Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Council Estate Christians part 6: Reading books

There are all kinds of ideas at the moment on how to reach people who don't read much. I myself was very attracted to these ideas years ago. My own idea was to do bible studies using clips of the Simpsons. I soon found however that even if people can't read very well, its not very long before they can.

Here's the testimony of a former drug dealer and kru member whose reading wasn't too good when we first started doing Bible studies together:

I grew up on a council estate in SW London Roehampton. My Mother was a single parent at the time with 3 kids. We were un-churched and not highly educated. Although being read nursery books as a young child, reading was not a regular practise of mine when at home or not in school. The only book I can recall reading was a child’s fiction called ‘Goosebumps’ when aged 10-11. I dropped out of school at about age 13-14 because of a sinful lifestyle and the only reading done by me was the sport on the back of the newspaper. Then at the age of 17 there was one book that would change my life forever ‘The Bible’.

For no reason at all other than a mysterious guilty conscience I one day began reading the Bible, starting from the beginning ‘Genesis’ like you do with all books. I started going to a local Pentecostal church which encouraged me to continue reading the Bible. I had never read a Bible before and the first one was an old KJV.(that was only one in my house). God saved me and made himself known to me and it all started with me picking up and reading a Bible (Gods word is living).

After such an experience I became obsessed with Bible. I was given loads of books to read by my Christian friend but for the first 8 months of being a Christian all I read was the Bible. (Which I completed in that time). The strangest thing was my mum seeing her once drug dealer son up all nights on a Friday (party night) reading and studying the Bible instead of going out getting wasted with old friends, she couldn’t understand it.

Since than reading Bible has always been a priority in my life , because it brought me to God. My reading pattern since I’ve been saved has been to read 3 chapters of the O.T in the morning and 3 chapters of the N.T at night. A tradition I picked up from my early Pentecostal days. I now currently try to read the Bible still in this pattern and also read other books on the faith.

Here are some of my Personal favourite so far:

Desiring God by John Piper
Knowing God, God has spoken by J.I Packer
The pilgrims progress by John Bunyan
The Power to overcome sin and temptation, the death of death, and the Holy Spirit by John Owen
Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
How to read the Bible for all its worth by Fee and Stuart
Pierced for my transgressions by Ovey, Jeffery and Sach
In my place condemned he stood by J.I Packer and Mark Dever
Systematic theology by Wayne Grudem.

I firmly believe that it’s been Gods Grace that has made me want to reads so much; he changed my heart so that I want to know and love him more and this is why I read.
I hope I don’t sound like a well apt reader or prideful. When I first began to read I wasn’t that good at it, but as I read more I naturally get better. Its’ been Gods grace that has made me read.