Used Book Finds: How Great Christian Met Christ by James C. Hefley

A collection of 40 giants in Christendom by a little know author, How Great Christian Me Christ (published by Moody Press in 1973)is one of those book that has this outstanding idea for a book but didn’t have a blockbuster hit on the market. This book which I got from Booksale (and most of the books I put a title “Used Book Finds”) has the “Who-who” personalities in Christianity. Name it this book got it. You don’t believe me? Take a shot! Spurgeon is here. Augustine is here. So is Billy Graham, John Wesley, Hudson Taylor, D. L. Moody, John Newton, Billy Sunday, Harry Ironside, Justin Martyr, George Muller is here. Impressive list isn’t it?! This brief and concise collection on how they got converted in Christianity has the best and not so best in terms of how the author tells it or the conversion is not that earth shaking. Still it’s a good read. You got to give the author the credit for the effort he has done. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this post. If you have something to share about finding great books over second hand bookstores please post a comment.

Used Book Finds: Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders

One of my favorite authors who had made an impact to my life, J. Oswald Sanders, this book maybe considered the prequel of his Spiritual Leadership. This book is a power pack for those who seek to grow in maturity in Christ.  You may consider this book hard to digest but in truth it’s most easy to grasp than Spiritual Leadership. Sometimes a colossal book like Spiritual Leadership can overshadow his other works but please consider this also a valuable gem from Sanders. This edition published by Moody Press in 1969 however there are updated editions of this book if you check Amazon. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

J.B. Phillips on God for a “Privileged Class”

J.B. Phillips, the Anglican minister best known as a Bible translator, writes in his famous book “Your God is Too Small” a misconception about God:

 

It is characteristic of human beings to create and revere a ‘privileged class,” and some modern Christians regard the mystic as being somehow spiritually a cut above his fellows. Ordinary forms of worship and prayer may suffice for the ordinary man, but for the one who has direct apprehension of God—he is literally in a class by himself. You cannot expect a man to attend Evensong in his parish church when there are visions waiting for him in his study!

 

                The New Testament does not subscribe to this flattering view of those with a gift for mystic vision. It is always downright and practical. It is by their fruits that men shall be known: God is no respecter of persons: true religion is expressed by such humdrum things as visiting those in trouble and steadfastly maintaining faith despite exterior circumstances. It is not, of course, that the New Testament considers it a bad thing for a man to have a vision of God, but there is a wholesome insistence on such a vision being worked out in love and service.

 

                It should be noted, at least by those who accept Christ claim to be God that he by no means fits into the picture of the “mystic saint.” Those who are fascinated by the supposed superiority of the mystic soul might profitably compile a list of its characteristics and place them side by side with those of Christ. The result would probably expose a surprising conclusion.

 

                There is, in fact, no provision for a “privileged class” in genuine Christianity. “It shall not be so among you,” said Christ to his early followers,” all ye are brethren.”

 

(Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips, pp.56-57, Macmillan Paperback Edition 1961)

 

What are some misconceptions of God you have in mind? Please share it in the comment.

Getting to the Core of the Book

We love to devour those juicy read apples. Those crispy and luscious fruit we love to sink our teeth in. But we don’t go to the core. We throw it away because it’s worthless. But not with your books. We may consume the whole book without noticing the core. When I mean the core of the book it is the central part of the book that is where the whole theme of it is located. It is where the main lesson is placed then every other chapter or parts of it will be the sub-lessons. Like a movie, the core is the lead actor and others are the supporting cast. You can pull it out and the book will lose its relevance. You take it out and it will stand alone as if it’s the essence of the whole book.

In romance novels the good part or the most read is the most dent spine, most mess up page and the almost worn out. Once an author made that observation because the good part, according to her contains the love scenes. That’s why it’s the most read. But let’s not get into the romance novels, I think you got the point. The core is the main component of the book. If you’re keen enough in reading you will notice that part. Sometimes it’s the make or break of the book.

I pointed this out because of two books that came to my mind. One is from J. Oswald Sanders “Enjoying Intimacy With God” and “Courageous Leadership” by Bill Hybels (which by the way, I might mention here in this blog but with caution and discernment). Years ago I found in the internet a good lesson by Sanders titled “Circles of Intimacy of God” which became a tremendous help for our ministry. What I didn’t know is that its part of that book I mention. I got a copy of the book and with the look of things it is the core of it. Other parts are essential but you can see the first chapter tackling the four circles of intimacy carries the book itself. Another hand out titled “The Art of Self-Leadership” by Bill Hybels which I found in a campus ministry website, is a valuable and I would love to share to our young people. As of recent I found out it is chapter of a book on leadership by Hybels. Again the book is great but that chapter which I dig out as a handout stands by itself making its core.

