Suggested Summer Reading List

This week marked the official start of summer, though the kids have been out of school for a few weeks.  Hopefully you have settled into a slower pace and are finding moments to relax.  My hope for you is that you’ll be able to take some time to read a good book at the beach, in the mountains or just in the back yard.  With that in mind, I want to recommend a few books that I will be reading and want to invite you to join me.  And then, let’s get together, maybe have a cup of coffee or lemonade and talk about how they spoke to you.

Available Hope: Parenting, Faith, and a Terrifying World by Julie Richardson

Julie is one of my dearest friends and I am incredibly proud her for writing this book.  It has been a labor of love and I can’t wait to jump in and enjoy this.  In it she invites us to examine our own life and discover our struggles, which actually make us stronger – and better parents. She helps us find courage and live out our beliefs and values as we speak up on behalf of those who have no voice.  Through it she invites us to realize how our own transformative relationships can help build a better tomorrow, together, with our children.  I just recently purchased an extra copy of this for the church library.


How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell

So if you know anything about me, you know that I read everything that Rob Bell writes.  He’s one of my favorites.  In his latest release Rob shows us how to pursue and realize our dreams, live in the moment, and joyfully do the things that make us come alive.  He lays out concrete steps we can use to define and follow our dreams, interweaving engaging stories, lessons from biblical figures, insights gleaned from Rob’s personal experience, and practical advice.


Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work by Dave Isay

A few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast in my car in which Isay was interviewed about his work with Storycorp, a national project that instructs and inspires people to record each others' stories in sound (do you ever wish you had a recording of your grandmother telling you the stories of her childhood? This project helps do that sort of thing).  As soon as I arrived at my destination I pulled out my phone and ordered this book!  It is simply a collection of unforgettable stories from people doing what they love.  Some found their paths at a very young age, others later in life; some overcame great odds or upturned their lives in order to pursue what matters to them.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert and am excited about this book.  I’ve drawn inspiration and empowerment from her books for years.  In her latest she digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear.  In so doing she invites us to tap into a life of wonder and joy.


Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered by Martin Copenhaver

A friend recommended this book to me and thought it might be something that I can turn into a sermon series.  And that’s exactly what I’m going to do!  Later in the summer I’ll be doing a sermon series on some of the questions that Jesus asked his followers, and continues to ask us.  Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings. In fact, for every question he answers directly he asks—literally—a hundred.  This book looks at the questions Jesus asks—what they tell us about Jesus and, more important, what our responses might say about what it means to follow Him.

That’s what will be on my nightstand this summer.  What about you? If you have recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them!