Posts Tagged ‘Christian books’

The Human Right by Rice Broocks Ties in to God’s Not Dead 3 Movie

A new book from Rice Broocks, author of Man, Myth, Messiah, God’s Not Dead and The Purple Book is releasing February 20th from W Publishing (an imprint of Thomas Nelson) and will be promoted at the end of the movie God’s Not Dead 3: A Light in Darkness which releases Easter weekend.

Publisher marketing:

A different kind of evangelism book.

Just as the author’s book, God’s Not Dead, laid out the logical reasoning for God’s existence, and Man Myth Messiah established the existence and identity of Jesus Christ, now Rice Broocks brings a definitive book on the logical necessity to make the proclamation of the Gospel our highest priority. In fact, it is actually the ultimate justice issue and therefore the most important of all human rights. Consciously or subconsciously, many now believe that demonstrating tolerance is more important than truthFundamentally, the right to know the truth is even greater than the freedom to believe. Because Jesus Christ is the Truth, then humanity shouldn’t be denied the right to hear about Him, make their own decision, and then have the freedom to tell others.

Canadian Stores: There is an ITPE schedule for this title.

While we’re sharing trailers, here’s a peek at the movie:



Book Trailer Makes Me Want to Read This

I would (and will) stock this title based on the creativity and clarity of the book trailer. Take 3 minutes to watch this. Well done, IVP!

Krish Kandiah, PhD is the founder and director of Home for Good, a UK charity finding homes for foster children and young refugees. An international speaker, he teaches regularly at Regent College and Portland Seminary and is the author of several books.

Kandish encourages believers to allow their questions about faith to draw them closer to God. He also includes personal stories of his own faith journey, making God Is Stranger relatable and accessible for any reader grappling with questions about God and the Bible.   – Publisher marketing

352 pages, paperback; 9780830845323


Church: Misfits Welcome!

Brant Hansen’s second major book release is important enough I’m eventually going to devote another column to it here, but if you’re a retailer who hasn’t ordered it, I’d encourage you to have this one ready-to-ship to your store for the November 28th release. The full title is Blessed Are the Misfits: Great News for Believers who are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, or Just Feel Like They’re Missing Something (Thomas Nelson paperback, 9780718096311).

The target market for this is people

  • who are introverts
  • who deal with social anxiety; mental health issues
  • who are diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (or something similar)
  • who feel they are just different; they don’t see the world like everyone else does

and the people who love them because they’re a family member, close friend, co-worker, fellow-student, etc. It will require you to do some promotion to help connect the book to its target audience.

I’m about 65% through the book and will post a full review here and at Thinking Out Loud when it’s closer to the release date.

Here are some resources to help you promote the book on Facebook and Instagram. These are sized 500px x 500px; ready to post for FB and ideal for Twitter.


Time of Year Books

There are points on the calendar where the time is right to give someone a particular book. With the first month of school now history, many kids in Junior High and Middle School face various challenges and some are no doubt frustrated.

The book pictured on the left is new from Revell. But the market is limited to guys which represent 50% of all possible readers, but only about 25% of the kids who really read at that age. (Though in the case, need to know may spark greater interest.) It’s been packaged and branded similar to the author’s Manual to Manhood. If boys do struggle with reading, this book promises 100 topics in “bite size” portions.

The book on the right covers both male and female students, but was published by Concordia in 2010 in a genre where advice can become easily outdated after more than 5 years. However it’s shorter (128 pages and also lower priced) which should appeal to kids who are mostly non-readers. (I especially like its cover design, though many schools now use whiteboards.)

But both are timely and will resonate with students having a tough school year.

Church Staff Decide Library Not Worth Keeping

While touring a church on a recent vacation day, I was taken to this church library where I simply had to take a picture. I love books and am a product of the power of Christian resources.

In Evangelical parlance, the phrase “the colour of the carpet” is used as a euphemism for other superficial issues which can serve as a distraction to true worship and fellowship. It functions in the place of a myriad of other topics which can be divisive in the life of a Christian congregation.

