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Youth Who Don't Leave The Church
"This article comes in at number 5 not because of its lack of content but because of it's limited audience:it's written to parents with kids in the "youth group" age range. The fact of the matter is that our church is FULL of kids and we are all committed to seeing them grow. Read the article with this question in mind "what can I do to help other parents out with kids in this stage of life?"
year in review-book5-02
Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams
"A Theology of Christian Counseling connects biblical doctrine with practical living. Salvation, that central concern of Protestant theology, is often too narrowly defined. It is thought of as “being saved from the consequences of sin.” But God is doing much more. He is making something new out of the old sinful nature. He is, in Christ, making new creatures."
Simply put: counseling is about discipleship, all Christians are called to discipleship therefore all Christians are "counselors" to some degree. Out of the 8-10 books on Christian Counseling I read this year this one was the best in my eyes and comes second to "Instruments in the Redeemers Hands" over all. It encouraged my heart to love God more personally and love others more compassionately and practically.
The Insufficincy of Small Groups for Discipleship
"With a new coming up and many small groups regathering for study and fellowship, I thought these ideas on how small groups could function was helpful. Try and think of ways you might be able to take these ideas and apply them to not only the group you attend but to your life individually as well."
How people change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp
"A changed heart is the bright promise of the gospel. When the Bible talks about the gift of a new heart, it doesn't mean a heart that is immediately perfected, but a heart that is capable of being changed. Jesus' work on the cross targets our hearts---our core desires and motivations---and when our hearts change, our behavior changes. It's amazing to watch people who once seemed stuck in a pattern of words, choices, and behaviors start living in a new way as Christ changes their hearts."
This is another counseling book. Even though I found "Theology of Christian Counseling" more informative and educational this one touched my heart on a more personal level and so that is why it is ranked higher. This has most of the content you will need to understand why Biblical Counseling is the only way to truly counsel as well as the theological reasoning to it, but it brings all the information down to a "street" level and will be easier to apply to yourself and others right away. The "Heat", "Thorns", "Cross", "Fruit" diagram is worth the price of the book itself!
Our (Implicit) Theological Maps
"This article is great because it calls us to question how we apply the truths of Scripture and the assumptions we have made on how to apply them. The example given in the article is clear and it should cause us to think about other areas of our lives where we can be a bit more caring, patient, and personal as we minister to one another."
Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan
"The Pilgrim's Progress", is the classic fictional allegory of a young man named Christian who is on an adventurous journey across rough terrain, over sunlit hills, and through dark valleys. His trek is an intriguing story for all ages --the pilgrimage takes us from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City whose builder and maker is God."
I hadn't read this book since reading it 13 years ago. It was just as encouraging, humbling, and helpful this year as it was then! No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord you will find this book speaks to you. The joys and bitterness that "Christian" faces in this book are common to us all and I found myself singing for joy at times and almost brought to tears at others. Every Christian should read this book....more than once.
Marriage on the Edge of Eternity
"Again, another article limited to a particular group of people, but one most of us have been in, are in, or will be in. The topic of marriage is prominent today, and with so many ideas on how to "improve your marriage", or how to "divorce proof your marriage" I think this one offers a challenging perspective. As with most topically based articles, the principles found in this one can be applied to many other areas of life. Try to read it with both marriage and other areas of your walk in mind."
The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
"This is the best book I've read on the nature of church ministry", says Mark Dever. All Christian ministry is a mixture of trellis and vine. There is vine work: the prayerful preaching and teaching of the word of God to see people converted and grow to maturity as disciples of Christ. Vine work is the Great Commission. And there is trellis work: creating and maintaining the physical and organizational structures and programs that support vine work and its growth."
Talk about practical and helpful. As an elder I am always thinking, praying, and discussing with others in ministry how we can better serve our people to see them grow in depth, and how we can reach more people with the gospel to grow in width. This book really challenges how most churches function according to the status quo and caused me to think about how a church should approach ministering to people for their own joy and growth which would lead to God being more enjoyed and glorified. I'm sure it would do the same for you.
Dreams Have Direction
"This one takes number one simply for the fact that it speaks to not only every believer, but to every human being. This is the "leatherman" of articles if you will, there is a tool in it for multiple uses! It speaks to the unavoidable truth that our lives, desires, and "dreams" are intimately connected to what we see in life around us and with what God has planned for us. What do you do when your "dreams" and Gods plan for you don't line up? The challenge for us this new year is to "dream vertically" and then "dream horizontally."
God is the gospel by John Piper
"This book is a cry from the heart of John Piper. He is pleading that God himself, as revealed in Christ's death and resurrection, is the ultimate and greatest gift of the gospel."
This book made the top of the list for me this past year. I will confess up front that I love John Pipers preaching and writing style so I am biased. This book really came to me at a time where I needed to be reminded of the great gift God Himself is to us! The way that this book focused my attention on the sweetness of having God for me, and that this is done through His most beloved Son Jesus was not only necessary but refreshing, and invigorating. If you are feeling like life has gotten off course, that your focus is elsewhere, or that you're in a fog READ THIS BOOK! It will redirect the desires and affections of your heart anew. At least it did mine and that is why it is #1 on my list!
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