Fact: Books are the best presents to give (barring, of course, all those other fabulous but intangible gifts of love, time, grace, and hugs).
For one reason, books are easy to wrap – no more of those awkward corners and creative cover-ups. For another, they’re a gift you can borrow. As soon as the wrapping paper comes off, it’s fair game who cracks open those beautifully new pages first. And finally, anyone could use a new book. Whether it’s for your parents, pastor, a student in your life, or the friend you’ve just met, a good book can challenge any reader to grow in knowledge, self-reflection, and faith.
And InterVarsity Press has some great new books this season. Here are 10 to feed your loved ones’ hearts, minds, and souls.
1. Small Things with Great Loveby Margot Starbuck. We’ve all felt it – that looming thought that we could be a far better Christian if we just did this and this and this. Too often, we end up overwhelmed and not doing anything. Margot encourages us to start with the people we already see, places we already are, and things we already do to express and experience God’s love through our own small acts of love.
2. No argument for Godby John Wilkinson. For the more apologetic-minded among your giftees, consider John’s book on the irrationality of faith. This is often the argument of new atheists against religion, but John contends that it may be its greatest asset, turning us from the need for investigation of God to revelation.
3. Luke: The Gospel of Amazementby Michael Card. This latest book by Michael Card came out of his own amazement as he studied Luke’s gospel and saw how radically Jesus turned everything around. Michael delves into Luke’s writing experience and wonders what Luke’s life was like and why he might have included certain details. It’s a fresh take on an amazing story.
4. Kingdom Callingby Amy L. Sherman. Lay people in the church have an important role in announcing the kingdom of God, and Amy explores how stewarding our gifts in our careers can further God’s purposes in the world. This book is great for those who both have a job or are trying to discern where God is calling them next.
5. Cost of Communityby Jamie Arpin-Ricci. Living in community – especially as Jesus did, among the poor in spirit, the weak, the unloved – is not easy. Through his experience in a monastic community in urban Winnipeg, Jamie shares his insights about what Jesus offers us and demands of us as we do life together.
6. Sanctuary of the Soulby Richard Foster. With our daily lives often busy and full of distractions, we need to find sanctuary to rest and connect with our Creator. Richard gives ways to practice meditative prayer so we grow in deeper fellowship with our Lord. Read an excerpt here.
7. Mind Your Faithby David A. Horner. This is a helpful gift for any student navigating the college classroom. David’s guide explores how ideas work and provides tools for thinking contextually, logically, and “worldviewishly” while living faithfully.
8. Clouds of Witnessesby Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom. Is your giftee passionate about learning of other cultures? Mark and Carolyn share 17 stories of Christian leaders in Africa and Asia whose faith in the midst of suffering and conflict inspired those around them. It’s a great look into the shaping of the global Church.
9. Invitations from Godby Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. God invites us into so many things, and Adele suggests that learning to hear and say yes to God’s many invitations is also a spiritual discipline. She recommends reflection questions and disciplines to help you learn to accept God’s offers to rest, weep, forgive, wait, and remember.
10. Portraits of a Radical Discipleedited by Christopher J. H. Wright. Reflecting on the life and legacy John Stott left behind in November, Wright has gathered sketches from family, friends, and partners in the gospel about the man who influenced so many. For fans of Stott’s Basic Christianity and Radical Disciple, consider giving the story of the writer behind them.
What book (other than the Bible!) has powerfully shaped your faith? Leave a comment and your name below. At the end of the week, a randomly selected commenter will receive a FREEcopy of IVP’s Forgiving as We’ve Been Forgivenby L. Gregory Jones and Celestin Musekura. We’ll leave it up to you to keep or gift it away!