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Posted in Interesting Thoughts Barry Cooper|10:31 AM EDT|July 30th 2014

“You’re 9 years old,” I say to my younger self. “What do you have to be sad about?”

The charcoal portrait, sketched in the shadow of the Sacré-Coeur, now hangs in my father’s front room. And I look heroically gloomy. Presumably the artist did his best to capture the merriment of a family vacation, but the face is so sodden with regret it near drags the paper from its frame.

This was no isolated moment of childhood melancholy. "Cheer up," complete strangers would routinely say to me, "it might never happen." ("Too late," I would say under my breath, "it already has.")

I suppose some of us tend that way naturally. We’re always trying to swim back upstream to the moment just before we think it all went wrong. Our minds, sadly, aren’t well-behaved libraries shelved with orderly memoirs. They’re gothic charnel houses piled high with gaudy carousels, furiously spinning out past moments, past conversations, past relationships. What if I had done things differently? What if I had said something else? What if I had been someone else? The linoleum is worn through with pacing. We rehearse and re-rehearse dialogue as if we’re preparing for opening night on Broadway, except there is no play, these conversations ended long ago, and many of the people who shared them with us are long gone. Regret, the barbed wire hula-hoop, loping heavily around the brow, lacerating the skull with each revolve. Regret, the malevolent halo.

“What’s done is done.” “That tree has fallen.” “Why regret things you can’t change?”

Miserable comforters all. They may as well tell someone to ignore an itch they can’t scratch. The unreachability is what makes it so impossible to disregard.

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Posted in Useful Resources Rebecca Manley Pippert|7:28 AM EDT|July 30th 2014

The following is an extract from the Going Deeper section from LIVE: Session Three.

Jesus was never hesitant to state the benefits of what he offers. We never hear him say: “Well, if it seems like a convenient time, you might want to consider” … “I think you really might enjoy this” … “I don’t want to sound presumptuous, but what I offer is rather special!” Instead, Jesus is bold and remarkably direct. He says the benefit of placing our faith in him is that he forgives our sins and brings us into an intimate relationship with God now and for all eternity. He gives us abundant life—not gifts like a Ferrari or an all-expense-paid holiday, but a life of meaning, purpose, profound joy and fulfillment! Through Jesus we discover who we are and whose we are. We have a sense of belonging because we finally know our true home.

At the same time, Jesus warned people to stop and count the cost of being his disciple. William Barclay, author and Bible commentator, rightly observed about Jesus and his disciples: “No one could ever say that they were induced to follow Jesus by false pretenses. Jesus never tried to bribe men by the offer of an easy way.”

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Posted in Interesting Thoughts Tom Beard|5:56 AM EDT|July 30th 2014

We're conscious, here at The Good Book Company, of our need for prayer. We want to be working in God's strength - for God's glory - in God's Kingdom not just pottering about doing what we think is good and right. If you could remembers us in prayer, that would be so much appreciated. To that end, over the next few Wednesdays, we'll be popping up some prayer requests - asking you to pray for us department by department. This week, print and logistics:

We're a department which goes unnoticed if we're doing our job. We look after getting a finished product from the editorial department into the right place at the right time, looking right! We liaise with printers, shippers, couriers and warehouses. We print paperbacks, hardbacks, spiral bound, Christmas cards, stickers, display boxes, booklets, tracts, DVDs and CDs. We maintain 7 warehouses around the world and dispatched parcels to over 100 different countries in the last year.

We'd value prayer for:

 

  • accuracy in the finer detail; a small mistake in getting a book printed can mean opportunities missed and gospel money wasted
  • Alex as he takes over as our main print buyer from the noble Timmy (who is leaving in August)
  • constant reminding and a sense of excitement that the (sometimes) mundane, unseen work we do serves countless Christians around the world

 

Thank you!

Posted in On to a Good Thing Phil Grout|10:40 AM EDT|July 29th 2014

1. Emotions ebook - just £4.99 until midday Thursday!

Get the ebook version of Emotions by Graham Beynon for just £4.99!

