This summer as we slow down our bible studies, women’s brunches, our monthly dinners and other activities meant to encourage fellowship between Christians, and focus on block parties, our 7 week, 5 day a week summer camp, backpack give away and more to reach out I want to encourage everyone in the Church to do some personal reading.

Community is important but learning to encourage yourself, feed on the truth, is absolutely essential for you to grow up in your faith. God wants you to stand resilent and tall, without putting the responsiblity for your growth on anybody else. I also can’t recommend enough the option of audio books as well, not only for those who may struggle to read but for those who get easiliy distracted reading. Make an investement in yourself, and also borrow books from each other and from the Church, just make it happen!

#1 The Bible

NOTHING can replace God’s word, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. “ But you don’t have to read it alone without help, journey with us in the scriptures, Read the short & incredible story of Jonah again. Read a chapter of Proverbs every day, as we will teach through proverbs all summer in a series called “Making Life Work”. I would also encourage you to slowly read and pray through read 1st John as we finish up a study on that book in September.

If you haven’t been in the practice of reading the bible, forget any of these other books and start there. Start with at least 10 minutes a day. If you get distracted reading, I highly recommend listening to the scripture read. Click here to listen to 1st John. (You can also listen to any portion of scripture there.)

#2 On the Block, Doug Logan (AMAZON, AUDIBLE)

This is part a big picture teaching on what the Bible has to say about the assignment that God has placed on each one of us to reach out in love, as God uses us to be a light in the world, and part biography. Pastor Doug’s (the Pastor who sent me out to plant in Gloucester City!) book will give you both a beasty philosophy of why you should engage your friends, coworkers, family and nieghbors but also the inspiriation to go out and do it.

#3 Spiritual Discipleship, Oswald Sanders (AMAZON)

I’ve walked with a bunch of folks through this classic by Oswald Sanders. What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to follow Jesus? How does His Spirit empower us live a new life? This book with a powerful discussion guide at the end is absolutely perfect for someone who is a new believer or someone who has had plenty of ‘church’ but maybe not been exposed to discipleship after the model of the Lord himself. He demands everything from us, but He also supplies more than we could ever give back.

#4 Even in our Darkness, Jack Deere (AMAZON, AUDIBLE)

This crazy honest biopgrahy rocked me, and a handful of guys who read it with me late last year. I don’t really know what else to say but that this book is so real, and it will help you. If you’ve got trauma in your life, the stories Jack tells of suicide, sexual brokeness, abuse, addiction and more may trigger something in you, but it is a journey worth taking with him, as this spiritual leader own’s all of his Story, yet also experiences and practices God’s healing.

#5 He-Motions, TD Jakes (AMAZON, AUDIBLE)

Men in our culture are a mess. To me this is TD Jakes at his best, I may not agree with everything he preaches but here he is so helpful. This is a great book is for men and for women to help understand the men in their lives. This will be a journey for some of you, and I can’t say it won’t bring some pain, but it will help you have a more honest, and healthy relationship to your emotions.

#6 Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know, Elliot Grudem (AMAZON, AUDIBLE)

This is a GREAT, CLEAR book on the Christian faith that I highly recommend. Whereas “Spiritual Discipleship” focuses on the how and what of LIVING as a Christian, this book well help you with understanding the basics of what we believe. From Angels to Heaven to Free Will. Every chapter is short, but clear and easy to understand without being dumbed down. This would be a really good book to read if you are a new christian or to read with somebody who didn’t grow up in this church stuff and is trying to get a sense of the ground beneath them.

Other books we’ve read together..

These books are in addition to the books we’ve done book studies on, we believe that ‘readers make leaders’ and want to see a great library being built up in the homes of a bunch of people in our community. We have copies of these books at Church if you want to borrow them, we have done book discussions in the past on all of these.

  • The Church of Irresistible Influence – Robert Lewis (A great book to understand our desire and our appraoch to making an impact in the culture.)
  • Knowledge of the Holy – AW Tozer (A classic on Spirituality, knowing and loving the Holy One.)
  • Living Worry Free – Tim Lane (A solid book from a Christian counselor on an issue we all struggle with.)
  • Come Back Barbara – Barbara Julliani (The powerful homecomming story of a family dealing with a daughter who left the faith and dove deep into a self-destructive life.)



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