Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves
I read this earlier this year (2016), and this 123-page book is rich with Christ! While most of the books I read have me looking at myself, Reeves constantly had me gazing at Christ. Reeves had me hooked in the introduction:
We naturally gravitate, it seems, toward anything but Jesus–and Christians almost as much as anyone–whether it’s “the Christian worldview,” “grace,” “the Bible” or “the gospel,” as if they were things in themselves that could save us. Even “the cross” can get abstracted from Jesus, as if the wood had some power of its own. Other things, wonderful things, vital concepts, beautiful discoveries so easily edge Jesus aside. Precious theological concepts meant to describe him and his work get treated as things in their own right. He becomes just another brick in the wall. But the center, the cornerstone, the jewel in the crown on Christianity is not an idea, a system or a thing; it is not even “the gospel” as such. It is Jesus Christ.”
This was a sweet reminder of who my life is about. This book led me to worship and focus on Christ.
*The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller
This is the first “Christian-genre” books that I picked up. I read it my freshman year in my dorm room in 2012–and it shook my little freshman world. This book addresses questions such as “Why does God allow suffering in the world?” or “How could a loving God send people to Hell” or “Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive?” While this book developed my apologetics and evangelism, Keller’s philosophical reasoning deepened my heart for Jesus and the gospel. This book deepened my compassion for my non-believer friends that are seeking truth and solidified my personal trust in God.
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan
This one goes back to the basics–but the basics mean everything. “God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself.” Chan reminds us of the truth that God has a crazy love for us, and that encountering this love changes everything.
I read this book a couple summers ago (2014). This was after I was flirting with a season of depression and discontentment (as I have just resettled back in the United States after spending 3 months in the Philippines doing ministry). This book re-opened my eyes to the thousands of graces God blesses me with on a daily basis. Voskamp challenged me to practice the spiritual disciple of chronicling God’s gifts. This simple act of expressing gratitude transformed my darkened lenses and allowed me to have a renewed joy in Christ. EVERYONE should read this.
*The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller
Mmm. This one was read in a day. It’s a short book, but Keller never falls short of rich truth in his writing. After reading this, my understanding of Jesus’ famous parable of the Prodigal Son is forever changed. I discovered God’s prodigal grace toward the older and younger brothers–and I discovered how I can identify with the characters in this parable. While this book revealed to me sin underneath sin in my life, it also revealed a sweet message of hope and a Father’s love. This book is great for both skeptics and the devout.
*30 Days with Augustine: A Prayer Book by Richard E. Buckner
I could be biased, but I really do love this prayer book. Partly because it was put together by dad, but mostly because it is organized in a way that has me praising God in the morning and evaluating myself in the evening. (He also has another prayer book called “30 Days with Wesley: A Prayer Book”) “Filled with prayers, psalms, readings from the writings of St. Augustine, and self-examination questions, 30 Days with Augustine will guide readers through rich content and lead them into a deeper life of prayer.This prayerbook contains 30 days of morning and evening prayers, including:
– Scripture readings
– Reflections from St. Augustine
– Questions for self-examination
– Personal prayer times
– Dismissal prayers
– Space for recording personal meditations”