Posts Tagged ‘Solid Ground’

Why Solid Ground?

August 21, 2009

Dozens of times over the last eight years we have been asked the simple question, “Why Solid Ground?” That simple question can be answered in several ways, depending upon the perspective of the person asking the question.


Sometimes the questioner is asking why we are involved in publishing Christian books when there are so many other companies that do the same thing. My answer to that question would be that I am convinced that there are hundreds of volumes no longer available to the serious Christian at a price they can afford. Thus we are bringing back books that are often rare and thus very expensive, and offering them at the fraction of the cost. This is how I would answer the question to some.


On the other hand, the questioner is often asking the precise question, “Why Solid Ground?” In other words, why did I choose that particular name for this company? That answer is a bit more complicated.


It was nine years ago that my precious wife and I relocated our family from Long Island, New York, where we had been for 19 years, to Birmingham, Alabama. I was in the midst of a significant change in careers when we began to find one closed door after another. Our savings was about gone and our prospects were so low that our only way of survival was to sell my most precious earthly possession: My Books. 


We began to cry out to the Lord for direction as the doors continued to close. One night when we were both at the very end of our rope we literally were crying to the Lord for direction for our future. Having already sold most of my most valuable books, the thought came to my mind that perhaps I could try to start reprinting old books once again as I had done eleven years earlier when I began Calvary Press in Amityville, NY.


As soon as I shared this with my wife she responded, “Now I feel like we are finally on solid ground.” Instantly I said to her, “That’s it. That’s the name.” She did not know what I meant, so I said to her, “That will be the name, Solid Ground Christian Books.”


So you see it was at a time of deep despair that the Lord gave birth to this new work, and the name came at the moment the cloud lifted and an answer was given to our desperate cry for help. How gracious of the Lord to bring us to the end of ourselves before opening our eyes to see once again that He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides.




A Pastor’s Sketches

August 11, 2009

Several years ago I was sent a photocopy of a book entitled A PASTOR’S SKETCHES by Ichabod Spencer. The friend who sent it was Pastor Steve Martin on Georgia, and he said that he learned about the book from David Vaughn, long-time missionary serving in France. He said that it was a book that had to be brought back into print. Due to my busy schedule, the photocopied pages sat untouched for almost a year when I decided to carry them with me on a trip. Once I began reading “The Sketches” I was hooked. From that moment I determined that this was a book that had to be reprinted. 

Upon beginning Solid Ground Christian Books in March of 2001 it was decided that Spencer’s Sketches would be our first project, so I sent it around to get the opinion of men I greatly respect. None of them had ever heard of Spencer or his “Sketches”, but they were willing to look at them and give their honest opinion. The response was instant and overwhelming. Geoff Thomas, a pastor in Wales for over 40 years, and a man with an incredible library simply said, “You MUST reprint this book now! I have never read anything like it.” Numerous other men responded with equal enthusiasm and shock. How did this book ever go out of print? 

What makes Sketches so special? These are authentic accounts of dialogues of a pastor in Brooklyn, NY and Northampton, MA from 1830-1854 who was considered by many in his day as a genius in dealing with troubled souls. He spent hours every day amongst the people seeking to help them wrestle through the common, and not so common problems, of life in a fallen world. Every night he would sit up until midnight, with his faithful wife at his side, writing out in detail the conversations of that day. As he drew near the end of his life numerous friends begged him to share some of his experiences with others. He was extremely reluctant but finally gave in and went through the volumes of his experiences over 20 years of ministry and pulled out over 35 examples for volume one. The book became an instant best seller in America and beyond. God used it so mightily that thousands begged for more. The year before he died he went back and found some more incidents he felt might do good. Together these volumes circled the globe and gave hope and strength wherever they went. Sadly, after going through numerous editions for nearly 50 years, the last edition was printed in 1900. 

In the late Spring of 2001 we printed “A Pastor’s Sketches: Volume One” and the response was very encouraging. Within the first year three Seminaries made it required reading for their pastoral students, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, KY held a Seminar on Spencer and his Sketches. We soon issued Volume Two of the Sketches, followed by a second edition of volume one. Finally, in 2008 we put the two volumes together in one volume so people can have all 77 Sketches in a single book. In addition we have also reprinted The Life and Sermons of Ichabod Spencer which means that all five of his volumes are now available again for the first time in more than 100 years.