Saturday, April 25, 2015

My 7 Recommendations for the Christian's Library

In addition to the Bible of course, as our only direct, perfect and authoritative word from God, these are books that have helped me grow as a believer. There are so many more I hope to read (I'm talking about you, C. S. Lewis!), but in my small library these are at the top of the stack!

What books have been meaningful to you as a follower of Christ?

1) The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler
The gospel is the foundation for every Christian’s faith and life. But do we really understand the depth of our claims?

“The gospel of Jesus is epic. When Jesus says he saw Satan fall like lightening from the sky, he is saying that the gospel is about the overthrow of evil itself, not just about our sinful behavior. When Jesus casts out demons, he is saying that the gospel is about his authority and God’s sovereignty. When Jesus heals the sick and the lame, he is saying that the gospel is about the eradication of physical brokenness. When Jesus feeds the five thousand, he is saying that the gospel is about God’s abundant provision through Christ to a world of hunger. When Jesus walks on water or calms the storm, he is saying that the gospel is about his lordship over the chaos of fallen creation. When Jesus confounds the religious leaders, overturns tables, tells rich people it will be hard for them, renders unto Caesar, enters the city on a jackass, predicts the temple’s destruction, and stands silent before the political rulers, he is saying the gospel has profound effects on our systems. When Jesus forgives sin and raises the dead, he is saying the gospel is about individuals being born again, but he’s also saying that the gospel is about his conquest of sin and death.”


2) And the Bride Wore White, Dannah Gresh 
Pursuing purity is a great challenge. If I could make this mandatory reading for every woman hoping to marry one day, I would!

“In all of your love for God, you could be blind-sided by worldly passions. When I realized how difficult the path of purity can be, I stood before God and I said, 'OK, teach me to say no. I know these worldly passions exist, but I know the only way I will be able to say NO is if you teach me!' And from that moment on, God worked in me and gave me a resolve that I did not even know that I had within me...The difference was that now I had placed myself in God’s presence to be taught how to say no.”


3) Radical, David Platt
The “American dream” is contrary to God’s mission. Platt challenges believers to follow Christ with all that we are and all that we have.

“Even if we have a desire to learn God’s Word, we still listen from a default self-centered mind-set that is always asking, What can I get out of this? But as we have seen, this is unbiblical Christianity…What if we began to think, How can I listen to his Word so that I am equipped to teach this Word to others? This changes everything…When we realize we have the responsibility to teach the Word, it changes everything about how we hear the Word.”


4) Questioning Evangelism, Randy Newman
Jesus often answered questions with questions, and we would be wise to do the same.

“To be sure, if our motivation for expressing anger is pure, unadulterated, righteous indignation, as it surely was for Jesus and Jeremiah, then we’ve got every right to yell. The problem is, what stands behind our rantings is often something else. Too many of our evangelistic efforts bear little fruit because our motivation, rather than being based on righteous anger, is tainted by sinful anger. Our words, then, have more sinful anger than truth in them.”


5) Life Everlasting, Dan C. Barber & Robert A. Peterson
The eternity that God has planned for his children is magnificent and complex.

“Christians often talk about living with God ‘in heaven’ forever. But in fact the biblical teaching is richer than that: it tells us that there will be new heavens and a new earth – an entirely renewed creation – and we will live with God there.”
- Wayne Grudem


6) God on Sex, Dr. Daniel Akin
What does God think about marriage and intimacy? He’s a much bigger fan than any of us! Dr. Akin walks through Song of Solomon to explore God’s thoughts as the creator of sex.

“I looked up into heaven and told God there was no hope…I would never be able to understand romance from the female perspective. At that point God was gracious to me, and He gave me insight as to how this romance thing works from the female perspective. I now share it with all my fellow males throughout the world.” (I will stop there, but I hope your interest is peaked! hehe)


7) Evangelism Handbook, Dr. Alvin Reid
Dr. Reid shares anecdotes & advice on how to live out the Great Commission.

“So evangelism means we have a specific, victorious message to tell. We need to make evangelism GOOD NEWS again. We seem to think it is bad news; otherwise we might talk about the gospel more.”
* Bonus Recommendation *
I have only just begun reading, but I want to go ahead and give a shout-out to Kevin Harvey's new book! With a great sense of humor and unique perspective, All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture finds glimpses of the gospel in unexpected places.