I’ve been working on an idea. Scary stuff.

The idea is basically this: Christians should be reading good books (books that are good for their spiritual formation!) & local churches should be encouraging this habit among their people.

So with that simple premise, I’ve arrived at this: Good Books In Good Hands.

At my local church (Southern Hills Baptist Church in OKC), I get to serve as the Minister to Young Adults. So in my area of ministry, we are going to begin offering, at great prices, various books that will shape our people to think more clearly on God & how His work should shape their lives. A lot of the books that will be offered will be found on the Recommended Books portion of The Nation. So rather than have a library with a ton of books to choose from…this will be specific books that have been selected & will be offered in limited amounts. So hopefully people will see that thought was put into the selection & also have some incentive to get one ASAP because there aren’t a ton of them available! So that’s the good books.

Now as far as the good hands…we’ll be emphasizing that the point of reading these books is not only to gain knowledge or information…but to be changed. We want to have a greater desire to know the truth of the Bible. We want to have a great passion for God’s glory to be seen in OKC & around the world. We want to have such a great view of God that we see how He impacts all areas of life. We want to act on what we believe.

So there’s a quick look at the idea. It is definitely in its infancy…so your input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Reading a book has become duty bound for many. In 2014, why read a book when you have a myriad of other ways to get information & entertainment? I think there are good reasons why reading is still a gift that should be enjoyed…but let me explain why I think reading is a gift.

I lived in California for over 5 years & loved it. I loved going to Disneyland & riding 1 or maybe 2 rides on a Friday night while getting a corn dog at the Corn Dog Castle. I loved going to Laguna Beach & finding beach access where few people would ever think to look for access…and you would have a beach to yourself. I loved going to the San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park…especially after a rain as all the animals would be out & moving around. I loved a lot about living in California.

But one of the places that I went, and wish I would’ve gone & enjoyed more, is the Huntington Library. This was a place that had beautiful gardens with unique themes…

huntington

incredible buildings housing rare works of art…

huntington2

and the best part was that the experience was actually affordable!

Going to the Huntington Library made you feel like you had gone to another part of the world…somewhere in Europe where everyone should be well-dressed & sophisticated. But there you were, with others in Rainbow flip flops & Ray-Bans in southern California.

Of all the wonders that the Huntington Library offered, there was one item that stood above the rest. At least in my opinion. I remember the first time I saw it & I would stop by to gaze at it each time I visited from then on. Here it is…

gbibleThat’s right. The Gutenberg Bible. This is one of the most rare books on planet Earth & I was a quarter inch of glass plus a security guard watching me away from touching THE GUTENBERG BIBLE.

What makes this particular Bible so important? The Gutenberg Bible represents the beginning of a printing revolution & it happened in the 1450s. Think about that. Before this, books were not common. The average Joe did not have regular access to books. But this all began to change in the West with the Gutenberg Bible & this printing revolution.

So move forward 550 years or so & here we are. Books are incredibly common. The average Joe probably has several books at home that may serve as decorative pieces. So the challenge for us is to “Remember the Gute.” Remembering the Gute is to remember that having the opportunity to read a book is a gift. 

So read a book. Read the Bible. Read books that entertain you. Read books that help you navigate life. Read books that make you think deeply on God. Read them all & read them well!

I love being a part of a local church. I love investing my life in the life & health of a local church. I love getting to be with others who desire to glorify God & will sharpen me towards that same end. I want others to have this same joy & passion for the good of the local church.

But just to be clear to everyone, I do serve in a full-time position in a local church. I serve as the Young Adult Minister at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. So you may think that I’m writing about the church just because of my work in ministry within a local church…and that’s partly true. But I’m not writing this post SOLELY because of my work. I’m writing about this because I believe how we view the church will impact how we treat the church.

When God opened my eyes to see the beauty of the church…it changed everything for me. This isn’t to say that everything about church from that point forward was simple & neat…but I now had a framework for working through various issues that would arise & a compass to get me back on course at different points in life. Here’s the passage that God used to shape my view of things…Ephesians 5:22-30.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church & gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy & without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes & cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”

This passage is often used in weddings & it should be used. Paul writes out a clear expectation for the relationship between a husband & a wife. But it is easy for us to miss the starting point for his expectations: Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church.

I don’t want to go into all the details in one post, so I’ll write a few posts down the road on this topic. But at least consider these questions for yourself.

-How does viewing the church as the Bride of Christ change the way you see the church?

-If the church is the Bride of Christ, how should you engage/interact/relate to the church?