Find a Christian who is growing and you will inevitably have found a Christian who is reading.
The reason is simple. Christ is the focal point of our faith and he has revealed himself most fully in the word of the gospel. He didn’t leave us with a painting. He didn’t leave us with a sculpture. He left us with good news, written, passed down, and taught through the words of Scripture. The gospel of our salvation is fundamentally a “word of truth” (Ephesians 1:13), which makes reading an invaluable, spiritual discipline if we are going to grow in our understanding of God and our relationship with God.
The most important words any Christian can read are the words of the Bible. Yet, our own little minds are unable to discern everything God is saying through a particular biblical text. Many times, we may need help – that’s where other Christian books come in. God gives some Christian men and women a gift of writing through which they can help us understand how to understand the Bible and apply the Bible.
Last Sunday, I recommended five Christian books. Each of them hit on a theme we’ll encounter during our series Dominion: The Book of Daniel over the next 4 months. All are available in our BookShoppe each Sunday. I’ve copied a favorite quote from each book below so you can get a feel for the content and hopefully be motivated to check one out. You won’t be disappointed!
Paul David Tripp
“We get so obsessed with our own desires, plans, schedules, and accomplishments that we have little time for meditative reflection on the awesome glory that is ours to see and remember. We have lost our wonder and, in so doing, have shrunk our souls to the size of momentary, earthbound hopes and dreams. Because we have, we get disappointed, mad, and envious too quickly. Perhaps we don’t need to institute another reformation program for ourselves. Or give ourselves to a new set of commitments that are more about penance than repentance. Perhaps what we need to do is fall down on our knees before the Great Physician in humility, brokenness, and grief and confess the awe amnesia that eats away at our hearts like a spiritual cancer. Today, plead for eyes to see and a heart that remembers. Today, mourn how easy it is for you to forget God. Confess your spiritual anorexia, and cry out for a changed heart. When you and I begin to confess that we are the problem, we can run nowhere but to God’s arms of grace.” (p. 77)
Is God Really in Control?
“How shall we respond to the fact that God is able to and does in fact move in the minds and hearts of people to accomplish His will? Our first response should be one of trust. Our careers and destinies are in His hands; not the hands of bosses, commanding officers, professors, coaches, or any other people who, humanely speaking, are in a position to affect our futures. No one can harm you or jeopardize your future apart from the sovereign will of God. Moreover, God is able to and will grant you favor in the eyes of people who are in a position to do you good.” (p. 50)
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
John Piper & Justin Taylor
“What exactly does it mean that God will be ‘with’ you amid destructive forces? In promising this, God explicitly does not mean that he will give you mere comfort, warm feelings because a friend is standing are our side through tough times. God plays a much more active and powerful role. This stanza fills in the meaning with four truths: (1) God himself calls you into the deep waters in your life, (2) God sets a limit on the sorrows, (3) God is with you actively bringing good from your troubles, (4) In the context of distressing events, God changes you to become like him.” (p. 158)
Christ and Culture Revisited
“In much common usage, ‘authenticity’ refers to something narrowly personal. It means something like ‘being sincere.’ An ‘authentic’ person is someone who is not a hypocrite. But how is authenticity to be measured, unless there is a standard by which to assess the integrity or the hypocrisy? ‘Authentic Christians’ are not those who are merely very sincere and who call themselves Christians. If ‘authenticity’ is to retain any utility in this discussion, the ‘authentic Christian’ is the one who is most shaped in thought, word, and deed by Christianity’s foundational documents, by Christianity’s Lord, by Christianity’s creeds.” (p. 121-122)
What is the Mission of the Church?
Kevin DeYong & Greg Gilbert
“The mission of the church is to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship the Lord and obey his commands now and in eternity to the glory of God the Father…This mission is a specific set of things Jesus has sent his church into the world to accomplish and is significantly narrower than ‘everything God commands.’ That is not to say that our broader obligations aren’t important. They are! Jesus and the apostles command us to parent our children well, to be loving husbands and wives, to do good to all people, and many other things…But that doesn’t mean that everything we do on obedience to Christ should be understood as part of the church’s mission. The mission Jesus gave the church is more specific than that.” (p. 63)