Evangelism by Mack Stiles

Book: Stiles, J. Mack. Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus. Crossway, 2014.

Point: Evangelism is something the individual engages in along side of the rest of the body of Christ.

Path: Stiles addresses how the local church can “do evangelism” poorly, and then by clarifying terms, looking at the NT, and giving examples he shows how the church can cultivate a culture of evangelism.

Agreement: I really appreciated the focus on how the church works together to share the Gospel. We are not alone. As we share Christ with others, we can trust that God will use others along side of us to draw people to himself. It challenged me to think broader than handing out a tract and walking away.

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
is interested in sharing their faith.
is seeking to help their local church.
is a church member.

How do you know whether to ignore, read, or buy a book?

This post is for those who have ever finished a book and said, “I not only want my money back, but I want my day back! That was awful.”

Congratulations! You have joined the club of discerning readers. In a way that can be a good thing because it means you are either 1. Reading widely; 2. Reading a new author; or 3. Reading thoughtfully.

Or it could mean you need some help with choosing books. That is what we will do here. Here are a few tips – then add your own in the comment section.

  1. Evaluate the externals.
    1. Before you get any further:
      • Does it have an interesting title?
      • Does it have a good cover?
      • Does it have a good publisher?
      • Does it have good recommendations?
      • Does it have a picture of a lonely looking woman on the cover? Chances are that is how you will feel after reading it.
  2. Read reviews!
    1. Before you ever read a book you have to, have to, have to read a review on it. This tip alone can save you hundreds of hours of confusing, heretical, and just plain poor writing.
    2. A great place to do this is at www.amazon.com . Make sure you check the “helpful box” on the fair reviews and the “not helpful” box on the bad ones – giving the fair reviews a higher standing than the biased ones. I post all my reviews over there.
    3. Other places include googlebooks.com and goodreads.com
      • I have found that Amazon normally has the best ones.
  3. If you don’t know the author, check it out at a library.
  4. Find good authors and stick with them.
    1. If they consistently put out good material, buy it.
      • Supporting them helps them write more. Everyone benefits.
      • In addition, get other people hooked on them.
    2. We have a few authors that we try to buy whatever they have written
      1. Fiction
        • C.S. Lewis
        • Andrew Peterson (Wingfeather Saga)
        • N. D. Wilson
      2. Christian living
        • Jerry Bridges
        • Tim Keller
        • David Powlison
        • Martha Peace
        • Elizabeth George
        • Paul Tripp

What are some criteria you put on reading/buying books? Do you have any authors you could recommend to us?

What to do with books you won’t read again

We read a lot (as you can tell from this blog. We are changing the book reviews so you won’t have them all the time! I promise) and we have accumulated more books than we will want to have to haul around the rest of our lives. So we have to do something with them.

This post will deal with hard copy books, not kindle (for a different post).


First – evaluate whether you will ever read them again or recommend them to a friend.

Second – if they don’t pass the test, get rid of them (at least making room for better books). Here are some ideas to do that.

  1. Don’t buy them in the first place unless you know you will want to keep it! Its called a library.
  2. Sell them on amazon.com 
    • Make sure you can sell for over $3 otherwise you are paying to give away a book. Not fun.
  3. Trade them on paperbackswap.com
    • This is a great website that is free. Basically you set up a virtual bookshelf of books you don’t want and one with books you do want. When someone wants one of your books, you mail it to them (yes, you pay the $2.53 for postage). Then you receive one book credit which allows you to request one book from someone else.
    • An audio book costs two credits, so we have been trading two books we don’t want for one audio book we do want.
  4. Give them away to friends
    • You may not want to hold on to it, but you know someone who could benefit from it. Give it away. Just don’t give away trash books.
  5. Sell them at Half Priced books
    • We put this after giving away because you get very little for them. If it can be a help, it is better to give it away then get $.25 for it.
  6. Tear them up for exercise
    • Chances are if you are a big reader, you need some more physical exercise. Here is a great way to do it!
  7. Give them to a child to color in
    • We are not responsible for any collateral damage caused by the child getting into the habit of coloring in “big people” books.

Leave a comment and tell us what you do with extra books.