The pool is open, and summer is almost upon us! Whatever stage of life you may find yourself in, I hope the next few months for you will give you the opportunity to rest, take a break, and enjoy some good weather and even better company. But I also want to encourage you to use some time this summer to grow and challenge yourself in new ways. One of the best ways to do that is through reading. Not only do you expose yourself to new people and ideas, but you also become a better reader of Scripture, which in turn can help you become like Jesus.
If you’re looking for good books to read this summer, allow me to recommend to you 10 books that I think would be of great value to you. While anyone could benefit from these books, I have the church members in mind who I have the privilege of pastoring at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church. Each of these books can be loosely categorized under a broad heading of community. For those of you who call Shady Grove your home, I want us to grow together in becoming a family that can only be explained by the gospel of God’s grace to us in Christ. I believe these books can help us do that.
I do have your summer vacations in mind with these books! I’ve tried to choose books that won’t take you too terribly long to read, that are engaging and well-written, and will leave a lasting impact on you. So whether you’re having a staycation or heading to the beach, take one or two of these books along. Continue Reading
“I just wish I knew what God’s will for me is!”
I’ve heard it many times. I’ve said it even more. There is a hunger for clarity and direction we yearn for when we are clouded by frustration and disappointment. Following Jesus was never supposed to be this difficult, was it?
The Scriptures put a huge emphasis on being obedient to God’s will. So why does God’s will seem so hard to find? Continue Reading
It is a hobby of mine as I read to take some of my favorite quotes and create some fun corresponding graphics to share with others. I hesitate to call it graphic design since I hardly know what I am doing! Every Friday I share some of these quotes and graphics with you. Feel free to share or use of any of them. I wouldn’t mind the shout out if you do.
This week’s quotes come from Bob Goff, Simon Sinek, C.S. Lewis, Charles Vogl, W.H. Auden, and Matt Chandler. Continue Reading
I started seminary shortly after I became a Christian. Like many young, hungry Christians, I got really into apologetics (the practice of defending the faith). Unfortunately, like many Christians, I was more interested in winning arguments – not people. I looked for ways to intellectually shut people down, rather than to show them who Jesus was and what he accomplished for lost sinners like me. Those of you who knew me during this season can remember I was quite the bulldozer – something I’m still working on to this day.
Imagine my initial excitement when in my first year at seminary I signed up for a class on the Christian response to Islam. I was fired up. I thought to myself, “Alright, this class is going to give me a powerful 3-point argument to tear down any Muslim who tries to debate me!” I never once considered how I could approach people with love like Jesus did. I just wanted to shut people down.
I’ll never forget what happened to me during this course. During the first hour on the first day of class, the professor gave a powerful sermon that completely cut me shreds. He was preaching on the importance of actually loving others like Christ. Then he landed the finishing blow which pierced me to the core: “If you don’t love people, then you have no business being here.” Continue Reading