Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Reading List 2014



    Last year I suggested a list of books for your summer as you relaxed on the beach, on your back porch, or as you enjoyed your air conditioning.  Based on the favorable response that I received, I thought I would offer a few more suggestions this year.

    Last year, I introduced Lee Strobel and his book, A Case for Christ.  Because Mr. Strobel is one of my favorite Christian authors, this year I suggest the next in his “series” of “The Case for” books. 

The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel – After thoroughly researching the story of Jesus and becoming a Christian, Lee Strobel set out to better understand faith.  Using his skills as an investigative journalist, he sought answers to some of the toughest objections to Christianity. How can a loving God allow evil and suffering? Can miracles be true if they disagree with science?  Can still be a Christian if I have doubts?  This is a great place to start as you build confidence and strengthen your faith.

Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg – Bill Hybels is the founding pastor of Willow Creek Community Church one of the largest churches in the Chicago area.  In this book, Hybels and Mittelberg explain that evangelism isn’t scary and doesn’t have to be frustrating or intimidating.  Evangelism isn’t something that only pastors can do or that has to follow a special formula, but something that every believer can do in their own personal style.  I have read this book several times and have used it with a “book club” style Bible study group.  Hybel’s writing style is easy to read and easy to understand.  If you have ever been worried about what to say if someone asks you about your faith, you need to read this book.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – Too many people are getting run over by the economy, not because they lack income, but because they have no idea how to control their spending.  Dave Ramsey offers practical help and step by step instructions on how to make your money work for you instead of against you.  I learned a great deal about finance by listening to Larry Burkett on Christian radio and later from his book, Your Finances in Changing Times.  Unfortunately, Larry passed away quite a few years ago and I’m not sure if you can even find his books today but Dave Ramsey learned a lot of what he teaches from Larry Burkett.  Our family has taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course and I became a fan.  His advice is rock solid.  Every family and every young person should read this book, take the Financial Peace class, or both.

    Another book that might be hard to find today, but is still worth looking for, is Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper (by a variety of authors).  This is primarily a men’s book, but I don’t doubt that many women would like it almost as much.  Written in 1994 for the growing Promise Keepers ministry this book is intended to challenge, equip, and encourage men to be people of faith and men of God.  This book was, at one time, so transformational to me that I always have several copies on my shelf.  If you can’t find one, just ask.

    The last book on this year’s list is an oldie, but a goodie.  And when I say old, I mean old.  The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection was originally written in the seventeenth century as a collection of the writings of Brother Lawrence, a simple monk who described himself as an “oaf” who washed the dishes and worked in the kitchen of the monastery.  Even so, his advice on making every moment of your day a prayer to God is truly life changing.  This book is small, inexpensive and has only about a hundred pages, but it is well worth reading.