I’ve always sworn I would never be a “colour of the carpet” type of person. Some things are worth making a fuss over, and others should be consigned to the periphery of church concerns.

And then it happened.

At some point over the course of the summer they removed the church library where I worship and gave the contents to a local thrift store.

And I find myself seething.

So in order to justify myself, I have to be convinced that this is more than superficial; this is not about the colour of the carpeting. Here’s why I am so strongly persuaded.

This was someone’s ministry in the church. This was a ministry that someone had poured their heart into for the better part of a decade, receiving an annual budgetary commitment, but little else in the way of enthusiasm. The person was away for six weeks visiting family in another part of the country. They did receive an email warning of what was to come, but little could be done at a distance of thousands of miles. This person deserved some opportunity for closure even if it was one last opportunity to view the boxed-up collection. I list this factor first because as a family, we experienced grieving the loss of a ministry, more than once, at the hands of this same church, and so we identify strongly with this particular aspect of the closure.

The library showed the value the capital-C Church has placed on writings throughout history. Though many weeks less than a dozen resources went out, its presence in the church was iconic in the truest sense of that word. It contained resources for parents, books on basic doctrine and Christian theology, chronicles of the history of the denomination. There were Bibles, videos, CDs, and a host of teaching materials instructive for children.

Donations kept the collection fresh. The people, myself included, who donated resources for this were invested in this particular type of ministry. Some books had been given just weeks before the whole thing was eradicated.

Stewardship was squandered. Because of my vocational role in the community at the local bookstore, I know that several hundred dollars worth of books had been purchased only this year. (But only a few hundred dollars. I have no significant conflict of interest here. My reaction is that of a bibliophile.)

The resources belonged to the congregation. People should have been told about the closure weeks ahead, and had the opportunity to take books of interest and make them part of their home library. They belonged to the people of the church, not the church staff.

They could have helped another church that wanted to have this ministry in their church building. This is a denomination that keeps talking about ‘church planting’ and ‘daughter churches’ and being a ‘network of churches,’ but I doubt any were offered the contents of this already-carefully curated collection. Some would be saddened to know what they missed out on.

They could have sent the resources overseas. Again, as a missionary-minded denomination the idea that the collection wasn’t considered to send to pastors and workers who were unable to take their libraries with them to Third World countries is equally perplexing. On a personal level, as an area volunteer for Christian Salvage Mission, I know the organization would have embraced this acquisition with open arms and heartfelt gratitude on behalf of North American pastors and English-speaking indigenous workers in Africa and Asia. Instead, I wasn’t given the slightest inkling that this was in the works.

They kept two racks of fiction. This was the most disturbing thing of all; what was kept. These shelves are now located in the church’s new café and someone noted that some were books with exceptionally loud colors on the spines. If you were going to keep fiction, these were some of the worst choices. In other words, these books are props. They are being used solely for decorative purposes, to create atmosphere.

They may be deluded that electronic media has replaced books. This church recently signed a contract with Right Now Media, giving church people free access to a large grouping of video content. This is fraught with issues. Video teaching is not the same as learning off the printed page, nor is long-term absorption of the material as great. Older people in the church won’t bother to sign up for Right Now or figure out how it works. The mix of authors and teachers with online content is totally different than those who work solely in print. The library would have complemented the other service. Now they’ll never know if that would have happened.

The space will not see a higher purpose. Looking at that empty room, I wanted to be optimistic; I wanted to say, “Prove to me that what you’re about to do in this space is better than what you had.” It absolutely won’t happen.

The church bylaws are flawed. Major expenditures require approval in a congregational meeting, but the jettison of a major church asset requires no such approval. Given the number of now out-of-print titles that were displayed alongside more recent titles, I’d put the value of what was effectively trashed at at least $20,000 — books aren’t cheap — and that’s an informed opinion of someone working in the publishing industry. So you need to call a vote to acquire larger things, but you’re free to simply give away previously-acquired larger things? No. Not a good idea. For churches or families. Churches operate on the basis of consensus.

