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in this section:
Follow
The Spirit Of Grace
The Vicar's FAQ
Storytelling
What Are We Doing On Earth For Christ's Sake
Beginning Again
How To Explain Your Faith
Living Reconciliation
Choices Of The Chosen
Getting Into God
Pathway To God's Presence
God, Where Are You?
Introduction To The Spiritual Life
Vanishing Grace
Plowed Under
Lord And Saviour: Jesus Of Nazereth
The Reason for My Hope
40 Days with Jesus
Taking God Seriously
The Preaching Life
The Utter Relief Of Holiness
Grill a Christian
Tending The Mustard Seed
God Speaks
Love Hurts
Old Paths
Invest Your Suffering
Choose Joy
Weakness Is The Way
The Living God
What the Bible Reveals About Heaven
How to be a bad Christian
Equipping The Believer
Discernment
The Art of Not Getting Lost On the Way Home
Boundless
Mud and the Masterpiece
It Is Finished
Freeing Tangled Hearts
Living Faithfully
The Utter Relief of Holiness
The God of Intimacy and Action
King's Cross
God Told Me
Myth Busted!
Risen
2:52 Learning to Grow on Purpose
Suffering and the Christian Life
Servant Ministry
The Evangelical Universalist
Truth Unchanged, Unchanging
The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life
Operation Screwtape
Grace Transforming
Desperate for Hope
Hosting the Presence
Jesus the Son of God
Life-changing Bible Verses You Should Know
Immortal Diamond
Jesus and Peter
Good to Great in God's Eyes
Learning to Be You
What is Evangelicalism?
The Amazing Cross
The Heart of L'Arche
Joy
There Must Be More Than This…
The Seeker's Catechism
Living Evangelization
Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day
'Tell Me About the Holy Spirit'
God's Words of Comfort
The Last Word
Broken Works Best
A Shot of Faith - To The Head
Connected
Heaven is Now
Jesus: The Seven Wonders of HIStory
An Invitation to the Supernatural Life
Totally Forgiving God
Hawking, Dawkins and God
Worship
What Jesus is Doing Now
Lord...Help My Unbelief
To Cease or Not to Cease
God in the Dark
Spirit Wars
Glorious Mess
A Practical Christianity
Repair My House
How to be a Bad Christian......And a Better Human Being
The Most Misused Verses In The Bible
The Eucharist
Grace
Epiphanies of the Ordinary
The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare - Discover How To Recognize Spiritual Attack
The Prodigal Father
Faith Hope Love and Everything in Between
30 Days – A Thirty-day Practical Introduction to Reading the Bible
The Reason For God


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Learning about Faith

For those developing their faith and those wishing to restore and renew faith.

Follow

- Walking in the Dust of the Rabbi

by Joseph Gisbey


This book grabbed my attention from the opening sentence. Joseph writes 'This is a book about what I believe it means to follow Jesus, to really be a disciple'. But it is not the usual sort of 'discipleship' book. The author has thoroughly researched the world and culture in which Jesus lived and the way in which He lived out His life as a rabbi in that world. There are fascinating insights into the Greek worldview followed by a chapter each on the beliefs and lifestyle of the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Zealots and the Pharisees. In the concluding chapters we are faced with the challenge of following Jesus - of becoming 'like Him' - within our own cultures. I warmly recommend this book.

Review by Jackie Rowe  (18/01/16)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: May 2015
ISBN: 978-0-232-53165-7
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Spirit Of Grace

- Christian Belief For Everyone Series

by Alister McGrath


Grace meets us where we are but isn't content to leave us there. The spirit of grace is the invitation to life for every believer, here is a compact theological rummage into the specificity and beauty of this! McGrath's five volume series with SPCK is worth having and this forms part of this but is easily a stand alone volume. Spirit, humanity and Gods character lie at the heart of Alistair McGraths exploration here. Full of pace and possibility to stretch and renew your faith however young or old it may be. This has much source content, reaching into scripture, the early Fathers and our own experience.  

Where grace intersects with our 'courteous God' and how McGrath elevates and honours the gathered church as a growing context for grace, felt some of the most significant offerings in this title. 

These are powerful ideas that lie at the heart of the uniqueness of our faith. It's and enabling and expansive little volume, well worth the time.



Review by Johnny Douglas  (19/10/15)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: December 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-06839-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Vicar's FAQ

- All You Ever Wanted To Know About Christianity And The Church

by Caroline Symcox


Ordination to the role of public ministry holds a public interest, and this is a critical help to our cultural engagement with vestments, process, and some of the Anglican way. The Vicar's FAQ is a clear, contemporary introduction to the Christian faith through the lens of the anglican church.

It's an attractive concept that marries content and passion, quirks and methodology. In places the gospel and the historic formularies of the faith entrusted to gospel ministry feel somewhat lacking. Yet there's plenty of easily-digested detail, story and examples, with a nice pace and interest level. Its got a reference quality, with a accessible feel to it.

It does somewhat feel as though you are hearing your local, middle-of-the-road, very likeable Vicar answer questions from a GSCE church visit. And that's what it is..... A bitesize gift. A valid lens on the life of an—albeit somewhat stereotypical—Church of England vicar. Earthy wisdom, fresh summaries and more than a dash of fun!



Review by Johnny Douglas  (10/07/15)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-0-232-53022-3
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Storytelling

- Sharing The Gospel With Passion And Power

by Martin Goldsmith


All over the world, a good story is always well received. The Gospel is the greatest story ever told but sometimes Christians are not sure how to tell it.

Martin Goldsmith learnt through his time as a missionary that people responded to stories and he discovered the way to deliver Jesus' message within the context of stories of the peoples he served. 

This book will be useful for those who love to interact with people of other faiths. Martin highlights how we must understand other cultures and adapt to their worldview when telling the Gospel. He tells stories from other faiths which demonstrate they way they think and respond.

This book is a good eye opener as to how to use stories to engage people unfamiliar with Jesus, and should be a springboard for those interacting with other faiths to research and use even more stories to tell the message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.



Review by Catherine Clark  (26/06/15)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1-783-59155-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

What Are We Doing On Earth For Christ's Sake



by Richard Leonard


From a throw-away ‘cuss-line' by a Catholic ‘doubting Thomas' on a plane, this moving book's three ‘chapters' each cover a dozen or more subjects.

BELIEF AND UNBELIEF is a compassionate approach to the dialogue between atheism and belief, their limitations, similarities and differences, with sections on science and religion and other faiths. 

QUESTIONS OF FAITH deals sensitively with stumbling blocks such as contradictions and apparent inaccuracies in the Bible, God's ‘heartlessness' in sending his Son to suffer and die, child abuse and its cover-up, the role and misuse of religion in wars, and many others.

WITNESSES OF FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE is a moving account of the lives of known and less known Christians, some canonised, some not; all seen in a no-holds-barred manner, at times hilarious, astonishing and deeply moving. 

The whole book is thought-provoking and honest, at times showing a strong Australian humour by a master story teller who ‘walks the talk'. It now has an established place on my bookshelf.


Review by Tony Shepherd  (02/06/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Paulist Press distributed by Columba Press
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 978-0-809-14902-5
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Beginning Again

- On The Christian Journey

by John Pritchard


Let's face it. Many of us Christians feel we have lost something of the vitality we had when we first set foot on that path, and we would like to recover it. John Pritchard wrote this book—which I'm happy now to see reissued—for people like us, and it provides plenty of helpful advice and encouragement for the reader who regrets the dimming of the spark of faith. 

Written in Pritchard's usual lucid and often humorous style, here are suggestions that will enrich prayer life, such as imaginative prayer, ‘taking a walk with God', meditation and silence. The next chapter, on approaches to the Bible, is equally constructive, introducing the Benedictine and the Ignatian methods, the Swedish and the African methods of Bible study. True, none of these things is new, but it's good to have them listed in such a clear way.  
 
Having discussed how to make a fresh start with prayer and with the Bible, Pritchard then tackles difficulties experienced with the Church, asking what it's for and what our role in it is? Finally, he addresses the question of a Christian lifestyle. 

You don't have to stay in the spiritual doldrums. There are things you can do and changes you can make in your attitudes and practice. I'm sure this book will stir you to take action!


Review by Barry Vendy  (05/05/15)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: June 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-07256-9
Paperback
Price: £10.99

How To Explain Your Faith



by John Pritchard


Talking to other people about one's Christian faith can be exciting or extremely challenging. For most people the challenge seems too great and we look for the easy way out, realising we are not gifted evangelists!

However, Scripture exhorts us to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15)

Many books have been written telling us how to do it and how easy it is whilst most of us find that it isn't. Here is yet another, but one with a new and creative approach.

John Pritchard has a long experience of ministry in the Anglican Church and focuses his book, not on the things we think we should be saying, but rather on the questions people are likely to ask and how we might respond.

The book is in three parts—Why Bother?, Why Believe?, and Why Get Involved?  Each chapter is set out in an imaginative and accessible format, beginning with the things people say and going on to identify the key issue and the way one might respond. There are also thought provoking stories and some pithy quotes in each chapter. 

At the end there is a section on how to use the book in a home group which is, perhaps, the value of the author's approach to the subject. Used individually it is obviously a worthwhile read, but used with a group it could help transform a church's outreach to the community it serves.



Review by Graham Wise  (23/03/15)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: 20 November 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-07254-5
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Living Reconciliation



by Phil Groves & Angharad Parry Jones


Can there be a more urgent need in God’s world today than for reconciliation? The brokenness of the world, of systems, nations, communities and individuals is subject to constant analysis and reflection. As Justin Welby makes clear in his introduction, reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel; in many respects reconciliation is the gospel. Yet for Jesus this never involved ignoring conflict, for it is in the recognition of conflict that we will always find the seeds of reconciliation. It begins with listening.

This book seeks to explore what the gospel offers today’s broken world in the light of the Anglican Communion’s own challenges with conflict and the Indaba process the church embarked upon as part of its own journey of reconciliation. The wisdom in the book is all the more powerful for being grounded in the tough reality of real, not imagined, disagreements of the most profound kind.

Eight chapters take us on a journey that explores stories of conflict, both biblical and contemporary. The apostle Peter – so often the perfect disciple to accompany us on journeys of self-examination - takes a central role. Each chapter ends with prayer and challenging questions for further exploration, whether individually or as part of a group. A website contains more follow up resources with downloads, videos, a blog and more. The book is also available in a Kindle edition.

At the heart of Living Reconciliation lies the Indaba process and its focus on creative conversations grounded in love. This is no easy option as the themes of uncertainty, power and risk that flow through the book make clear.

Excellent and inspiring though it is, it is less obvious how the book might be used at local church level. Individuals will be inspired by it perhaps to explore conflict resolution training for themselves; congregations experiencing deep conflict however, may find it more useful to employ external assistance than use a resource such as this.

Website: www.living-reconciliation.org

Review by David Ford  (28/03/15)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-07226-2
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Choices Of The Chosen

- Lessons From Israel's Shepherd King

by Marty Berglund


This volume offers some constructive lessons for Christian living. Their model is the life of King David, based on some Psalms and passages from 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. If our hearts are to be open to God, as David’s was (imperfect as some of his choices may have been), that means focusing on God in trust, humility and obedience. Readers who wish to receive more of God’s anointing on their lives will find much to help them in this book. Chapters I found particularly helpful include those on waiting on God (‘not waiting on the Lord is far worse than waiting’), on handling anger and on the importance of friendship and belonging to a small fellowship group. I just have these two reservations: opinions will differ on whether all the Psalms being quoted are actually by David; and the book contains a number of unnecessary errors, both of spelling and of grammar.



Review by Barry Vendy  (28/03/15)
Jacket
Publisher: CLC Wholesale
Published: 08 February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-619-58056-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Getting Into God

- Practical Guidelines For The Christian Life

by Stuart Briscoe


This is a practical book that aims to help Christians improve their spiritual life in three areas: Bible study, prayer and witnessing.

Pastor Stuart Briscoe writes in an engaging, personal style, but this does not mean that what he says is shallow. The sections on Bible study and prayer are particularly good, giving a great deal of wise advice. He clearly explains why reading the Bible is so important and how to go about it. He encourages us to buy and read good commentaries like Matthew Henry. He shows from the scriptures how to pray and what to pray for, highlighting the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The longest section is on witnessing and, although he makes many good observations, its not as strong as the rest of the book. This is because he talks of conversion as a commitment rather than a work of God. This leads him to overemphasise what we can do rather than what God must do. Yes, we plant and water, but God, and God alone, gives the increase.

That said, I do recommend this book especially for Christians young in the faith. There is also food for thought for preachers - they will find, as a by-product of reading this book, many suggestions for sermon outlines on the three subjects covered.



Review by Alan Hill  (28/02/15)
Jacket
Publisher: CLC Wholesale
Published: January 2014
ISBN: 978-1-619-58152-4
Paperback
Price: £7.50

Pathway To God's Presence



by Tom Elliff


This short book is aimed at those who feel they have lost the sense of God's presence in their lives and who wish to restore it. Each chapter is based on the experiences of Moses and the children of Israel as found in the latter part of the book of Exodus.

Tom Elliff writes in a simple engaging style with an evident heart that we may know more of the Lord in our lives.

There is much that is helpful in this book, especially the emphasis on self examination for sin, prayer, Bible reading and keeping the Lord's Day. However I found some of his applications from Exodus a little mystical. For instance he suggests that when God is at work in a mighty way in someone's life we can see it in their countenance. Ultimately we believe that God is present in our lives by faith not by sight.



Review by Alan Hill  (16/02/15)
Jacket
Publisher: CLC Wholesale
Published: January 2014
ISBN: 978-1-619-58156-2
Paperback
Price: £6.99

God, Where Are You?



by Enzo Bianchi


This is the second book of a series which began with Words of Spirituality: Exploring the Inner Life. Described by Rowan Williams as ‘one of the most significant Christian voices in Europe', Fr Enzo Bianchi is the founder of the Bose community in northern Italy. This is an ecumenical community of both men and women established in 1965 when Bianchi was a layman.

His argument is epitomised by the phrase:

‘God, where are you?' we cry.
‘Where are you?' cries God.

The author argues that the story of God is that of his relationship with his people. He exemplifies this by looking at the patriarchs of the Old Testament: questioning our certainties as did Abraham, suffering like Jacob and being discourage as was Moses. He further looks at Elijah in the wilderness and the vocation of Isaiah.

Bianchi then continues by looking at the person of Jesus—God became man—so that man can become truly man. He reads through the Bible identifying key passages showing the relationship between humanity and God and concludes:

‘Indeed, the God of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah and Isaiah, the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, dwells in his community and in each one of us, if in faith and love we can recognize ourselves as his children and as brothers and sisters of one another, that is, we can love one another as Jesus has loved us.'



Review by Jon Mayled  (24/11/14)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-06959-0
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Introduction To The Spiritual Life



by Louis Bouyer


This republished work of Louis Bouyer, a Catholic priest and theologian who was influential at Vatican II, takes a wide-angle lens to the spiritual life of the Catholic. Bouyer deals with the essentials of all Christian’s spiritual lives—Scripture, prayer, asceticism, the sacraments.

Bouyer contends that the upward trajectory of all spiritual life moves toward the mystic life, and in his last chapter lays out clearly what Christian mysticism is, when confronted with the rise in both psychological theories of religion and syncretism between world religions.

On the way, Bouyer very helpfully takes the reader through the kaleidoscope of different prayers and their usefulness to the believer, through the necessity of the sacraments, and spends a number of chapters elucidating asceticism and making clear how all are called to the life of the ascetic even when not called to the monastery.

Reading as a Protestant, some of the language used takes some time to get used to, and some of the theology is different from what might normally be comfortable. However, Bouyer provides great depth and clarity when it comes to understanding the ascetic call of all Christians, and of particular note what the way in which Bouyer explains the sacraments in a way that forces the mind upon Christ. Whilst not always an easy read, the rewards for perseverance are well worth it.



Review by Tim Goodall  (11/10/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-0-870-61281-7
Paperback
Price: £11.99

Vanishing Grace

- What Ever Happened To The Good News

by Philip Yancey


Philip Yancey really needs no introduction and he has a habit of dealing with the tough subjects in a down to earth, honest, insightful and helpful way.

In this, his newest book, he turns to yet again to a tough subject and asks why it is that the church sometimes has a habit of managing to put out such a negative image, and so polarise a majority of our modern society.

In some ways this book almost felt like an American companion to a a book Dave Tomlinson wrote a long while ago, and that has been re-released as an SPCK Classic, 'The Post Evangelical'. Yancey is here looking at how Christianity now fits within what is largely a post-christian culture and so has to deal with a set of circumstances beyond that which it is comfortable with. Society has changed and in some ways the Church has not kept up with that. Yancey asks the painful but necessary question of whether it is the Church or Society that is out of tune and out of step, and he does it thoroughly leaving no tricky subject alone.

This is above all a book about Grace, and I would say a book about hospitality and outreach too—key Christian faith agenda's that might just be being overlooked and yet if embraced would see the 'Good News' flourish.

This is a must read book, but it is likely not a comfortable read for many who would not want to engage with society as it actually is but would instead prefer it to conform in a way it's unlikely ever to do.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (25/10/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1-444-78901-0
Large paperback
Price: £12.99

Plowed Under



by Amy Carmichael


This book is a re-publication of a book originally published in 1934 as 'Ploughed Under: The story of a little lover'. I have always enjoyed Amy Carmichael's books and re-reading this was, for me, a feast of good things.

It tells the story of Star, a high-caste Hindu child in Southern India over a hundred years ago. Star was only ten but she was full of questions which not even her beloved father could answer. Questions such as 'Who of all the gods was the God of gods, the Sovereign God, the Creator? Who was the greatest of the many gods they worshipped? Was it Siva?' She longed for a God who would change her disposition and who she could love and adore.

Then, one day, in March 1899, a group of missionaries, came to preach the gospel in her village and as Star visited the well to draw water she heard one sentence which transformed her life: 'There is a living God: he turned me, a lion, into a lamb.' She sensed immediately that He was the one she was seeking and when she returned home she refused to worship Siva or any of the other gods.

From this remarkable beginning, we go on to read the story of her childhood and teen years, her growth in grace and her protection and preservation through much opposition and many trials.  Amy Carmichael's writing style is unique and somewhat old-fashioned. Sometimes it is rather opaque but reading it is well worth the effort.

It has encouraged me to keep trusting God in hard times and to keep on praying even when the answer seems a long time coming. 



Review by Jackie Rowe  (04/10/14)
Jacket
Publisher: CLC Wholesale
Published: July 2013
ISBN: 978-1-619-58082-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Lord And Saviour: Jesus Of Nazereth

- Christian Belief For Everyone Series

by Alister McGrath


The Lordship of Jesus is never more important theologically and this is top-class summary that helps all with compelling conviction about the uniqueness of Jesus.

 

McGrath is a consummate guide in this accessible sweep of goodness, glory and grace of Jesus. The beauty, meaning and significance of God incarnate is well explored here. Some of the big theological rocks in the faith are covered well here, but it's the incarnation particular that for me gets best exploration in this exploration of the identity of Jesus. 

 

Creedal roots, aspects of Marks gospel, and compact gospel precision make for a great project by SPCK and McGrath together. It reads with the compactness of twitter and the faithfulness of Jesus, the "joy of every longing heart." What’s not to love about this!

 



Review by Johnny Douglas  (19/06/14)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: April 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-06837-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Reason for My Hope

- Salvation

by Billy Graham


If you are given any book by Billy Graham I believe it should be read with care and with respect.

This book supersedes all others he has written. Why? Simply because it contains the thoughts and wisdom of a man who has lived his faith, pronounced his faith and remained true to his faith over seven decades.

There are few people in this world who command the respect that Billy Graham does whether you adhere to his faith or agree with him or not. Presidents and world leaders respect him and thus his words hold merit and value.

Billy Graham's invitation is to offer everyone rescue from the world's gospel to God's Gospel. This book accomplishes this by looking at Hope: hope for us, hope for our families, hope for our world.

The book is grounded in the Bible and Billy Graham uses the Bible effectively in demonstrating where true hope is found.

There are many good examples that support Billy Graham's premise. Although for a UK reader some of the US references may be not fully understood but this does not detract from the message.

This is a good book for someone who is exploring God and the Christian faith as it is not a one-dimensional book but has depth and should make any reader consider and question.

For the Christian I think this is an excellent book to read, reminding ourselves of the Great Hope which our faith extends to us all.



Review by Catherine Clarke  (27/05/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-0-849-92204-6
Paperback
Price: £9.99

40 Days with Jesus



by Dave Smith


Dave Smith, Senior Pastor of the thriving Kings Gate Community Church, Peterborough, presents 40 Days with Jesus. Focusing on the 40-day post-resurrection period during which a number of key biblical figures had life-transforming encounters with the risen Christ, Dave explores how these teach us much about our identity in Christ and God's desire to empower us to live life as he intended.

They remind us of all that Christ won for us through his death, resurrection and ascension, and fill us with hope for the future.



Review by x  (07/05/14)
Jacket
Publisher: CWR (Crusade for World Revival)
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-1-782-59138-2
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Taking God Seriously

- Vital things we need to know

by J I Packer


J I Packer who is a Professor of Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, puts forward in his new book Taking God Seriously, that catechesis is vital for teaching and understanding Christianity. Catechesis defines the orderly instruction in the truths by which Christians are called to live. The author claims that this intentional and orderly instruction has largely fallen out of use in recent days and its use should once again become a vital part of Christian teaching. Packer claims that there are many ways of catechising but whichever form is used, be it one-to-one, or group discussion and question and answer sessions, the Bible calls it simply teaching or discipling. Without it Christians are undernourished and spiritually sluggish. By examining various aspects of Christianity, Christian Unity, Repentance, The Church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and posing questions at the end of each chapter, the author hopes that his work will ground Christians more firmly in their faith and stir them out of their sluggishness.

Review by George Taylor  (10/04/14)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-844-74609-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Preaching Life

- Living Out Your Vocation

by Barbara Brown Taylor


Barbara Brown Taylor wrote this book back in 1993 and it was re-released in 2013. In spite of the 20 years that have passed since this book was first written, it is timeless; timeless in its content and in its reality of learning to deal with—and in fact live out—a vocation, in her case one of preaching.

This book is lyrical in it's prose, with some wonderful moments that all on their own can be taken out and used as meditations and contemplations—both for the individual considering their call to a vocation, or within a group setting of people who all have a vocation to live.

Indeed each chapter of this book is a small sermon preached. But this is done in the most gentle and insightful way, that echoes with the reader long past the page turned or book laid down.

Without a doubt I really think this book deserved this reprint and the only sadness I have is that the quality of the print in this book. This lets it down due to, I assume, being a facsimile reprint, thus leaving it slightly faint and fractured in places, and making it a little harder to read than could be wished for when the content and words are so bold and beautiful.

Despite this though I still consider this a book well worth reading.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (18/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: July 2013
ISBN: 978-1-848-25318-6
Paperback
Price: £12.99

The Utter Relief Of Holiness

- How God's Goodness Frees Us from Everything That Plagues Us

by John Eldredge


There is a freshness, energy and insight about the love of Jesus, freedom and holiness. Eldredge engages with motive while usefully addressing the surprise and way of holiness. Here we are offered a number of simple identifiable goals that would make it possible for us to be more 'whole and holy'. Helpful but far from complete.

This is probably the biggest print mainstream copy of a new release on the market. But that irritation aside, here is a book that explores the beauty of the genuine goodness available to us in Jesus Christ, and guides the reader through the process whereby God fashions us in the pattern of His love. My only theological struggle was not the goal of holiness so much as the lack of focus on Jesus and what is resolved in His finished work. Readers may be relieved albeit partially through this book.



Review by Johnny Douglas  (29/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: January 2014
ISBN: 978-1-444-70328-3
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Grill a Christian

- Answers to tough questions

by Roger Carswell


Wouldn't you just love to grab a Christian, sit them down in the hot seat and grill them mercilessly on the tough questions about God, the Bible and the world? There are the tricky questions that everyone asks, like 'Why does God allow suffering?' and 'How can a God of love send people to Hell?' Or perhaps you have more specific ones, such as 'Who did Cain marry?' 'Was Jesus really born by a virgin?' and 'Does God care about my carbon footprint?' In Grill a Christian, international speaker and author Roger Carswell gives straightforward, no-nonsense answers from the Bible to these burning questions and many more. If you have ever wished you could have your question about God answered, or perhaps people ask you and you re not sure what to say, then this book is for you it probably has the answer!

Review by x  (31/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: 10Publishing from CLC Wholesale
Published: April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-906-17311-1
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Tending The Mustard Seed

- Living The Faith In Today's World

by Dennis J Billy


Numerous books have been written about faith. Here is yet another, but this one is well worth a look. Why? Because it tackles some real issues about what it means to live a life of faith in today's secular world. What does it mean to be called by God to a life of faith? How does faith respond in the face of suffering? How does it respond to issues of sickness and healing? What does it mean to live in a community of faith? Beginning with a quotation from Hebrews 11:1 Dennis Billy begins by posing some basic questions such as "Am I a person of faith? If so, what do I believe and how do I live it? Am I aware of my beliefs? Can I identify them? What do they mean to me? How does my daily life reflect them? Am I willing to act on them? Am I willing to die for them? What do I truly believe? What shapes my actions and gives meaning to my life?" These questions set the tone for the book and the journey begins with a chapter on the Call of Faith followed by The Gift of Faith. Five more follow looking at Faith and Reason; Faith and Prayer; Faith and Suffering; Faith and Healing; and The Community of Faith. Billy concludes with some reflection on Living the Faith in Today's World. Each chapter is based on a biblical text or paragraph and concludes with some reflection questions and a prayer. The book could be used in one's personal devotional life, or it would make a very helpful study guide for small groups. That the author is a Roman Catholic priest should definitely not put off Protestants!

