February’s Book of the Month

It’s been awesome hearing about different books people have been reading this past month. So many people reading Brothers K…I’m humbled and inspired! Even if the monthly theme is no longer “Cultivating the Mind,” I hope that picking up a good book or two this past month has motivated you to keep reading throughout this year.

According to polls, the average American reads about 12 books a year, while the median is 4 (that means half the country reads less than 4 books a year). That’s not to discourage you, but to motivate us to keep reading. Let’s shoot for above average. 🤣

And let’s keep talking about what we’re reading with one another, because love of reading and learning is contagious. We can create a culture of reading and learning, from the young to the not-so-young!

February’s book choice is Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I?, Timothy Keller’s new book, released this past November.

It expands on his September 2021 essay “The Fading of Forgiveness,” which was referenced in the Signs of the Times presentations we heard last summer.

The book’s anchoring text is The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant from Matthew 18. I don’t want to say too much more, but I found the book to be a mix of educational, devotional, practical.

It’s timely as I’ve been talking about The Sun Does Shine with some people, marveling at Anthony Ray Hinton’s ability to forgive, and to not be consumed by anger and vengeance. And this past week I’ve been reflecting upon and having conversations about Joseph, and his perspective on his life and all that he endured. I hope that this book will help each of us appreciate how central forgiveness is in all of our relationships, with God and with one another; to appreciate how costly it is; and to learn how to both receive and grant forgiveness continually.

January’s Book of the Month

Happy new year! While I won’t go so far as to say I made a resolution to post more this year, I am going to try my best to do so.

When we launched the book club in November, I tried the multiple options by genre, but it got a little unwieldy when thinking about how we would have discussions on multiple books. Also, it diluted the power that initiatives like “One City One Book” have in creating community! So I’ve decided to simplify and go back to my original idea to make it truly a “book of the month” type of thing.

As we know, our churchwide January theme is “Cultivating the Mind” so rather than thinking this is adding another “to do” for you, this is a win-win!

January’s book selection is Live No Lies by John Mark Comer. Published at the end of 2021, it is a timely book — its subtitle is “Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace.” This book is both a social and cultural commentary, as well as a spiritual formation kind of book that lays out practical tips on how to overcome the lies that contribute to our spiritual deformation. Here is a “book trailer” by the author.

I hope this book sparks new thoughts, deepens convictions, and moves us to action in this war for our souls and our peace. Looking forward to the discussions on convo and in real life!

Short Evangelistic Christmas Books

With Christmas just around the corner, I know many people are thinking of ways to engage family, friends, coworkers, neighbors with the true meaning of Christmas. I wanted to share some recommendations for evangelistic books you can give away as gifts this Christmas! All of them are short so it’s more likely that even people who don’t like to read will give the books a chance. I’m listing them by newest to oldest publication date. (My personal favorites are the McLaughlin and Greear books.) If you’ve stumbled upon some good books, let me know as well!

The Ultimate Christmas Wishlist: What if You Could Get What You’re Really Hoping For? by Rico Tice (2022). Tice uses Isaiah 9:6 and the names of Jesus to address people’s “Christmas wishlist” desires for hope, peace, purpose, and guidance. It is a good introduction to Christianity, and unlike the other Christmas books on this list, this book doesn’t focus only on the Nativity story. It’s designed to be used for outreach events and to start conversations.

Is Christmas Unbelievable?: Four Questions Everyone Should Ask About the World’s Most Famous Story by Rebecca McLaughlin (2021). This is an evangelistic book that uses an apologetics framework similar to Case for Christmas. Written by one of my current favorite authors, this 64-page book covers the following four questions in a super accessible way, with contemporary references to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and more: 1. Was Jesus even a real person? 2. Can we take the gospels seriously? 3. How can you believe in a virgin birth? 4. Why does it matter? (Excited because Is Easter Unbelievable will be released in February, in time for this Easter!)

Searching for Christmas: What if There’s More to the Story Than You Thought? by J.D. Greear (2020). This book (also 64 pages) outlines the gospel also using Isaiah 9:6, and helps us understand how Jesus fulfilled the names “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace.” And in a season so often focused on gifts, we see that Jesus is the one we truly need. I love this book because J.D. Greear is so readable and down-to-earth. As always, his examples and stories are funny but also get across their deeper-truth lessons.

The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger by Lee Strobel (2014) is the classic, the oldie-but-a-goodie told in the style of investigative journalism. Clocking in at a whopping 112 pages, this book addresses the following questions: Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?; Does archaeology confirm or contradict Jesus’ biographies; Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?; Did Jesus–and Jesus alone–match the identity of the Messiah?