Christianity + Faith

recommendations from Pastors Guy Gray and Adam McMurray.

Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just

By Timothy Keller

It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Isn’t it full of regressive views? Didn’t it condone slavery? Why look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society? But Timothy Keller challenges these preconceived beliefs and presents the Bible as a fundamental source for promoting justice and compassion for those in need. In Generous Justice, he explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. This book offers readers a new understanding of modern justice and human rights that will resonate with both the faithful and the skeptical.

 

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God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? 

By John C. Lennox 

Intended to provide a basis for discussion, this captivating study evaluates the evidence of modern science in relation to the debate between the atheistic and theistic resource addresses such topics as the origin of life; the genetic code and its origin; the nature and scope of evolution; and the scope and limits of science. Gripping and thoroughly argued, it is an illuminating look at one of man's greatest debates.

 
 
 
 

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How God Became King

By N. T. Wright

New Testament scholar N.T. Wright reveals how we have been misreading the Gospels for centuries, powerfully restoring the lost central story of the Scripture: that the coronation of God through the acts of Jesus was the climax of human history. Wright fills the gaps that centuries of misdirection have opened up in our collective spiritual story, tracing a narrative from Eden, to Jesus, to today. Wright’s powerful re-reading of the Gospels helps us re-align the focus of our spiritual beliefs, which have for too long been focused on the afterlife. Instead, the forgotten story of the Gospels reveals why we should understand that our real charge is to sustain and cooperating with God's kingdom here and now.

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How Jesus Transforms The Ten Commandments

By Edmund P. Clowney

For many Christians, conditioned to emphasize our freedom from the law, Jesus' words seem strange, even incompatible with the gospel of grace. If Jesus did not abolish the law, then how should we look at the Ten Commandments today?

Clowney explains how Jesus intensifies the law and expands its scope to every situation in life. But as the author did so often during his ministry, he goes further, finding Christ in the law and showing how he fulfills it for his people. Thus believers will learn more not only of God's character revealed in the law, but also of the gospel with its focus on Christ.


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How People Change

How People Change

By Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp

How People Change is an important book for Christians who want to understand how the message of the Gospel can, and should, keep you moving forward in your Christian journey. God’s Word offers powerful and practical help for those who want to see genuine and lasting change in their lives. How People Change offers a vision of how God seeks to work in the life of Christ follower to make them the person they were created to be. It begins with the powerful, loving, redemptive relationship that we have with God through Christ. That relationship becomes a foundation from which we can begin to apply the truths of the Gospel to the challenges and struggles that we face, so that we can continue to grow in Christ-likeness. 


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resouces | books | is god a moral monster

Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God

By Paul Copan

As we read through the Old Testament in our River West Daily Word reading plan, we encounter a lot of passages that strike us as strange!  Without a contextual understanding of what was going on in Old Testament times, these passages are hard to understand. The strangeness of it all raises questions in our understanding of God and the Bible. These questions have also been seized upon by the “new atheists” and appear in many of their writings as attacks upon Christian faith.

Paul Copan’s new book Is God a Moral Monster? is a wonderful resource for us as we make our way through the Old Testament. This book addresses all the major issues in the Old Testament that raise big questions in our minds. You can have a look at the chapter headings in this book by following the link to the Amazon site and hitting the book cover image, which allows you to “look inside” the book before you buy.  I highly recommend this book as a resource for those who are reading through the Old Testament!

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King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus 

By Timothy Keller 

King's Cross is Timothy Keller's revelatory look at the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Mark. There have been many biographies of Jesus, but few will be as anticipated as one by Keller, the man Newsweek calls "a C.S. Lewis for the twenty-first century."

In it, Keller shows how the story of Jesus is at once cosmic, historical, and personal, calling each of us to look anew at our relationship with God. Like Keller's other books it has tremendous crossover appeal, but it is also ideal for the faithful, those who are looking for a closer connection to Jesus and Christianity.

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The Mission of God's People

By Christopher J. H. Wright

Chris Wright’s pioneering 2006 book, The Mission of God, revealed that the typical Christian understanding of “missions” encompasses only a small part of God’s overarching mission for the world. God is relentlessly reclaiming the entire world for himself. In The Mission of God’s People, Wright shows how God’s big-picture plan directs the purpose of God’s people, the church. Wright emphasizes what the Old Testament teaches Christians about being the people of God. He addresses questions of both ecclesiology and missiology with topics like “called to care for creation,” “called to bless the nations,” “sending and being sent,” and “rejecting false gods.” As part of the Biblical Theology for Life Series, this book provides pastors, teachers, and lay learners with first-rate biblical study while at the same time addressing the practical concerns of contemporary ministry. The Mission of God’s People promises to enliven and refocus the study, teaching, and ministry of those truly committed to joining God’s work in the world.

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Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse

By Steven R. Tracy

This book provides a well-researched biblical and scientific overview of abuse. A broad overview, it deals with the various types of abuse, the various effects of abuse, and the means of healing. Abuse can be sexual, physical, neglect, spiritual, and verbal. The chief arguments pursued throughout the book are: (1) abuse is far more rampant than most Christians realize, but due to human depravity and satanic influence, widespread abuse is predicable. (2) All types of abuse create profound, long-term soul damage due to the way abuse perverts various aspects of the image of God. (3) God is the healing redeemer. Human salvation came through horrible physical abuse. (4) Healing must take place in the context of relationships. Humans are deeply impacted by others due to being made in the image of God. Just as surely as abusive relationships have tremendous power to wound the soul, so healthy relationships have tremendous power to nurture and heal the soul.

