1. Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice – John Thornton – (01/03/17)
So when I first heard that this book was written by a CPA with a Ph.D. in accounting and that it was being published by Moody, I knew it had to be on my spring recommended reads list. And that doesn’t even address the great title. John says this about the book, “Jesus’ advice ruined what I planned to write.” He and his wife—both financial experts—had cut their income by 80% to pursue more meaningful lives. Within six years they had two kids, were debt-free, went on several vacations, and doubled their net worth. John was ready to share the biblical principles that made this possible. But he couldn’t. After reviewing Scripture’s teaching on money—over 1,300 verses—he realized he had missed something big. I can’t wait to read what this financial expert has to say and what he discovered.
- This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel – Trevin Wax (03/01/17)
Trevin Wax is one of my favorite bloggers and a prolific writer. His work has done much to shape the thinking and conversations of younger evangelicals. In this new book he addresses the question of what will faithfulness to Christ look like in these tumultuous times. How can we be true to the gospel in a world where myths and false visions of the world so often prevail? What does it mean to be a faithful Christian when “post-truth” and “fake news” are constantly in the headlines? By analyzing our common beliefs and practices (smartphone habits, entertainment intake, and our views of shopping, sex, marriage, politics, and life’s purpose), Trevin helps us see through the myths of society to the hope of the gospel. This book will be a must read for anyone who works, lives or interacts regularly with millennials. I, for one, need to be reminded of the one true story that changed my life and is really true.
3. Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor – Kendra Broekhaus (02/28/17)
Kendra is a new voice, a younger author with an important message. As a new mom, she tackled a really interesting question – how to collide ‘motherhood’ with mission. In order to do that she prayed for thirty days “to maintain the joy of being wife and mommy amid the daily grind. To see the world through God’s eyes. To live intentionally. To build relationships and share Christ’s love with her neighbors. Some days it led to actions the Lord gently nudged her to take. Other days it led to reflections the Lord gently whispered into her heart. Every day it led to a single word, one underlying theme that ties all thirty days – all thirty chapters – and their wide variety of topics together: giving. These thirty days happened at an interesting transition point in her life. She and her husband had just returned from being missionaries for three years in a foreign country. I look forward to learning what it means to be mission-minded, no matter where you live or work, being willing to love the people closest to you, people we often overlook.
4. Standing in the Fire: Courageous Christians Living in Frightening Times – Tom Doyle & Greg Webster – (04/11/17)
Tom Doyle is author of four previous books including the much talked about title, Killing Christians. In this new book, he says that followers of Christ need to relearn what it means to stand courageously for their faith rather than merely survive in a climate of fear. Instead of motivating believers to action, today’s headlines appear to be paralyzing them. Standing in the Fire demonstrates the church triumphant through the lives of people who stood strong and didn’t run away in the face of overwhelming danger. These Middle Eastern heroes of faith fear God more than terrorist groups like ISIS. Supported by Tom Doyle’s commentary on events, the stories included show how these Christians are not living as victims, but victors in Christ. I look forward to seeing how this book will challenge my faith in a world that seems more and more hostile by the day.
5. Letting Go: Rugged Love for Wayward Souls – Dave Harvey & Paul Gilbert
Dave Harvey is a best-selling author of the book When Sinners Say “I Do” and board chairman of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF). In this new book, co-written with Paul Gilbert, Lead Pastor at Four Oaks Community Church, he deals with a really important subject. How can we believers best deal with loved ones who have strayed? Harvey and Gilbert share stories of pain and hope as they offer help to those coping with unfaithful marriage partners, prodigal children, and wayward friends. They teach the reader how to offer grace- and truth-based guidance; discern the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation; and so much more. In a time when so many families are struggling with these issues, this book is a must read.
6. The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life – Dustin Willis & Brandon Clements (02/07/17)
I love the idea of a book written entirely about hospitality – a subject that is one of the least discussed spiritual gifts. As a person committed to getting to know people at a deeper level, I am often challenged by the realities of a fast paced and busy life with less margin for hospitality than I would like. In reading this book, I hope to learn how to balance daily responsibilities with my desire to make a difference in the lives of others people. Looking at the information on this books, I was excited to see that Willis and Clements help you be hospitable even if you “don’t have enough space,” show you how to get creative in order to make an impact right where you are, involve your church community, and open up your life while still setting boundaries. For many people, the whole idea seems so intimidating and yet it is often one of the best ways to show the love of Christ.
7. The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb – Jamin Goggin & Kyle Strobel (01/24/17)
Why do many modern-day churches lose sight of their true purpose? According to Goggin and Strobel, many leaders have succumbed to the temptations of power. Painting a rich biblical vision of Jesus’ call to strength through weakness, they gather wise insights from conversations with J.I. Packer, Dallas Willard, Marva Dawn, Eugene Peterson, and others. I can’t wait to dig into this book and read these conversations for myself as I have often wondered about these very issues and what can be done to return to a posture of humility in spiritual leadership. Jamin Goggin serves as a pastor at Mission Hills Church. Kyle Strobel is a professor of spiritual theology and formation at Talbot School of Theology and Biola University
- The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together – Jared Wilson (05/02/17)
This title describes me and most of the people that I know. Too many discipleship books are written for clean, perfect people who know all the right Sunday school answers. The Imperfect Disciple is for the rest of us–people who screw up, people who are weary, people who are wondering if it’s safe to say what they’re really thinking. In this new book, Wilson frees readers from the self-doubt and even the misplaced self-confidence they may feel as they walk with Jesus down the often difficult road of life. The result is a faith that weathers storms, lifts burdens, and goes forth to make more imperfect disciples. Jared is a well-known author, blogger and speaker. His widely read blog, The Gospel-Driven Church is hosted by the Gospel Coalition.
9. Watch: Wide-Awake Faith in a World Fast Asleep – Rick James (01/01/17)
I just loved the cover of this new book. In it, James says that “To be asleep is to be oblivious to being oblivious.” The danger of sleep is the danger of carbon monoxide: it’s colorless and odorless, and you’re anesthetized before you know it—before you ever hit the floor. And for the follower of Jesus, it’s just as dangerous—because the Christian who is “asleep” is spiritually unreceptive. If anything will be our undoing, sleep will. In this thoughtful, engaging, challenging book, Rick James dives deep into the New Testament’s teachings on spiritual wakefulness, calling Christ-followers to defy the darkness and remain awake as they await Christ’s return. Because being awake—continually in prayer, watchful for God’s will, expectant of open doors, cautious of sin, desiring to serve, eager to repent, continuously giving thanks, willing to witness, embracing of humility, overflowing with kindness, persevering in obedience—changes everything. Rick James is the publisher for Cru, and has spent years in collegiate ministry.
10. Love Lives Here – Maria Goff (03/07/17)
Maria Goff is married to Bob Goff, best-selling author of Love Does. Together they have done ministry in Uganda, Nepal and Northern Iraq to start schools for marginalized kids. Given how much I appreciated Bob’s book, I was excited to hear the stories from Maria’s perspective. She says that “This is a book about discovering what we really need. There are a lot of second-best options, but we weren’t made to live a second-best life. Finding what we actually need is different than what we are often offered. There are many books full of opinions, steps and programs. This isn’t one of them. This is about craving the things that matter. Things that don’t just work, but last.” In a life that may seem to be all fun and games with an endless supply of balloons, she shows how this life is also lived with intentionality, passionate purpose, and a little planning—all of which make a life rich in legacy. But she had to figure out the help she needed first in order to live the beautiful life God wanted for her and wants for us.