Here’s some of my favorite books.  For each one, I’ve noted the book’s topic next to it, and linked it to Amazon.  I will add more to this list over time!

  • The Selfless Way of Christ, Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life by Henri 20191119_095242Nouwen: Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Disciplines. This short, beautifully written book invites us to know Jesus in a real way and out of that live out his love and compassion for other people. This is the vocation we are called to. Our culture tempts us with upward mobility, to be seen and be successful (even in ministry roles!), but Jesus way is humble. Henri suggests disciplines we can practice to create space for the Spirit to transform us to know Jesus and become like him.
  • Praying Over God’s Promises by Thomas Yeakley: Prayer, Suffering, Spiritual Growth. Do you ever 20190612_121606wonder what God promises you? Especially in hard seasons of life? If so, your faith will be encouraged by this packed-with-wisdom, biblically-grounded, practical book. This book includes discussion about how to discern what biblical promises apply to us, how to humbly and persistently pray, how claimed promises can be abused, and how to understand and have patience when we don’t see prayers being answered.
  • Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring by Andi Ashworth: Hospitality. As I read this book, it felt like Andi was a IMG_20180608_114221430mentor sharing out of her real life and experiences. She describes hospitality as a vocation and meaningful life work.  This creative artwork is of great value for investing in other people’s lives.  Practical topic she discusses include what care-giving is in daily life, establishing rhythms of rest so we don’t overextend ourselves, creating home and celebration, and how hospitality can vary with seasons of life.
  • The Power of 2: How to make the Most of Your Partnership at Work and in Life by IMG_20180603_194306428Rodd Wagner & Gale Muller: Relationships, Work, Strengths.  The eight key ingredients to a productive, healthy partnership are complementary strengths, a common mission, fairness, trust, acceptance, forgiveness, communicating, and unselfishness.  When two people come together in this type of partnership, great synergy happens.  This book is full of helpful ideas and stories so you can bring these principle into your partnerships, whether at work, in marriage, or other shared purposes in life.
  • For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay: Parenting.  I am thankful to have read this book when the girls IMG_20180603_192159199were quite small, as Susan shares basic ways of thinking about parenting that I haven’t seen elsewhere.  Parents play a key role in the life of a child by teaching them in every aspect of life.  She discusses what it means to be educated, and how we can teach our children to value thinking and learning.  She share insights into relating with our children as unique people and introducing them to faith in God.  She shares practical thoughts on discipline and teaching our children good character habits.  This book is full of valuable parenting nuggets!
  • The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door by 20170617_171414Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon: Relationships, Neighbors and Community, Evangelism.  We know that “love your neighbor” is the second great commandment, but how can we do it in daily life?  These authors give lots of practical ideas for building real relationships and sharing Jesus’ love.  They also help us move past the obstacle of fear, including fear that we won’t know what to talk about, will lose boundaries, or will have to be every neighbor’s friend.
  • A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller: Prayer, Spiritual Disciplines.  This20170615_125027 refreshing and practical book helps us understand what it looks like to connect with our Father in heaven like a dependent child.  Examples of helpful and encouraging discussion include: how anxiety can draw us to prayer, how cynicism blocks our prayer,  living in the struggle of unanswered prayer, and ideas for incorporating prayer into our daily lives.
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence: Spiritual Disciplines20170617_165055This is a very short book I’ve read multiple times.  It contains compiled writings from a monk who lived in the 1600’s.  In these writings and letters, he communicates a strong sense of God’s life-giving presence and peace in his daily life.  The insights he shares inspires the reader to live a life of prayer and knowing God’s presence.
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves:  Emotional and IMG_20171027_125103049.jpgrelational growth.  The authors’ purpose is to help us become aware of our emotions, manage our emotions well, and be aware of other people’s emotions – all so we can build healthy relationships.  These skills are critical for all of us, in the workplace, at home, and in all relationships.  As a bonus, it comes with a free code for an assessment!  The majority of the book is comprised of practical ideas and exercises.
  • Changes that Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud:  Emotional, relational, and spiritual IMG_20171026_160458344growth.  Written by the author of the well-known book, BoundariesHe discusses the deep need for adults to be emotionally healthy in order to truly be spiritually healthy.  It addresses issues of identity as a Christian, bonding with other people, developing boundaries, how to understand good and bad in the world, and what it means to live fully as a mature adult.  Very thoughtful and biblically grounded.
  • Are My Kids on Track?  The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and MelissaIMG_20171028_172110260 Trevathan:  Parenting and Emotional, relational, and spiritual growth.  Children’s physical and cognitive development is carefully paid attention to, while these milestones can be harder to track.  Three pediatric counselors provide helpful information and practical application activities to help parents mentor their children emotionally, socially, and spiritually – step by step, through developmental ages.  Each chapter includes sections specifically for boys and girls.
  • The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark:  Home management and 20170617_171404cleaning.  Mindy is a Christian author who values caring for the people in our homes and making God the center of our homes.  She shares an overall plan for how we can manage our homes more easily and quickly, with countless great ideas. She walks you through creating a floor plan and solutions to meet the needs for how you live in your home.
  • Love Walked Among Us by Paul E. Miller: Spiritual growth, Relationships. 20170615_125012 Paul shares very thoughtful insights on what love looks like from Jesus’ life in the Gospels.  He addresses challenging relational topics such as compassion, how judging and legalism block love, anger, how to speak truth with love, forgiveness and reconciliation, and saying “no” to people you love.  This is a must-read!
  • Brave Hearts by Sharon A. Hersh: Women, Relationships.  We are created to live courageously in 20170615_124917relationship with God and people!  But struggles with issues such issues as independence, idealism, envy, comparison limit our relationships.  With God’s help, we can become free to love generously.  There are reflection/discussion questions at the end of each chapter, making this a great book for a group of women to read and discuss together.
  • Transformed into Fire by Judith Hougen: Identity, Spiritual growth.  In Christian culture, many of us know the Bible and try to live right, but 20170615_130203still don’t feel close to God.  We wonder if we really experience Him and know His love.  Judith explores how we try to find our identity in the wrong places, rather than in Jesus’ love and who he created us to be.  She also shared practical steps we can take.  When this happens, we become the love of Christ to the world around us!
  • A Path Through Sufferingby Elisabeth Elliot: Suffering.  This deeply thoughtful book 20170615_124941shows us how we can walk through suffering with Jesus, rather than trying to avoid it and numb it.  Elisabeth experienced much loss in her life and shares out of her heart struggles and walk with Christ.  Each chapter begins with a beautiful analogy from nature that helps us see how Jesus is with us and how our redeeming God creates beauty out of what seems senseless and lost to us.
  • Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun: Spiritual Growth Practices.  This 20170615_124851is an extensive, inspiring, and practical compilation of spiritual disciplines (practices to engage in for spiritual growth).  Some topics include celebration, communion, secrecy, mentoring, humility, and prayer partners. Each discipline is covered in a short four-page chapter and can be read alone or in any order.  It can work well for reading with a spiritual friends or group, choosing one discipline to read and practice between meetings.
  • A Life That Says Welcome by Karen Ehman: Hospitality.  This 20170617_171355provides a good introduction to what biblical hospitality looks like, as opposed “entertaining” company.   Karen shares a wealth of practical ideas for showing care and hospitality.  Some aspects she explores include what it means to have a hospitable heart, how to keep your family first, cleaning, managing your home, meal ideas, and extending hospitality outside your home.