There are times we are gathered as a church, and there are times we are scattered as a church. It's great to be gathered and with people learning face to face, but it is good to take a vacation from the hustle and bustle of life and slow down a bit. But don't let these seasons away slow your pursuit of God. Make it a priority to spend time in the Word and prayer, but also consider taking time to read good books. These can be a kind of prolonged meditation on a topic and can help tremendously in your walk with God. To help you with this, I came up with a short list of a few books to consider.
JI Packer, Knowing God. This is a classic book written by a theological giant. I started reading it again recently, and have been so encouraged. Packer is fantastic at teaching the doctrines of the faith in a warm and engaging manner. It may be a deeper and longer book than you are used to, but it is well worth the time.
Uche Anizor, Overcoming Apathy. Apathy towards life, and even more particularly towards God and religion, is one of the great issues of our day. Anizor examines the prevalence and causes of apathy in culture and identifies key ways we can overcome it. This is a timely word, and we felt it is so important to tackle that we purchased copies for the entire church and still have some left. If you don't have a copy then ask a staff member for one. They are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Tim Keller, Forgiveness. In Christ we can have forgiveness, and that is amazing, but in Jesus we also have a call to forgive others, and that is daunting. Hurts, resentments, and vengeance can get more control than they should. Keller carefully works through these issues to help us see what forgiveness entails and how we can better experience and share it. If you have trouble forgiving others or moving on from the past, this is a great book to work through.
Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, Give them Grace. This parenting book provides great instruction on how to help root your kids in the gospel and not more laws. Grace brings life and sets you free. Our kids don’t need more rules; they need Jesus, and this book helps you see that and shows how you can do it on a regular basis.
Janet and Geoff Benge, Gladys Aylward. Don't mess with a lady named Gladys! Gladys Aylward was an unlikely missionary to China in the first half of the twentieth century. She faced many obstacles and persevered to do amazing things. We read through this as a family last year. While our reading began with a lot of grumbling and eye rolling, by the end everyone was completely enthralled. Her adventures are a great read for the whole family.
Craig Cooper and Walker Hayes, Glad You are Here. This is a light read that may inspire you to reach out to people. It tells the story of how country music singer Walker Hayes came to faith through a guy named Craig Cooper reaching out to him. It is a very touching and moving story, and I am partial to it, because in college Craig Cooper was instrumental in m coming to know Jesus. Craig is one who doesn't just share the gospel but also his life, and we want to cultivate that attitude in our church.