Some more book recommendations that might help you fill a stocking or two.
For the Caregiver in your life
Caregiving.com is a one-stop shop for Caregivers. Its founder, Denise Brown is also author of The Caregiving Years: Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey. In it she defines the six stages of caregiving:
- Stage 1: The Expectant Caregiver — In the near future, I may help an aging relative.
- Stage 2: The Freshman Caregiver — I am starting to help an aging relative.
- Stage 3: The Entrenched Caregiver — I am helping.
- Stage 4: The Pragmatic Caregiver — I am still helping an aging relative.
- Stage 5: The Transitioning Caregiver — My role is changing.
- Stage 6: The Godspeed Caregiver — My caregiving has ended.
For the Pastor in Your Life
You Lift me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges
This book is Al Martin at his best, as he identifies three ministry challenges – ministerial backsliding, ministerial burnout, and credibility washout – and proposes various preventative and curative measures. As always with Pastor Martin, the book combines a deep spirituality, fine biblical exegesis, and huge doses of common sense. I loved the sections on the pastor’s humanity and the need to care for our bodies. If pastors don’t read this now, they will need it later.
The Pastor’s Family
Anyone familiar with Brain Croft’s growing ministry at PracticalShepherding.com will know that Brian has a huge heart for pastors and their families. He doesn’t speak down from lofty heights of pastoral perfection, but speaks beside us in the trenches of the pastoral battlefield.
This book addresses the pastor, his wife, and his children, and contains a number of useful appendices including “Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife” and “My Battle with Depression” by Brian’s wife, Cara. It’s one of those books that pastors and their wives should probably schedule to read every year.
For the Small Group in Your Life
Memoirs of the Way Home
Looking for a new book to study in your small group? Are you up for exploring a rarely covered era and area of the Bible? Why not have a look at Jerry Bilkes’ Memoirs of the Way Home which looks at Ezra and Nehemiah as a Call to Conversion. Jerry has the great gift of teaching in such a straightforward and simple way that you hardly realize how much you are learning. Always with an eye to practical and Christ-centered application Jerry will take you back through the millennia and then return to our modern world with spiritual nourishment as you journey on towards eternity.
For the Kid in Your Life
The Bible’s Big Story
It’s great to see gifted theologians, who have written weighty theological tomes, coming down to the level of kids with the Gospel. Sinclair Ferguson has done it, R.C. Sproul has done it, and now Jim Hamilton does it with a great little kids book with a difference. Instead of telling one of the biblical stories, he tells the whole biblical story – in 24 pages – with just a couple of lines per page – in rhyme!
“Not possible” you say. Well it will only cost you $4.99 to check it out. Lots of memorable drawings too. I think it will be one of those books your kids will remember when they grow up. I can’t wait for my own wee Scot to be of an age that I can introduce him to the Bible’s Big Story.
For the Non-Theologian in Your Life
Clear Winter Nights
How would you like to learn theology without realizing you are learning theology. That’s what Trevin Wax accomplishes in this book, his first foray into Christian fiction. It’s especially helpful for young people as it narrates a young Christian’s struggles with doubts and disillusionment. Both my teenage sons read it in a couple of hours and enjoyed it greatly. They found it a refreshing change from the usual Christian books that they find in my study.
For The Counselor in Your Life
This is biblical counseling at its best: full of sympathy for sinners, courageous confrontation of sin, accessible biblical truth, the power of Christ’s grace, and radical dependence upon the Holy Spirit. There are just so many texts I want to preach upon now, always a reliable guide to the quality of a Christian book.
I’m no longer dreading the next phone call or email from someone who has succumbed to porn, because with this book I now have eight grace-based strategies to offer needy sinners. Finally Free will liberate many lives and revitalize many marriages.
Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling
This superb book that will benefit not just pastors and counselors but anyone who wants to learn how to help others with God’s Word. Chapters 1-14 provide a practical theology of biblical counseling and chapters 15-28 a practical methodology.
The aim of the book is to promote authentic spiritual growth among God’s people in ways that are:
- Grace-based and gospel-centered: Not a system or a program.
- Relationally and theologically robust: Relationship with God through His Word.
- Grounded in the local church: Caring like Christ in the body of Christ
- Relevant to everyday life and ministry: Speaking the truth in love to meet spiritual, emotional, and physical needs