Juanita Champagne
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September 2020

 In his book Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church — and What We Should Do Instead, Reggie McNeal contrasts what he describes as two competing storylines, one centred on the church and the other centred on the kingdom of God.  It’s not that the two are unrelated, but McNeal argues that when our focus is on the church and “fixing the church,” we miss out on the epic adventure of kingdom living to which we’ve been called.  Living with a Kingdom mindset means engaging in the world outside the walls of the church and focusing on much more than just what happens on Sunday mornings.  As the people of God pour their lives out, seeking to bless and serve others, helping them experience life as God intends, the church will, in fact, flourish.

 

July 2020 

Shelby Steele is an African American author, columnist, documentary film maker, and a Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, specializing in the study of race relations, multiculturalism and affirmative action.  In this book published in 2007, Steele deftly challenges the narrative that is dominating north America.  To be sure, we face a significant problem but, according to Steele, it is not systemic racism but the white guilt which resulted from America’s acknowledgment of her past failures of racism.  According to Steele, far from improving conditions, white guilt has been utilized to bring greater division in society and, alarmingly, to diminish people of colour.  Though Steele does not write from a Christian perspective, his book will provide helpful analysis and insight for anyone concerned about the climate of race relations in our current culture.

 

July 2020 

In his book, J.I.Packer: A Biography, Alister McGrath has provided the church with a stimulating account of the life and ministry of J.I. Packer, one of the true evangelical greats of the last century.  Packer was a gifted thinker and theologian but never merely an academic.  He believed that theology impacted every aspect of Christian life and that it was ultimately about helping us relate to the God who created us and loves us.  The impact and influence of Packer’s work and life is profound, and this telling of it is truly inspiring.  As Mark Noll puts it in his endorsement of this volume, “Read Packer first, but then, if you want to know more about him and the evangelical worlds in which he has lived in Britain and North America, this is the book.”  I commend this book to you as a source for learning more about the history of evangelicalism but also for challenging you in your life of faith in Christ.

 

June 2020

An incredible story of God’s grace and redemption!  In his book, Becket Cook courageously shares how he encountered the living God and was utterly transformed by His amazing love.  His story is both deeply moving and awe inspiring!  Hard to put down!  

Part memoir and part apologetic, this book boldly proclaims  the greatness of God and the joy that is found only in relationship with Him.  With grace and conviction, Becket speaks directly to issues of human sexuality and Christian discipleship.  I was thoroughly encouraged and immensely challenged by Becket’s words, and I heartily commend it to both skeptics and believers alike.  I pray that Jesus will use what Becket shares in the lives of many.

 

May 2020 

Skye Jethani has provided a great gift to believers today with his book, With: Reimagining the Way Your Relate to God.  The first half of the book helps readers identify and understand four “postures” we mistakenly assume as we try to relate to God.  Each one inevitably leaves us disappointed and with a sense that something is wrong or missing.  Then in the second half of the book, Jenthani points readers in the right direction, highlighting the truth that we have been created by God to life in relationship “with” Him.  Over the final chapters of the book, readers are given a vision of what life “with” God looks like and why it is so much better than the four postures identified and described earlier in the volume.  Immensely helpful in both diagnosing where we’ve gone wrong and in providing some initial guidance for the way forward.  I highly recommend this book to all who long for deeper satisfaction in their relationship with God. 

 

March 2020

In his book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson pulls back the curtain on the American criminal justice by sharing stories from his experiences as an attorney and as the founder of Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the furthest reaches of [the American] criminal justice system.  His stories expose readers to horrific accounts of grave injustice and hopelessness.  Yet in the midst of the darkness, there are also moments of triumph when some wrongs are set right.  This book will move you.

 

December 2019

Adrian Plass will make you laugh out loud, but he’ll also make you pause to reflect on the ups and downs of “ordinary” life as a follower of Jesus.

