Summer Book List - Week 4
Collated by Monica Corripio-Lopez in no particular order. Most of these books are available on Amazon and St Andrews bookshop.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Daily but very meaty reflections which are incredibly challenging. I loved this book as a teenager and love returning to it for its’ depth and for how thought provoking it is. Each thought is just one page long but is full of truth and trust. Often just based on one verse, the challenge is in how much we surrender to God and really trust him for our lives. It can’t be read quickly!
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
A meaty book, beautifully written and with huge challenge for living a life of daily discipleship and what that means in practical terms. It is littered with bible exposition with a focus on Jesus and what being a Jesus-follower can mean for us. It is quite a long book but feels timeless and relevant. I definitely felt like I was being taught and challenged through it.
God on Mute by Pete Greig
A fantastic book about suffering and pain and why it can sometimes seem like God is silent. Pete Grieg writes from personal experience of a time in his life when his wife was extremely ill and he was caring for two young sons whilst setting up the 24/7 prayer movement. It is very well written and constructed around the death and resurrection of Jesus, containing a really good mix of personal experience, biblical truths and some of the relevant meanings of the crux of Christianity. I highly recommend this book to anyone but particularly people struggling with the issue of suffering.
Where is God when it hurts? by Philip Yancey
This book tackles head on the issue of pain. Philip Yancey is an excellent Christian writer, he writes in a very accessible way with a multitude of true stories informing his writing in an inspirational way. He is both entertaining, challenging and encouraging in equal measure. He looks at why we feel pain and benefits of it. I also highly recommend his books ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’ and ‘In His image’ which are beautifully written and incredibly informative, using the wonder of the human body to draw great spiritual truths from.
How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin Schmidt
I loved this book, it is a history lesson and an absolute inspiration to make a difference in the world. It looks at stories of how Christians have influenced society in such things as abolishing slavery, the impact of Christian music and literature, the impact Christians have made in hospital and health care, science, sexual morality, women receiving freedom and dignity, in liberty and justice etc etc. It is great to have a handle on the positive ways that Christianity has made a difference for good in the world and certainly made me want to be part of continuing that legacy in whatever ways I can.
Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot
As a teenager this was perhaps the book that influenced me most! It tells the story of the life and testament of Jim Elliot, a missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador who was killed there. The book contains many of his diary entries which not only tell the story but also enable us to walk his spiritual journey with him, of a life sold out to God but which ultimately bore much fruit. Everything that he did was towards offering his life in the fullest possible sense for the service of the Lord.
Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey
This book explores the world in which Jesus lives, combining cultural and historical details with the bible we are familiar with to explain more about the teachings and life of Christ. I found it fascinating and it certainly gave me more depth to understanding the world in which Jesus lived and interacted with people. It is not just a history book but also draws the reader into a greater sense of worship and awareness of the bigger picture in which God is at work. I found it deeply spiritually nurturing as well as feeling that I learnt so much from it.
Paradoxology by Krish Kandiah
I am a big fan of Krish Kandiah, his writing, his work and his life. In this book he explores some big questions of apparent paradoxes in the bible but does it through biblical teaching and exploring some of the harder stories that we might be tempted to bypass. It tackles issues such as - a compassionate God who sanctions genocide, an all-powerful God who allows horrific suffering, a God who owns everything yet demands so much from his followers or a God who is distant and yet present at the same time. It is accessible bible teaching which also helps us to answer difficult questions from friends.
Radical Discipleship by John Stott
This is possibly one of my favourite Christian books of all time! It contains a short summary of all that John Stott wanted to say about 8 key topics for how to live a good life of true, radical (rooted) discipleship to Jesus. It was written near the end of his life, 8 decades of faithfully following Jesus and wanting to learn more and teach others as much as he could. When reading it, it is clear that it is written from a spiritual giant who lived out all that he believed in with full integrity. It covers topics such as simplicity, creation-care, dependence and Christlikeness. It served as a reminder to me about the really important things in life and to keep my focus on living well.
The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey
Yancey aims here to make the Old Testament more relevant to our lives and more accessible to us as well as shedding light on what Jesus would have understood and gained from it. His argument is in understanding the OT better, we can understand Jesus better too. In his usual entertaining and pithy style, this book contains help for us in dealing with issues that we face by drawing from how characters in the Old Testament faced similar things, or by using the wisdom and emotions of the psalms or prophets to encourage us.