News and Articles

4 April 2016

Books for all of life

Ruth Norbury Ruth Norbury Office Co-ordinator (Formation School)
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Ruth Norbury is the ministry leader for the church bookstall, so we asked her some questions about Christian books.

You help run the bookstall, so I guess you like reading? What sort of Christian books do you read and why?

I have always enjoyed reading, whether fiction or non-fiction, blogs, or news articles – but I also make time to read Christian books. We’re really fortunate at Above Bar Church that we receive fantastic teaching which helps us understand God’s word. But sometimes I want to find out more about a particular bit of the Bible, or read a book that helps me wrestle with an area of life I’m struggling with.

For example, I have found some Christian parenting books to be really helpful in applying God’s word to my role as a mum as I bring up my boys and seek to share Jesus with them. I have also found books about social justice and how Christians can engage with culture really inspiring. Books that deal with issues I’m struggling with – anxiety, for example – have been really helpful. I use Bible notes or commentaries to help me read the Bible, as I sometimes find it really hard to just sit and read it.

Do you find it easy to make time to read?

Unless it is a page-turner novel or interesting article online, then the honest answer is ‘no’. I get easily distracted – by my children, by social media, by life! We have so much information all around us today, especially with constant access to the internet on our phones, and many of us feel too busy a lot of the time. But there is something about reading a book that is good for us: it makes us slow down and reflect instead of being constantly distracted.

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Good Christian books help us reflect on who God is, what he has done and is doing in the world, and how we are to live for him. I need to be disciplined to read Christian books, but I try to read small amounts regularly (e.g. 15 minutes a day). Many recent Christian books are laid out in such a way that it is easy to just read a few paragraphs if that’s all there is time for. I have also found it very helpful in the last year to read a book with a friend and discuss it. The mums group I’m in reads a book and discusses a chapter a fortnight. It’s great to have that accountability.

It can often be hard to know where to start as there are so many Christian books – any tips?

The great thing about having such a big church bookstall is that you can come and browse the books before buying, and also ask the bookstall team for advice. Whoever you are, I can guarantee the bookstall has something for you – however old you are, whether you aren’t yet a Christian or have been a Christian for years.

We all have friends who have questions about God – there are some brilliant evangelistic books to help us and our friends engage with these questions.

We all find some bits of the Bible harder than others to understand – there are some really helpful Bible notes and commentaries that can help us engage with God’s word.

There is a huge selection of books that help us live for Jesus in our everyday lives – whether at work, school, home, or in our neighbourhoods. They deal with all sorts of issues that we face.

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There are so many Christian children’s books to choose from, what kinds of books do your boy’s enjoy?

Pete and I are so thankful for all the brilliant resources which help our children learn about Jesus and God’s word, and how much God loves them. The ones we’ve found most helpful so far have been The Jesus Storybook Bible and The Big Picture Bible. They help the boys see God’s salvation plan through history and how all the Bible stories point to Jesus. There are some great Bible notes for children that we’ve used with them, and we also all enjoy some of the kids music CDs that teach them about God through great music.

Any final thoughts?

If you haven’t read a Christian book for a while, why not come and have a look at what we have on the bookstall? Ask a friend to read something at the same time so you can discuss it and pray together about what God is teaching you. Most of our books cost around the same as two or three cups of coffee – a definite bargain! We also have loads of high quality cards and CDs, and can order in any books you’d like that we don’t already have. We look forward to seeing you one Sunday!



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