Reading is a core discipline of the lifestyle of Love Thy Neighborhood Team Members. Whether people are avid readers or non readers when they arrive to serve, the weekly discipline of reading the LTN curriculum becomes a part of their rhythm in life. We try to put together the best books for your twenties that we can. Our hope is to cultivate their minds and lead each young adult into a deeper faith in Christ and love for their neighbors.
Each year, we adjust the curriculum that our Team Member’s read. Sometimes, we make these adjustments in response to specific topics that have come to the forefront of popular culture. Other times, we do this because we stumbled across a great book that we really enjoyed and we simply want to share. Either way, here are the new books we added in 2014.
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem – Kevin DeYoung
It’s hard to balance life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a flurry of activities and become religious people driven by guilt or twisted ambition. It’s easy to look at the next two weeks of our lives and realize we have very little downtime or space. Is this really what Jesus meant by wanting to give us “life to the fullest”? Kevin DeYoung explores what scripture says regarding how and why we use our time and what we can do to reprioritize our lives for the better.
101 Secrets for Your Twenties – Paul Angone
A very practical book to guide young adults through their quarter-life crisis. Paul Angone throws down great truths like, “The possibility for greatness and embarrassment both exist in the same space. If you’re not willing to be embarrassed, you’re probably not willing to be great”. This book provides small shots in the arm of wisdom for everything from disappointment to bad jobs, from Facebook to marriage. While some of our other books are heavy, lengthy reads, this book is a nice alternative that can be read in short, isolated bursts that give our Team Member’s a lighter reading load for a week.
Go Tell It: How – and Why – to Report God’s Stories in Words, Photos, and Videos – Jim Killam & Lincoln Brunner
Killam and Brunner make a simple argument: Involvement in domestic and global mission work has steadily declined over the last 25 years because Christians have been poor storytellers. People have not engaged missions because those doing missions have failed to share stories. Stories move our hearts and our hearts move us into action. This book is a 101 crash course on how to use the tools of the 21st century to tell stories. It covers everything from WHY to tell stories to HOW to tell stories, from story structure to technology use.
How to Tell a Story – Donald Miller
The New York Times Bestselling author of “Blue Like Jazz” released a short ebook this year about storytelling (which you can download for free from his website). It is short, extremely clear and designed for immediate application. Of the various books on storytelling I’ve read, I was surprised with how well Miller takes abstract principles and boils them down into an easy-to-follow pattern anyone can learn. Our Team Members have to know the skill of storytelling to help their friends and family capture a vision and heart for what God is doing in the city.
The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long For and Echo the Truth – Mike Cosper
One of the pastors of Sojourn Community Church (where some of our Teams are actively involved), Mike Cosper is a self-confessed TV and movie junkie. Cosper contends that, “I believe the Big Story of the Bible – creation, fall, redemption, and consummation – is so pervasive, so all-encompassing of our world, that we can’t help but echo it (or movements within it) when we’re telling stories.” A great book to help young adults process the TV shows and movies they love through a deeper lense.
Storyline: Finding Your Subplot in God’s Story – Donald Miller
We stumbled across this tool a couple of years ago. Storyline is a workbook process designed to help people understand God’s story, their own personal life story, what events lead them to their current place in life and to create and clarify their own ambitions for their future. In addition to its very helpful life planning tools, Storyline also contains a game-changing chapter on why embracing conflict and struggle is good for our lives. A wonderful tool that we use to help young adults grow in their self-awareness. Sadly, Miller discontinued this workbook a couple of weeks ago but has replaced it with a new online version entitled “Creating Your Life Plan”.
Is God Anti-Gay?: Questions Christians Ask – Sam Allberry
Like the Christians of first century Rome, the sexual ethics of Christians are becoming increasingly obtuse and antiquated in the eyes of our society. In the last decade, attitudes toward homosexuality have shifted dramatically – and many young adults find themselves struggling with the ethics, hostility and personal feelings surrounding this subject. Sam Allberry is in a unique position to respond to these questions. As a pastor who refers to himself as a “same-sex attracted Christian” who has chosen to remain celibate, Allberry shares his own story while wanting to help readers understand what God has said on these matters and offer a way forward.
The Gift of Pain: Why We Hurt and What We Can Do About It – Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey
One of the modern classics on pain and faith. As the world’s former leading specialist on leprosy – a disease where failed nerve systems make pain in the human body disappear – Dr. Paul Brand explores what would happen to us as people if all of our pain were to go away. With sensitivity and compassion, Brand and Yancey explore what pain is, why we need it and how it can help us see that God loves us.
Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? – Various
A few years back, the nature, purpose and existence of Hell were being reevaluated within Christendom. Basic doctrines of the faith were debated and beliefs were shifting. This short book was released to bring clarity and multiple voices to the topic of Hell. A young adult’s beliefs on eternity and salvation will shape their personal convictions, motivations and understanding of Jesus himself. We find that this book is a helpful companion to Randy Alcorn’s “Heaven” as well.
The Relational Soul – Richard Plass & James Cofield
Everything in life is relational. We are designed for and designed by our relationships. Our ability to participate in deep and emotionally satisfying relationships is based on trust. Trust is hard – especially when we’ve been wounded by those we’ve trusted. How can we receive love from God and other people if we can’t trust enough to open up our true selves to them? This book is a tool for young adults to move toward a deep, emotional connection with God and other people where they can begin to receive and give genuine love and trust.