The library was doomed for at least a year. I kept forwarding PowerPoint slides along the lines of “Be sure to visit the church library…” to be used in the on-screen announcement crawl before the service, but never saw them used. Now I know why…

…Honestly, I’m not sure where I’m going to church this Sunday. I have real issues with this. I’ve become what the church staff may say is a “colour of the carpet” curmudgeon.

I don’t care. It was plain wrong. The stakeholders weren’t consulted. A horrible decision.

Now there’s no turning back.

“The acquisition of Christian books is necessary for those who can use them. The mere sight of these books renders us less inclined to sin and incites us to believe more firmly in righteousness.”

– Epiphanius (4th Century)

IVP UK Titles Now Available in North America

As reported last month at CBA Online, InterVarsity Press in the U.S. and their UK affiliate are back swapping titles. I say back because when I worked for IVP in Toronto years ago, we would regularly receive shipments from England. Until the article published, I was unaware that they had ever stopped doing this. (Some titles listed in the article below may not be included in Canada if another publisher holds Canadian rights.) Click the link in the title below to read at source.

IVP brings UK titles to North America

InterVarsity Press USA (IVP-USA) expanded their partnership with InterVarsity Press UK (IVP-UK) and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) to bring titles from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada.

In 2015, SPCK made IVP-USA books available to bookstores in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe through Macmillan Distribution Limited (MDL). Now IVP-USA will distribute SPCK and IVP-UK titles throughout North America.

Titles that will now be available to North American readers include:

  • Creation, Power & Truth by N.T. Wright
  • A Celtic Liturgy by Pat Robson
  • A trilogy of classics in spirituality and spiritual formation, which includes The Living Flame of Love by John of the Cross, Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales, and Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich
  • Places of Pilgrimage by Ian Scott Massie
  • Come, Lord Jesus by Stephen Motyer
  • Aidan, Bede, Cuthbert: Three Inspirational Saints by David Adam
  • But is it True: Honest Responses to 10 Popular Objections to the Christian Faith by Michael Ots


Toronto Area Author’s Story Is Known Worldwide

Known simply as “The Girl in the Picture” which is also the title of a previous book published by Penguin, Kim Phuc’s story gets another telling when Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace releases October 3rd from Tyndale House.

Get out! Run! We must leave this place! They are going to destroy this whole place! Go, children, run first! Go now!

These were the final shouts nine year-old Kim Phuc heard before her world dissolved into flames—before napalm bombs fell from the sky, burning away her clothing and searing deep into her skin. It’s a moment forever captured, an iconic image that has come to define the horror and violence of the Vietnam War. Kim was left for dead in a morgue; no one expected her to survive the attack. Napalm meant fire, and fire meant death.

Against all odds, Kim lived—but her journey toward healing was only beginning. When the napalm bombs dropped, everything Kim knew and relied on exploded along with them: her home, her country’s freedom, her childhood innocence and and happiness. The coming years would be marked by excruciating treatments for her burns and unrelenting physical pain throughout her body, which were constant reminders of that terrible day. Kim survived the pain of her body ablaze, but how could she possibly survive the pain of her devastated soul?

Fire Road is the true story of how she found the answer in a God who suffered Himself; a Savior who truly understood and cared about the depths of her pain. Fire Road is a story of horror and hope, a harrowing tale of a life changed in an instant—and the power and resilience that can only be found in the power of God’s mercy and love.

~from the release sheet page at

Canadian stores should pre-order the biography from Foundation Distributing


Comparing Two Books about Jackie Robinson

Our good friend Jeff Snow is in bivocational, bidenominational ministry. For half of his week he is a college and university campus worker with Mission Canada, a division of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and the the other half of his week sees him acting as interim pastor in a church that is part of Canadian Baptists.

