Here's a few carefully selected from our deligent bookworms, sharing their thoughts and comments.
Uncensored: Dating, Friendships, and Sex You Think You Know by Jeanie May
When I first received my secondhand copy of this book in the post, I thought its condition was very badly described on Amazon, there were red pen marks and comments all over the book! But actually, it's an intrinsic part of its edgy design... And edgy it is, in a compassionate, Christ-loving, people-loving, practical AND Bible-honouring way. Addressing with gentle frankness the following areas: friendships, dating, romantic relationships, falling in love, masturbation, determining your future, sex, homosexual struggles, porn (male & female kind!), the author gives practical advice embedded in plenty of real life examples and explanations. You read this knowing that the writer is talking sense! She has been given amazing insight and wisdom in order to communicate clearly and effectively God's heart for our young people (& older young people!) in these important areas: it was given a definite thumbs up by a couple of youth who have test-driven it for relevance. I totally recommend you to read this. I challenge you not to be put off by the title because it is so much more than just the attention-grabbing headliner words, but explores in depth that which underpins all these things - our relationships with others, and how our relationship with God affects them all.
The Shack by William Young
“Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly, and if left unresolved you can almost forget that you were ever created to fly in the first place.”
Unlike any other Christian fiction, the Shack seriously challenges the traditional imagery I had had of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in a way which left me feeling surprised, amazed and refreshed. The story centres round a father, Mackenzie Allen Phillips (or Mack to his wife and close friends) and his encounter with God during one weekend in a Shack in Wikowsky, Oregon. God gives Mack the strength to overcome The Great Sadness, and shows Mack of His love allowing Mack’s pain and guilt to no longer haunt him.
Incredibly well written, The Shack tests the true nature of humans – can we really learn to forgive others, even in the light of a terrible tragedy? The story puts an eternal, heavenly perspective on Mack’s life and is altogether a wonderful fiction to read. It is able to encourage you to look past the world we live in today, and look forwards towards the moment we are able to be with our Creator and friend.
Overall, a definite must read for believers and non-believers alike!
Multiply by Francis Chan
We studied this book in the Central Cell. The book is designed to encourage followers of Christ to make disciples and help equip us to make disciples. Disciples making disciples! It focuses on The Great Comission.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It is broken down into chapters that cover fundamental parts of the bible from the Old to New Testament that point toward Jesus, each chapter is followed by discussion/study questions. A reminder of what we are called to do and why we are where we are. A great book to study as a group!
Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
I have been deeply challenged (and hopefully changed) by it; one story in particular caused me to weep bitterly with repentance as well as realise just how deep, how magnanimous is the love of God towards us, His odd children.
I know many of you are not parents yet, but this is a book I wish I had read before our kids came along. So I heartily recommend it, or if you have friends who are wanting a better relationship with their children, this is worth passing on.
Radical by David Platt
It's a very uncomfortable yet liberating read. It challenges us to re-evaluate how we live our lives. I left the Elim Bible Week burdened with the thought that we only have one life to live; how shall we live it? I ordered this book before I left and God has continued to speak to me through it on my return. We need to look beyond our narrow lives and realise there is a great big harvest field out there, and we have many brothers and sisters who are all making a difference in their own way.
Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
We are told to "just do something!". It explores God's will and our decision making. It reminds us to not "over-spiritualise" every decision we make. God gave us wisdom and free-will for a reason, God isn't a Magic 8 ball that gives us an answer on demand!
This is the second book Central Cell have read together. It is useful for guiding and discipling those who have been followers of Christ for a while and may have fallen into certain habits. What spoke to me the most was the emphasis of wisdom - we aren't robots, God gave us our own minds to make decisions. It's so easy to make excuses when making important decisions such as which university course or career choices, we may pray asking "God what shall I do? What should I study? Please show me the right way!!". Are we just being lazy or scared and using God as an excuse to not face the pressures of life - a cop-out?
We are reminded to make choices with wisdom and with righteous motives. God doesn't need to tell us what to do in every single decision, He's already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him with our whole hearts and to obey His word. Let's stop faffing and do something!
I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris
This was a challenging and thought provoking book to read but it left me with a healthier understanding of what it means to be in a 'Christ-centred relationship'.
Harris gives a witty and honest account of his past dating experiences and in doing so, carefully dismantles the whole notion of 'dating' as we see it today. As Christians, every aspect of our lives ought to model Christ - why should dating be the exception?
In giving his own reasons for why he personally 'kissed dating goodbye', he invites the reader to re-evaluate their true intentions of dating and the underlying impact on one's Christian walk. Whether single or in a relationship, married or not, this book is definitely one to read and guaranteed to bring about some great discussions!
Marriage Covenant by Derek Prince
A book on marriage that will bless you for a lifetime! "The Biblical Secret for a Love That Lasts" by Derek Prince.
We read this during our year of engagement; I do recommend this book if you are in a steady relationship and wondering if you are ready to make a commitment And, of course, it's great for 'marrieds' too.
Derek Prince's teaching from the Bible and on how it relates to our everyday is solid: he writes well and loves Jesus. A good choice.