riches—not just on the page, but in our children’s lives.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Categories: Christian Resources

Contradictions in the Bible

The Good Book Company - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 06:00

“You can’t take the Bible seriously—it’s so full of contradictions!” Perhaps you have heard statements like this. Perhaps you’ve made them. Maybe you’re not sure how to respond. The apparent contradictions in the Bible appear to undermine the reliability of the Christian faith.

Writing as we write today

It’s an easy jibe. Yet often those who make it can’t actually identify any specific contradictions. They simply assume they are there. The fact is most contradictions in the Bible are more apparent than real. Many numbers are approximated or rounded. What people said is summarised. Quotes are cited freely, not precisely. Writers arrange material thematically rather than chronologically. Figures of speech are used. These are all literary devices used today in biographies without anyone claiming their authors are contradicting themselves.

Dig a bit deeper into the alleged contradictions and most of them disappear. Those that remain do so only because we lack the background information needed to explain them.

In his Gospel, for example, Matthew says Jesus met two blind men outside Jericho while Luke tells us that Jesus met one blind man. Did one of them get it wrong? No. No doubt Jesus met lots of people that day. Luke picks out one and tells us a little bit of his story. It wasn’t that Luke was misinformed, nor is he being misleading. He’s simply chosen to focus on one example of the impact Jesus made on individuals. Dig a bit deeper into the alleged contradictions and most of them disappear. Those that remain do so only because we lack the background information needed to explain them.

But there are more fundamental reasons to trust the Bible. 

God is good at his job

Let’s suppose there is a God—an eternal being who made all things. That would make him very powerful. Christians believe he’s all-powerful, but “very powerful” will do for now. Let’s suppose this God intends to communicate with humanity. If there’s a very powerful being—more powerful than anything else—then it’s reasonable to assume he will accomplish what he intends to accomplish. So, if he intends to reveal himself, that is what will happen.

And that is what Christians claim has happened. God has revealed himself in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible described Jesus as “the Word of God” or the message of God. Not only that, God has given us a written record of that revelation in the Bible so that we can be clear about, and certain of, his communication to us in Christ. It’s true that God chose to create the Bible through human authors, and those human authors have left the imprint of their distinctive personalities on the text. But God is good at his job. He communicated through human beings in such a way as to ensure his communication was accurate and reliable. God is able to achieve what he intends!

Taste and see

Communication is a relational act. It links two people in a relationship. And so we trust someone’s words to the extent that we trust them. I trust my wife’s words, not because I have scrutinised and investigated everything she says, but because I trust her. She has been faithful and loving towards me over more than 30 years, through good times and bad times.

It’s true that God chose to create the Bible through human authors, and those human authors have left the imprint of their distinctive personalities on the text.

The same is true of the Bible. I think it stands up to scrutiny. But that’s not actually why I trust it. I trust it because I’ve found it to be reliable and life-giving over more than 30 years, through good times and bad times. Ultimately, I trust it because I trust God.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” we sometimes say. That is certainly true of the Bible. Taste and see. Read the Bible for yourself. Perhaps you’ll find it as reliable and life-giving as I have done.

The real issue

This brings us to what I think is the real issue: will we let God be God?

Are Christians biased, leading us to interpret the evidence in a way that supports our claim that the Bible is free from errors? Yes, we are. We have found the Bible to be reliable and life-giving. So when we meet a supposed contradiction, we are bound to think there must be a good explanation for it.

But we’re not the only ones who are biased! Those who interpret the evidence the other way round are equally biased. They don’t want to accept the Bible as God’s word because that would mean having to submit to it. They don’t want the Bible to challenge their behaviour. They don’t want to let God be God. They chose instead to be gods of their own lives. In Isaiah 66:1-2 God himself says:

“Heaven is my throne,

    and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,

    and what is the place of my rest?

All these things my hand has made,

    and so all these things came to be,

    declares the Lord.

But this is the one to whom I will look:

    he who is humble and contrite in spirit

    and trembles at my word.”

Categories: Christian Resources

Contradictions in the Bible

The Good Book Company - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 06:00

“You can’t take the Bible seriously—it’s so full of contradictions!” Perhaps you have heard statements like this. Perhaps you’ve made them. Maybe you’re not sure how to respond. The apparent contradictions in the Bible appear to undermine the reliability of the Christian faith.

Writing as we write today

It’s an easy jibe. Yet often those who make it can’t actually identify any specific contradictions. They simply assume they are there. The fact is most contradictions in the Bible are more apparent than real. Many numbers are approximated or rounded. What people said is summarised. Quotes are cited freely, not precisely. Writers arrange material thematically rather than chronologically. Figures of speech are used. These are all literary devices used today in biographies without anyone claiming their authors are contradicting themselves.

Dig a bit deeper into the alleged contradictions and most of them disappear. Those that remain do so only because we lack the background information needed to explain them.

In his Gospel, for example, Matthew says Jesus met two blind men outside Jericho while Luke tells us that Jesus met one blind man. Did one of them get it wrong? No. No doubt Jesus met lots of people that day. Luke picks out one and tells us a little bit of his story. It wasn’t that Luke was misinformed, nor is he being misleading. He’s simply chosen to focus on one example of the impact Jesus made on individuals. Dig a bit deeper into the alleged contradictions and most of them disappear. Those that remain do so only because we lack the background information needed to explain them.

But there are more fundamental reasons to trust the Bible. 

God is good at his job

Let’s suppose there is a God—an eternal being who made all things. That would make him very powerful. Christians believe he’s all-powerful, but “very powerful” will do for now. Let’s suppose this God intends to communicate with humanity. If there’s a very powerful being—more powerful than anything else—then it’s reasonable to assume he will accomplish what he intends to accomplish. So, if he intends to reveal himself, that is what will happen.

And that is what Christians claim has happened. God has revealed himself in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible described Jesus as “the Word of God” or the message of God. Not only that, God has given us a written record of that revelation in the Bible so that we can be clear about, and certain of, his communication to us in Christ. It’s true that God chose to create the Bible through human authors, and those human authors have left the imprint of their distinctive personalities on the text. But God is good at his job. He communicated through human beings in such a way as to ensure his communication was accurate and reliable. God is able to achieve what he intends!

Taste and see

Communication is a relational act. It links two people in a relationship. And so we trust someone’s words to the extent that we trust them. I trust my wife’s words, not because I have scrutinised and investigated everything she says, but because I trust her. She has been faithful and loving towards me over more than 30 years, through good times and bad times.

It’s true that God chose to create the Bible through human authors, and those human authors have left the imprint of their distinctive personalities on the text.