He’s also a big sports fan, especially baseball and he has always admired the courage and testimony of Jackie Robinson. Back in May we shared his thoughts on the book 42 Faith by Ed Henry. You can read that again at this link. So when Westminster John Knox Press released Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography–The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero by Michael G. Long and Chris Lamb, Jeff was first to purchase a copy from our store. We decided to give this book equal time and let Jeff share his opinions.

I just read the second book.  It was shorter and laid out like a more traditional biography than the other and it didn’t meander as much.  The writers did a very good job going into Robinson’s formative years of faith and the influence of his mother and pastor.  For those unfamiliar with his story, the authors [of this second book] give many of the basics of the Robinson story, but through the lens of faith.  The other book I think assumes a little more knowledge of the story on the part of the reader.

Half the book is given over to Robinson’s post-baseball career working for civil rights.  Here we see the evolution of Robinson’s leanings towards more of a social gospel, as well as a slight liberal bias on the part of the author.

Overall I found the book very good.  More concise and focused than the other one, with a few more convincing arguments for the faith motivation behind both Robinson’s and manager Branch Rickey’s actions.

So Christian bookstore readers who are baseball fans now have a choice!


Francine Rivers Discusses New Devotional

earth-psalmsU.S. retail chain Books-a-Million interviewed Francine Rivers about Earth Psalms: Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature, a 224-page hardcover devotional now available from Tyndale at $16.99 US. Here’s a sample:

  1. Explain the title. How did you come up with the idea of Earth Psalms? 

A psalm is a song, and the earth and everything on it, in it, above it, and beyond it is God’s creation. Everything God created sings praise to Him, and I believe also teaches us many lessons about our Creator as well. It’s exciting to look at things we might have taken for granted and see what they teach us about the Lord. We are never to worship any created thing or even creation itself. We are to worship the Creator, Jesus Christ, the Word that created it all.

  1. What will readers find inside the pages of Earth Psalms? 

Readers will find an earth psalm (essay) about something God has created and a lesson God has taught me through it. There are questions for readers to ponder or use for journaling: Reflect, Apply, Connect with God. There are also some additional facts, Scripture, and hymns, as well as beautiful pictures. The earth psalm essay was my part. The enriching questions and details are Karin’s, and the beautiful artwork was put together by Jennifer Ghionzoli at Tyndale.

  1. What was it like working with a collaborator for the first time? 

Working with Karin Stock Buursma was a pleasure. We talked about any editing that needed to be done, the questions and elements of the devotional. I hope to work with her again. 

There are 14 more questions and answers. Click here to read at their blog, which is called Chapters.

If Your Store Does Well With Donald Miller

Oriented - Gordon C. HarrisI’m always a little skeptical when a publisher suggests that, “If your customers enjoyed ______ …” they will enjoy the book being sent to me for review. In this case the book was being compared to Donald Miller, who brought a unique outlook to the world of Christian writing, and Ann Voskamp, whose blog I am quite familiar with but whose books I have never read.

But the comparison to Miller holds, and holds well; and I would toss in a Zondervan writer, Tyler Blanski while we’re at it. That present-tense voicing that sweeps you into the action and an almost stream-of-consciousness style that isn’t bound by tight chronologies or fear of tangential digression. The type of title that takes you on a journey with the author to an undetermined destination.

In this case, the book is Oriented: Making Sense of the World and Your Place Within It, the author, Gordon C. Harris, is self-described as “a modern contemplative teacher and theologian” who coordinates curriculum development for Catch The Fire, a large church in west Toronto formerly known as the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. Catch The Fire is also the publisher and distributor of the book, though for my U.S. readers, it’s also listed on Ingram.*

The overarching focus is the first eleven chapters of Genesis. The various themes it suggests. The many ways in which the author interacts with those concepts. Harris has 15 years pastoral experience and has a Masters in Theology and is working on a PhD in theological studies. So this is an informed look at the earliest accounts of scripture, but not a commentary. It’s more subjective — almost autobiographical — dealing with the author’s responses to the narrative. Somewhat poetic, it belongs in a literary section of Christian bookstores that does not yet exist. 

