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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES for this series

FOR SUNDAY 10 JUNE

Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice. This book is prophetic, at times profound, and always practical as it provides encouragement, inspiration, and exhortation for the Church to rise up and be the Gospel in a world of brokenness, division, and injustice. 

A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation: Based on His Experiences Beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This is the memoir of Bob Graetz. He was a young white pastor of a black Lutheran Church in Montgomery. His church and his home were in the black community and he and his wife among the few whites who supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Their church and home were both bombed; their lives were threatened often but they never wavered. An inspirational story of an ordinary Christian man whose extraordinary impact arose from the simple fact that he stood up and did the right thing when he knew the right thing had to be done.

FOR SUNDAY 3 JUNE

Mark writes: "okay, I admit I am a theological nerd... but we are all theologians so the question becomes how thoughtful and how deeply do we want to go and be challenged. So I present to you, Leslie Newbigin. He was a career missionary to India. So these thoughts on the Gospel in a pluralistic/multi-faith society are not hypothetical. They arise from a lifetime of faithfulness to Jesus Christ. His reflections are challenging and have inspired the writing of many who are writing on this subject today. I don't agree with everything he writes but I think his books challenge us to gain insight, be committed to the missional enterprise, and not cave in to secular pressure. Many of these books may be an exercise to read-- they were for me... but like any exercise it will make you fit and stronger!"

So here are my top Newbigin recommendations. I will give you the amazon links but look for used copies at Abe Books.

The Gospel in A Pluralistic Society

The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission

A Faith for this One World

Honest Religion for Secular Man

The Finality of Christ

 

For Sunday 27 May

Is This the End of Christianity In the Middle East? was a long feature in the NY Times when Isis was terrorizing Christians while at the peak of their power.

The Insanity of God is the transparent journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, "Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard place? It sure didn't work in Somalia. How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?

The Heavenly Man is the true story of Brother Yun, house church leader in China. It tells the story of his persecution, imprisonment, torture, and faith... Throughout the book, Yun prefers to emphasize the character and beauty of Jesus. This is a moving and challenging read.

FOR SUNDAY 20 May

The World's Most Persecuted Minority is an introduction to the persecution of Christians produced by Jewish commentator, Dennis Prayer.

The Worst Year Yet-- The Top 50 Countries Where it Is Hardest to Be A Christian. From Christianity Today magazine

Is This the End of Christianity In the Middle East? was a long feature in the NY Times when Isis was terrorizing Christians while at the peak of their power.

The Insanity of God is the transparent journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, "Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard place? It sure didn't work in Somalia. How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?

The Heavenly Man is the true story of Brother Yun, house church leader in China. It tells the story of his persecution, imprisonment, torture, and faith... Throughout the book, Yun prefers to emphasize the character and beauty of Jesus. This is a moving and challenging read.

 

 

FOR SUNDAY 6 MAY

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is the classic on genuine Christian fellowship. In Life Together we have Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience of Christian community. This story of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years reads like one of Paul's letters. It gives practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.

Spiritual Friendship, written over 800 years ago by a Cistercian monk, is a dialogue wherein the theme of friendship that is distinctly spiritual and tangibly relational is considered. Don't let the age put you off... the friendship considered here would renew the Church and heal the increasing loneliness in our world.

Meet Generation Z. You think there is a difference in perspective between the Greatest Generation, Boomers, and Millennials? You haven't seen anything until you consider the rise of Gen Z! 

FOR SUNDAY 22 APRIL

PODCASTS/FREE AUDIBLE BOOK
Eusebius' History of the Christian Church is the earliest history of the Church written between A.D. 290-324. Bishop Eusebius, a learned scholar who lived most of his life in Caesarea in Palestine, broke new ground in writing the History and provided a model for all later ecclesiastical historians. In tracing the history of the Church from the time of Christ to the Great Persecution at the beginning of the fourth century, and ending with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, his aim was to show the purity and continuity of the doctrinal tradition of Christianity and its struggle against persecutors and heretics.

The History of the Early Church (A.D. 30-451) or The History of the Christian Church are very accessible... The first is from a Catholic/Orthodox perspective the latter from a Calvary Chapel pastor who loves Church history.

BOOKS
Christian History Made Easy: A Quick and Colorful Guide to Understanding the Key Eents and People that Every Christian Should Know explains early church history, the Church Councils, the Great Schism, the Crusades, Francis of Assisi, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, and more. Christian History Made Easy presents key church history events and great Christian leaders everyone should know, along with full-color church history timelines, photos, pictures, and maps.

The Story of Christianity: Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation elates the dramatic events, the colorful characters, and the revolutionary ideas that shaped the first fifteen centuries of the church's life and thought.

The Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity & Diversity traces the contours of Christian belief down through the ages, revealing a pattern of both unity and diversity. He finds a consensus of teaching that is both unitive and able to incorporate a faithful diversity when not forced into the molds of false either-or alternatives.

SERIES RESOURCES
The Message of Acts by John Stott. The Spirit moves the church into the world. That is how it has always been since the day of Pentecost when the Spirit brought thousands from many countries into the body of Christ. Stott writes, "The Acts of the Apostles have long ago finished; the acts of the followers of Jesus will continue until the end of the world."