Every year there are thousands upon thousands of books published, even in the Christian world there are so many books out there. Different publishers, different authors and different topics, so it’s no wonder that many Christians feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material and don’t know what book to read next. That’s why this blog was created, to review books to give you a feel for whether it’s something you feel is the best investment of your time, money and energy. The goal of reading, of certain books at least, should be to push you towards Jesus, to know him and love him more. Here are a few smaller reviews for you of some materials I’ve read recently.
Conspiracy Theories; when God is seemingly against us by Richard Gibbons
We live in a world that is constantly feeding us information, not all of it is bad, but it is a lot. With news alerts popping up on our smartphones, instant messages from people all over the world and the ability to watch videos and interact with people online, the world is a melting pot of ideas. Yet, people often feel overwhelmed, then throw in the mix disappointments and unanswered prayer and it can often leave Christians, and non-Christians, with a sense that God is fighting against them. The idea that God has turned His back, that He’s no longer interested in people or this world and the idea that God has turned a deaf ear to prayer is no uncommon. What’s the remedy? Richard Gibbons has written this great book that walks through Psalm 139, it focuses on God, on His majesty, splendour, love and compassion. This book will take you to Scripture and give you a biblical view of who our God is and just how amazing He is. If you’ve lost your zeal or first love for the Lord, if you feel as if God is against you or if you want to be awe-inspired about God again, this book will be a great guide to help you focus on God and see Him for who He really is.
Making Faith Magnetic by Daniel Strange
How do we connect culture to Christ? How do we help people see how some of the things that they keep talking about actually point to Jesus? These are questions that many Christians wrestle with, not because they want to conform to the culture around them, but because they want to be able to share Jesus more with their friends and family. Dan Strange is perfectly placed to write this book, in His previous book Plugged In helped the reader to enter, explore and expose the worldview of what people are reading, watching and speaking about. This book takes those same principles but applies them to 5 things that people are drawn to. The first part of the book explores those five things and the second part of the book explains how those desires ultimately find their fulfilment in Jesus. This would be a helpful book that will assist you as you try to engage with people and their desires for their lives and the world.
Making Sense of Life by Michael Ots
Our world is complex, our cultural perceptions aren’t always straight forward and so naturally people have questions about life. Everyone will have their own questions that they’re wrestling with, different seasons bring different questions, but the principle is the same, we are a people who are always trying to make sense of life. Michael Ots is a very gifted writer, he writes about serious topics in an engaging and easy to understand why whilst exposing what our desires and worldviews really long for. In this book Michael walks through 10 questions hat focus on making sense of different topics. Here are the different topics Michael addresses, making sense of…
- Our world
This is a great book that will inform you as a Christian whilst also helping you make sense of the topics above, but it would also be a good book of a non-Christian who is wrestling with their worldview and how Christianity fits into the world. I really enjoyed this book as I have other books by Michael and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.
Cosmic Chemistry; do God and science mix? by John Lennox
I must begin by saying that I am no scientist, it’s not a topic that particularly sparks my interest or draws me in, but it is a topic that many people wrestle with so I think every Christian should read at least one book (it doesn’t matter how technical) on the relationship between science and religion. Over the course of 370 pages, Lennox takes the reader on a deep dive into the wonders of science, some of the questions that it does answer but also some of the questions that it doesn’t. The book is split into 5 parts and 21 chapters. The five parts are;
- Surveying the landscape
- Science and explanation
- Understanding the universe and life
- The modern Synthesis
- The information age
The chapters within those section speak to a vast array of topics from genetics to evolution, from different worldviews and information based systems to the complexities of the brain. If you’re into science or you are being intentional with a friend who is a very into science, this book could be a good aid to them thinking through how religion and science interact. It won’t answer all of their, or your, questions but it will give you a good starter.
Freedom to flourish; the rest God offers in the purpose He gives us by Elizabeth Garn
Occasionally I get sent books and I’m not part of the intended audience, this is one of those books. Written for women, freedom to flourish, helps women see God’s plan and purpose in the early chapters of Genesis. In a world where women can often be tempted to compare themselves to others (this isn’t only specific to women) and the attitude, within many Christian circles too, of try hard and do more, it can be hard for women and franticly it can be overwhelming. Elizabeth walks the reader through the first three chapters of Genesis and helps you see the beauty of God’s design and His grand purposes behind it all. One of the things that I like about this book is that it isn’t full of fluff. Sometimes books written for women take a fluffy approach to identity and worth and they just come away with a message of ‘God loves you’. That isn’t wrong, but I prefer, and many women I know prefer, books that they can properly get their teeth into, theology that will fuel their devotion to God and truth that will push them to love God more. This book does that well.
God’s Secret Listener by John Butterworth
I love reading biographies, I enjoy hearing about how people came to know Jesus and how the gospel completely changed their lives. this book is the story of Berti Dosti, a captain in the Albanian Army. Captain Dosti’s job was to listen to the international radio waves and to discern wether Albania, sometimes referred to as the ‘first atheistic state’, was going to be invaded by other countries. As Dosti switched between channels he heard the words “If you want to find out more about god we will meet again tomorrow”. That started a journey in Dosti’s life that lead him from being a captain in the Albanian Army to being a Pastor. It’s a thrilling tale that I’m sure you’d enjoy.
Hope for all the earth by Mitchell Chase
I love the Old Testament; I love to read it, I love to preach it, I love to speak about it and I love to see Christians reading it too. I love it so much because in order to fully understand who Jesus is and what He did, we need to look back in our Bibles to the Old Testament. This book helps you do that. Each chapter is a summary of some of the key moment in the Old Testament, Mitchell walks you through some of the key texts that help you understand Jesus and his work more. This book will give you a greater grasp of God’s plan as you’re met with the ins and outs of the Old Testament.