I think it is one of the most important books to read for these ten reasons:
1. This is the first time the best sermons and essays of Dr F W Boreham have ever been brought together. Over the years commentators on preaching have selected one representative sermon from Boreham’s preaching archive to put in their Best Preaching of the Twentieth Century books, which is testimony to his prominence. But A Packet of Surprises is the first selection of the Best of Boreham’s sermons and essays.
2. For the many newcomers to the writings of F W Boreham, and there are a growing number in the younger generations, this is a wonderful starter as it draws thirty essays and sermons from more than twenty of the more than fifty-five books that he wrote.
There is an informative introduction in the book to the person and ministry of F W Boreham. This is written by Howard Crago who was Boreham’s biographer.
3. New and old readers of Boreham books have great difficulty finding Boreham books and when they do, the price often puts it out of their reach (one of the best sermons comes out of Boreham’s book, The Whisper of God which, when it is on sale through eBay fetches prices of well over US$500).
Mike Dalton and I, through John Broadbanks Publishing, have published five new Boreham books in the last three years to make the writings of Boreham accessible to a new generation of Boreham readers.
We have deliberately self-published (not drawing any money for ourselves) in order to keep the cost of these books as low as we can for our readers. We have not made a profit but in keeping with the wishes of the Boreham estate we send 10% of the income we receive to help fund the cost of training pastors and Christian workers throughout the world (two passions of Dr Boreham). When you buy a copy of this book you are investing in the important work of training Christian leaders and we thank you for this.
4. A Packet of Surprises is a must for homiletical scholars and students of the craft of preaching. The selection draws sermons from the first decade of Boreham’s preaching ministry, some from the last decade of his life and many from in between, thus offering samples from the different stages of Boreham’s career.
There are a great variety of sermon types represented, ranging from the textual sermon (‘The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…’), to doctrinal (The Meaning of Easter), a biblical exposition (on the book of Jonah), some Life Situational sermons (Handling interruptions and exploring the meaning of coincidences) through to Boreham’s innovative biographical preaching (Abraham Lincoln’s Text). A big part of Boreham’s popularity then and his enduring significance is his preparedness to innovate and try out many different types of preaching.
5. This volume includes three sermons from the longest, most popular (judged by congregational response and sale of books) and most evangelistic series that Boreham ever delivered. There are valuable lessons in this trio for modern day Christian communicators.
6. A Packet of Surprises gives ample evidence of Boreham’s creativity. Readers will see his brilliance as a marketer with his catchy titles that were printed on billboards and advertising leaflets—titles like ‘Sermons and Sandwiches’, ‘I.O.U’, ‘Dominoes', ‘Mind Your Own Business’ and ‘Please Shut the Gate'.
7. F W Boreham was the Rick Warren of his age as he was a much-loved preacher who wrote many books and magazine articles. Like Warren, Boreham was on the best sellers list many times and over a million copies were sold causing the manager at Epworth Press to say that Boreham was their ‘greatest catch’ since John Wesley. Rick has about another 40 books to write before he can get near to Frank Boreham’s number of published books.
Such was his influence that FWB was once introduced to a Pastor’s Conference as “the man whose name is on all our lips, whose books are on all our shelves and whose illustrations are in all our sermons!” A Packet of Surprises is full of vivid illustrations and stories you can use to great effect.
8. Boreham has enriched many communicators and leaders down through the years through his writings. When Billy and Ruth Graham visited Australia in 1959 he said that the person he wanted to meet more than any other was F W Boreham because his books had so enriched his spiritual life and ministry. They did meet and they exchanged books. During his amazing campaign Billy got some time for pursuing another passion of his viz. golf. Out on the fairway when he was mulling over a sermon to preach at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (which incidentally became the largest gatherings ever to fill the huge MCG), Dr Graham said to his golfing mate and host, “Where can I find the amazing illustration by Dr Boreham about…?” I can give you the details if you’re interested concerning this event but that sermon is included in The Best of Boreham’s Essays and Sermons.
Contemporary leaders including Gordon Moyes and Ravi Zacharias have testified to their habit of reading one sermon a day from Boreham’s books to feed their minds and kindle their spiritual devotion.
9. F W Boreham once wrote, “When a man has been fifty years in his grave it ought to be possible to review his work dispassionately. The sentiment that is born of human fondness has by that time evaporated; and the prejudices that arise from personal animosity have died down.”
Next year (2009) it will be fifty years since the death of F W Boreham and for many reasons it will be an important year to reflect on his contribution and distil the insightful lessons from his life. The Packet of Surprises will therefore be a timely book to read and….
10. A wonderful gift to give.
Check out Mike Dalton’s site to discover how you can get your hands on this book.
If you live in the southern hemisphere you may want to order your books from Peter and the COC Online Bookshop which is based in Brisbane.
See the list of new books below to order more than one book.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: Front cover of A Packet of Surprises.
P.S. Permission to send this article to others and reproduce it in letters and magazines is freely given and this practice is encouraged.
P.P.S. Other Boreham books published by John Broadbanks Publishing include:
All the Blessings of Life: The Best Stories of F W Boreham (2007)
Lover of Life: A Tribute to F W Boreham's Mentor (2007)
Second Thoughts (2007)
The Chalice of Life: Reflections on the Significant Stages of Life (2008)
Get these for your library, your seminary library and your public library.