Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ten summer encouragement resources

As the Summer comes and some of you head off on holiday I thought I would offer a few things you might want to pop in the bag. Please forward it far and wide to all and sundry (your pastor, your spouse and kids, your bible/community group, your church staff team, your Christian friends and colleagues at work- anyone you think it might be a blessing and encouragement for. Quite a few by this stage in the year are a bit weary and in need of rest, encouragement and resourcing. Now, I know no one ever links to this blog which is why it has such select readers (happily so you are are a discerning and elite bunch:) All links to your blog, tweets and facebook shout-outs are however welcome on this particular post:)

Here goes:

1. A good novel:  Some of you I know read worthy and weighty books (I will recommend a few later) but summer may be a time to sit on on sun bed and read a light page turner. Might I recommend 'One Day' by David Nicholls. It is the story of two friends and there ups and down from 1988-2004 from university to mid-life which is a window of time that is familiar to me and perhaps you. Made me laugh out loud in parts and made me sad. Tells the story so many are living and I for one was by mercy rescued from.

2. A good talk:  I have been meditating on Acts 20:24 and it is an extraordinary verse. I listen to one particular talk every few months and listened to it again last week. It is called 'Running with the Witnesses' and always stirs me into a spiritual MOT and to take a day out with bible, journal and all my gubbins to repent and pray. Hope it might bless you to do the same. If you are married, as the talk suggests, bless your spouse with a morning without phone, kids, plans, errands etc to get away and seek the Lord. 

3. A good discipline: I think the summer is a much better time to make resolutions than January. Who on earth has time over Christmas to reflect on the rest of their life? One thing that is very healthy to do is ask yourself how are you getting on following Jesus. I know- obvious but it is rather urgent. Are the ways you and I are living and the practices we enact making us more holy?  Donald Witney's book on the Spiritual disciplines has been such rich food for me recently as we have started preaching and teaching on the disciplines and is a healthy kick up the backside for me to put first things first (as Covey suggests). It might be for you too.

You might also read these two articles and reflect on the challenge that Gordon Macdonald throws out to Christians that we are meant to be 'deep people'.  Gosh- that's quite a thought. The two minute Keller film- well enough said.

MacDonald on 'Going deep'

(H/T J R Briggs)

4. A good game: Twice this year, I have been away with friends and family and we have played Monopoly deal. A really fun game for those wet afternoons in the tent when you are wondering what on earth to do keep everyone entertained.

5. A good introduction to the bible:  If you like a bit of theology or are involved in leading a church in any capacity it is hard not to have come across Rick Warren of Purpose driven life fame (which also if you haven't done these 40 days you have missed out in my opinion). Summer might give you an hour to watch this fascinating interview between Warren and John Piper (or download it for a journey) and also you might want to pick up his excellent resource on studying the bible called 'Bible Study Methods'. I can't believe I have not come across this before. If you have ever wanted to study the bible (so many seem to me never to get further than a sporadic quiet time). Here's a thought- the lack of study aside from busy-ness and wrong priorities might simply be not knowing how to study? This might be the solution for you and others -such a great resource for getting you delving deeply into the bible for yourself.

6. A good book on fear and worry: As already said by Justin Buzzard, Ed Welch's book on fear and worry: "Three summers ago I read a chapter a day of Ed Welch’s, Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest. It changed my life. This is the best book you can get your hands on for breaking free from anxiety and fear. This past month I re-read the book and was reminded of how good it is. I’ve underlined sentences on nearly every page. This might be a great book for you to read this summer."

7. A good book on leadership: A book that has caught my eye recently is called 'Derailed' and is about failures in leadership. I have not yet read it but it is on my own list for the summer months. As part of a time-out MOT it might offer helpful lessons for anyone leading anything.

8. A good biography/history: The Times literary editor said this was her favourite book and strangely it's a book about a bridge-The great bridge. It is a fascinating read and as we are all by grace involved in building things (marriages and families, churches, businesses etc) this might be a good one to read.

9. A good business book: I went recently to buy my nephew a new pair of football boots at a store called 'Sports direct'. I cannot describe what a dreadful experience it was. If this were in the US it would have closed years ago. Shocking place, shocking service and I could go on about how awful it is. Don't go there. If you know the owner tell him to read 'Delivering happiness' and if you like a business book you might like to read it too.

10. A good film:  There is much talk about Tree of Life.  You can watch Mark Kermode's review and then maybe you will want to go and see it or maybe you won't. If you don't you should listen to Kermode's excellent film podcast you should.

Keep running dear friends. Keep running.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read your blog.