I’ve already shared half of my Top 10 list for most influential Christian books. Time for my final five. Here it goes:
The Celebration Of Discipline by Richard Foster
Why should we celebrate discipline? This book advertises itself for Christians who are interested in spiritual growth. Discipline leads to growth. This book explores spiritual practices that will deepen one’s spiritual life. Practices such as prayer, fasting, study, meditation, worship, confession and solitude. It is as practical as it is challenging.
Favorite Quote (on the practice of Simplicity): “If we think we will have joy only by praying and singing psalms, we will be disillusioned. But if we fill our lives with simple good things and constantly thank God for them, we will be joyful, that is, full of joy. And what about our problems? When we determine to dwell on the good and excellent things in life, we will be so full of those things that they will tend to swallow our problems.”
The Shack by William P. Young
This novel is about a father grappling with the traumatic death of his daughter. The man finds himself alone in a shack deep in the woods and it is there he meets God. The book centers on the conversations that he has with God as he attempts to reconcile his faith with his tragedy. This book really helped me understand faith in a more personal way.
Favorite Quote (God is speaking): “Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”
Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley
Andy Stanley is the pastor of one of the largest churches in America. In this book he explores the purpose of the church. He believes that God wants to create churches that unchurched people love to attend. This book is challenging, insightful, and enriching. It will make you think twice about the purpose of the church.
Favorite Quote: “It’s unfortunate that someone can grow up hearing sermons and Sunday school lessons, yet never be captivated by the Scriptures.”
Love Wins by Rob Bell
I have always enjoyed the way Rob Bell makes me think creatively about Scripture. He challenges me and encourages me to think deeply about what I believe. In this book Bell tackles the weighty topics of heaven and hell. You may not agree with all of Bell’s conclusions, but you will be forced to think deeply about what you believe and why.
Favorite Quote: “Once again, God has a purpose. A desire. A goal. And God never stops pursuing it. Jesus tells a series of parables in Luke 15 about a woman who loses a coin, a shepherd who loses a sheep, and a father who loses a son. The stories aren’t ultimately about things and people being lost; the stories are about things and people being found. The God that Jesus teaches us about doesn’t give up until everything that was lost is found. This God simply doesn’t give up. Ever.”
The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez
I have always loved church history. That’s not something I generally share at a party. We can learn so much about the ups and the downs of the church when we look at the last 2,000 years of church history. Gonzalez writes this book of church history in a readable and accessible way. This book is not dense or a slog to get through. If you are interested in learning more about the history of the church, this is a great starting point.
Favorite Quote: “Thus, the theme of the book commonly called Acts of the Apostles is not so much the deeds of the apostles, as the deeds of the Holy Spirit through the apostles (and others). Luke has left us two books, the first on the deeds of Jesus, and the second on the deeds of the Spirit.”
This past Sunday was the final Sunday in our annual Stewardship campaign. Don’t worry- you can still turn in an Estimate of Giving card. You can do so here: www.unitypres.org/estimated-giving/. Thank to all who have contributed and made this campaign a huge success.
See you on Sunday!