Our family has been blessed by the opportunity to be in the United States to share updates, minister to others, and be ministered to. Because of the busyness of that schedule, each month I keep writing that I did not read as much as normal but next month should be better. Yet, another month has passed and I find myself wanting to write those same exact words again.
Reading is skill that takes an investment of time to establish, but is a necessary aspect of every life, especially the Christian life. The Lord has blessed us with the an intriguing combination of gifts: words, creativity, and rational thinking. Those gifts generate the capacity to create stories, convey ideas, and communicate truth to one another. So profound is the craft of reading then, why would we not take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow in a community of believers. So here is a look at what I read this past month (click the titles to learn more):
- The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges: It’s been years since I’ve picked up a Jerry Bridges book, and it was time that I do so again. It was convincing and convicting, compelling believers to evaluate their lives and pursue holiness.
- Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Needing to read more, I picked up some audiobooks to try this month, but not wanting to spend much money, this one was cheap and we enjoy Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth. I consider it God’s grace that I read it with The Pursuit of Holiness because the two books reinforced the same ideas and built on the same principles from different aspects; I would recommend reading them together. Then, take time to work intently through the probing questions that are offered in Surrender.
- 3D Gospel by Jayson Georges: Georges utilizes this short book to discuss three primary mindsets in the cultures of the world: guilt-innocence, honor-shame, and fear-power. The premise is that one can better present the gospel to a person when recognizing which mindset a person subscribes to. The book is fascinating and gave me some personal insight into the ministry that the Lord has given to my family and I with our coworkes. Unfortunately, after being so close in most of the book, later in the book he began to offer some concerning ideas (most notably the ransom theory).
- Idols and Images: Creativity for the Christian Life by Thomas J. Terry and J. Ryan Lister: I listed this last month in the books I read, but I never finished it (I was about 50 pages shy when I wrote “Unshelved: What I Read in April” but I thought certain I would finish it before the end of the month, but I didn’t). This is a creative book that examines creativity from a biblical perspective. It’s interesting to consider and something that probably should be thought mroe about in the Christian life.
- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: My introduction to these books was a bit obscure, but in one sense I am glad I picked it up. The book is part of a three part series, with each book being about 800 pages. It’s a book of fiction that follows the intersection of life between a monk and a family of masons. Truthfully, it is a compelling read . . . unfortunately, he can get quite graphic at times, enough that I could not recommend it to others.
- The Chase by Clive Cussler: In my ongoing reading of Clive Cussler, I picked up a bunch of inexpensive paperbacks in the Isaac Bells series. I’m trying to read through them before I return to Argentina so that I don’t have to take the paperbacks with me. While Cussler’s other series often provide a lot of overlap from one to the other, this series stands alone and is unique because instead of a modern setting, this follows the exploits of detective Isaac Bell during the early 1900’s. That uniqueness has made it intriguing to me.
And that is my reading for the month of May.
This month, I did something I have not done before and that was listen to an audiobook. I like the concept of audiobooks and would urge people to utilize them, but for me I have avoided them because I have found that usually I am more engaged in something else (driving, writing, etc.) and so am unable to focus well enough to make audiobooks worthwhile. With the decrease of my reading this month I started evaluating what I could do to capture the time. We have been spending A LOT of time on the road, with me driving. While necessary, this is lost productive time. So I decided to take this month and attempt to recapture that time by utilizing audiobooks. It worked well, as long as the children were sleeping. Unfortunately, I cannot take notes like I would like to do, but I got much out of that time. For me, the big thing was to be intentional in my focus and not let my mind wander to other topics. That requires diligence and self-motivation, but the Lord was gracious. Engaging the audiobook opened up some doors for me that I am very excited to utilize.
Now that summer is here and vacations are on the way, I would urge each of you to take opportunities to relax in front of a good book (preferably with it open and you reading it). Find a book or two that incites your interests (it does not have to be distinctly Christian) and make it a goal to finish that before summer’s end. Certainly, the exercise will be rewarding to you.