Book of the Month for April

For April, I am recommending a semi-oldie, but definitely a goodie. Given that we’re leading up to Good Friday and Easter, I wanted to recommend a book about…Jesus. I know, that sounds kind of hilarious.

April’s selection is Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God by Tim Keller. It was originally published in 2011 as King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus. So if you’ve read that book, it’s the same!

This book is adapted from a message series that Keller taught through the gospel of Mark. So it follows the order of events in the book of Mark, and one awesome thing is that this book makes you want to read the Bible more. So it’s a win-win – you can read a book and it’ll make you want to read The Book!

I’ve personally listened to this book a couple times this past month, as part of fasting from my usual podcasts & books, and it’s been as good as I remember it having been the first time I read it. It lives in a glowing memory for me, because during the early months of the pandemic, I read the book around the same time many of us watched Season 1 of Chosen, and I just remember randomly bursting out with, “I love Jesus!” “Jesus is so awesome!” The book is divided into two sections: “The King: the Identity of Jesus” and then “The Cross: The Purpose of Jesus.” So I wanted to recommend this book to all who haven’t read it yet, especially during this Easter season.

March’s Book(s) of the Month

Can you believe it’s March already? For March I have a couple of selections. There are a lot of wonderful books already recommended on the Lent Resources, so if you haven’t read those, I recommend starting there! I don’t want to stress people out with more recommendations, but I do know there are some avid readers out there who are looking for new and more books to read. The two I’ve chosen, in light of Lent and the month leading up to Easter, are newer books that led me to marvel at the gospel more, and also to love Jesus more.

The first is J.D. Greear’s new book Essential Christianity: The Heart of the Gospel in Ten Words. It came out last month, and I read it in one sitting (albeit a long sitting with several breaks!).

Greear uses Romans as a framework to go through the key questions and message of Christianity. This book is great for non-Christians who are interested in learning more about Christianity, new believers, and for Christians who want to deepen their faith too. I realize I basically said the book is good for everyone. 🙂 I could see it as a good book to read with someone who has taken Course 101 and wants to keep learning and discussing.

One thing I appreciate about Greear’s work is that he uses illustrations and stories that everyone can understand, distilling deep truths into concrete images and examples we can hold onto.

Here is one that might familiar to those of you who’ve read Gospel (if you haven’t, it’s on my (long) short list of Christian books), from the intro to Essential Christianity.

The gospel is not just the diving board off which you jump into Christianity―it’s the swimming pool in which you swim. See this book as your invitation to rediscover the goodness, the excitement, the liberation, and the power of the gospel

.If you’ve read his other books, listened to audiobooks he’s read, or listen to his podcast, you can definitely “hear” his voice as you read, and it was like having a conversation about Christianity with your neighbor who happens to be a pastor.

The second selection is Jesus Through the Eyes of Women: How the First Female Disciples Help Us Know and Love the Lord by Rebecca McLaughlin.

I found this book to be incredibly devotional, meaning I did come away knowing and loving Jesus my Lord more, like the title states.

One cannot help but fall in love with the Jesus that emerges through the course of this book. It goes without saying, but this book would be a great response to people who are resistant to Christianity because it is anti-women. March is also women’s history month. 🙂

While I think this book is for both men and women, there are some elements of the book that might make some men squeamish. It’s all stuff that is already in the Bible, but just wanted to give a little heads up.

Both books are available at the HB bookstore, for those of you in Berkeley. By the way, Essential Christianity is not yet available on audiobook, but JD Greear is going through the different topics of each chapter on his Ask Me Anything with JD Greear podcast.

Happy Reading, everyone!

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.