two helpful book recommendations

Maintaining the inadvertent theme of long reviews of short books, I’d like to introduce two helpful books:

 The Message of Ecclesiastes, by Derek Kidner, Coming soon to a book table near you.  Per Josh, this is a very high value per pound.  God’s people are usually not tempted to think in an atheistic way, but often in a secular way.  What the author of Ecclesiastes does for us is take on the persona of a secular thinker, who may think he acknowledges God, but whose choices are made without God at the center.  Our age is content to stop at cynicism—a superficial criticism of all things as superficial.  Ecclesiastes calls us to much more; it calls us to thorough examination and honesty.  One of the most powerful arguments is to correctly frame the arguments you oppose, make the best case that can be made for them, and then demolish them.  While our age may acknowledge truths about the emptiness of fame or money, it keeps acting as if they could satisfy.  If you look for your life to be about anything less than God, figuring out daily meals is draining, writing an essay is tedious, exercise feels pointless and futile, and relationship disappointing.  For a follower of God the routines of life are God’s good and enjoyed gift, tasks both training and blessing, and relationships cherished and enjoyed by not making these things ultimate.

 

Missions:  How the Local Church Goes Global, by Andy Johnson.  This book is by one of my former pastors.  Why would I recommend a book on missions to a missions minded church?  For the same reason Paul urged generous givers to grow in generosity.  We’re being remade into the image of Christ, not content to pursue a limited standard.  Unsurprisingly, this book begins by grounding our thinking in the Bible.  Unnervingly, we can see that often we’re not entirely grounded there already.  The local church is central to missions in ways our modern Christian culture frequently misses.  This book is a call to stay centered on the Gospel, to send and support well, to order our priorities in ways that are sometimes hard, to bring trust and humility to mission partnerships, to have long-term thinking about short-term missions, and to value missions by beginning our mission work at home.  I think that many of you will read this book, because of who we are as a church.