I was tempted to review the book in the same style in which it is written… I pick up the book expecting not to finish. “Just read a chapter or two;” I have been told, and the publisher places no onus or expectation on me to write a review. But I keep turning the page wondering where the author will head next. I’m looking for a good hook for an article. Wondering, given the Genesis theme, where he lands on the creation/evolution spectrum. There is too much to think about here for binge reading. The book becomes a take-to-work companion and earns a coveted spot on my bedside table; the books I read last at night and first at dawn. The author has claimed a captive…

Below is a short excerpt reading by the author. Canadian stores can contact Jonathan Puddle at Catch The Fire Books to arrange a wholesale shipment. If you’re a consumer who landed on this trade site somehow, you can order from Atwell Books.

You’ll also find eight more video clips and more about the book at this link.

* 9781894310765 | $14.99 US | paperback | Author’s blog

It’s Our 7th Birthday at Christian Book Shop Talk

August 24, 2015 1 comment

It was seven years ago today that I wrote:

Do you ever feel like an odd duck when you go to church? You’re in ministry, but not in the sense that pastors, counselors and missionaries are. You’re working hard for little return, but some people think you’re making big bucks off the gospel. You’re kind of interested in getting to know the guy at church who manages the Home Depot and the woman who has a chain of clothing stores, but you’re experience of retail is just so different from theirs. You’re an expert on different strains of theology, can use a concordance or Bible dictionary with your eyes closed, and have experience dealing with people from umpteen different denominations, but nobody ever thinks of you as the go-to person when they have some deep questions. You have a four-drawer filing cabinet filled with glossy catalogs, but you’re rarely asked to recommend a specific resource for a specific church project...

…In Canada, changes to our industry are coming fast and furious and it’s really hard to keep up. It’s also hard to find someone to talk to who really knows and really understands the unique features of our commercial ministries.

So by putting this blog up, and leaving the comments section open, I’m hoping that those who want to talk can talk, and those who want to rant can rant, and those who have questions can ask them.

This is intended as a forum for CANADIAN Christian Bookstore OWNERS and STAFF, but if you’re reading this from the USA or the UK, or you’re just a big huge fan of Christian books; feel free to chime in, but identify yourself as such. Stores which want to can SIGN their comments, or you can just use your username, or you can create something anonymous. Feel free to come back to the discussion often; and feel free to post comments to various discussions at the same time.

…but it didn’t take long before the blog started serving another purpose, as a news conduit. The first day we had four posts, and the last announced both the closing of CMC Distribution and the end of print editions for CCM Magazine. Just three weeks later, it was our sad duty to report the shuttering of both the retail and wholesale divisions of R. G. Mitchell.

I recently tweeted this:

Bad news clomps around in construction boots;
Good news tiptoes in sock feet.
~ Adapted from a Welsh proverb

Sometimes the bad news seems to dominate my writing. There have been changes, store closings, and the roller coaster ride that is the Canadian-American currency exchange rate. But we’ve also celebrated some great people, great products and great ideas. I have no regrets about starting this little project 7 years ago.

7 is the perfect numberOur readers are presently three-quarters Canadian and one-quarter American (which is according to plan) but we also have enjoyed having readers in the UK, Australia, India, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, The Philippines and France. For all time, popular stories include the closing of Salem Storehouse in Ottawa, the controversy over The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, and other posts on store closing and (in Windsor) a reopening. I especially love it when other media picks up the thread of items that originated here.

Christian Book Shop Talk also shares stories with my other two dominant blogs, Thinking Out Loud and Christianity 201, where I often post excerpts of books reviewed here and at Thinking O. L.

