Reading has taken on a new meaning in our household. Besides having the two kids, who are reading more and more every day, including my text messages from my phone and other personal things they should not see…, my perspective on reading has recently changed.
After having from November 1-February 15 to read 19 books on youth, child development, church, and family, I realize that personal reading is now entirely achievable without stress or effort.
So upon returning to Ukraine after turning in those 19 book reports to go along with those 19 books we read, I was curious if I was burned out on reading. It has been one month since we’ve been realistically back and able to pick up reading material again. Honestly, I didn’t expect myself to be craving books, but because anything seems feasible after doing such a marathon seminary list, I have conquered four totally different books over the past month.
One was for Fuller and for research. One was a requirement for my youth leadership team in Ukraine. One was recommended to me twice in 24 hours, which to me is always an indication from the Holy Spirit that I need to pay attention. And one was/is (because I am not quite done, but will be SOON!) a treat for reading three non-fiction.
Enjoy my March/April 2017 Reading List!
“Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to help young people discover and love your church” from Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin at the Fuller Youth Institute: We’ll have to read this for seminary eventually, and it is a hot church topic right now. Plus, we sat in on a symposium of discussion around this book while we were at Fuller. You want a vibrant church filled with intergenerational ministry? Read this book!! There were so many practical things your church can do to utilize, partner with, embrace, and be blessed by younger generations in your church. My favorite two chapters were handing over the proverbial car keys of leadership to a younger generation. How do you entrust and equip young people so that they can freely take full ownership of their ministry area? I also loved the chapter on loving your community. The younger generation is attracted to causes and philanthropy. They want to make a real difference on society, not just spiritually, but also by meeting needs and fighting for social justice. This chapter was helpful to me for my research in figuring out how to better link churches with public school needs.
The Handbook of Church Discipline by Jay Adams: Let me be honest – I liked this book far more than I expected to. It is a short read. It comes across as “scary” and worthy of skepticism because people in general do not understand what church discipline is in the first place. I was worried it was going to be uber-conservative and a complete turn-off. However, Adams explained all the Scriptural backing to the book and shared that it is a practice foreign to most Christians, even though there are many passages in the Bible, both from Jesus and from Paul, that talk about what to do when professing followers of Jesus Christ are choosing to live in sin and not repent and change their ways. What are our obligations to them as brothers and sisters in Christ? What does it mean to have to “hand him over to Satan”? These are strange Biblical topics that are addressed very well by this author. Of course God is the judge and law giver, but in the Body of Christ, we play our part in holding one another accountable to God’s Word, and sometimes we have to “expel the brother or sister”, but how do we do this with grace and compassion, allowing them to be sinners and accepting/loving them through their rebellion? Sticky situations! Good, quick read, particularly the parts about forgiveness and accepting the sinner back into the flock of Christ without going back to past sins.
Two Awesome Hours by Josh Davis, Ph.D.: Yes! I loved this book. Time management is my most relevant topic, both spiritual as well as practically, so I was eager to see what I needed to know about better work habits.
On our very last day at Fuller for our cohort, I looked around the room and made an educated guess at who the classmates are who will faithfully work each week on their first run at their dissertation, faithfully reading a book a week in order to reach that magic number of 100 books read, which is key for your literary review in defending your dissertation. I knew that I would not be one of those people because big projects like this make me anxious and always get crowded out by my family, my Josiah Venture tasks, and other priorities in life. How do we actually find time to work on “High Importance/Low Priority” (Covey’s 4 quadrants) projects in our life, when everything else seems to be so Highly Urgent? How do we dedicate the proverbial two awesome hours, our best hours of the day, to undistracted, dedicated focus on things that require our highest levels of brain power and focus? I’m thankful that we have an organizational president like Dave Patty, who cares about these things, and who recommended this book. Pray for us, that we will dedicate more awesome hours to things that matter to God and in expanding His kingdom. I don’t want to waste my time on things that will not last.
Redeeming Love by Francis Rivers: Last but not least, an oldie but a goody, and oh my word. Every woman Christian on the planet has recommended this book. Since 1991 it has become a classic in the library of female Christians, but I never got into the cover! I know the Bible book of Hosea, off of which the story is based, but the story line of marrying a woman who lives a promiscuous lifestyle and doesn’t want to marry him anyway just wasn’t all that interesting to me. However, I knew deep inside that I had to read it. So I threw it in my Amazon basket and finally picked it up. I was taking a long time in reading a few other books on my book list, so I honestly opened this one for a pick-me-up, knowing that reading fiction after so many other types of books would be encouraging to my pace. Since we are just today coming off a short Easter “break” – a nice long weekend, which allotted for personal reading time, I am happy to say that, yes, I love the book. Yes, it is totally captivating. Yes, I want to see how Michael Hosea melts Angel/Mara’s heart. Yes, I find myself filled with compassion for the women in this terrible, degrading lifestyle that seems to have absolutely no end or exit in sight. And, yes, it is encouraging to read a hundred pages in one brief sitting because the book is just that enthralling (not because I am speed reading and forcing myself because of some deadline).
That’s all I have for now, but I know that I have a Meest (courier service to UA) delivery coming with 8 Fuller Seminary must-reads for the summer. Plus two Christian biographies about people dying for their faith in the Middle East. I can’t wait! Even Marissa went to Miss Karilyn’s library (fellow missionary family in our city) and grabbed a handful of great girls’ books for 7-year-olds, so welcome to another reading marathon for the Williams family!