Friday, 28 January 2011



"To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat.

What good is a God who does not control his Son's suffering?
But another sound can be heard:
the shout of a God crying out to human beings, "I LOVE YOU."
Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross,
who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission,
but chose not to - because of us.
At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice.
Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God's scheme
ultimately leads back to the cross. "

Philip Yancey

Saturday, 22 January 2011



A collector of rare books ran into an acquaintance who told him he had just thrown away an old Bible that he found in a dusty, old box. He happened to mention that Guten-somebody- or-other had printed it.

"Not Gutenberg?" gasped the collector.
"Yes, that was it!"
"You idiot! You've thrown away one of the first books ever printed. A copy recently sold at auction for half a million dollars!"
"Oh, I don't think this book would have been worth anything close to that much," replied the man. "It was scribbled all over in the margins by some clown named Martin Luther."

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Jim and Barbara King on the last day of
trading after 17 years of faithful service.


On Saturday January15 th the Limerick Christian Bookshop on Gerald Griffin Street closed its doors for the last time. Under the management team of Jim and Barbara King the shop has served the Christian community in Limerick for the past 17 years and for as long more before that under various personnel .
My first contact with the shop was when it was located on Catherine street and traded under the name ‘Christian Publication Centre’. As a teenager I became interested in the Bible and its prophetic element which spoke about the ‘last days’ and so I purchased my first Bible in the CPC bookshop, a little King James Version with tiny print and a black leather cover. I recall the mixture of awe and trepidation on seeing the complete Bible for the first time and wondering where I would start in studying it. Later I became a regular visitor, sometimes to buy a book but more often to chat to May Reader who ran the shop and became a kind of spiritual confidante to myself and many others who were exploring the meaning of New Testament Christianity at that time. May viewed her work at the bookshop more as a missionary than a salesperson and she patiently listened as we confronted her with a 1001 questions about the Bible and the Christian faith. In those years the shop served as a drop-in centre that welcomed anyone from all denominational backrounds and none.

Some customers bagging
last minute bargains !

The shop then moved to Upper William Street beside Joe Ryan’s the locksmith and May continued there for a time. At this stage the shop was taken over from the Charitable trust (Christian Publication Centre) and came under the oversight of a mixture of trustees drawn from various fellowships in the Limerick area. Eventually May felt it was time to return to Canada to look after her aging mother and Mary Finnegan took over for a few years. I even threw my hat in the ring at one stage to manage the shop but I was deemed unsuitable by the trustees…so my career path took a different turn.

After Mary, Newmarket-on-Fergus man Tim O’Connel took over the reins and the shop moved to its final resting place in Gerald Griffin Street. Tim was a graduate of the Irish Bible School and was a keen enthusiast for matters theological and many the esoteric debate ensued between him and some his more studious customers! He was a great man to explain the intricacies of Calvin’s Biblical view to which Tim passionately subscribed. I never quite grasped the sense of it myself !

A last cuppa for Peter Childs (trustee) and Jim

After Tim’s departure Jim and Barbara moved down to Limerick from Northern Ireland and took up their posts and under their tenure extended the reach of the shop particularly among the immigrant communities who were now coming to live in the area. In recent years the shop continued to be an important place in my life as I dropped in to buy the odd book or cd and catch up with all the latest news from Jim and Barbara. There was always a warm welcome whether or not a purchase was made and that the shop was not primarily commercially driven was its great advantage and separated it from other religious outlets in the city.

The shop continued to act as a centre for communicating events with other believers around the city and county. In the last few years however the shop suffered the same crippling fall in trade that has blighted so many other businesses in these economically challenging times, coupled with the ease with which books can now be ordered online. The plan was to continue to trade into 2011 but the recent cold weather resulted in burst water pipes causing extensive flood damage to the premises and the decision was made to close at the end of January. On it’s last day of trading many old customers dropped in to wish Jim and Barbara well on their retirement and to bag a bargain in the final sale. As I shopped for the last time I was filled with gratitude at all that God had achieved through this long and faithful ministry in the city and sadness that this precious outlet will be no more. It’s the end of an era and while Limerick is now well served with many Christian groups there is no central meeting place where believers can meet each other on an informal basis. Anyone out there with any ideas ?

Gerard O'Shea

Sunday, 16 January 2011



While walking through the woods one day, I was surprised to hear a child's voice. I followed the sound, trying in vain to understand the child's words. When I spotted a girl perched on a rock, I realized why her words had made no sense: She was repeating the alphabet.
"Why are you saying your ABC's so many times?" I asked her.
The child replied, "I'm saying my prayers."
I couldn't help but laugh. "Prayers? All I hear is the alphabet."
Patiently the child explained, "Well, I don't know all the words, so I give God the letters. He knows what I'm trying to say."

Thursday, 6 January 2011



I don't see what the fuss is about house cleaning.
Seems easy enough to me.

1. Open a new file in your PC.

2. Name it "Housework."

3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN

4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN

5. Your PC will ask you, "Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently?"

6. Answer calmly, "Yes," and press the mouse button firmly.....

7. Feel better?

Sunday, 2 January 2011



The Evening and the Morning were the First Day.
Genesis 1:5

How different is God's method from man's! The creature works from day to night, his best is first; but darkness overshadows his fairest hopes and best-concerted schemes. The Creator's days begin with the preceding eve. He reckons the evenings and nights into the days, because out of them the day is born; they usher in the light, and recreate body and brain for the busy hours that follow.

Arr you disappointed in Christian work? - Remember that God worked on through long dark ages, before His schemes were evolved in order and beauty. Human schemes begin with blare of trumpet and roll of drum, but are soon plunged in darkness. The heavenly seed is sown in autumn shadows; the foundation-stone of redemption was laid amid the gloom of Calvary; the work that lasts generally begins amid disappointment, difficulty, and heart-break, but inevitably passes into the day.

Are you passing through the bitterness of soul-trouble? - For weeks there has been no ray of comfort, no sign of deliverance. Yet every dark hour is hastening toward the dawn. You will see your Beloved walking toward you in the morning light.

Are you in despair for the worm? - The times are dark, and threaten to get darker. But if the first creation began in the dark, can it be wondered at that the second must begin there too? But as the one emerged in daylight, so shall the other. The morning comes; see the star of day standing sentry! Time, is bearing us to a day that shall never go down to night, but shall mount ever toward its meridian.

F.B. Meyer