The same is true of the Bible. I think it stands up to scrutiny. But that’s not actually why I trust it. I trust it because I’ve found it to be reliable and life-giving over more than 30 years, through good times and bad times. Ultimately, I trust it because I trust God.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” we sometimes say. That is certainly true of the Bible. Taste and see. Read the Bible for yourself. Perhaps you’ll find it as reliable and life-giving as I have done.

The real issue

This brings us to what I think is the real issue: will we let God be God?

Are Christians biased, leading us to interpret the evidence in a way that supports our claim that the Bible is free from errors? Yes, we are. We have found the Bible to be reliable and life-giving. So when we meet a supposed contradiction, we are bound to think there must be a good explanation for it.

But we’re not the only ones who are biased! Those who interpret the evidence the other way round are equally biased. They don’t want to accept the Bible as God’s word because that would mean having to submit to it. They don’t want the Bible to challenge their behaviour. They don’t want to let God be God. They chose instead to be gods of their own lives. In Isaiah 66:1-2 God himself says:

“Heaven is my throne,

    and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,

    and what is the place of my rest?

All these things my hand has made,

    and so all these things came to be,

    declares the Lord.

But this is the one to whom I will look:

    he who is humble and contrite in spirit

    and trembles at my word.”

Categories: Christian Resources

How to Host a "Forever Party" to Help Kids Understand Eternity

The Good Book Company - Mon, 02/05/2022 - 21:01

When you’re 6 years old, the wait for ice cream after dinner feels like for ever. Time is a tricky concept for kids. So are topics like death, eternity, the new creation and heaven. Joni Eareckson Tada’s new kid’s book The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party helps kids understand—and get excited about—a future for ever with Jesus. 

To help this wonderful truth stick, kids benefit from hearing the storybook and engaging with it and the concepts via games, crafts, colouring and more. Throwing a “Forever Party” for your family or a kid’s ministry is a great way to make the truth about forever-with-Jesus memorable.

Use the tips below, or download a host’s guide as well as free crafts, games and more here

Throwing a “Forever Party” for your family or a kid’s ministry is a great way to make the truth about forever-with-Jesus memorable.

How to throw a “Forever Party” for kids 1. Send out invitations

Invite friends and family or host a party for a class or as a kid’s ministry event. A Forever Party is a great way to tell kids about Christ and the hope of the future with him in the new creation. You can use this as a fun form of outreach or to disciple young believers. 

2: Set the scene

One of the amazing things about living forever with Jesus is that it’ll be better than all our favourite things. To help kids see this, you might try choosing decorations that span various favourite themes so that every child can find something to get excited about. Kids can do the decorating themselves with downloads of the “Come Quickly Jesus” banners included in the free party pack.

3: Choose tasty treats

Chocolate chip pancakes are featured in the storybook. You can find a recipe for these and for cake cookies in the free party pack. For home parties, these recipes are fun to make all together with kids. For larger parties, you might also lay out a candy or ice cream sundae bar to keep reinforcing the idea of kids getting to pick out their favourite things.

4: Provide plenty to do

Offer colouring and activity sheets as well as crafts from the free party pack to help kids engage with the story and concept of the storybook. Plus these serve as take-home goodies kids can share with their parents and keep as momentos.

5: Get Into Games

Download a paper-based game from the free party pack. We also recommend playing games themed for the party, like:

  • Telephone: Ask kids to sit in a circle. Whisper a message, preferably related to the theme of a Forever Party with Jesus, into one child’s ear. That child should whisper the message into the next’s ear and so on until you reach the last child. They should announce the message and see if it matches up with the original.
  • Popcorn Pop: Toss a ball or small toy from person to person. Whoever catches it shouts something based on a prompt. If they can’t think of something new to say, they are out and sit down. Possible prompts could be “Something you could eat for ever”, “a song you could sing everyday”, or “a place you love to visit”.
  • Muscle Memory: Use a hand signal to announce something that will be made new. Ask kids to copy it. Then ask a child to repeat what you just did, and then add their own signal and announce something else made new. Ask all of the kids to copy both. Keep going around, asking each child to follow the sequence and add to it, then all of the kids to demonstrate the sequence. When someone forgets a part of the sequence, they are out and sit down.
6: Share the story

Read The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party storybook, or play the full-read-through video of the story read by Joni Eareckson Tada. There are also downloadable full-size illustrations you can project on a screen.

7: Praise Jesus together

Follow up the story with a time of worship. Choose a couple of kid-friendly songs of praise. Even better if there are actions!

8: Capture the memory

Take a picture of everyone all together and reiterate that one of the coolest things about forever-with-Jesus is getting to actually be with him and the people we love. No more goodbyes! No more arguments or sadness! Just joy for ever together.

9: Invite Jesus back

Hand out party squeakers or confetti. Tell kids it’s time for this party to end, unlike the forever party with Jesus. That one will never end and we can’t wait for it to begin, so let’s invite Jesus to come back and start that party soon! Everyone can cheer three times, like at the end of the book, “Come quickly Jesus!” 

10: Hand out party favours

We recommend giving every child a copy of The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party and the corresponding colouring book to keep and to revisit over and over again. You can find great deals on buying the book in bulk on our website.

Adaptation Recommendations

 • For the colouring sheet that features a long table and encourages kids to draw food in the places designated, cut out images of food to glue in place instead of asking them to draw.

• Opt for crafts using pom-poms, stickers, and other textured, easy-to-handle materials.

• Instead of playing “Muscle Memory” ask volunteers to act out things they are excited to do in heaven. Ask kids to copy them or to make noise for which things they are excited about too. 

• Use the picture version of the “Would you rather” sheet.

Categories: Christian Resources

How to Host a "Forever Party" to Help Kids Understand Eternity

The Good Book Company - Mon, 02/05/2022 - 21:01

When you’re 6 years old, the wait for ice cream after dinner feels like for ever. Time is a tricky concept for kids. So are topics like death, eternity, the new creation and heaven. Joni Eareckson Tada’s new kid’s book The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party helps kids understand—and get excited about—a future for ever with Jesus. 

To help this wonderful truth stick, kids benefit from hearing the storybook and engaging with it and the concepts via games, crafts, colouring and more. Throwing a “Forever Party” for your family or a kid’s ministry is a great way to make the truth about forever-with-Jesus memorable.

Use the tips below, or download a host’s guide as well as free crafts, games and more here

Throwing a “Forever Party” for your family or a kid’s ministry is a great way to make the truth about forever-with-Jesus memorable.

How to throw a “Forever Party” for kids 1. Send out invitations

Invite friends and family or host a party for a class or as a kid’s ministry event. A Forever Party is a great way to tell kids about Christ and the hope of the future with him in the new creation. You can use this as a fun form of outreach or to disciple young believers. 

2: Set the scene

One of the amazing things about living forever with Jesus is that it’ll be better than all our favourite things. To help kids see this, you might try choosing decorations that span various favourite themes so that every child can find something to get excited about. Kids can do the decorating themselves with downloads of the “Come Quickly Jesus” banners included in the free party pack.

