1. “A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers,” by D. A. Carson
Carson has been one of my favorite New Testament teachers for many years. His book on the prayers of the apostle Paul will encourage and strengthen your approach to prayer.
“The reader is guided, gently yet persuasively, towards a reformation in personal dealings with God. This excellent and timely book can be heartily commended.”
Consider one of the prayers Carson explores:
“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).
2. The Contemporary Christian: Applying God’s Word to Today’s World, by John R. W. Stott
This book was the recipient of a Christianity Today 1994 Critics Choice Award and the 1993 Christian Booksellers Association/Europe Book of the Year Award! In 1992, I enjoyed every page of this book. I have returned to it a number of times and believe that it continues to speak with refreshing insight. I wish every Christian could read this book.
Stott is convinced that people reject Christianity not because they think it is false but because they believe it is irrelevant. “To be ‘contemporary’ is to live in the present”… “To be a ‘contemporary Christian,’ however, is to ensure that our present is enriched both by our knowledge of the past and by our expectation of the future.” Stott is uniquely gifted in showing how Christianity can speak effectively and relevantly to the contemporary world.
3. Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be : A Breviary of Sin, by Cornelius Plantinga Jr
In this award-winning book, Plantinga defines sin as “culpable disturbance of shalom.” Few books have held my attention more than this one. It rewards the patient and reflective reader with profound insights into the main human problem.
“Cornelius Plantinga pulls the ancient doctrine of sin out of mothballs and presents it to contemporary readers in clear language, drawing from a wide range of books, films, and other cultural resources. In smoothly flowing prose Plantinga describes how sin corrupts what is good and how such corruption spreads. He discusses the parasitic quality of sin and the ironies and pretenses generated by this quality. He examines the relation of sin to folly and addiction. He describes two classic ‘postures’ or movements of sin – attack and flight. And in an epilogue he reminds us that whatever we say about sin also sharpens our eye for the beauty of grace.”