One of my favorite quotes attributed to Charles Spurgeon is when he said, ‚”If you want to be read, then read. If you want to be quoted, then quote. If you don’t take the time to pick the brains of men who have gone before you, then you are showing the world that you have no brains of your own.‚” I believe the key to what Spurgeon said, however, is not just reading anything and everything. Otherwise you’ll end up like a trash disposal that indiscriminately devours whatever it’s given. As the old adage goes, “garbage in, garbage out‚”. It’s important that we read the things that are worth being read. Just because it is a New York Times best seller or it ranks high on the Amazon book list (or just because it’s found in the Christian bookstore), that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable to read. We should exercise discernment and discrimination. As Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21

“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.”   

Solomon said it this way,

“the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.” (Ecclesiastes, 12:12)   

In other words, as one commentator noted, “There will always be books pouring off the presses, some helpful, some agnostic, some downright anti-God…” and “the vast amount, is a waste of time for the reader who is really concerned to find the truth.” (EBC, Gaebelein, pg. 1196)So, what do we do? How do we keep from drowning in the endless sea of Christian literature available? Well, I’m glad you asked. Consider this little “check out” list the next time you’re looking to “check out” (or even purchase) a book.1. Check out the author. Do a quick Google search to see what other books he has written. You can even check his credentials, education, and website for info. Remember, just because it’s in print, doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy.2. Check out the reviews. Now, I don’t mean the endless drivel found under an Amazon listing that any “Tom, Dick, or Harry” can post. What I mean is, read the reviews section of the book (often on the first few pages or the back cover). Now, publishers are only going to include “positive reviews”, but what you want to notice are the names of the men and women that reviewed the book and see if any are trusted pastors or teachers.3. Check out some classics. I was once told, unless the author’s been dead for more than 50 years, don’t waste your time reading it. While that may be a bit excessive, there are reasons that some books have stood the test of time. So, read the classics. Trust me, you won’t regret it. (Start with a book like Pilgrim’s Progress.)4. Check out the church library. Here’s a great, free resource right here at our church for you to use. It’s full of Christian biographies, discipleship materials, commentaries, novels, and children‚Äôs books. And while you’re there, check out my personal recommendations each quarter known as the “Pastor’s Picks”. And be sure to let the librarians know that “Pastor Tyler sent me”.This Quarter’s “Pastor’s Picks” (which can be found in our church library) include:Revolution in World Missions by K.P. YohannonIt’s Not About Me by Max LucadoLive Given, Not Taken by Erich BridgesHow to Study the Bible and Enjoy It by Skip HeitzigThe Bible Jesus Read by Philip YanceyThe Ways of God by Henry Blackaby