Lucado, Max. Next door Savior. 262 L962n
If Christian publishing phenomenon Lucado has been criticized for anything, it's for repeating the same basic themes in his books: Christ, his death on the cross and the grace and forgiveness offered to those who follow him. This latest doesn't deviate, but somehow manages to make these themes crisp and compelling. The essays, each built around an episode in the life of Jesus, are often unabashedly poignant, at times humorous and always hopeful. Lucado's unique retellings cast Jesus as a compassionate personal friend who isn't put off by anyone's past mistakes. In one essay, Jesus urges a reluctant Matthew (the tax collector) not to ditch his old acquaintances, while Matthew argues "But Jesus, these guys... half of them are on parole. Josh hasn't worn socks since his Bar Mitzvah...." A reach-for-the-hanky story portrays Jesus as "The Trashman," willing to take the burdens of others on himself. Throughout this book-as he has in others-Lucado explores the paradox of Jesus as both fully human and fully divine: "Midwifed by a carpenter. Bathed by a peasant girl. The maker of the world with a bellybutton. The author of the Torah being taught the Torah." Lucado clearly portrays God's love, forgiveness and concern about the smallest details, "for even though he is in heaven, he never left the neighborhood." Solidly grounded in Scripture, drenched in the trademark Lucado anecdotes that have endeared him to legions of fans, this book may be his best in a decade.
Moore, Beth. Jesus, the one and only. 232 M66
Some of us are studying the Book of Esther with Beth Moore, using her study guide and listening to her teach on video. Those of us taking her class know how she can drill down into scripture and bring up treasure, whether by examining its context through the culture of the time, or by pointing to analagous verses elsewhere in scripture for illustration. If you have enjoyed that and want more, or if you aren't familiar with Beth and would like an introduction, here is a heart felt study of the gospel of Luke in Beth Moore's passionate voice.
Funk, Mary Margaret. Tools matter for practicing the spiritual life. 248.46 F963t
Funk elaborates on more than two dozen "tools" or practices of the spiritual life. Many of these (such as fasting, vigils, ceaseless prayer, and manual labor) derive from the desert mothers and fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries, but just as many come from later times: the practices of emptiness based on The Cloud of Unknowing, of recollection (Teresa of Avila), of self-abandonment (J. P. de Caussade), of the presence of God (Brother Lawrence), of colloquy (Gabrielle Bossis), and of the Little Way of Therese of Lisieux. The book concludes with a chapter on discernment, spiritual direction, and the limitations of each tool. Tools, says Funk, are means, not ends. "Eventually, we discover, with freedom and love, that tools don't matter after all! God, our heart's desire, is all that matters!"
Laurie, Greg. How to share your faith. 248.5 L375
The blurb on the back of this book says it best: “I was sweating, shaking, and thinking, 'This isn't going to work!' Is that how you feel when it comes to witnessing? You're not alone. Statistics tell us that 95 percent of all Christians have never led another person to Christ. So how do you learn the life skill of helping a person pass from darkness to light? You're holding the answer right in your hands. Greg Laurie has not just written a book. He's put down on paper what really works when you share Christ. Not only that, but these brief, fast-moving chapters are actually fun to read.”
Van Breemen, Peter. The God who won't let go. 231.6 V26
Peter van Breemen, S.J., reminds us that in an age where everything seems temporary, the love of God is permanent. God won't let go of us. In this beautifully written, personal exploration, van Breemen enters the depths of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and resurrection. A book written for our age, its message is timeless: there is absolutely nothing that can sever us from the love of God.