Review by Graham Wise  (17/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: New City
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-565-48475-7
Paperback
Price: £8.95

God Speaks

- Hearing, Connecting, Relating

by Rich Aldritt and Ash Carter


The authors do not claim that you will find any groundbreaking revelations in this book, rather it is the book they wanted and could not find, that explains clearly and logically how God speaks to us and how we can hear Him. A perfect basis for future study - with a suggested list of further reading at the end - it uses a simple diagram that is built up as the book progresses, showing how God, the infinite and perfect Creator, relates to us, finite and fallen creatures, through Jesus, the Bible and the Holy Spirit, and how all of these elements are interconnected and interdependent. There is no fence-sitting in this book! It is firmly based on God's Word and nothing else, and the language is straightforward without being patronising or over-simplistic. I thoroughly recommend God Speaks for new and growing Christians, as well as those who feel that they may have become detached from the foundations of their faith.

Review by Diane Morrison  (13/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-844-74841-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Love Hurts

- The Heart of The Christian Story

by Alan J Spence


Christ's saving love is deeply manifest in this slim title. The grit of Christian discipleship is powerfully rooted here as the gospel gets faithfully unpacked. The detail of justice and judgement was particularly excellent as was the divine purpose and human will paradox section, concerning first move initiative.

I'd have loved more longevity and a substantive conclusion that landed the implications and application of Spence's faithful systematics and thematic exegesis. This is worth the work.

Just as Rob Bell's popularist Love Wins might be considered accessible, this title is all the more accurate! An essential pastoral reader.



Review by Johnny Douglas  (15/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Paternoster Press imprint of Authentic Media
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-1-842-27810-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Old Paths



by J C Ryle


J C Ryle was an evangelical Church of England minister of the 19th century who eventually became the first Bishop of Liverpool.

During his life he became best known for writing tracts on a range of subjects. This book, first published in 1873, is a collection of nineteen such booklets. The common theme is the essential truths of the Christian faith - the old paths. The subjects covered include: Our Sins, Forgiveness, The Cross of Christ, Conversion, Faith and The Holy Spirit

This book is a model of good communication and preaching. The language is simple. The sentences are short. The theology is biblical. The truth is applied in a simple and pointed way.

There are only a few books that, in my opinion, every Christian should read and this is one of them. Buy it, read it and you will not be disappointed.



Review by Alan Hill  (15/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: June 2013
ISBN: 978-1-848-71227-0
Hardback
Price: £18.99

Invest Your Suffering

- Unexpected Intimacy With A Loving God

by Paul Mallard


Wow, what a brilliant book that deals with an issue that probably is at the heart of most of the trouble people have with faith, or is a major cause of rejecting it - the issue of suffering. It's hard to believe and understand that a loving God can and would allow suffering, and for those that have never been there the rote words often said to those going through or witnessing such suffering can seem shallow - and yet they are heartfelt and well meant. For those that have been there sometimes the words to utter to help others are hard to find as the pain is deep and the awareness keen that each person's suffering is different but yet similar. Mallard in this book lays this honestly on the table and tries to journey through and share the conclusions and answers he has found through his family's suffering. He points out that suffering is not experienced alone, but that we see and find in it an intimacy with a God that journeys through that pain with us, and in that suffering gain an ability in turn to experience an intimacy with not only our God but with other people too. For me this book is up there with Philip Yancey's Where is God When It Hurts - an essential book to give to anyone struggling with suffering.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: September 2013
ISBN: 978-1-783-59006-3
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Choose Joy

- Because Happiness Isn't Enough

by Joy Warren


Kay Warren has written this challenging and searingly honest book to help us face up to a surprising fact: joy is a choice. She believes that we can find joy in spite of hard circumstances and in the middle of painful situations. We learn how to nurture joy in ourselves, but I especially enjoyed the chapter about nurturing joy in others. Kay is honest about her own weaknesses and failures and hard times so this is not a triumphalistic book. It is, however, full of hope. Kay writes specifically for women but I think men, too, would benefit from her wisdom.

Visit the author's website:kaywarren.com/

Review by Jackie Rowe  (04/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: June 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-72177-0
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Weakness Is The Way

- Life With Christ Our Strength

by J I Packer


This is a helpful series of meditations on verses drawn from 2 Corinthians. The aim of the book is to illustrate the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:10 "when I am weak then I am strong". He shows that the way of true spiritual strength is the humble way of consciously recognising that we are weak in spiritual things. It is only in Christ that we are strong.

The three main chapters apply this truth to three areas: the Christian's calling, the Christian's giving, the Christian's hoping.

Mr Packer writes in his usual clear, pastoral way. He especially draws on his own experience of getting older and physically weaker. Those who know they are weak will find encouragement here. Those who do not realise they are weak will come to see the deep spiritual truth of Paul's words. This book is well worth reading.



Review by Alan Hill  (04/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-844-74871-6
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Living God

- (Christian Belief For Everyone)

by Alister McGrath


This is the second book in the Christian Belief for Everyone series that explores the basic ideas of the Christian faith. In this volume Alister McGrath looks at the nature of God exploring the well known words "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth".

The author takes us gently by the hand and leads us into an exploration of the nature of the Godhead. He writes in a conversational style explaining deep truths in an understandable way. The book is packed with helpful illustrations and interesting quotes from the great Christian theologians.

Many subjects are covered including the nature of God, the problem of evil and the Trinity. His answers are usually sure footed and in line with mainstream Christian teaching.

There were a couple of times when Mr McGrath's clear thinking lets him down. He seems to accept that we can address God as "she" ignoring the Biblical evidence. He also accepts the Big Bang theory without question and fails to answer the question of why and when death came into the world. Aside from these quibbles this is an excellent book that is well worth reading.



Review by Alan Hill  (31/10/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: September 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-06835-7
Paperback
Price: £8.99

What the Bible Reveals About Heaven



by Daniel A Brown


This is an interesting book looking into the subject of heaven. It is rooted in Scripture rather than speculation and this alone makes it worth reading.

Each chapter sets out to answer a number of questions that are commonly asked ranging from "Do pets go to heaven?" to "Will I have a body?"¯ In between the author covers the fundamental issues of the nature of heaven and who will be there.

Daniel Brown takes his time in answering each question sharing anecdotes and illustrations before quoting a Scripture and reaching a conclusion. His choice of verses and his exposition is sometimes limited. On some issues the alert Bible student will see holes in his arguments. This applies in particular to his views on the nature of man.

Overall this is an edifying read. He paints a vivid picture of the joys of heaven. I like how he ends: "The whole point of eternal life is to know God and his Son."



Review by Alan Hill  (07/10/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: August 2013
ISBN: 978-1-780-78101-3
Paperback
Price: £8.99

How to be a bad Christian

- ... and a better human being

by Dave Tomlinson


Honest, intelligent, articulate, insightful and with an air of urbane wisdom this book really shines for me. I can see it stinging some because it is not for those Christians that honestly believe they are on the right track but rather for those Christians that aren't sure they are on track at all - and yet are there walking the talk more than perhaps many others might be.

This book shines in a way that others don't because it highlights the fact that Christ came for sinners, that he ate with sinners, mixed with sinners and was an outsider of his time - as were many other folks we meet in the Bible. Tomlinson excels at showing that in order to be good Christians we do in effect walk the edges of being 'Bad' Christians in the eyes of some religious people, but when we do this we become better people. We live with the heart of Christ and we act with the wisdom of the Spirit, reaching out and including those who others might reject, ourselves included!

Above all it's an easy to read and understand book that's about being a real Christian, a Christian that at the heart of it might not be perfect, might even be bad in some ways, but one who is committed, engaged and walking their faith despite all of this. It's a book that opens Christianity to those outside it, on the fringes of it and just as importantly to those already inside it. A brilliant book and one perfect for any seeker or those looking to better understand their own faith from the inside out.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (03/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: August 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-70383-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Equipping The Believer



by David Corbin


An easy to read book that looks at some of the doctrines and practices of the church not so much from a theological or doctrinal stance (in as much as that is possible) but rather from a biblical basis. Thus for example fasting is looked at both from an old and new perspective, but it is pointed out that Jesus never actually talks about fasting as such, though it goes on to say that it is mentioned in the epistles - however fasting should not be seen as a New Testament idea but rather as something we do to come closer to God... I'm not so sure that in stating this, amongst other things, that the author actually achieves his stated aim on the back of the book about "sharing the same information with believers again... not based on authorial opinion".  However, that aside, the book is an interesting read and does look at the biblical basis of many common activities we find within the church and therefore is likely to be a help for many people wanting to understand more of why we do what we do and where the original basis for it comes from.

One point worth flagging though, is that at the beginning of the book the author waves his copyright stating the work is "God Inspired" and encourages distribution of the book or parts thereof to others. Beware as the publishers might have a different view and state on the title page that "no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher" so it might be worth clarifying with them whether the author's statements count as the written permission of the publisher before you go sharing it adhoc.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (06/08/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Circle Books imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-780-99996-8
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Discernment

- Reading The Signs of Daily Life

by Henri Nouwen with Michael J Christensen and Rebecca J Laird


The final book in the Nouwen collection trilogy which began with Spiritual Direction, and moved on into Spiritual Formation, is a beautiful and insightful book on Discernment - on seeing God in daily life, figuring out the actions we should take, and discerning God's path for us.

Collated from the collected writings of Nouwen and using stories from his life, especially centred around L'Arche, as illustrations for the principles in the book, there is a beautiful lyrical and mellow feel to it that pays homage to the works of Nouwen himself. It is a blend both of the practical and the principle behind that practice - a wonderful book that is both easy to read and understand on what can sometimes be a confusing issue, even when it really shouldn't be.

Perfect for any fan of Nouwen's writings but equally suited to anyone looking for a good guide to the subject of spiritual discernment.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (02/08/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: July 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-07144-9
Paperback
Price: £12.99

The Art of Not Getting Lost On the Way Home



by Dr Vangjel Shore


Being lost and found is one of the most reoccurring themes in life, history and popular drama. Vangjel Shore here adds a further strong title to his writing credentials with this winsome exploration of meaningful life and awkward questions with God.

Life is rightly experienced in the grey, much more than ever the black or white, so we have much to appreciate in this title. Each chapter is structured as a question or puzzlement with God.

The strength of kingdom dynamics, pastoral wisdom and faith growth will inspire many. This writing will speak to fear and offer much encouragement to press on knowing that God holds us and remains forever faithful.

Real, rich and full of trustworthy wisdom.



Review by Johnny Douglas  (31/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: River Publishing from Joining the Dots Distribution
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-908-39331-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Boundless

- Living life in overflow

by Danielle Strickland and Stephen Court


Here we have a super little volume packed with fresh, creative and engaging faith. The likes of which rarely comes along, and is also worthy of your confidence for the neighbour, friend or colleague who isn't yet persuaded by Jesus.

Strickland and Court write comprehensively with generous and faithful insight. Life, scripture and playfulness are entwined. They work with the original languages to dig deep and ask fresh questions of our faithful God. As is recorded midway:- "Jesus barges in on karma with grace. He offers us new life." There's no pretending this book is a main course but it is winsome and wise, leaving the reader with a hunger for Jesus.

Strickland and Court offer us a brilliant little volume. I think that the appearance, font, styling and look of the book is offputting: a relic of the tasteless 1980s! Oh that Lion Hudson had done better on this. I'll courageously honour the content and imagine there was better packaging, for Strickland and Court offer us the loving giver of true life and that's priceless.

Rightly indeed; some kind of boundless!



Review by Johnny Douglas  (31/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-857-21451-5
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Mud and the Masterpiece

- Seeing Yourself and Others Through the Eyes of Jesus

by John Burke


John Burke's premise in this book is that every person on the planet - including the one in the mirror - is a masterpiece. Sometimes there is a lot of 'mud' obscuring the beauty of the artwork, but we can learn to see through the mud to the real person beneath. It's also about treating people with grace and mercy, seeing them as Jesus sees them. Importantly, he emphasizes that we should learn to keep grace and truth together in tension, because God uses these tools in tandem to restore human beings. He writes "All grace with no truth is unloving. Some Christians desiring to offer grace completely ignore the gravity of our wrongs against God, others and even ourselves. We minimize the serious consequences of sin under the guise of grace. But this is not a loving thing to do."

I found this book compelling reading. It is peppered with many real-life illustrations. The first part looks at the attitude of Jesus to the people He encountered in the Gospels. Part two looks at the actions of Jesus as He sent people out on mission to encounter and restore the world around Him. It is a clarion call to mission with lots of practical advice. I just love Appendix A which is called "Christianese Defined". It should be compulsory reading for all of us who want to stop using Christian jargon in the presentation of the Good News!