3: Choose tasty treats

Chocolate chip pancakes are featured in the storybook. You can find a recipe for these and for cake cookies in the free party pack. For home parties, these recipes are fun to make all together with kids. For larger parties, you might also lay out a candy or ice cream sundae bar to keep reinforcing the idea of kids getting to pick out their favourite things.

4: Provide plenty to do

Offer colouring and activity sheets as well as crafts from the free party pack to help kids engage with the story and concept of the storybook. Plus these serve as take-home goodies kids can share with their parents and keep as momentos.

5: Get Into Games

Download a paper-based game from the free party pack. We also recommend playing games themed for the party, like:

  • Telephone: Ask kids to sit in a circle. Whisper a message, preferably related to the theme of a Forever Party with Jesus, into one child’s ear. That child should whisper the message into the next’s ear and so on until you reach the last child. They should announce the message and see if it matches up with the original.
  • Popcorn Pop: Toss a ball or small toy from person to person. Whoever catches it shouts something based on a prompt. If they can’t think of something new to say, they are out and sit down. Possible prompts could be “Something you could eat for ever”, “a song you could sing everyday”, or “a place you love to visit”.
  • Muscle Memory: Use a hand signal to announce something that will be made new. Ask kids to copy it. Then ask a child to repeat what you just did, and then add their own signal and announce something else made new. Ask all of the kids to copy both. Keep going around, asking each child to follow the sequence and add to it, then all of the kids to demonstrate the sequence. When someone forgets a part of the sequence, they are out and sit down.
6: Share the story

Read The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party storybook, or play the full-read-through video of the story read by Joni Eareckson Tada. There are also downloadable full-size illustrations you can project on a screen.

7: Praise Jesus together

Follow up the story with a time of worship. Choose a couple of kid-friendly songs of praise. Even better if there are actions!

8: Capture the memory

Take a picture of everyone all together and reiterate that one of the coolest things about forever-with-Jesus is getting to actually be with him and the people we love. No more goodbyes! No more arguments or sadness! Just joy for ever together.

9: Invite Jesus back

Hand out party squeakers or confetti. Tell kids it’s time for this party to end, unlike the forever party with Jesus. That one will never end and we can’t wait for it to begin, so let’s invite Jesus to come back and start that party soon! Everyone can cheer three times, like at the end of the book, “Come quickly Jesus!” 

10: Hand out party favours

We recommend giving every child a copy of The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party and the corresponding colouring book to keep and to revisit over and over again. You can find great deals on buying the book in bulk on our website.

Adaptation Recommendations

 • For the colouring sheet that features a long table and encourages kids to draw food in the places designated, cut out images of food to glue in place instead of asking them to draw.

• Opt for crafts using pom-poms, stickers, and other textured, easy-to-handle materials.

• Instead of playing “Muscle Memory” ask volunteers to act out things they are excited to do in heaven. Ask kids to copy them or to make noise for which things they are excited about too. 

• Use the picture version of the “Would you rather” sheet.

Categories: Christian Resources

Why We Sleep–and the God Who Doesn’t

The Good Book Company - Sat, 30/04/2022 - 06:00

“You’re in trouble.”

I wasn’t sure whether to believe her. Bitter experience has taught me that when someone tells me that I’m in trouble, I probably am. Yet a twinkle in her eye suggested that all was not entirely lost.

“Oh dear,” I said, “was it something I said?” (It normally is.)

“I nearly didn’t get here this morning,” she replied, at which point my heart rate dropped a bit. I was the guest preacher for a church weekend retreat, and I felt pretty sure that this member’s transport problems were unlikely to be my fault.

“It’s your fault,” she added.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that...” I had to know more.

It turns out that this lady had lost her husband several years ago. She had not slept through a single night since. That morning, though, she had not lain awake listening to the dawn chorus for hours as usual, but had woken to the sound of banging at her front door, which she eventually realised was the person who had come to drive her to that day’s meetings. She had not only slept through the night—she had overslept.

How, you might ask, could this have been my fault? She put her sleepiness down to the talks I had given the evening before. It’s not unheard of for my talks to put people to sleep, but normally they wake up when I stop speaking. This time, though, was different. This time, the effect was (to my surprise, I’ll admit) exactly what the title of the talk suggested should happen: 12 Things God Can’t Do and How They Can Help You Sleep at Night.

12 Things God Can't Do

A book on God’s greatness that helps you to trust him, grow in faith and live confidently.

The Secret to Sleeping Soundly

I hope that you might have a similar experience. Knowing God better really should help us to sleep more soundly.

Don’t believe me? Ask King David.

Psalm 3 begins with him describing a situation of appalling stress: “Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!” (v 1). It’s so bad that the talk of the town is that “God will not deliver him” (v 2). David wrote this psalm whilst on the run from his son Absalom, who had led an apparently successful coup d’état to take the throne (see 2 Samuel 15 – 18). David escaped, but now had a target on his back.

But Psalm 3 holds a remarkable surprise: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me” (v 5). To David, the amazing bit of that verse was probably the middle portion: “I wake again”. After all, there were plenty of people trying to prevent that outcome.

For me though, I can’t get over the fact that he slept at all.

Sleep is something we can normally only do when we feel safe. Apparently, on the first night in a new place, half your brain remains alert all night, vigilant to threats. When you think about it, you realise what an act of trust falling asleep normally is. You are so vulnerable: you have no idea what’s going on around you and you cannot look after yourself. When we face stress or threats, our bodies’ “fight or flight” mechanisms make restful sleep feel like unicorn tears: hard to imagine and impossible to obtain.

When you realise what God can’t do, his greatness might just blow your mind.

So, if people are literally out for your blood, as they were for David’s, sleep won’t come easily. A soldier in enemy territory won’t just lie down and sleep because it’s bedtime. Only the watchful eye of a comrade keeping lookout makes sleeping a vaguely safe thing to do. But David slept through this period of terrible stress because he had someone better than a comrade watching over him: “You, Lord, are a shield around me” (v 3). Safe in that knowledge, David says that he will “not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side” (v 6). As the very next psalm puts it: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

David knew just how powerful God is, and how faithful he is to his promises. And my book aims to give you the same confidence. I long to give you a glimpse of God’s greatness that will change the way you see the world—and, yes, help you to sleep at night.

Marvel at God’s Otherness

To think about God’s greatness, we naturally tend to talk about what God can do. We, however, are going to consider what God can’t do—and when you realise what God can’t do, his greatness might just blow your mind.

