Below are a few books and resources that may help you in your Christian faith walk. Any purchase made from Amazon through our website benefits the CTR ministry. Thank you.
The Drama of Scripture by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Gohee
This bestselling textbook surveys the grand narrative of the Bible, demonstrating how the biblical story forms the foundation of a Christian worldview. The second edition has been thoroughly revised. Additional material is available online through Baker Academic’s Textbook eSources, offering course help for professors and study aids for students. Resources include discussion questions, a Bible reading schedule, an adult Bible class schedule, and a course syllabus.
Craig G. Bartholomew is H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy and professor of religion at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. He is dean of the St Georges Centre for Biblical and Public Theology as well as adjunct faculty at Trinity College, Bristol. Michael W. Goheen (PhD, University of Utrecht) is Director of Theological Education and Scholar-in-Residence at the Missional Training Center–Phoenix. He is also Jake and Betsy Tuls Professor of Missiology at Calvin Theological Seminary, as well as Senior Fellow of Newbigin House of Studies and minister of preaching at New West Christian Reformed Church in Burnaby, British Columbia.
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith
You are what you love. But you might not love what you think.
In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the “imagination station” that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.
Following the publication of his influential work Desiring the Kingdom, Smith received numerous requests from pastors and leaders for a more accessible version of that book’s content. No mere abridgment, this new book draws on years of Smith’s popular presentations on the ideas in Desiring the Kingdom to offer a fresh, bottom-up rearticulation. The author creatively uses film, literature, and music illustrations to engage readers and includes new material on marriage, family, youth ministry, and faith and work. He also suggests individual and communal practices for shaping the Christian life.
Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren
In the overlooked moments and routines of our day, we can become aware of God’s presence in surprising ways. How do we embrace the sacred in the ordinary and the ordinary in the sacred? Framed around one ordinary day, this book explores daily life through the lens of liturgy, small practices, and habits that form us. Each chapter looks at something―making the bed, brushing her teeth, losing her keys―that the author does every day. Drawing from the diversity of her life as a campus minister, Anglican priest, friend, wife, and mother, Tish Harrison Warren opens up a practical theology of the everyday. Each activity is related to a spiritual practice as well as an aspect of our Sunday worship. Come and discover the holiness of your every day.
The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent by Aaron Damiani
It’s true, Lent can often seem like an empty ritual. But what Aaron Damiani came to find, and what he describes inside, is something else entirely. Something exceedingly good.
In The Good of Giving Up, Anglican pastor Aaron Damiani (who comes from a low-church background) explains the season of Lent, defends it theologically, and guides you in its practice.
Lent has been described as a “springtime for the soul,” a season of clearing to make room for growth. The Good of Giving Up will show you why, encouraging you to participate in what many know as a rich spiritual journey.
“When I was finally ready to take the plunge, I learned that observing Lent is not a forced march of works-righteousness. But it was good medicine for [my soul], for the painful split between what I knew about God and what I experienced of Him.”
Theology of the Family by Joseph Atkinson
Interactive 210-page Guidebook that accompanies the DVD series The Biblical Vision of the Family. This series was taught during the Discipleship Hour earlier this year. It contains detailed outlines for each talk, highlights of key concepts, space for personal responses, specific questions for small group discussion, daily Bible reflections, and Personal Pages in which participants apply what they are learning to their own situations. Each participant requires their own copy. This Guidebook is not available through Amazon. You can obtain a copy here
Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Family by Joseph Atkinson
Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Family argues that the family has a specific theological purpose, which God reveals in the church. Joseph Atkinson investigates the principles of the doctrine of Creation which inform the family “from the beginning” and the vital way the family functions as “carrier of the covenant” in the Old Testament. This book provides a counter argument to the view of the human person which prevails today―the autonomous, self-determining individual, with no essential nature or social or ecclesial aspects. Atkinson discusses the constitutive corporate nature of the human person and how the covenantal family of the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. This ground-breaking work establishes a solid biblical and theological foundation on which a theology of the family can be constructed and will become indispensable for anyone wanting to engage in serious study of the structure and meaning of the family and its place in the salvific will of God.
All Things New: A Study on 2 Corinthians by Kelly Minter
The city of ancient Corinth was much like our own modern-day cities: a melting pot of electrifying cultural experiences to be had, along with the myriad pitfalls of spiritual depravity. Still, Paul wrote to the church of God in Corinth. Meaning God’s church is meant to thrive in any city and every circumstance in which we find ourselves. Paul’s letter is as timely as ever.
Over 8 sessions, Kelly Minter will lead you through the Letter of 2 Corinthians, exploring the anchoring truths of bearing treasures in jars of clay, meeting Christ through a pressing thorn, opening wide your heart in the midst of hurtful relationships, and what it means to embrace the lost and lonely as ministers of the new covenant. Each of us has a message to proclaim and live by: Because of Jesus the old has gone, the new has come.
