Suggested Resources for #SoulRenewal

From Steve Cuss:

There are so many great resources these days. Some amazing books, but also YouTube videos and podcasts for those who prefer not to read. Below is my summer reading list, if you’d like to read along with me. I’ve also included some other great resources that many people have found helpful over the years. Soul Renewal is definitely a quality over quantity thing. Pick a book or a resource and dig in for yourself!

Here is a partial list of what I will be reading while on Sabbatical:

  • Richard Hays, Echos of Scripture in the Gospels which is a wonderful study of the New Testament authors’ use of Old Testament references when writing about Jesus.
  • Eugene Peterson, Run with the Horses. Eugene Peterson authored “The Message” but I really like his scholarly writings as well.
  • Brian Zahn is a prophetic pastor from Missouri who’s way of thinking I really appreciate. His book: Water to Wine is a sort of memoir about his journey into liturgy and sacrament.
  • Josh Butler is a young author from a fantastic church in Portland called Imago Dei. Josh’s book on God’s love is on my must read list, The Pursuing God
  • Miroslav Volf is one of Christianity’s finest thinkers. He wrote Exclusion and Embrace about forgiveness of enemies after living through the horror of the 1990’s ethnic cleansing in eastern Europe.
  • Rodney Reeve’s Spirituality According to Paul is a wonderful devotional book by a fine scholar. I’m halfway through and finding it to be profoundly impacting.
My scripture reading this summer will be focused on Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians and some select passages 1 Acts where Paul and Luke are proclaiming the gospel. My reading will line top with the sites we are visiting this Summer in Italy and Greece.

Other Great Resources:

Books:

  • If you have not read him before, I recommend Philip Yancey’s “The Jesus I Never Knew” – a wonderful book about how the Bible portrays Jesus, as opposed to how Yancey had been taught about Jesus. A great book for teens or adults.
  • I also like Yancey’s “The Bible Jesus Read” about the Old Testament and also “What’s So Amazing About Grace.”
  • John Ortberg’s book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” is a great book for soul renewal as well, especially for those getting started. He calls it “Soul Renewal for Dummies” but I think it is profound for anyone.
  • For those who’d like to dig in on more theology, pretty much any book by NT Wright  for New Testament or Walter Brueggemann for Old Testament will be excellent. They are both fine authors and NOTE that they write for two audiences: their “thick” books are generally more scholarly and their “thin” books are usually for the rest of us.

YouTube Videos:

Podcasts:
  • Jeff Johnson’s “Delve Denver” podcast is a great spiritual history of the city of Denver. Jeff is one of Denver’s finest spiritual assets.
  • I also quite like the interviews on “Seminary Dropout” as well
  • The British podcast “Nomad” has some great interviews, particularly their interview with Terry Waite, who was kidnapped by terrorists for a number of years.

From Renae Loring:

Here’s some of my favorite spiritual renewal resources.

For adults

The Sacred Romance — Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by John Eldridge and Brent Curtis
This books sings to my soul.  It reminds me that I play a part in God’s story.  So often I want to play my own part that is so much smaller than the role God wants me to play.  It reminds me that God is passionately in love me.

The Return of the Prodigal  by Henri Nouwen
Nouwen shares his insights from scripture and Rembrandt’s painting.  It’s broken down into 4 sections, each looking at the story from a different characters point of view:  the prodigal son, the older brother, the minor characters and the Father.  I find myself in each of these different characters.  As I reread it, I’m corrected, encouraged and empowered to press on in my growth following Jesus.
This website is a free treasure of resources all with the purpose of pointing us back to who Jesus is.  In the day-to-day life I get confused about who Jesus is.  I either take away or twist who Jesus is or I add in who He’s not.  The videos encourage me to come back to who He really is.
This series of devotions edits classic writing into more text that is more accessible to the us living today.  There are devotions with writings from John of the Cross, Amy Carmichael, Augustine, St Francis of Assisi and my favorite, Julian of Norwich.  Going back to the writing that are centuries old, remind my that God’s truth transcends both time and culture.
Practicing His Presence — The two books here speak to my soul and point me to Jesus no matter the season of life.  They’ve reminded me that I can connect with God not matter the place or time.  They’re down to earth tone and practical tools encourage me.  Both Brother Lawrence & Frank Laubach lead the way in teaching us how to live moment by moment in the God’s presence.

For kids and families
Books by Jenny Cote — Jenny Cote writes historical fiction for kids.  Her first books retell bible stories through the eyes of animals, starting with the Noah’s ark, retold in The Ark, the Reed and the Fire Cloud.  This has been a favorite of all my kids as they journey with a group of animals that are called by the Maker to the ark that Noah and his sons have built.

Global
Jesus Freaks: Martyrs: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus  Take a trip around the world with Christian band, D.C. Talk and learn about courageous men and women who stood up for the faith in the face of persecution.
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew  This is an amazing book of adventure and seeing God show up in miraculous ways as Brother Andrew tells the stories of smuggling bibles through closed borders where bibles were illegal.  As a boy he dreamed of being a spy undercover behind enemy lines. As a man he found himself undercover for God.  
Mimosa: A True Story by Amy Carmichael  The story of Mimosa, set in India, starts with a young hindu visiting the Christian Orphanage run by Amy Carmichael.  She is there only long enough to hear that God loves her.  Her heart is captivated by Him in this short time.  Your own faith will be challenged as you read of how Mimosa went back to her Hindu village and lived a life fully committed to God even though she had no bible, or church community