At the beginning of this year I decided one of my goals for the year was to read at least 2 new books every month. I have always loved reading, but sometimes found the business of life crowding out my time to read for enjoyments sake. While I crushed that goal in January (click here to see my January books), I just met my minimum 2 in February. Luckily, both the books I read were rich in information and really incredible reads, and both have made an impact on my life that will last well beyond reading the last page.
The first book I read was Let Hope In by Pete Wilson.You can read more about my feelings on this book in my February Favorites (click here), but to quickly sum it up, this book is a game changer. Pete talks about the 4 choices that will change your life, and they surely did mine. The section that particularly hit me during this time of my life was the section on God’s will. I have always struggled with wanting to make sure everything I was doing or planning to do would be “God’s will” for my life, and this book helped me get a much better grasp on what that actually means, and I am so thankful for that.
The second book I read was Jesus Swagger by Jarrid Wilson. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pick this up, because the title is both catchy and off-putting at the same time. In the end I was intrigued enough I knew I had to. I am so thankful I did, because this book was another great one, and really makes you think and evaluate your life, who you are, and who and what you are representing. I took so many notes on this book it feels nearly impossible to narrow them down to my favorites to discuss, but I am going to try my best:
“Step out and start vocalizing what God has put on your heart. If you’re not willing to do it where you are, what makes you think you would do it somewhere else?”
- This both hit home, encouraged, and affirmed me all at the same time. I have been wanting to find a way to share what is on my heart for quite some time. I have always loved writing and loved tech related things, so a blog seemed like a natural first step. But I was also always afraid. This month I finally decided to conquer that fear and start now, because there was never going to be this “perfect” time in the future to start. I would often use excuses with myself like “when I am a better writer”, or “when I have more experience being a Christian”, or “when I have a more interesting life to share” as to when the better time to start a public blog would be. I finally realized the perfect time is now, because there never will be a “more perfect” time. My writing will never improve if I don’t practice. There will always be other people that are further along in their Christian walk than I am. And people are surely always going to have much more interesting lives than I do. But God has placed this desire on my heart now, and if I didn’t start now I knew I never would. This also applies to other areas of my life, like serving the community. I have always wanted to and did in some ways, but not in ways I felt I was making a big enough impact. After reading this, it really inspired me to be willing to do whatever God was leading me to do, right where I am. Not waiting until the perfect time, or once I was in the perfect place, because those will never really come.
“Jesus isn’t hiring part-time disciples.”
- This was another big one for me. I think there is an epidemic in the church of how people look at their relationship with Jesus. When you (and I) accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, you are now a disciple of Christ. Not someone who attends church once a week, or even goes on a yearly missions trip. While those are both great things, they aren’t what we are called to do or be. We are called to share our hope in Jesus and be his disciple with every moment we have left on the earth from the moment we are saved. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” We are called to put off our old self for good, and put on our new self. Not change our outfit every day depending on who we are around or what we are doing.
“Don’t let culture change your relationship with God, but do let God change the way you contribute to culture.”
- This one is huge for everyone I think, especially in these days. Our culture is all around us, and it is more wicked than ever. You can’t turn on the TV, walk in the mall, or listen to the radio without crummy sinful things being thrown at you from every direction. It takes a lot of effort and strength to stand firm in your beliefs, and not bend to the world and pressures around you. Being a person that insists on standing for what you believe in and what God tells us to do and the Bible gives clear and unwavering instructions on is not easy in our culture, but it can be done. You might get made fun of, you might have to deny yourself what people around you tell you is “normal”, but as a believer in Christ we know that these worldly things are anything but normal. They are sinful, and do nothing but destroy our own souls. The only way to stand against this is to not let our culture change your relationship with God, but let God change the way you relate to culture, and let him be the rock you stand on. Partial obedience is actually disobedience.
I could honestly go on and on, that is how many good pieces of wisdom are in this book! It is incredibly thought provoking, and I am sure I will continue to come back to it from time to time just to refresh my memory for years to come, it was that good.
Well, those are my February books! I didn’t get in as many as I would have liked because I spend a lot of my time getting this blog up and running, but I still met my goal and I am pleased with that! I have several good looking books in the line-up for March, so I am anxious to dive into those and let you know my thoughts next month!
What books are you reading? I would love any suggestions!