Recently Read, May 2017 Edition

 In Books

Today I share a few books I recently read and/or reviewed. I love to read and I hope you do as well. I’m trying to not just read and consume books for my selfish benefit, but hope to share some great books with others so that you too might benefit from some of the good stuff out there!

1. Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation, and Fear, by Scott Sauls. 

  • Scott Sauls is the Senior Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. I’m so glad I came across both this book and Sauls himself. While I don’t know him personally, I’ve been impacted by his preaching and writing through his sermons, blog, and now the book Befriend.
  • Befriend is a thoughtful guide to relationships, all across the spectrum. Sauls encourages the development and growth of all types of relationships, from family members to social outcasts, to those with different political views, to sexual minorities, and just about everything in between.
  • The book is a collection of 20 different essays and includes authentic stories, key scriptures, and discussion questions.
  • Who should read this book? Honestly, any follower of Christ would benefit from the reading of this book. It would be a great book for community groups to read and discuss together.
  • The bottom line is that Sauls encourages the reader to love and befriend like Christ. Can you say challenging?!?! Be the city on a hill that Jesus encourages His followers to become (see Matthew 5:13-16).

2. Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships, by Christine Hoover

  • I reviewed this book as a part of Christine’s launch team (of which I was the only male member!). Christine and I have many mutual friends from her years as a student in that university that shall not be named in College Station, TX. She’s a gifted writer and communicator and a pastor’s wife in Charlottesville, VA.
  • Friendships change over the years, and Hoover explores how and why we need to push through the messiness of relationships to develop and grow our friendships. Push through your fears, take the initiative, be a great host (“There you are!” and not “Here I am!”), and be vulnerable. Hoover gets practical as she addresses how you can be a good friend by listening to others and by heeding the counsel of friends.
  • One of the aspects of the book I appreciate is how biblical and Christ-centered Christine is in her writing as she takes a biblical worldview to relationships and friendships. She does a good job of being authentic and biblical.
  • The book contains some great discussion questions in the back of the book, as well as lessons on friendship and wisdom from the bible on friendship.
  • Who should read this book? While anyone would benefit from wisdom and counsel on friendships, the target audience for this book is women and would be a great read for a group of female friends to read together. Hoover also speaks from the unique perspective of a pastor’s wife, so any wives of men in ministry would benefit.
  • The bottom line is that friendship is a by-product of people being more concerned with others than ourselves and that even in all their messiness, friendships can be one of the most beautiful parts of life.

3. Think Again: Relief From the Burden of Introspection, by Jared Mellinger.

  • Man, I needed this book. I read it in a time of minor trial and temptation when I needed to hear the truths Mellinger shares. I struggle with a tendency to think too much about things. And, I overthink feedback others give me (especially if they’re in a position of authority over me). I can be overly critical of myself, and I struggle with insecurity and comparison.
  • At times I struggled to stay connected to this book, but I did push through and I’m glad I did. Mellinger writes, “The antidote to excessive introspection is not to completely forget myself, but to look more to the Lord Jesus Christ, which leads to thinking rightly – and less often – about myself.”
  • The book is Biblical through and through, and each chapter ends with good reflection and discussion questions.
  • Who should read this? Those of us who tend to be hypersensitive, overly critical of ourselves, overly consumed by ourselves, insecure, or riddled with comparison to others.
  • His bottom line message: When you’re tempted to keep your eyes on yourself, Think Again, and shift your gaze to Jesus.

Your Turn:

  • What are you currently reading? Any books you’ve read that would be worth sharing with others?

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