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. 🙂

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.  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 Action 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 which came 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. 🙂

Do you have an Action Storybook Bible testimonial to share? 

 

Profile of the Lukewarm: Halfway Herbert

In my quest for good Christian books for kids and teens, I recently happened upon children’s books written by Francis Chan. Turns out Halfway Herbert has been around since 2010 (longer than some of the Bibliopolis kiddos have been alive), and a bunch of them have read it already.

Here’s a photo of Chloe (2nd grader) reading the book aloud to some of the 1st graders. They were cracking up at the story of Herbert, who does everything — including brushing his teeth, doing his homework, and telling the truth — halfway. But the girls quickly saw how this halfway disease was not good.

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Throughout all of our Gracepoint Ministries churches, we have been going through Revelation as part of our DT (Devotion Times), and as I listened to the book, I couldn’t help but think of the recent DT on Revelation 3 and Jesus’ message to the lukewarm Laodecians. I was also reminded of the “Profile of the Lukewarm” chapter in Chan’s book Crazy Love. 

I thought the book was a great way to talk about what it looks like to follow God with your whole heart, and if you or your child haven’t read it yet, I recommend it for a family read aloud!