• Build a Good Reference Library

Posted by: kidhelper on Monday, January 23rd, 2012


Building A Good Reference Library

Early on, at the beginning of my ministerial career I was challenged to collect volumes for my library that would contribute to building my own ministerial library. So I began seriously buying books as I could afford them. As I began my Bible School training I would always buy the required course books, but I would always buy one more on that subject to enhance my library. This collecting of reference works continued as I attended five schools of higher learning over an eleven-year period.

While entering ten years of ministerial staff positions in churches, I continued to add selected volumes to my academic shelves with the intention that they would serve me when needed in the years to come. Sure enough, I experienced their value in my ministry.

However, now with fifty years of collecting I am reevaluating my need for a vast ministerial library. For the last forty years I have lived next door to Biola University and Talbot Theological Seminary. The library next door has more volumes there than I could ever access or read. Plus, the world of library collection has virtually changed, so that most of the volumes that I need to reference are all available on line or in audio books. The Internet with computer access to the most serious academic works have rendered collecting of books practically obsolete.

So I have begun the process of downsizing my library collection. In 2011 alone, I donated nearly 70% of my library to a mission work in India. Our church sponsored a book/Bible drive to fill a forty-foot container to send written resources to help Bible Schools, Mission Schools and Seminaries in India. Thousands of reference works were shipped (mine too)

Recently, I heard a speaker talk about Building a Reference Library, not with books, but collecting memories of our experiences with God. Gathering a Reference Library from our life experience could provide us a source of information that could help us in dealing with future problems. As I reflected on his story I thought of all the times my problems seemed bigger that I could handle and how God solved those problems. After many years of walking with God, I testify that My Reference Library could be filled with volumes of God’s grace to me. Referencing my past experiences with God clearly could help me when facing problems in my future. So the speaker encouraged us to collect memories of God’s work in us.

Here is my Challenge to myself and to you:

Recount in writing just how God has been there for you in your past.

  1. Offer thanks for the ways of God in solving your deepest past needs and draw strength from His past answers.
  2. Write lists of the major things you can remember that God has done for you.
  3. Rehearse some of the ways that God has been there for you in answer to your prayers, not always what you deserved.
  4. Tell your children and your grand children just how God has helped you and answered your prayers in the past.
  5. When faced with almost impossible things in your future, innumerate just how God has worked on your behalf in the past.
  6. Draw strength from how possible it was that God did the impossible for you.
  7. Building your legacy will involve a deliberate written effort to establish the pattern of God’s grace in your experience.
  8. Create a Binder or Journal to chronicle some of your past faith experiences with God. Write some memory pages!
  9. Look for places to share or tell your story of your past experience with God.
  10. Begin building your Reference Library that will help you ascertain what God is doing in your present experience that might be compatible with His past dealings with you.

Try some of these exercises. It might help you build a good Reference Library of your experience. You—A Reference Librarian?

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