Friday Finds

Fridays are going to take on a new feel! Welcome to Fabulous Friday Finds.  I’m going to use it as a platform to recommend all sorts of things: blogs, books, movies, music, events, what to get me for Christmas…  You get the idea.

I’ve received several messages this week requesting some suggestions for small group and personal reading.  I’m mildly obsessed with reading, so I am more than happy to oblige.  People are different.  (Shocking.)  We have varied tastes and we absorb material in completely unique ways.  That being said, these books made the list because they have spoken into my life at one time or another.  Some are topical, others are devotional.  Not all of these books would be great for every age group – so I’m also going to try and give a rough summary of the book and the target audience.  Here we go.

Relationships
Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones (Good book for teen girls especially.)
Dateable: Are you? Are they? by Justin Lookadoo and Hayley DiMarco (I read this as a confused 20-something.)
The Art of Rejection by Hayley and Michael DiMarco (This tiny book was a huge help after a break up.)

Taking Risks, Living Adventurously, Embracing Life NOW
Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus (Read this book on the plane to Arizona.  It gave me courage!)
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (This book was perfect for dreaming big.)
I Married Adventure by Luci Swindoll (I love this book AND the journal that goes with it.)
Revelations of a Single Woman by Connally Gilliam (Another great 20-somethings book)

Beliving Truth/Body Image
The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee (This is a great book for teens and college students.)
Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild (Although addressed to Moms, I went through this with a group of teens last year.  We giggled at some parts but it brought about great discussion.)
Breaking Free by Beth Moore (I have read the book and gone through the Bible Study 3 times.  This book was a catalyst for change in my life.)

Developing Relationship with God
The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg (ANY of Feinbergs books have a way of challenging me to view my pre-conceived ideas about God.)
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (Breathtaking and beautiful, this book is for the faint of heart.)
Dangerous Wonder by Michael Yaconelli (A reminder to live with childlike faith.)

Devotional
Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeath (This was the perfect answer for a girl [me] who couldn’t focus when she prayed.)
God Is No Fool by Lois A. Cheney (I fell in love with this poetry as a freshman in college.  My grandmother found it in my apartment last year and has since introduced it to her book club.)

As I considered the countless books on my shelf, these are the books I selected for a short list for one simple reason: I reference them on a monthly basis.  These contain the quotes I pull for messages, letters, and blog posts. These are the thoughts I reference when looking for and giving encouragement.  These are the books that have pushed me along in my own stumbling way.  This list will probably change in another two months.  I am currently being challenged humbled by Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.  I’m fairly certain this will be a book I reread over and over again.

The important thing to remember is that these authors are human.  Their writings, the outpourings of the heart, are not infallible.  That’s why it is always important to be putting a healthy dose of God’s Truth in your diet. The Bible should still be your primary source for encouragement and guidance.  I don’t agree with everything in every book that is on the list but I connect with the hearts and imaginations of the authors.  I am looking forward to continuing new reading with the goal of recommending and reviewing books that can challenge and encourage both students and youth leaders alike.  If you’d like more information on any of the books listed feel free to comment or ask.

Last thing before I send you off to enjoy your glorious weekend: What books should I be reading?  What books did you find encouraging at different stages in your own personal growth?  What’s a book you read over and over and over?

Following,
Ginger

  • Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel has been a pleasant surprise!

  • the search for significance changed my life. I am so serious… college was a really hard time for me, and I had to deal with so many issues with my worth, my value, as a person, a woman, a friend. there were other things that God used to help me deal with those issues; but this book was one of the main catalysts. it helped me to hear truths, and to stop believing that my value was based on what other people thought of me. so great.

    • Kimberly – I have seen that book do amazing things for friends and students. Thanks for sharing your own experience!

