Although we’re already a few weeks into 2019, it’s still not too late to share my top books from last year. As you’ll see, my selections center on theology, the church, and pastoral leadership. I tried to limit it to just 4 or 5, but this was a year of hearing from a number of formative voices that are shaping me, my leadership, and our church. So here they are, my top books from 2018.
It’s no secret the church, specifically the broader evangelical church, is in a state of crisis. Attendance and engagement is down, stories of financial, physical, and spiritual abuses are mounting, and any meaningful conversation regarding theology, philosophy, and morality in the cultural mainstream has become nearly impossible. Even the faithful in the evangelical church are becoming disheartened, weary, and have stories of frustration, disenfranchisement and hurt. This growing crisis should cause us to take an honest look inwards through the lens of Scripture, in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and with a heart of great humility before the Lord.
I remember a time when I went shopping on Christmas Eve for some last minute gifts (okay, probably all of my gift shopping was done that year on Christmas Eve) and was reminded why that was a bad idea. On the eve of what continues to be communicated and sold as the most joyful time of the year, a time of making happy memories and a season of giving, the not-so-hidden ugly side of the holiday was exposed. This is a season filled with stress and anxiety.
Thank you for being a reader and supporter of our gospel-centered, Kingdom-focused ministry! Your prayers, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on social media, commitment to Restoration Church, and financial support puts wind in our sails and fuels our faith in continuing to share the message of Jesus Christ to the world. For those looking to get caught up with the Till family and Restoration Church during the holiday season, we’ve got a full calendar of opportunities for you.
Christmas is about God the Father sending his Son, the promised King, to save us from our sin. It’s an everlasting, immaterial gift that cannot be earned through our good works or deeds, but only received by faith. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew this fact just as well, that belief brings blessing.
The Christmas season is filled with all sorts of mixed messages. From Black Friday “deals”, to riding in sleighs with bells, Santa Claus coming to town, and images of baby Jesus, it’s no wonder my kids have a hard time remembering what Christmas is all about. And to be honest, sometimes I do too.