Unplug the Christmas Machine by Jo Robinson and Jean Staeheli. A book about reducing stress and bringing more love and joy into one’s Christmas.
Advent Presence: Kissed by the past, Beckoned by the future (Morehouse Publishing 2015). Its author is Melford Holland, an Episcopal priest and Education for Ministry (EFM) trainer. Each day’s brief reading is followed by a couple of questions to reflect on.
Choosing Gratitude-Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. (Moody Publishers)
The author challenges us to build a discipline not only of gratitude but also of gratitude in all things. The book includes a 30-Day Devotional to encourage the reader to devote time daily to practicing gratitude and to develop the ideas found in the book.
I highly recommend this book and think it is an excellent resource to use for looking within, with humility, and developing a more gracious and less complaining spirit. It was particularly wonderful to work through it with a group.
A New Kind of Christian, A Tale of Two friends on a Spiritual Journey by Brian D. McLaren.
It is a story of a priest questioning if he is reaching his parishioners. He feels he was failing them and wanting to change careers. As I read each chapter and pondered the topic and questions that were asked etc., I realized that it would also be a great book for a bible study. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
The Universal Christ, How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe by Richard Rohr.
Rohr draws on scripture, history, and spiritual practice, and he articulates a transformative view of Jesus Christ as a portrait of ‘God’s constant, unfolding work in the world’. This book is full of hope and vision and encourages us to recognize the Creator’s presence all around us and in everyone we meet. It can transform the way we see and the way we look at everything around us. To quote Rohr “Once we know that the entire world around us, all of creation, is both the hiding place and the revelation place for God, this world becomes home… to any who look deeply”.
It has an optional Companion Guide for Groups which is very helpful and makes it easy to lead a group.
Do I Stay Christian? A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned by Brian McLaren. McLaren talks about how the life of faith is like a massive and beautiful ship, capable of sailing the vast expanse of the seas and oceans of our planet, and with plenty of room for everyone. However, because it also comes with an anchor that is too big, and too heavy, it has never been able to harness its full potential and so it sits idle in the water, incapable of moving forward. The anchor that he describes is made up of the weight of the churches unwillingness to be open to change and transformation. It doesn’t matter if the topic is doctrine, beliefs, or worship styles. If we are not open to the idea that in every generation God’s Spirit will call us to be a new thing to effectively engage the changing needs of every generation, then we are dead in the water.
Rev. Jon Martin
As Kingfishers Catch Fire . . . A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God by Eugene H. Peterson (WaterBrook Publications, 2017). The book has seven parts to it, with seven different scriptures addressed in each section. It is a collection of sermons preached on those scriptures. Parts 1-4 are from the Old Testament and the last three the New Testament. That makes it a sermon-a-day 6 days a week for 49 days which is ideal for summer.