Re-Reading and Reading Lists

Organizing my want-to-read (otherwise known as TBR or to-be-read) lists of unread books is like trying to put an octopus inside a mesh bag without any of the legs coming out. 🙂 Then there are the books that I’ve read in the past that I want to read again. It’s hard to pick up a book to re-read when there are so many out there that I still want to read for the first time. Yet re-reading them can bring out new things that I had forgotten from the first time reading, particularly with non-fiction.

My list of physical books owned that I’d like to read

My list of books to re-read

I have a TON of Kindle books. The “priority” list of ones I want to read are here. But there are more than those books on my Kindle that I hope to get to at some point also. My list of Kindle books is here. Granted, some of those are already read but still on my Kindle. And some of those are more reference works, such as cookbooks/recipes. But still, that’s a lot of books!

Then there are the books I want to read that I don’t own but can get through the inter-library loan. To keep track of those books I use Google Docs and add to the list as I discover books and check to see if they can be requested through the library. I also have a list of some of them on my goodreads shelf here. If they are not available through inter-library loan, then I generally will add them to my paperbackswap wishlist. So the lists just grow and grow.

In order to feel like I’m making some sort of progress through the lists, I try to work on mostly my unread lists of books. But the re-reads call to me as well. So my hope is to try to re-read up to 5 of my re-read books during the course of a year. In particular, the ones I’m hoping to get to this year include

Living By the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible
Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

Knowing God
Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Do you make lists of books to read? What about re-reading?

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Still Time to Join the Bible in 90 Days – Feb. 1 – May 1, 2014

I originally posted about doing this challenge back in September. You can see the original post here. You do not need to friend me on Facebook in order to join the group. Just go to this link here and request to join. If you are not on Facebook and would like to do this challenge, I am willing to email you the details if you are open to being on an email list. My email address is bookaddict4life (at) gmail (dot) com. Please put Bible in 90 Days in the subject line and let me know you want to join.

This is a hard challenge, but so worth it! Here is my post when I finished doing this the last time. I hope that you will consider doing this and see how God uses this to grow you in your walk with Him.

You can do this!

Tips

God in the Whirlwind by David Wells

God In the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our WorldGod In the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World by David F. Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Too often we as Christians tend to emphasize one of God’s character traits more than others. In this book, the author addresses the importance of keeping God’s holiness and God’s love in balance as working together. They cannot be separate from each other. The atonement is described in a beautiful, moving way – God’s holiness demanding complete righteousness and His love providing that through Christ’s sinless life. As a response to God’s holy-love, we are now free to live for Him instead of for ourselves. The American dream of individualism has caused us to lose sight of who we are in Christ.

An excellent book on who God is and a return to knowing Him as He reveals Himself to us rather than making Him into Who we want Him to be. Part of the book deals with worship and what that really should look like in the church today and yet how far we have strayed from the biblical definition of worship.

Some quotes for reflection:
“The knowledge of God is, in fact, a lifetime pursuit, not an instantaneous download. God has made himself known in Scripture, but we need to learn how to walk with him through life in the light of what we know of him.”

“He is simultaneously loving and holy in such a way that we never encounter his love without his holiness or his holiness without his love.”

“We must train ourselves to set the character of God in the framework that he gave us rather than in the framework we so often use in understanding our lives today.”

“In a psychological world, we want therapy; in a moral world, a world of right and wrong and good and evil, we want redemption. In a psychological world, we want to be happy. In a moral world, we want to be holy. In the one, we want to feel good but in the other want to be good.”

“God therefore stands before us not as our Therapist or our Concierge. He stands before us as the God of utter purity to whom we are morally accountable.”

“He is not there begging to enter our internal world and satisfy our therapeutic needs. We are before him to hear his commandment. And his commandment is that we should be holy, which is a much greater thing than being happy. It is a commandment to be holy but not a promise that we will be made whole. We will not be made whole in this life. We will carry life’s wounds with us and we will be beset by painful perplexities and our own personal failures. It is true that there are psychological benefits to following Christ, and happiness may be its by-product. These, though, are not fundamentally what Christian faith is about. It is about the God who is other than ourselves, who is the infinite and gracious God. But let us never forget, it is this God who also summons us to come and die at the foot of Christ’s cross.”

“…the central theme of this book: how should the holy-love of God define and shape our sanctified lives?”

“Sanctification is about living in ways that are consistent with what we already are in Christ.”

