“Journey to Gracepoint Book Tables” – Episode 2

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. ūüôā¬†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.

Kenneth “Biblibalibalopolis” Balibalos is beaming because he sold¬†the most number of books on the Sunday when they launched the Bibliopolis Summer Reading Bingo Challenge! (Do you see anything unusual about this photo?)
While the masculine decor of the book table might not win in the aesthetics department, SB’s book table wins for¬†the most mellifluous/alliterative/tongue-twistery name ever!

Join us for our next episode of Journey to Gracepoint Book Tables!

Recommended Read: 31 Days of Praise

Today’s recommendation comes from Alice of Gracepoint Minneapolis church. She just so¬†happens to be the mom of Mr. Sketch — remember her wonder-ful book review¬†last year?¬†Here is Alice’s recommendation and review of¬†31 Days of Praise: Enjoying God Anew by Ruth Myers:

I and some sisters on our team have been praying through a book called ‚Äú31 Days of Praise‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs been helpful about these prayers is that the wordings of the prayer is down to earth and helps articulate what‚Äôs in my heart into words that sometimes I can‚Äôt 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:

‚ÄúThank You, my loving and sovereign God, that my failures and mistakes are part of the ‚Äúall things‚ÄĚ You work together for good‚ĶI rejoice that these things keep reminding me to depend on You with all my heart‚Ķthat 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‚Äôve never poured out before You, that I‚Äôve never exposed to Your healing touch, and sins that I‚Äôve 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.‚ÄĚ

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.

Faith Essentials: A Chinese Book Recommendation

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¬†šŅ°šĽįŤ¶ĀťĀď, which translates to¬†Faith Essentials¬†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.

faith essentials or basic christianity
A play on another little book? Perhaps. But it really is little and blue, though some people have told me it’s green. ūüôā

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!

1st Bingo Winner!

Just 10 days into the Bibliopolis U Summer Reading Challenge and we have our first Bingo winner over at Gracepoint Berkeley church! Being the first, Andrew makes many constituencies proud: bragging rights to a2f Berkeley, Class of 2016 college graduates, MCAT studiers around the world, and the general Brohirrim of Gracepoint.

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!

“Hear the Word” Special!

esvheartheword2011Wanted 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?

“Journey to Gracepoint Book Tables” – Episode 1

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!

Here’s Allen, the book table guy at Gracepoint Los Angeles church.
And here’s the expanded book table he unveiled this past Sunday! Nice almost-Bruin blue suitcases there. ūüôā
Potential book table customers checking out The Battle Plan for Prayer!


Heading over to the Third Coast, here’s the book table at Gracepoint Minneapolis church. Kind of artsy and¬†serious looking!
I can sense their excitement to reach out and pick up one of those books!

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.

Bibliopolis U Summer Reading Challenge!

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.

Click on the game board to download one for yourself!

“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? ūüôā