If you are currently church-shopping, dissatisfied with your current church, or considering ways to serve your church, I’d encourage you to read this book. Really, if you’re a Christian, you’d do well to read it regardless. As the title suggests, the focus of this book is to give you biblical criteria by which you can identify a healthy church, and things to do as a pastor (or church member!) to encourage growth in your own church. (more…)
Every woman was once a little girl with dreams in her heart, a taste for adventure, and a thirst for the romantic. Sadly as time passes, experience often teaches a woman that these ideals are not reality, but merely a childish fantasy. Yet deep within her, she can still feel the restlessness of dreams and passions beckoning; a whisper that she is perhaps something more… If you are that woman, then this book is for you. (more…)
Carlos Darby introduces his new book The One as a new experience that merges storytelling with new formats to tell the story of Jesus to a new generation. “The One uses The Voice Bible translation alongside powerful, full-color images to maximize the long-term impact for the reader, creating a dynamic way to engage with and experience the scriptures.” If you know me at all, you’ll know that I found that description simultaneously very intriguing but also very terrifying. After all, there are more ways to screw up the story of the gospel with a ‘new format’ than there are to improve it. While I’m all for innovative storytelling methods, I almost always come to the conclusion that such a story is not worth tampering with. But surprisingly, I found The One to be a whole lot better than I expected.
Championship Fathering. How to win at being a dad. Carey Casey’s latest book is a light-weight, heavy-hitting book that teaches the values behind excellent fathering, exhorting readers to leave behind a god-honoring legacy. Carey Casey is a practical, no-frills writer and speaker who has a simple mission: revitalize the family in America. He describes his book as a simple conversation between father and son, “Son, here’s what I want you to remember.” Throughout its one hundred and fifty pages, Casey outlines his vision of godly parenting and challenges fathers to step up into championship fathering. (more…)
Based on the concept of God “setting before us an open door” that is found in Revelation and coupled with a Dr. Seuss-esque style and appeal, John Ortberg’s latest book encourages people not to submit to the lie that we are meant to stay where we are, but that we are called to rise up and walk through God’s open doors. They may be big, they may be small – from a move across the country, to simply talking to a neighbor for the first time – but one thing is for certain: God has called everyone to an open door. And if we choose to walk through it… Oh! The places we’ll go! (more…)
Desire. How do we define it? Or more importantly, what do we do with it? Many people believe that in order for us to be sanctified, desire should be denied: killed and buried. Others believe if you work hard enough, conjure enough faith and read Psalm 37:4 till it frays at the edges that your desires will come to pass. John Eldredge deviates from both of these popular standpoints to pull apart the true questions of desire – what it is, where it’s from, and how we deal with it in this life as God wills for us.
We all have heart desires, and they are often a very private and protected part of our souls. So to read a book on this topic where the author made his own heart very vulnerable was quite a personal experience. It opened up old wounds and reawakened the pain of lost hopes and unfulfilled dreams. However, it was a cleansing and healing type of pain. Though it was – in some ways – a heartrending read due to the topic’s intimate nature, it carried a sense of hope. And this is the crux of the entire book. The only way to live with desire, is to carry it with hope for eternity.
Our only hope for rest from the incessant craving of our desire is in God, and us united to Him.
The best thing about this book is how well Eldredge takes the ethereal out of eternity. We don’t have an empty hope in heaven, but the assurance that though our yearnings may not be met on this fallen earth, they are guaranteed to be met to the full when we enter that Divine presence of God.
You see, Scripture tells us that God has ‘set eternity’ in our hearts. Where in our hearts? In our desires.
We are still left to live out our days in a world where desires are not always met. So what do we do till then? The author goes on to explain just how we are to “live hungry” without killing our dreams, and yet also live free from the burden of trying to arrange our lives. Jesus after all, appealed to everyone’s basic innate desires whilst He was on earth – he promised living water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, an open door to those who knock, and discovery to those who seek. No matter our desire, the answer is always the same: Jesus.
I highly recommend this book for many reasons: a better understanding of the reality we live in, and the heaven we’re headed towards, knowing how to hold our dreams and desires in open hands, and a better focus on the One who loves us and truly cares about our hearts desires. Desire is a well formulated and thoughtful read.
“Is your faith for real?” asks pastor Jarrid Wilson in his new book Jesus Swagger. I’ll admit, the cards were stacked against this book from the get-go. Everything pointed to a trendy, fluffy “Christian” book that has little of substance to say. At the same time, this effect can be done well (See Trip Lee’s Rise for a good example), so I decided to give Wilson a chance. In the end, is his challenge to ‘break free from poser Christianity’ worth the effort? Read on for more. (more…)
The world is full of good things: a thunderstorm beating at the windowpanes when you’re reading, curled up in a blanket; ice cold lemonade under a tall oak tree; and the look that passes between a man and his wife. But many times, God’s gifts can seem to compete with God himself for our attention and affections. Too often, we worry that enjoying God’s gifts without explicitly worshipping him takes away from our love for God. But in The Things of Earth Joe Rigney challenges us to dive headfirst into enjoying God’s world . (more…)
Rise is Trip Lee’s call to a generation that’s coming of age into a new world full of challenges. Much like the Harris brothers’ Do Hard Things, or John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life, Rise is a call to “get up and live in God’s great story,” ditching the passing pleasures of youth for enduring joy to come. As the titles show, Rise is the next in a long line of inspirational books geared at teens. But it just may have some redeeming aspects that make it relevant in today’s culture.
What does the church today live for? What do you live for? David Platt’s piercing new book, Follow Me, begins with these questions. In a world where Christians are often complacent and lukewarm, Platt’s book calls for a return to the biblical core of what it means to be a Christian: following Jesus. By examining the life of Jesus throughout the Bible, Platt arranges the Christian life around one main priority: making disciples for the glory of God.