Books

Category Archives: Books

The Life We Never Expected

I was wiping down high chairs for the millionth time when the call came through. The day felt normal, typical of the blur of other days that had gone before and would come after, but it wasn’t a normal day. The developmental psychologist my son Zeke had seen was on the line. She wanted to

Live a Bigger Life: Top 5 Curated Resources (August 2019)

With all the resources at our fingertips to help us grow in and live the bigger life Jesus offers, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start and what sources to trust. That’s why we’re curating five great resources each month for you–from books to podcasts to videos and more–that have been helpful

Girl, You’re Not Enough (And That’s the Point): Rachel Hollis’s Message Through the Lens of the Gospel

Rachel Hollis is an impressive person. She’s overcome a dysfunctional family, her brother’s suicide, an eating disorder. She started a high-end event planning business in L.A. with only a high school education, then another business, Chic Media, that has grown to be a multi-million dollar company. She’s given birth to three boys, was a foster parent for a while, and eventually adopted a little girl. She’s quick to share about her fantastic marriage and great sex life. She boxes, runs marathons, lost a lot of weight and has since kept it off. She drinks half her body weight in ounces of water every day and kicked her addiction to Diet Coke. She gets eight hours of sleep a night, wakes up at 5am, meditates, eats a healthy breakfast, and journals her goals and the things she’s thankful for… all before the kids get up. She has published five books and is a New York Times Bestselling author, she travels all over the country for speaking engagements and book promotions, she organizes (and is the keynote speaker of) a massive conference called Rise, and she has millions of followers on social media…

That’s a lot. I’m worn out just writing about it, let alone doing it all. But that’s the gist of most of Rachel Hollis’s work: helping women see that they too can achieve all their dreams. Page one of Girl, Wash Your Face says it loud and clear: “You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.”

Live a Bigger Life: Top 5 Curated Resources (May 2019)

Live a Bigger Life image

With all the resources at our fingertips to help us grow in and live the bigger life Jesus offers, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start and what sources to trust. That’s why we’re curating five great resources each month for you–from books to podcasts to videos and more–that have been helpful to our staff team.

We hope this month’s edition of “Live a Bigger Life” inspires you to take one more step down the path of living in God’s bigger and better story.

May 2019 Contributions:

Content: The Porter’s Gate Worship Project (music album)

Description: These worship songs have influenced me and my kids. We love to sing along, and the truths in the lyrics have encouraged me on hard days.

Contributor: Molly Cover, Administrative Support

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Content: Not By Sight by Jon Bloom (book)

Description: This is a short and extremely easy-to-read book that will encourage your faith. The chapters are short (3-4 pages each) and each one is an imaginative retelling of a common biblical story with hypothetical backstories and possible emotions the characters are going through. Many of these stories will stick in your head as encouragements and over time it helps train you to read your Bible with more emotion and creativity.

Contributor: Justin Garrett, Crossing Students Pastor

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Content: Songs of Jesus by Tim Keller (devotional book)

Description: Since January of last year, my quiet times have most often revolved around Tim Keller’s “Songs of Jesus”, which goes through the psalms and breaks them down into 365 readings. Many psalms involve multiple days’ readings, so I often read the entire psalm, then focus more on the verses that Keller focuses on that day, and journal a prayer around the truths found in those verses. It’s a great way to go deep in this book of the Bible that is full of all of life’s gritty experiences – fear, anxiety, joy, grief, anger, loneliness, doubt. I’ve found that this daily routine helps me to remember and cling to the truth that my walk of faith is more about my committed relationship with a Person than it is about following rules and doing the right things.

Contributor: Shelly Mayer, Small Groups Team and Volunteer Director

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Content: Be Still My Soul by Nancy Guthrie (devotional book)
 
Description: It’s true that all of our lives will crash on the painful rocks of reality at some point. When life becomes difficult, as we face deep disappointment or agonizing loss, we set out on a search to find answers to significant questions: Why would God allow this to happen? What good could come out of this? I refer to this book when I need to remind myself of who God is when I face hardships, and it’s my go-to book that I offer to those wrestling with suffering and loss.
 
 
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Description: Hannah and Erin’s discussions about what it means to follow Christ in our culture are thoughtful and stretching. I love their fun back-and-forth, and their practical insights have encouraged me to think more deeply about what’s going on in the world around me.
 
Contributor: Anna Lynne Frazier, Crossing Twenties Team
 
 
 

Live a Bigger Life: Top 5 Curated Resources (April 2019)

Live a Bigger Life image

With all the resources at our fingertips to help us grow in and live the bigger life Jesus offers, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start and what sources to trust. That’s why we’re curating five great resources each month for you–from books to podcasts to videos and more–that have been helpful to our staff team and others in our church.

We hope this month’s edition of “Live a Bigger Life” inspires you to take one more step down the path of living in God’s bigger and better story.

What We Have Loved, Others Will Love

“What we have loved others will love and we will teach them how.” -William Wordsworth- As a public school teacher, the words above became somewhat of a mantra. I hung them up as a reminder about what I wanted the students in my classroom to experience. They were words that also caused me to pause and

My Favorite Reads In 2018

I love books. In my world books > movies, books > tv shows, books > hunting, books > building stuff, books > most things except sports. (In my world Books = Sports.) Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that reading is more spiritual than other things or necessarily a better way to spend your time. I’m

Thinking (Christianly) About Politics

It’s that season again. I don’t mean winter. I mean the political season. Last night, Iowa kicked off the long primary/caucus gauntlet (grueling for both candidates and voters?), which will culminate several months from now in a national election. And if we aren’t already thinking along these lines, it’s a good reminder that we as Christians have a responsibility to think through how our faith should inform our understanding of and involvement with politics.

That’s not inventing a link that isn’t there, it’s just being biblical. Consider just one passage of many we could use to make the point:

Love Languages: The Good and The Bad

Everywhere I look it seems that I run into someone carrying around one of Gary Chapman’s books on Love Languages. There are plenty to choose from and it seems that he’s left no demographic untouched. There are Love Language books targeted at adults, teens, children, singles, and men. There’s a Love Language devotional, small group

8 Questions That Help Me Know If I’m Growing Spiritually

newtonbookcoverIt seems like I should be able to determine relatively easily if I’m personally growing spiritually but it isn’t as easy as you think it should be. What exactly should I be looking for in my life? For so many people the indicators of spiritual growth are only focused on behavior. Now of course our behavior is incredibly important to God but when that is the only consideration, we neglect our heart which is where our motives and loves spring from.

I recently finished Tony Reinke’s book Newton on the Christian Life; a book that will almost certainly be on the short list of best books that I read in 2015. Even if you’re not familiar with Newton, you are definitely familiar with his most famous hymn: Amazing Grace. After leaving the slave trade, Newton became a pastor in Olney and later London. While his sermons are rather ordinary, the hundreds of personal letters he wrote are exceptional. They are quite literally treasure troves of spiritual wisdom, pastoral care, and pictures of grace.

Reinke does a great job of surfacing some of Newton’s treasures and helping the reader personally benefit from it. In one section he shares Newton’s marks of a maturing Christian. While this list is hardly exhaustive, it does a good job of probing our heart and helping us see areas of our life that we might need to grow in. After each mark, I included a question(s) to further help me discern where I am spiritually.