Visit the author's website:www.johnburkeonline.com/mybooks/mudandthemasterpiece/

Review by Jackie Rowe  (30/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group (BPG)
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-801-01563-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

It Is Finished

- Finding Lasting Victory Over Sin

by David Wilkerson


With a beautiful forward by David Wilkerson's son Gary as he reminisces over his father and his last days, this book first printed as The New Covenant Unveiled back in 2000 and now renamed, It Is Finished as I suspect in part a fitting memorial for an incredible man of God, is based around a collection of sermons that Wilkerson gave at Times Square Church in New York. They really do look at the concept of the new covenant and our modern day engagement with sin and seeming failure to understand the nature of covenant both founded on the Old Testament belief and lived out in the New Testament model. It's biblical and insightful and down to earth as one would expect from David Wilkerson. There are also a series of excellent reminscences on David Wilkerson himself and reflections on what he was talking about, that really help add to the gentle tone of remembrance. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter are also excellent both for individual study and also for group work. A great book and fitting memorial to David Wilkerson.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (04/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Chosen imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-79549-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Freeing Tangled Hearts



by Dolores Kimball


The title and cover of this book were a little off-putting (I've read a few books that say they will show you how it is possible to transform your life in three easy steps) but this one really delivers on its promises. The author has one focus and one aim, and that is to give God the glory and acknowledge his sovereignty in all aspects of our lives. But this is not a dry theology book, rather she talks about the struggles women in particular face, from fear to PMS, and shows how a right view of God can help us to tackle these issues and gain the victory in our battles. This is not a quick-fix book, but if you read it and apply all the scripture passages it references then you will be better equipped to face any challenge and live in the future to the glory of God. There is also a downloadable study guide, which is available from the author's website, which means the book could be used in a small group study.

Visit the author's website:freeingtangledhearts.com/

Review by Paula Hill  (02/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-852-34910-6
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Living Faithfully

- Following Christ in everyday life

by John Pritchard


The absence of whole-life discipleship remains one of the vulnerabilities of the church in western Europe today. Sunday, Monday and the rest of our lives need to join up. We are more than rota possibilities, warm fellowship and good for monetary contributions.

Practicalities, theology, Bible, narrative, prayer and quotations all fill this title with an energy and faithfulness to challenge all readers. This would be particularly helpful for a young Christian as it offers so much breadth, insight and wisdom. Bishop John is brilliantly practical and faithful in his trademark writing style.

God is re-centred as the purpose, glory and Lord of all in this. Pritchard stitches together the big invitation of God, alongside life's failings, hopes, truth and tragedy.

The early section on living gracefully is a particular favourite for me: inviting that we "stay close to the grace-giver". The resources that are at the close of each chapter are roomy, provocative and add so much to each theme. Bishop John makes a compelling case for closing the gap between the sacred and the secular. This is a moving multi-dimensional approach to following Jesus with greater commitment, grit and grace. This is a great SPCK production in the design detail, format and completed product.

This is earthed, real and yet full of godly wisdom. It's easy reading but all about challenging living!



Review by Johnny Douglas  (02/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: 01 April 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-06762-6
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Utter Relief of Holiness

- How God's Goodness Frees Us from Everything That Plagues Us

by John Eldredge


What a relief it would be to be set free from all that plagues us - the inner struggle with anger, or contempt... the habitual sins. Is such an experience possible? John Eldredge believes it is; he seeks to show readers how they can be that free through the healing work of Christ in their lives. It begins, he says, when we discover what the salvation of Jesus Christ means for our own restoration and that holiness is an expression of the healing of our humanity. Holiness is painted with need, beauty and winsomeness, free of legalism, sanctimonious piety and the negativity of a past era.

There is a freshness, energy and insight about the love of Jesus, freedom and holiness. Eldredge engages with motive while usefully addressing the surprise and way of holiness. Here we are offered a number of simple identifiable goals that would make it possible for us to be more 'whole and holy'. Helpful but far from complete.

This is probably the biggest print mainstream copy of a new release on the market. But that irritation aside, here is a book that explores the beauty of the genuine goodness available to us in Jesus Christ, and guides the reader through the process whereby God fashions us in the pattern of His love. My only theological struggle was not the goal of holiness so much as the lack of focus on Jesus and what is resolved in His finished work. Readers may be relieved albeit partially through this book.



Review by Johnny Douglas  (02/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-70327-6
Paperback
Price: £12.99

The God of Intimacy and Action

- Reconnecting ancient spiritual practices, evangelism and justice

by Tony Campolo, Mary Albert Darling


Work and rest in God can co-exist. Serving is possible without the soul becoming dry. As the authors co-write, "The ultimate purpose for mystically intimate experiences with Christ is to make us into persons through whom God can transform the world that is into the world that God intends it to be."

Evangelism and justice are given a masterful working with the challenge to recognise that we cannot live the Christian life without making radical change.

The chapter on mysticism and the desire for a hollistic gospel offers something quite unique. Darling integrates three Biblical disciplines for regular practice: Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, and the Prayer of Examen.

Old fathers and mothers of the faith are sought as examples for their wisdom and faithfulness. This is not just an inspirational book; it is a textbook on the mystical path. It instructs the reader in practical ways to fuel intimacy.

Language, perspective and emphasis may provoke and irritate, but this is a weighty and rich work that testifies to the wholeness and health of uniting proximity and service with and for God in His world.

Many Christians across the breadth of traditions who have long had this nagging suspicion that there is more to faith than right doctrine and right living will benefit greatly from this title. Here Campolo and Darling urge that we incorporate Ignatian practices into daily life as should those whose work for social justice has lost its spiritual steam. Those who already follow these three contemplative practices will likely find enough here to enhance further their spiritual lives. There is simply no other book out there that presents contemplative practice in the context of evangelism and justice; this is one of those sorely needed books whose time has finally arrived. Weighty words but ever so worth the effort.



Review by Johnny Douglas  (02/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-06933-0
Paperback
Price: £12.99

King's Cross



by Timothy Keller


This new paperback offering from Tim Keller comes in the style of C S Lewis, emanating from a sermon series relating to Mark's gospel. There is thematic Christology here in abundant freshness as Keller renders the old story as new with fresh analogies and original perspectives that make this engaging apologetics for all kinds of readers. Keller makes a compelling argument that "the gospel story of Jesus is the underlying reality to which all stories point!"

King's Cross isn't an academic treatment of substitutionary atonement, and that isn't the author's intent. Instead, he repeatedly confronts the reader with the subject of substitutionary atonement - Jesus Christ. He utilizes Mark's narrative, woven throughout the book and sprinkled within each chapter, driving its content and pace. Keller engages the reader with astute pastoral application along with compelling illustrations. King's Cross finds Keller in familiar territory: producing another great book, leaving readers from atheist to Christian grappling with the nature and implications of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In King's Cross, prepare to encounter the King of the cross - a King who willingly entered into our ordinary lives so that we too may enter into the "joyful dance of grace".¯ Top drawer stuff.



Review by Johnny Douglas  (18/06/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-70214-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

God Told Me

- Learning To Listen For Guidance From God

by Jim Samra


In a Bible study group that I attend we are studying the book of Proverbs at the moment with its emphasis on wisdom. This book ties in very well with Proverbs. As the subtitle, Learning to Listen for Guidance from God, suggests, it is on the subject of guidance (and hearing God's voice). As such, I would say that it would be especially useful to younger Christians (and those who are young in Christ) or to Christians facing major decisions in life. Whatever the decision, whether it be what college to go to, what course to take, what job to apply for, who to marry or what car to buy, the reader is likely to find some help with it from this practical book. It deals with questions such as, 'Does God guide?' and, 'If so, how does he guide?' and 'How can we be sure that we are hearing God' voice?'. In chapter 3, Samra lists no less than 12 ways in which God guides. I was a little surprised to find casting lots and putting out a fleece included in this list but that may be just because God has never used these means to guide me. It is full of Biblical, historical and modern-day examples of people being guided by God as they make decisions. I found some of the discussion questions at the end of each chapter helpful in making me think about the issues raised in that chapter and my own experience of God's guidance. It has inspired me to speak on guidance next time I speak!

Review by Brian Kerr  (11/06/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-801-01411-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Myth Busted!

- 145 Myths About Christianity Debunked

by Jeffery Burton Russell


Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this book, for someone that loves myth busting programs and books this was a really enjoyable read. It has enough weight to it to make it feel intense, insightful and real, giving a grounding on the 'myth' in all its glory and detail and then solidly putting up the case for why the myth just isn't real and doesn't work. However though deep and academic enough to do this it still maintains a certain 'flow' and speed to it that make it an enjoyable read and not a hard fought slog. Probably because 145 myths into 306 pages means an average of only about 2 pages per myth (though to be fair it's small writing and some take more pages than others but you get the idea!). This is a great book and I could see so many ways it could be used other than just a good read, for instance to give an overview to answering the most common objections to Christianity, and it would make a great housegroup discussion tool just for starters...

Review by Melanie Carroll  (10/06/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Paternoster Press imprint of Authentic Media
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-842-27826-0
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Risen

- 50 Reasons why the Resurrection Changed Everything

by Steven D Mathewson


I devoured this book in just a few hours. However, the author's intention is that the fifty short chapters should be read at the rate of one reading a day. And he suggests that a good day to start would be on Easter Sunday. Anyone doing this will arrive at the last chapter on Pentecost Sunday. I plan to do this next Easter!

Steven has a real gift for making a complex subject easy to understand. As I read some of the chapters I felt that light-bulbs were clicking on in my mind. His enthusiasm for the subject lights up every page.

This is an important book, because for many people Jesus' Resurrection is just a footnote to His death on the Cross for our sins. But as you read these meditations you will clearly understand how the Resurrection changes everything and has a powerful impact on our lives now and throughout eternity. I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.



The book has its own website:www.StevenDMathewson.com/

Review by Jackie Rowe  (15/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-801-01514-4
Paperback
Price: £6.99

2:52 Learning to Grow on Purpose

- Lessons from Jesus' Hidden Years

by John Andrews


"The intention of Jesus was clear. He set His face like a flint. He was purposeful in living as a son beloved of His Father."

This is a deep though brief study into the brilliant obscurity of Jesus' unseen years. Focused on Luke 2: 52 the reader is invited to navigate the two polarities of the passive or the hyper-supernatural.

The "spirituality of physicality" chapter, was particularly great with fresh insights and wisdom to shape a life in the pattern of Jesus. It is tempting only to examine Jesus' miracle-laden ministry, His teaching, His death and resurrection – to look forward at what is about to happen, not look back at what has been.

John Andrews weaves together a powerful narrative of the acceptance, authority and authenticity that flows from the life of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. There are principles and practicalities abounding in this. Plenty of insights of real merit. Fresh stuff!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (19/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: River Publishing from Joining the Dots Distribution
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-908-39325-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Suffering and the Christian Life



editor Richard W Miller


Only 152 pages long but this is an insightful and challenging book that looks intensely at the concept of suffering and the Christian life from a range of angles and with considered Biblical and theological exegesis, which given the calibre of the contributors, all noted Catholic scholars e.g. Daniel J Harrington, SJ, is not surprising.

Broken down into six chapters with three to be found in each of the two sections, Biblical themes concerning suffering and contemporary theological reflection on suffering, this book really does seriously address most of the issues and questions to do with suffering from the Old Testament to the New Testament and from the divine aspect to the human cost.

It is serious but clearly written and so although challenging and academic on one level it is on another readily accessible in tone and language for anyone interested in studying the nature of suffering from a Christian Biblical point of view. I highly recommend it.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (15/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-626-98013-6
Paperback
Price: £14.99

Servant Ministry

- A portrait of Christ and a pattern for his followers

by Tony Horsfall


I believe the unhappiest people on the planet are Christians who don't serve. For in our regeneration, we are wired to serve. For Jesus is the one who said, "I am among you as one who serves". Intimacy with Jesus and activity for him make for the best combination of Christian usefulness.

Statistics would tell us that 'servant' is mention in scripture over 600 times, whilst 'leader' is only mentioned 3 times. This desperate imbalance is at the heart of our ability to make a prevailing Christian impact in our nation and beyond. Tony Horsfall's newest book speaks powerfully to this. He offers warm, faithful and close work in Isaiah 42, at the heart of this useful title. The pithy reflections following each chapter add significant value.

This new BRF offering is steadfast, engaging and challenging. The section on motivations is particularly helpful. When speaking of the servant's attentiveness, in the last chapter, around "listening and responding" I would have loved more here, as this was especially strong. The phrase from 1 Peter 2 will live on long, through Horsfall's faithful efforts here: "live as servants of God!"

Review by Johnny Douglas  (13/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: 22 March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-857-46088-2
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Evangelical Universalist

- The Biblical hope that God’s love will save us all

by Gregory MacDonald


I have long been convinced that if hell exists, then it must be empty. Until now that view has been grounded in my understanding and experience of the irresistible nature of God's love, rather than thought-through theology. Put simply, why would anyone face to face with the love of God in judgement reject such love for all eternity?

