The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung and with illustrations by Don Clark, has to be one of the coolest things I have seen in some time. The book leads kids and parents on a journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and the new earth.
The story is written with a lightness and causal tone, that makes it perfect not only for children, but adults, as well! (I love a good children’s book as the next kid.) I could see this a great resource for middle school youth ministry, but also a great addition to any adult Bible study.
What Keeps You Up at Night: How to Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams, Pete Wilson, W Publishing Group, 2015.
Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. What Keeps You Up at Night? is his fourth book, where the main idea is that God has a purpose for each of us. Though Wilson never uses the word, you could refer to it as your vocation. What keeps us up at night is fear and uncertainty about fulfilling this God-given purpose.
From there, Wilson explores various ways in which fear keeps us from chasing our dreams – or God’s dreams for us. Fear prevents us from living into the holy life God has called us to. Wilson also provides some practical steps to overcome that fear. Prayer and trust in God are the strongest recommendations. Wilson writes:
It has been almost seven months since I have been to L’Arche in Lynchburg for Spiritual Life Night. I went tonight and it was like a homecoming of sorts. I was invited to stay and sing (not realizing that was why I was there). I was asked about baby J and Megan. There were bright smiles and huge hugs.
Then, without instruction or directions, chairs became to circle up and we all took our places. The red song books were handed out, and one by one we sang each person’s favorite hymn. It was gloriously out of tune. And it was awesome! Through “I’ve Got the Joy” and “Amazing Grace,” we made a joyful noise.
These are not always the first words used to describe a Vacation Bible School. You are more likely to hear words like loud, chaotic, messy. But that was not the chance at Peakland last week. While talking to Kristin, our VBS director at Peakland, she said, “My goal was for someone, somewhere, to have a spiritual experience.”
Baby J has hit a milestone. She now sits up with very little help, or without her arms extended out for balance. And she is quite proud of herself.
Every once and awhile though, she’ll get super excited about this newfound ability and falls face first.
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans, Nelson Books, 2015.
Searching for Sunday is one of the best books I’ve recently read. Rachel Held Evans is one of those Christian writers whom readers are divided on. You either love her or you don’t. Her latest book is no different. Some have gone to great lengths to explain why she has theologically missed the boat, or have longed for more. Others rejoice at this book. They have longed for the honestly that Evans communicates seemingly with ease about the realities of the Church.
I have not read a lot of her writing. I read a couple of her blog posts from time to time. Megan has read more of her books than I have. A friend of mine said how much he enjoyed and appreciated the book.
Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church – and What We Should Do Instead, Reggie McNeal, Tyndale Momentum, 2015.
Reggie McNeal sets out to do exactly what the subtitle suggests. The fist half of Kingdom Come explains why the church must give up fixing the church. While the second half deals with the what the church should do instead along with practical ways to do just that. The thesis of this approachable book is summarized in this statement by McNeal, which he repeats often:
“The church is not the point of the Kingdom; the Kingdom is the point of the church.”
The book is divided into two sections. One focusing on McNeal’s theory that in order for the Church to survive in this new day and age, it must refocus on the Kingdom. The second half gives practical examples and practical steps to achieve that. While the first half of the book is Pastor McNeal, the second half is Leadership Consulant McNeal.
This is the sermon I preached on May 17, 2015 at Peakland United Methodist on Acts 1:1-11. You can also listen on iTunes by clicking here.
I’ve been collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries – ministries of service – expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners. In this post you will hear from Brenda Laws who is an ordained deacon currently serving as an ID Case Manger for the Eastern Shore Community Service Board on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Her secondary appointment is at Horntown Charge UMC on the Eastern Shore District. Here are Brenda’s words:
When I saw her on stage with the bishop I heard a voice within my spirit say, “You will be where she is.” Ha Ha I thought that was a good joke. “I am a 19 year old single mom and that will never happen,” I thought. That day was at Annual Conference of June 1980 in Richmond. It changed my vocation in life. It changed who I was and it redefined who God was in my life.
I didn’t even know who that lady was on the conference stage, I just know she had set an example for me when she was consecrated a diaconal minister. My new quest in life was to find out about the diaconal ministry.