I’m not here to make you core hunters and suck all the fun in your reading. That’s the real reason we should pick up the book. First is to inform us then for our enjoyment. But knowing the core of the book can be helpful in many ways. It saves us time or money to go on to the next book. We can dissect the core from a truly boring book and get all the nutrients. We can easily share it because we are giving the good part already. Handouts can be made. Lots of great things in store in finding the core.

Have you found the core of the book your reading now? I would love to know your comments on this topic.

Used Book Finds: Unafraid to Be by Ruth Etchells

You got to thank IVP (Inter Vasity Press) for putting books that are responding to contemporary inquires (or sometimes attacks) to Christianity. They are one of those publications on the frontlines of defending the faith. The last book I read from them is “The Dawkin’s Delusion” by Alister McGrath.  I never thought they have this reputation of putting unique books on apologetics. I’ve found this book titled “Unafraid to Be” by Ruth Etchells (IVP, London) 1st edtion 1969. Subtitled ” a Christian Study of Contemporary English Writing” book examines contemporary literatures and the arts that, not only tries to answer mans spiritual questions, (Who am I? Why am I here for? etc.,) but undermines the truth found in the Bible. Prominent figures mentioned in the book are Arthur Miller, John Le Carre, Alfred Camus, Jean Paul Satre, William Gooding (author of Lord of the Flies), Kingsley Amis, D. J. Enright, John Osborne, Graham Greene and others.  So the next time you visit BookSale check out books by IVP and you’ll be in for a treat…

Used Book Finds: The Writer and The Writer’s Digest

  Been following blogs to help me improve my writing ability and style but nothing beats a physical material that won’t strain my eyes staring at my laptop. Just this year, as I was excavating BookSale (a second hand bookshop in the Philippines) I noticed they carry some writing magazines that are so inexpensive it cost P5-P10 per copy! Yes Virginia it’s so cheap! The magazines are “The Writer” and “The Writer’s Digest”. Both (though geared for secular writing) deliver the goods that are very useful for writers. From tips, advices, interviews, online exclusives etc.; the two magazines are great companions for writers especially for us bloggers. As of now I have 8 magazines in my collection and counting. I suggest that you go search it out at the nearest BookSale branch. You can also find them on the web: The Writer and The Writer’s Digest.Happy magazine hunting and blog writing!

A Trip to Booksale: A Christian Guide on Finding Christian Books from a Pre-Loved Bookstore

Want to do something that will flex you Christian life? Read a Christian book! But you don’t have a budget to buy those books at National or PCBS. Then go to Booksale!

Booksale is a popular second hand or used bookstore in the Philippines from a company called Visual Mix Inc. It’s a sort of ukay-ukay for books. They sell those books (from novels, children’s, coffee tables, comics etc.) in a very cheap price. It also carries new and back issues of magazines, local and international. You can find it at malls as stalls or a store branch. Sometimes it has Christian books that are classics and written by popular authors.

For years now, I’ve brought books at Booksale. Some had impact my life. You don’t have to pay expensive Christian books just to fuel your Christian walk. You can find some treasures at Booksale. There are competitors and book fairs popping up but Booksale is ahead of the pack.

This article intends to give advice and tips on finding a Christian book if you ever be or planning to go to Booksale.

For first timers: Prepare for a lot digging, flipping and bending for books at Booksale. But your effort will be paid off if you get hard to find or classic books in a very affordable price. It might surprise you that big stores sell that same book for a hefty price but find it at Booksale very cheap.

You might as well be informed that this is not a Christian bookstore. Booksales carries men’s magazines and other stuff Christians should not set eyes upon.

Another don’t expect for the sales clerk to know or find a book for you. They are not like those from big bookstores.

The budget: Booksale gives prices as low as P10 (if you are super duper lucky) . The price ranges to P10-75 and over 200 which are still cheap compare with popular bookstores. If you’re going there, it’s safe to have P 500. If you’re lucky, with that amount you can buy 3-5 books. If the book is prolific in Booksale, you might as well wait for them to lower its price. I’ve observed that if a book wouldn’t sell, they will change the price. You might notice the multiple price stickers on the book. I brought books which are classic for as low as 10-25 pesos. They don’t price it because of the authors, but to sell and dispose it.

Some publishers you might look out while digging: This list will give some ease and save some time on what is a Christian book by looking at the publisher’s name. These are legitimate Christian publishing company, but that doesn’t mean we should put off our discernment radar. Let’s use our Christian discernment by comparing those books with our stand in doctrine, morality, biblical worldview etc.

Major publishing companies: Whitaker, Tyndale, NavsPress, Revell, McMillan, Moody Press, Regal, Bethany House, Spire, New Leaf, CLC (Christian Literature Crusade), Thomas Nelson, New Growth Press, Zondervan, and Inter Varsity Press.

