Next week we kick off term 1 in Mark’s Gospel which I am really looking forward to, but I also hope you’ve enjoyed our Summer of Hope as much as I have. It’s been such an encouraging time in God’s word hearing of the many and various ways our hope in Jesus plays out in the concerns of this life. I’d love to hear if there’s something that has stood out to you – or better yet, jump on the church Facebook group and share your thoughts with church (if you’re not in the group and want to be, let me know and we’ll make sure to add you).
Over January we’ve been recommending some great books to read on the topics we’ve been considering because January is a great time to plan for some quality reading for the year ahead. Here’s a summary of the five books that we’ve mentioned. All of them are available at good Christian book shops, ebooks and audio books (except the 5th, but it’s quite short and easy to read!)
Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund (Crossway, 2020).
This book begins with Matthew 11:28 as a summary statement of Jesus’ character and takes us further afield in scripture and to the writings of the Puritans to help us grasp the wonder of the heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers. A tremendously encouraging read.
Forgive: Why should I and How Can I? by Timothy Keller (Hodder and Stoughton, 2022)
I rated this as one of the best books I’ve read in a long time and I stand by that for three reasons: first, the profound biblical and theological insights that Keller draws on; second, the incredibly practical and useful application he makes; and third, the timeliness of this book in a world that is increasingly angry and un-forgiving and so desperately in need of knowing how to be forgiven and to forgive.
What God Has To Say About Our Bodies by Sam Allberry (Crossway, 2021)
If one of the reasons Forgive is a great book is its relevance to our current cultural moment, well this one is not far behind it. Is there anything that our society is more confused about than our bodies? It is soooo good to know that God gives us so much reason for hope in the midst of all the chaos. Theologically sound, pastorally adept, and Sam’s got a great sense of humour too.
Knowing God by JI Packer (Hodder and Stoughton, 2005)
The first edition of this book turns 50 this year and it is an absolute classic. If you’ve never read Knowing God you should grab a copy or download the audio book. What great hope we have for this life and for all eternity because God has made himself know through his word and ultimately in his Son! Start with Knowing God then go to Gentle and Lowly and at one chapter a week that’s your devotional reading for the year sorted!
Is God Green? by Lionel Windsor (Matthias, 2018)
This is the only one you can’t get on audio book but at only 76 pages it’s an easy read on a topic that lots of people are thinking and talking about. Lionel Windsor is an Aussie pastor who worked in renewable energy engineering before going to bible college, so this is a topic he’s done a lot of deep thinking about and that comes through despite this being such a short book.
So as a new year gets underway what better resolution to set for yourself than to do some great reading (or listening) in 2023!
Happy New Year, and happy reading!