Books I’ve Read Recently

During the month of January we did a series in our student ministry called “Dating, Marriage, and Sex” (you can go here to listen to that entire series online). In preparation for that series I read a few books on the topics of relationships and sex. Below are those books.

sex-dating-relationships_2Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas. This was by far the most interesting book on this topic I have ever read. The authors did a fantastic job of being Biblical accurate and Gospel centered while explaining the practical side of relationships and sex in ways that I have never heard. The authors goal in this book is to move past the “just don’t have sex before marriage” argument by helping the reader see the Biblical foundation for sex and relationships and what God actually calls us to. There is great chapter on sex and how it is a picture of the Gospel. There is also two great chapters that focus on dating and helping the reader understand why the Bible doesn’t address dating (and it’s more than just “dating didn’t exist back in Bible times). In light of this, there is an interesting chapter that calls for dating to be done differently in the form of what the authors call “dating friendships.” They define this concept as “two friends getting to know each other with a view toward marriage” (page 92). They go on to explain that concept in more detail in the book. Overall this was a great book that challenged many of my own thoughts on sex and relationships. I’d highly recommend this book to singles who want a clear understanding of sexual purity, dating, and marriage.

Love-Sex-DatingThe New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating by Andy Stanley. This book deals less with sex and more with love, relationships, and preparing for marriage. Even though the principles and concepts Stanley talks about in this book are Biblical, there isn’t a ton of references to the Bible and an attempt to helping the reader understand God’s Word. However, I wouldn’t say that makes this a “bad book.” In fact, I think it’s a great book that will challenge both the Christian and non-Christian single to understand love, relationships, and marriage better. In this book, Stanley calls singles to drop the “right person myth,” prepare well for marriage, strive to become the right person (“be the kind of person you want to marry”), and a commitment to sex the way God designed it. There are a host of other things Stanley discusses in this book but the overall message is to slow down, prepare, be the right kind of person, and enjoy marriage and sex the way God intended it to be enjoyed. I would highly recommend this book to young adults who desire to marry. I’d love to get this in the hands of upper high school students as well as college students. I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone under that age group.

41uEQDpG5OL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Sex Matters by Jonathan McKee. This is the best book written to teenagers about sex. There has been plenty that have been written but many simply argue “just wait” rather than explaining God’s beautiful design for sex. McKee doesn’t hold back in this book. He doesn’t tip toe around this topic but answers head on the questions teenagers are asking about sex. He does an excellent job at helping teenagers see why waiting on sex for marriage is actually a very good thing. The next obvious question teenagers ask after they hear about waiting is “how far is too far?” Instead of going the legalistic route and giving a list of things teenagers “can do” and “cannot due” until marriage, McKee explains that sex is a process and that “entire process is only for marriage” (page 49). In light of that, McKee urges teenagers then to do the obvious – don’t start the process. McKee then spends a whole chapter on helping teenagers understand why the Bible says “flee” and how teenagers can do this. The last two chapters of the book deals with porn and masturbation as well as answering some common questions teenagers ask about sex. This is a book I wish every teenager would read. It will help them understand God’s design for sex and answer many of the questions they have. It’s extremely practical as well. If you’re a parent, get this book and encourage your teen to read it. If you’re a youth worker, consider giving this book to your students or at least reading it and having it on your shelve to help you understand how to address teenagers about sex.

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Recommended Leadership Resources

I decided to add a new category of blogs called “Leadership.” I have a deep desire to become a better leader and I believe the church is in desperate need of good Biblical leaders. I am actually starting a master’s degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary this January in the area of Christian leadership. You don’t have to pursue a degree to become a better leader, but you do have to take the time to learn and studying the idea of leadership. I wanted to share three leadership resources that have helped me in the area of leadership and I believe they can help you too.

The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. This by far is one of the best leadership podcast I have ever listened to. They update it about once every few weeks and every podcast is extremely helpful in the area of leadership. What is really good about this leadership podcast is that it does not focus only on local church leadership. Many leadership podcasts deal with leadership within the church, but this one does not. We need good Christian leadership in “secular” circles and workplaces as much as we need them in the church. If you are a Christian and are in leadership in a “secular” circle I would highly recommend this podcast for you. You can go here to download this podcast.

Perry Noble Leadership Podcast. For some of you the moment you read the name “Perry Noble” you already shot this resource down. I understand Perry Noble and Newspring Church has done some things many of you would not, but that does not mean God is not using Perry Noble and his church to advance God’s kingdom. We can learn something from everybody, even people who use different methods than we do. Please don’t turn this great resource down because you don’t agree with Perry Noble. I have been listening to this podcast every month when they update it and every time God uses it to teach me more about Biblical leadership. This podcast focuses more on leadership within the local church so I highly recommend this podcast to anyone in local church leadership. Out of all the three resources I am sharing in this blog, this is the top one for me. You can download this podcast here.

Minute with Maxwell. I came across this leadership resource a few days ago and so far it has been extremely beneficial. This resources is a daily e-mail that contains a one-minute video of John Maxwell sharing a leadership principle with you. I subscribe about five days ago and so far every “Minute with Maxwell” has been very helpful. This is a great source for leaders both within the local church and outside the local church. The fact that this is a John Maxwell resource should be enough for you to jump on it! You can go here to subscribe and start to receive your daily “Minute with Maxwell.”

I recommend that you at least start using one of these resources to help you become a better leader. Our churches, our world, and our families need good, BIblical leaders. God has and will use these resources to help us become those Biblical leaders this world needs.