Publishing company that has a Reformed bent: Crossway (most of their product), 9 Marks, Banner of Truth,  Cruciform Press, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, Reformed Trust Publishing, 10 of Those, The Good Book, Matthias Media, and Lexham Press.

It will also help if you find a book or author to check them in the internet before buying it. You can search info, reviews, criticism and recommendations for that book and the author. Look it up in GoodReads or Challies.com (if he reviewed it).

Authors you shouldn’t miss: Booksale sometimes has great books by these authors: John MacArthur, JI Packer, E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray,Randy Alcorn , Charles Spurgeon, and C.S. Lewis. Some of these authors are available in thin mass produced trade paperback.The list I provide are some that are prolific in Booksale (which I have seen in BS over the years) but not necessary always available.

Of course, there are Bibles in different versions and sizes you can find in Booksale. You can own the greatest book in the world for a very affordable price.

Topics or Category you may find: Mostly Christian living, ministry, devotional and discipleship.

Rarely are apologetics and theology.

Great titles that influence me: Here are some books I brought that greatly helped me in my Christian walk that I got from Booksale (and I hope you can find it too.)

  1. Narnia series by C. S. Lewis
  2. Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders
  3. In Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
  4. Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  5. Of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis
  6. Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur Jr. (hardbound)
  7. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  8. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  9. The Song by Calvin Miller

Books You Should Avoid: Once in awhile I find some books that have spiritual stuff but don’t uphold a biblical Christian stand. So please check carefully the book you’re buying. Here are some of them:

  1. self help
  2. Hare Krishna/Divine Consciousness
  3. Robert Schuller
  4. New Age, Yoga and Shirley MacLane
  5. Dianetics by Ron Hubbard
  6. Book of Mormon, Great Controversy, Steps to Christ and other so called religious text from cults (but if i were you I’ll do this for these cult literatures).
  7. Horoscope and other fortune telling stuff.

Top Secret Tips

1.) If you find something that you really like but forgot to bring cash or you budget it to something else and you don’t want to come back to find its gone, don’t worry. You can reserve the book for a few days with no additional fee till you can buy it. Just tell the sales clerk or cashier and they can keep it for you.

2.) If you want to find great selections, better visit the big stores rather than the small ones. The big stores can be found in Robinson Galleria, SM North Edsa, SM Southmall Las Pinas and  Makati Cinema Square.

3.) Booksale changes books every month. That means new (old) books with much lower prices are available. Sometime they do it every first day of the month. Ask the clerk what date do they change their books. So before anyone get something, better know when they change products.

Advantages: Here are some advantages in buying at Booksale:

  1. The price is very low. As I have said, you can buy something for P10.
  2. If your fortunate a Christian book can be in hardbound.
  3. Popular, hard to find and out of print Christian books are available.
  4. Books are printed in the US.

Disadvantages: Although the prices are very low at Booksale (which is an advantage) there are some disadvantages:

  1. Quality of the books-sometimes (but not always) some got ugly because of the price sticker, has missing or falling away pages, worn out, torn and crumpled cover. Flap jackets are missing. Markings like “Used” or “Discarded”. Lots of pencil or ballpen markings.
  2. You won’t get what you want-unlike PCBS or National bookstore you can go to a section for a specific book or topic you’re looking for. Sometime you won’t find any that fits your taste.
  3. Sales clerk– aside for not having one attending, they don’t know about the books and won’t even recommend you one.
  4. Not all malls have Booksale.
  5. Some Christian books available at Booksale (or even at National or PCBS) can be read or in some cases downloaded in the internet for free.
  6. Some are old editions and not updated.
  7. Sometimes they don’t have multiple copies of a title.

Not all the time I buy at Booksale, I visit National or PCBS and purchase (if I have the budget) books that are new, fresh and relevant with the time or culture. There are books sellers in FB Marketplace or in IG that I follow and get pre-loved books.

Free books: Simply research the internet for specific topics that are available in different digital format free. Another thing is to subscribe to David C. Cook, Desiring God, Crossway or Ligioner Ministries and for time to time they give away e-books for free.

Interesting stuff: Over the years of buying, collecting and reading books, I find in Booksale I notice some stuff worth noting. Some of the books are discarded from libraries in the US because it still carries the index card or has the name of the library stamp on the first page. In some books I own, you know it’s a gift because of the handwritten dedication for someone. You can also know who previously owns it with the sticker of the owner’s name complete with address! Other times, someone might be studying the book that you can see pencil or ballpen lines and hand written comments on the spaces of each page. You might get a surprise if you get autographed books.

I hope this article help you in finding a worthy read for your enjoyment and spiritual growth. If you have some question you can send an e-mail: nitoymgonzales@gmail.com or use it to add me up in FaceBook. Booksale has a website Booksale  and FB Page. You can connect also to them on FB Messenger. Happy Christian book hunting at Booksale!