To show you what I mean—and while we are on the subject of sleep—consider this: God can’t sleep. That’s a truth we find in Psalm 121. It’s part of a series of psalms called the Songs of Ascent which were sung by pilgrims on the challenging, dangerous (and uphill) journey to Jerusalem. As they walked, they sang songs of praise to God to encourage and comfort each other:

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel;
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
(v 3-4)

God will never take his eye off the ball; he will never drift off and fail to watch over and take care of his people. His people can rest, because he won’t. Victor Hugo, the author of Les Misérables, expressed the point beautifully:

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

We sleep because we need to sleep. But God doesn’t.

We tend to see things from our own point of view. So, we often think about God as basically like us, just much, much, bigger. But one of the main things that God wants us to know is that he is not like anything in creation and we shouldn’t think of him as if he were. Hence we sleep, but he doesn’t.

This is an adapted extract from 12 Things God Can’t Do by Nick Tucker. Previously a Bible teacher at Oak Hill Theological College, Nick now serves as the vicar of St Bartholomew’s Edgbaston. In this intriguing book, he explores 12 things that God can’t do, which all express aspects of his nature and character which we can embrace with relief, celebrate with joy and worship with awe. You will marvel both at God’s otherness and at how he became one of us in the person of Jesus.

Categories: Christian Resources

Using Cultural Events Like the Queen’s Jubilee for Outreach

The Good Book Company - Fri, 29/04/2022 - 06:00

I well remember the Queen’s first Jubilee. It was in 1977 and celebrated 25 years of her reign. I was 14 at the time and can remember how excited everyone was. I even had a Diamond Jubilee badge on my Guide uniform, and another one on the handlebars of my bicycle!

It was also my introduction to street parties—something I had never experienced before. A local street was closed to traffic, with tables down the middle of the road. Everyone brought contributions and we all ate together. I think we even sang “God Save the Queen”.

The fact that I remember these 45 years later shows what an impact they had—which makes them ideal for outreach. So here are just a few ideas for ways we might use the Queen’s Jubilee to reach out to those around us.

Queen Elizabeth II

Inspiring children’s biography of Queen Elizabeth II highlighting the Christian faith that has underpinned her remarkable reign.

Street parties

Is your local area planning a street party? This can be a great way to get to know people—maybe even people who live in the same road as you but you have never met. And if a party is planned for the street your church meets in, then you could take part as a group. It’s an easy way to meet some new people and maybe invite them to a church service or special event.

Bank-holiday events

The UK will have a special four-day-long bank holiday weekend, from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June. If there isn’t a street party near you, then maybe you could plan one or other special events to invite people to during that weekend. Some of the main national celebrations will be televised, so you could even invite people to come and watch together.

Crafting and baking

For the Queen’s coronation in 1953, a new recipe was created, called Coronation chicken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronation_chicken). Something similar is being done this year with a national competition to find the best “Platinum pudding”. Why not put on a similar competition in your area, with a particular day for people to bring their puddings for judging? Or if you lean more to craft than baking, then see if someone in your church can create a simple Jubilee craft—and then invite people to come to a craft morning where they can make their own.

Blessing a school or group with books

The Jubilee may give you opportunities you wouldn’t usually have to give books to your local school or a children’s group. That’s the idea behind our missionary box of 30 copies of our new children’s biography of Her Majesty The Queen (https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/queen-elizabeth-ii). This would be an ideal way for a church to bless a local school—or a parent to give a copy to every pupil in their child’s class.

I’m sure you will have plenty of other ideas of your own. How about adding them in the comments below so that others can benefit from your ideas too?

Alison Mitchell is the author of multiple award winning children’s books and Queen Elizabeth II, a new children’s biography written in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Categories: Christian Resources

31 Christian Quotes for Graduation

The Good Book Company - Thu, 28/04/2022 - 06:00

Leaving the nest can be scary and, well, confusing. With graduations right around the corner, students are in need of hope-filled advice for the years to come.

To meet that need, we’ve compiled some of our books’ most encouraging and truth-filled Christian quotes for (soon-to-be) graduates. 

Quotes From Is This It? by Rachel Jones

“If you are following Christ then, by God’s grace, you’ve already made the most important decision of your life. Compared to that one, the others are just details.”

“So when you’re surrounded by a set of ‘maybes’ (maybe I should do this, maybe I should move there, maybe I should go out with him), look ahead to what is sure—and so, so exciting. In this sense, life can’t go ‘wrong’. All the decisions, indecisions and curveballs you experience can never make it go wrong.”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel alive—it really is ‘OK to yearn for more’. But you’ll always be disappointed if you don’t look in the right place for that feeling; you can only be made alive ‘with Christ’.”

“Whatever else you do, do the only thing that can make you feel truly alive—do life with Christ.”

“Life in Christ frees us to take risks. The Christian answer to the question ‘What if I do this thing and then it doesn’t work out or I don’t like it?” is, ‘Well, if you do, and then it doesn’t or you don’t, you’ll still be alive with Christ'.”

“Life may not always go the way you want. Decisions may not always work out the way you hoped. And that’s OK. Because you know the destination, and you know the driver. It’s Christ, and it’s Christ. And that’s worth getting excited about.”

“Whatever else you do, do the only thing that can make you feel truly alive—do life with Christ.”

Quotes From Brave by Faith by Alistair Begg

"God is God, God is in control, and God’s kingdom has no rivals."

"God is in charge of the whole universe and you can trust him."

"We are not called to be pragmatic but faithful: to say, God has said this, and so I will do it."

Quotes From Just Ask by J.D. Greear

“God delights to share his power with those who are bold enough to bother him.”

“While God loves to fill our lives with tangible expressions of his goodness, he wants us to find those things primarily in him.”

“Sometimes, God is more interested in producing his strength in you than taking your suffering from you.”

“If it matters to you, it matters to God, and so you can pray about it.”

“Just as we eat today because it keeps us alive, even while we simultaneously know we cannot change the appointed date of our death, so we pray because it is the means by which God does his work on earth.”

“It’s possible we’re more concerned with God’s will than with God himself.”

“Pray to a Father who you know loves you, is ready to receive you, and already knows what you need.”

“If it matters to you, it matters to God, and so you can pray about it.”

Quotes From Wherever You Go, I Want You to Know and His Grace Is Enough by Melissa Kruger

“Whatever you do, wherever you go, I have a big dream I want you to know. I pray you love Jesus with all of your heart. Whatever you do, that’s the right place to start.”

“I’ve something important to tell you today

It’s true and it’s hopeful and helps guide your way

God’s grace is enough

It’s so big and so free

His grace is enough

Both for you and for me.”

Quotes From Hoping for Happiness by Barnabas Piper

"The expectations we put on ourselves are often born out of what we think is best, not what God has said is best."

"When we follow our feelings we will be perpetually abandoning things God wants us to commit to because we hope for and expect the wrong things in the wrong timing from the wrong objects."

