For this WRN update, I’ll share some books which were highlighted at The Gospel Coalition conference this week (and some others).
Behold — books and articles with links. What’s next?
BOOKS TO READ
How to Reach the West Again: Six Essential Elements of a Missionary Encounter – by Timothy Keller
Christianity is growing beautifully in many parts of the world. Yet many people are concerned about Christianity’s decline in western parts. The Church must respond, but how? Keller’s book is simple and short, only 58 pages. But it’s long in truth and practical wisdom for missionary living.
“Our world views that are not biblically-based or like a suit of clothes that are too small. Search clothes always uncomfortably pinch––and occasionally they actually rip. The late modern view of reality and the self does not fit human nature as God designed it. There are times in which stories and art reveal how today’s beliefs pinch and failed to satisfy. There are other times––especially times of pain––that’s a late modern world view “rips” and wholly fails to provide what is needed to face such experiences. Christians need to be prepared in these moments to “give an answer to everyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope that they have” (19). Here’s a short article related to the book. Sadly, the book only has limited availability. Find someone who attended the conference and borrow the book if you can.
Amazon – $—-
Thrift Books – $—-
The Multi-Directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges from Every Side – by Trevin Wax
Without doubt, 2020 pulled pastors and other church leaders in a myriad of directions. Life and ministry poses enough challenges in normal times, let alone in abnormally intense, grievous, emotionally-charged times. These seasons demand enormous wisdom and clarity. Boy, oh, boy––we need help. Trevin Wax – a Senior VP at Lifeway – brings big, biblical help. Also a good interview with Trevin is here.
“To be clear, no congregation and no church leader can succeed at being all things to all people, as if there is a perfect way to be multi-direction. Pastors shouldn’t labor under the pressure to stay equally attuned to every danger. Every church brings together a unique blend of believers with various gifts and passions” (71).
“Trevin Wax writes with keenness of insight, pastoral wisdom, and prophetic forcefulness. In this book he articulates the pressure today’s Christian leaders feel from every direction. Wax remains one of my most reliable counselors for leading in a rapidly shifting context.”
— J. D. Greear, pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, NC; president, Southern Baptist Convention
“Leadership is challenging. It requires wisdom, thoughtfulness, prayerfulness, and humility. It also requires an awareness that a one-size-fits-all leadership approach falls short as a method of engaging with different types of people and situations. As we seek to serve and care for others, we need the compelling vision Trevin Wax offers in his book, The Multi-Directional Leader. In whatever ways you lead and influence others as a CEO, ministry leader, or parent, this book offers insightful questions and commentary to grow as a versatile leader, considering the needs of others as you guide those entrusted to your care.”
— Melissa Kruger, author and director of womens initiatives for The Gospel Coalition
Amazon – $10.99
Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church – edited by Ivan Mesa
We have here a multi-author book on an immensely important topic for Christians, edited by Ivan Mesa. Like Keller’s How to Reach the West Again, this book moves into the concern of weakening faith among church folks. The book has three parts and fifteen chapters, each focusing on an area of fading belief or spiritual conflict (politics, sex, social issues, etc). And the chapters include a plan to deconstruct these problems and reconstruct faithful responses. Multi-author books often fall flat with readers, but this one has a wonderful team of writers (Trevin Wax, Rachel Gilson, Jay Y. Kim, Brett McCracken, Karen Swallow Prior, Claude Atcho, Derek Rishmawy, Joshua Ryan Butler, Jared C. Wilson, and more).
“Like a fish in water doesn’t feel wet, we often don’t recognize our culture, the languages and stories that explain our world. Cultures foster habits the composed a good life in Defense Magnuson the deaf like the questions of outsiders. They elevate celebrities who exemplify their ideals. Then, having done all this, cultures pull a sneaky move: they pretend they don’t exist. They present themselves as “just the way things are.” But culture is always present, and it always plays a role in our experience of faith” (38).
“Over the years I’ve met many younger Christians who aren’t sure they can or even should bother any longer with this ancient faith. Some end up leaving the church with a sense of liberation. Others feel as though they’re falling with no one to catch them. The church ought to be the place where they feel safe asking hard questions and sharing honest doubts. The distinguished contributors to Before You Lose Your Faith write with sympathy and understanding. They can help anxious readers reconstruct a stronger, lasting faith in our trustworthy Savior.” –Collin Hansen, vice president of content and editor in chief of The Gospel Coalition and host of the Gospelbound podcast
Amazon – $10.99 (kindle-none)
Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms Our Talk – by Jeff Robinson Sr.
Now, we get more personal. The tongue is a fire, for sure. It must be tamed. But how? Well, through the Gospel of course (like all else). This book looks great, reads great, and delivers a lot of value in a short work. Each chapter focuses on the power of grace, and ends with a memory verse and helpful questions for reflection.