From the back cover — “The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 373/4 is merriment and facetiousness at its best — a journal of the wacky Christian life of Plass’s fictional alter-ego, who chronicles in his ‘sacred diary the daily goings-on in the lives of ordinary-but-somewhat-eccentric people he knows and meets.  Reading it will doeth good like a medicine!”

Certain to be enjoyed!  Check it out today!

 

November 2019

James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College,  has provided us with an important book entitled, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit.  In it he shows how who and what we worship fundamentally shapes our hearts, our loves.  He demonstrates that, though we may not realize it, there are many ways in which our hearts are being taught to love rival gods by our surrounding culture.  He contends that answer is Christian worship.  These practices, far from being dead ritual, prove to be transformative, and as such, should be the hub of Christian formation and discipleship.  Far from being a book solely about Christian worship and formation, however, Smith shows us how faithful Christian worship equips us for engagement in the call God has given us,  to impact our world for the glory of God.  This book will help you rethink and think more carefully about spiritual formation and Christian worship.

 

August 2019 — FOR KIDS! 

J. Warner Wallace, a former real-life detective who specialized in cold-cases — old cases no one could solve — will take you under his wing in his book, Cold-Case Christianity, and teach you how to be a good investigator.  He is looking for new recruits to join him in his Detective Cadet Academy.  You’ll grow as a detective as you tackle the case of the strange skateboard found in the school’s tool shed.  But you’ll also learn how to apply your new skills to investigate the Bible and the case for Christianity.  What you’ll discover may surprise you as you come face to face with real evidence that uncovers the truth about the Christian faith.  This book will help provide a foundation on which to base your own faith and will give you skills for sharing your faith with your friends!

 

August 2019

Sam Allberry’s book 7 Myths about Singleness is a great gift to all, single or married.  Throughout this volume, Allberry challenges the wrong assumptions the church tends to believe about singleness, and he clearly presents the message found in the Bible about singleness — that like marriage, singleness too, is both a good gift but one that includes difficulties.  Sam is honest about both those difficulties and the blessings of singleness, and he vulnerably shares some of the fears that can come with singleness.  Most critically, Sam points to Jesus as the only one in whom we will find contentment, whether single or married.  The church today needs this book.  I highly recommend it to all.

 

August 2019 

In his book The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together, Jared C. Wilson emphatically points readers to Jesus and the gospel.  His book is not a “self-help” book but one full of grace for those who are weary of trying hard to be a better Christian but continually failing.  Wilson shows us that discipleship is not a list of things to do but a way of walking in friendship with Jesus in light of what he has already accomplished.  This book will encourage you deeply as it confronts you with the good news of God’s grace!

 

July 2019

In his book, Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative, Carl E. Trueman, a transplanted Brit now living and working in the United States, provides a much needed analysis of today’s political landscape and calls the church to think more deeply about how to live as Christians in this context.  He argues that many issues are far more complex than the “sound-bites” and “knee-jerk” reactions we encounter on the news and in the surrounding culture.  Trueman certainly does not provide us with all the answers but he does extend some helpful insight and wise counsel for us as disciples of Jesus seeking to engage in the political life of our world with both wisdom and thoughtfulness and for the sake of the common good.

 

July 2019

Gene Edwards’ book The Prisoner in the Third Cell is another powerful, moving offering from the hand of Edwards.  Masterfully Edwards recounts as an unforgettable drama, the story of John the Baptist as he awaits his execution in a dungeon, wrestling to understand “a Lord who isn’t the Messiah he expected.”  As stated on the back cover of this short volume, “If you are a suffering Christian or know of one, this book will bring enormous comfort — and insight into the ways of God.”  I highly recommend this book to everyone.

 

June 2019 

Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Takes shares his story in his book, Me, Myself, & Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God and Talking Vegetables.  It is a moving book in which he shares about his early years and how he developed his passion and gifts for animation.  He tells of how the Veggie Tales phenomenon began, of the intense struggle to impact people for Jesus through media, and of how his dreams came crashing down.  But Phil’s story does not end there.  He goes on to share about the profound things God taught him and accomplished in him through the collapse of all that he had built, and he points us toward true success.