Hey church family,
we wanted to provide some recommendations for good books and other resources curated by our staff. Each Monday we'll post a new recommendation, and we hope you'll check them out when and if you have extra opportunity to read during this time of quarantine and social distancing. We hope this provides at least one more opportunity each week as we plan to redeem the time for our own hearts, and for the sake of the Gospel!
This week we'd like to recommend The Gospel by Ray Ortlund, in the 9 Marks "Building Healthy Churches" series. Really any books from this series are very helpful and encouraging, and make for very doable reading goals at about 130 pages each. But this particular one is an excellent first choice, and an excellent starting point for a fresh reading plan. Whether you're a newer Christian or have been for years, this small book is a winsome, fresh look into the glories of the gospel. And if you've never read Ray Ortlund before, he writes with the grace and encouragement of a loving dad. We hope and pray you'll check this one out this week - it will fuel your love for your local church, and for our great Savior. Ortlund writes,
"The gospel does not hang in midair as an abstraction. By the power of God, the gospel creates something new in the world today. It creates not just a new community, but a new kind of community. Gospel-centered churches are living proof that the good news is true, that Jesus is not a theory but is real [...] The only answer to one culture is another culture—not just a concept, but a counterculture. A church should offer the world such a counterculture, a living embodiment of the gospel" (65, 67).
As an added note, since libraries are closed, Amazon deliveries are a little delayed, and many of us have embraced ebooks and audiobooks more anyway, look into a subscription to Overdrive or Hoopla. Both of these are apps for smartphone and tablet, in which you use your existing library card number to borrow resources just like you would at the local, physical library. The benefit of Overdrive, however, is it now lets you sign up for a digital library card at a local branch. So if you're stuck at home, you can sign up from scratch within the app, and start checking out resources in about five minutes. These apps have many (maybe most) of the Christian titles you'd want to find, including the recommendation above.