We don’t ask for donations here, and are not part of any affiliate programs. Occasionally, people we’ve met through the blog purchase remainder boxes from Searchlight, which helps make this possible. I am especially grateful for the excellent book review relationship we have with Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, and Baker Books, but if I had it to over again, I might have insisted on more books from IVP where, a lifetime ago, I once worked.

Although my purpose here is not to help self-published authors, the blog has led to a number of interactions, some of which have helped writers get contracts, or get better contracts.

Over the last few years, I have become a bit of a recluse when it comes to attending industry events. I realize I now write as a bit of industry outsider, not an insider, but I am very thankful that my one remaining store continues to operate and I hope the insights I can offer from the way we do things a bit differently there are helpful to store owners, managers and front-line staff. With the news-gathering capabilities of Thinking Out Loud — even though it no longer has the connection to Christianity Today — I hope we can find information that you read here first.

Thanks to all of you who tell me you read this on a regular basis, and especially those who leave comments. 

Happy Birthday to us!

~Paul Wilkinson.

Birthday Party from Joy of Tech dot com




Side-by-Side, Two Titles by J. Warner Wallace Revolutionize Apologetics

Two years ago I reviewed the book Cold Case Detective by J. Warner Wallace, in which the principles by which this police investigator has operated in his vocation are applied to fleshing out the reliability of the Bible’s gospel narratives. At the time I wrote,

Every decade or so a great work of apologetics appears which breaks the boundaries of the discipline and reaches a wider audience.

I enjoyed the book, and in the time that has passed since have enjoyed recommending it to a variety of readers, though at times, I feel it is Christian apologetics’ best kept secret.

God's Crime SceneA few weeks ago, Wallace returned with God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe (David C. Cook) in which he applies the same skills to the idea of God being behind what we might call creation. But we need to watch using the word creation in describing this book, since creation science is concerned with origins and answering the “How did we get here?” type of questions. Rather, this is more about intelligent design and bypassing the How? and When? questions to look more at What?; or more specifically the complexity that exists in the world pointing to a master designer; a designer who exists outside the realms we can observe or quantify.

The last distinction is important to Wallace’s argument; he compares it to cases where detectives would have to determine if the killer was in the room or came from outside the room. The analogy is very fitting, but the proof isn’t contained in one chapter or another, but in the aggregate of a case built on a foundation consisting of an amalgam of evidence and syllogistic logic.

The evidence “inside the room” points to a very specific “suspect.” He’s not a malicious intruder. Although I’ve titled this book God’s Crime Scene (in an effort to illustrate an evidential approach to the investigation of the universe), God hasn’t committed any crime here. In addition, God is not an unconcerned intruder; He isn’t dispassionate about His creation. (p. 201)

God’s Crime Scene is intended therefore to make the argument for the existence of God accessible to the average reader through the comparisons to anecdotal cold-case detective work, and the use of cartoon-like illustrations. But make no mistake, this is not light reading.

This time around, I found myself gladly absorbing the chapters that were more philosophical and epistemological in nature, but totally over my depth in the sections that relied more on biology and physics. I could only marvel that the author was able to present such a wide swath of material which was so multi-disciplinary.

Still there were elements of the argument that were not lost on me. Even a child could see the resemblance of a machine-like mechanism in the human body and a man-made machine that forms a similar function, the latter being something we know was intelligently designed. Or the logic that if we agree that the brain is distinct from the mind, then it’s not a huge leap to the idea that a soul exists.

This is a textbook-quality product that will appeal to a variety of readers with an assortment of interests in this topic and offers the additional payoff of further insights into detectives’ investigative processes. You don’t have to understand every nuance of every issue to both appreciate and learn from Wallace’s writing; and it is in the cumulative assembly of all the various subjects raised here that Wallace is able to mark the case closed.

I give this a very high recommendation both for Christian readers and those who doubt God’s existence. I’d be interested in seeing links to articles where non-believers have interacted with its various chapters, as I believe Wallace has been very thorough in his documentation and his logic.


9781434707840  320 pages oversize paperback  $17.99 US