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Posts Tagged ‘reading’

It was World Book Day yesterday. I think I always thought it was on a Friday because our primary school used to celebrate it on a Friday, and my Twitter timeline has been awash with stressed parents sourcing and/or making costumes all the way to last night. If you have googled this post desperately seeking inspiration, I have previously written on both easy solutions and also my most triumphant costuming ie the one I planned more than two days ahead.

But now my little munchkins are large lumpkins and World Book Day costumes are a thing of hideous joyous memory. But we still read books in the Vicarage, obvs. And to help that process, a few months ago I actually started a book club thing in our church.

I decided to start the book club when we took a break from the Church Society book review podcast I had been doing. And I found that (surprise, surprise!) without a deadline I was failing to read any Christian books at all. But the book club was also something I’d had on my heart for a long time and this seemed like a good point to get it going. I have scheduled six meetings a year – one towards the end of every half term. We meet on a Saturday morning for about an hour and I have provided fresh cinnamon rolls as an extra incentive. I decided to go for short(ish) books that people would hopefully read, rather than ‘classics’ or ‘important’ ones.

I have been aided enormously by 10ofThose and their extremely helpful book bundle scheme, which allows you to buy 20 books for £20. Not everyone in our church is a great reader, so the low cost encourages people to give books a go, even if they aren’t used to panic reading 200 pages the night before in anticipation of a podcast recording. And we’re now onto our third book since we began.

The first couple of meetings was just me and Dream, our Families and Community Worker, and the Joker. But last time numbers were up as we met to chat about Stand by Warren Wiersbe and we are praying that this trend will continue. But even if they don’t come to chat about them, people are definitely getting the books and are reading them. We’ve even found that people who’ve not actually read all of (or even any of) the book still enjoy coming to the brunch, not just because of the baking, but because a discussion about the Lord can only ever be a blessing.

For Lent I got a pack of The Forgotten Cross, which has a chapter for each week until Easter. You could even get it yourself and catch up with us. Perhaps you’re someone who is good at reading edifying books, but I’ve found that this discipline of a group has helped me.

Forgotten cross

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The Engineer is in Year 6 and his class does this ace thing every morning: 20-30 minutes of silent reading before the register. As I reflected on 2015 and my plans for this year, I was struck that I’d not read much other than detective fiction last year. Of course, good fiction is a great thing and I find it very helpful for relaxation. But I thought that I might have not had my reading balance quite right. And I wondered whether I needed to do some silent reading of my own.

And then I came across Canadian blogger Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge. And THEN some clergy wives in a Facebook group I’m a member of started asking if anyone was doing the challenge.

So I’m going to have a go with Challies’ list. Being realistic, I’m going to try out the challenge for a Light Reader – 13 books over the year. And then if I manage them more quickly than I expect, I’ll move to the next level. So it means that I’m going to try and read the following:

  • A book about Christian living
  • A biography
  • A classic novel
  • A book someone tells you ‘changed my life’
  • A commentary on a book of the Bible
  • A book about theology
  • A book with the word ‘gospel’ in the title
  • A book your pastor recommends
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book for children
  • A mystery or detective novel
  • A book published in 2016
  • A book about a current issue

I’ve got a few already about the house (am already reading a detective novel, of course, and am using a commentary in my devotions) but I’d love any recommendations you could make in these categories. Particularly a book that changed your life. And I’m going to see if I can manage some silent reading most days. Join me?

web-2016-reading-challenge-red

Tim Challies’ Reading Challenge – the Big List

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Messy Bible Reading

My ambitious Bible reading plan for 2014 has hit a few bumps in the road. Tiredness, idleness, busyness & illness have all played a part. But I’m persevering. Today I managed a full ten chapters in a single bite for the first time in a couple of weeks. And then I noticed that the ends of the ribbon bookmark I made for myself had started to fray at the ends. Rather like me really.

So I applied some Copydex. A spot of glue can stop everything unravelling. A bit like sticking with the Bible reading.

Glued ribbons. A happy solution.

Glued ribbons. A happy solution.

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I have a lovely leather bound copy of The Valley of Vision that I use for my devotions. But it was a recent purchase and is working well with my Prof Horner bible readings, for which using a proper paper Bible is recommended. Before that I used to use Banner of Truth‘s online devotional as I was reading the Bible on my tablet. Then they updated their website and the prayers went missing for a while, hence the purchase.

But I’ve just found that the prayers are back online. The prayers are in a random order, but are always helpful, and there is a suggested one for the day. And it’s a great way to check them out if you are thinking about getting the book.

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Morning all. I have drawn names from a bread basket this morning and am pleased to announce that the winners of a free copy of The Ministry of a Messy House are:

  • fabulouslyfreefrom
  • Dawn
  • Jenni Thompson
  • Liz Davis
  • Claire
  • Keith Bools

If you email your postal address to thevicarswifey AT gmail DOT com, I shall package your book and send it out asap. Probably tomorrow, as I am away for the day today. If you didn’t win but still want a copy, ThinkIVP (my publisher’s bookshop) has the best price, but you can also get the book at Amazon, 10ofthose and The Good Book Company if that’s more convenient for you. Also available as an e-book, including a Kindle version, if you want to start reading immediately!

MMH IVP marketing tweet

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For my devotions recently I’ve been reading the bible on my tablet, using the YouBible app and the Book of Common Prayer reading plan. The reading plan often includes 4 or 5 psalms, which I have been finding very helpful. Yesterday the set readings included Psalm 94, which spoke right into a busy week filled with sadnesses for people I love:

When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 94:19

Reading the Bible and meditating on it are one of the consolations that God provides. And since Advent is coming I’ve been thinking of finding a devotional to take me towards Christmas. We’ll have our family Jesse Tree of course. But I see that the e-book Good News of Great Joy is available again this year. I very much enjoyed following John Piper’s rather eclectic thoughts which often take you in unexpected and stimulating directions, so I think I’ll be returning to that again. I’ve also just been reminded of David Murray’s Children’s Bible Reading Plan which looks very easy to use and has been designed for his 8 and 7 year old children. I might wave it at the Vicarage kids and see if any of them are up for giving it a go over Advent. Or even starting this week.

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My kitchen sink can be a holy place. It certainly doesn’t look like it at the moment. But Tim Chester’s excellent new book from 10ofthose reminds me that it can be if

… [I] offer up [my] washing of the dishes to God as a sacrifice of praise, sharing his delight in creation and serving others in love.

In The Everyday Gospel, Chester helps me to see that everyday activities, like washing the dishes, can be made holy because of the saving activity of Jesus. This extended meditation on a mundane task points me to remember that God orders chaos and that God serves his people. So when I turn a basket of crumpled clothes into a neatly ironed and folded pile, I am being like God by ordering the disordered and by serving my family by providing them with wearable shirts.

Chester also points out that I can use these times of everyday activity to trace God’s handiwork – to contemplate how He has worked to create the pans in my sink, how he made my food, traces of which I am washing away. I can use washing up time to talk to my children, or visitors in my home – for pastoral care. These times are not the bits in between time for God. All of time, however inconsequential it seems, can be holy.

A short and accessible read, this book would be brilliant for anyone who ever has to do anything boring. So I make that everyone.

A Holy Place?

A Holy Place?

NB This review has also been posted on 10ofthose – they sent me a review copy. No illustrative pic of my kitchen sink over there though.

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