“We are justified by faith alone but faith, if it is genuine, never stands alone. It always brings forth works.”

“That there are those who claim to be born again who show no evidence of their inward renewal, of having been torn from the past life and relocated in an entirely different spiritual existence, is a travesty and a scandal.”

“In so many churches today, theological themes have been forsaken for inspirational, therapeutic, and practical ones.”

“There is a purpose, a different purpose, for the church’s gathering. It is to give glory to God, to be renewed in his presence, to be instructed, to remember Christ’s death, and to remember again our place among the people of God. This purpose should shape everything that happens both in the service of worship and in the worshipers.”

“Nothing is more important to our understanding of worship than this: we come to the Lord, not because it is our idea to do so, or because we need to do so, or even because we like to do so, but because he first came to us. Worship is our response to what he has done. Worship undoubtedly can have its benefits. However, it is not primarily about our finding comfort, inspiration, social connections, or being entertained. it is primarily about adoration and praise being directed to God simply for who he is and what he has done. Worship loses its authenticity when it becomes more about the worshiper than about the God who is worshiped.”

Excellent book full of hard truths that we need to come back to as Christians living in a postmodern world.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my review.

The Modern Life Study Bible

I’m always eager to check out new Bibles, particularly study Bibles. We are blessed to have so many Bibles available to us in the English language.

The Modern Life Study Bible: God's Word for Our World

This new Bible coming out is jam-packed with all kinds of interesting features! The purpose for this study Bible appears to be that of helping to show how the issues and concerns that people in biblical times dealt with are not all that different than what we deal with in modern times. Different themes are highlighted throughout the Bible, such as community, work, family, economics and government. Like other study Bibles, this one also has book introductions. What seems to be unique with this Bible is the themes highlighted throughout and the extensive list of jobs that are mentioned in the Bible, showing the similarities between those times and today’s work.

Throughout the Bible, biography articles are included to show some of the people throughout history and their impact on those around them. Insight articles and focus articles helped to bring out the passages, correlating them to modern times and making them more understandable in our modern context. Maps and places are included with background information, helping to make the lands of the Bible real. Timelines are included with prophets like Isaiah to show what kings were in power during his years of prophecy. All these features help to make the Bible more understandable, as well as adding depth and historical background to make the context make sense to our modern eyes.

My one disappointment with this Bible was that it is in the New King James Version. This is just a personal preference, as this is a good translation. I find it harder to read than translations such as New American Standard Bible or English Standard Version. Other than that, I love all the features that this Bible offers to help study and understand the context and history of the Bible times.

*I received this Bible free from the publisher (through Booksneeze) in exchange for my review.

A Biblical Theology of Missions by George Peters

A Biblical Theology of MissionsA Biblical Theology of Missions by George Peters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An extensive look at the theme of missions throughout the Bible.

“Not the welfare and glory of man, not the growth and expansion of the church, but the glory of God forms the highest goal of missions because the being and character of God are the deepest ground of missions ‘for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.'”

This book was difficult to read but overall a good look at how missions permeates the Bible and God is a God of missions. I didn’t agree with some of the author’s views but the book is a good treatise on what missions is and the importance of it in the believer’s life.

“The challenge of the believer is to be a ‘missionary,’ a ‘sent one,’ sent by the Holy Spirit through the church…to bear witness to Christ and proclaim the revealed message of God’s redeeming act in Christ Jesus. This, of course, requires thorough knowledge of the message as deposited in the Bible, and intimate personal acquaintance with Christ.”

The author also talks about discipleship and what that looks like in the life of a Christian. “Note five basic principles of cross-bearing: (1) Cross-bearing is voluntary – ‘if any man will.’ (2) Cross-bearing is continuous – ‘daily.’ (3) Cross-bearing is absolutely necessary to discipleship – ‘whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ (4) Cross-bearing is not pleasing to our natural self for it is basically associated with self-denial – ‘deny himself.’ (5) Cross-bearing is taken up for the sake of Christ – ‘my disciple.'”
“Whatever else cross-bearing may mean, it certainly implies such voluntary identification with the Lord that He absorbs our love, devotion, time, talent and strength to such a degree that nothing and no one else matters in our life except the Lord. Self-interest, plans, pleasures, position and relations have been denied; self is dethroned and delivered to the Spirit to be crucified. Discipline, limitations and dependence are accepted to follow the Master at every cost and at any expense, even the expense of life. Such is implied in cross-bearing. Here we come to the heart of Christian discipleship… A Christian disciple is more than a believer. A disciple is more than a learner in the ordinary sense of the word. A disciple is more than a follower and imitator of Christ, more than a holy enthusiast for Christ, yea even more than one who lives in full devotion to the Lord. A disciple is a believing person living a life of conscious and constant identification with the Lord in life, death and resurrection through words, behavior, attitudes, motives and purpose, fully realizing Christ’s absolute ownership of his life, joyfully embracing the saviorhood of Christ, delighting in the lordship of Christ, and living by the abiding, indwelling resources of Christ according to the imprinted pattern and purpose of Christ for the chief end of glorifying his Lord and Savior.”
“The biblical concept of Christian discipleship must always be interpreted to involve humble following, constant fellowship, sanctified openmindedness, undisputed obedience, ready submission, heroic faith, arduous labor, unselfish service, self-renunciation, patient suffering, painful sacrifice, and cross-bearing. It is the bringing of all of life under the lordship of Christ.”

