Friendship, The Spirit, Evangelism and the call to be Holy…

I was recently on holiday, as you can probably imagine, one of the hardest things for me going on holiday is knowing which books to take with me. Depending on the holiday destination, I like to spend a lot of time on the beach or by the pool with a good book. That’s what I did this time, except for a day trip to Ephesus which was very fun! Admittedly, I didn’t read as much as I normally would, I did read a few good books that I’d like to share with you all. Here are a few short reviews of books that I read of holiday…

Before You Share Your Faith by Matt Smethurst

I love and devoured this book, I think you will too! Matt starts off by honestly opening up about how difficult and uncomfortable evangelism can be for him personally and throughout the book he continues to be open about that. This book isn’t a A,B,C of evangelism, or at Matt says, it’s not a handbook of evangelistic jujitsu tips (I was hooked and laughing after that comment). This book instead of focusing on the ‘how’ of evangelism, takes a step back and helps you do the ground work in your own heart first. In just 5 short chapters (there’s also a conclusion and an appendix), Matt walks you through key things to consider before you share your faith.

  • Grasp the Gospel
  • Check Your Context
  • Love the Lost
  • Face Your Fear
  • Start to Speak

This book is full of great quotes and challenging truths that will make you think and ignite a fire in you to share Jesus with the world. I particularly liked the Love the Lost chapter. It’s something I’ve been pondering for quite a while, personally I think one of the biggest reasons that we don’t share the gospel with people is because we have lost a deep love for them. It’s easier to focus on our comfort and social standing than it is to think about where someone is going to spend eternity.

I highly recommend you pick up this book, you’ll get through it in a matter of hours but you’ll want to read it over and over again.

God’s Spirit, The Antidote to Chaos by Reuben Hunter

It is no secret that we live in a chaotic world and the question is, how can we live good, God-glorifying lives, in the midst of such chaos? Simply trying harder isn’t the answer, we need someone outwit our messy world to give us the strength to live the life that God has created us to live. That’s what the book encourages us with.

Reuben Hunter takes you through the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 and helps you see how the Spirit is at work in the life of the believer to produce in them the fruit of life that God has called each Christian to.

I’ll put my cards on the table, I wasn’t a huge fan of the book for 2 reasons;

  • There wasn’t actually a huge amount of application for the everyday Christian to take away
  • I’m not sure that this book added anything different to what other books on the topic have already said

Having said that, it was a nice read with good biblical insights and was obviously written by a pastor who cares for his flock and wants them to grow in the Lord. One of the things that the book does well, is that Reuben connects God’s Word into today’s culture with all the complexities well.

Iron Sharpens Iron, Friendship and the grace of God by Michael Haykin

I devoured this book! It’s a bit niche, but I thought it was great. One of the things that I know to be true is that finding friends in ministry is a wonderful gift but also very hard to actually come by. Busy schedules, different churches, pastoral difficulties and the list goes on for reasons why it’s hard for pastors to find deep friendships in ministry.

In this book Haykin stresses the importance and benefit of having deep friendships, not acquaintances that are helpful for practical reasons (such as networking, or personal future development, etc.). Haykin does this by first given an overview of how friendships have been viewed throughout history and the important role that they have played in many cultures.

He then goes on to a number of friendships between historical theologians and the important role that they played, not only in their personal lives but also as encouragers and supporters of each other’s ministries. I say this book is niche because it does spend a long time talking about key theological figures from the past, but it’s super interesting. I would definitely encourage you to read this book and I hope that you enjoy it just as much as this church history geek did!

Everyday Holiness by Josh Moody

How exactly can Christians the life of holiness that we’re called to live? Yup, we are called to be holy, it isn’t an optional extra for the ‘good Christian’ in the crowd. In this book Josh goes to parts of Colossians to help the reader see what holiness should look like in the life of Christians every day. Josh says helpful things and gives good insights out from the Bible passages that he speaks about, he tackles some big questions and topics with ease and with an evident pastoral love for his people.

I think that the book is ok. I say only ok because this book was originally delivered as a series of sermons at Josh’s church and that’s evident when reading it through. Personally, I really struggle and often am not the biggest fan, of books that were first sermon series. They often don’t flow like a ‘normal book’ does and they’re written with a particular context in mind, rather than a broad readership.

So, whilst I think that Josh says helpful things, it’s not one that I would be jumping to give away to people. The best books that I’ve read on holiness are Holiness by Ryle (slightly longer older book) and The Hole in our Holiness by DeYoung (shorter, insightful and challenging). If you’re looking for a book on holiness, grab one (or both!) of those.

*** I received these books from the publishers in exchange for honest reviews. This does not change the way I rate the books. My views are my own. ***

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