Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Gift Recommendations

I know during this season we all look for appropriate gifts for others in our lives.  If you know me well, you know that I love books and that I enjoy giving books to people.  Reading a book to me is like sitting down with a person and listening to their testimony, receiving their counsel, learning from their life experiences.  So, when I give a book away, I feel like I am giving away a portion of that wisdom and testimony.  (My theology professor in seminary 16 years ago exhorted the young men in the room that we should plan on spending at least $2000 a year on books in order to be well-read pastors!).  Many people have said before, "Readers are leaders."
It has also been said that five years from now (apart from divine sanctification), there are only two things that will make you a different person - (1) the people that you meet and (2) the books that you read.
If you are still looking for a timely gift for persons in your life, here are two recommendations:
One of the unfortunate realities that you see in life, church, and ministry is that many people allow their emotions to control them in very unhealthy ways.  Patterns of putting too much stock in what they feel often lead people to embrace lies in their minds that lead to destructive patterns of behavior.  I have seen it sadly way too many times.  This year Charles Stanley came out with a book for such situations:
Secondly, everybody has been hurt by somebody.  That is life.  We all have hurts - some worse than others.  The truth is, we can choose to move forward and heal, or we can stay stuck in the same patterns of rejection and isolation for years.  Stephen Arterburn wrote an excellent book I highly recommend about choosing to heal.  (I gave this to one man several years ago when he went through a divorce.  He told me numerous times that he read that book over and over during the aftermath of the divorce and it helped him greatly.)


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