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A Dozen New and Notable Christian Books for August 2020

As summer turns to fall, and as we seem to creep incrementally back towards normalcy, the new books continue to pour in. I’ve sorted through the many (many!) books that have shown up at my doorstep over the past four weeks and have narrowed them down to this list of a dozen. For each one I’ve included the editorial description. I hope there’s something here that jumps out at you!

Deeper Still: Finding Clear Minds and Full Hearts through Biblical Meditation by Linda Allcock. “We live in a fast-paced world, and our minds are working in overdrive. Mindfulness promises a method of tuning out the voices for a few minutes to live in the moment. Biblical meditation offers something better: an opportunity to be transformed by God’s voice of truth. Psalm 1 says that the person who delights in God’s word and meditates on it day and night is like a tree planted by streams of water. Linda Allcock gives us a framework to help us slow down and dwell deeply on God’s word so that it clears our minds and fills our hearts, making a real difference to the way we live. This book will help Christians who feel overwhelmed by their thought life, as well as those who want to go deeper in their devotional life. Full of down-to-earth anecdotes and practical advice, this warm and accessible book is designed to help make biblical meditation part of your everyday life.” (Buy it at Amazon)

ESV Women’s Study Bible. “The ESV Women’s Study Bible was designed to help women in all seasons of life pursue a deeper, transformational understanding of Scripture. Drawing on content adapted from the best-selling ESV Study Bible and the ESV Women’s Devotional Bible, this study Bible was created for women who are serious about God’s Word, want to learn more about what the Bible teaches, and want to apply Scripture’s life-changing truth to everyday life. The ESV Women’s Study Bible features over 523,000 words of study content, along with over 350 reflections connecting Scripture to life, book introductions and timelines, character sketches of key figures, detailed maps and illustrations, articles on important theological topics, and elegant artwork from artist Dana Tanamachi interspersed throughout. Contributors include best-selling authors like Jen Wilkin, Lauren Chandler, Ann Voskamp, Trillia Newbell, Kristyn Getty, and more.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Puritan Reformed Theology: Historical, Experiential, and Practical Studies for the Whole of Life by Joel Beeke. “Puritan Reformed Theology is a title with a subtle double entendre. It certainly delivers what it promises—theology in the Reformed tradition mediated especially through the life and writings of the Puritans. But it also celebrates the quarter centenary of the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by presenting in one volume the wonderful series of essays its founding president, Dr. Joel R. Beeke, has contributed to the seminary journal. In these pages Professor Beeke handles a wide variety of subjects and turns them, one by one, into theological and pastoral gold. The range is extraordinary and yet focused on the main things. The ease of readability pleases the ordinary reader and yet there are footnotes in scholar-satisfying abundance. The sheer size of the book may seem intimidating, yet like a great cathedral it can be appreciated one stone at a time. Here then is a thesaurus of theological and spiritual riches, a veritable Aladdin’s cave of intellectual and spiritual pleasures. Readers will find themselves frequently returning to Puritan Reformed Theology to find in it both theological treasure and spiritual pleasure.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Strangely Bright: Can You Love God and Enjoy This World? by Joe Rigney. “Pumpkin crunch cake. Game night with friends. Jazz music. Baseball. These are good gifts—and potential threats to the worship of God. At the heart of the Christian life is a tension between the supremacy of God over all things and the enjoyment of all things for his sake. In this short book, Joe Rigney offers a biblical vision for enjoying God in everything and enjoying everything in God. God’s gifts are invitations to know and enjoy him more deeply, and as this truth is impressed upon our hearts, we will discover that the things of earth grow strangely bright in the light of his glory and grace.” (Buy it at Amazon and Westminster Books)

Held: 31 Biblical Reflections on God’s Comfort and Care in the Sorrow of Miscarriage by Abbey Wedgeworth. “Using Psalm 139, Abbey Wedgeworth walks alongside women suffering the heartbreak of miscarriage. Having experienced the sorrow of miscarriage herself, she acknowledges the isolation commonly felt and the impact that such an experience can have on faith. The 31 biblical reflections in this beautiful and comforting book remind grieving women that God sees them, knows them, loves them, and is actively caring for them. These precious verses will show women that God can bring comfort, assurance, protection, and purpose in the very sorrow that they are experiencing. Includes personal stories of pregnancy loss from others, including Courtney Reissig, Kristie Anyabwile, and Eric Schumacher encouraging sufferers that they are not alone. It is a very helpful book to give to women who are suffering in this way.” (Buy it at Amazon)

