Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading
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A Call To Prayer

 By: J.C. Ryle
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Kind of book: Spiritual growth, godly disciplines

Theme/Purpose: Reasons to pray and help for improving your prayer life

Target Audience: Anyone

Readability: Easy

Review: J. C. Ryle is a clear, engaging, and excellent writer. All his works are practical and grounded in the Word of God. A Call to Prayer asks the reader if they pray, gives reasons why we should pray, and supplies practical ideas for becoming more devoted to prayer. It is an excellent little book, one that could be read every year. I highly recommend it!

Darkness and Glory
 By: Greg Harris
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Kind of book: Spiritual Growth
Theme/Purpose: To help the believer understand the depths of the glory of crucifixion and ascension of Jesus Christ.
Target Audience: All believers
Readability: Easy; deep spiritual truths uncovered in a way that all Christians can understand.

Review: In The Darkness and the Glory, Greg Harris pulls together Scripture to offer a vivid picture of the spiritual side of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Dr. Harris gives the reader a glimpse into the unfathomable spiritual suffering that Jesus Christ experienced on the cross; a suffering only Christ was qualified and capable of enduring; a suffering only you and I deserve.  From the full assault of the entire demonic realm during Satan’s “God-granted hour of opportunity,” to the Father Himself smiting His only Son with the entire cup of the holy wrath of God, to the crushing moment of separation as “God the Father removed Himself from God the Son,” this book gives the reader Scriptural perception into the agonizing hell that Jesus suffered, in place of you and I, on the cross.  The book then goes on to give more insight into the victory that the promised Seed proclaimed to those in prison and the glorification and exaltation of the Son, by the Father, as Jesus triumphed over and disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities of this age.  I highly recommend The Darkness and the Glory.  It will change the way you read the Bible.

Doctrine of Repentance
 By: Thomas Watson

Few works on the subject of Repentance are better than that of Thomas Watson's.  He zeroes in on the difference between understanding repentance and living it out.

From Grief to Glory
 By: James W. Bruce III
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Kind of book, theme, or purpose: Primarily an anthology of texts related to loss or suffering.

Target Audience: Specifically written for parents who have lost a child, but the lessons extend generally to any profound loss or suffering.

Readability: General audience. There is no technical theology; although there is some old fashioned language in a few quotations.

Review: James W. Bruce III lost his infant son after only a few weeks. In dealing with his loss, he read through what other Christians had written about loss and suffering. He includes writings from many Christians at many times. There are poems and letters, books and sermons quoted. This little book is a treasury of wisdom gained at hard cost. If you live long enough, you will suffer loss and sorrow which will threaten to break your soul. To walk and pray with the saints of the ages as you move through such pain is a great comfort. It is good to have a light, when it seems as if all light is gone.

Cautions or Warnings: None

True Greatness
 By: C.J. Mahaney
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Kind of book, theme, or purpose: Christian Living/Practical Life/ General. This book challenges the reader to examine whether they are pursuing humility or pride in their life.

Target Audience: Anyone who needs to grow in humility.

Readability: Quick and easy read – but still very convicting.

Review: Humility: True Greatness is a very challenging book that will do much to open your eyes to your natural inclination to be prideful. Mahaney does an excellent job of helping the reader to understand that God blesses those that are humble, and considers the prideful to be an abomination. He shows how the Lord Jesus Christ redefined what it means to be great and how we are to follow His example. Mahaney also offers some very practical steps that we can take in order to start practicing humility today! After reading this book, you will be grieved by your propensity to exalt yourself, but you will also be reminded of the transforming power of the cross. I recommend that you make it a habit of reading this book once a year, so that you don’t forget the magnitude of God’s hatred for pride and the steps we can take to continually put this all-to-natural sin to death.

Cautions or Warnings: None


Pilgrim's Progress
 By: John Bunyan

Join Christian and his companions on their journey to the Celestial City, as they pass through many experiences common to us all, in Bunyan's timeless allegory of the Christian's walk with God.

Talk Thru the Bible
 By: Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa
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Kind of book, theme, or purpose: Reference book which gives general information about each book of the Bible. Used when preparing to read or study a book of the Bible.

Target Audience: Anyone who desires to read or study the Bible.

Readability: Easy to read, written for average person.

Review: Talk Thru the Bible is one of my favorite books for general information about each book of the Bible. Every book of the Bible is treated in about four to six pages. There is an opening paragraph, a visual outline, and sections covering introduction and title, author, date and setting, theme and purpose, keys to the book, Christ in that particular book, contribution to the Bible, a brief survey of the book, and numerical outline. Interspersed throughout this work are helpful charts. It’s the kind of book you would read before studying or reading a particular book of the Bible to help you understand the overarching content. Very helpful. I highly recommend it.

That Man of Granite with the Heart of a Child
 By: Eric Russell
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Kind of book: Christian History/Biography

Theme/Purpose: A Biography of J. C. Ryle, one of the great preachers and writers of the 1800's

Target Audience: Anyone

Readability: High School age and up, uses a few historical terms and bigger theological words

Review: That Man of Granite with the Heart of a Child is a good survey of the life of Bishop J.C. Ryle. The writing style is good, though not excellent. The book requires some love of history to read as Russell does not engage and draw the reader in with his writing. However, he does a good job of surveying Ryle’s life, giving the reader an appreciation and understanding of the forces that God used to mold Ryle into the man he was. A good resource on the state of the church of England in the 1800's with great lessons to learn about persevering in ministry amidst much opposition.

