Reading and understanding are so important as Christians now more than ever.
It is so hard to stay encouraged and inspired day to day. It’s not a new observation to state that our world has become increasingly loud and overbearing. We have our attention split so many different ways managing so many different facets of our life that it’s hard to carve out dedicated to just sit and talk with God.
We talk a lot about intentionality which makes sense our time is a finite resource and so moving towards using that resource strategically makes sense. We are intentional with our friends, we are intentional with our career, we are intentional with our health well then why wouldn’t we be intentional with our relationship with God and intentional with our spiritual health.
Here are 4 books that I have found helpful in my journey as a Christian and I really hope that they are encouraging, inspiring, and helpful for you as well.
More is a spectacular book about cultivating an intentional intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit and dispelling weirdness about prayer. More is written by Alan Kraft who has served as lead pastor of Christ Community Church since 1990 and he has a passion for helping people to experience the freedom of the gospel and the fullness of the Spirit.
Again speaking from my Catholic background I feel like Holy Spirit is the most mysterious and least understood component of the Trinity. It’s often described by people in a couple different ways but at its core I believe that it’s one of the most intimate avenues in which the Lord speaks to us. It’s like if you were on a road trip Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit is your road trip buddy. The spirit is your companion on the road trip that is your life, sharing your experiences and pointing out rad spots along the way. Whether we allow the spirit to be the driver of that car is really another question.
Kraft gives practical structured advice on how we can better hear the spirit in our life. Whether that is hearing the spirit speak to us during prayer or when the Lord uses someone in our life to convey a message from the spirit to us More helps us to, as the author says, not be weird about prayer. Many Christians that I’ve talked to have a rocky relationship with the spirit largely in part due to overly charismatic church movements including the lie of the prosperity gospel.
Do not get me wrong spiritual gifts are biblical there is nothing wrong with them, however, there is something wrong with trying to use those gifts from a wrong heart perspective.
A part of “A praying life” is Paul Millers fervent refusal to separate your spiritual life from the rest of your daily life. Just like any relationship that we have with anyone communication is key. If we meet someone and then never talk to them ever again what would you call that? Now if you meet someone and you share your life with them and they share theirs with you and you talk intimately daily what you would call that? Which would you prefer? Miller makes a case for constant and intimate communication with Jesus Christ in everything that we do in this book.
Married life? You’re going to get in an argument so talk to Christ about that. Stressed about money? Lay that anxiety down at the feet of Jesus while you contempt what life he is calling you to. While I haven’t finished the book it has come highly recommended to me by many church leaders in our community.
Author Paul E. Miller is Executive Director of seeJesus, a global discipleship ministry which he founded in 1999 to help Christians and non-Christians alike “see Jesus.”
Gospel is an amazing book by JD Greer, a church favorite author, shows how moralism and legalism have often eclipsed the gospel even within conservative churches. Greer explains how moralism and legalism can strangle the message of Jesus Christ when we forget God’s gracious pursuit of sinners.
The book deals with many topics however the goal is attempting to reshape our heart into on the one the actively desires more of God in every aspect of our lives. The early church was possessed of a radical concept. That God loves sinners, he loves us so much that he sent his one and only son to die so that we could be reconciled back to the father’s love. Then he desired us so much that he instilled in each and every one of us the holy spirit in order to constantly point us back to the truth of God’s love.
Timothy Keller, another Christian author once wrote “You are more sinful than you know and more loved than you realize” and I believe that is true. Jesus loves us more than we hate our sins and isn’t that incredible.
Jesus on every page is a book that was very interesting as it puts forth the big picture that everything in the old testament foreshadows Jesus’s story.
Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the ministry in 1995 and has pastored two churches in Scotland for 12 years.
As I’ve mentioned before I previously had a very academic perspective on the bible and the teaching of Jesus and this led me to consider the bible to be telling two stories instead of one grand and wonderful narrative. The old testament was one story and the new testament was the sequel taking the story in a new direction. However, Murray says that’s not true. It’s all one story with one hero in the form of Jesus.
I hope this guide was helpful in encouraging you to read more and to have a closer relationship with God.