“The tongue is perhaps the most powerful force that can be unleashed by human on earth. One application we can already draw from James is this: Christian maturity is, in part, tied to the degree to which we are able to bridal our tongues. Just like a bit and writer, James says, so also the tongue is a small member get it posts of great things” (James 3:5).
“Jeff Robinson points us to what it means to be like Jesus, and Christ-likeness is revealed by the way we talk. Robinson’s book is steeped in Scripture, full of illuminating examples, and both deeply convicting and also wonderfully encouraging.” — Thomas Schreiner, Professor of New Testament interpretation and Associate Dean for Scripture and Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY
“This book hit home with me, perhaps because some of my greatest regrets have come from ways I’ve misused words―confidences I didn’t keep, criticism I was too eager to offer, bragging to make myself seem important, dominating the conversation when I should have listened. This brief but wisdom-filled book is great to read prayerfully on your own, but even better to use to discuss with a small group.” — Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher and author of I’m Praying for You: 40 Days of Praying the Bible for Someone Who Is Suffering
“Jeff Robinson offers a compelling treatment of the power of our words to destroy and to heal.If we claim to be his followers, people will judge Jesus by our words and how we speak them. This book contains memorable illustrations, but its greatest strength is its unapologetic appeal to the only words that will last forever: God’s.” —Randy Alcorn, founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) and author of Heaven
Amazon – $10.99 (kindle-$9.99)
I’m Praying for You: 40 Days of Praying the Bible for Someone Who Is Suffering – by Nancy Guthrie
Speaking of the tongue’s power, how about prayer power? Here’s a new book from Nancy Guthrie. But sometimes (or a lot of times) we just don’t know how to pray. Jesus’ disciples didn’t either, remember. This book will help you, by unpacking days of truth to improve your confidence in prayer for your struggling friends.
“When I lie awake through the night watches, I earnestly pray for friends who are suffering greatly. I ask God to stretch their tolerance for pain, stoke the smoking embers of their hopes, and to build in them a rugged, more sturdy faith. And now, I have this excellent guide, I’m Praying for You, to assist me with my intercessions. I couldn’t be more thrilled, for my good friend Nancy Guthrie has filled this remarkable work with powerful scriptures and personal wisdom, all of it so timely and practical. After living long with pain and quadriplegia, I know firsthand the enormous impact prayer has on one’s ability to persevere through heart-wrenching suffering – so get out your prayer list, open the pages of Nancy’s book, and pour the authority of Scripture over the wounds and weary hearts of those for whom you intercede! They will never be the same… and neither will you.”
– Joni Eareckson Tada, founder, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
“In I’m Praying for You, Guthrie has written the most practical, Scripture-infused guide to prayer that I have ever seen. When someone near us is suffering in some way, we often spontaneously say we’ll pray for them. Often we don’t follow through or if we do, we don’t know how to pray. In forty short devotionals, each guided by the comfort and call of the gospel, Guthrie teaches us what it looks like to pray for someone with clarity and confidence, knowing that what we are praying is consistent with what God so graciously has revealed to us in his Word about who he is, what he has done and is doing for us and the life he has called us to as his children. As you walk with people through the troubles of life in this fallen world, you will turn to this little gem of a book again and again.”
– Paul David Tripp, president, Paul Tripp Ministries and author of Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
“The prayers of God’s people have always been a precious and priceless gift to me, but never more than during my husband’s recent journey with cancer. This wonderful, practical resource from Nancy Guthrie will help you give the gift of encouragement by praying biblically-grounded prayers for friends who are going through the fire and by sharing how you are praying for them that day.”
– Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Author; Revive Our Hearts founder; and Bible teacher
ARTICLES TO READ
“Losing Our Religion” – by Russell Moore
Russell Moore works through the concerning evidence of church decline, the reasons for it, and how to think carefully through it. – article here
“Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of Gospel Wakefulness” – by Jared C. Wilson
Wow, ten years. The book Gospel Wakefulness helped me and many other people around my church. It puts a fad-ish term, “gospel-centered,” in fresh perspective. The article will encourage you to think carefully about the gospel and read the book, if you haven’t already. – article here
“Some Lose God While Serving God: A Subtle Danger in Christian Ministry” – by Joe Rigney
It might be hard to imagine losing God through ministry, but like all things, even ministry can become evil when God gets left out of it. Truly, it’s a danger for every pastor, and every ministry-minded church member. – article here
“MEN OF GOD SPEND TIME WISELY” – by Marty Machowski
Tick tock, time slips away. Every one of us is like a vapor, here one day and gone the next. We need to take time seriously. – article here
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