  • Okay, now theology books (again, no need to worry; these aren’t seminary textbooks or anything :)
    –On sin: Cornelius Plantinga’s [Not the Way Its Supposed to Be]
    I’ve also had my eye on Bridges’s book, but haven’t read it yet.
    –On the Gospel: Frederick Buechner’s [Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Comedy, Tragedy & Fairy Tale]
    I can’t recommend this book enough. Ginger, you will love it.
    –On the Kingdom of God: [The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny, and Imagination] by Caroline Joyce Simon
    So important.
    –On biblical interpretation: William Webb’s [Slaves, Women & Homosexuals] & Eugene Peterson’s [Eat This Book]
    –On everything else: Dr Evans’s [Theology You Can Count On]
    This is a highly accessible (of course, it’s Tony Evans), general treatment of all the important stuff: the three persons of the godhead, salvation, the Bible, and so forth.
    –Oh, and definitely [The Jesus Storybook Bible] by the brilliant Sally Lloyd-Jones.
    This children’s Bible is not just for children; I love reading it. It’s totally refreshing; I almost always cry; I absolutely always laugh. It, like the Bible itself, is a collection of stories that pointedly all tell One Big Story. It’s the Jesus Storybook Bible because “Every Story Whispers His Name.”

    Spiritual Memoirs
    –Kathleen Norris’s [The Cloister Walk]
    –L’Engle’s [Circle of Quiet]
    –Buechner’s [The Sacred Journey]
    Curtis and Eldredge actually pull a lot from this book in their book [The Sacred Romance]
    –Lauren Winner’s [Girl Meets God]

    I could go on forever. I think I’ll stop for now. :) There’s always more over at http://www.reneamac.com in the Books Worth Reading category.

    Happy reading everyone!

  • I’m not a huge Eldredge fan, but I did like his work with Brent Curtis on [The Sacred Romance]. Usually my books look like they’ve never been read regardless of how often I frequent them. This one shows the evidence of my love. It really opened my world to God’s Big Story and how merely living by the rules is not being spiritual.

    In the same category are Miles J Stanford’s [The Green Letters] and Mike Yaconelli’s [Messy Spirituality]. I actually liked this one better than [Dangerous Wonder].

    I think it’s important to establish a theology of romance rather than merely reading dating and marriage how-to books. Those books can be very helpful, of course, but they can also easily lead us astray if we don’t approach the topic from within the framework of the entire biblical narrative (most how-to books do a lot of cherry-picking). The other problem with reading how-to books outside of the context of a broader theological grounding, is that we get trapped into thinking this way is THE way, that the approach in this particular book is the only legitimate Christian approach. This gets us into trouble (otherwise known as legalism) because it doesn’t speak to the complexity of God’s creation, namely us and the way our world works. All that to say… there are three books I highly recommend which approach the subject of romance from a holistic biblical worldview:
    1) Lauren Winner’s [Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity]
    2) Laura Smit’s [Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love]
    3) [5 Paths to the Love of Your Life] edited by Alex Chediak: Despite sounding like a how-to book this is actually a collection of short essays which survey of the 5 traditional Christian approaches to dating.

    PS. Don’t be intimidated by my introduction to these excellent books on romance; they’re all rather easy to read. Smit’s is perhaps the most difficult, but only because we don’t usually think about how we should behave when someone has feelings for us that we don’t return and vice versa; almost all the books on romance in the Christian Living section merely discuss how we should behave while in romantic relationships.

    PPS. I love books! Don’t be surprised if I come back with more. :)

    • Anonymous

      A great friend (wink) introduced me to Messy Spirituality – and I am ready to pull it back off the shelf for another read. Sometimes I feel like there are too many books to keep track of! #1. Loved your points. #2. Haven’t read any of the other books. #3. Keep adding away!

  • Elizabeth Andronic

    Someone reccomended me to read “Walking with God” by John Eldredge. He absolutely loved it! He’s reading it with his wife and they also happen to be the same age as you. I’m almost positive you’d like it too. :)

  • Amy Sandling Crawford

    I read Lady in Waiting in college after hearing about it from another Christian, single friend. It was a wonderful comfort for me during a rocky time!
    :) Amy

    • Anonymous

      Lady in Waiting was a complete paradign shift for me in regards to relationships. I think it’s a great book for women of all ages. I can totally understand how it was a comfort to you. :)