The Ascension of Christ: Recovering a Neglected Doctrine by Patrick Schreiner. “The Ascension is essential to the gospel. The good news of Jesus includes his life, death, resurrection, and future return–but what about his ascension? Though often neglected or misunderstood, the ascension is integral to the gospel. In The Ascension of Christ, Patrick Schreiner argues that Jesus’ work would be incomplete without his ascent to God’s right hand. Not only a key moment in the gospel story, Jesus’ ascension was necessary for his present ministry in and through the church. Schreiner argues that Jesus’ residence in heaven marks a turning point in his three-fold offices of prophet, priest, and king. As prophet, Jesus builds the church and its witness. As priest, he intercedes before the Father. As king, he rules over all. A full appreciation of the ascension is essential for understanding the Bible, Christian doctrine, and Christ’s ongoing work in the world.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin. “The most important, and the most difficult disciple a parent will make is within their own home. Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin help families develop a sustainable rhythm of gospel-centered discipleship through a guided framework focusing on moments of discipleship in 3 key areas: time, moments, and milestones. Each section provides parents with Scriptures to consider, questions to answer, structures to implement, and ideas to try out. Here is a book that begins with the end in mind, offering ideas and examples of what gospel-centered family discipleship looks like, helping parents design their own discipleship plan as they seek to raise children in the love and fear of the Lord.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Fearless in the Forest & To Die Is Gain. Christian Focus has released two new volumes in their ongoing series of biographies for kids. The first focuses on Maud Kells and the second on John and Betty Stam. “At 25 years of age Maud Kells went to the Congo as a medical missionary with WEC International. She went to replace others who had been recently martyred. Years later she herself found herself close to death on the floor of her own operating theatre. A rebel soldier’s bullet went straight through her and only the Lords grace and her presence of mind saved her life in the end. Pushing her back against the wall to stop the flow of blood she gave herself enough time for other medical staff to come to her aid.” And, for the Stams, “John and Betty Stam were a young Christian couple working for The Lord in China. The year was 1934, a turbulent time in history and the Stams were right in the thick of it. Early one morning the call went out that communist soldiers were approaching their town. Betty was nursing their young baby girl when John decided that perhaps now was the time to leave … as they began to make their plans the rebel soldiers broke through the walls and soon the sound of rifle buts was being heard as they knocked against the door. Calm in the face of trouble the Stams trusted in their loving heavenly father – and with that faith faced their future whatever that would be.” (Buy them from Amazon: Fearless in the Forest & To Die Is Gain)

DoubtLess: Because Faith Is Hard by Shelby Abbott. “Is God good? Can I trust him with my life? Is the Bible true? These are just some of the questions that can plague young adults as they stand at the crossroads of life, when new responsibilities loom large and the world around them treats God as a small or irrelevant part of life. In DoubtLess, author and Cru campus minister Shelby Abbott comes alongside young adults to help them honestly face their doubt and turn to God for the gift of faith. He reminds readers that Scripture recounts the stories of many men and women who have also faced deep misgivings and uncertainty in their walk of faith. Using both Scripture and personal illustrations, Abbot shows us how to ‘feed our faith’ in seasons of doubt through authentic relationships with other Christians, hearing from God in the Bible, and practicing thankfulness. Doubt should not scare us, nor should it become our obsession. He urges readers to see the difference between doubt and unbelief, assuring us that big questions can press us deeper into the heart and character of God rather than push us away from him. Used for biblical reflection, group discussion, devotional reading, DoubtLess is full of gospel hope for those grappling with the mysteries of faith.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

40 Favorite Hymns for the Christian Year: A Closer Look at Their Spiritual and Poetic Meaning by Leland Ryken. “We all have favorite Christmas carols or Easter hymns, but we sometimes overlook their artistry — not realizing that these familiar songs are also powerful works of devotional poetry! This anthology invites us to slow down to experience their beauty, as English professor Leland Ryken provides historical background, literary analysis, and a complementary Scripture text. The result is a wonderfully devotional and poetic study of the Christian’s year.” This volume is obviously intended as a second volume in a series begun with 40 Favorite Hymns on the Christian Life: A Closer Look at Their Spiritual and Poetic Meaning which was released in 2019. (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

When the Stars Disappear: Help and Hope from Stories of Suffering in Scripture by Mark Talbot. “When suffering overwhelms us, it is easy to despair and even doubt God’s goodness. As the clouds of suffering roll in, we can lose sight of everything but our pain. In these moments, when the stars disappear, we must turn to Scripture to find assurance that God can and will carry us through. In this book, Mark Talbot recounts the suffering of some of the Bible’s greatest saints. They show us what it means to remain faithful and hopeful through life’s darkest times—and thus help us cling to God’s sure promise that he will never leave us or forsake us but will be with us and sustain us until the storms subside and the stars reappear.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)


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