One of the best parts of the Christmas season is giving gifts. Here at the ERLC, we are huge fans of books. So, we thought a great way to combine these two things was to compile a list of some of our favorite reads in hopes that one of these suggestions will be a good fit for someone in your life. We hope you find it helpful. Happy giving!
The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can't Get Their Act Together by Jared C. Wilson
Wilson is a gifted writer, but this is his best work. For many Christians, the word "discipleship" is mystifying and complicated. Wilson makes it plain and earthy in a way that the Bible makes walking with Jesus plain and earthy. It's a thoroughly, gospel-saturated guide for sinners who genuinely want to walk with Jesus.
Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey
I dreamt of getting married for almost 17 years before the Lord graciously gave me the gift of my husband. Prior to that, I read all the dating and marriage books I could get my hands on. But none captured my attention—with its wisdom and aestheticallyaesthtically pleasing design—like Barbara Rainey’s new book has. Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife is a winsome and whimsical compilation of advice given to her own daughters but made accessible to a whole generation of women who never had the privilege of seeing or learning about what makes a godly marriage. I highly recommend this book, for in reading it, your eyes will be opened to the beauty of marriage and the amazing God who designed it for his glory.
Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians by Bruce Ashford
Every Square Inch teaches Christians to see the world through redemptive lenses. Ashford is a Baptist theologian who writes in the tradition of Abraham Kuyper, making Kuyper's wisdom accessible to modern readers. In the book, Ashford demonstrates how the gospel uniquely shapes the way Christians engage with various spheres of culture including art, science, politics, and education. Beyond this, Ashford also provides examples throughout the book of men and women who have successfully shaped a given sphere of culture while faithfully bearing witness to Christ. This little book is an excellent primer on faith and culture.
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith
I happened to read this book at the right time, when I was rethinking a lot of things about my life. Smith’s basic thesis is that all of the routines of your day—the way you eat your dinner, put your kids to bed, get up in the morning—make up the liturgies of your daily life. And these liturgies are either forming you into or deforming you from the image of Christ. This is a great book to read during Christmas and the New Year, when many of us are thinking about what we want 2018 to look like.
Buck Denver asks: What's in the Bible? by Phil Vischer
I’m deviating from the rest of the staff and recommending a video gift rather than a book because I think it’s just that good. If you're looking for a fun resource to help your kids (and probably you!) understand church history, how the Bible was written, and who wrote it, I highly recommend Phil Vischer's DVD series. My kids (ages 10, 8, and 6) regularly request we watch these videos together, and it makes it easy for me to ask them questions about the Bible later on in the week. And they actually know the answers! I just ordered three new DVDs in the series to give to our kids this year as stocking stuffers. I recommend you do the same!
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
This book is a fascinating and eye-opening read about one of the least told stories of the 21st century. From the early 1900s through the 1970s, America experienced a mass immigration of African-Americans from the South and into the rest of the country. Many fled from the South because of the Jim Crow laws and rapid racism to various receiving cities in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families. Wilkerson follows the stories of four different people. She is a prolific storyteller, and her work helps show a different side of our nation that is often glossed over in the history books. This book would serve as a great gift for those that love history, but also those seeking to make sense of current racial tensions in our nation.
Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church By Winn Collier
Winn Collier gives us a gift that shows the way church was meant to be—full of deep, meaningful, long-time, committed friendships. Winn is a dear friend, but I was swept away to a fictional congregation full of real life relationships. I found myself longing for those friendships and not wanting the story to come to an end. The book is easy to read, full of short letters from a pastor to his congregation. Fortunately, it ends with the pastor departing for a sabbatical, which probably means he will return, and the letters will continue.
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
Other than Scripture, there has been no book more foundational to my spiritual life than Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional. Spurgeon's tender words have become my prayers, his careful exegesis a theological anchor, and his deep and intimate knowledge of the savior a pastoral voice in times of both joy and pain. With an entry for each morning and evening, it is a collection of meditations I treasure greatly. I've given away my copy—marked-up and coffee-stained—and recommended this gentle work more times than I can remember. It will be a blessing to believers and non-believers alike, for we all need to be reminded, often, of the sweet beckon of the gospel.