Although reading is a vital part of my role as a pastor at Revision, it is also my favorite personal hobby. Usually I have books scattered all over our house, which Brittany obviously loves. Because I like to read so much, I am constantly finding and investing in new books, which causes me to have a long reading list. At the request (or demand) of Evan Logan, I’m going to limit my current reading list to just four books.
I heard about this book a few months ago and finally picked it up. It is an excellent book that helps churches understand how we can make sure we are spending the proper amount of time on actual ministry and not just maintenance, policies and procedures. There are lots of books out there on this subject, but I particularly like this book because it is about changing how we think about ministry, not just changing our actions. I love books that discuss attitude and philosophical change over simply implementing new things to do and The Trellis and the Vine excels at this.
I hope that every member of Revision Church reads this book. This is a small book that I got for free at a 9 Marks workshop recently. It is a short book to read and is immensely helpful for pastors and church members. It helps clarify what church members to know what the Scripture expects of them and helps pastors better understand what we should want, expect and hope to see in our church members. Pretty much anything published by 9 Marks is helpful so if you are looking for good books on ecclesiology (doctrine of the church) I suggest you check them out. www.9marks.org
Mark Dever, president of 9 Marks which I mentioned earlier, said that Carson is this generations John Calvin. Based on the depth and wisdom in his books and essays, I would have to agree with Dever. Carson has become an example for me by modeling how academic scholarship, spiritual formation and the importance of the local church go together and not to the neglect of either one. This book is one Carson’s best works. The love of God is the most discussed attribute of God in the church today, but could be the least understood. Carson is correct in calling the doctrine of the love of God difficult because the depth and brevity of God’s love is often difficult to understand. It is helping me to grasp the love of God and all its implications for Christians and non-Christians.
John Owen died in 1683, 200 years before I was born. I love to read books by authors who have died and Owen’s books are worth the time and investment if you are interested. I will warn you that, although it is worth your time, it will take up your time more than most books because Owen has a distinct writing style, so read John Owen slowly. This particluar book by Owen has really opened my eyes to see just how wonderful and powerful the atonement that Christ made for his people is. It is helping me understand verses from Romans chapter 8 in ways that I didn’t know were there. As Christians we often think that the atonement Christ made for us was just to accomplish our forgiveness and secure us our place with God in eternity and that our maturity as Christians is really in our control. Owen is helping me to understand from Romans chapter eight about the power of the atonement presently to kill the power of sin in our day-to-day lives, not just for the future.