Never Silent by Thaddeus Barnum
Thaddeus Barnum deftly and honestly recounts firsthand the remarkable events and intrigue surrounding the Anglican-Episcopal crisis over the blatant denial of Scripture and the ordination of openly gay ministers. But while this is a story that continues to capture international media attention, as Rwandan bishop John Rucyahana insists, It’s not merely about the gay issue. It’s about the gospel, and who Christ is. “You need to hear this story. You may not be Episcopalian, but what happened to them is already happening to you.” Carefully documented and yet powerfully told, with complete index. Foreword by Rick Warren; endorsements by J. I. Packer, Chuck Colson, and Christianity Today Managing Editor, Mark Galli.
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculée Ilibagiza
Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans. Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them. It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death and forging a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family s killers. The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman s journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss.
As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson
Inspired by the award-winning film of the same name. If you were told that a murderer was to be released into your neighborhood, how would you feel? But what if it weren’t only one, but thousands? Could there be a common roadmap to reconciliation? Could there be a shared future after unthinkable evil? If forgiveness is possible after the slaughter of nearly a million in a hundred days in Rwanda, then today, more than ever, we owe it to humanity to explore how one country is addressing perceptual, social-psychological, and spiritual dimensions to achieve a more lasting peace. If forgiveness is possible after genocide, then perhaps there is hope for the comparably smaller rifts that plague our relationships, our communities, and our nation. Based on personal interviews and thorough research, As We Forgive returns to the boundary lines of genocide’s wounds and traces the route of reconciliation in the lives of Rwandans―victims, widows, orphans, and perpetrators―whose past and future intersect. We find in these stories how suffering, memory, and identity set up roadblocks to forgiveness, while mediation, truth-telling, restitution, and interdependence create bridges to healing. As We Forgive explores the pain, the mystery, and the hope through seven compelling stories of those who have made this journey toward reconciliation. The result is a narrative that breathes with humanity and is as haunting as it is hopeful.
Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung
Starting in The traditional teachings on the seven deadly sins, or capital vices, compiled by Christian luminaries such as Augustine, Pope Gregory I, and Aquinas, offer a strong foundation for recognizing virtues to cultivate and vices to avoid. Unfortunately, contemporary culture trivializes, psychologizes, or even dismisses the seven deadly sins as if they have no serious moral or spiritual implications. Glittering Vices clears that misconception with a brief history of the vices and an informative, edifying chapter on each mortal sin. Through this eye-opening book, readers will be able to correctly identify and resist the deeply rooted patterns of sin that are at work in their lives.
A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor by Chris Seay
In a culture built on consumption–especially of food–it is easy to forget the poor that Jesus cared so much about. Following the pattern of his successful Advent Conspiracy, Chris Seay invites readers on a journey of self-examination, discipline, and renewed focus on Jesus that will change their lives forever. He challenges readers to eat like the poor for forty days in solidarity with a much-neglected group of people, and to donate the money they save on groceries to a charity or project that serves the poor in concrete ways. But he doesn’t expect them to go it alone. A Place at the Table includes a short chapter for each of those forty days with Scripture, reflections, prayers, encouragement, and tips for engaging the whole family in the process.
40 Days of Living the Jesus Creed by Scott McKnight
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And…love your neighbor as yourself.” Scot McKnight has come to call this vital teaching of our Lord the Jesus Creed. He recites it throughout the day every day and challenges you to do the same. You may find that, if you do, you will learn to love God more creatively and passionately, and find new ways to love those around you.
Lectio Divina Bible Study: Learning to Pray in Scripture by Stephen J. Binz
In an exceptional combination of one of the most ancient forms of Scripture study with the history, theology, and scriptural perspective of prayer in Scripture, Stephen Binz leads us on an incredible journey of enlightenment and appreciation. Lectio divina, the ancient practice of Scripture immersion, is at the heart of this process. Combined with the tradition and scholarship of the Church, it explores complex topics with sequential steps of study, meditation, and internalization. Specifically, every chapter leads you forward through a sequence of:Listening -Reading Scripture with expectancy, trusting that God will speak His Word to us through it
- Understanding-Seeking to comprehend the meaning of the text, encountering God there and being changed by that encounter
- Reflecting-Linking the truth of the Scriptures to the experience of faith in the world in which we live
- Praying-A dialogue with God: we listen to God, then we respond in prayer
- Acting-After prayerfully listening to God through a passage of Scripture, we should be inspired to make a difference in the way we live
Eastertide: Prayers for Lent Through Easter by Phyllis Tickle
“A wise rabbi once told me that it is not how many prayers we don’t say that matters to God, but rather how many we do. That is important to all of us, but especially for beginners. If this is your first attempt to return to this most ancient of Christian practices, it is wise to remember that you are entering into a discipline and, like all disciplines, this one sits hard and heavy upon one at times. There are hours you will miss and/or some that you can’t even begin to figure out how to observe. That is all right, for either the joy will carry you into greater joy and transmute the discipline into privilege, or you will find yourself simply the wiser and the richer for such experience as you have had. As the rabbi said, that is what matters ultimately.” In her acclaimed trilogy, The Divine Hours, Phyllis Tickle introduced modern Christians to the time-honored practice of “praying the hours.” In this exquisite new volume, she provides a vibrant program of prayer dedicated to the anticipation of Christ’s resurrection. Beginning with Ash Wednesday and moving through Lent and on to Easter Sunday, Eastertide provides the daily prayers that bring practitioners into the full spirit of this season. Each day is filled with psalms, readings from the Bible, and hymns of praise and worship, just as they appear in the larger volume, The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime. Newcomers to this beloved tradition will find that Eastertide is the perfect introduction to joining the ancients in the tradition of fixed-hour prayer.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive.
