What I've Been Reading

I'm not really sure where I've found the time, but I've been reading quite a bit lately and these readings have stirred me to wonderings and wandering. 

     Mostly, my readings are stolen moments: as a diversion from concentrating on work I might sneak off and read a favorite blog; in responding to emails, I often have friends and love ones who send me a weblink to read something they think might interest me (and they're usually right); in the doctor's office waiting rooms I've logged quite a bit of reading time and usually carry around 3 or 4 books for just such occasions; on my nightstand and dresser there is usually a stack of books and magazine articles I'm in the process of reading or those that are on my "wish I could get to this one" list. I do love to read! After seminary it took some time to be able to get back to this love–I think I overdosed on reading for those 5 years and just couldn't stomach one more book. I wrote last week's article about a few blogs that I've recently read and been transformed by, and now that I'm over my book-lessness, I want to share with you what I'm learning and learning from in the book world…

     Jan Linn's ​"Rocking the Church Membership Boat: Counting Members or Having Members Who Count​"–from this text I'm learning the tremendous gift one can have when we, as church members, enter into covenant relationships with one another. The closeness that comes from commitment isn't reserved only for marriage. We can commit to one another as friends and followers of Christ–we can hold one another in prayer, which means opening our most intimate selves up to one another to know specifically what needs prayer, knowing what our friends and neighbors face each and every day and what our struggles are and what we care most about and intentionally holding one another in prayer for a moment or two each and every day.

     John Gottman's "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work"–from this book I'm learning what I already knew from my own marriage experiences, but it helps to see it confirmed in print, "too often a good marriage is taken for granted rather than given the nurturing and respect it deserves and desperately needs."  Gottman's scientific methods of analyzing marriages reveals 7 principles all who are married, were married or who plan to marry should know to cultivate emotional intelligence and strength in relationships.

     Philip Gulley's "If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus–this book has helped me to see beyond the flaws of humanity and the price these flaws place on the work of the church into the belief that in spite of our humanness we can truly be the church Jesus called into being when he issued that first commission so long ago. This book helps me to see the difference between 'church work' and 'the work of the church'. There is a huge difference that is important to both you and me.

     Kyle Idleman's "Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus–this text has me questioning myself and my motives in my faith practices. I'm afraid I come up lacking as much as I find I'm doing the right things for the right reasons. I suppose there is always room for growth and learning and Mr. Idleman is certainly pushing me these days. 

     As the Christian Education Team moves towards re-thinking how we do Wonderful Wednesdays and as we work towards building small-group or covenant-group ministries, these books lead my thoughts and prayers for the people of First Christian Church and the community in which we practice our ministries. Please join me in prayer for our people to grow closer to God, grow closer to one another in fellowship and closer to the world in which we are called to serve, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.