July Book Recommendations
Dr. Hershael York
Luke, Jesus and the Forces of Death by Matthew Thiessen
To complement our study in Luke, Jesus and the Forces of Death by Matthew Thiessen. This is a great new academic book about the ritual purity laws that were prevalent during the time of Jesus that are mentioned in the gospels and how this affected Jesus’ ministry. It explains a lot of the strange ritual cleansings and treatment of lepers, eunuchs, and women during their monthly cycle. It’s a very specific book, but people who really enjoy learning New Testament background will geek out over this book.
Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, by Dane Ortlund
Ortlund’s book helps us to see the heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers. As broken and frail people, we need to be reminded of the gentleness of Christ towards His people. In a world filled with suffering and anger, the heart of Christ is a much-needed balm.
The Money Challenge for Teens by Art Rainer
Contrary to the experience of many, finances don’t have to be learned through regrettable financial mistakes. Through Rainer’s latest book, teenagers can gain a practical understanding of not only how to manage their finances but learn how to handle their finances in a generous, God-honoring way. This book is a great resource for teenagers to read and keep on their shelf as a handy financial resource. Rainer also has resources for adults: The Money Challenge and for kids: The Secret Slide Money Club Series.
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper
Think is an excellent book that encourages Christians to cultivate a healthier thought life and learn to couple the heart and mind together. As our culture shifts further away from the truth, we are increasingly challenged intellectually and emotionally. God is sufficient for both.
In the Year of Our Lord: Reflections on Twenty Centuries of Church History by Sinclair Ferguson
It seems like our favorite word these days is “unprecedented.” We certainly live in strange times and are experiencing issues that are new to us, but after two thousand years of Church history, there is very little that is genuinely unprecedented. In a very short, readable book Sinclair Ferguson walks through some of the highlights (and low points) of the centuries following Jesus’ ascension. He skillfully shows how the moral, theological, and sociological issues of our day have ancestors that have popped up throughout the history of the Church. If you want to know a little bit more about the history of the Church without having to dig into a massive textbook, this is a great place to start.
Telling a Better Story: How to Talk About God in a Skeptical Age- Josh Chatraw
Our culture is inundated with so many stories that grapple with how one ought to understand their own identity and interests, and Chatraw argues that we ought to show how the Christian story tells a better story that answers our questions and leads to flourishing communities. Chatraw is faithful to the biblical text while seeking to listen to the various cultural texts (and films) that compete for our attention and allegiance. This book is definitely a must-read!
Dr. Wesley Noss
Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley
Here is a book that answers the most important life question, “Am I really a Christian?”. We live in a time of false believers, cultural or casual Christians. Many may think they are Christians but aren’t, or maybe you are not a Christian but are asking what it really means to be one. This book gives clarity from God’s perspective concerning this issue. McKinley leads us in the importance of examining our hearts in relationship with God and helps us to fearlessly ask the hard questions, ultimately allowing us to see whether we are in the faith and what exactly that looks like.
The Way of the Dragon or The Way of the Lamb by Jamin Goggin & Kyle Strobel
Actually, I heard this book recommended by Seth York, and so I got and read it. I thought I was reading my own life’s story written by someone else. Every one of us wants to be a person of influence with others for God. And, that’s a good thing. We want our lives to matter, to count. We want to be useful to God as an instrument of His grace in the lives of others. The only problem is: far too often we seek to exercise that influence through channels of human wisdom and power. That is what Goggin and Strobel are calling “the way of the Dragon.” These carnal exercises of human wisdom and power are “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (James 3.15). However, Jesus has mandated, “It shall not be so among you” (Matthew 20.20-28). What we will have to discover is that Jesus’ way of wisdom and power (“the way of the Lamb”) is by His grace working His own wisdom and power through our weakness and brokenness (2 Corinthians 4.7-12; chapter 12.1-10 et. al.). So, to anyone who struggles with a deep sense of your own weakness and inadequacy, get this book and read it. You are actually stronger than you know – through Christ in you!