Book Briefs - August

Book Briefs - August
Photo by Cristina Gottardi / Unsplash

I wanted to let you newsletter subscribers be the first to know that I’ve revamped Spiritual Theology—a new site, new look, and new newsletter delivery system. Substack was nice, but I needed something more substantial, more aesthetically pleasing, and something that wasn’t on someone else’s property. So, welcome to the newness.

For this edition, I thought it’d be helpful to share some of the new books I’ve received from publishers and friends. (Who doesn't love getting new books?) And these books all give attention to our spirituality. So every month I will try and highlight books that I consider are works of spiritual theology—of livable theology. It will be a mix of old and new books, and books for church leaders too.

The Books

Truth on Fire: Gazing at God Until Your Heart Sings by Adam Ramsey

Adam is a wonderful brother, a leader in Acts 29, and a pastor in Australia. And Adam is a stellar writer. You will really enjoy Adam’s book that looks at the attributes of God and how they cause us to worship. Releases September 1st.

"What would it look like to genuinely love God with our head AND our heart? To have a faith marked by right thinking AND right feeling? To know God deeply AND worship him passionately? Too often, Christians act as though these things are at odds with one another. But what if God intends for us to possess a Christianity that is radically committed to biblical truth, in a way that did not diminish the life of the heart, but actually intensified it?”

Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer by Eugene Peterson

Peterson was one of the giants in this era of Christian spirituality. His writing will bless people for generations. I find his book on praying the Psalms to be edifying, enlightening, practical, and producing thoughts in my mind that cause me to sit back and reflect—and pray.

Love Your Church: 8 Great Things about being a Church Member by Tony Merida

True Christian spirituality thrives and flourishes in the body of Christ. The church is the ecosystem for spiritual formation. Tony’s book reminds readers of the great calling and blessing of being a member of a local church.

For Church Leaders

Pastoral Leadership: For the Care of Souls by Harold Senkbeil and Lucas Woodford

“With more than 60 years of ministry between them, Harold Senkbeil and Lucas Woodford have come to understand that everything in ministry--even administration, leadership, and planning--revolves around the ancient tradition of the care of souls. Based on a sound theological framework, Senkbeil and Woodford present a set of practical tools for church leadership and strategy. Calling on their vast experience, they encourage pastors to protect, guide, and feed their flock as Jesus would, bridging the eternal wisdom of the word of God with the everyday practicality of hands-on leadership.”

Small Preaching: 25 Little Things You Can Do Now to Make You a Better Preacher by Jonathan Pennington

I loved this book. Little tweaks, adjustments, and steps can make a world of difference in forming preachers. Pennington is a pastor-scholar giving sage counsel for preachers. “It's not often that we hear the virtues of the small. Our culture teaches that bigger is better—and that includes church ministry and preaching, too. But what if rather than swinging for the fences, preachers focused on improving their sermons through small habits, practices, and exercises?”

The Path to Being a Pastor: A Guide for the Aspiring (9Marks) by Bobby Jamieson

These 27 short chapters provide a wealth of insight for those aspirating to the pastorate. This is the kind of practical wisdom I hope many interns, residents, and seminary students will take to heart. “In The Path to Being a Pastor, Bobby Jamieson explains why it’s better to emphasize “aspiration” over “calling” as men pursue the office of elder and encourages readers to make sure they are pastorally gifted before considering the role. He shares from his own eleven-year experience preparing to be a pastor by walking potential leaders through different stages of ministry training, from practical steps―such as cultivating godly ambition and leadership, observing healthy churches, and mastering Scripture―to personal advice on building a strong family and succeeding in seminary.”