Lit by Tony Reinke

I was so excited to read this book: a book about books! I’m a voracious reader – frequently so caught up in a novel that I sob my way loudly through the sad parts. I have to rein in my enthusiasm at book club gatherings so that others have a chance to speak!

Yet after the introduction I found myself strangely reluctant to keep reading. I felt like the author was trying to persuade me to read books. But I don’t need any persuasion! Perhaps this was not the book I thought it would be? What I hoped for was a clear theological justification for why reading was better than watching the football! (Can you tell we’re at the end of the footy season, and I’m married to a fanatical AFL fan? Needless to say, I did a LOT of reading over the winter…)

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Rachael CollinsComment
Enjoying God by Tim Chester

Why are we here? What is our purpose? What is God’s will for my life? Aren’t these so often the questions that each of us wrestle with? In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, it says that the chief purpose of man is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Many Bible studies that I have been a part of spend time discussing how we glorify God, but I can’t remember really chatting with someone about how to enjoy him. So, Tim Chester’s book “Enjoying God” captured my attention simply because I would love to deepen my enjoyment of God- who wouldn’t?

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Rachael CollinsComment
Enjoying God by Tim Chester

Why are we here? What is our purpose? What is God’s will for my life? Aren’t these so often the questions that each of us wrestle with? In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, it says that the chief purpose of man is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Many Bible studies that I have been a part of spend time discussing how we glorify God, but I can’t remember really chatting with someone about how to enjoy him. So, Tim Chester’s book “Enjoying God” captured my attention simply because I would love to deepen my enjoyment of God- who wouldn’t?

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Rachael CollinsComment
Captivated by Christ by Richard Chin

Another celebrity is called out on their past behaviour. Another shooting. Another prominent church leader steps out of leadership due to misconduct. Or walks away from the faith. Koala habitat is disappearing, the Amazon rainforest is burning and politicians are plotting more ways to push their agenda and to hold onto power. So tell me again, why is it so good to listen to and to read sound biblical teaching? Because we need to be reminded to be captivated by Christ and not to be overwhelmed when it feels like the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

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Rachael CollinsComment
Captivated by Christ by Richard Chin

Mature in Christ. I am pretty sure that all those years ago when I began following Jesus, I assumed that I would be a lot more mature in my faith by now. Wouldn’t I struggle less with anger and be quicker to bring my worries to God? Wouldn’t I rely on Him instead of trying to soldier on in my own strength? It can be tempting at times to look for a new Bible reading plan, a new way of journalling or a new Christian guru’s words to follow. An exciting conference or podcast might just be the thing to get us excited and growing in leaps and bounds. They might. But as Richard Chin looks at Colossians he is seeking to present us mature in Christ by clearly showing us the fullness of Christ and the sufficieny of Jesus. No fads. No silver bullets. Does that sound like a balm for your soul? Yep, me too.

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Rachael CollinsComment
Made Man by Craig Hamilton

What’s the bit about God being a man that you find the most difficult to swallow?  Perhaps it’s hard to imagine Jesus, as a twelve year old, teaching with authority in the Jewish temple. Or rescuing a dry bar at a wedding party by turning water into wine. Or what about the sick, who come to him in droves, and are healed at a touch and a word?Are there bits that privately, you shake your head in disbelief and go, “Nup, couldn’t happen.” ?

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Rachael CollinsComment
Made Man by Craig Hamilton

How do you picture your Jesus - Is he a tradie? A wise teacher? A crazy fanatic? Perhaps you picture a healer with magical powers? Hamilton quotes Ricky Bobby (played by Will Ferrell) in the 2006 movie Talladega Nights, about to say grace and conjuring up the Jesus he likes to pray to best: “I like the Christmas Jesus best…[not] grown up Jesus or teenage Jesus or bearded Jesus…” Ricky Bobby’s best friend pipes up, “I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo t-shirt because it says, like, I want to be formal but I’m here to party too. Because I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party.” (p. 9) As ridiculous as the movie scene is, we all have a certain image we picture in our minds. What Jesus do you picture? And who is the real Jesus? Reading this book opened my eyes again to the Biblical Jesus and helped me to see him in sharper colour and “with meat” as Hamilton would say.

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God's Good Design by Claire Smith

I first read God’s Good Design years ago, and have since used my dog-eared copy many times, as I have re-engaged with those ‘tricky’ passages on the roles of men and women. In fact, this has now become my book of choice, that I recommend to anyone who would like some help understanding God’s vision for men and women.

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Is God Green? by Lionel Windsor

This book is a short, easy read that would be perfect to give to a teenager before they head out into the ‘real world’. It isn’t an academic tome full of jargon and philosophical arguments. Most Christians could read this, in order to know why they think what they think, and so that they can decide how to respond to environmental destruction from a Biblical perspective.

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