December 2019 Selection


December 2019 Selection

I’m excited to tell you about our latest book Signposts on the Way: Theological Reflections on the Practice of Ministry by retired Presbyterian minister Graeme Ferguson. In his 50 years of ministry Graeme served parishes in Wellington and Auckland, and as the principal of the United Theological College in Sydney in the period leading up to and spanning the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia. Graeme invites clergy and lay people engaged in Christian mission and parish ministry today to take time out to think about what we can learn from our recent past. You will be encouraged by his uplifting, inspiring and pragmatic insights.

We also feature N T (Tom) Wright’s comprehensive new text The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians. This major new book is supported by a DVD of video lectures and a study workbook, both of which can be ordered separately. I have also found another new 2019 study resource by Wright: The New Testament You Never Knew Study Guide.

For some light relief, popular Touchstone cartoonist, Brendan Boughen’s new book Touching a Nerve: A Curly Collection of Churchy Cartoons by Jim, is hot off the press. 

I hope you find something to support you in your ministry and faith journey in this list.

Click here for our 2019 Advent and Christmas List
here for our selection of
Year A, 2020 preaching, worship and devotional books,
including Fresh from the Word 2019 – 4  left in stock.

for information about ordering and payment options, and our current postage charges.
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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 28 November 2019]

Signposts on the Way:
Theological Reflections on the Practice of Ministry.
Graeme Ferguson.
Pbk 288pp. ISBN 9781988572208.

Philip Garside Publishing Ltd (2019). Print: [10 in stock].

NZ Customers $40.00.

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This book invites clergy and lay people engaged in Christian mission and parish ministry today to take time out to think about what we can learn from our recent past. You will be encouraged by Ferguson’s uplifting, inspiring and pragmatic insights gained from 50 years of ministry.

He shows how local ministry is informed by sustained theological reflection. He has worked on the frontiers between the church and the secular city in Wellington, Auckland and Sydney.

Ferguson has shared many ecumenical initiatives including the Inner City Ministry, the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia and setting up the Sydney College of Divinity.

He has worked cross-culturally with the Greek and the Korean communities. Each fresh initiative has raised new theological questions.

To help you engage with the text, the book is well indexed, has many footnotes and has a comprehensive table of contents.

There are also many pull quotes sprinkled throughout the book which highlight the author’s insights. — Why not try skimming through the pull quotes to get a sense of the scope and flavour of the book, before delving into the detailed text?

“To be open to people where they are at, is to make oneself vulnerable as well.”

“I gradually learnt that those who truly live for others, live beyond fear.”

“If the Church declines to become involved, it no longer participates in Christ.”

“It was a major learning that people with creative ideas, are not necessarily the ones who can see a project through.”

“This is good stuff. I needed to read this at a time when so much around us is dark and troublesome.” Ven Dr John Chryssavgis. Theological consultant to the Patriarch of Constantinople

The New Testament in Its World:

An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians
N T (Tom) Wright.
Hbk 992pp. ISBN 9780310499305.

Zondervan Academic (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Tom Wright brings together decades of ground-breaking research, writing, and teaching into one volume that will open readers’ eyes to the larger world of the New Testament. It presents the New Testament books as historical, literary, and social phenomena located in the world of Second Temple Judaism, amidst Greco-Roman politics and culture, and within early Christianity. He captures the excitement of the early Christians and helps readers to think like a 1st century believer, while reading the text responsibly for today.

An ideal guide for students and for personal use, the book addresses the many difficult questions faced by those studying early Christianity. Both large and small, these questions include:

  • What is the purpose of the New Testament?
  • What was the 1st century understanding of the kingdom?
  • What is the real meaning of the resurrection in its original context?
  • What really were the Gospels?
  • Who was Paul and why are his letters so controversial?
  • As 21st century people, how do we recover the excitement of what it was like to live as Christians in the 1st or 2nd centuries?

See below of details of Video and Workbook companion resources to enhance learning and experience the world of the New Testament.


The New Testament in Its World:
Video Lectures on DVD.
N T (Tom) Wright; Michael F Bird.
DVD 13 hours. ISBN 9780310528753.
Zondervan Academic (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In 37 video lectures, Professors Wright and Bird will guide you through how to read the New Testament, the world of Jesus and the early church, deep studies on both Jesus and the Apostle Paul, lectures on every book of the New Testament, as well as how to live the story of the New Testament today.

In addition to numerous studio lectures, on-location sessions will immerse you into the world of the New Testament. Filmed around the world, this series takes you on a journey with Wright and Bird to Jerusalem, Corinth, Athens, Rome, Nazareth, Qumran, Capernaum, and the shores of the Sea of Galilee.