"Having eternity in our hearts and looking ahead to the happiness of heaven does not remove the meaning or joy from this life."

"God cares about work, craft, and creativity because it is good and in it we should find happiness."

“There is more grace in Jesus than there is sin in you.”

"We know we can turn good things into objects of worship, so we are skeptical of enjoying the good things. But this is the wrong response. It’s true that God is not honored by us idolizing his gifts—but nor is he honored by our ignoring them."

"God created innumerable good gifts and blessings for us, but we fail to enjoy them as we ought because we have placed far too much or far too little value on them."

"Pursuing holiness is the pursuit of happiness, in this life and the next. Nobody should be happier than a follower of Jesus."

Quotes From Be True to Yourself by Matt Fuller

“True happiness doesn’t come from your picture being liked but from your soul being loved.”

“There is more grace in Jesus than there is sin in you.”

“Our restless striving can cease if we hold true to this: God has made us in his image, to share his glory.”

Quotes From Being the Bad Guys by Stephen McAlpine

"If, after refusing to be swayed on ethical matters, you are scorned, disciplined, demoted or even let go from your job, it must be in spite of the way you live, not because of it."

"Are we proclaiming the gospel message, and practising the gospel ethic it demands, among ourselves first?"

"A big view of God means we do not fear other people, but we do not despise them either."

You can shop these and other encouraging books for graduates at our website.

Categories: Christian Resources

31 Christian Quotes for Graduation

The Good Book Company - Thu, 28/04/2022 - 06:00

Leaving the nest can be scary and, well, confusing. With graduations right around the corner, students are in need of hope-filled advice for the years to come.

To meet that need, we’ve compiled some of our books’ most encouraging and truth-filled Christian quotes for (soon-to-be) graduates. 

Quotes From Is This It? by Rachel Jones

“If you are following Christ then, by God’s grace, you’ve already made the most important decision of your life. Compared to that one, the others are just details.”

“So when you’re surrounded by a set of ‘maybes’ (maybe I should do this, maybe I should move there, maybe I should go out with him), look ahead to what is sure—and so, so exciting. In this sense, life can’t go ‘wrong’. All the decisions, indecisions and curveballs you experience can never make it go wrong.”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel alive—it really is ‘OK to yearn for more’. But you’ll always be disappointed if you don’t look in the right place for that feeling; you can only be made alive ‘with Christ’.”

“Whatever else you do, do the only thing that can make you feel truly alive—do life with Christ.”

“Life in Christ frees us to take risks. The Christian answer to the question ‘What if I do this thing and then it doesn’t work out or I don’t like it?” is, ‘Well, if you do, and then it doesn’t or you don’t, you’ll still be alive with Christ'.”

“Life may not always go the way you want. Decisions may not always work out the way you hoped. And that’s OK. Because you know the destination, and you know the driver. It’s Christ, and it’s Christ. And that’s worth getting excited about.”

“Whatever else you do, do the only thing that can make you feel truly alive—do life with Christ.”

Quotes From Brave by Faith by Alistair Begg

"God is God, God is in control, and God’s kingdom has no rivals."

"God is in charge of the whole universe and you can trust him."

"We are not called to be pragmatic but faithful: to say, God has said this, and so I will do it."

Quotes From Just Ask by J.D. Greear

“God delights to share his power with those who are bold enough to bother him.”

“While God loves to fill our lives with tangible expressions of his goodness, he wants us to find those things primarily in him.”

“Sometimes, God is more interested in producing his strength in you than taking your suffering from you.”

“If it matters to you, it matters to God, and so you can pray about it.”

“Just as we eat today because it keeps us alive, even while we simultaneously know we cannot change the appointed date of our death, so we pray because it is the means by which God does his work on earth.”

“It’s possible we’re more concerned with God’s will than with God himself.”

“Pray to a Father who you know loves you, is ready to receive you, and already knows what you need.”

“If it matters to you, it matters to God, and so you can pray about it.”

Quotes From Wherever You Go, I Want You to Know and His Grace Is Enough by Melissa Kruger

“Whatever you do, wherever you go, I have a big dream I want you to know. I pray you love Jesus with all of your heart. Whatever you do, that’s the right place to start.”

“I’ve something important to tell you today

It’s true and it’s hopeful and helps guide your way

God’s grace is enough

It’s so big and so free

His grace is enough

Both for you and for me.”

Quotes From Hoping for Happiness by Barnabas Piper

"The expectations we put on ourselves are often born out of what we think is best, not what God has said is best."

"When we follow our feelings we will be perpetually abandoning things God wants us to commit to because we hope for and expect the wrong things in the wrong timing from the wrong objects."

"Having eternity in our hearts and looking ahead to the happiness of heaven does not remove the meaning or joy from this life."

"God cares about work, craft, and creativity because it is good and in it we should find happiness."

“There is more grace in Jesus than there is sin in you.”

"We know we can turn good things into objects of worship, so we are skeptical of enjoying the good things. But this is the wrong response. It’s true that God is not honored by us idolizing his gifts—but nor is he honored by our ignoring them."

"God created innumerable good gifts and blessings for us, but we fail to enjoy them as we ought because we have placed far too much or far too little value on them."

"Pursuing holiness is the pursuit of happiness, in this life and the next. Nobody should be happier than a follower of Jesus."

Quotes From Be True to Yourself by Matt Fuller

“True happiness doesn’t come from your picture being liked but from your soul being loved.”

“There is more grace in Jesus than there is sin in you.”

“Our restless striving can cease if we hold true to this: God has made us in his image, to share his glory.”

Quotes From Being the Bad Guys by Stephen McAlpine

"If, after refusing to be swayed on ethical matters, you are scorned, disciplined, demoted or even let go from your job, it must be in spite of the way you live, not because of it."

"Are we proclaiming the gospel message, and practising the gospel ethic it demands, among ourselves first?"

"A big view of God means we do not fear other people, but we do not despise them either."

You can shop these and other encouraging books for graduates at our website.

Categories: Christian Resources

A Sneak Peek into Our Newest Expository Bible Study Guide

The Good Book Company - Tue, 26/04/2022 - 06:00

Studying the Bible can seem intimidating. It includes 66 books covering an extended timescale, full of unfamiliar names and places, and large sections can feel like alien territory. But each book is full of good news.

In Isaiah: Here Is Your God, the newest addition to the Good Book Guide collection, trusted Bible teacher Tim Chester takes you through the book of Isaiah in a digestible and accessible way. 

Read on for five elements that make Isaiah: Here Is Your God a useful resource for any Bible study, whether in groups or individually.

  1. Each chapter includes a “talkabout” section that connects the text at hand with modern-day questions. This section helps get readers thinking about the theme of the text before diving in!

