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Summer Reading Recommendations

06.14.16 | Scripture, Truth, Discipleship | by Matt Shantz

    We grow as followers of Jesus in a number of ways. Time in the Word and in prayer, gathering as a church, connecting in smaller settings with fellow believers, and putting our faith into action through loving our neighbour and sharing the gospel are all ways we grow as disciples. 

    Reading great books that can bolster our faith is another.

    So if you're looking for a good book (or several!) to read this summer, check these out:

    Donald Whitney wrote my favourite book on the spiritual disciplines called...you guessed it...Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life. His new book is Family WorshipThis practical guide will help families with or without children in the home as they practice God-glorifying, Christ-exalting worship through Bible reading, prayer, and singing. I can't recommend this book and the practice of family worship enough!

    God Made All Of Me (Justin & Lindsay Holcomb) is a helpful book for parents to read to their children about the way God made boys and girls and teaches them to protect their bodies. Emily and I have read this to our boys a few times and it teaches them important things and gets conversation going.

    Jesus Outside The Lines (Scott Sauls) was probably my favourite book I read last year. Our culture (inside & outside of the church) can be so polarizing. Whether it be in politics, sexuality, faith and science, etc. Sauls, like many of us, is weary of the bickering and is seeking a way of truth and beauty through the conflicts. Scott shows us how the words and actions of Jesus reveal a response that does not perpetuate the destructive fray. Great and timely read.

    Biographies make for great summer reading:
    Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes (Iain Murray) about the missionary who spent over fifty years of her life serving mainly low caste girls and boys in South India.
    George Whitefield: America's Spiritual Founding Father (Thomas Kidd) explores the extraordinary career of the most influential figure in the first generation of Anglo-American evangelical Christianity, examining his sometimes troubling stands on the pressing issues of the day, both secular and spiritual, and his relationships with such famous contemporaries as Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and John Wesley. The book chronicles the phenomenal rise of the trailblazer of the Great Awakening.
    The autobiographies of John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides and George Muller are a couple more honourable mentions.

    Sam Allberry wrote a helpful little book called Why Bother With Church? And other questions about why you need it and why it needs you that is a great resource if you're asking that question or know people who are.

    Greg Gilbert's Why Trust The Bible? is another great little book that handles a very popular question of the day with clarity. Understanding Scripture by leading Christian scholars Wayne Grudem, C John Collins, and Thomas Schreiner goes a little deeper and gives an overview of the Bible's origin, reliability, and meaning.

    Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology is one of my five favourite theology books of all time. It is phenomenal and phenomenally huge at 1200 pages. His book, Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know is the 140 page condensed version that teaches you the basics of the Christian faith clearly and succinctly.

    The Walk (Stephen Smallman) is a great guide for new and renewed followers of Jesus. My Life Group is walking through this book with new and not-yet believers and they are finding it extremely understandable and clarifying. If you are exploring Christianity, new to the faith, or know someone who is, this is a great resource.

    God's Super-Apostles (Geivett & Pivec) critiques a new movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Geivett and Pivec pull no punches in calling out Rick Joyner (MorningStar Ministries), Bill Johnson (Bethel Church, Redding), Mike Bickle (International House of Prayer, Kansas City), and other proponents of NAR, showing how their teachings don't hold up to Scripture. If you've heard of it and want to have a better understanding of it, this book is a biblical response to the NAR movement and reveals where it deviates from historic pentecostal and charismatic teachings.

    Want to read the Bible more but find it confusing or challenging? I can't recommend the ESV Study Bible enough. Every book of the Bible has a brief and helpful introduction and most verses have brief and insightful study notes. There are a number of different formats you can get: HardcoverLeatherdigital, etc. Here is a link to the ESV app (you can purchase the Study Bible within the app). Help yourself get into the Word of God more by getting yourself a great Study Bible.

    "Visit many good books, but live in the Bible."
    ~ Charles Spurgeon