In This Issue:
From the Director
Lent is traditionally a time of preparation for Easter though focus on repentance, often through prayer and fasting. Often people give something up for Lent such as meat, alcohol, or even television or video games. Of course, there is risk of losing the meaning of the season in the activity. As Craig Higgins puts it, "The point of Lent is not to give up chocolate; it's to give up sin!"
Perhaps you already have decided how you will celebrate Lent. Perhaps you don't celebrate "seasons" of the church year at all. In any case, wouldn't it make sense to add one more practice for the season: to recommit yourself or expand your commitment to repentance and prayer?
A Big Bookshelf for Pastors on a Small Salary
In most parts of the world, classical Christian literature is unobtainable, either because it is prohibitively expensive, unavailable or unknown. In our worldwide mission work (my focus is on Eastern Europe), we had to confront this problem. The CCEL was the answer to our prayers. Let me explain this.
In many parts of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the average pastor makes less than $200 a month; in Africa, even less. Compare a typical recent sending to Africa. The book cost $20 (at a discount), shipping (at bulk rate) $30, and duty $2. That was for one book. Needless to say, this is out of reach for any of these pastors, and yet the material is desperately needed there. In one case we made available about 25 books to a pastor, who told us with tears in his eyes, it would have taken him over 20 years to buy the books for himself. Examples such as these could easily be multilplied. Imagine everyone's joy when the CCEL was made available to them. Those who lived so distantly form schooling or who couldn't afford it, now had the best of Christian literature instantly accessible to them. The use of technology in this way literally changed the face of Christian education for all these people and around the globe.
Volunteer Discussion Group: Write a Product Review
The CCEL's Volunteer Discussion Group provides a forum for individuals to get help and advice while proofreading, writing biographies, working on CCEL books, and numerous other volunteer tasks on which CCEL depends to keep our library up and operational. This month we are featuring a section of the volunteer discussion group that was recently added: Write a Product Review.
The sale of CCEL products directly supports the costs associated with operating the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. We have begun offering our products on commercial sites such as iTunes and Amazon. Because most of these products have at most a handful of reviews, we are hoping that CCEL members might be willing to write a product review or two for us. We welcome all comments, including praise and constructive criticism. Check out this link if you're interested.
Meet the CCEL Employees
Brian Vanderwal is the CCEL's primary software developer in charge of developing new features for the Web site, as well as our recently-released iPhone applications. He also maintains the servers that run the CCEL and he responds to technical e-mail inquiries.
Brian graduated from Calvin College with a degree in computer science. He previously worked at Smiths Aerospace (now GE Aviation Systems), and before that was a volunteer Web developer for his Christian high school. He has also worked in the IT department at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
When not working at the CCEL, Brian enjoys rock climbing, bicycling, tennis and downhill skiing.
You may contact Brian here.
Charles Spurgeon on John 19:16:
Let us muse upon the fact that Jesus was [brought outside] the gates of the city. It was the common place of death. That little rising ground, which perhaps was called Golgotha, the place of a skull, from its somewhat resembling the crown of a man's skull, was the common place of execution. It was one of Death's castles; here he stored his gloomiest trophies; he was the grim lord of that stronghold. Our great hero, the destroyer of Death, bearded the lion in his den, slew the monster in his own castle, and dragged the dragon captive from his own den. Methinks Death thought it a splendid triumph when he saw the Master impaled and bleeding in the dominions of destruction; little did he know that the grave was to be rifled, and himself destroyed, by that crucified Son of man.
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