The New Testament in Its World: Workbook.
N T (Tom) Wright; Michael F Bird.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9780310528708.
Zondervan Academic (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

This workbook accompanies The New Testament in Its World. Following the textbook’s structure, it offers assessment questions, exercises, and activities designed to support the students’ learning experience.

The New Testament You Never Knew Study Guide:  Pbk + DVD set:

Exploring the Context, Purpose, and Meaning of the Story of God.
N T (Tom) Wright; Michael F Bird.
DVD + Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9780310085294.

Zondervan (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In this 8-session video study, leading New Testament scholars, N.T. Wright and Michael Bird, take you on a tour of the New Testament Story. They look at who Jesus is, the real meaning of his death and resurrection, and examine the debates and setbacks that they had along the way.

You will discover things you never knew about Jesus’ baptism and journey into the wilderness, the meaning behind his parables and miracles, the significance of his death and resurrection, the incredible expansion of the early church into the Greco-Roman world, and how the transforming mission of Jesus can still turn the world upside down today.

Through reading the New Testament we continually discover that God indeed keeps his promises, but those promises don’t always look like what people expected. Especially when it comes to Jesus. So, come join the journey with N.T. Wright and Michael Bird and they will help you understand the New Testament you never knew.

The study guide includes teaching notes, discussion questions, Bible exploration, personal study and reflection materials, as well as interesting facts about the New Testament. The sessions are:

  • The Books of the New Testament
  • The World of Jesus and the Apostles
  • The Life and Death of Jesus
  • The Resurrection of Jesus
  • The Ministry of the Apostle Paul
  • The Early Christians and the Church
  • The Mission of the Church
  • The Creation of the New Testament

Touching a Nerve:
A Curly Collection of Churchy Cartoons by Jim.

Brendan Boughen.
Pbk 136pp. Full colour throughout.

Brendan Boughen (2019).
[2 in stock].

Buy eBooks at our
secure Payhip store

After paying for your eBook/s you will be provided with links on screen to download them immediately. You will also receive an email link to download them later.


This irreverent, thought-provoking and laugh-inducing collection of cartoons will touch readers’ nerves (and funny bones) on some big topics: life, God, religion, politics, social justice and spirituality in the modern world.

He Paki Taonga i a Māui:
A Treasury of Stories from Aotearoa and the Pacific.
Te Reo edition
David Brechin-Smith ed.
Hbk 160pp. ISBN 9780995113619.

Te Papa Press (2019). 
[Allow 10-14 Days].

Written in te reo Māori and aimed at children aged 7 to 11, this book’s lively stories tell the tales of some of the taonga held at Aotearoa New Zealand’s famous national museum, Te Papa, through appealing text and fantastic illustrations.

The book’s pūkōrero, or story teller, is Māui, the great Pacific hero and trickster. The stories are from both long ago and recent times and have been chosen in consultation with Te Papa’s mātauranga Māori curators and the relevant iwi.


Māui’s Taonga Tales:
A Treasury of Stories from Aotearoa and the Pacific.
English language edition.
David Brechin-Smith ed.
Hbk 160pp. ISBN 9780995113626.
Te Papa Press (2019).

[Allow 10-14 days].

Out of the Whirlwind:
Innocent Pain as a Challenge to God.
Adrian Roberts.
Pbk 110pp. ISBN 9781789590678.

Sacristy Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

A challenging and thoughtful reflection about the question of how a merciful God can allow evil. Inspired by the Book of Job, Out of the Whirlwind is a reflection on the challenge posed to the existence of a good and powerful God by the issue of innocent suffering. It takes the form of the author’s reflections as he sits in a children’s ward by the bedside of his disabled son, who is dangerously ill and may be about to die.

The reflections include personal reminiscence, a consideration of some traditional theodicies along with objections to them, and a couple of dream sequences, at the end of which, like Job himself in the biblical tale, the narrator receives God’s answer “out of the whirlwind.”

Signs of Life:
Worship for a Just and Loving People.
Rick Fabian.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781640652187.

Church Publishing (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In this timely addition to the conversation regarding liturgical revision, Fabian, well known as one of the founding priests of St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco, writes his “treatise in ten parts” on the significant signs of communal life: the welcoming table, authority (human and biblical), baptism, reconciliation, beauty, the spirit, mystery, marriage, children, and the liturgical/ lectionary cycle.

This “revisionist approach to sacramental theology” offers a glimpse into the depth of thought behind the praxis that has shaped one of the Episcopal Church’s most widely known parishes.

“In this fascinating, remarkable book, Fabian unpacks the meaning of the many signs, both ancient and new, that reveal God’s relationship with God’s people. These signs are for real; they are for life, and they are everywhere.” Sara Miles, author.