With the publication of The Evangelical Universalist (first published in 2006 and now available with useful Appendixes) my instinctive belief in universal redemption and reconciliation has found clear scriptural authority. From Creation to Revelation, Gregory MacDonald (a pseudonym for Robin Parry) maps out a Christian Universalist position whose Biblical basis is both convincing and consistent.

To believe that God not only can save everyone but also will save everyone, removes fear as a reason to believe and that is surely a good thing. It might be argued however that universalism is essentially hedonistic in that it removes all reasons to believe. Is that to take too cynical a view of human nature? Might universalism yet become a nail in the coffin of the church?

There are many shades of universalism as with any strand of theology and MacDonald's particular position might be termed orthodox or conservative in that it is certainly not pluralist in outlook and is fiercely Christocentric. Therein perhaps lies its strength. Evangelicalism in the west is changing dramatically at present and MacDonald's contribution to this is significant.

Related website:theologicalscribbles.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/i-am-evangelical-universalist.html

Review by David Ford  (02/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06875-3
Paperback
Price: £14.99

Truth Unchanged, Unchanging



by Martyn Lloyd-Jones


This slim book is based on a series of lectures that Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave at Wheaton College in 1947. The subject is man, focusing on what is man, what is wrong with man, modern man's thinking and man's need of the gospel.

This book is unusual for Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones in that it is apologetic in character. Although he uses the scriptures, much of his argument is from logic and common sense. He shows that while man looks for solutions to mankind's problems in the future, the true answer is found in the past - at the cross of Christ. This is the unchanging truth that he declares and at the end of every chapter he preaches.

Although written over 60 years ago, the analysis of how modern man thinks is up to date and very relevant for today. This is well worth reading.

Review by Alan Hill  (02/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Heritage imprint of Christian Focus
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-1-845-50734-3
Paperback
Price: £5.99

The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life



by Hannah Whitall Smith


A lovely exceptionally affordable edition of what is probably one of the best known "Quaker" books out there. Though written over 100 years ago this book still reads as well today as it ever has, there are in these simple honest words and thoughts by Hannah Whitall Smith a timeless wisdom and beauty that encourages you on in your own faith. There is strength and purpose, courage and determination and unremitting faith on every page, and all of it simple to understand, easy to read and a blessing to recieve. "It depends only upon the fact of an entire surrender and an absolute trust. Anyone who will honestly use these two wings, and will faithfully persist in using them, will find they have mounted up with wings as an eagle, no matter how empty of all emotion they may have felt themselves to be before." (pp248). A beautiful work and at a bargain price - this is a brilliant book.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (09/03/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Spire/Pub Revell imprint of Baker Books from Lion
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-78007-4
Paperback
Price: £3.99

Operation Screwtape

- The Art of Spiritual War

by Andrew Farley


In Operation Screwtape we find the continuation of C S Lewis' classic Screwtape series. Farley has here updated the agenda, moved the discussion into the realm of technological advancement, of feel good church, of the health and prosperity gospel teaching and a few more familiar ideas as well. In a voice so well matched to the original works he breaks down and highlights the inherent problems in these things, showing how sometimes what we think is good can actually be so bad for us, showing us how we trap ourselves in our own beliefs of unworthiness, confession, doubt and want. This really is an excellent book, a worthy successor to the original Screwtape letters and a real joy to read. One not just for the Lewis fans, but for anyone that would like a gentle, fun and easily understandable way to consider how we can best protect ourselves from the traps of the enemy and our own making, and think on many things that we find in modern church teachings.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (09/03/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
Published: 28 February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-801-01447-5
Hardback
Price: £11.99

Grace Transforming



by Philip Ryken


Grace is a term that flows through the life of the church and is perhaps, much misunderstood as a result. Think of the many times we say "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…" or welcome one another witth the words "Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father…" or even simply say grace at a meal. What is it that we are inviting ourselves and others to receive and why?

Phil Ryken's concise book sets out to answer these questions and he does so with a graciousness that is itself deeply invitational. Eight chapters take us through the building blocks of grace from our need for it through its diverse nature – powerful, generous, strengthening, abundant.

Grace may be a tough nut for Christians to understand because it is so multi-dimensional. It is about forgiveness and acceptance, and yet it is so much more too. It is about God's generosity and constancy, but that doesn't quite nail it either. The answer, of course, is in the title of Ryken's book. Grace is transforming. We know when we've received it but it often takes others to point out that we need it. And being a Christian doesn't lessen our need for God's grace – if there's a single theological idea that demolishes the division between those inside and outside the church, grace is it. We all need it.

Ryken's book was first given as a series of college addresses and this parochialism hasn't been removed in the editing process. That aside, this is an excellent book that many will find clarifies a topic that otherwise can appear too theological to touch.

Review by David Ford  (09/03/13)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-1-844-74606-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Desperate for Hope

- Hanging on and Finding God During Life's Hardest Times

by Bruce W Martin


The human heart aches for something to hope for. For without it, most of us would wither and die. Yet withal God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.

Bruce Martin offers a thought-provoking and reassuring guide to that age old interrogative, "Why does God allow pain and suffering?" It is obvious both from his personal reflections and Biblical observations that he has been closely acquainted with the subject and his encouragement of others through their own journey. The 'Back to Egypt' concept is richly explored in this book. Martin's engagement with our emotions and their place in the grand narrative of God is insightful and challenging. The invitation to see God in sovereign charge of the universe, rather than default to our own selfishness or survival is also piercing.

Martin offers something very fresh and unique in the chapter around control and the human spirit. The struggle and trust issues raised are engaging and accompanied by a pathway of wisdom and godly confidence. As Martin himself writes;- "Perhaps the greatest miracles God works in our lives come during the worst times." This is really well written, with authentic hope beating throughout, in a conversational, theological and all-round inspiring way. I found offered some real gems that I am working into my own pattern of faith and discipleship. There is little repetition, regurgitation of clichés or dull systematic ideas. There's gutsiness, reality and faith-made-radiant through suffering. This deserves to become a classic in terms of making sense of life shattering pain. Sincere, compelling and a winsome apologetic.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (07/03/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-72054-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Hosting the Presence

- Unveiling Heaven's Agenda

by Bill Johnson


Let the Spirit rest upon you! This is the premise of this book by Bill Johnson.

Bill Johnson’s ministry is characterised by his teaching on the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit is evidenced in people’s lives and how the Spirit beings power and the presence of God.

This is a book to read, ponder, put into practice and read again. Bill teaches how all believers host the Presence of God but shows how that Presence should so overwhelm and fill that it overflows out into a thirsty world.

Bill’s teaching is practical. He shows how to listen to the Holy Spirit, how to recognise Him and how to respond to effect others.

To ground his work, Bill provides Biblical evidence of prophets and kings who lived their lives by the very word of God through His Spirit. And just in case we think those times are long past, he records some of the great revivalists of the modern era whose lives were characterised by God’s power and presence.

A challenging read which should be ignored!

Visit the author's website:www.bjm.org/

Review by Catherine Clark  (03/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Destiny Image Publishers from Joining the Dots Distribution
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-768-44129-1
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Jesus the Son of God



by D A Carson


In what sense is Jesus the Son of God?

Week after week Christians assert that Jesus is the only Son of God, but unless one believes in a physical God-being, this title can in no way imply a DNA-type relationship between God and "His Son". It's an important question and not only because we shouldn't routinely say things in church as statements of belief without some understanding of what we're asserting. For the non-Christian observer, the title "Son of God" is at best perplexing and at worst can make the Christian faith sound faintly bizarre.

D A Carson's succinct and readable book begins with a detailed explanation of all the different ways in which sonship is described in scripture and especially to Jesus. This section alone makes the book worthwhile. Carson then continues with a detailed exploration of two passages – Hebrews 1 and John 5:26-30 – through which he lays the foundations for a Trinitarian uunderstanding of Jesus. The third chapter then embarks on potentially difficult territory – how our understanding of the title "Son of God" should be communicated in a multi-faith world and especially in the sensitive arena of Christian-Muslim relations. Here Carson emphasises the importance of understanding the diversity of contexts in which the term is used and the need for Bible translators to draw out such nuances and avoid simplistic translations that are neither wholly accurate nor sensitive.

D A Carson is not an especially well-known theologian in Britain but deserves to be much more widely appreciated. Carson's writing is accessible without sacrificing depth and this short book deals with a complex topic in a way that is helpful and relevant to lay and ordained Christians. The useful scriptural index at the rear of the book will greatly aid ministers and others in their sermon preparation.

Review by David Ford  (23/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-1-844-74599-9
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Life-changing Bible Verses You Should Know



by Erwin & Rebecca Lutzer


This book consists principally of 39 short sections, each dealing in two or three pages with topics from Adversity and Anxiety to Witnessing and the Word of God. Each section is headed by a passage or two of Scripture on the relevant theme and then followed by a couple of pages of comment. The writers' theology is unexceptionably evangelical. The problem that I have with a book which is essentially providing verses of Scripture to memorise for tough situations is that in dealing with 39 topics in about 150 pages nothing can be dealt with in depth and comments seem to me to be too often simplistic and lacking in a nuanced approach. That, of course, is the danger of such a compressed work. As a source book for scriptural quotations and with the caveat above, it can be recommended.

Review by Roger Coode  (26/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Published: August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-736-93952-2
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Immortal Diamond

- The search for our true self

by Richard Rohr


Richard Rohr's new book has a profound depth that digs at the heart of who and what we are. He makes us work at mining our deepest beliefs and self delusions until what is left is the heart of our true self, our innermost being stripped bare of its self defences, our altered perceptions and the voices of others, until we find buried beneath all that the heart of ourselves as God sees us, unearthed at last the "Immortal Diamond".

Like Rohr's previous works this focuses on spiritual and psychological growth and insight, but in this book the Biblical consideration and narrative of death and resurrection is deep and rich. Indeed so much so that it would make an incredible companion on the journey to resurrection that is Lent and Holy Week - though to be fair it would have impact at any time. At the end of the book are appendixes with a series of practical exercises to help you build on your understanding of the book. It's a fantastic book and one not just for fans of Rohr's previous work, indeed if you've never come across his work before this would be a wonderful place to start.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (20/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-07017-6
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Jesus and Peter

- Growing in friendship with God

by Michael Perham


This delightful little book (of only 111 highly readable pages) extols the beauty of friendship with God, quoting on its first and last page the words of fourth century bishop, Gregory of Nyssa: "The one thing truly worthwhile is becoming God's friend". "It's a mind-blowing thought," writes Michael Perham, "that God, Creator of all that is, wants to be my friend." To deepen our understanding of that "wonderful truth", Perham explores the life of Simon Peter, from call to martyrdom, through following Jesus to betraying Jesus and finally restoration by Jesus and friendship with Jesus. "There is no single Simon Peter", says Perham, "but probably four Peters, perhaps even five." He looks at Peter through the differing eyes and insights of Biblical authors, Matthew / Mark, Luke / Acts, John, and the two epistles, 1 Peter and 2 Peter, traditionally ascribed to Peter (Perham does question that particular tradition). I found it enlightening, and especially appreciated what it said about the foot washing incident in John 13, and the nakedness of Peter in John 21. But then, the whole book is really rewarding, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wishes to be a "friend" of God. And don't we all?

Review by Barry Vendy  (20/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06754-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Good to Great in God's Eyes

- 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common

by Chip Ingram


As a reviewer, I feared the worst when I read the back cover of this book which says: "Do you long for a spiritual breakthrough? Then this book is for you." We have all read books which promise amazing results through highly prescriptive methods. Fortunately this book is not one of those. On the contrary, whilst recommending new ways of doing things, the author specifically says that this is not a ten-step plan to gain God's favour or to impress other people. He guides us through ten new ways of thinking and doing which may move us on from being "good Christians" to "great" ones. As he puts it: "Good Christians 'live the life'; great Christians 'leave a legacy'". He uses many examples from his own long ministry and from the lives of others to demonstrate his ten practices which include reading great books, taking great risks, enjoying great moments and empowering great people. This book is down to earth, not super-spiritual, it presents challenging but realistic goals and above all it does this with a lightness of touch which will encourage the reader to try these practices rather than collapse under a pile of guilt and self-condemnation. Above all this book demonstrates the warm heart, pastoral sensitivity and common sense of a man who has spent many years in Christian service. I guarantee that you will be encouraged and uplifted by this book.

Review by Roger Coode  (20/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-801-01427-7
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Learning to Be You

- How Our True Identity in Christ Sets Us Free

by David Swanson


Confidence, identity and godliness are challenges! We don't instantly discover ourselves, and many can feel as though they are spending their lives feeling like they are living a lie.

We can be torn apart by our duplicity or we can become so comfortable with putting on various personas to suit our situation that we don't even realize we're doing it. But if we are authentic followers of Jesus, our identity is already decided. David Swanson offers a thorough, inspiring and enlightening work that is worthy of a close reading.

