Veritas, welcome to 2023! It has been a joy to reflect on everything God did in our church this past year and look ahead with anticipation and prayer for what He might do this year. As a church, we want to raise up mature disciples, send out everyday missionaries, and glorify God. In this we are compelled by Colossians 1:28-29 to help others grow and mature in Christ. As we seek to do this, two aspects of our discipleship strategy are “abide” and “learn” - so we encourage our people to engage in practicing personal holiness and godly habits as they grow in their knowledge of God. This is why we offer our Bible reading plans, podcasts, suggested resources, classes, conferences, etc. I love hearing stories of how God is using these resources to shape our people.
In addition to recommending Veritas resources, I often find myself recommending other books to people based on their situation. Here is a list of the books I have found myself recommending the most over the past several years (in no particular order):
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
This book really helped me gain an appreciation for who God is and the implications of that. I found my affection for God grew while reading this book and it also encouraged me with practical ways to know Him more. It will leave you amazed at our great God.
Habits of Grace by David Matthis
I’ve read a lot of books on spiritual disciplines and godly habits, many of which were really good. With that said, I’m fairly goal-oriented and organized and have found myself in the past caring more about completing the activity or checking the boxes than the fact that I get to commune with the living God through such disciplines. God used Habits of Grace in my life to help me see such disciplines as more than a checklist, or something good Christians do. This book will help you understand the reality that we get to hear His voice, have His ear, and belong to His body. That was life-changing.
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp
I’ve read a lot of parenting books, and most of them have been helpful. This one is different than any I’ve read as it doesn’t have a bunch of tips and tricks but rather gives you an understanding of your role as a parent and how the God of the universe can use you to display and proclaim the gospel to your kids (and how he can mold and shape you in the process). This book is a must-read for all parents.
Marriage: 6 Gospel Commitments Every Couple Needs to Make by Paul David Tripp
Whether you are a newlywed or an empty nester, marital conflict is real and can have disastrous effects. This makes sense when you consider the fact marriages are made up of two sinful people. Yet, Christian marriages are supposed to display the gospel to the world around them. This book helps you build your marriage on Christ. Our team references this book a lot as we counsel others. Whether your marriage is going well or it feels like a trainwreck, read this book.
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
God used this book in my life as a 20-year-old college student to decrease my desire for a good job, a white picket fence, and a comfortable life and increase my understanding of the impact of the gospel and God’s call on me. The image of getting to the latter years of my life and only having material possessions to show for it still sticks with me today. Read this short book to reorient your idea of what a successful life is. Ultimately, life is about God’s glory, not yours.
Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung
When someone asks, “How are you?” you probably answer in one of two ways. Either you reply with “good” or “busy”. If you find yourself describing your life as busy, you need to read this book (don’t worry, it is the shortest one on this list).
Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
This book might seem like a contradiction to the one above, but I’ve recommended this to a lot of college students and others who were trying to make a big life decision or who were feeling stuck in analysis paralysis, thinking their decision might alter the course of the universe. I have gained so much peace over the years as I better understand God’s will and the reality that He is in control and His plans will prevail.
Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion by Rebecca McLaughlin
I’ve often heard others say (and felt myself) they have a fear of being asked a question about their faith and not knowing the answer. Regardless of whether someone is genuinely curious or more antagonistic, questions arise regarding the Christian faith. In this book, the author does a great job of Biblically answering some of the biggest questions surrounding our faith and doctrine. It has proven helpful to me as I engage people who are curiously seeking the truths of the Bible.
Veritas, we live in a time in which we have access to so much great content from godly authors, living and also from those who have long since gone to be with the Lord. The books listed above are not a comprehensive list, and if I sat down with you and learned more about your situation, I might recommend something else. With that said, I think there is a pretty good chance God could use one or more of these to mold and shape you. I would encourage you to read one (if not more). Church, let’s be a people who are marked by a desire to abide in and learn more about our great God.