Summer Reading

In just a few days Alison and I will take our annual “sabbatical” for the month of July. I will miss you all during that time, but I am grateful that we have such a talented staff who will pinch hit for me while I am away. The pulpit will be filled by our own staff including Chuck Locke, Chase Faulk, Lance Griffin, Aaron Dickinson, and Aaron Johnson. You will be blessed by their insight and preparation to share God’s Word. I am also grateful that you allow me this break. It is such a refreshing time for me each year. Much of my preaching direction for the next year will emerge from my study during the month. I’ll spend significant time in God’s Word, I’ll read extensively, I’ll pray for God’s leading regarding our church and His plans for the coming year(s), and of course I’ll spend time with the grandkids!

I am already assembling my July book box (which has already surpassed my ability to read them all), and thinking about things that I want to accomplish while away… I’ll be praying for you and hope that you’ll return the favor by praying for us. Speaking of reading, let me offer some suggestions for your summer reading. Here are a few that I highly recommend. You may not be able to get through them all, but each is a worthy read and will strengthen you in the faith. So here they are:

Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas 
This is at the top of my recommended list on purpose. If there is any one book that I would urge Christian’s to read right now, this is it! It’s a short book, but a powerful call to stand against the forces of evil that have and are overtaking common sense and Christian conviction in our culture and even many churches today. Metaxas doesn’t hesitate to call names and compare today’s lack of Christian voice with that of the church in Germany when Hitler began to rise. Again, it’s a must read for all!

God Meant It For Good by R.T. Kendall
This is a study of Joseph’s life. Kendall is one of my favorite authors. Like all his books, he pulls deep and practical truths from the scripture that refresh the soul and encourage our trust in God. If you are going through some difficulty right now, or recently coming out of one, this book will minister greatly to you.

Do What You Believe by Steve Deace
This book is a challenge to Americans and Christians in particular to rise up and be salt and light. He urges us not to be intimidated by cancel culture and the woke agenda trying to separate us from both facts and faith. Deace is a nationally syndicated TV host and prolific writer. While I differ with a bit of his theology in places, the message of the book with its practical responses makes it worth the read.

No Reason to Hide by Erwin Lutzer
Lutzer is another of my favorite preachers and writers. This book is subtitled, “standing for Christ in a collapsing culture.” In this book Lutzer does a superb job of equipping us to defend our biblical beliefs with confidence. He gives practical and biblical ways to respond to many of the current issues facing us today.

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala
This is the story of what God did at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and in the life of the author. I read the book many years ago and was deeply encouraged. I pulled it off the shelf recently and read through it again. It will bless you and remind you of the power God for your life. It is one of the books that would make my “every Christian ought to read this book” list.

If you are into novels/fiction, let me recommend anything by Randy Singer (a kind of Christian John Grisham) and any of Joel Rosenberg’s various series. Happy summer reading!

I’ll see you in a few weeks with fresh fire and a new sermon series beginning in August on the book of James titled, Faith…Just Live It!

In the meantime, remember that God is always trying to take you someplace new. I really love being your Pastor!!!!

For God’s Glory Alone,
Pastor Ray
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