Sustainable Young Adult Ministry:
Making It Work, Making It Last.
Mark DeVries; Scott Pontier.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9780830841523.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Young adult ministry scares us. Young adults seem like the elusive Holy Grail demographic in Christian ministry. We often treat them like another species, with an inscrutable culture all their own. To have a thriving ministry to young adults, we’re told, we’ll need to be up-to-date on all the latest trends. We’ll need to change up our worship style. We’ll need to make programs. But what if young adult ministry isn’t actually as enigmatic as we’ve been led to believe? What if it actually looks an awful lot like . . . faithful Christian ministry?

Pontier and DeVries know the challenges of young adult ministry. They explore six common mistakes churches make in their efforts to reach this demographic – mistakes they themselves have made – and offer six paradoxes that upend our presuppositions and return us to a simpler, more biblical ministry model. Full of practical advice and complete with a wealth of additional resources, this book offers a fresh perspective on young adult ministry that is grounded in long ministry experience and in the timeless gospel of Jesus.

The Flowing Grace of Now:
Encountering Wisdom Through the Weeks of the Year.
Macrina Wiederkehr.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9781932057188.
Sorin Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

“There is an old proverb that says, ‘When the student is ready the teacher will arrive.’ I think I have been ready for a long time, yet perhaps I have spent too much time looking for the perfect teacher rather than seeing the teachers that arrive in unexpected ways.” With these words, retreat guide and author Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr begins a year-long companion that ushers you into the presence of teachers already at work in your life – teachers intent on helping you deepen your faith.

Each reflection begins with a scripture text leading you into the spirit of the week. A brief meditation on this scripture serves as a catalyst for the Word to take root in your heart and a closing prayer sums up the week. A teacher is suggested for you. The final quotation from a spiritual writer contains the spirit of your teacher and can assist you in embracing the wisdom of that teacher.

Using this book as a year-long weekly guide is an enriching opportunity to deepen and transform your faith life.

The Myth of Equality:
Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege
Ken Wytsma.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9780830845682.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Is privilege real or imagined? Ken Wytsma, founder of the Justice Conference, has gone through his own journey of understanding the underpinnings of inequality and privilege. He unpacks what we need to know to be grounded in conversations about today’s race-related issues. And he helps us come to a deeper understanding of both the origins of these issues and the reconciling role we are called to play as witnesses of the gospel.

This expanded edition includes a new afterword with further reflections on race and privilege in today’s cultural context.

The Winding Path of Transformation: Finding Yourself Between Glory and Humility.
Jeff Tacklind.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9780830846504.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Tacklind (pastor of Church by the Sea – a quirky, diverse congregation in Laguna Beach, California) describes spiritual transformation as an invitation to paradox. By entering into suffering, he says, we find joy. By embracing the downward path of humility, we find glory. And by remaining small, sometimes we grow to great heights.

Any leaders who have wondered if God really called them to lead a congregation will resonate with Tacklind’s vulnerability in this honest and meditative account.

Letters to the Earth:
Writing to a Planet in Crisis.
Emma Thompson.
Hbk 272pp. ISBN 9780008374440.

William Collins (2019).
[Now publishing 7 April 2020,
then allow 2-3 weeks]

Creation is the antidote to despair. How can we begin to talk about what is happening to the world? We are facing a global emergency. Temperatures are rising. Mass species extinction has begun. The time for denial is over. It is time to act.

Letters to the Earth is the beginning of a new story. It is an invitation to act and an opportunity to extend the invitation.

These letters are the result of a callout from Culture Declares Emergency to the public to write a response to climate and ecological emergency. They are letters from all of us: parents and children; politicians and poets; actors and activists; songwriters and scientists. They are letters of Love, Loss Hope and Action to a planet in crisis.

Includes contributions from activist Yoko Ono, poet Kate Tempest, actor Mark Rylance, author Laline Paull, illustrator of The Lost Words Jackie Morris, novelist Anna Hope, environmental writer Jay Griffiths and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Armchair Mystic:
How Contemplative Prayer Can Lead You Closer to God

(Updated Edition, New Preface and Afterword).
Mark E Thibodeaux.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781632532886.

Franciscan Media (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

This user-friendly book blends theory and practice, and gently takes readers through the first steps of contemplative prayer. Armchair Mystic begins with the necessary details of time and place to pray, then presents the maturation of the prayer life in four stages: Talking at God, Talking to God, Listening to God, and Being with God.

Step-by-step exercises throughout the book provide concrete examples of how to use the concepts discussed. Armchair Mystic will prove invaluable to individuals and small groups who are new to contemplative prayer, or who wish to deepen their experience of it. This updated edition includes a new preface and afterword from the author.


Each month we choose a selection of titles that we think you will find stimulating and satisfying to read. So come back to the Monthly Selections section of our website regularly.

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