I have posted below an updated list of the books I read in 2011. This is not to brag or make myself look good for all the books I read, rather I hope it will serve as a recommended reading list for any of your readers who are looking for a good book.
The Essential Church by
Thom S. Rainer
The Deliberate Church by Paul Alexander
A Taste of Heaven: Worship in the here and now by R.C. Sproul
First Things First by
Kurt and Brenda Warner
An introduction to Wesleyan spirituality by Dion Forster
Understanding Four Views of Baptism by John H. Armstrong
Heaven is Real by Todd Burpo
Worship by the Book by
The Masculine Mandate
United Methodist Beliefs
Future grace by John Piper
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Marriage by Wayne Mack
At the Altar of Sexual
Idolatry by Steve Gallagher
Offworld by Robin
Nightmare by Robin
When the Darkness will
not lift by John Piper
Riven by Jerry Jenkins
Green by Ted Dekker
The mortification of
sins by Owen
Depression: A Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch
Think by John
The Pursuit of God by
Shepherding a Childs
Heart by Teddy Tripp
A praying life by Paul
They Thought for
Themselves; Ten Amazing Jews by Sid Roth
Seeing and Savoring the
Glory of God by John Piper
If I were to ask you if you were thankful for your salvation, you would say, AMEN! I have never spoken to a Christian who is not thankful for their salvation! The grace of God in forgiving us our sins and removing the guilt we rightly wore as a result is a HUGE and incomprehensible blessing! The gift of eternal life and salvation from death and the devil is immense!
No, no true Christian has ever been anything less than thankful and grateful for the gift of salvation! I am sure that you and I both right now could give endless testimony to how thankful and grateful we are for our salvation.
But I wonder what our response would be if I asked, "Do you take JOY in your salvation?" Do you see your salvation as an endless and immense sea of joy and delight?
Salvation is rescue from death, condemnation, judgment, guilt, and pain...Yes it is true. But it is SO much more!
The salvation that God is calling us to should delight and thrill our souls! It should spark joy, delight, passion, love, desire, and longing in our hearts for the God of the universe!
Many of us take the salvation that is offered and given and are thankful for the rescue from the debt to sin, the rescue of death, from the devil, from pain and punishment, but we never to on to experience the joy and thrill, the desire and delight that should spark and grow to unbearable levels in knowing and being known by Christ, by God!
Children are the perfect example of what I mean. Do you see their excitment on Christmas morning when they know that gifts are in store? Do you see their excitment when they get close to grandma and grandpa's house because they get to see their "papa" and "grams?" Do you see their excitment when their favorite food is served for dinner?
What about you? What stirs your heart? What do you get excited over? What do you find great joy in? What moves your heart to thump, your stomach to leap, your eyes to tear, and your joy and happiness to erupt? That is joy, that is delight, that is happiness, that is desire fulfilled.
Do you sense that kind of desire, delight, joy, happiness, and longing for God? Do you feel empty and vacant when you are apart from Him, when you have not spent time with Him?
You see, God desire for our salvation to awaken these desires and delights in us. He desire for our salvation to cause us to long for, to desire, to delight in, and be satisfied in Him! He WANTS US TO LONG, TO DESIRE, TO FEEL PASSION, JOY, AND DELIGHT! AND FURTHERMORE, HE WANTS TO SATISFIY THOSE LONGINGS!
We can get into the terrible slump of going to church, serving in our ministries, praying, doing our devotions becuase it is what is expected of us. All the while, we are still thankful for our salvation and that thankfulness keeps urging us to be faithful in our duties even though there is no real delight or passion in it.
God wants more than that. He wants to stir our hearts and awaken longings and desires in them that we had though long dead. He wants to awaken a hunger, a thirsting, a longing, a passion, and desire in our hearts FOR HIM and He wants to satisfy and fulfill that longing!
He wants us to take joy in our salvation and to delight our hearts with Himself.
Will you take the time this new year to allow God to awaken in you a longing and desire for Him?
Will you take time this new year to find joy in your salvation and not be satisifed with just thankfulness for it?
Be thankful...ABSOLUTELY yes!
But take joy as well.
Grace and peace to you on your journey towards God.