“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”
With the summer almost halfway completed, I wanted to share my Summer Reading List before it was too late. I pass these titles along to you for your consideration and edification. Enjoy!
True Community, Jerry Bridges – While I have already read this book, I am re-reading as I prepare the summer sermons series based on this theme of building authentic community as the Church in Jesus Christ. Bridges presents some very deep theological foundations and explanations of what it means to be the Church and what our fellowship ought to be, but in such a way as to not bog the reader down or shoot over our heads. I highly recommend this book, and there are six copies left in the Church Narthex.
God in the Whirlwind, David Wells – This is decidedly a more substantive theological work than True Community, but it is still very approachable and has much to say for today’s Church. Wells argues that the church has lost sight of the character of God, his Holy-Love. We hear a lot about God’s love but not much about his Holiness. Well’s writes, “We have become inclined to think of God as our Therapist. It is comfort, healing, and inspiration that we want most deeply, so that is what we seek from Him. That too, is what we want from our church experience. We want it to be comforting, uplifting, inspiring, and easy on the mind. We do not want it to be something that requires effort or concentration. We want God to be accepting and nonjudgmental.” In a masterful, yet compassionate and encouraging tone, Wells calls the church to engage our culture with the Holy-Love of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ; the gospel which should shape and influence our view of the world, ourselves, our worship, and our service.
Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller – I have always enjoyed Keller’s writing, and this book doesn’t let me down. I read this book as sort of a modern-day Christian response to the soul searching of Ecclesiastes. Before Christ, and apart from Him, the author of Ecclesiastes, and those who pursue their treasures in the world today, all work, all success can seem empty and meaningless – there’s always more to do, always someone better to come along. With great pastoral care, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about our work. In fact, the Christian view of work – that we work to serve others, not ourselves – can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life. Keller shows how excellence, integrity, discipline, creativity, and passion in the workplace can help others and even be considered acts of worship—not just of self-interest.
Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung – This book jumped into my hands and screamed, “I was written for YOU!” Now, if I could just find the time to read it. If your life is anything like mine, you have a packed calendar, there are often things that done get done, or don’t get done well, and the most important things (like your family), often get the least amount of attention. I’ve only just started with this book, but already I’ve begun to see how my “busyness” is often a cover for my insecurity, and a way to feed my sinful pride. Since I’m still early in the book, I’ll share this review from Publishers Weekly:
DeYoung offers a refreshing (and refreshingly short) take on the plague of modern American life: the too-long to-do list and the overscheduled calendar that produce the frazzled response ‘busy’ to the innocent question ‘How are you?’ DeYoung doesn’t offer time management but rather theology. God wants you to use your talents, but God is not nearly as big on the idolatry of self-importance that often motivates over-commitment. DeYoung is clever (‘If Jesus were alive today, he’d get more emails than any of us.’), his analysis is well-organized, and he brings theological thinking without moralizing. If you are someone who checks your email before going to bed and as soon as you wake up, DeYoung has your number, and this is your book.”
One With Christ, Marcus Peter Johnson – Wanting to go deep with a Theology book this summer, I’ve selected this treatise from Dr. Johnson, assistant professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute. From the cover of the book there is this summary, “Despite our love for the Bible, emphasis on the cross, and passion for evangelism, many evangelicals ironically neglect that which is central to the gospel. In our preaching, teaching, and witnessing, we often separate salvation from the Savior. Looking to the Scriptures and to church history, Marcus Johnson reveals the true riches of our salvation by reintroducing us to the foundation of our redemption – our mysterious union with the living Christ.”
Memoir and Remains of R.M. M’Cheyne, Andrew A. Bonar –Having read Metaxas’ biography on Bonhoeffer and Marsden’s on Edwards, I thought I’d turn this summer to the story of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. M’Cheyne was a Scottish Presbyterian minister and missionary in the early 19th century who died at the young age of 29. A preacher, pastor, poet, he was also a man of deep piety and prayer. His biography tells the story of his brief life, and includes all of his collected writings, letters, and poems.