The Singing God: Feel the Passion God Has For You...Just The Way You Are. Sam Storms. February 2013. (Passio)
God loves us—with all our faults and failures, with all the secret sins no one else knows about. In fact, He rejoices over us so much that He breaks out in inexpressible joy and song as He thinks about us. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” —Zephaniah 3:17 That’s how God feels about you! He looks at you, He thinks of you…and He sings for joy! In The Singing God Sam Storms explores God's immeasurable love for His children. You don’t need to be different; you don’t need to be better. You just need to know that God loves you just the way you are now...today. When you truly believe this, you will find the strength and incentive to fight sin, experience freedom from shame, and walk in the fullness of all that God desires for you.
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. December 2012. (Crown & Covenant Publications)
Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. There, her partner rehabilitated abandoned and abused dogs. In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department's curriculum. And then, in her late 30s, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down-the idea that Christianity, a religion that she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was, an idea that flew in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. What follows is a story of what she describes as a "train wreck" at the hand of the supernatural. These are her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could. Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the "lost," if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers. Often, people asked me to describe the "lessons" that I learned from this experience. I can't. It was too traumatic. Sometimes in crisis, we don't really learn lessons. Sometimes the result is simpler and more profound: sometimes our character is simply transformed.
Unconditional Love: Radical Stories, Real People. Edited by Ben Stroup. May 2013. (B&H)
Inspired by the film Unconditional and Papa Joe Bradford's outreach to at-risk children, Unconditional Love gathers real-life stories celebrating the best in ordinary people who have found extraordinary ways to act as the hands and feet of Jesus in their time and place. Through them we see what matters most in this life, we stir our God-made desire to help others in need, and the world becomes a better place.
Papa Joe writes the collection's foreword, starting the conversation about how God's love compels us to show unconditional love for others in ways simple and profound, selfless and yet so rewarding.
We meet a band whose trip to Africa resulted in an effort that has so far provided life-saving water and health care to more than 600,000 people. In Tennessee, an 80-year-old woman works a plan to feed 2,000 homeless each week.
Others give from their own struggles: a teenager who lost his leg raises money to provide other children with prosthetics; a woman whose brother was killed on 9/11 helps Afghani refugees who fled the Taliban feel at home in the United States; a human rights agency rescues victimes of slavery and sexual exploitation.
A host of other stories bringing our lives into clearer social and spiritual focus are combined with inspirational quotes, a Bible reading plan, and other tools to encourage further self-discovery and greater personal outreach.
Doxology and Theology: How The Gospel Forms the Worship Leader. Edited by Matt Boswell. May 2013. (B&H)
Many in the church see worship leading and theological processing at opposite ends of a big room. Theology is considered the business of pastors and professors, while worship is the business of musicians and rock stars.
But a new wave of young worship leaders is hungry for something different, the desire to think not just pragmatically (sound, charts, guitars) but theologically (the gospel, justice, pastoral ministry) about worship. Likewise, pastors and churches increasingly desire to be led by thoughtful worship leaders who combine doxology and theology.
Doxology and Theology is a resource by worship leaders for worship leaders that clearly articulates how these two pieces join together. Contributions from eleven respected worship leaders around the country including Matt Papa (Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham), Aaron Keyes (Grace Church, Atlanta), Michael Bleecker (The Village Church, Dallas), and Zac Hicks (Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church, Denver) unite worship with themes of mission, disciple-making, the Word of God, the Trinity, family, and more.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible