Summer Reading Guide
The allure of the beach used to be rather lost on me. You see I grew up in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and it was as common and every day as going to MSU’s campus. Beaches were always packed with tourists and cars full of chairs, tents, and people’s living rooms to claim their portion of the beach. I really hated going.
But I moved away and married a woman who loves the beach because she grew up next to a cotton field, not the ocean. One day a few years ago our youth pastor Neil Tullos helped me realize one of the great draws to the beach, reading books. The ability to just sit there with the roar of the ocean, salty breeze, and no pressing to do lists. Sign me up! What was lost on me for so many years was that the beach could be a place of retreat and rest, not just the hustle and bustle of tourists.
I say all that to encourage you to check out these titles recommended by our staff. They are perfect for the next time you head to the beach or sit down for a lazy summer afternoon. You’ll thank us later.
by Andy Crouch
Recomended by Neil Tullos
This is a very practical book on applying godly wisdom to how you and your family use technology. Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It’s about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology’s promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. And it’s definitely not just about the kids.
Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, “Who do we want to be as a family?” and “How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal?” Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.
by Simon Sinek
Recomended by Neil Tullos
A very short book with about as many words as it has pictures, but it was inspirational in helping to remind me that life is better when lived in community.
by Curt Thompson
Recomended by Chip stevens
Its name is shame. Whether we realize it or not, shame affects every aspect of our personal lives and vocational endeavors. It seeks to destroy our identity in Christ, replacing it with a damaged version of ourselves that results in unhealed pain and brokenness. But God is telling a different story for your life. Psychiatrist Curt Thompson unpacks the soul of shame, revealing its ubiquitous nature and neurobiological roots. He also provides the theological and practical tools necessary to dismantle shame, based on years of researching its damaging effects and counseling people to overcome those wounds. Thompson’s expertise and compassion will help you identify your own pains and struggles and find freedom from the lifelong negative messages that bind you. Rewrite the story of your life and embrace healing and wholeness as you discover and defeat shame’s insidious agenda.
by Donald Miller
ecommended by Bobby D’Alessandro
After decades of failed relationships and painful drama, Donald Miller decided he’d had enough. Impressing people wasn’t helping him connect with anyone. He’d built a life of public isolation, yet he dreamed of meaningful relationships. So at forty years old he made a scary decision: to be himself no matter what it cost.
From the author of Blue Like Jazz comes a book about the risk involved in choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more, about the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving. It is a story about knocking down old walls to create a healthy mind, a strong family, and a satisfying career. And it all feels like a conversation with the best kind of friend: smart, funny, true, important.
Scary Close is Donald Miller at his best.
by Lysa TerKeurst
Recomended by Kathryn Entrekin
I want to give this book to every woman I know. Whether you are coming from a place of insecurity or rejection or loneliness, Lysa will point you back to the perfect love of our Father that does not disappoint or abandon. She reminds us that “the more fully we invite God in, the less we feel uninvited by others”; to do that, we must “live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love”. Uninvited is a gentle, healing reminder of how much we are loved by our perfect Father and how much more powerful that is than any lies we could believe about ourselves.
by Stephen James & David Thomas
Recommended by Charity Gwaltney
“The night Max wore his wolf suit . . . his mother called him ‘Wild Thing!’”—Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are.
In general, boys are energetic, adventuresome, curious, mischievous, and full of life, and raising these “wild things” has both rewards and challenges. Authors Stephen James and David Thomas vividly illustrate the different stages of life that boys will travel through on their journey toward manhood. They will lay out what boys need during these different stages from the adults who influence them. And then they will offer some practical advice for meeting the needs of boys during each of the stages physically, emotionally, educationally, and spiritually. Moreover, James and Thomas talk about the roles that both Mom and Dad play in nurturing boys to manhood, as well as how to create rites of passage to mark milestones in a boy’s life. The book concludes with some very practical insight into current hot topics” such as: dating, discipline, money, substance abuse, single parenting, and pornography. This book will give you great insight into the minds of boys and is a great resource if you have your own “wild things” or if you work with or teach boys.
by John Croyle
Recomended by Jason Duran
John Croyle was the speaker at our Sportsman’s Banquet in 2016. He is the founder of Big Oak Ranch (a home for boys and girls). Through his experiences raising boys and girls from broken homes, he shares 8 essential virtues to teach your daughter. This book will help all dads be better fathers to their daughters.
by John Ortberg
Recomended by Tom Jenkins
This is my second time to read this inspiring and challenging book. An easy read, it is full of thoughtful stories and principles taken from scripture to challenge us to get out of our comfort zones and follow Christ into fearless and glorious moments of life. Don’t read this book if you’re happy with the status quo!
by Robert Lupton
Recomended by Kathryn Entrekin
Toxic Charity is a challenging reminder that as we seek to serve others, we shouldn’t forget the importance of their dignity and the necessity of thinking critically about the consequences of how we choose to help. “The hard part is rethinking the entrenched giveaway mentality and restructuring an established one-way charity system. A hunger-free zone may be possible, but developing the dependency-free zone is the real challenge.” As part of a well-resourced church community, Toxic Charity pushed me to take a step back and evaluate how much we value the dignity of others, how that relates to the gospel, and why it is so important as we share the Good News from our neighborhoods to the ends of the earth.
by Nabeel Qureshi
Recomended by Nathan Taylor
Nabeel Qureshi grew up as a devout Muslim. He weaves the reader through his investigation of both Christianity and Islam and his eventual decision to follow Jesus. Knowing that this decision would change his life and adversely affect his relationships with many of the people he loved, he grieved. Soak in his brutal honesty as he finally concludes: “This is not about me. It is about Him and His love for His children.”