 

  1. Each Good Book Guide includes a helpful timeline with maps to help orient readers to the time and place that the events took place in history. The timeline of the main character being discussed is inserted into the larger biblical timeline, making it easier to understand the narrative of the Bible as a whole in relation to each book.

  1. In the “investigate” portions of each chapter, readers are encouraged to recall and discuss specific events in the Bible text. A helpful dictionary section with verse references is included!

  1. Readers are urged to apply the lessons learned in the book to their own lives in the “getting personal” portion of each chapter. These questions are helpful for each reader to reflect on any changes that need to be made in his or her life.

  1. The questions at the end of each chapter are perfect both for group discussions and individual reflection. They reflect on the text itself and encourage readers to view the text within the bigger picture of the Bible’s story.

Each Good Book Guide focuses on a key text, helping you to understand the shape of the book and see how its main themes work together, and includes application questions, ideas for prayer, and a full leader's guide. 

Accompanying expository guides are available for purchase to help you lead small groups.

Categories: Christian Resources

The True Story of The Queen Who Chose To Serve

The Good Book Company - Thu, 21/04/2022 - 06:00

The following text is the full biography featured in the back of our new children’s book from Alison Mitchell, highlighting the Christian faith that has underpinned Queen Elizabeth II’s remarkable reign. This beautifully illustrated book can be read to young children aged 4-5 and read by children aged 6 or older. Click here to find out more and to download free biography worksheets for kids to fill in.

1926:

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on the 21st of April. Although her grandfather was King George V, her father was the king’s younger son, meaning Elizabeth was never expected to become queen.

1936:

Elizabeth’s uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated. Suddenly, Elizabeth’s father became King George VI.

1939:

When Elizabeth was 13, World War II broke out. In 1940, Buckingham Palace was bombed, so Elizabeth and her sister Margaret were evacuated from London. Their parents stayed in Buckingham Palace to show solidarity with those living through the London Blitz.

1944:

Elizabeth joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) when she turned 18. She trained to be a driver and mechanic.

1947:

Elizabeth married Prince Philip on the 20th of November. They lived on Malta for two years while Philip served as an officer in the Royal Navy.

1952:

King George VI died on 6th February, and Elizabeth became Queen. Her coronation on the 2nd of June 1953 was attended by 8,000 guests, with crowds of 3 million in the streets, and watched by 20 million people on television. As well as becoming the British Queen, Elizabeth was now the head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

1957:

Elizabeth gave her first televised Christmas message.

1977:

Britain celebrated the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (25 years as monarch). Millions celebrated with street parties across Britain. There have been similar celebrations for her Golden (2002) and Diamond (2012) Jubilees.

2015:

On 9th September 2015, Elizabeth became Britain’s longest-serving monarch. Queen Elizabeth has seen many world-changing events since her coronation in 1953. She has also worked with 14 British Prime Ministers and has met every US President since Harry S. Truman (except for President Lyndon B. Johnson). The Queen’s travels have taken her to over 110 countries across six continents, making her Britain’s best-travelled as well as longest-reigning monarch. During this time she has also been patron to more than 600 charities and organisations across the UK and the Commonwealth.

Categories: Christian Resources

Five Points to Consider When Telling Bible Stories to Children

The Good Book Company - Tue, 19/04/2022 - 06:00

When God made us, he hard-wired us to listen to, tell, repeat, create and absorb stories. It’s no surprise then, that when our creator chose to reveal himself to us, the book he gave us—the Bible—is packed full of profound, intriguing and emotionally-charged stories.

And when he sent his son into the world as his ultimate revelation—guess what? He was a storyteller who kept vast crowds entranced by the powerful stories that we read in the Gospels.

The world our children live in is also full of stories. Every movie they watch, every cartoon on TV, every comic book or novel they read uses narrative to engage the senses and stir our emotions, and to teach us life lessons, or pose difficult questions.

Bible stories are true—and serious

Writing stores for children is challenging. Especially Bible stories. Many of the most famous Bible stories—especially ones that involve animals—are actually stories that have serious themes to them. We love to tell the story of Noah and the animals in the ark, but the whole of Genesis 6-8 is about a massive worldwide judgment by God on the evil and sin of mankind. Jonah is also about judgment, but has an overtone of deeply disturbing racism—as God’s prophet is taught that his mercy extends even to the Ninevites who Jonah so deeply despises. 

When we are faithful to Scripture, the stories we tell from the Bible have the power by God’s Spirit, not just to move us, but to save lives for eternity.

It would be so easy to write the story of Noah without judgment; and Jonah without the racist elements in them—and many books do that. But if we want to remain faithful to God’s word, somehow, a writer has to work out how to express these truths in ways that are age-appropriate for little ones.

This was my aim when I settled down to write the Very Best Bible Stories series. I work to five principles, which are a good guide for selecting books to read to your children, and if you are a storyteller yourself, then these might help you.

5 points to consider when telling Bible stories

Be faithful: Do the hard work of really understanding what the passage is about, and then working out how to express that in ways that are helpful to the age and stage of the children you are writing for.

Be historical: A child’s world is full of imaginative stories, so it is really important to help them see that the stories we relate from Scripture are in a different category. When I tell a Bible story to chidlren, I always start by saying that this is “a true story from the Bible”.

Be dramatic: Any good story has tension, jeopardy or a problem to solve. Tell the story so that the chidlren feel the tension—so that the final solution comes as a relief to them.

Be colourful: Paint pictures with words that inspire the imagination. One great way to do this is reference as many senses as you can. Not just what something looked like, but describing the smell, the feel and the taste of something makes it more real and less like a fantasy. 

Be fun: Children love to laugh—and there is comedic value in many Bible stories. Telling stories with funny voices, or pointing out how someone has made a ridiculous choice is perfectly legitimate way to bring life to a story.

We need to put in extra effort to make Bible stores stand out as they are going against powerful competition from Disney and Studio Ghibli. They produce polished, powerful and professional stores that are emotionally moving. But when we are faithful to Scripture, the stories we tell from the Bible have the power by God’s Spirit, not just to move us, but to save lives for eternity.

Categories: Christian Resources

20 Powerful Quotes from I Forgive You

The Good Book Company - Thu, 14/04/2022 - 06:00

Extending forgiveness is a challenge. When you’ve carried the burden of unforgiveness for a length of time, it can be hard to know how to step towards forgiveness and reconciliation. 

In sharing her own experiences and the story of Joseph and his brothers, however, author Wendy Alsup explores what repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation can look like, even in extremely difficult circumstances.

Read on for 20 powerful quotes from Wendy Alsup’s I Forgive You that show us what it means to forgive, and why it’s worth as believers it embrace reconciliation.

1. "The good news of Jesus gives us hope. Broken relationships are not going to be our long-term norm."