A Book of Hours by Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton was the most popular proponent of the Christian contemplative tradition in the twentieth century. Now, for the first time, some of his most lyrical and prayerful writings have been arranged into A Book of Hours, a rich resource for daily prayer and contemplation that imitates the increasingly popular ancient monastic practice of “praying the hours”. Editor Kathleen Deignan mined Merton’s voluminous writings, arranging prayers for Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Dark for each of the days of the week. A Book of Hours allows for a slice of monastic contemplation in the midst of hectic modern life, with psalms, prayers, readings, and reflections.
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter (Orbis Books)
From the world’s best-loved spiritual writers, here is an unparalleled gathering of reflections for Lent. A time of self-denial, soul searching, and spiritual preparation, Lent is a fitting season for daily reading and reflection. Grouped around such themes as temptation, crucifixion, resurrection, and new life, Bread and Wine can be dipped into at leisure or used as a guide to daily devotions–and returned to at any time year for spiritual revitalization. Selections include writings by C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Philip Yancey, Madeline L’Engle, Henri Nouwen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Donne, Thomas Merton, St. Augustine, Mother Teresa, John Updike, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and many others.
Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ by Dallas Willard
As Christians, we know that we are new creations in Jesus. So we try to act differently, hoping this will make us more like Him. But changing our outward behavior doesn’t change our hearts. Only by God’s grace can we be transformed internally. Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls the “transformation of the spirit”––a divine process that “brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God.” This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula, but as a practical process that you can follow without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with. Don’t settle for complacency. Accept the challenge Renovation of the Heart offers to become an intentional apprentice of Jesus Christ, changing daily as you walk with Him.
Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent by Richard Rohr
Rohr’s meditations on the daily readings of Lent are not for the sake of mere information, or even for academia (although the author hopes it will satisfy both), but for the sake of our transformation into our original “image and likeness,” which is the very image of God. What always and finally matters for all of us is encounter! Father Rohr begins each meditation with a single title or phrase that sums up the point. Then he offers the meditation followed by key passages from the readings. He ends each meditation with a Starter Prayer that invites you to self-disclosure and to enter the wondrous divine dialogue with clarity, insight—and holy desire! “There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty. You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction. Lent is about both. The first such moment gives you energy and joy by connecting you with your ultimate Source and Ground. The second gives you limits and boundaries, and a proper humility, so you keep seeking the Source and Ground and not just your small self.”—From the Introduction
Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
Winner of a Christianity Today Book Award! Much of our faith and practice is about words–preaching, teaching, talking with others. Yet all of these words are not enough to take us into the real presence of God where we can hear his voice. This book is an invitation to you to meet God deeply and fully outside the demands and noise of daily life. It is an invitation to solitude and silence. The beauty of a true invitation is that we really do have a choice about embarking on this adventure. God extends the invitation, but he honors our freedom and will not push himself where he is not wanted. Instead, he waits for us to respond from the depths of our desire. Will you say yes? This expanded edition includes a guide for groups to use both in discussing the book content and in learning to practice silence together.
The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Paintner
Christine Valters Paintner, author of Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire, invites readers to discover and develop their creative gifts in a spirit of prayer and reflection. This twelve-week course draws on the insights and practices of Benedictine spirituality to explore the interplay between contemplation and creativity.
Summarized in the phrase “pray and work,” The Rule of St. Benedict provides the inspiration for Christine Valters Paintner’s newest exploration of the mutually nourishing relationship between contemplative practices and creative expression. Artists of all stripes and stations in life–poets or painters, potters or photographers–will discover how traditions of Benedictine, Celtic, and desert spirituality can offer new sources of inspiration for their work.
Through this twelve-week course, themes like “Sacred Tools and Sacred Space,” “Creative Solitude and Community,” and “Nature as a Source of Revelation and Inspiration” are enriched by Paintner’s perceptive discussion and enhanced by insightful quotations from well-known artists and writers. Each week offers suggestions for grounding both the creative and the spiritual life through three basic practices: walking, lectio divina, and journaling. In sync with Paintner’s vibrant Internet presence, The Artist’s Rule is supplemented with online resources, including guided meditation podcasts, video lessons, and discussions.