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Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary – J.D. Greear
J.D. applies to the gospel to the life of the Christian as the ultimate power for change and transformation. In Christ we receive God’s unconditional love, possess everlasting joy, extend God’s love to others, and know God’s limitless compassion and power.
“A Christianity that does not have as its primary focus the deepening of passions for God is a false Christianity, no matter how zealously it seeks conversions or how forcefully it advocates righteous behavior.”
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power and the Only Hope that Matters
Keller takes us deep into the human heart to root out and expose the false promises of counterfeit gods and our false worship of them; demonstrating that only Christ can meet our deepest need.
“Idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced. If you only try to uproot them, they grow back; but they can be supplanted. By what? By God himself, of course. But by God we do not mean a general belief in his existence. Most people have that, yet their souls are riddled with idols. What we need is a living encounter with God.”
Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering – Timothy Keller
This is the best book on understanding and coming to grips with pain and suffering. Keller helps us understand the God who allows suffering and ultimately took it upon himself at the cross. Then he navigates the complexities of walking through suffering for oneself and for others.
Think of all the greatest servants, from Abraham to Joseph to David to Jesus himself, who often prayed and did not get the answer they sought. If we say, “I know you will answer this prayer, God. You can’t not answer it” – then our confidence is not really in God’s wisdom but in our own.
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis explores Christianity’s unique answers to the questions of life from the position of a skeptic who has come to faith. This philosophical look at the faith will enlighten new and seasoned believer alike.
The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us..”
Knowing God – J.I. Packer
Packer examines from the Scriptures the different facets of the character of God in a no-nonsense way that will transform your understanding of who He is and humble you beneath His majesty.
“No doubt it is true that the subject of divine wrath has in the past been handled speculatively, irreverently, even malevolently… Yet if we would know God, it is vital that we face the truth concerning his wrath, however unfashionable it may be, and however strong our initial prejudices against it. Otherwise we shall not understand the gospel of salvation from wrath, nor the propitiatory achievement of the cross, nor the wonder of the redeeming love of God”.
Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist – John Piper
Piper teaches that God is most devoted to his glory and is glorified by our enjoyment of Him. Our joy in God flows into conversion, worship, love, marriage, money, prayer, Scripture, missions, and suffering.
“All the works of God culminate in the praises of his redeemed people. The climax of his happiness is the delight he takes in the echoes of his excellence in the praises of his saints. This praise is the consummation of our own joy in God. Therefore God’s pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in him are the same pursuit. This is the great gospel!”
When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man – Edward Welch
Welch gives us a biblically accurate view of God to help us overcome our fears that people will see us for who we are, reject us, hurt us, or fail us. Once God meets the needs in our lives we are free to delight in Him and love others.
“The fear of man is no respecter of persons. It might be called codependency by adults, peer pressure with teens, and shyness with children, but whatever it is called, it all betrays the same idolatrous heart.”