2. "Broken relationships come with a cost. We pay the cost at gatherings of family or friends. Perhaps we are not even invited to such gatherings anymore. We pay the cost when we are alone in our beds at night. We pay the cost on Sunday mornings. The loss of community—wherever it is and whatever the reason for it—hits us at a fundamental level in our psyche."

3. "Humans need community. We need to love and be loved in order to be fully human."

4. "Jesus has done all that is necessary to put an end to sin and brokenness, but that end has not yet come. We experience God’s power at work within us and between us, but there is still so much that is “not yet.” Perfect reconciliation is coming, but it has not yet come."

5. "As we become one with Christ, he prays that we would also become one with one another. Why is reconciliation with others an essential outcome of the gospel? Because it is not good for us to be alone!"

6. “We can spackle and paint over cracks in the walls of our relationships, but until the foundation is repaired, those cracks will inevitably show themselves again.”

“Forgiveness is fundamentally lopsided. The debtor gains, and the creditor loses.” - @WendyAlsup

7. "We won't all get along until we have been honest about what brought us to the place of conflict to begin with."

8. "When we look at the cross, we have a choice between defensiveness, self-condemnation, or humility. Humbly facing the weight of our sin is the response that sets us down the path to true reconciliation with God and others."

9. "Repentance is regret that turns away from the sin and walks forward in the opposite direction."

10. “The path toward reconciliation is not for those who want to avoid pain. It is for those willing to walk through the pain, believing God has called us to something better than our status quo of broken relationship.”

11. "Unreconciled conflict cannot rob us of the supernatural fruit—fruit that lasts—that Jesus harvests in our lives."

12. “Asking for forgiveness means making yourself vulnerable. Offering forgiveness does too.”

13. “Forgiveness costs the one who forgives, not the one who harmed. It costs them the satisfaction of retribution. It costs them the possibility of recouping their losses. It is lopsided. It is not fair. But it is godly.”

14. “Forgiveness is fundamentally lopsided. The debtor gains, and the creditor loses.”

15. "Our forgiveness of others isn't fundamentally about them. It doesn't flow from how they have responded to their sin against us. It flows from how God has responded to our sins against him."

16. “Forgiveness is an act of sacrifice, a willingness to take the loss without retaliation. And it is radically offensive to a world that cries out for retribution.”

"The good news of Jesus gives us hope. Broken relationships are not going to be our long-term norm." - @WendyAlsup

17. “The work of reconciliation is a two-way street: Neither offender nor offended can bear all of it. The weight of forgiveness, discussed in the last chapter, lies on the shoulders of the one who was harmed. But the weight of repairing the wrong lies on the shoulders of the one who did the harm."

18. “Forgiveness is not weakness, it is not forgetting, and it does not subvert true justice.”

19. "Not every relationship will be reconciled. It is possible to forgive those who do not see their need to be forgiven. It is possible to let go our need for revenge or payback and release the debt owed us by the one who harmed us.  But full reconciliationrepairing the foundation of a relationship to be fully reconciled requires more. The foundation has to be repaired.”

20. “The words ‘I forgive you’ are not synonymous with reconciliation with the one who wronged you. But those words do equip you for peace within yourself in a way that little else can.”

Wendy shares her own story, as well as profound lessons about reconciliation from the Old Testament story of Joseph and his family, in I Forgive You. Learn more from the author in the video below.

Categories: Christian Resources

New Reads: Roundup for Summer 2022

The Good Book Company - Tue, 12/04/2022 - 06:00

Summer is right around the corner! In preparation, enjoy this sneak peek at some of the books we’re releasing over the upcoming months.  

The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party by Joni Eareckson Tada The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party Storybook

Excite children with the truth about heaven and the new creation.

What to expect: This latest addition to the Tales that Tell the Truth series excites children with the truth about heaven and the new creation.

Extra tips: Free colouring sheets and other activities are available for download. Head to our website for recipes and tips on throwing your very own Forever Party for kids!

Available: May 1, 2022

Refreshed by John Hindley

What to expect: These 30 devotions from John Hindley are specifically designed to help you rest in the Lord’s goodness during your time away so that you can return home feeling refreshed both spiritually and physically.

Extra tips: You can pick and choose which devotions to read depending on the type of holiday you are on (for example, city break or beach), and there are optional family activities and questions linked to each devotion!

Available: May 1, 2022

His Grace is Enough by Melissa Kruger

What to expect: His Grace is Enough is the follow-up book to Melissa Kruger’s popular Wherever You Go, I Want You to Know. His Grace is Enough helps parents explain to children the wonderful news that Jesus offers forgiveness when we mess up and allows us to move on from our mistakes.

Extra tips: Melissa Kruger's first kid's book, Wherever You Go, I Want You To Know, will be released as a simplified board book for toddlers in August.

Available: May 1, 2022

Fanny Crosby: The Girl Who Couldn’t See But Helped the World to Sing by Laura Caputo-Wickham

What to expect: The Do Great Things For God series has a brand new member! This biographical book tells the story of Fanny Crosby, who was blind from infancy but grew up to write more than 8,000 hymns.

Extra tips: Each of the books in this series has free downloadable worksheets for 4-7s and 8-11s. Perfect for homeschooling!

Available: June 1, 2022

The Air We Breathe by Glen Scrivener The Air We Breathe

Discover the Christian roots of the values we prize in western society.

What to expect: As author Glen Scrivener says in his introduction: “The extraordinary impact of Christianity is seen in the fact that we don’t notice it.” The Air We Breathe argues that the teachings of Jesus not only turned the ancient world upside down, but continue to underpin the way we think of life, worth, and meaning.

Extra tips: This is a book for both believers and sceptics—giving Christians confidence to be open about their faith and showing non-Christians the ways in which the message of Jesus makes sense of their most cherished beliefs. 

Available: June 1, 2022

Ours by Eric Schumacher

What to expect: Ours is a 31-day devotional that gives biblical comfort and practical support to men processing miscarriage. This resource is similar to Abbey Wedgeworth’s Held, which aims to help women who are experiencing the sorrow of miscarriage.

Extra tips: Practical help on how to care both for themselves and for their family in the aftermath of miscarriage, as well as passages from Luke’s Gospel, are included.

Available: July 1, 2022

Draw Near: Your Creative Spiritual Journal by Sophie Killingley

What to expect: This bullet-style devotional journal from freelance artist Sophie Killingley brings a unique combination of creativity, reflection, and structure into your daily walk with God. 

Extra tips: Just like a bullet journal, Draw Near includes monthly, weekly, and daily sections, creative prompts, space for sermon notes and doodling, habit trackers, and blank dot pages for extra journaling, lists, or notes.

Available: August 1, 2022

Write It On Their Hearts by Chris Swain with Melissa Swain Write It On Their Hearts

Help and advice for Christian parents on how to be intentional with their time to lead their children to Jesus.

