Kenny and I both like to read. We typically have a book we are reading together as well as books we are reading individually – which we often both end up reading if the other can’t stop talking about how good it is and reading portions to the one who is not currently reading it.
There have been times when Kenny has wanted to read to me a section he likes of a book I have already read. Then we often end up having a conversation that goes something like this:
Tami: I read that to you when I was reading that book.
Kenny: Ah, I thought it was familiar.
Tami: Really? Or are you just saying that so I won’t be irritated that you didn’t remember.
Kenny: Really. I remember.
Anyway, a few friends have recently asked for book recommendations. While no book is a substitute for the Bible, these are books that have resonated with us, have helped us in our walk with Christ (and with each other) and we would encourage others to read. We have included the titles and a couple of our favorite quotes from each book. The hardest part of this post wasn’t choosing the books, but narrowing down the quotes!!
- Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
I read this. I kept reading so much of it to Kenny he started reading it. As soon as I finished, I read it again. When Kenny finished, he also immediately began reading it again. We now have several friends who are reading it and Kenny has asked our summer interns to read it. I expect, it is a book we will go back to over and over. Here are a couple of our favorite quotes:
“I began to wonder if becoming a Christian did not work more like falling in love than agreeing with a list of true principles.”
“If the Gospel of Jesus is relational, that is, if our brokenness will be fixed not by our understanding of theology but by God telling us who we are, then this would require a kind of intimacy of which only Heaven knows.”
- Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies by Paul David Tripp
We heard our pastor quote this book so often, it felt like déjà vu when we began reading it for ourselves. Tripp is incredibly insightful and has written other great books that you might consider as well.
“It is right to celebrate the goodness of God in giving you sweet pleasures and life to enjoy, and you should never feel guilty in enjoying them as long as you do it within his boundaries and for his glory. . . but as you’re celebrating pleasure, don’t forget to celebrate grace.”
“It’s God’s grace that has the power to protect you from asking of pleasure what you should not ask. It’s God’s grace that gives you the power to say no to the seductive call of pleasure when it is vital for you to say no. It’s God’s grace that offers you forgiveness when you have failed to do both of these things. And its grace that ushers you into the presence of the One who alone can give you the lasting satisfaction and joy your heart seeks.”
- Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides by Scott Sauls
There are many issues that divide our culture – even our Christian culture. Sauls addresses several of these as he approaches sensitive topics with truth, grace and a bit of humor.
“I think we Christians should listen humbly, thoughtfully, and carefully to people who express their misgivings about us. Somehow in our efforts to “speak the truth” we have too often forgotten about the love that God intends to undergird the truth. We have forgotten to let our speech “always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how [we] ought to answer each person.”
“Christianity always flourishes most as a life-giving minority, not as a powerful majority. It is through subversive, counter-cultural acts of love, justice, and service for the common good that Christianity has always gained the most ground.”
- Subversive Jesus: An Adventure in Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness in a Broken World by Craig Greenfield
Tami is currently reading this and has found it to be incredibly humbling and challenging.
“Knowing that Jesus would have walked alongside the helpless and welcomed them into his life, we started a discipleship movement to mentor the people of God to walk alongside those who were walking alone.”
“Though our initial engagement with the poor might begin with a short-term mission trip, it must not end there, because Jesus himself was known as a friend of the broken-not just a visitor. Our lives must develop an ongoing rhythm of interacting with and embracing those who are struggling.”
- Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller
This book has changed the way we approach prayer like no other. It is a book we often return to. It has helped us to greater understand the depth and width of prayer and how closely it should be tied to scripture.
“We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence. Prayer, then is both awe and intimacy, struggle and reality.”
“The heart experience of the gospel’s power can only happen through prayer.”
If there is a book that has deeply impacted your walk with Christ, be sure and share it with us in the comments.