Fostering love of good reading in the children & adults (& college students!) of Gracepoint Berkeley Church and Davis, Austin, Minneapolis, San Diego, Riverside, Hsinchu, Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Barbara, Seattle!
Over at Gracepoint Berkeley church, when I meet new college students, they often say, “Oh, you’re the bookstore lady” or the “Bibliopolis lady.” To which I say, yup, because I am. 🙂 For those of you who joined our previous episode of “Journey to Gracepoint Book Tables,” you know that some of our churches have book store guys. Today, we journey down the Pacific Coast Highway to lovely Gracepoint Santa Barbara church, whose book table guy this past year has a very Bibliopolis-worthy name.
Join us for our next episode of Journey to Gracepoint Book Tables!
I and some sisters on our team have been praying through a book called “31 Days of Praise” by Ruth Myers and wanted to share about how it has been really helping my times of prayer. There are 31 days of prayers specifically praising God, teaching us to give thanks to God literally in all circumstances. What’s been helpful about these prayers is that the wordings of the prayer is down to earth and helps articulate what’s in my heart into words that sometimes I can’t find myself.
So borrowing the words of these prayers that are also based on various scripture and quotes from different Christian authors, has been helping me gain fresh perspectives on who God is, who I am, and just life itself. What’s also been neat is to find that some of these prayers of praise are very timely to what I happened to be facing day to day.
Learning to give praise to God in all circumstances has been helping me keep my eyes off of myself and upon God more than anything. So I just wanted to recommend this prayer book that I think can help many of us deepen a life of thanksgiving and praise to God.
By the way, the author Ruth Myers, was a native of Minnesota and served as a staff for Navigators in Asia for almost 50 years (she passed away in 2010).
Here is a small sample from one of the prayers that I was impacted by today from Day 24:
“Thank You, my loving and sovereign God, that my failures and mistakes are part of the “all things” You work together for good…I rejoice that these things keep reminding me to depend on You with all my heart…that they prompt me to trust in Your love, Your forgiveness, Your power, Your sufficiency, Your ability to overrule, and Your transforming presence within me. Thank You for the ways that my shortcomings and failures bring pressure on me to open myself to You more fully, and the way they let You show me deep and hidden needs: griefs and hurts that I’ve never poured out before You, that I’ve never exposed to Your healing touch, and sins that I’ve never faced and acknowledged. How grateful I am for Your constant cleansing as I confess each sin You make me aware of, and then turn back to You as my Lord.”
Great news for folks at Gracepoint Berkeley church — new and used copies of the book are en route to the bookstore at this very moment, so be on the lookout! They will be in our Prayer section in the display shelves.
For those of you at Gracepoint Berkeley church, you’ve been getting my book recommendations and email updates when we stock new books in the bookstore. And people have been spreading the word, but I realized those of you at our other Gracepoint ministries might find it useful to hear about some recommendations here.
Going forward, I am going to post those reader recommendations from the bookstore here. And you’ll be able to find them all in the Christian Books category. In the meantime, I will do some retroactive recommendations!
First up, a Chinese language recommendation for what is being referred to as the “little blue book.” The proper title is 信仰要道, which translates to FaithEssentials or Basic Christianity. It comes highly recommended by Vincent Hu, from Gracepoint Berkeley:
The booklet is made up of 117 short “lessons” that are about 2-4 pages long each. The book covers a wide range of Christian topics like basic biblical beliefs of God, Creation, sin, and salvation, Christian living, apologetics, and answers to some tough sayings presented in the Bible. It’s a great reference to have when you find yourself in need of presenting certain aspects of Christianity in a clear, succinct, and winsome way to Chinese people. It’s also a great resource for new Christians since each lesson is very short and easy to read, and the wide spectrum of topics can really help someone gain a basic biblical worldview rather quickly.
Since we have stocked and restocked it in our bookstore, they have been flying off the shelves. If you have an experience using this booklet, please share about it in the comments below!
For those of you who are curious, Andrew completed the middle line. He read some legit books, including The Hobbit, The Case for Faith, and notably, the Christian Heroes series biography on…Brother Andrew (not him!). And like many of you who have told me, he has a strategy of which line he’ll be reading next.
I know some of our other churches across Gracepoint Ministries will be launching their own summer challenges soon. I’m looking forward to celebrating our readers everywhere!
Wanted to let all of you know that there is currently a special going on at Christian Audio, which is having its twice-yearly mega sale, where most books are 95% off! Included in that is the ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible, which is available for just $7.49.
Pastor Jonathan from Gracepoint Berkeley church has a mini-testimonial about using the audio Bible: “Whenever I read long chunks of the Bible, I listen to the audio. It helps me keep focused, underline, circle, etc.”
You can check out this deal, as well as many others on Christian audiobooks.
Have any of you tried this particular version? If not, which audio Bible do you use?
There’s a certain fellowship amongst the book table folks across our Gracepoint Ministries, as we share ideas about how to promote reading in our respective churches. And while I don’t have my Mary Poppins umbrella or magic carpet bag yet, it’s been awesome to visit Sunday Worship Services and see the reading revolution in action!
So we got a glimpse of the book table goings on at a couple of our church plants. You can always send me photos of your church’s book table. Join me next time as we continue our virtual tour on “Journey to Gracepoint Book Tables*.”
*In case you’re wondering, “Journey to Gracepoint Book Tables” is just a so-obscure-it’s-non-existent allusion to “Journey to China,” a public television language & travel show my dad used to watch when I was growing up.
Over at Gracepoint Berkeley church, we have had over 110 people get free 5th books this past semester. And I know there are some of you who read but opted not to take a free book — that’s a lot of reading we’ve done together. In fact, my informal survey results of college and post-college folks are in, and we have read over 750 books! That is pretty awesome.
With summer upon us, and building on the reading momentum of this past semester, I’m setting my sights on a collective 1,000. What do you say?
To help us in this endeavor, I am pleased to unveil our Summer Reading Challenge. It’s a bingo-style board that gives you multi-disciplinary categories of books to read. In addition to this past semester’s Christian book reading challenge, you’ll notice some fiction and non-fiction included. You can find a link to an in-progress list of possible suggestions for those squares on the Bibliopolis U Recommended Reading List page. Last but not least, there are some Bible squares for those of you who have Bible-reading goals for the summer!
For each bingo line you complete (up to 5), you can win a free book. Read the entire board and you’ll be in for a special prize.
“But I didn’t even finish my four books yet!!” If this is you, you’ll notice that all is not lost — you can transfer up to 2 books from your in-progress 1st bookmark. This doesn’t apply to those of you who are on book 8 or 23!
You’ll notice there is a spot at the bottom to include your ministry group affiliation. There may or may not be a prize for the group that read the most books (per capita, to be fair).
You can always contact me directly if you have specific questions regarding any book you’re hoping to apply towards the challenge. Happy reading!
Are you up for the challenge? Which bingo line are you going to start with? Are you in the middle of a book right now that you can use on the board? 🙂