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Ten books for Christmas and 2016 – part one

When asked a question, I may not know the answer but I often suggest a book. I read a lot and love to recommend books to others. So, why not share? Here are books to consider for Christmas and 2016. They are not always religious but they are interesting. The list is in no particular order. With each book there is information provided by Amazon.com followed by, “Why I recommend this book.”

“Being Church, Doing Life: Creating Gospel Communities Where Life Happens” by Michael Moynagh. Christians worldwide are learning new ways to connect their faith to everyday life. Gospel communities are popping up in cafes, gyms, tattoo parlors and laundromats. This movement, called Fresh Expressions, is attracting thousands and growing rapidly. Why I recommend this book: “Being Church, Doing Life” challenges us to move beyond attending church and learn new ways of connecting with God.

“Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters” by John Maxwell. We all have a longing to be significant. We want to make a contribution, to be a part of something noble and purposeful, but many people wrongly believe significance is unattainable. John Maxwell will help you take that first step, and the ones that follow, on your personal path through a life that matters. Why I recommend this book: “To be significant, all you have to do is make a difference with others wherever you are, with whatever you have, day by day.” I believe all of us are placed on earth by God for a reason. “Intentional Living” will help you find your purpose and provides a formula for taking action.

“$2.00 A Day: Living On Almost Nothing in America” by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer. A revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don’t think it exists. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? “$2.00 a Day‚“ delivers new ideas to our national debate on income inequality. Why I recommend this book: My office is in a Community Mission Center that offers two weeks’ worth of groceries to over 700 families every month. Many Americans have spent more than $2 before they even get to work or school. If you want to understand what it means to live in poverty, this book is a must read.

“The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough. On a winter day in 1903 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened. Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did? Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. Why I recommend this book: I have read many stories about Orville and Wilbur Wright, but David McCullough helps you understand the trials, the danger and thrill of achieving the ability to fly.

“The Sky is Falling, The Church is Dying and Other False Alarms” by Ted A. Campbell. Is there only doom and gloom for the future of mainline Christianity? Is the church threatened or are we on the precipice of new opportunities? The tragedy for churches is that many pastors now feel decline is inevitable and they are blind to the strengths that they do have. Why I recommend this book: “It is a bummer to wake up in the morning and hear that you’re dead. But that’s the way it has felt for folks in America’s older Protestant churches for the last four decades.” If you are tired of reading the gloom and doom stories about dead and dying churches, this book will give you a fresh vision of hope based on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. “In the end, there’s not much more to say. The preservation of the church, the renewal of the church is not our work. It’s God’s work. It’s grace. And that’s good news.”

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@sowingseedsoffaith.com.