Bookshelf

For those that desire to delve deep and learn how to live out a robust faith in real life, here are some suggestions to start with.

The Walk: Steps for New and Renewed Followers of Jesus – Stephen Smallman

What does it mean to walk with Jesus? What does it look like to actually follow him? Whether you are totally new to Christianity or have a renewed sense of interest in Christ, this is an excellent and trustworthy companion to your studies in scripture. Designed to work best as a group study, this book patiently leads readers through Mark and Romans, illuminating a simple roadmap of the faith.

Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense – N. T. Wright

This book is often described as a modern-day version of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. N.T. unpacks Christianity and explains it accessibly and hopefully, assuming no prior knowledge or belief, gently and thoroughly answering key questions around faith and scripture.

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith – R. C. Sproul

For those who yearn for a deeper walk in faith, their journey can begin here. Dr. Sproul takes theology down off of the dusty shelves of theological libraries and expounds in clear and simple terms over one hundred major Christian doctrines. He offers readers a basic understanding of the Christian faith that will kindle a lifelong love for truth, which is foundational to maturity in Christ. Here are theologically sound explanations of the biblical concepts every Christian should know, written in a way that we can all understand.

A Skeptic’s Guide to Faith: What It Takes to Make the Leap – Philip Yancey

For some people, faith seems to come easily, but for others it comes in a swirl of doubts and questions. Philip Yancey confronts the questions head-on, from the stance of a skeptic. He writes: “I am where you are . . . an ordinary person trying to figure things out. I love, I experience beauty and pain, my friends die, I weep, I live. This book comes out of my own search and is written on behalf of those who live outside of belief―that borderlands region between belief and unbelief.”

The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are in An Age of Self Obsession – Mark Sayers

Welcome to the 21st century where you can now purchase and exchange personalities, depending on mood and circumstance; where you are told that you can be anyone you want to be, and identity is no longer based in a sense of self but rather in the imagery you choose at that moment.The Bible contains a radically different way of understanding our identity. The path that God has chosen for us to discover who we really are is the path of holiness. The most exciting thing is that this path is not for otherworldy saints, rather it is a path of earthy, gutsy holiness. It’s a path that is not about basing your life on this world or of shunning your desires. Instead, it is about bringing your hopes, your dreams, your brokenness, your desires, your humanness under the Lordship of Christ. By doing this we don’t just discover a new way of living out our faith, we discover a liberating, revolutionary, life-embracing way of being truly human.

The Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster

Foster introduces spiritual disciplines as the main way that we prepare the soil of our hearts for God to work in. The book covers internal, external and communal disciplines and provides practical explanations and suggestions for reflection along the way.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism – Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics, and even ardent believers, have about religion. Using literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and potent reasoning, Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one. To true believers he offers a solid platform on which to stand their ground against the backlash to religion created by the Age of Skepticism. And to skeptics, atheists, and agnostics, he provides a challenging argument for pursuing the reason for God.

The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing – Jonathan K. Dodson

In the The Unbelievable Gospel pastor Jonathan Dodson give us a timely look at what makes the gospel unbelievable in our age and how we can make it more believable in the midst of a changing culture. Addressing concerns and fears about the state of evangelism, Dodson offers a blend of wisdom and grace.

Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs – J. I. Packer

The title says it all, as does the blurb: “how can I know God better? If only I had the time to study theology… if only someone could explain the essentials of theology in bite-sized portions… if only there was a resource that went deeper without drowning me in page after page…” This book covers the essentials of Christian doctrine with plenty of scripture references to encourage deep scriptural exploration.

The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story – Craig G. Bartholomew

While it reads more like an academic textbook, this book is a brilliant resource in surveying the grand narrative of the Bible, demonstrating how the biblical story forms the foundation of a Christian worldview.

Strange Days: Life in the Spirit in a Time of Upheaval – Mark Sayers

These days the world has everyone spinning. Weekly terrorist attacks. The refugee crisis. Transgender bathrooms. Academic safe spaces. Tensions with Russia. A perpetually uncertain economy. The list goes on. It’s enough to make us crazy… or want to put our heads in the sand. But we can’t, because these are our times, and we must face them. “Take heart, for I have overcome the world,” Jesus said nearly 2,000 years ago. And that’s the message of Strange Days, the message the church needs today.

