On Monday night Bruce Cordon shared about feeling like the Lord is putting the theme of “redeeming the time” on his summer.
If you’re vibing with that, one way to “redeem your summer” is to fill some extra time with quality, soul-stirring reading. Here’s a few ideas for the summer of 2012. (The titles link to the book’s page on Amazon so you can check them out, but of course Josh Sorenson can order them for you in the bookstore at church too.)
Follow Someone’s Life as They Follow Christ (in a biography)
- A Life of Trust by George Muller. The autobiography of a German who transplanted to England, renounced his salary as a pastor to live financially by faith, founded several orphanages which ended up caring for hundreds, and supported missionaries like Hudson Taylor along the way. Awesome life story and awesome reflections on serving Christ.
- Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper. My wife recommends! “These are the stories of five ordinary women-Sarah Edwards, Lilias Trotter, Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn Kim, and Helen Roseveare-who trusted in their extraordinary God as he led them to do great things for his kingdom.”
- A Passion for Souls: The Life of D.L. Moody by Lyle Dorsett. From hanging with street-kids in Chicago to nursing Civil War soldiers to evangelizing two continents to founding schools and churches, you’ll be encouraged by D.L.’s example.
Get to Know Some of Your (Church) History
- The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent. This is way off the beaten track, and it is (honestly) not the most engagingly written book. But if you can get inspired by the content, it is so, so good. Broadbent traces the history of the church by following the “forgotten” movements of people who flourished in simple trust of the Word of God and Christian living, even when they were ignored (or persecuted) by the “established” institutional church. Long, but worth it.
- The Apostolic Fathers in English by Michael Holmes. Read modern translations of the actual writings of the first Christians to live after the apostles. This includes letters by people like Clement of Rome, Polycarp, and Ignatius. And if you know some Greek, check out The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations.
Stir Up Your Spiritual Life
- The Liberty of Obedience by Elisabeth Elliot. How do you explain worldliness vs. true heavenly-mindedness to people who have no modern technology, no contact with what we usually think of as “worldly,” and who take you in and care for you like their own when they meet you? Explore these ideas with Elisabeth Elliot as she reflects on her time with the native tribe that killed her husband. 94 pages of interesting insight.
- Paths to Power by A.W. Tozer. This book is really little and really powerful. Pick up a used copy for cheap and then read it every few years. Tozer don’t play.
Get Technical (with some works on Biblical studies)
- Exegetical Fallacies by D.A. Carson. A small paperback that will sharpen your ability to study God’s word for yourself by exposing some common mistakes we make when trying to dig around in the Bible for meaning. Helpful for anyone, but especially if you think you may have some sort of teaching in your future…
- Showing the Spirit:A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians, 12-14 by D.A. Carson. Pastor Joe recommended this to me when I wanted to study the gifts of the Spirit. Carson breaks it down helpfully and takes you through all the ins and outs of Paul’s teaching on the subject, This is one to read with your bible open.
- From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer. A German theologian takes you through the plan of God, from several different angles, to get you informed and excited about the Millennium, the Church and Israel, and the coming of Christ. Not too long, and especially helpful for answering questions about eschatology.
Hear a Prophet (by studying the Prophecy of Isaiah)
Why not spend the summer getting to know a cornerstone of the Old (and New…) Testament? These three books by Alec Motyer are all excellent in their own way. (He’s spent more than 30 years studying the Hebrew text of Isaiah, and it comes through in all his writings.)
- Isaiah by the Day. Motyer does a fresh translation of the book, and breaks it up into daily-devotional-size pieces to take you through all of Isaiah a day at a time. Different and edifying.
- Isaiah. Motyer’s shorter commentary on Isaiah. Perfect for a read through of the Prophet’s writings with lots of added insight from someone who loves Isaiah.
- The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary. Motyer’s full-length (500+ pages) commentary on Isaiah is probably my favorite commentary on any book of the Bible I’ve ever read. It’s just that good. Take the summer and work slowly through the text with a very sure-footed guide.
Read a Novel
- Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. My selection for my vacation last year. Not your average “Christian novel,” but very Christian, and everything you’d ever want in a novel.
Let me know if you get into any of these, and what you think. Also, let us know if any other book is blessing your summer…