One of my favorite times of the day, after coming home and greeting my family, is seeing what mail has arrived. This is not because I love finding out how many bills are waiting for me, but because there’s often a new book waiting for me. Here’s a look at several of the more noteworthy books that have arrived over the last while:
NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Zondervan). This new study Bible offers believers a glimpse into the context of Scripture, which helps us to get a better sense of the “behind the scenes” details that enhance and clarify our understanding of tricky passages, and ultimately, deepen our affection for Christ.
Being There: How to Love Those Who Are Hurting by Dave Furman (Crossway). This is a book that’s legitimately been needed for some time, along with titles on ministering to families with disabled children (and I hear there’s one like that out, too). In it, “Furman draws on his own life experiences, examples from the Bible, and wisdom from Christians throughout history to address the heart and ministry of those who are called to serve others.”
Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers (Moody Publishers). If this book is half as thought-provoking as Facing Leviathan, it could be one of the best books to come out this year. “Weaving together art, history, and theology, pastor and cultural observer Mark Sayers reminds us that real growth happens when the church embraces its countercultural witness, not when it blends in.”
Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck (B&H Publishing Group). This right here tells you why this book matters: “A church focused on developing God’s people to serve is a church that knows why she is on the planet, and the people are likely to sense the urgency and significance of the opportunity.”
Hearts, Heads, and Hands: A Manual for Teaching Others to Teach Others by M. David Sills (B&H Publishing Group). This book is massive And with good reason, since it is intended to “equip those training pastors with the foundational information they must communicate to those God is calling to serve Him.” What I’m most excited about this one is that Sills addresses the relationship between our affections, our theology and our methodology, treating them as though they were interconnected (an all too rare thing in my reading experience).
Momentum: Pursuing God’s Blessings Through the Beatitudes by Colin S. Smith (Moody Publishers). I enjoy Colin Smith’s preaching and writing. In this book, Smith offers hope to those who feel stuck in their faith by explaining “how the Beatitudes, when rightly understood, are key to making progress in the Christian life.”
Wittenberg vs Geneva: A Biblical Bout in Seven Rounds on the Doctrines that Divide by Brian W. Thomas (NRP Books). This one’s interesting because, popularly, Luther’s doctrine is often treated as being closely aligned with Calvin’s. That is certainly true on some points, but not all. This book deals with the question of “why Lutherans aren’t Calvinists” by focusing on “crucial scriptural texts that have led Lutheran and Reformed scholars down different paths to disparate conclusions”. I’ve not started on this yet, but it should be interesting (if you’re into such things at any rate).
And one I purchased:
The Green Ember by S.D. Smith (Story Warren Books). “Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.” My daughter saw it, grabbed it right away, and read the first couple of chapters before I even had a chance to crack open the cover.