Book Review: A Practical Guide to Culture

A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today's WorldA Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is geared toward parents, pastors, and youth leaders but could also be read by teens themselves. The authors present the challenges that Christians face in today’s culture and provide practical solutions for facing these. We all have a worldview and often the culture we live in affects that worldview. As Christians our worldview is to be based on the truth of Scripture. When much of the culture we live in flies in the face of that truth, it becomes a challenge to navigate. Teens today especially face these challenges and we need to help equip them properly to know the truth and defend it.
While this book is geared toward those who parent and mentor teens, it could also be used as a small group study amongst teens to help them learn tools for facing some of the most common issues in today’s culture – homosexuality, transgenderism, a hook-up culture, addiction, etc. The authors take us through these key issues and provide answers to the lies that the culture tells us about our sexual identity, relativism, etc. Each chapter in the book ends with further resources on that topic as well as discussion questions to talk through.
I would highly recommend this book as a resource for parents of teens to read, along with youth ministry leaders. We cannot hide our heads in the sand regarding these issues in the culture but need to challenge them with the truth and grace of the gospel. This book is a quick, easy read that provides tools to deal with these issues as well as pointing to further resources for deeper study.

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

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Discipling by Mark Dever

Discipling: How to Help Others Follow JesusDiscipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book defines discipling as “deliberately doing spiritual good to someone so that he or she will be more like Christ.” Being a disciple is being a follower. As a disciple of Jesus, we are to follow Jesus and part of that is to obey His command to make more disciples (or followers of Jesus). This is a very practical book on what discipling is and how to go about it. Discipleship should grow out of the local church and thus the book emphasizes the need to be part of a local body. “Christianity is not for loners or individualists. It is for a people traveling together down the narrow path that leads to life.” When we disciple we invite others along to join us on the journey of life.
“Discipling involves transmitting the knowledge of God and his Word through every moment of life.” Who we are to disciple will often be determined by where we live, our schedules, and who God brings into our path. At the end of the book is a short section for leaders and developing future leaders. “The goal of discipling is to see lives transformed, which means it involves more than reading a book or even the Bible with another person. Ultimately, discipling involves living out the whole Christian life before others.”
Definitely worth the read to encourage building into others’ lives and helping to make disciples who make disciples. Short, quick read with a powerful punch!

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

Not Being a Mother

I am not a mother, which means that I will never be a grandmother. That thought hit me the other day. But it also got me to thinking of all the children that God has brought into my life, especially in the last few years through coaching Bible Quizzing and doing nursery at church. While I may not be a biological mother, I am able to be another adult woman in the lives of these kids. One who cares about them, listens to them, wants what’s best for them, and longs for them to know Christ and grow in Him. Some of these kids are toddlers, just learning to talk, while others are pre-teens getting ready to navigate some rocky years of growing up.

As a result of my developing relationships with various ages of children and teens, I have been trying to collect resources to help these kids grow in their knowledge of the Bible and theology. While I may not have my own kids to build into, God has gifted me with these other children whom I can build into. In many ways, I am able to be a part of their lives because I don’t have my own children to take care of. I have more time that I can invest that I wouldn’t have if I had children of my own.

I don’t know what God has for me with ministry in the future. But He has been working in my life in these last few years and it is amazing to see what He has done!