#1 – What is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert (published by Crossway Books, 2011). This was my 2nd read of this book, and my appreciation for it grew stronger this time around. With all the possible missions of the church that people suggests (See the subtitle of this book), these authors bring biblical clarity and simplicity to our priority: making disciples (Matt 28:16-20). These authors also to a thorough job critiquing biblically the other missions that others suggest the church out to prioritize, which anyone who sees the Bible as authoritative will find helpful and stimulating. Any Christian will benefit from reading this book; I would put it in my Top 10 list of books needed to read on the subject of the church. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#2 – The Vine Project: Sharping Your Ministry Culture Around Disciple-Making by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (published by Matthias Media, 2016). After reading their previous book The Trellis and the Vine, I was left asking, “Now what?” This book answers that question. What is so valuable about this book are the practical suggestions for helping re-shape your church into a disciple-making church. The evaluation questions and charts are second-to-none. I would buy and recommend the book for that portion of the book. Every elder and deacon needs to buy this book and “take it to heart.” BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#3 – Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers (published by HarperCollins, 2010). This book bored me. It has been sitting on my “Most Wanted” list for quite sometime and when I found it recently at a discounted rate, I was pretty excited to read it. However, I almost quit half-way through. The author rambles on and on about how “screens” are ruining our lives, and while he has some valid points, he rambles on and on about it. It gets cumbersome to read one chapter after another of the same thesis. BOOK RATING: 5 out of 10 stars.
#4 – Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying by Drew Dyck (published by Thomas Nelson, 2014). A problem in the modern church is the lack of the fear of God or an imbalanced view of God that favors His love over other attitudes like Hus justice or anger. This book wisely critiques this false view of God and offers suggestions for correcting this mindset. While this was not my favorite book on the nature of God, it is still worth reading. I would recommend a young or immature believer read it. BOOK RATING: 8 out of 10 stars.
#5 – Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved by J.D. Greear (published by B&H Publishing Group, 2013). There was nothing in this book that I disagreed with and I am thankful it was written. As the title suggests, the author discredits the “Christianese” statements we make that do not have any biblical basis. In fact, it is because of these statements (e.g., “ask Jesus into your heart”) that so many Christians struggle with assurance of salvation. Salvation is not based upon a prayer or aisle walked or card signed, but on faith in Christ and it is proven by the fruit that is produced. This book would be a good resource for a small group to go through or Sunday School class looking to study the topic of assurance. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.