It's that time again at 5 Minutes for Books for the What's On Your Nightstand carnival. I haven't done a "What's On Your Nightstand" post in a while, and once again I'm a day late, but I thought I'd post a short one this time.
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. I think this is one of my all-time favorite books. It's definitely one I keep coming back to and re-reading. I don't know how many times I've read it, but it gets better every time. It's fiction, written as a journal started when the main character, Katy, is sixteen years old and follows her through her life. I want to learn to be the kind of woman who desires to love Jesus as much as she does in the book. I remember when I first read it that I loved it, but I wondered that it wasn't stronger on the gospel. When I re-read it for the umpteenth time this time, I was struck by how in the world that could have been my take away from it. This book is FULL of the gospel. I think in my immaturity it bothered me that when young Katy talks to her pastor about her doubts about her salvation he doesn't tell her, "Pray this prayer and you'll be alright," or something along those lines. As I've matured in grace I have grown in my understanding that presenting the gospel is so much more than: Pray this prayer, check this box, raise your hand and you're in. The gospel is so much more than a ticket out of hell or merely the simple entry point to the Christian life. A life that has been surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and cast all her hope on Christ experiences a lifelong growing in His grace (sanctification) as we grow ever deeper in the knowledge and grace of our Lord. It is a 'stepping heavenward' as we learn to surrender to the truth of His word and live in the light of that Word daily, in all we do. And this book beautifully illustrates what that is like in a simple, surrendered life. Friends, I love this book. I want to have the kind of desire to grow in love for Jesus and never lose that deep desire to know Him and to know and obey His word. (The edition I have has a forward by Elisabeth Elliot, but I couldn't find that one at Amazon)
Crazy Love by Francis Chan. We've been reading through this one with our small group at church. We are actually on Chapter 8 as a group, but I went ahead and finished the book this week. I have taken some things away from my reading of this book that I want to remember, but I hate to say I don't believe I can recommend it as highly as I would have liked to. I hope to write a blog post soon about my thoughts as I am coming to the end of the study.
Our Awesome God by John MacArthur. I've read this before but it has been a long time and I wanted to read it again as we finish up our Crazy Love study and as I finished reading Stepping Heavenward again and remind myself again what an awesome God we serve. It is an incredible thing to know that God has revealed Himself to us in His word. To love Him more deeply, more radically, we've got to know Him. We've got to worship the God who is, not some god of our own imagining. This is my heart's desire.
The Brixton Brothers: The Case of the Case of the Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett. One of the most unexpected benefits of having my son grow older is that he is finally at the point where the kinds of things he's interested in reading are also interesting to me. He introduced me to the Shadow Children books, which I blogged about a while back and which sparked some interesting discussions with him and his brother that were very good. This book is a spoof of the old Hardy Boys books, and as someone who loved, loved, loved the Hardy Boys books, I'm finding it very funny. My son doesn't have as much experience with the Hardy Boys, having only read a few, but he agreed with my evaluation that it was spoofing them very well. He enjoyed this book so much I thought I'd read it to see if it was worth getting some more from the series for him. As far as older kid books go, it's not too bad. I can see why he liked it. I'm not devouring it like I did, say, the Harry Potter books, but it's not bad.
On the nightstand to be read next:
When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper. I tried reading this once before, but I have to confess to you all that I find Piper to be hard to read for some reason. I want to read this one, though, so it's what's up next. My music pastor's wife used something she learned from it during a talk she gave at a recent women's event, and it reminded me to get the book back out and try to read it again.
Other than that, I need to get to the library again sometime soon. I usually have some kind of fiction book going, but right now I seem to be delving into weightier things (except for my son's book, that is).
Don't forget to see what books everyone else is posting about over at 5 Minutes for Books.