Over the last couple of months our LIFE GROUPS have been studying John Ortberg’s SOUL KEEPING course and our Sunday messages have been focused on spiritual growth. To use technical terms, we have been thinking about Christian spirituality and spiritual formation. We have been learning about what it means to live in the Kingdom of God and what we need to do grow and thrive in that Kingdom.
I have been really encouraged by some of the conversations I have been having with people about spiritual growth as a result of what we have been looking at as a community. A few people have asked me about what I would recommend to help them think a bit more about these subjects. So, I decided to recommend a few books that hopefully would do just that and maybe be a good use of those Amazon Christmas vouchers. Here they are
RENOVATION OF THE HEART by Dallas Willard
I know that many of you have become interested in Dallas Willard because of his relationship with John Ortberg, Ortberg often jokingly calls his own material DALLAS WILLARD FOR DUMMIES. Renovation of the Heart is the book that much of the thinking in Ortberg’s Soul Keeping book comes from. It’s a bit deeper than Ortberg’s. It looks at how God actually changes our character so that we can become increasingly like Christ. It’s a book you will have to often put down and ponder.
The greatest need you and I have-the greatest need of collective humanity-is renovation of our heart. That spiritual place with in us from which outlook, choices, and actions come has been formed by a world away from God. Now it must be transformed. Indeed, the only hope of humanity lies in the fact that, as our spiritual dimension has been formed, so it also can be transformed
THE LIFE YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED by John Ortberg
John Ortberg reminds us that effectiveness comes not from simply trying harder but training better. This is true for athletes but also for Christians, we need to train ourselves in Christlikeness and the way we do that is through spiritual habits. This is an easy to read book and a great introduction to the role of spiritual habits in helping us grow. Ortberg writes with his usual combination of authenticity, profundity, and humour.
“But to grow spiritually means to live increasingly as Jesus would in our unique place—to perceive what Jesus would perceive if he looked through our eyes, to think what he would think, to feel what he would feel, and therefore to do what he would do.”
ONE.LIFE JESUS CALLS, WE FOLLOW by Scot McKnight
Scot McKnight is a professor New Testament with a passion for helping ordinary Christians get to grips with the implications of Scripture. In this book he looks at what the New Testament has to tell us about life in the Kingdom of God. He unpacks what it means to orientate our life around the Kingdom of God in different areas of our life.
Those who aren’t following Jesus aren’t his followers. Its that simple. Followers follow, and those who don’t follow aren’t followers. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it.
SOUL CRAVINGS by Erwin McManus
Erwin McManus believes in the deepest reaches of our inmost being, as human beings our souls truly yearn after God. He demonstrates our need for something greater than ourselves to live for. Erwin is one of the most effective communicators with young adults and this book is written with them in mind. He is a great storyteller. This book would be a good one to share with someone who is thinking about the meaning of life or considering the claims of Christianity,
We cannot live unaffected by love. We are most alive when we find it, most devastated when we lose it, most empty when we give up on it, most inhumane when we betray it, and most passionate when we pursue it.”