I love this time of the year following Christmas and my birthday. Why? Because I usually have a good stock pile of books waiting for me to read them! I get really happy when I have about 5-6 unread books on my shelf. It challenges me and motivates me! I haven’t written about what I’ve been reading lately, so I thought would share with you 3 amazing books that I’ve been reading and how they all connect.
The first book I read was Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman. The adults at our church have done the video curriculum based off the book and our pastor did a sermon series based off the book as well. I knew it really rocked our community and I wanted to see what it was all about. Let me tell you – this book is a must read for everyone!!! Kyle is serious in his challenge to evaluate our faith and see if are truly following Christ (abandoning our lives to Him and His call) or we just fans (people are enthusiastic admirers of Jesus and aren’t really in the game). As someone who works in the Christian ministry for a living it’s easy to read a book like this and think that Kyle might be challenging you to do more to prove your faith – that is not the case. Doing more doesn’t mean anything. It’s a heart issue and when your heart is truly devoted to God than your actions will follow. It’s basic, it’s foundational and it a message that can easily be drowned out by our culture. This book is powerful. Kyle also has a great sense of humor. There are footnotes in the book that made me burst out laughing. His personality comes out through his jokes and it is a good balance to the serious nature of the topic. Another great thing about this book is it’s an easy read. Not too many big words and lot of story examples. Some Christian growth books can be hard to plow through, but this one will easily keep you engaged. Like I said before, everyone should read this book! It will make you think – in a good way!!!
The next book I read was one that was given to me by a fellow staff member to check out. It’s called 5 Conversations You Must have with Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney. I know, I know… I don’t have a daughter! But I sure do work with a lot of other people’s daughters. In fact, ministering to young girls would be number one my list of lifetime callings. This book is full of statistics and information that parents need to know and need to discussing with their daughters. The topics of the book surround themes like you are more than how you look, sex is great and worth waiting for, don’t be in a hurry to grow up and anyone be a “girls gone wild” kind of girl but dare to be virtuous. A lot of time Christian parents think that their good Christian kids don’t need to hear these things, but the truth of the matter is culture is speaking lies to girls daily and parents need to be an active force for good in their children’s lives. These conversations aren’t one time occurrences. Conversations about such things should happen often and start when girls are young (in age appropriate ways). The statistics in the book will give you an honest look into what society is telling our young ladies and how the lies are effecting them. The thing I took away from this book is I have a voice in the lives of so many young women. I may not be their mother, but I can continue to affirm the message of virtue and self-worth in God. Parents need to read this book and they need to be actively engaged in their child’s life. That means boundaries, rules, guidelines – whatever you want to call them – you need to have standard of living in your home and it starts with you!
Now the book I am currently reading is called Father Fiction by Donald Miller (previously published as To Own a Dragon). This is certainly a swing in the opposite direction from the last book. Donal Miller explores what it means to grow up without a father. He openly admits what that has done to him as man. It’s a challenging to read this because you can deep impact and pain that comes to the fatherless. Honestly, there is a generation growing up fatherless. There are a great many of people who missing that piece of the puzzle. It does mess with them… I’m not finished yet with the book, but I can see so many strange parallels between the conversations that parents are supposed to have with their children and what Donald is saying about the lack of conversations and influences. The extremes are incredible and people are greatly affected. Donald’s writing style is one that personally enjoy. Seeing the world through his fatherless eyes is opening my eyes to the children who are in the same boat as him. Working with kids, I get to see firsthand how profound the influence of a parent is on a child’s life. Yes, parents can be engaged and truly leading their children on the path of life. But sadly, parents can be absent – physically or disengaged, and it has a very negative influence. Parents are the biggest influence in their children’s life – for good or for bad.
I think it’s interesting how all 3 of these books connect and relate to each other. Not A Fan really strengthened my call and resolve to serve the Lord with my whole life. 5 Conversations You Must have with Your Daughter reminded me I have role in the lives of children. I have been called to speak life to them and direct them the best I can towards God’s will for their lives. I am parenting many kids in many moments throughout the week. I am using those moments well??? I was challenged to be a force for good in this generation. Now reading Father Fiction, I can see what happens if parents don’t step up and don’t engage in the call to parenting. Overall, I am reminded that this fatherless generation is never alone. Even if their earthly father or mother has walked out on them, God never will. He is a father to the fatherless. The Bible makes it pretty clear that children hold an important place in God’s heart. Jesus loved the children and I have a feeling those kids were better off as a result of the love that was shown to them. My prayer is that parent’s would be empowered to be the spiritual leaders of their children. My prayer is that by partnering with families, I can be a part of this divine calling to serve the church. Too much is stake to be a fan in the bleachers, I’m all in and I’m ready to give my life for something matters for eternity!