What we need to learn is how to understand and embrace our new life, made possible through Christ. Swanson will engage the masks, identity, transparency and peace that is assured through faith. As Robert Frost said: "freedom lies in being bold"! Top class stuff!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (18/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-0-801-01445-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

What is Evangelicalism?



by Joel Beeke


This slim book by the well known pastor and preacher Joel Beeke sets out to answer the simple question: What is evangelicalism? He first shows that many of the answers are defective, sometimes leading to too broad or too narrow definition. He then gives his own definition and finally he emphasizes that evangelical truths must not only be known but more importantly experienced.

I like how he emphasizes that evangelicalism has a high view of the authority of scripture, the centrality of Christ and the importance of the fruit of the Spirit. The author also shows us the importance of knowing our Church history and in particular the benefit of studying the historical confessions of faith. I would have preferred an extra chapter on the importance of evangelicals being evangelistic, but this is a minor quibble.

Overall this is a helpful little book which is well worth reading.

Review by Alan Hill  (18/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-34779-9
Paperback
Price: £4.99

The Amazing Cross

- Transforming lives today

by Jeremy and Elizabeth McQuoid


At the heart of the Christian faith lies the cross of Christ. At the heart of Keswick ministries lies the priority of the cross of Jesus.

The cross of Christ is the irreplaceable heartbeat of Christianity. It is a place of pain and horror, wonder, confidence and mystery, all at the same time. It is the place where our sin is embraced by God's grace and sacrifice. This deep exploration is pacey, accessible and sure to warm the heart and nourish your faith. We need to work out our salvation, and invest in a deep understanding and enjoyment of what God has done for us. The pressure of our culture can distract us from the beauty of Jesus. This will be a rich antidote for struggling faith and an uncertain heart.

While there are very many books available on the redemption narrative, here the McQuoids offer a unique warmth and readability about how the Cross is to be applied for the transformation of our lives today. It's accessible material for all types of readers. This is a quality keeper of a read! May it stir you to live a cross-shaped life.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (14/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: July 2012
ISBN: 978-1-844-74587-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Heart of L'Arche

- A spirituality for every day

by Jean Vanier


Nearly 50 years ago, Jean Vanier, encouraged by Dominican Father Thomas Philippe, founded L'Arche. It is now a worldwide federation of homes, communities, day programmes and support networks for people with learning disabilities. Back in 1964, however, Jean began to share his life with just two men with intellectual disabilities and so began the journey that transformed his life. As he opened his heart to these men, and cared for them, he learned a lot about the gospel and the life and person of Jesus. He says, looking back over the years "L'Arche has been for me a school of love."

His purpose in writing this little book is to convey the spirituality or the "deeper meaning" behind the life of the L'Arche communities. They are not just good places for people with disabilities to live, but places where all can grow together in a spirituality of love and mutual self-giving, inspired by Jesus and the love of God. I found it 'easy' to read in one sense, but often I needed to stop and really chew over some of his more challenging statements. Out of the depths of his heart and his own life-long experience he challenges us to live the life of faith, trusting in God as we live counter-culturally for him. There are so many nuggets of wisdom that I could share, but I will finish with one from his chapter entitled 'A spirituality centred in the mystery of the poor'. He writes: "L'Arche's spirituality is not chiefly about doing things for the poor, but about listening to them, welcoming them and living with them to help them discover the meaning and purpose of their lives. This relationship is a covenant - a relationship of fidelity rooted in Jesus' fidelity to the poor."

Review by Jackie Rowe  (13/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-06991-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Joy

- The Meaning of the Sacraments (Faith Going Deeper Series)

by Peter Waddell


This, the second book in the Faith Going Deeper series, continues to demonstrate the high level of sound and well explored insightful theology that is possible. In a clear and articulated fashion Joy, just as Grace did, removes theology from the domain of academics only into the reality of the life of the church and the ordinary person. A wonderful and important achievement - this book deserves to be used by individuals and by church groups.

Joy deals with the sacraments of the Church, first pointing out that the sacraments are at root about joy - the demonstration of the joy of God in his people and his desire for joy for his people. This proposition is put forward both in the introduction and in the first chapter, 'Jesus, The Joy Of God' and from out of this spins a well written, deeply considered and well formulated discussion of the sacraments. No argument is ignored and though written in a style which is easy to grasp and read, there is no dumbing down in the history, theology and consideration of any of the sacraments. The chapter on the Eucharist has one of the best descriptions and considerations of transubstantiation that I have come across in a great many years and for me would have made the book entirely worth it alone. At the end of each chapter there are discussion questions and a great 'For Reflection' section which consists of quotes from a range of sources and authors through history.

A lovely book and well worth getting, regardless of your academic standing, to be enjoyed as an individual or to be used in a group. This would form a wonderful basis for church catechesis and introduction.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (09/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25279-0
Paperback
Price: £12.99

There Must Be More Than This…

- Let God Write Your Story

by Stephen Rademan


A short (just over 100 pages long) testimony book that rather than being a long biography style testimony records a series of incidents from the author's life. He uses these to show that God is active in his life and that he can be in yours too. These incidents happen at home, abroad on missions, in his personal life and in his public ministry, and they all combine to be evidence of God's continuing activity in his life. They are short and well written and easy to digest. This book would most appeal to those within the pentecostal or charismatic traditions because a lot of the testimonies do involve things like active healing, revelation and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Each testimony also comes with a solid scripture to uphold it and underpin it, this is also used as the foundation for showing how this testimony can in its own way also be a teaching for others. The underlying message of the book is that God is active in your life, believe in him and trust in him.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Joining the Dots Distribution
Published: 06 February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-907-08036-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Seeker's Catechism

- The Basics of Catholicism

by Michael Pennock


The subtitle of the book is The Basics of Catholicism. It is written in a question and answer format and is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It covers everything that pertains to Christianity, in particular Catholicism - God, original sin and the fall of Man, heaven and hell, good and evil, repentance and reconciliation, the Trinity, Mary and the saints, and the seven sacraments. It begins with the question 'Does God exist?' and goes on to the fullness of God's revelation in Jesus made flesh, then the free gift of faith and the Bible as God's self-communication. It finally deals with the primacy of the Pope as the successor of Saint Peter and the one who teaches unerringly the Word of God. This is a book both for Catholics who want to renew and strengthen their faith and for non-Catholics who want to know and better understand exactly what Catholics believe.

Review by John Irvine  (06/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-1-594-71285-2
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Living Evangelization

- Three Minute Reflections on Faith

by Joan Mueller


"Joan Mueller challenges readers to evangelise the modern world by the way they live." So reads the first line of the blurb on the back cover. This is a book of meditations on the meaning and life of faith, written from a North American Roman Catholic perspective. It contains exactly what the subtitle indicates: 3 minute reflections on faith. Each begins with a quotation from the Bible, which is followed by a brief quotation from Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic letter The Door of Faith. Meditations follow on the four themes in which the book is set out: The Gift of Faith; Our Faith Conversion; Mary, Model of Faith, and Our Evangelizing Mission. It is all about living faith in an authentic way in the modern world and, as such, succeeds admirably. It's a nice little book that one might well return to many times over.

Review by Graham Wise  (08/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: New City
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-565-48456-6
Paperback
Price: £5.95

Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day



by Daryl Aaron


Despite its title this book is about doctrine not theology and doctrine of a particularly narrow evangelical perspective. It will be of interest and use to those seeking a conservative approach to the core fundamental questions of the Christian faith but of limited application to those who wish to locate their beliefs within a much broader stream of religious thought or who seek a rigorous and balanced academic approach to the subject.

After a brief introduction in which Daryl Aaron is refreshingly open about his own theological stance, forty chapters are presented in the form of questions, such as 'Did God Really Make Everything?' or 'Is the Holy Spirit a Person or a Thing?' No fewer than seven of these chapters are devoted to salvation and three to Jesus' return. None address ethical or pastoral issues related to faith. At the end of each chapter the author presents 'An Interesting Fact' that is regularly less fact and more hyperbole.

Clearly this book is not to my personal taste, and yet it remains important as a very clear and succinct insight into the logic of conservative Christian theologians. It is however, representative of only one part of the Christian church and therefore a very biased perspective on our understanding of God. And that's before we even begin to think in multifaith terms.

Review by David Ford  (04/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
ISBN: 978-0-764-21012-9
Paperback
Price: £7.99

'Tell Me About the Holy Spirit'



by Gerald O'Mahony


This book treats of the Holy Trinity and in particular of the Third Person. It is directed to Christians who may find some difficulty in contemplating the meaning of the Holy Spirit. The writer, a Jesuit priest, thinks that this is possibly because people cannot easily consider the Spirit in the same personal terms as they do the Father and the Son. He then generously shares with us many of the positive ways he has found of achieving this. One of the interesting ways is to think in terms of the traditional title of Paraclete with its comforting meaning of advocate or intercessor. Though deeply, almost densely, spiritual in its subject-matter, the text is very accessible and for such a small book there is a remarkable breadth of material. Many aspects of theology and liturgy are touched upon, including the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and their resulting 'fruits'. The main theme, however, is the Holy Spirit's rôle in conveying God's unconditional love for us and for us returning our love to Him.

Review by Alexandra Irvine  (28/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Gracewing
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-44777-2
Paperback
Price: £7.99

God's Words of Comfort

- Bible Passages to Calm Your Fears and Feed Your Soul

compiled by Barbara Kois


A little book that basically takes eight situations in which God's comfort may be needed - these are: grief, loneliness, illness, guilt, persecution, failure / unmet expectations, fear, and finally need. Each themed chapter opens with a quote from a Christian work looking at the subject at hand, followed by a short introduction or contemplation to help contextualise the issue. It then offers a series of quite large sections or chunks of the Bible (various translations are used for these) that are applicable to the theme being dealt with, as comfort to the reader that God understands what they are going through and has already offered his comfort. After each section of Bible passages there are a couple of lines interpretation of the passage demonstrating its relevance and help - and offering forward its comfort. It's much more a dip and flick book than a real solace, however. As a collection of thematic Bible passages and overviews it does its job, but I could see it being most helpful to people looking for help in crafting sermons or doing readings / talks etc. on the subjects at hand, as it does collect a number of passages on topical themes together in one small book.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Crossway Books from IVP
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-21025-9
Paperback
Price: £3.99

The Last Word



by Wallace Benn


In this book, Wallace Benn the Bishop of Lewes, examines the words said by Jesus to his disciples in the upper room at the Last Supper. Although not strictly 'The Last Word' they are the most important words spoken by Jesus to his disciples telling them to be witnesses in taking the Gospel to the World. They are the very essence of His ministry and Bishop Benn looks at them and provides a commentary on their relevance today.

The book is steeped in Biblical references and is broken into five sections each dealing with a separate aspect found in John’s Gospel, including an analysis of the final prayer.

The book is simply but powerfully written and reflects Bishop Benn’s ability to reach out to the community. The book contains a Bibliography and Study Questions for either private or group use.

Review by George Taylor  (10/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-845-50777-0
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Broken Works Best

- When God turns your pain into gain

by Catherine Campbell


Catherine Campbell's book is a blend of Biblical teaching and personal lessons, addressing the 'problem of pain'. Catherine and her husband have had three children, two of whom were born profoundly disabled and died aged 10 and 13, so she writes out of deeply felt experience. She uses illustrations from her own and others lives, to encourage us to see that God can transform our suffering into fruitfulness - if we allow Him to. Catherine is a gifted writer, and I particularly enjoyed the way she brings Bible stories to life - drawing out the way in which God met with various characters in their time of great need. At the end of each of the five sections of the book, we are invited to take a closer look, by considering some questions and suggested readings. None of us knows when tragedy or trauma will strike: this book encourages us to be prepared and ready when it comes. Read this to deepen your faith in a God who can turn your pain into gain.