The Attributes of God
 By: A.W. Pink
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Kind of book:  Theology           
Book Review: 
May I ask you a question? How is God different from Santa Claus? Yes, you read that correctly. How is God different from Santa Claus? And before you get offended our simply dismiss the question as out of bounds I challenge you to answer it. It is not enough to protest that you know the difference, even if you may not be able to articulate it. God Himself has answered that question clearly, even if we who claim to know, love and serve Him cannot. Mental assent to truth is not the same as a command of it. By way of remedy, may I recommend “The Attributes of God” by A. W. Pink? This small book is full of beautiful, useful truth that will enlighten even as it encourages you. In each short chapter (5-7 pages) the author presents the reader with various aspects of God’s character (Knowledge, Holiness, Power, Patience, Mercy, Wrath, etc) and also shows us why we should rejoice in them. Chapter 4, “The Foreknowledge of God” and his explanation of how this relates to predestination is worth the cost of the book. I carry a copy with me as I travel and read it as an aid to my devotions. Read this aloud in your family devotions or your small group meetings and you will be the better for it!

The Christian Leaders of the Last Century
 By: J.C. Ryle
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Date published: First Published 1868, Reprint 2002
Publisher: Charles Nolan: Moscow
ISBN #  0-9677603-7-2
Number of pages: 394
Kind of book: Christian History/Biography
Theme/Purpose: Key preachers used by God to transform England during the 1700's
Target Audience: Anyone
Readability: Easy
Review: J. C. Ryle is a clear, engaging, and excellent writer. All his works are practical and grounded in the Word of God.Christian Leaders is a collection of shorter biographies of the great men of God, raised up in England during the 1700's. Ryle surveys their life, contribution to the cause of Christ, and rates them in significance like David’s mighty men (II Sam. 23:8-39). In reading this book, you learn some of England’s history and are both encouraged and convicted in your walk with the Lord by the example of godly men. It is an excellent little book. I highly recommend it! 

The Peacemaker
 By: Ken Sande
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Kind of book, theme, or purpose: In many respects, this is a “how-to” book, namely how to resolve personal conflicts biblically.

Target Audience: Anyone who has ever experienced personal conflict (a.k.a. everyone). Readability: Clear, logical, easy to read.

Review: Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9). Our God is a God of peace and His desires for us to be men and women of peace as well. Some of the consequences of sin are broken relationships and conflict, but God calls us to peace. He calls us to be peacemakers. But what does it look like to be a peacemaker? Sande answers this question in this book. In The Peacemaker, Sande captures biblical teaching and wisdom and harnesses them into simple principles that can guide you to peace. What are these principles? There are four and they comprise the body of the book. They are: 1) Glorify God; 2) Get the log out of your eye; 3) Gently restore; and 4) Go and be reconciled.

This book is a vital resource for Christians, but especially for those experiencing heightened personal conflict (e.g. with your spouse, your co-workers, your relatives, etc.). I imagine every Christian who reads this book would conclude by asking themselves, as I did, “Why didn’t I read this book sooner?” Conflict will exist as long as sin exists, and although it cannot always be avoided, it can be resolved to the glory of God. The Peacemaker explains God’s way for resolving such conflicts and is a must-read for any believer


The Pursuit of Holiness
 By: Jerry Bridges
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Kind of Book: Spiritual growth

Theme/Purpose: The theme of this book is to see that holiness is something to strive for. The purpose is to pursue holiness with all do diligence through the Holy Spirit who is our comforter and teacher.

Target Audience: Both mature and new believers and everyone in between.

Readability: It is broken down nicely into 17 bite size chapters. No chapter is longer than 12 pages. With a moderate knowledge of the Bible someone could go through it alone or they could use it in a small group setting. Anyone could be walked through it with ease.

Review: This book has something for everyone. I happened to listen to the book on CD which I downloaded to my I-pod. Very handy for working around the house, etc. The book also has a study guide to accompany it. Each chapter has very convicting themes with scripture references to point you to the truth of God’s word. Chapter 4 “The Holiness of Christ” and chapter 9 “Putting Sin to Death” are just to name a couple. Both the book and the study guide are saturated with scripture. Remember what the Bible says about holiness, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY”. This book and study guide will help you in your “Pursuit of Holiness.”

The Valley of Vision
 By: Arthur Bennett
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Kind of Book, theme, or purpose: Devotional. This is a collection of God-honoring prayers for use in personal, family, or congregational worship.

Target Audience: All Christians.

Readability: Easy to intermediate. Most of the prayers include formal English sentence structure and language (i.e. thee, thy, etc).

Review: The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers taken from the writings of the Puritans. The Puritans were great examples of men and women who placed the highest priority on Christian prayer and meditation. They thought deeply of the attributes of God and the Scriptures and were diligent to write down “a record of God’s intimate dealings with their souls”.

Praying does not come as easy as we would like. Often, the best way to learn how to pray is by praying. If you have ever been in prayer and ran out of things to say, or found your prayer life lacking depth and fervor, then this book will give you some much needed help.

These short prayers are rich in doctrine and exalt a transcendent and immanent God. Each prayer is centered on a specific theme. The greatness of these prayers is that they are so beautifully crafted that they can be read over and over, and they grow with every reading. Some readers may find the language and structure more formal than they are used to, but with a little effort, these prayers are strong medicine for a weak prayer life.

Cautions or Warnings: None