Here is a list of 5 recommended books for you this summer, each with a different topic. **This means it makes my current “Top 5 Books I’ve Ever Read” list.
1. [GOSPEL] Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson. Open this book to explore the depths of the gospel that little kids can grasp, yet theologians can’t seem to fully comprehend. Take a dive into the deep end and enjoy.
2. [GOSPEL-CENTERED LIVING] **Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Open this book to explore how the depths of the gospel apply to your daily, often times mundane life. What does it mean to live because Jesus loves you?
3. [AWAKENED TO THE GOSPEL?] **Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson. There was a time when the Scriptures were giving me a hunch that the gospel was to be the fascinating center of the Christian life, not just the entry door to the Christian life. I actually wanted to write a book on it. Then I found Gospel Wakefulness and was blown away by what it looks like to be awakened, as a Christian, to the beauty and power of the simple gospel.
4. [WHAT THE GOSPEL IS NOT] The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. You can understand more of what the gospel is but studying a bit on what it is not. Keller’s short, but packed study on the classic parable, The Prodigal Son, reveals much about the grace of God.
5. [WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A CHRISTIAN?] Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear. This short book goes right to the core of what it means to be a Christian, and how you can gain more assurance that you are indeed a Christian (if you are one). Great book for those of us who grew up in the Bible-belt.
If you buy and read one of these, let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts, likes, dislikes, agreements, disagreements, etc.
I can’t get to this quick enough: I wish there was a Navy Seal on the front of this book. Or an MMA fighter, slightly bruised and battered, with hand raised after dominating someone in the Octagon. I’m not sure why there is a butterfly. The book is not about butterflies and flowers.
Elyse Fitzpatrick knows what she is talking about in Because He Loves Me. She writes to reintroduce us to Jesus and the good news. Not the good news, or gospel, that merely “gets us into heaven,” but the good news that affects our daily lives. She writes to transform our days to be filled with constant meditation on how much God loves us, knowing that only when we are secure in God’s unbelievable, inexpressible love, will we actually live biblical, Christian lives.
She writes from two starting points that are united for her. Deep theological conviction, and clearly deep personal experience. She knows the Scriptures and she knows her Savior. Here are three reasons I recommend this book:
1. You probably doubt God’s love for you. I’m deeply convinced that most Christians have yet to realize how much they doubt the good news of God’s love and grace. I think many Christians do not recognize their true problem, or the problem underneath their problems, which is doubting that God really does love them in Christ. This book helps you see where you might be doubting God’s love, all the while pouring the truth of his love over you.
2. There is no “balance” when it comes to God’s grace. It is true that much of life is a “balance.” But the minute we try to say, “OK, that is enough grace for now. Gotta keep a balance”, we are missing the point of the Bible. You can’t have too much of God’s grace, or too much meditation on God’s grace and love. Reading Because He Loves Me will be an experience in immersing yourself in the grace of God.
3. It is unbelievably practical. You may be thinking, “Yeah but I need a book to help me do better in this area…or to stop doing this…or to [fill in the blank].” Understanding and believing in God’s grace for you is unbelievably practical. Here is how: all of your behavior in life flows out of your heart (see Luke 6:45). Growth starts in your heart, and understanding and believing in the gospel transforms your heart, today. “Trying harder” and reading more “how-to” books won’t transform your heart. Grace will.