Books

Category Archives: Books

My Favorite Reads In 2018

I love books. In my world books > movies, books > tv shows, books > hunting, books > building stuff, books > most things except sports. (In my world Books = Sports.) Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that reading is more spiritual than other things or necessarily a better way to spend your time. I’m

Thinking (Christianly) About Politics

It’s that season again. I don’t mean winter. I mean the political season. Last night, Iowa kicked off the long primary/caucus gauntlet (grueling for both candidates and voters?), which will culminate several months from now in a national election. And if we aren’t already thinking along these lines, it’s a good reminder that we as Christians have a responsibility to think through how our faith should inform our understanding of and involvement with politics.

That’s not inventing a link that isn’t there, it’s just being biblical. Consider just one passage of many we could use to make the point:

Love Languages: The Good and The Bad

Everywhere I look it seems that I run into someone carrying around one of Gary Chapman’s books on Love Languages. There are plenty to choose from and it seems that he’s left no demographic untouched. There are Love Language books targeted at adults, teens, children, singles, and men. There’s a Love Language devotional, small group

8 Questions That Help Me Know If I’m Growing Spiritually

newtonbookcoverIt seems like I should be able to determine relatively easily if I’m personally growing spiritually but it isn’t as easy as you think it should be. What exactly should I be looking for in my life? For so many people the indicators of spiritual growth are only focused on behavior. Now of course our behavior is incredibly important to God but when that is the only consideration, we neglect our heart which is where our motives and loves spring from.

I recently finished Tony Reinke’s book Newton on the Christian Life; a book that will almost certainly be on the short list of best books that I read in 2015. Even if you’re not familiar with Newton, you are definitely familiar with his most famous hymn: Amazing Grace. After leaving the slave trade, Newton became a pastor in Olney and later London. While his sermons are rather ordinary, the hundreds of personal letters he wrote are exceptional. They are quite literally treasure troves of spiritual wisdom, pastoral care, and pictures of grace.

Reinke does a great job of surfacing some of Newton’s treasures and helping the reader personally benefit from it. In one section he shares Newton’s marks of a maturing Christian. While this list is hardly exhaustive, it does a good job of probing our heart and helping us see areas of our life that we might need to grow in. After each mark, I included a question(s) to further help me discern where I am spiritually.

‘Surrounding Myself’ with Opportunities to Worship

There’s a small, triangular-shaped counter-top space in our home; its primary claim to fame is that it houses my wife’s coffee maker, but over the years it has also become a Staging Area for Stuff That Needs to Happen Now. This modest space is where we dump our key rings, so it’s become a spot

Quick Reads and Practical Helps: ‘Experiencing Divorce’ by H. Norman Wright

In a perfect world, everyone going through the painful, trauma-filled experience of divorce would set aside time to attend a local DivorceCare support group. But, of course, the world we live in is far from perfect, and many people who could benefit from the excellent information offered as part of those weekly meetings may not

Echoes of Eden: Traces of God and Truth in Children’s Literature

This summer, elementary Crossing Kids is doing something slightly different on Sunday mornings. Instead of studying the same Bible Story or topic for five weeks like we normally do during the school year, we’re using children’s literature to help us see how the Gospel helps us to make sense of all of life–including art. Each week

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life

What work matters? Was God more glorified when I taught fifth graders at a public elementary school or when I worked at a church? Is He more pleased when I write a children’s ministry lesson than when I fold laundry, read to my toddler, or empty the dishwasher? Even among those tasks, is there a

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Christians Blow It

What are we supposed to think when Christians fail to live out their faith? Occasionally, those failures grab headlines—like nationally known pastors who have to step down from their leadership positions for various reasons, or politicians disgraced by morally compromising situations. More often, it’s the everyday sins of average Christians that never seem to be in short supply: being insensitive or selfish in a relationship, failing to carry out responsibilities at work, being harsh and impatient with kids, speaking poorly of others behind their backs, and so on.

Understandably, the gap between what we say we believe and what we actually do can make Christianity less credible to those on the outside looking in, and it can genuinely discourage the faith of others who are trying to follow Christ. Either way, we need to keep a few important truths in mind:

Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed

“Most women are waiting for something, but some women are waiting acutely. The thing missing from their lives is in such sharp focus that they aren’t sure they’ll ever feel complete without it.” This opening line from Betsy Child Howards in her book Seasons of Waiting immediately grabbed me. My experience of waiting acutely was