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2020 Reading List

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FRIENDS

Living the Quaker Way By Philip Gulley  

Philip Gulley invites us into a bracing encounter with the rich truths of Quakerism—a centuries-old spiritual tradition that provides not only a foundation of faith but also vision for making the world more just, loving, and peaceable by our presence. We not only come to a deeper appreciation of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality, we see how embracing these virtues will radically transform us and our world. 

Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality By J. Brent Bill

For over a decade, J. Brent Bill’s Holy Silence has been regarded as a contemporary classic on sacred silence. With warmth, wisdom, and gentle humor, Bill presents the Quaker practice of silence and expectant listening to a wider Christian audience.

MISSIONS

Desiring God By John Piper

Desiring God is a paradigm-shattering work that dramatically alters common perspectives on relating to God. Piper reveals that there really is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. In fact, for the follower of Jesus, delight is the duty as Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him. 

Constantly drawing on Scripture to build his case, Piper shows why pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God. He discusses the implications of this for conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering.

The Gospel Comes With a House Key By Rosaria Butterfield 

What did God use to draw a radical, committed unbeliever to himself? Did God take her to an evangelistic rally? Or, since she had her doctorate in literature, did he use something in print? No, God used an invitation to dinner in a modest home, from a humble couple who lived out the gospel daily, simply, and authentically. 

With this story of her conversion as a backdrop, Rosaria Butterfield invites us into her home to show us how God can use this same “radical, ordinary hospitality” to bring the gospel to our lost friends and neighbors.

Missions by the Spirit By Ron Stansell

Author Ron Stansell shows that Quakers have carried out some aspects of missions differently than other evangelicals. Consciously and unconsciously, twentieth-century Friends were influenced by traditions and beliefs about the Holy Spirit, interpersonal relationships of peace and harmony, convictions that the human condition involves both physical and spiritual needs, and the belief that a passionately holy life full of integrity was required of them as missionaries. The bold witness of early Friends includes biblical teaching about the equality of all human beings, the work of God in the hearts of people everywhere, loyalty to Scripture, the centrality of Christ, the possibility of culture being transformed, and the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit. The theology and practice of Friends is evident in the mission work of twentieth-century Friends missionaries Arthur B. Chilson, R. Esther Smith, Everett L. Cattell, and Jack L. Willcuts.

BIOGRAPHIES

Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Path to Joy By Larry Cobb 

“Shattered dreams,” writes Dr. Larry Crabb, “are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story. The Holy Spirit uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream.” 

To help you understand this neglected truth in the deepest and most helpful way, author and counselor Larry Crabb has written a wise, hopeful, honest, and realistic examination of life’s difficulties and tragedies. He wraps these insights around the bold story of Naomi in the Bible’s book of Ruth. 

When God Weeps By Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes 

If God is loving, why is there suffering? When bad things happen, who’s behind them–God or the devil? When suffering touches our lives, questions like these suddenly demand an answer. After more than thirty years in a wheelchair, Joni Eareckson Tada’s intimate experience with suffering gives her a special understanding of God’s intentions for us in our pain. She and lifelong friend Steven Estes probe beyond glib answers that fail us in our time of deepest need. Instead, with firmness and compassion, they reveal a God big enough to understand our suffering, wise enough to allow it—and powerful enough to use it for a greater good than we can ever imagine 

White Picket Fences: Turning toward Love in a World Divided By Amy Julia Becker 

The notion that some might have it better than others, for no good reason, offends our sensibilities. Yet, until we talk about privilege, we’ll never fully understand it or find our way forward. Amy Julia Becker welcomes us into her life, from the charm of her privileged southern childhood to her adult experience in the northeast, and the denials she has faced as the mother of a child with special needs. She shows how a life behind a white picket fence can restrict even as it protects, and how it can prevent us from loving our neighbors well. 

Why Should The Devil Have All the Good Music? By Gregory Thornbury 

Having spent the bulk of the 1960s playing on bills with acts like the Who, Janis Joplin, and the Doors, Norman decided that he wanted to sing about the most countercultural subject of all: Jesus. 

To a young generation of Christians who wanted a way to be different in the American cultural scene, Larry was a godsend— spinning songs about one’s eternal soul as deftly as he did ones critiquing consumerism, middle-class values, and the Vietnam War. Gregory Alan Thornbury draws on unparalleled access to Norman’s personal papers and archives to narrate the conflicts that defined the singer’s life, as he crisscrossed the developing fault lines between Evangelicals and mainstream American culture—friction that continues to this day. What emerges is a twisting, engrossing story about ambition, art, friendship, betrayal, and the turns one’s life can take when you believe God is on your side. 

DEVOTIONAL/STEWARDSHIP

Keep a Quiet Heart By Elisabeth Elliott 

When life gets too busy, too impersonal, and too much to handle, it’s time to turn to God for some peace and quiet. Keep a Quiet Heart is a unique collection of some of Elisabeth’s best work from her newsletter. More than 100 short passages offer a bit of relief from everyday life as they point the reader toward the everlasting love and peace of God.

Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy By Leslie Vernick 

Counselor and author Leslie Vernick has discovered that many people pray, “Lord, I just want to be happy!” With candor, Leslie reveals that readers don’t need new circumstances but a new perspective to discover true happiness. With biblical insight, Leslie guides readers to take simple steps as they recognize and change habits that, day by day, keep them from experiencing happiness, make good choices and develop the skills that enable them to let go of negative and painful emotions more quickly so they can live with gratitude, joy, and purpose. Application questions help readers work godly thinking, as well as healthy skills and habits, into their lives and hearts.

Gracelaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart By Ruth Chou Simons 

GraceLaced is about more than pretty florals and fanciful brushwork—it’s about flourishing. With carefully crafted intention, this beautiful volume of 32 seasonal devotions from artist and author Ruth Chou Simons encourages readers in any circumstance to become deeply rooted in God’s faithful promises. GraceLaced extends a soul-stirring invitation to draw close to God while…resting in who He is, rehearsing the truth He says about you, responding in faith to those truths,
remembering His provision to sustain you, time and time again. More than 800 individual pieces of art came together in the crafting of this book, including dozens of new, hand-painted Scripture vignettes that Ruth is known for.

CHRISTIAN LIFE/FAMILY LIFE/SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World By Rebecca Manley Pippert

“Christians and non-Christians have something in common,” writes Rebecca Pippert. “We’re all uptight about evangelism.” So begins the bestselling book on evangelism as a lifestyle. Through stories, biblical insight and plain common sense, Pippert helps us feel relaxed and enthusiastic about sharing our faith. She offers an inspiring view of what effective, engaging evangelism might look like–for individuals as well as for churches through memorable stories. This thoroughly revised and expanded edition of Out of the Saltshaker is now even more valuable, with new chapters on the natural stages of evangelism (cultivating, planting and reaping), new stories of God’s work in people’s lives and added material on meeting the challenges of the new competitors to Christian faith. 

Intertwined: Our Happiness is Tied to God’s Glory By Mark Ballenger 

Perhaps we struggle to consistently live with joy because we do not consistently live with purpose. God made you for a specific reason, and until you embrace his mission for your life, the roller coaster ride of emotions will just keep going. Happiness, purpose, and freedom are available, but it all depends on intertwining your good with God’s glory. God’s plan for our joy is not tied to life events but to the life of Christ. Intertwined is meant to dust off the cobwebs of the most profound phrase ever given to humanity, “The glory of God.” When we rediscover what this means, we have rediscovered the path to everything good. 

Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life By Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

Celebrating the truths of Christianity, a gifted teacher reveals how a heartfelt desire to live a godly life comes from recognizing that one has been loved and transformed through Christ.

Imagine Heaven By John Burke 

All of us long to know what life after death will be like. Burke compares over 100 gripping stories of near-death experiences (NDEs) to what Scripture says about our biggest questions of Heaven: Will I be myself? Will I see friends and loved ones? What will Heaven look like? What is God like? What will we do forever? What about children and pets? 

For decades, Burke has been studying accounts of survivors brought back from near death who lived to tell of both heavenly and hellish experiences. Burke shows how the common experiences shared by thousands of survivors point to the exhilarating picture of Heaven promised in the Bible. 

This thrilling journey into the afterlife will forever change the way you view the life to come and the way you live your life today. You’ll discover Heaven is even more amazing than you’ve ever imagined.

The Storm Tossed Family By Russell Moore 

Why do our families have so much power over us? In Storm-Tossed Family, bestselling author Russell Moore (Onward, Christianity Today’s 2016 “Book of the Year Award Winner”) teaches readers whether you are married or single, whether you long for a child or shepherding a full house, you are part of a family. Family is difficult because family—every family— is an echo of the gospel. 

Family can be the source of some of the most transcendent human joy, and family can leave us crumpled up on the side of the road. Family can make us who we are, and family can break our hearts. Why would this social arrangement have that much power, for good or for ill, over us? 

FICTION

Turning the Tide (A Quaker Midwife Mystery) By Edith Maxwell 

Excitement runs high during presidential election week in 1888. The Woman Suffrage Association plans a demonstration and movement leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton comes to town to rally the troops, one of whom is Quaker midwife Rose Carroll. But the next morning, Rose finds the dead body of the group’s local organizer. Rose can’t help wanting to know who committed the murder, and she quickly discovers several people who have motives. The victim had planned to leave her controlling husband, and a promotion had cost her male colleague his job. She’d also recently spurned a fellow suffragist’s affections. After Rose’s own life is threatened, identifying the killer takes on a personal sense of urgency. 

An Extra Mile By Sharon Garlough Brown 

The women of Sensible Shoes are navigating both deep joy and devastating loss. Can they find equilibrium in the midst of all that has changed? In this final installment of the Sensible Shoes series, you’re invited to travel with these beloved friends as they endure trials that test their trust and their willingness to walk an extra mile.

Reading List Images and Text courtesy of Amazon.com