2. TGCW14 Media Now Available

Watch or listen to the main talks and seminars from the recent Gospel Coalition women’s conference.

3. How Can I Be Sure? - Helping Christians Combat Doubt & Enjoy Assurance

John Stevens introduces his new book on doubt.

4. LIVE: the course your church may well have been waiting for

Editor Carl Laferton introduces the new course from Rebecca Manley Pippert.

5. And finally...

In case you missed it, our video of the week, the ‘Live Grow Know’ trailer:

 

Found something that you think should make it on to the On to a Good Thing round-up? Send it to: ontoagoodthing@thegoodbook.co.uk

Posted in Useful Resources Phil Grout|7:24 AM EDT|July 29th 2014

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Posted in Interesting Thoughts Tim Thornborough|10:15 AM EDT|July 28th 2014

An interestingly named bakery in Tooting, South London. Photo Tim Thornborough

"The weather was really hot on holiday - but it was a mixed blessing, because we all got sunburnt."
"Nuclear power is a mixed blessing - it gives us electricity but also weapons with terrible destructive power."
"Children are a mixed blessing - of course they bring us incredible joy and happiness - but the sleepless nights, the expense, the worry..."

I wonder if you've ever used this phrase in conversation? Many of us have.

We might also be tempted to think that being a Christian is a mixed blessing. The "upside" is enormous after all - forgiveness, eternal life, a new family, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the sure rock of the Bible as our guide in life, joy... I could go on.

But with it comes a whole heap of other stuff that is less pleasant. Misunderstanding, persecution, a task in life that seems impossible, the inner struggle against sin and temptation. None of these things are minor - many of them deeply painful, and last our whole lives.

So if someone said to us: "being a a Christian is a mixed blessing", we might be tempted to nod in agreement - until we looked at our Bibles.

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Posted in Useful Resources Carl Laferton|7:15 AM EDT|July 28th 2014

Rebecca Manley Pippert has done more to shape the church’s evangelism, and done more evangelism herself, than virtually anyone else in the last fifty years. Her bestselling Out of the Saltshaker was listed as one of the fifty most influential Christian books of the 20th century in Christianity Today. More recently, she has been based in Europe, encouraging Christians of all ages but particularly students to read the Bible with their non-Christian friends. The fruit right across the continent has been astonishing.

Now, Becky has turned her mind to a gap she’s noticed as she’s told people about Christ throughout the world. When people become Christians… what next? Or, when people have read the Bible with a friend, or done a course such as Christianity Explored or Alpha, and are interested but not yet converted… what next?

It’s worth asking yourself what you do. What your church does. What comes next for the nearly believer, or the new believer, or even the newly committed believer?

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Posted in Fighting the Monday Feeling Rachel Jones|4:08 AM EDT|July 28th 2014

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21

Posted in Interesting Thoughts Carl Laferton|9:35 AM EDT|July 25th 2014

They're going on now… and will throughout the summer. You may well know people you can pray these things for. If you don't, just pick a camp (Ventures is one place to find one) and pray these things for the people on it!

  1. Pray for the Bible teaching: that the "gospel [would come] … not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep joy" (1 Thessalonians 1 v 5)
  2. Pray that campers who aren't Christians would become Christians: that "they would turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven" (1 Thessalonians 2 v 9-10).
  3. Pray that Christian campers would learn how to live out their faith: that they'd know "how to live in order to please God … [and] do this more and more" (1 Thessalonians 4 v 1)
  4. Pray that leaders would have Christlike love: loving campers "so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well" (1 Thessalonians 2 v 8)
  5. Pray that leaders would have eternal priorities: that they'd think of the campers as "our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ when he comes" (1 Thessalonians 2 v 19)
  6. Pray that leaders would make be committed to prayer and practical support for their campers before, during and after camp: "How can we thank God enough for … you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith" (1 Thessalonians 3 v 9-10)

This post was originally posted on 24th July 2012.

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