Hey church family,
As you can probably guess, I miss all of you very much. And as I have thought about you and prayed for you, I have had an increasing desire to figure out ways to bless you. So here is a small attempt to encourage you in your faith.
Now that most (if not all) of us have transitioned to working from home, the lack of commute may leave you with some extra time on your hands. If you are looking for an edifying way to fill that extra time, I have a handful of books from a wide range of categories that I think would bless your soul. Consider checking out one of the following:
- The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield. Rosaria is a great writer and an even better story teller. Formerly a same-sex attracted professor at Syracuse University who focused on feminist theory and queer theory, she tells the story of her journey towards Jesus. Her path to faith in Christ is both surprising and beautiful. This book reminds me that no one is beyond the reach of God’s reconciling love, and that simple acts of kindness and human decency can turn out to be actions of eternal significance.
- Devoted to God by Sinclair Ferguson. This is a short, deep, book about sanctification. It’s definitely not a “how to” manual, but rather a rich theology of how union with Christ transforms human life.
- How the Nations Rage by Jonathan Leeman. Leeman offers a concise, readable, and relatable treatment of how to think theologically about politics. This deals with several introductory issues including what government is for, what it should do, and how we should engage the political process in America. For those who have never explored this subject biblically, the book is engaging and informative.
- The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I love this book and have read it several times. This is a book about heaven, hell, and the in-between place. However, it’s important to understand what Lewis is doing. Lewis is not attempting to give you a theology of heaven and hell. He is helping you explore the human heart and show you the trajectories that lead us into ceaseless darkness and misery, and the radical call of Christ into glorified love. If you can appreciate this book for what it is (instead of what it’s not), you will be blessed by this allegory.
- Agape Leadership: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership from the Life of R.C. Chapman by Alexander Strauch. This is a series of anecdotes from the life and ministry of a godly pastor named R.C. Chapman who ministered in England in the 1800’s. His life is a story of profound godliness in the face of perpetually challenging circumstances. Every time I read this book it leaves me hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
- Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age by Bob Cutillo M.D.. This book is really interesting, and profoundly more than I expected. Cutillo explores how different views of life, health and the body lead to profoundly different philosophies of medicine and healthcare, which in turn directly impact medical practices. He argues gently but compellingly for a vision of health that revolves around God and truth, and life as gift.
- A Praying Life by Paul Miller. Many of you have already read this book, but if you haven’t, now would be a great time to pick it up. I feel like the aim of this book is not to help you learn to pray (though it does)— it’s to help you want to pray. Reading A Praying Life is like having a gentle, godly, pastor walk through all the things that make prayer hard, and process them with you in utter transparency. The chapters are also really short and readable, so it would be ideal for someone who only has brief moments of quiet throughout the day.
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. This book has been a deep well of encouragement throughout my Christian life, and I come back to it again and again. The allegory of Christian’s journey to the celestial city reminds us that Christians have always struggled with sin, wrestled with doubt, been granted glimpses of glory, and needed help and encouragement from others on their journey to meet the King. Purists will say you should read it in old english but the average person will be just as blessed by the updated versions.
- Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. The subtitle of the book (“motherhood in the trenches”) says it all. This short book is a series of deeply thoughtful yet humorous mediations on striving for righteousness as a mom of young children. And— proof that it was written by a young mom— most chapters are just a few paragraphs long! Read this and be blessed, young moms.
- Not By Sight: A Fresh Look At Old Stories of Walking by Faith by Jon Bloom. This little book is really interesting, and unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Bloom takes bible stories and, using “sanctified imagination”, considers what may have happened in that persons life before or immediately following the actual biblical event. From there, he explores what can be learned biblically about the kinds of things that person may or may not have had to face. The adulteress that Jesus saved from stoning eventually needed to go home and deal with the consequences of her sin. What was John the Baptist going through when he sat in Herod’s prison and decided to send some of His disciples to ask Jesus if He was really the One? This book is fun and engaging, and full of biblical truth.