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Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

By Timothy Keller

Christians are taught in their churches and schools that prayer is the most powerful way to experience God. But few receive instruction or guidance in how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller delves into the many facets of this everyday act.

With his trademark insights and energy, Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.


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Radical

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

By David Platt

Is Jesus worth this to you? It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said His followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, He said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for Him. They would abandon everything for the Gospel. But who do you know who lives like that? Do you? In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the Gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being His disciple - then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the Gospel according to Jesus.


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resources | books | the reason for god
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

By Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller’s book is a rich resource for the believer who seeks to defend the Christian faith with intellectual integrity, and for the skeptic who is struggling with doubts about the claims of Christianity. Keller tackles many of the most common questions and doubts that believers and skeptics alike struggle with, such as:  Why does God allow suffering in the world?  Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive? How is the Christian Gospel unique from other religions? Keller “uses literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and reasoning to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth.”


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Seven Days That Divide the World

By John C. Lennox

What did the writer of Genesis mean by “the first day”? Is it a literal week or a series of time periods? If I believe that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, am I denying the authority of Scripture? In response to the continuing controversy over the interpretation of the creation narrative in Genesis, John Lennox proposes a succinct method of reading and interpreting the first chapters of Genesis without discounting either science or Scripture. With examples from history, a brief but thorough exploration of the major interpretations, and a look into the particular significance of the creation of human beings, Lennox suggests that Christians can heed modern scientific knowledge while staying faithful to the biblical narrative. He moves beyond a simple response to the controversy, insisting that Genesis teaches us far more about the God of Jesus Christ and about God’s intention for creation than it does about the age of the earth. With this book, Lennox offers a careful yet accessible introduction to a scientifically-savvy, theologically-astute, and Scripturally faithful interpretation of Genesis.

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Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

By N. T. Wright

In Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, top-selling author and Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright tackles the biblical question of what happens after we die and shows how most Christians get it wrong. We do not “go to” heaven; we are resurrected and heaven comes down to earth--a difference that makes all of the difference to how we live on earth. Following N.T. Wright’s resonant exploration of a life of faith in Simply Christian, the award-winning author whom Newsweek calls “the world’s leading New Testament scholar” takes on one of life’s most controversial topics, a matter of life, death, spirituality, and survival for everyone living in the world today. 


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Unlikely: Setting Aside Our Differences to Live Out the Gospel

By Kevin Palau

In 2007, Kevin Palau and a few dozen pastors approached Portland’s mayor and asked the question: How can we serve you with no strings attached? City officials identified five initial areas of need—hunger, homelessness, healthcare, the environment, and public schools—and so began a partnership, CityServe, between the city and a band of churches seeking to live out the gospel message. Since then, the CityServe model has spread like wildfire, inspiring communities across the country to take up the cause in their own cities.

Unlikely not only tells the story of the inception of CityServe, but also challenges readers to evaluate their understanding of the Gospel. Today’s church finds itself torn between social justice and direct proclamation. Unlikely proposes a both/and scenario, showing how the Gospel can truly penetrate a region—through word and deed.


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The Voice of Jesus

By Gordon T. Smith

"My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me." Jesus takes it for granted that you will hear his voice. But how do you hear it? How do you separate it out from the cacophony of other voices you hear everyday, including those of your own desires? Is your experience of Jesus' voice something purely subjective, or is it something you can talk about with others and have them confirm? Building on the rich spiritual tradition that spans the diversity of history and theology from Ignatius Loyola to John Wesley to Jonathan Edwards, Gordon T. Smith helps open your ears and heart to the depths of the inner witness of the Spirit. By learning to attend to the Spirit, Smith urges, you will learn to hear and heed the voice of Jesus in everyday life. Written with warmth and wisdom, this book speaks to the mind and heart of every Christian who longs for a closer, more intimate walk with Jesus.


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What Is the Gospel?

By Greg Gilbert

What is the Gospel? It seems like a simple question, yet it has been known to incite some heated responses, even in the church. How are we to formulate a clear, biblical understanding of the Gospel? Tradition, reason, and experience all leave us ultimately disappointed. If we want answers, we must turn to the Word of God.

Greg Gilbert does so in What Is the Gospel? Beginning with Paul's systematic presentation of the gospel in Romans and moving through the sermons in Acts, Gilbert argues that the central structure of the Gospel consists of four main subjects: God, man, Christ, and a response. The book carefully examines each and then explores the effects the gospel can have in individuals, churches, and the world. Both Christian and non-Christian readers will gain a clearer understanding of the Gospel in this valuable resource.


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When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer

By Jerry L. Sittser

Many of us have experienced amazing answers to prayer. But what about when our deepest prayers go unanswered? When disaster strikes, when a loved one dies―what then? When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer explores the mysteries and paradoxes of unanswered prayer. Forged in the fires of his own crushing experience, Jerry Sittser’s hard-won spiritual insights affirm the greatness of God’s love and concern for us even when we do not understand why our prayers seem to go unheard and unheeded.
 
 

 

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