What to expect: Write It On Their Hearts is a practical guide that gives parents a systematic approach to discipleship. Author Chris Swain applies to the family context the principles of discipleship that Jesus teaches in Scripture. This will help you make the most of the time you have with your kids, to both lead them to Jesus and to encourage them to be like Jesus.

Bonuses: A personalizable family discipleship plan is included in the back of the book!

Extra tips: August 1, 2022

Into His Presence by Tim Chester

What to expect: Into His Presence is a collection of eighty theologically rich and beautifully written prayers and meditations, adapted from Puritan prayers and prose, that will enrich and deepen your prayer life.

Extra tips: While retaining the dignity and beauty of the original language, Tim Chester has updated key words and phrases, making the book accessible to modern readers.

Available: September 1, 2022

More to Come

Keep an eye out for more upcoming releases, such as 12 Things God Can’t Do by Nick Tucker and He Will Be Enough by Katie Faris.

Check our Coming Soon page regularly for information about all of our upcoming books!

Categories: Christian Resources

How Do I Share the Gospel?

The Good Book Company - Thu, 07/04/2022 - 06:00

Paul told Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5). We might consider that he’d say the same thing to us. We should take comfort in knowing that Timothy was a timid non-evangelist. But that comfort could diminish when we realise his shyness didn’t let him “off the hook". He was still to do that work—as difficult and as daunting as it may have seemed.

We make this “work” slightly less burdensome by valuing pre-evangelism and venturing into conversations with non-Christians about things we have in common with them—concerns about current events, shared interests, the weather, etc. But sooner or later, we need to transition from pre-evangelism to evangelism—the verbal proclamation of the unique gospel message. We need to shift from paving the way for the gospel to actually sharing the gospel.

How to share the gospel

We still must ask and answer the question, “How do I share the gospel?” I propose three crucial skills to hone: Thinking clearly about the gospel, choosing carefully the words we say, and praying expectantly for God’s empowering of our efforts.

Clear thinking

In our world today, it’s easy to get confused about the nature of our message. Many Christians speak about showing kindness to strangers, promoting social justice, giving cups of cold water to those who thirst and then add the tagline: “That’s the gospel!” While these activities are indeed very important—I might even say “non-negotiable”—they are not the gospel. They flow from the gospel, are the entailments of the gospel, and have deep connections to the gospel. But the term “the gospel” must be carefully guarded or, over time, it will mean almost nothing. The gospel is a very precise, verbal message—that God sent his Son to atone for sinners so that those who respond in faith may be saved. Let’s not blur the lines in our thinking about that unique proclamation.

Careful word choices

We also need to be thoughtful in choosing the right vocabulary when talking to people with different perspectives than ours. Paul asked the Colossians to pray that he would be clear in the way he preached the gospel (see Colossians 4:2-6). If he was concerned about clarity, so should we be. There must be ways to express the gospel that are not clear. Otherwise, Paul wouldn’t have raised the concern and asked for prayer for clarity. Jesus chose different words when he spoke to Nicodemus from the ones he used with the woman at the well. Paul chose different vocabulary in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch than he did on Mars Hill.

We need God to open blind eyes, soften hardened hearts, and raise people from spiritual death. And so, we must pray.

Sometimes our word choices need to be tailored to people’s level of education or fluency in our language. I once told someone about the juxtaposition of God’s love and my sin. My conversation partner looked puzzled. It didn’t help when I went on and on about how God loves people who rebel against him. I defined, explained, and illustrated what I meant by God, love, and sin. My friend finally asked, “What’s a juxtaposition?”

Whichever words we select, we need to include four essential topics:

  1. God is both holy and loving.
  2. People are created in God’s image but are also sinful.
  3. Jesus died and rose again.
  4. Everyone needs to respond with both repentance and faith.

Depending on who we’re talking to, any or all of these words may need defining: God, holy, loving, people, God’s image, sinful, Jesus, died, rose again, everyone, repentance, faith. Don’t be surprised if this requires numerous conversations.

Expectant prayer

Evangelism occurs at the intersection of what we do and what only God can do. We speak, ask questions, draw diagrams, quote scripture, etc. But we need God to open blind eyes, soften hardened hearts, and raise people from spiritual death (see Ephesians 2:1). And so, we must pray—before, during, and after we evangelize. Beforehand, we pray for God to open doors. During gospel conversations, we pray for God to grant us wisdom and to draw lost people to himself. Afterwards, we pray for God to continue the process long after we stop talking.

Evangelism occurs at the intersection of what we do and what only God can do.

How do we share the gospel? Thoughtfully, preparedly, prayerfully, expectantly, humbly, dependently, and joyfully. While this all may seem difficult, we should rejoice that God chooses to work through timid Timothys… like us.

Categories: Christian Resources

Free Resources Roundup

The Good Book Company - Tue, 05/04/2022 - 06:00

At The Good Book Company, we have the privilege of creating and publishing biblical, relevant and accessible resources to encourage you and your church family to keep going, keep growing and keep sharing your faith.

Many of these resources are books you can purchase—but there are also free resources to help you use these books as tools as you teach, counsel, and come alongside others.

Here are a few highlights of some of the free resources we’re offering. We hope they’re a help to you.

Free Small-Group Resources

Many of our books are a great fit for group study or discussion. We offer free resources to make it easier for you to lead groups through many of these books. Browse below for examples.

Free Artwork + Bible Memory Aids

Some books feature memorable quotes or reflections on the Bible that you might like to display and dwell on. We offer posters of some quotes from books, as well as prayer cards you could print and use as prompts and memory aids. For example:

Free Worksheets and Colouring Sheets for Kids

Kids especially benefit from engaging with Bible-centred books in a variety of ways. That’s why we offer colouring and activity books, as well as free colouring sheets for many kid’s books. Some books, such as A Jesus Easter by Barbara Reaoch, include journalling pages. We offer a free PDF of these pages if you’d like to print copies so that multiple children can participate. 

Do Great Things For God Series, which features biographies of godly women for kids, is supported by free biography worksheets for 4-8s and 8-11s. Just visit each book’s page to download these and help your kids dig more into these powerful testimonies. 

Some books, such as Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer by Laura Wifler or The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party by Joni Eareckson Tada, are especially suited for hands-on learning through crafts, games, printout journals, and more. 

Free Lesson Plans for Homeschool and Sunday School

While we do offer a 6-session curriculum based on the bestselling book The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross, several of our children’s books also have shorter free lesson plans to help you teach a kid’s Sunday School class or homeschool session on the topic of the book. Use these free full-size illustrations to read the stories live while projecting the pictures on a big screen, or play one of these free video read-throughs as part of your lesson. 

Categories: Christian Resources

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