The Stuck-at-Home Book Club

Hello, Gracepoint Family! It’s been awhile. I hope 2019 was a great reading year. I realize that’s a bit belated, since we’re now a quarter of the way through 2020. ­čśé

With all of us at home from school and work due to Covid-19, this can be an awesome opportunity to make headway in our 2020 reading goals. I’m apparently 3 books behind schedule in my goal to read 0202 books in 2020, but I’m determined to put a big dent in my TBR pile!

This is also an opportunity for me to revive this blog, and to post some recommendations for what you can read with your family, or on your own. There’s also been a call for a Family Reading Challenge, so we’ll see what we can come up with.

For my first Stuck-at-Home Book Club recommendation, I present to you The Green Ember series, written by S.D. Smith. There are four main books (with the fourth coming out April 14th!), plus four other novellas set in the same world.

The-Green-Ember

I don’t want to give away too much about the series, but I will say this: Do *not* let the fact that they are rabbits dissuade you from reading this book! It is a captivating adventure, and there are lessons and themes that are for everyone in the family.

Families have read these aloud together, others have listened to the audiobooks (which are excellent), and other pre-teens, teens, and adults have just read them on their own! This series is so beloved that one of the 7th graders just told me that in anticipation of the April 14th release of Ember’s End, she re-read the series as a refresher.┬á┬áMore great news – the kindle version is only $2.99, and free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

If you’re still not quite convinced, there’s a Green Ember super-fan I’ve asked to provide an endorsement, so stay tuned for that!

What are you and your family reading during the next few weeks? If you want to write a recommendation, send it on over to me, and it might be featured here!

Recommended Read: A Practical Guide to Culture

This past weekend, some of us across our Gracepoint Ministries gathered at Gracepoint Berkeley church for a Youth Ministry Training Retreat. It was a powerful time of raising our awareness of the world we and our youth are living in, as well as recognizing the role of the local church and youth ministry in bringing the love of Jesus Christ to the next generation.

practical guide to cultureOne book I want to recommend, not just for people involved in youth ministry, but any Christian living in the 21st century is called A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet (of Breakpoint) and Brett Kunkle (of Maven). It is, like the title states, a practical guide to culture. ­čÖé

I read a lot of books on Christian Worldview and Gen Z, but what I appreciate about this book is that it is even-handed in its treatment of culture. The authors aren’t overly alarmist nor naively “let’s just go with the flow” either. Before getting into the hot topics we might anticipate in a book about today’s culture, they provide an entire framework for understanding what culture is and how it is we got to where are currently.┬á And one of their main points is that living in a post-Christian world, we need to go back to the Bible, the inspired word of God, as our authority on all the big questions of who we are, what our purpose is, and more. The authors point us to the Bible to reclaim the narrative, to the real story told in four chapters: Creation, The Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. And they get practical, focusing on 8 “cultural waves” of today — Pornography, The Hookup Culture, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Affluence and Consumerism, Addiction, Entertainment, and Racial Tension — all in the context of God’s grand story. So while much of what we learn about our world leaves us heavy-hearted and burdened, they keep coming back to “hopecasting” that is possible only because of the reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I look forward to discussing some of the issues with many of you, whether you’re a parent, a youth or children’s worker, or just someone who wants to think Christianly about our culture. You can find physical copies of the book at the GP Berkeley bookstore now!

Recommended Read: The Action Storybook Bible

Hey, Gracepoint Berkeley church and beyond! You probably forgot about this here blog. I confess I kind of did too…until my *mom* mentioned to me that I hadn’t posted since last October. (Shout out to Mrs. Kim for reminding me to keep spreading the love of reading!)

I don’t want to make any promises, but I realize I should just write some posts about the books I most often recommend to people. Today I’ll start with a relatively new book from the super popular┬áAction Bible franchise. As many of you who have read and love The Action Bible know, there are some intense parts (Valley of Dry Bones, anyone?). It might not be appropriate for younger kids, but at the same time, it’s a great way to get kids excited about reading the Bible. It’s awesome to see kiddos who come to Bibliopolis devouring The Action Bible, and reading it cover to cover multiple times.

Action-Storybook-Bible-3D-coverEnter The Action Storybook Bible: An Interactive Adventure through God’s Redemptive Story┬áwhich┬ácame out this past October. It is designed for children ages 8 and under, and it is, as the subtitle states, an interactive reading experience.

I have one testimonial from a mom of a kindergarten boy here at Gracepoint Berkeley who said that her son asks to read it each day! There are questions to stop and talk about at the end of each section, so it can become a devotional type of experience for you and your child(ren) to share together.

So if you’re looking for a good book to go through with your child, or a good gift to get for the child of a friend or relative, I recommend it! We are carrying a limited number in our bookstore now. ­čÖé

Do you have an Action Storybook Bible testimonial to share?