Time for a confession...
I like to read.
It’s been a hobby since I was young. I enjoy stories, I enjoy learning, I enjoy entering into the perspective of another. I read a lot more this year, after discovering the #vtreadingchallenge, and also in participating in the Arrow Leadership program; this led me to venture into different topics, like biographies, leadership and church history. I found it challenging and also refreshing. If you are looking for something to pick up, (and I would encourage you to!) here is a list of my favorites from 2018.
I love the metaphor of a journey, and this Bible study by Beth Moore was really refreshing. I enjoyed the different style she took with this study, with a bigger emphasis on journaling. She proposed 5 questions, as we reflect on our quest: Where are you? Who told you that? What are you seeking? Why are you afraid? and How much more? It was a study that I needed for the season I was in!
In this study, Wilkin presents 10 ways we are called into the character of God. It challenged me to reflect on my own sanctification, to my own character and the ways I can grow and become more like Christ.
Jesus loves me, this I know. I am afraid that the simplicity of our childhood song sometimes prevents us from entering into the depth and sacrifice of Jesus’ love. This study on the love of Jesus impacted me in a deep way. It opened my eyes to see more of how He loves, then challenged me in the way to love more like Him.
This was a popular book published this year, an excellent and timely read. Pearcey has written to teach believers how to approach issues of culture. This book specifically looks at issues of sexuality; pornography, abortion, homosexuality and transgender, to apply her philosophy of worldview. I found that she helped me to better understand these issues, and gave me words to explain what I believe.
Wilkin writes to encourage women to study the Bible. For different reasons, women may tend to shy away from serious study of scripture, so she presents her passion to see women be diligent and equipped in their study of the word. She writes “the heart cannot love what the mind does not know.” This challenged me to view my bible study as pursuing a deeper love for Christ, not just ‘head-knowledge’.
I appreciate the honesty with which he shares about how life just gets busy. He presents 3 danger to avoid, 7 diagnoses that you are too busy, and the one thing that you must do! Intrigued? Grab this quick read to help you reflect on the Crazy-Busy life!
This is a package of wisdom written for the Christian who wants to grow in their ministry of healing prayer. More than practical tips, he writes to challenge those in ministry to their first ministry in taking care of their own walk with the Lord. It seems weird to share something like that, surely the Christian leader is always abiding in the Lord and continually in prayer and study of scripture...right? Yet people are people, and particularly in the ministry of healing prayer, there is much to be said for growing and developing our own relationship with God. The practical knowledge presented, challenged me to really sink into my understanding of my own emotions, my own wounded-ness, and brought me to a deeper journey with the Lord discovering it.
I will admit, biographies are often the hardest for me to read. There are usually a lot of details at the beginning, pieces of history that I don’t know and so I find it hard to get past the first chapters. BUT I persevered and was not disappointed! I found that after I finished reading, I was so glad that I had “met” Bonhoeffer, and was grateful to see how God was at work in his life, preparing him in so many different ways for the calling God had for him. It’s a long book, 600+ pages, but I found it worth the time!
Another biography favorite this year, I came upon it after it was recommend by Tim Challies. Again, I find biographies can be challenging, but the story of Peter Jones was exciting. I learned pieces of Canadian history that I didn’t know about. I was fascinated by his fervour in bringing the gospel to his people, and his cultural understanding that caused his message to resonate deeply.
The Van Yperens have a wonderful, challenging ministry of serving churches in conflict. He shares in his book about the task of reconciling people within the body of Christ. Reading this made my heart scream “yes!”, it made my heart grieve, it made me long for more from the Church. Life can be messy, yes, even within the walls of the Bride of Christ. Yet with the teaching Jim presents, there is hope, there are steps to restoring relationships and bringing hope for a sanctified, righteous body of Christ.
I read this book as part of the Arrow Leadership program and I was challenged in my own growth and leadership. He writes, “The greatest leadership challenge you face, is leading yourself.” What a humbling challenge! That my own leadership depends on my ability to lead myself well, was not something I had really thought about before. I appreciated his guidance to holistically assess areas of my life, to pinpoint areas of strength and of needed growth. It’s also a shorter read, easy to get through and very practical!
This is a short book that packs a punch of history! I enjoyed that I could learn so much about the history of the church in such a short book. I am not super knowledgeable, but I believe it is an important history to learn and know. So if you are looking for a short, well written read on church history, this is it!
If you're looking for a book, I hope these recommendations will help you find something you can enjoy! Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading these days?