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will – Kevin DeYoung

Hyper-spiritual approaches to finding God’s will don’t work. It’s time to try something new: Give up.
Pastor and bestselling author Kevin DeYoung counsels Christians to settle down, make choices, and do the hard work of seeing those choices through. Too often, he writes, God’s people tinker around with churches, jobs, and relationships, worrying that they haven’t found God’s perfect will for their lives. Or-even worse-they do absolutely nothing, stuck in a frustrated state of paralyzed indecision, waiting… waiting… waiting for clear, direct, unmistakable direction. But God doesn’t need to tell us what to do at each fork in the road. He’s already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him with our whole hearts, to obey His Word, and after that, to do what we like. No need for hocus-pocus. No reason to be directionally challenged. Just do something.

A Call to Prayer – J.C Ryle

J.C. Ryle was well known for his warm, plain-spoken candor, the kind which appeals to all souls regardless of rank or title, and this booklet is no different. Bold, encouraging, and affectionate, A Call to Prayer is just as the title says—an earnest invitation for all children of God to come before Him in prayer. Read it, be edified, and have hope: you have access to the Maker of heaven and earth who can do all things.

Morning and Evening – Charles Spurgeon

For tens of thousands of Christians over the last century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening has been a daily devotional guide through life’s ups and downs. New generations can once again enjoy Spurgeon’s beautiful prose and elegant command of the English language in this completely revised edition. Morning and Evening offers readers the best of Spurgeon’s insight and wise counsel on themes that are as relevant to our day as they were in his day.

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work – Timothy Keller

With deep conviction and often surprising advice, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about work today. In fact, the Christian view of work—that we work to serve others, not ourselves—can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life. Keller shows how excellence, integrity, discipline, creativity, and passion in the workplace can help others and even be considered acts of worship—not just of self-interest.

Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience – Mark Sayers

Disappearing Church is a direct answer to the most pressing question facing church leaders today: How do we reach—and keep—people in a world that keeps swallowing Christians? Full of real stories and actionable insights, Disappearing Church offers practical wisdom for discipling in a highly secularised society. God will grow his church and protect its purity, but He will use each of us to do it. Are you up for the challenge?

ESV Study Bible – ESV Bibles by Crossway

While it’s really up to the reader, this is the bible translation we tend to read from at Life Church. The ‘ESV Study Bible’ was designed to help you understand the Bible in a deeper way. Created by a diverse team of 95 leading Bible scholars and teachers—from 9 countries, nearly 20 denominations, and 50 seminaries, colleges, and universities—the ‘ESV Study Bible’ features a wide array of study tools, making it a valuable resource for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s Word.

Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books – Tony Reinke

Whether reading is your addiction or your phobia, this book is for you. A practical guide built on the gospel, Lit! models the skills needed to build a balanced reading diet of Scripture, theology, and devotional books, but without overlooking important how-to books, great stories, and books meant to be enjoyed for pleasure. Literature scholar Leland Ryken calls it “a triumph of scholarship,” but mostly it’s a non-pretentious book about reading from an average reader who wants to share important convictions and skills you can use for the rest of your luminously literate life.

Shaped by the Gospel – Timothy Keller

It is easy to assume that if we understand the gospel and preach it faithfully, our ministry will necessarily be shaped by it—but this is not true. Many churches claim to be gospel-centered but do not have a ministry that is shaped by, centered on, and empowered through the gospel. The implications of the gospel have not yet worked their way into the fabric of how that church does ministry.

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit – James K. A. Smith

In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the “imagination station” that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.

On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts – James K. A. Smith

This is not a book about Saint Augustine. In a way, it’s a book Augustine has written about each of us. Popular speaker and award-winning author James K. A. Smith has spent time on the road with Augustine, and he invites us to take this journey too, for this ancient African thinker knows far more about us than we might expect. This book shows how Augustine can be a pilgrim guide to a spirituality that meets the complicated world we live in. Augustine, says Smith, is the patron saint of restless hearts–a guide who has been there, asked our questions, and knows our frustrations and failed pursuits.

Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis

One of the most popular and beloved introductions to the concept of faith ever written, ‘Mere Christianity’ has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together C.S. Lewis’s legendary radio broadcasts during the war years, in which he set out simply to ‘explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times’. Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations, ‘Mere Christianity’ provides an unequalled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to absorb a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.

Surprised by Hope: Original, Provocative and Practical – Tom Wright

What do Christians hope for? To leave this wicked world and go to ‘heaven’ For the ‘kingdom of God’ to grow gradually on earth? What do we mean by the ‘resurrection of the body’, and how does that fit with the popular image of sitting on clouds playing harps? And how does all this affect the way we live in the here and now? Tom Wright, one of our leading theologians, addresses these questions in this provocative and wide-ranging new book. He outlines the present confusion about future hope in both church and world.

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