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The Blog of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
June 25, 2013
Summer Reading Recommendations
For those of you who are more inclined to read, summer can be a grand opportunity to take in new books that can help strengthen your faith and broaden your experience of Jesus. (For those who are less disposed toward reading—you should read anyway!)
If you are in need of book recommendations, look no further. Below are four books that will be of specific relevance to your summer.
True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In by James Choung
No matter where you are this summer, you are called as a follower of Jesus to make disciples. He can use you at home with your family, in class with your peers, on vacation with your friends, in the inner city serving with others, or as a stranger in a new land as you travel overseas.
True Story tackles the gospel narrative and helps you present your faith in a refreshing, relevant way to whomever God may bring to you this summer. Choung breaks the gospel down so beautifully; learn it from him for your sake and for the sake of those around you.
As followers of Jesus, let us be bold witnesses who are equipped to handle the word of truth and are ready to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).
The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows by James Bryan Smith
Summer is a wonderful season of excitement, adventure, rest, and activity. But many of you who go home for the summer could also face some “spiritual blues,” like spiritual dryness or temptation. Any of us can allow summer to lull us into taking a vacation away from the Lord, and lose our intentional focus on him.
Smith’s book will help keep you centered on the One who gives you new life each day. This book dives into the false narratives and beliefs we may carry about the God we love and worship, and helps us understand who he truly is on a deeper level. Let this summer be a season in which you fall deeper in love with the God Jesus demonstrates and proclaims in the Gospels.
The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? by Richard Stearns
Some of you are spending your summer on mission, perhaps serving with InterVarsity on a Global Project, a Global Urban Trek, or an Urban Project. What a wonderful way to be part of what God is doing in another culture or among the materially poor!
For those who are interested in learning why and how working for justice connects with our faith found in the gospel, this gem written by World Vision’s CEO, Richard Stearns, is a must-read. Stearns’s book addresses the reality of poverty in our world, how we as Christians can be part of the solution, and why the gospel compels us to do so.
Be aware, though, that The Hole in Our Gospel will shake you up as a Christian. It asks tough questions and presents staggering pictures of poverty in our world. But it also offers real hope found in the restoring power of the gospel.
Some of you just graduated from college and are leaving InterVarsity for the working world. Though graduation is a time of much celebration over great accomplishments, it is also a season of transition—a season of preparation for new things, new places, and new people. The adjustment for alumni who are continuing their faith journey in an unknown environment can be quite hard.
This book will do wonders for those of you who need to figure out what following Jesus looks like in your life now. It discusses many relevant topics such as your prayer life, finding meaning in work, church involvement, ministry, and discernment of God’s will. Don’t let this summer of transition catch you by surprise; greater things have yet to come for those who follow Jesus.
I pray and hope that your summer will be a fruitful time of fellowship with the Lord and purposeful in serving him. May these books transform your faith and empower you to bless others to the glory of God.
Keith Sun is a soon-to-be medical student at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He calls the San Francisco Bay area his home and is an InterVarsity alumnus from the University of California, Davis.