What a year! With all the joys that come with the birth of my son and the trials regarding his health this year, I am so thankful for the way that God has shown me his grace in the books that I have had the privilege of reading either that were sent to me for review, given as gifts, or ones that have been sitting on the shelf for some time. I am constantly surprised at how God show himself to me through the books that he offers to me just when I need them.
Of the 53 books I have read this year, I wanted to share the ones that have meant the most to me. Perhaps they would make great Christmas gifts for people in your life or you may find that they mean something to you as they did for me.
Here, then, are my top 3 picks of the year, followed by some honorable mentions:
Holiness by Grace
by Brian Chapell
This was a fantastic book! I read this in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when my son was under sedation for days and on full ventilation after his trachostemy surgery. Dr. Chapell tells a moving story about a mother whose child turned blue during the baby’s first feeding after birth. It was a great comfort to me in a time where I was completely helpless to do anything for my son, just as each of us are helpless to do anything that is truly pleasing to God, apart from the finished work of Christ. Holiness by Grace is about how not only are we saved by grace, but we are perfected and sanctified by Christ’s work on our behalf.
Click here for full review.
Thanks to Gramie and Granpop, Hidi and I got to step out with some friends for a few hours. Thank you again to people who continue to show up with meals that help to take off so much stress.
Other than Tinsley’s treatments every 4 hours it has been a rather quiet week, that is until this morning. Tinsley had some labored breathing over the past few days that were rather episodic, but today it was stronger and more difficult to shake. Our home healthcare nurse suggested we take him to get evaluated at the hospital. They quickly did an xray and found that he has pneumonia. He was admitted to the PICU for stabilization. Expecting to stay for 3 to 10 days depending on how well he responds to medication.
Good news is that he has been smiling at the hospital after being fussy and in distress for a few hours this morning. And he gained weight: he now weighs more than 4 kilos!
Click here for more on Tinsley’s history.
Here is what you may have missed on my Twitter feed this week:
- We’d probably sin less if we spent less time thinking about our sins […] and more time meditating on the love […] of God. -Kevin DeYoung
- The purpose of prayer is to glorify God.
- Turning the other cheek often leaves you with two broken jaws. Jesus is still King, and still right. (via @DrMoore)
- Stephen Hawking is really the guy to decide if God created the universe? http://j.mp/mQfzm6
- Here’s a good example of why you should not take one verse alone from it’s context. http://bible.us/Prov6.4.ESV
- If you can change “Jesus” to “baby” in your worship music and it still make sense, you are NOT singing Christ-exalting lyrics.
- “Jesus is not only the guide; he is the destination.” – Michael Horton (via @MattCapps)
Get regular updates by following @lunchboxsw on Twitter.
Feel free to leave a comment on this post, send me a note, or send me a reply on Twitter.
What would the church look like if the devil were in charge? In his book Christless Christianity, Michael Horton answers this question by talking about how no one would cuss or smoke, everyone would be courteous and polite, but Christ would not appear. No sermon would talk about Christ, his work on the cross, and how full atonement has been made.
As if the supremacy of Christ were novel expression fashioned in the forges of the post-modern mind, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola take up the same cadence in their book, Jesus Manifesto. In their book, the authors paint a beautiful picture of Christ as head of the church, the subject of all our conversations, and the mediator of all our thoughts. They challenge us to see that “Jesus is the gravitational pull that holds all things together,” while also existing as “the center and circumference of the Christian life.”
Put simply: “This book is a means to an end, and that end is Christ.”
If you read only one book of the Bible this year, make it the book of Galatians. Contained therein is the Apostle Paul’s admonishment of the church in what is now Turkey because of their errors in presenting a gospel that is not consistent with the message of Jesus Christ.
The people of the church were concerned because many believed that in order to become a Christian you first must become a Jew and follow all of their laws. Yet with amazing brevity Paul lays out the whole of Biblical history, God’s laws, and God’s ultimate plan for salvation in a way that makes it exceedingly clear that it is not what we do, but it is the atoning work of Christ that accomplished that work for us.
Every story has at least two sides. In part 1 I shared the dutiful reasons for my criticisms. Here is the other side of that story.
I have been on a journey of faith for most of my life. It has been difficult to say when that journey actually started, partly because it had so many eventful stops that have taken me in different directions along the way. Years ago I read The Pilgrim’s Regress by CS Lewis and it was in that reading that I was comforted to know that I was not alone. Although my journey has really not taken me too far from Christianity, it has led me down paths where I have had the honor of rubbing shoulders with people who have challenged me to think very differently about my own faith and who have instilled in me the value of being open to criticism and self-examination.