Visit the author's website:www.catherine-campbell.com/

Review by Jackie Rowe  (21/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-857-21223-8
Paperback
Price: £7.99

A Shot of Faith - To The Head

- Be a Confident Believer in An Age of Cranky Atheists

by Mitch Stokes


A Shot of Faith is refreshing, articulate and well worth reading if you've ever had 'that' conversation with an atheist / humanist, you know the one where they ardently point out you are delusional for holding a faith and that you can't prove your faith logically so therefore it can have no basis in fact. Of course the fact that they can't actually disprove your faith logically for all their words makes this a really hard conversation to have, especially as for most people faith isn't a matter of logic, intellect and argument but rather as the word denotes a matter of faith, belief and understanding at an emotional and spiritual level. That's where A Shot of Faith can be a great book to read and tool to understanding, because it can help provide you with the basis of refutation. It calmly and clearly sets out the arguments and counter arguments and helps you to shore up your conversational gambits and arguments for the next time you are faced with a 'cranky atheist' determined to pull down your belief to shore up their unbelief.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (22/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-595-55434-5
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Connected

- Living in the light of the Trinity

by Sam Allberry


Sam Allberry offers solid Trinitarian life in this his second book. It's whole-life implications are well explored. The Trinity can be a mysterious theological concept yet is brought alive with faithfulness, fresh and clear application. As Sam pens, "Understanding the Trinity helps us make sense of so much of what we hold dear: friendship, marriage, church, love, service, identity. Things that are precious to us, but which we are not always able to properly account for, find new significance when examined in the light of the Trinity. Things we cherish about God - his love and integrity, the coherence of his Word, the nearness of his presence, and, above all, his matchless love poured out for us through the death of Christ - all these can only make real sense when we discover that God is, in fact, Trinity." p15-16 Engaging, wise and enlivening. Anything that causes us to know and love God more, can only be good!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (24/12/12)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: 15 June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-844-74588-3
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Heaven is Now

- Awakening your five spiritual senses to the wonders of grace

by Andrew Farley


Andrew Farley reveals how you can enjoy the beauty of heaven no matter what your circumstances. With insight firmly rooted in the reality of pain and suffering, he shows the reader how to awaken your five spiritual senses in order to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel the grace of heaven, even in the middle of trouble here on earth.

In five chapters, each covering one of the senses, Andrew Farley helps us understand and use our senses to experience our God and his goodness and grace now. At the end of each chapter is a 'Heaven Speaks' section that is inspired directly by verses of scripture and a section, 'Awakening to Heaven' which is a prayer that will help solidify what we have learned. This is a decent write that has reference material and will offer clues for growth. Alas the content was weak and lacking the brilliance of the initial structure.

Don't be fooled by the title. This isn't some curious twist on the afterlife. This is a deeply scriptural, extremely practical and enjoyable book, full of fresh reminders of God's invitation to enjoy him in the now. Andrew has a knack for taking the most profound theological truths of scripture, placing them on the lower shelf without dumbing them down, and helping us to exchange our less-Biblical notions of God for the truth! Another resource, enabling a life full of God.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (24/12/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group (BPG)
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-801-01482-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Jesus: The Seven Wonders of HIStory



by David Pawson


Taking the middle section of the Apostles' Creed as a framework, the veteran preacher David Pawson explores the essential facts about the Lord Jesus in seven chapters. He covers his birth, death, resurrection, ascension, return and judgement.

The author wrote this book because he wanted to show that he is "as sound as a bell on the fundamental facts of the faith". This is in general borne out in what he writes. He vigorously defends the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, his death and resurrection. He also explores what these facts mean, showing their significance. He writes in a direct, no nonsense style seeking to confront us with the truth.

Occasionally Mr Pawson expounds some novel views such as that Jesus died on the Wednesday and that when we receive our resurrection bodies we will be aged 33. His charismatic and pre-millennial views also colour what he says. For this reviewer this meant that there were quite a few points with which he could not agree.

However if we take to heart his own command in the introduction to compare everything that he writes with scripture and if there is a conflict to always rely on the clear teaching of the Bible, then this can be a helpful book. Mr Pawson certainly will make you think more deeply about the wonder of the birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Review by Alan Hill  (08/12/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Anchor Recordings
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-957-52900-7
Paperback
Price: £8.99

An Invitation to the Supernatural Life



by Michele Perry


Not so much a sequel as a companion book to Michele's previous volume, Love Has a Face. While there is some autobiographical content here, the focus is firmly on awakening the reader to the work of the Holy Spirit; "...an invitation to enter into God's fullness for yourself." Each chapter of anecdote and explanation ends with a prayer, discussion questions and an "activation exercise". It is all very readable, once you get used to the writing style, though by no means is it 'dumbed down'. Like all amazingly anointed Christians, Michele is convinced that everyone can have the relationship she has with Jesus. The truth, which she maybe skates over a trifle, is that like any other relationship it takes time, sacrifice and commitment – there are no short cuts or magic forms of prayer. We read some wonderful testimonies – the time the community was saved from rebel attack when they worshipped and prayed is inspirational – but the clue is in the title. This can only be an invitation; it is up to us, and how much of God we truly desire in our safe, comfortable Western lives, that will make the difference.

Review by Diane Morrison  (27/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 24 August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-79533-7
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Totally Forgiving God

- How To Trust In God When You Feel He Has Let You Down

by R.T.Kendall


R. T. Kendall here suggests we need to forgive God for all the times we feel he's let us down. This seeks to wrestle with mystery and unresolved pain. Yet, we need to be cautious with RT’s definition of forgiveness in this third of his 'forgiveness trilogy', as it could direct us to complicated tiresome paths that could lead us away from an orthodox and healthy understanding of forgiveness.
God is not some sort of personalized genie that is needful of my pronounced forgiveness. God is perfect and just, yet our life-wearied hearts often hold bitterness toward him. We do need to let those struggles, pains and bitterness’s go; and trust God. It’s a trust-matter. It remains a matter of belief in the eternal goodness of our never changing God!
Kendall understands that God does not need to be forgiven. He doesn’t need our pardon or our making right, and so the title is the chief obstacle in this new work. Because we live in a fallen and broken world, because we agonize over suffering, and because of our limited knowledge; we become angry with God. David’s laments and wrestles with God give us much encouragement and example in this regard, but what most needs to be let go is our own transpositions, struggles and pain that mars the image of God. For it is in our daily repentance and faith that we each can know the grace, beauty and freedom of life in God.
Forgiveness, done and sealed in the cross. Aside from the title, this book has much to offer, in RT’s fulsome trademark pastoral insight and keen theological observation. Here we are refashioned and signposted well by the grace of God in renewed pathways of life.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (30/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder
Published: 16 August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-340-96417-0
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Hawking, Dawkins and God



The Rev’d Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS talks to Canon John Young


I started listening to this as a duty, but very soon was listening intently to what was being said in this conversation between two committed Christians discussing the words and writings of those who most definitely do not have any faith in God, do not believe there is such a being, and in Richard Dawkin’s case is quite unpleasantly dogmatic in his opinion of those foolish enough to believe what he considers as the rot Christianity preaches.
John Polkinghorne has had a distinguished scientific career before becoming an ordained priest in the Church of England, so speaks with authority about scientific things, and with quietly assured faith about his beliefs. He is able to put into easy to understand terms his own understanding about the possibility of life other than ours in the universe, of suffering, for instance resulting from earthquakes and why they are a part, even a necessity, for our world; and his reasoning of why he believes those who think the universe evolved by chance are so very wrong. Fascinating and reassuring to hear an academic speak so plainly about things that puzzle the average man and woman.
Highly recommended.

The ISBN on the site is there only for the use of our data base, it needs to be ordered by name.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (27/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: York Courses
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 9-990-00055-7
CD
Price: £5.00(incl VAT plus P&P)

Worship

- Its Priority, Principles and Practice

by J.C.Ryle


Public worship is one of the areas where there is great confusion today. This little booklet by J. C. Ryle the Victorian Church of England minister and author brings much needed biblical thinking to the subject. He answers some basic questions such as: Why is it important for men and women to worship God? What are the key principles of public worship? What are the essential elements in public worship?
As always Bishop Ryle is a model of clarity and direct speaking: you cannot fail to understand what he is saying. He shows us from the scriptures that public worship must be centred on God, mediated through Jesus Christ, reverent and from the heart. He then goes on to outline that New Testament worship consists of preaching, praying, praising and the two sacraments of communion and baptism.
Of course this booklet does not deal with some of the modern day controversies such as the charismatic gifts and the use of music in worship, but he lays a biblical foundation that would help you think through such issues as well. I highly recommend this to all Christians and especially to those who lead worship.

Review by Alan Hill  (27/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: 2005
ISBN: 978-0-851-51906-7
Paperback
Price: £1.50

What Jesus is Doing Now



by Gary Brady


In What Jesus is Doing Now Gary Brady has put together all in one place all of the biblical material regarding Jesus’ ascension and the work He is doing now he has ascended.
After opening with a couple of chapters focused on orienting the reader as to who Jesus is and what He accomplished by his death and resurrection, Brady utilizes the book of Hebrews alongside Reformed and Puritan theologians and hymn-writers in able retelling and explaining what Jesus is doing now he is seated at the right hand of the Father.
This is a thoroughly biblical account, put together ably by Brady, with a helpful closing chapter on why this is important and how it should impact how Christian disciples now live. Brady also includes five helpful appendices that enable the reader to tackle some of the deeper issues but in a brief and helpful manner. The only drawback is that, aside from a brief bibliography, Brady does not provide any indication as to where he has taken his material from – notably, his quotations are not referenced, which can be frustrating. But other than that, this is a readable and enjoyable introduction to the subject of Christ’s ascension: why it matters and What Jesus is Doing Now.

Review by Tim Goodall  (26/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-34775-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Lord...Help My Unbelief

- Considering the Case Against Christ

by John Young


John Young who these days does much work with York Courses, has produced an interesting book of ‘issues’ for the Christian doubter. They are allocated across six ‘parts’ ranging from ‘Questions mainly about church and society’ through to ‘Prove it! Does God exist?’ Each of these parts contains subsections – some are additional questions whilst others are further areas of investigation. All add their weight to his ‘evidence’. It is a well organised comprehensive book of 292 pages. It’s a shame that there is no index at the end to allow the reader to easily locate items of evidence. It’s also regrettable that there aren’t clear suggestions for further reading as the space available for each issue is limited.
How well does it do what it says, helps our unbelief? As a broad brush attempt to confront the major issues that can lurk at the root of an individual’s doubts, it is a valiant effort. Whether or not you find it helpful will depend on how you like your questions answered, and that’s a very personal thing. We all come to faith by a different route. If you are worried by doubt or are unable to come to a decision, then please try this book, there is much to commend it. But if you don’t find it satisfying, please don’t give up or assume every answer is here.

Review by Paul Scott  (10/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-841-01875-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

To Cease or Not to Cease

- Spiritual Gifts Today?

by Mark Anderson


A very special, quite slim book that is packed with Biblical wisdom. Are the spiritual gifts that Paul talks about in Corinthians available to Christians today? Here is a robust ‘Yes’ in answer to that question!
Mark Anderson’s background is Pentecostal, but here he writes for all of us. He writes ‘as a lover of scripture, I owe it to good hermeneutical practice to present as accurately as possible, a scriptural understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit,’ and so he does.
There are nine manifestations of the Spirit outlined in 1Corinthians 12 verses 1-11 and continually quoting scripture, the author explains why he believes that all nine are available to us today, and that what they meant for Paul and the Corinthians is what they must mean to us. He explains that Cessationists ‘don’t recognise that the Holy Spirit can still manifest himself through believers in the manner Paul cites...’ This is the clearest, easiest to read book on this subject that I have come across and heartily recommend it.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (10/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: WestBow Press division of Thomas Nelson
Published: June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-449-75354-2
Paperback
Price: £7.99

God in the Dark

- Rebuilding Faith When Bad Stuff Happens

by Peter Longson


Theology through the lens of personal experience can be very powerful stuff. This is the work of an anonymous author, writing under a pseudonym, presumably to protect the identity of his family, who suffered a terrible personal tragedy. It is this tragedy which seems to have powered this work on how God can be love and yet evil can exist.
Well-written and engaging, the book takes various angles in dealing with this question, including perspectives drawn from both science and music. The material is well-organised and it moves towards some coherent conclusions. I am in two minds about those conclusions: some of them I can agree with, others seem quite sweeping in their extent and less well-supported. However, this book deserves your time because of the honesty and rigour of its wrestlings with such a big question.

Review by Chloe Lynch  (30/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Wild Goose Publications
Published: Spring 2012
ISBN: 978-1-849-52215-1
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Spirit Wars

- Winning the Invisible Battle Against Sin and the Enemy

by Kris Vallotton


A timely reminder of the realities of spiritual warfare written by one who has spent much time on the front line. Kris Vallotton is constantly surprised and alarmed at the ignorance of Christians about the conflict we are all engaged in. ‘Teaching some people about the spirit world feels like trying to convince someone in the 1800s that there really were such things as germs... that could make them sick or even kill them.’ He draws heavily on the Bible, especially the book of Nehemiah, to show that it was never God’s plan to leave us unaware and unprotected, that we need to stop listening to the lies of the enemy, be aware of his strategies, put on our heavenly armour and stand firm. He uses his own personal battles and those of his family to demonstrate how lives can be stifled by unnecessary bondage and how Christ’s people can break free in His power. A book full of encouragement for those who feel constantly under attack and full of vital information for the under-informed.

