Book Report: The Gospel Comes with a House Key

The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield

Once upon a time, two believers invited a sinner over for a meal. That sinner eventually became a saint, pastor’s wife, mama, home-opener, writer, and speaker. This is her story. Pull up a chair as Rosaria shares about the grace and grittiness of life around her table; you might just find yourself longing to gather people around yours as well. “There are, of course, other ways you can use your days, your time, your money, and your home. But opening your front door and greeting neighbors with soup, bread, and the words of Jesus are the most important.” Whether you’re a seasoned hospitality expert or brand-new to this foundational Christian practice, come on in—there’s room at the table for you.

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Book Report: Love Where You Live

Love Where You Live: How to Live Sent in the Place You Call Home by Shauna Pilgreen

Shauna’s family moved from the Midwest to plant a church in San Francisco in 2010, trading a life of comfort for a life of mission. Out of the brokenness and beauty she’s encountered comes this interactive manual about owning the God-given purpose for wherever we find ourselves. (‘Interactive’ as in “draw your skyline on the next page.”) While most people consider their current location incidental, Shauna argues that there’s a divine plan behind it. She calls this mindset living sent. “The point of living sent is not to arrive but to travel well in this one life we’ve been given.” Time is short. If we’re going to be here, at this particular point on the map, at this particular moment in history, shouldn’t we really be here? Join Shauna as she joyfully shows you around her city, and discover that, somewhere along the way, you fell in love with your own.

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Book Report: Adorned

Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

For decades now, Nancy has provided biblical resources to help ladies mature in their faith. This phenomenal work on Titus 2 beckons women across generational lines into a flourishing dance with truth as they approach discipleship together. Wait—a whole book about one chapter in Scripture? You’d be surprised how packed it is with everyday application. “There’s a lifetime of wisdom and growth to be gleaned from these few verses, and there’s no time like today to begin walking it all out.” But we’re not meant to walk it all out alone. “Our goal for what we’re talking about here is as grand as the glory and majesty of God. But the method He has prescribed for us is as simple as women sitting down together, opening up their lives and the Word, receiving and passing on to others the baton of faith and Christlike character.” To process this lovely manual well, you’ll need lots of highlighters, an older friend, a younger friend, some great coffee, and a humbly expectant heart.

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Book Report: Refresh

Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona and David Murray

Welcome to Refresh Gym, a process designed to move readers from chaos to calm. Years of experience as a pastor’s wife and medical doctor uniquely qualify Shona to counsel women, and she does so with a beautiful Scottish lilt, startling statistics, and solid theology. This companion guide to Reset (for men dealing with burnout) draws on scientific research but remains uncannily user-friendly. No matter what darkness accompanies your current situation in life, the stations of Refresh Gym can help.

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Book Report: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

A shepherd at heart, Adele lays a beautiful foundation for more than sixty spiritual disciplines. New believers and seasoned saints alike will benefit from these ways of “making space in your overwhelmed and preoccupied life for God to show up and master you.” If the vast array of choices seems overwhelming, never fear: readers are invited to meander thoughtfully through the practices that most speak to them, finding Scriptures, ideas, and journaling questions to help them along. Adele writes to antsy disciples, “Remember that your goal is not to master all of these disciplines. You are simply to make a beginning.” Though I had long considered purchasing this book, Tim Keller’s glowing review* settled the matter. I’m so glad it’s become part of my library—the depth and wisdom available in these pages was a gift.

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Book Report: Rhythms of Renewal

Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose by Rebekah Lyons

In a world constantly bombarding us with competing messages to push everything aside for “me time” and to hustle harder, Rebekah’s approach to self care is a breath of fresh air. She argues that there are four major cadences we all need to cultivate: the input rhythms of rest and restoration, and the output rhythms of connection and creation. Such a well-rounded perspective allows us to thrive while relying on the Lord and His design. Readers will discover simple ways of incorporating each category (like how to sleep better, the importance of play, initiating friendship, and learning something new). In a slow, methodical mood? Add a single practice to faithfully implement during this season. Because the twenty-eight chapters are short and actionable, though, it would be fun to work through one habit a day for a self care challenge month. No matter how you come at it, you need these rhythms of renewal in your life!

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Book Report: And Baby Makes Three

And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives by John and Julie Gottman

What happens when you pair two psychologists with research statistics like “67 percent of couples become very unhappy with each other during the first three years of their baby’s life” and “83 percent of new parents go through moderate to severe crisis in the transition to parenthood”? You get a survival guide like this one. Dripping with real-life examples, data, and advice, the Gottmans provide crucial insight into navigating the dynamics of adding a third pea to your pod. Curl up together with a warm drink and a readiness to grow. You’ll learn some history. You’ll work through exercises. And you’ll end up much closer when you finish the book than when you started it.*

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Book Report: Practicing the Presence of People

Practicing the Presence of People: How We Learn to Love by Mike Mason

“We are not born with love; it is something we must learn.” Thus Mike’s premise opens a host of quick meditations on how to embrace the glory of God in every single person we meet. If this sounds like a feat possible only for the super-extroverted among us, Mike is a contemplative introvert with a highly developed appreciation for the mess of humanity. His thoughtful writing smacks of grace—an essential component if we are determined to view love as a lifelong practice. Some of his ponderings are ethereal, others practical. “If we like, we can sit around endlessly speculating on the meaning of love. But why not just get on with it?”

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Book Report: Love Walked Among Us

Love Walked Among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus by Paul Miller

If the main marker of a disciple is love, we should probably learn how to do it properly. This simple and beautiful primer beckons us to get an up-close view of the way Jesus interacted with those around Him. Readers will inevitably encounter some uncomfortable truths, but Paul’s personable “been there, done that” style makes it easy to let our guard down. He covers extremely practical topics like love’s common obstacles, when love needs to say no, and how love sometimes requires anger. Incarnating Christ’s heart for people isn’t the least bit mushy (though it might lead to genuine softness in the best sense of the word). There’s a quiet strength in loving like Jesus, and it’s work only God can do.

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Book Report: You Are the Girl for the Job

You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly

The tricky part about dreaming big for a Christian is avoiding the “hype of self” that dominates our culture. We need a good dose of the gospel. If you’ve ever questioned your ability to step fully into the wild life God has planned for you with solid footing, Jess will be your new best friend. This girl loves the Bible; you could pretty easily guess that since she helped found the She Reads Truth movement. Her writing is saturated with stories and passages from Scripture and delivered with the voice of a cool big sister. She helps readers demolish mindsets that hinder progress so that the path is cleared for positive action.

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