Summer Reading List

I have not always been a reader by choice.  I have never hated to read, but like most high school and college students, as soon as I got my degree I took great joy in the fact that no one could ever MAKE me read anything again :) But my rebellion didn't last too long and as I grew in my walk with the Lord, I was drawn to books again and this time, for the right reasons.  When I was in my early twenties, being a volunteer in ministry, meeting with mentors and disciple-ing college students started the spark in me to read more.  The Bible came alive to me in many ways, thanks to life circumstances that pushed me Christ and also to older women who made a difference in my life, but truly no one inspired me more than my husband.  He is a reader of all kinds of things, the Bible, theology, leadership, history, wars, etc. and since I met him, he's always got 3 or 4 books he's reading at once.  It took me awhile to not be irritated by his constant reading :) Living with a book worm makes it hard to sit on the couch and watch TV at night, without feeling incredibly lazy!  But I soon got over that and he was wise to let me watch what I wanted without a guilt trip, ha ha.  It didn't take long for me to embrace a love for reading and it has now become something that we do together before we go to bed and sometimes when we're on a date. 
The more I read, the more I realize how much I've got to learn!  I'm a fast reader so it doesn't take me long to get through a book, but there are some that I deliberately slow down to digest.  I'm not a fiction reader or really a pleasure reader either.  If I'm going to make the time to read something, I prefer that it drives me to the Word and that it makes me think or change something about my life.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but that's just who I am.  I'm not any fun.  Ha ha!

Anyway, this summer I've got some goals for myself and a list a books that I hope to get through.  I thought I'd share them with you in case you're looking for something to read at the beach or in my case, during nap time :)
I'd love to hear what you're reading too this summer, I'm always looking for great books to add to my list!
Gospel Powered Parenting, by William Farley
I'm currently reading this and it's so good.  Really one of best parenting books I've read so far.  I like it because it's not a self-help approach to parenting or a "10 steps to..." book.  It's a read that will challenge you and force you to take a good look at your doctrine and your theology, and then line it up with God's Word and the Gospel.  It encourages you to parent out of your response to the Gospel, making the case from scripture that the Gospel answers every need we have as people and as parents.  I am 5 chapters in and I feel like I need to start over and take better notes!  It's a rich read and one that is prompting me to think about the Holiness of God and my fear of Him.  I can't recommend this book enough!  Definitely worth your time.

 Seven, by Jen Hatmaker
I haven't read this yet, but I've been hearing so much about it and I'm eager to get my hands on it.  It's basically the story of the author's experiment to examine and cut out much of the "excess" in 7 areas of her life, simplifying what so many of us have fallen for in America, a huge amount of excess and materialism.  This is what the book description concludes: So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.
This book is a classic in the Christian world and one I haven't read yet.  This is what the publisher says about it: Now celebrating 25 years of publication, this classic can help you better understand the biblical picture of God’s awesome holiness and why it is so foundational to God-centered, God-honoring theology and Christian living. In The Holiness of God , R.C. Sproul demonstrates that encountering God’s holy presence is a terrifying experience. Dr. Sproul argues that this struggle is nonetheless necessary because it is the only way to cure our propensity to trust in ourselves and our own righteousness for salvation.
I've been struck by the topic of God's Holiness as I've been reading through the Old Testament and have encountered so many commands from the Lord to remember that He is Holy and to be Holy as He is Holy.  But as I've been thinking through what that means and studying the origins of the word and what the Bible says about it, I've realized how misunderstood it is in our world, even within the Church.  It's not an easy thing to wrap our minds around at all and yet, it's essential in our doctrine to have a correct view of God.  So, I'm hoping to get through this, I'm guessing it won't be a light read :)

Gospel, by J.D. Greear
I know this is a tiny photo, I couldn't get a larger one for some reason.  We have loved anything from J.D. over the  years.  We went to his Church for a season while we lived in North Carolina and Trav was in Seminary.  We volunteered in the college ministry and Trav taught a few times in there, but shortly after that the Lord opened up a ministry opportunity for us at a different Church.  We miss him!!  He is an amazing guy and the Lord has gifted him in leadership and teaching.  We loved his preaching and still do.  Podcasts, blogs, and now his books are the ways we keep up with him.  This book is a much needed voice of clarity and Biblical truth in what the Gospel really is, not just the bent toward moralism or legalism that the Church often gravitates towards.  He is a great author, an even better preacher of the Word.  Travis has already read this and liked it, so I'm anxious to read it too.

The Meaning of Marriage, by Tim Keller
If you don't know Tim Keller, he is in a word, deep.  He pastors a Church in Manhattan and is a very well respected and loved.  He's not easy to read because he's brilliant, but I've heard wonderful things about this book.  It just came out in November and the gist of it is about why marriage today is in dire straits and what can be done to rescue it, all within the context of the Gospel.  Can't wait to read it!!

So there you have it!  Hopefully I'll be using my free time well this summer, getting through these books and exercising my brain.  Which is my favorite form of exercise!  Anytime I can be sipping iced coffee with my feet up and getting a mental workout at the same time, feels like a win-win :)
Not so sure I'll feel that way when I'm putting on a swimsuit however...

So I gave you my list, now what are you reading this summer???

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