Here we go! You’re reading the first edition of this little, weekly email update. I spend a lot of time reading books and articles, so I thought it cool to put some good ones into a weekly update.
Behold — books and articles with links. What’s next?
BOOKS TO READ
I Still Do: Growing Closer and Stronger through Life’s Defining Moments – by Dave Harvey
In 2008 I read When Sinner’s Say “I Do,” and my view of marriage exploded. I had not heard anyone write so plainly about the struggles of marriage. January of 2020, Dave wrote a strong follow-up. I Still Do builds and improves on When Sinner’s Say I Do by providing a kind of marriage check-up, for those who have been down the road a bit. There’s also a devotional and study guide!
“To thrive in marriage over the long haul, we need to care for our spouse as a whole person. That means seeing how God’s good news speaks not only to their sin but also to their suffering, weakness, family history, disappointed dreams, physical limitations, and changes in sexual appetite. Lasting marriages need more than just luggage sorting. They need to know how Jesus can help them navigate the complexities of growing older together” (21).
“A brilliant guide to the years that come long after the initial ‘I do.’ As someone who is closing in on a quarter century of marriage, I can say it’s exactly the book I wanted to read, and perhaps even the book I needed to read.”–Tim Challies, blogger at Challies.com
“Going the distance together requires us to face some big moments–defining moments–so that we can learn to love in brokenness and humility. I Still Do is a great guide for couples.”–Elyse Fitzpatrick, author of Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation
Amazon – $13.89 (kindle-$11.99)
Thrift Books – $10.09
The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of A Lost Spiritual Discipline – by Dustin Crowe
Grumbling is easy. Giving thanks is hard. Wish we had a guide. Oh, wait. Dustin Crowe pastors a church in Indiana, and he wrote a good book. Actually, it really works like a guide. This book walks us through how to move from grumbling to thanks.
“The very first thing we must do is open our eyes, look around, and noticed a glorious but groaning, beautiful, and broken world we live in. See. Be present. Through paying attention to the world, we discern God’s provision and activity. We also do this when we open God’s Word. Don’t scam it; study it. Be on the lookout for God in it. Identify His promises, blessings, works, attributes, and truths.” (71).
“I needed this book. Too often I see the gaps, and I miss God’s daily grace. Dustin Crowe provides a practical and biblical guide for develop the habit of gratitude. So thankful!” –Mark Vroegop, Lead Pastor of College Park Church, Indianapolis and author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament
“I thought I was a pretty grateful guy. Then I took the Gratitude Quiz at the beginning of this book. Ouch! Turns out I have some growing to do in this area—and The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks was the perfect resource to help me grow. With vulnerability, biblical depth, and engaging prose, Dustin taught me how to recognize my blessings and equipped me with practices for giving thanks. This book has the power to literally change your life. It will lift your eyes above your daily annoyances and frustrations and back to the One from whom all blessings flow. I highly recommend it!”–Drew Dyck, Editor and author of Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science
Amazon – $9.89 (kindle-$9.99)
Thrift Books – $12.09
Catching Foxes: A Gospel-guided Journey to Marriage – by John Henderson
The first book I acquired as a book scout was Catching Foxes. It goes very well with I Still Do by Dave Harvey; it is evidently cut from the same cloth, and that’s a really good thing. Catching Foxes make for excellent reading by younger couple, or those new to marriage. In fact, I use it most often as a pre-marital counseling tool. The book covers the most important aspects of marriage preparation and health. It also have lots of good questions along the way, to foster thought and discussion. Pastors who do premarital counseling: get a box of these. Oh, and this book also has 3 sessions for after the wedding day; makes for a good check-up.
“Despite all the wonderful resources and hard efforts that we pour into wedding ceremonies these days, we easily miss the amazing meaning behind the whole show. Behind the beautiful ceremonies, colorful decorations, and snappy outfits, a far more beautiful event — a miraculous event — exists. When an ordinary man and an ordinary woman come together before God in the world to become husband and wife something extraordinary begins to happen. God joins them together. For this lifetime, at least, he makes them one.” (12).
“Self-centered views of compatibility, relational chemistry, and personal needs are too often the focus of preparation and counseling for marriage. Catching Foxes provides a Christ-focused, gospel-saturated alternative.”? —Lee Lewis, Pastor of Biblical Soul Care, Radiant Church, Austin, Texas
“Catching Foxes is one of our go-to resources in all our pre-marriage counseling. . . . [This] interactive study guide provides couples with many opportunities to discover each other, learn relevant biblical truth, and build a rich foundation for their new life together.” —Kevin Carson, Pastor, Sonrise Baptist Church, Ozark, Missouri
Amazon – $14.29 (kindle-none)
Thrift Books – $11.79
P&R Publishing – $13.00
How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age – by Jonathan Leeman
Whew–2020 was rough. I’m not talking just about the virus; how about them politics! People seem more divided than ever, and hope seems dim. But a book like this can help. Jonathan Leeman is a pastor and political theology scholar. His book How the Nations Rage will help you shift your focus living in the redemption of Christ, and to then take the lessons learned into public engagement, with wisdom and a winsome way.
“Biblically understood, the separation of church and state isn’t about who gets to decide what morals will bind a nation. It’s about the fact that God has given the state one kind of authority and churches another kind…Before and after America, there was and will be the church. The nation is an experiment. The church is a certainty.”
“Leeman provides a careful and theologically compelling treatment of the relationship between faith and politics… This book deserves careful consideration by any Christian who seeks to walk faithfully in the public square.”–Albert Mohler, SBTS
“As a pastor on Capitol Hill, I’m often asked what book I would recommend on politics for the Christian. Jonathan Leeman has produced a new standard. Well illustrated and engaging, this carefully reasoned book should be read in our churches before we come to an election year contest again.”–Mark Dever, pastor, the Capitol Hill Baptist Church
Amazon – $15.99 (kindle-$9.99)
Thrift Books – (temp unavailable, check back)
CDB – $13.99 (ebook-$9.99)
ARTICLES TO READ
“Don’t Be A 9Marxist!” – by Jonathan Leeman
I love 9 Marks (a ministry and website based on the book 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. My life and church have been shaped by 9 Marks. But like all good things, even a quest to be a ministry-minded person can go bad. As editorial director for 9Marks, Leeman’s article leverages each of the “9 Marks” to teach points of ministry wisdom and humility. – article here
“The Pandemic Poem for Pastors” – by Dave Harvey
This article/post has been out there a while now, borne out of the recent covid problems pastors have been facing. It was an encouragement, yet again, when I re-read it. – article here
“Providence” – by Andy Naselli
Ok, so here’s blog post about John Piper’s new book, Providence. The post is an encouragement to read Piper’s great, new, giant book on God’s providence. The post also contains a video. Oh, and remember you can read Piper’s book for free in pdf, made possible by Desiring God. – article here
“To My Son on His Twenty-First Birthday – by Tim Challies
I have been saddened and yet immensely encouraged by Tim Challies, as he’s written about the recent death of his beloved son, Nick. If you’re not familiar with Tim and his blog (I’m not sure how that’s possible), you should get familiar. It’s a huge gift to me on a regular basis. – article here
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“Operation: Varsity Blues” was a very interesting documentary about the college admission scandal. It’s a combination of acting, transcripts (like wire taps), and interviews. Really put the whole thing in better perspective for me.