Books I’ve Read Recently

81eclU0ZD5LLetters to the Church by Francis Chan. In Chan’s most recent book he takes the time to explain why he left the “megachurch world,” what he learned in his time away, and what he is currently up to in ministry. In addition to sharing about his own journey, Chan spends much of this book warning the church of the dangerous in our current church culture as well as calling the church back to the important things. In classic Chan fashion, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything and forces you to ask tough questions about the current state of the church in our world today. I enjoyed reading about Chan’s journey out of the megachurch culture, what he learned as he did some other stuff, and what he is doing now. The current model of church ministry he is doing now is very different and intriguing. In the book he nicknames it “churchbnb.” It’s a network of house churches that stay small and build very intentional communities. He explains much more of the details near the end of this book. I’d recommend this book to anyone but especially church leaders. It will help church leaders evaluate where they are at as a church and force them to ask some tough questions about their ministry.

51OW+GItTZL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I Will Not Fear by Melba Pattillo Beals. Beals was one of the Little Rock Nine, who in light of the Supreme Court ruling that segregation of America’s public schools was unconstitutional, enrolled at Little Rock High School in 1957. In this book she writes about that experience and how it impacted her life after. She shares about what she learned from that experience and how she has applied it to other challenges in her life. She dives into her journey of leaving the south and living out west. She also shares about her struggle to become a well-know and very successful news reporter. Her story is fascinating and at times will make you cry and other times angry. It’s a story of a woman who endured racism from an early age and how even as an adult continued to face challenges due to the color of her skin. However, she didn’t let it stop her and has shown that with God’s help all things are possible. This was an excellent read that I would recommend to everyone.

Gay-Girl-Good-God-book-cover-2Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry. The story that makes up this book is one of redemption where the Gospel and God’s grace is on full display. In this book Jackie Hill Perry shares her journey from homosexuality to becoming a follower of Jesus. It’s real, honesty and eye-opening. There were two big things I loved about this book. First, the style of Perry’s writing is so much fun to read. She does spoken word so it’s no wonder she writes so well. It’s truly a fun and beautiful read. Second, Perry does a great job throughout the book pushing back against the idea that if a someone with same-sex attraction comes to faith in Christ they will be healed of that same-sex attraction. It’s the idea that God makes someone straight when they become a Christian. This false teaching does so much harm to the new believer and I’m glad Perry pushes back against it. She does so with Scripture and experience. Overall this was a great book and serves as a great resource for the ongoing discussion of homosexuality and Christianity.

I’m currently reading The Unsaved Christian Dean Inserra and The Praying Life by Paul Miller.

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Books I’ve Read Recently

gospel teachingGospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Max. I picked this little book up when I ran across it at a used bookstore. It was a short and easy read that served as a great reminder to keep the Gospel at the center of my teaching. This book focuses its attention less on corporate preaching of Scripture and more on teaching Scripture in a classroom or small group setting. Someone who has formal training in studying Scripture and teaching it may not benefit a whole lot from this book but those who are volunteers in the church and may not have any formal training would do well to read it. It will help them get the basic tools they need to prepare and teach Scripture in a classroom or small group setting.

41KTiLtZWDL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_The End of Me by Kyle Idleman. I read this book in preparation for a series I’m doing through the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve always enjoyed Idleman’s books so was excited to not only read this one in prep for the sermon series but also to spend some time in another one of his books. The first half of this book deals with four specific beatitudes found in the opening section of the Sermon on the Mount. Idleman, with the help of these specific beatitudes, show that the path to true life is found in coming to the end of ourselves. The second part of this book then explains how being at the end of ourselves is actually the best spot to be in because it’s there we experience God and His work flowing through us the most. In reality this book didn’t end up helping me a ton in my sermon prep but I really enjoyed what it had to offer for my own walk with Jesus. I’d encourage you to read this one and see how coming to the end of yourself is the best place to experience the true blessings of God.

ImStillHereCOVERhiresI’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown. This is by far my favorite book I have read this year. Understanding racial issues and seeking racial reconciliation is one of my passions so anytime I can read a book on this topic from a person of color I’m excited. In this book Austin shares her own journey of being a black female in a very white American culture. She shares about how this tension has played itself out in the past as a child and college student but then also shares how it’s still playing out at work and even at church. She is open, real, and honest as she shares about her own struggles and frustrations. She doesn’t just call our whiteness out (which I’m glad she does) but she also calls us up to a better place. A place of love, dignity, and honor towards our brothers and sisters of color. There were moments while reading this book I was angry, there were moments when I was sad, there were moments I was convicted, and there were moments I was broken. It was a wild ride but one that was good for me to take. I’d high encourage everyone, especially my fellow white Christian Americans, to read this book.