“Missions is inherent in the very nature of Christianity and is a true product of our personal faith in proper relationships to a Spirit-enlightened understanding of biblical Christianity. Such a statement does not mean that missions need not be taught and nurtured in the Christian church or that it grows spontaneously or automatically. Nothing is spontaneous in Christianity. All must be cultivated and nurtured. But it does mean that when the whole counsel of God is taught, believed and obeyed, missions will cease to be considered a side work or something we may engage in or not. It will cease to be optional and ‘elective.’ It will not be merely a work of the church, beneficial and praiseworthy; it will be the work of the church, absolutely essential to the church to retain her Christian character and purpose. It will become primary and dominant in the purpose and activity of the church, with all powers geared toward accomplishing the task.”

And this quote – ouch! Quite an indictment on the church who doesn’t view missions as important.
“A church that does not recognize the primacy of missions deprives herself of the most intimate relationship with her Lord, fails to identify herself with the primary purpose of God, robs her membership of the deepest experiences of the Holy Spirit, and denies the world the greatest blessings the Lord in grace has provided. She ceases to be truly Christian.”

AHA by Kyle Idleman

AHA: The God Moment That Changes EverythingAHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything by Kyle Idleman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Awakening, Honesty, Action – AHA
In this book, the author takes us through the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Describing his experience of being the distant country and then coming to his senses – first, the awakening: realizing that one’s choices have taken us down the wrong road. Then, honesty – taking responsibility for those choices and not denying the seriousness of the situation. Then, action “so he got up”. Actually doing something about those wrong choices – making right choices, turning back to God.
Having read 2 others of Idleman’s books Not a Fan and Gods at War, I wasn’t sure whether I would like this one or not. I thoroughly enjoyed Not a Fan, highly recommending it. However, I didn’t like Gods at War nearly as much. This latest book I would put somewhere in between the two. I liked it much better than Gods at War though not quite as much as Not a Fan. But I would definitely recommend reading this one – a good realization to wake up to where we are in our lives, moving past denial and passivity to actually making changes to grow in our walk with God.

*I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Goal Setting and New Years

There’s something about the start of a new year that brings out the goal-setting side of me. The idea of a new beginning, a fresh start is invigorating. Yet, in reality, every day is a new start, a fresh beginning. Perhaps it’s the idea of a new year that brings out the reflection of what has happened over the course of the last year and the hopes and dreams of the coming year. The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the last year and set goals for the coming year.

As much as I like to set goals, I also want to be realistic. So this year, my goals are simple and aimed toward things I was planning on doing.

1. Lead a group through the Bible in 90 Days.
    This is scheduled for February 1 – May 1 and there is a Facebook group set up for this purpose. You can go here and ask to join.

2. Memorize Ephesians 2.
   I was pleased to be part of a group with Do Not Depart that memorized Ephesians 1 this fall. I want to go on and memorize the rest of the book but am just going to work on chapter 2 for now.

3. Read through Bible using the Professor Grant Horner’s plan.
   This is the 8-Month plan I hope to use from May – December.

4. Do study of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist with another couple.
    Jono and I hope to go through this book with another couple.

5. Be part of my church’s Wednesday morning ladies’ Bible study group.
    Now that I won’t be working full-time, I hope to join the Wednesday morning ladies’ group at my church. They will be going through Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship.

6. Read at least 75 books.
    My reading has been down a bit the last couple of years and am hoping to get more read this year now that I will be home more.

Do you set goals or resolutions? What are your reading and study plans for 2014?