Review by Diane Morrison  (30/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Chosen imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: January 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-79493-4
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Glorious Mess

- Encountering God’s Relentless Grace for Imperfect People

by Mike Howerton


I have a real fondness for the Jonah story, and a real bug bear in that so few seem to get the Jonah story and seem to think it ends with the conversion of the Ninevites – it doesn’t. This book knows that and uses the Jonah story in the way it’s meant to be, it uses it to highlight God’s radical and relentless grace and our utter inability to actually grasp that and shows our attempts to run away and avoid that fact and all the problems that causes us as an imperfect people.
Glorious Mess is wonderful, it’s warm, witty – in fact not only witty it’s really funny at times – and above all it’s caring and understanding and filled with grace, humility and firm teaching on endless love, the kind God has for all of us regardless of who we are, where we are and what we’ve done or are doing. Indeed as the author puts it on page 179 ‘Because of Jonah we see the unconditional, unending, unyielding, unfailing love of God for imperfect people. That is why Jesus says in Matthew 12, ‘You want a sign? I’ll give you a sign, Jonah.’
This is not a biblical study book, it’s a personal study guide. At the end of each section there’s a ‘Mining the Mess: Making it Personal’ piece that has questions and suggestions for you to think on about yourself and your actions. These would also make great group study questions so I was really amazed to find at the back of the book a strong five week Group Study Guide actually provided as well. This is a fantastic book to read as an individual, but the insight and value of using it in a group setting really would be great because it highlights so well some issues we might have problems with and need help to make changes in our personal and corporate thinking.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (25/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
Published: 03 March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-801-01391-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

A Practical Christianity

- Working On Transforming Our Lives

by Jane Shaw


Why does Jesus advise his disciples to shake the dust off their feet at places where they are not welcomed? Perhaps at the heart of this lies a preparedness for a life of rejection and alienation in this world. We may be at times unwelcomed, so this is utterly wise. Using this brave proposal Jane Shaw maps out for us a practical faith. This message is a timeless if uncomfortable one in an era of growing cultural hostility and cynicism. This is a subversive call away from wanting to be liked, to a bolstered existence where conviction and courage, strengthen our life of faith.
There are historical threads as well as a contemporary feel to this writing. In five chapters a considerable ask is graciously laid out before us. This book is thought-provoking and could be transformative, if fully inhabited. Great ideals..... Here’s to living the life!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (25/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06816-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Repair My House

- Becoming a Kingdom Catholic

by Michael H. Crosby


Michael Crosby, an author of many books, is a Capuchin Franciscan with degrees in economics and New Testament spirituality. Repair My House, a study of the state of the Catholic Church in crisis in the west, made me consider 'my' journey in faith.
In our diocese, our situation is one of less attendance and fewer priests: the fewer laity we have, the fewer vocational families. We are interdependent. If I consider being a mixture of part and whole of the church then I have a responsibility to myself and to her for the state we are in; This book helped me to reflect and to pray differently for our growing in Christian maturity.
Repair My House studies the crisis in its external, internal and structural causes; it helps us to ponder what is in the way - the possible collective and particular erroneous mindsets. We need to read this book and ponder about the questions it raises for all our beloved churches.

Review by Catherine Foster  (24/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-570-75953-6
Paperback
Price: £14.99

How to be a Bad Christian......And a Better Human Being



by Dave Tomlinson


Dave Tomlinson’s eye catching title invites you to read this book! He tells of unconventional happenings in his parish, highly appropriate for his non church going parishioners. He tells us more about some of these people and their Christian attitudes although they would not call themselves Christians. He writes ‘Christianity...as a spiritual practice rather than a belief system? That’s really what the rest of this book is about’ Page 10.
He says elsewhere ‘I am a bad Christian. I often struggle with church subculture and sometimes find myself more at home amongst honest ‘pagans’ and on page 104 he writes that it is ‘Out of my allegiance to Christ that I reverence the faith of others’. These sentiments he enlarges upon and I found his words inspiring and thought provoking, demanding a response from each one of us. So many wise words herein, this is a book to be read again and again and I promise you, new thoughts and responses will surface each time.
There is an Appendix explaining spiritual practices, another about the Enneagram and the third listing useful websites has a brief explanation of what each of them is about. There are other websites mentioned within the text e.g. www.jesuschrist.uk.com

Visit the author's website:davetomlinson.co.uk

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (18/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-1-444-70382-5
Hardback
Price: £12.99

The Most Misused Verses In The Bible

- Surprising Ways God’s Word Is Misunderstood

by Eric J. Bargerhuff


This is an excellent book that should be read by many, especially by those that like to quote scripture during an argument or discussion, because it highlights that when we do this we are actually misusing the Words of God, not only because we use them as a tool to prove ourselves right rather than to action God’s intent, but because when we do it we invariably take the verse out of context and this in turn leads to further misuse and confusion. The Word of God is not a pick and mix sweetie counter, but rather it is a holistically satisfying feast where all the dishes must be served together and in the right order to satisfy and enjoy to the full.
The author takes seventeen of the most frequently used ‘argument’ or ‘statement’ quotes and then in an easy to read manner shows where they are being distorted, through being misunderstood and used without context. He is not overly harsh or condemnatory but is honest and frank using real life cases, often at his own expense, to demonstrate the errors and how easy it is for them to arise, but how important it is to put them right.
A very helpful and illuminating book on an important and somewhat overlooked topic.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (18/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20936-9
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Eucharist

- What Do We Believe?

by Fáinche Ryan


Although the term ‘Christian’ is largely used throughout, this book is written from a Catholic perspective. The author seeks to encourage her co-religionists to consider more deeply the meaning of the words ‘Church’ and ‘Sacrament’. She traces the history and traditions of Christianity from the time of Christ up to and beyond the Second Vatican Council. Concerning the Mass and the Eucharist, she points to small changes in ritual but emphasises the essential continuity of both. The theme of the book is enriched by quotations from Scripture and from the writings of many theologians from St Paul to Pope John-Paul ll. For Catholics this study could lead to a more profound contemplation and appreciation of the Eucharist, one of the great mysteries inherent in their beliefs. For others it might go some way to explaining why many people hold such beliefs.

Review by Alexandra Irvine  (03/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: 12 June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-856-07788-0
Paperback
Price: £8.50

Grace

- Faith Going Deeper Series

by Peter Groves


What a strong start to a new series examining the central themes of Christian thought and life! And what a key subject to start with, the subject of Grace, a word we frequently bandy about but a subject that often we don't give full consideration to in terms of what we actually mean by it. Grace is used in so many different ways and this book attempts to clarify and show the theological, biblical and historical ways this word has been used, and more importantly to highlight the importance of that which is Grace, Gods Grace, manifest in different ways.
While being academically sound it is not rigorous to read or understand; instead it is clear, revealing and just challenging enough to leave one aware that due consideration must be given to the way in which we use such important terms as Grace if we want to do them justice.
I'd consider this a key resource in any parish library and certainly a book for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of what Grace is. Although there are no questions included in the book to make it a study, it would still be a good book to undertake to read at group level and to discuss at length

Review by Melanie Carroll  (03/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25054-3
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Epiphanies of the Ordinary

- Encounters that Change Lives

by Charlie Cleverly


Despite the eye-catchingly abstruse title, this is primarily a book about love; about the fundamental importance of receiving God’s love for us and returning it with all that we have; about the fact that nothing else will stand for long if this cornerstone is not in place. Of necessity, I read it straight through from beginning to end, but it is clearly not intended to be read this way and much can be lost if one tries. There are six component pieces to each of the three sections, Come, Abide and Go, but every one can stand alone as an exploration of ways in which we can align ourselves with the God we profess to follow and the vital importance of a right relationship with Him. Charlie Cleverly uses his own experiences, successes and failures as demonstrations and shares with us his own epiphanies – moments of divine revelation – while encouraging us to put ourselves in a place where we can receive our own. Each chapter begins with Scripture and ends with prayer and deserves time and consideration before moving onto another. A timely reminder of basic truths that we can all lose sight of on the treadmill of everyday life.

Review by Diane Morrison  (30/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton imprint of Hachette UK Ltd
Published: 12 December 2012
ISBN: 978-1-444-70192-0
Paperback
Price: £11.99

The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare - Discover How To Recognize Spiritual Attack

- Pray for Deliverence, Break Generational Curses, Protect yourself and Your Children in an Age of Growing Darkness

by Tom White


Originally published 1990
‘Each man and woman makes a choice to seek light or to serve self. Apart from the choice of an individual to seek the grace of God, our prayers cannot and will not wrench someone free from the grip of sin and the power of Satan’ p. 170. The author has for 30 years ‘been at the forefront of teaching and ministering in spiritual warfare …’, as founder and director of Frontline Ministries and hence his book abounds with personal stories and spiritual testimonies. The book gives much information on kinds of oppression, and recognising it, and is directed at Christian believers, mainly, it seems, those who have had little experience of deliverance. This is a useful book, and includes much advice e.g. on recognising personal oppression (Ch. 7), places of spiritual refuge (Ch. 9) the importance of prayer warfare (Chs. 11, 12), and qualification for deliverance ministry (p. 144-5)., etc. My only wish is that the information was easier to locate - particularly for those newcomers to deliverance - as there is no index.

Related website:www.flministries.org

Review by John Thomas  (24/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Regal, Pub Gospel Light from Kingsway
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-830-75725-1
Paperback

The Prodigal Father

- Stories of God’s Prodigal Grace

by David Marshall


The grace of God never comes too late! Here is a powerful celebration of our rescuing Father who comes in unconditional and undeserved grace to love and welcome us home. 'Overgenerous to the point of wastefulness' is a vital definition that lies at the heart of David Marshall’s clear teaching gift, and this is warmly and wisely unpacked in this compact 23-chapter grace-seeking device! This is a potent exposé of the Luke 15 parable from multiple directions and with fresh insight and action-orientated counsel. There is insight and bible commentary that weaves well with story and wisdom.
A great exegesis promenading grace and persuading the human heart.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (21/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Autumn House
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-906-38187-5
Paperback
Price: £5.95

Faith Hope Love and Everything in Between



by Mick Brooks


Mick Brooks covers a wide range of topics in his book about the journey of discipleship. He wants to encourage us to keep on exploring ways to get to know God better, to live whole and holy lives, to relate well to others and to view the whole of life from an eternal perspective. The book contains lots of practical advice and is well illustrated from the Bible and other writers. I think the final heading in the last chapter sums up the main thrust of the book - 'Trust steadily, hope unswervingly and love extravagantly'. And then Mick encourages us to keep on persevering in our journey of faith, as we remember God's goodness, live in the hope of His saving grace and get to know and experience the Father heart of God. This practical guide to the Christian faith is, I think, particularly suitable for new believers.

Faith Hope Love and Everything in Between: Format – DVD, £19.99 inc vat, ISBN – 502-7-957-00132-9 This seven-session DVD resource has been produced to complement the book of the same title. Mike Brooks addresses the same seven topics in a visually stimulating way, in various locations. The basic premise is that ' Life is a journey: not a destination' and Mike conducts an honest exploration of the challenges and questions we all face along life's journey. The questions at the end of each session (of approximately 20 minutes) are good discussion starters for small groups. As an aid to growing in Christlikeness this is an excellent resource, and I think would be especially helpful for new believers.

Review by Jackie Rowe  (26/06/12)
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Publisher: CWR (Crusade for World Revival)
Published: 09 September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-853-45598-8
Paperback
Price: £9.99

30 Days – A Thirty-day Practical Introduction to Reading the Bible



by Nicky Gumbel


Originally published in 1999 and continually in print till now.
This book turned up at exactly the right time after having been lent the Alpha course on DVD. This Thirty-day Practical Introduction to Reading the Bible can be used with the course or on it's own. Each day has a topic e.g. ‘The most important question,’ this was the bible reading Matthew ch 28 v1 - 10. After the reading there is a breakdown on what the scriptures mean and how they relate to us. Nicky Gumbel gives examples of modern people which connect to the daily study. The final part of the daily study is a prayer.
This book really helped me. What I liked was, though it was easy to follow and understand, the information is exactly what you need. The only negative thing I could say about this book was that sometimes the reading stopped in the middle of a verse; but the positives definitely outweighed the negative.
A helpful, interesting book which I would recommend to anyone who doesn't know where to start.

Review by Julia Bennett  (20/06/12)
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Publisher: Alpha published by Kingsway
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-907-95007-0
Paperback
Price: £3.99

The Reason For God

- Belief in an Age of Scepticism

by Timothy Keller


As the pastor of an inner city church in New York City, Timothy Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced ‘doubts’ sceptics bring to his church, as well as the most important reasons for faith. In The Reasons for God he addresses each doubt and explains each reason. Publisher
This is almost an ‘academic’ book as it goes into considerable detail yet is easy to read and understand and I found it very helpful in putting into words that I can share, many thoughts that I have not been able to resolve in my own mind before. No doubt he has changed names but each chapter starts with an opinion stated by one of his sceptic congregation which Timothy Keller then addresses and refutes with clear reasoning and biblical references. It says on the cover that this is for serious spiritual seekers or sceptics and I would encourage anyone to read this book.
I wish Hodder had presented the book with looser binding, I had to force it open, but it rewarded my efforts.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (01/01/10)
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Publisher: Hodder
Published: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-340-97933-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99