When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God—and Joy, by John Piper. Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or heredity and other physical causes. John Piper gives insight into the physical side of depression and spiritual darkness, what it means to wait on the Lord in a time of darkness, how unconfessed sin can clog our joy, and how to minister to others who are living without light.
The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative, by Christopher J.H. Wright. Most Christians would agree that the Bible provides a basis for mission. But Wright boldly maintains that mission is greater than that—he says that the entire Bible is generated by and is all about God’s mission. And he says that in order to understand the Bible, we need a missional hermeneutic, an interpretative perspective that is in tune with this great missional theme. We need to see the “big picture” of God’s mission and how the familiar bits and pieces fit into the grand narrative of Scripture. Beginning with the OT and the groundwork it lays for understanding who God is, what He has called His people to be and do, and how the nations fit into God’s mission, Wright gives us a new hermeneutical perspective on Scripture demonstrating that God’s mission is to reclaim the world—and that includes the created order—and God’s people have a designated role to play in that mission.
Finding God in the Story of Amazing Grace, by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware. Before the world-famous hymn, there was the story of amazing grace that liberated a nation. In the captivating true stories of William Wilberforce, a crusading politician, and John Newton, a notorious slave trader, God once again demonstrates His grace in our everyday struggles and shows how He uses even the smallest of events and the weakest of individuals to carry out His ultimate plan for the world.
Blessed Are the Uncool: Living Authentically in a World of Show, by Paul Grant. Admit it: you want to be cool. So do all of us. The author deconstructs the cultural phenomenon of cool, an ever-elusive, exclusionary act of perpetual rebellion for rebellion’s sake. But it is only in those moments when we finally count ourselves among the uncool that God sees us and calls us blessed, and our elusive longings are answered with faith that in Christ God is reconciling this uncool world to himself.
God’s Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments, by James M. Hamilton, Jr. (series: NAC Studies in Bible & Theology). Many have long asked whether believers under the old covenant had the same indwelling presence of the Spirit as was promised to those in the new covenant. Hamilton’s work provides an extensive treatment of this question, and sheds new light on the important topic of the Holy Spirit’s role in enabling believers from both Testaments to be reconciled to God. He further makes a compelling case for the radical newness of the Spirit’s indwelling.
The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching: A Comprehensive Resource for Today’s Communicators, edited by Haddon Robinson and Craig Brian Larson. An omnibus of over 200 chapters from over 100 contributors covering every aspect of the preacher’s craft. Contributors include some of today’s most respected preachers such as John Piper, D. A. Carson, Gordon MacDonald, Fred Smith, Andy Stanley, John R.W. Stott, Chuck Swindoll, Dallas Willard, Jay Adams, and many others.
Adventures in Darkness: Memoirs of an Eleven-Year-Old Blind Boy, by Tom Sullivan. Blind since birth, author and well-known entertainer Tom Sullivan recounts with wit and clarity the hair-raising adventures of his eleventh year in 1950’s New England…escaping from his blind school, relief pitching in the neighborhood league, and boxing in a backyard bout with the neighborhood bully. Refusing to settle for the conventional confines of his blindness, his eleventh year was the year he set in motion a chain of events that dynamically changed his life forever.
Confessions of an Amateur Believer, by Patty Kirk. Boldly honest in her examination of spiritual life, Patty Kirk recounts her passage from unbelief to belief in “a compelling memoir sure to satisfy readers longing to taste authentic faith”. Reviewer Hyatt Moore says the book is “a progression—of pain, anguish, understanding, acceptance, and delight…and each phase is a confession”.
Leading With Love, by Alexander Strauch. Love is indispensable to Christian leadership, and this book provides church leaders and teachers a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about the subject of love. If you lead or teach people—whether as a Sunday school teacher, youth worker, music director, elder or deacon–this understanding is essential to you as an individual leader and to the church as a whole.
The Hospitality Commands, by Alexander Strauch. Hospitality is a crucial element in building Christian community, an effective tool for evangelism, and a great way to serve the Lord’s people and for Christians to use their spiritual gifts. Further, it is a biblical command, and many Christians do not realize what the New Testament teaches about hospitality and what it can do for the local church.
Oops! I Forgot My Wife, by Doyle Roth (Lewis and Roth Publishers). A story of commitment as marriage and self-centeredness collide. The greatest challenge to a man’s life begins once he puts the ring on. In this book, the author puts his 30-plus years of counseling experience into the story of a guy named Mitch, a guy who is so bad at “husbanding” that he wakes up one morning king of an empty castle. Told through an exchange of emails, Mitch’s story is about real marriage, flaws and all, and about making your wife a vital part of your world.
The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, by C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper. Lewis was not only a great author, but a great correspondent and in his lifetime wrote thousands of personal letters to family and friends which reveal his unique intellectual journey. Arranged in chronological order, this final volume covers the periods 1950—when The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was published—through 1963, the year of Lewis’s untimely death.
It’s Not My Fault, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Who’s to blame? People, circumstances, or DNA? The authors offer the no-excuse plan to get our focus off what we cannot control, and break free from the blame game that keeps us from the life we desire.
COMMENTARIES: The Gospel of Luke/Acts, by Allison Trites and William J. Larkin (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary Vol 12).
ADULT FICTION: Breaker’s Reef, by Terri Blackstock (Cape Refuge #4); Deadlock, Breach of Promise, and Sins of the Fathers, by James Scott Bell (legal suspense); White Chocolate Moments, by Lori Wick; Freefall, by Kristen Heitzmann; Summer of the Midnight Sun, Under the Northern Lights, and Whispers of Winter, by Tracie Peterson (Alaskan Quest #1-3); Looking for a Miracle and Plain and Fancy, by Wanda E. Brunstetter (Brides of Lancaster County #2-3).
YOUTH BOOKS: Treachery at the River Canyon, Revenge on Eagle Island, Danger at Deception Pass, and Hazards of the Half-Court Press, by Stephen Bly (The Lewis and Clark Squad, books 3-6, ages 10-14); Brave Emily, by Valerie Tripp (American Girl 1944).