Rhythms of Grace

RhythmsofGrace_Cover_Final_forewordMike Cosper
Crossway

Frustrated with a culture of celebrity, emerging and passing fads, feeling disenfranchised from Church on the whole Mike Cosper began a journey. It started with asking “why?” about worship. The answer was the gospel. Front and center and solitary. Cosper posits that the “story shapes the community” and proceeds to walk us through the entire narrative (from Eden to Christ), then wisely covers worship in relation to history, singing, liturgy, and pastoral musicians. Plus, he offers sample service orders. The best aspect of Rhythms of Grace is the one-two punch of Cosper’s casual approachability and his desire for us to lead worship that not only sings well, but it thinks well. Worship that is centered on the gospel, plain and simple.

Jeremy Armstrong

Discover The Mystery of Faith

1-mystery of faithGlenn Packiam
David C. Cook

Glenn Packiam has the most delightful way of taking us along on a journey of discovery; his transparency, confessional-professorial-pastoral style—in the very best sense—frees us to listen and learn. We relate and Discover the Mystery of Faith right along with him. He stirs us to question the motivation, the content, the enactment, the pre-suppositions and false understandings surrounding our worship. He fills in the history of what we do, or have left out or added unnecessarily. He re-injects mystery into a faith where everything about God has become known or knowable, and opts for an unknowing that leaves room for mystery. Glenn positions himself as revitalizer and re-interpreter of Robert Webber’s ancient/future wisdom. He in no way is suggesting we all become Anglican/Orthodox or “go liturgical,” rather that we rethink our language for and engagement in worship. We have made worship small, and he advocates for the larger version that comes with mystery. A must read.

Andrea Hunter

The Catalyst Leader

1-lomenick-catalyst-leaderBrad Lomenick
Thomas Nelson

Leadership is much more than doing paperwork, making routine decisions, and dealing with a vast array of personality issues and conflicts. Brad Lomenick, the Key Visionary and President of Catalyst, an influential leadership movement, recognizes that today’s young leaders are entering an environment that requires them to be confident, inspirational and visionary to be successful. He describes eight essential characteristics of a leader who is influential and a true change maker: called, authentic, passionate, capable, courageous, principled, hopeful and collaborative.

Lomenick does more than simply educate the young people entering roles of leadership. He also challenges the older, experienced leaders to actively pursue opportunities to become mentors to the aspiring young leaders so they pass on their years of wisdom to the next generations. Leaders who are willing to put aside their selfish goals and apply Lomenick’s eight keys will find they can definitely make a positive impact for God and society.

Jeff Friend

 

Deeper Places

1-deeperplacesExperiencing God in the Psalms
Matthew Jacoby

Baker

If you want more than a wind chop of joy in your life, I encourage you to follow me out into the deep water, the featureless wasteland of the open ocean … Matthew Jacoby

Matthew Jacoby, lead singer of the psalm-singing Sons of Korah (for over 15 years), brings us a refreshing book that only one intimately acquainted with not only the Psalms, but the God of the Psalms could write. From relationship and its complexity and breakdown—“When we begin a relationship, we bring with us a vast array of complex spiritual dysfunctions”—to the joy of love, Deeper Places shimmers with authority, insight, honesty, and power. Jacoby is true to his word; he reveals deeper places through inspired exegesis, connecting us to God in the Psalms with accessible, emotional, and poetic language. When he describes the “frequent, deliberate expression of the contradiction between divine revelation and reality” in the Psalms (particularly those of lament and supplication), he uses the presence of tension in Scripture and life to anchor our faith more deeply. He links God’s way of creating, allowing, and resolving tension to stories across Testaments that display his consistent character. At the heart of Deeper Places is tension and joy. Jacoby declares,

[T]he psalmists never played down the tension between the divine promises and the reality of their situations. On the contrary, they highlighted this tension and intensified their sense of it. As a result, their faith sprang forth with joyful expressions of confidence.

Whether probing questions such as “Why does God make us wait?” or exploring the empowering force of gratitude, Jacoby leads us to a place of enjoying God, the profound rest of worship and pleasures for evermore.

At the highest point of the spiritual journey portrayed by the Psalter, we become vessels of praise to God. This deeper sense of praise is precisely what it means to “glorify.” We can praise God in a shallower sense with words alone, but we can only glorify God by enjoying him.

-Andrea Hunter

The Relational Pastor

The Relational Pastor1The Relational Pastor
Andrew Root
InterVarsity Press

Andrew Root has a challenge for ministers: Stop trying to be a “self-help entertainer” and start focusing on building meaningful relationships where you share your life with others. Root explains that the church needs to redirect its emphasis from seeing people as “individuals” to “persons.” The two main aspects of valued relationships among persons are empathy and transformation. Root encourages ministers to recognize that a person is a multi-dimensional human who can form bonds and interact with other persons in a caring, empathetic manner, just as Jesus did. An individual is someone often considered more of an object whom ministers tend to view as an asset to a ministry, but not particularly helpful in building a growing, Christ-like church body. Root strongly challenges church leaders to truly share themselves with their congregation, and emphasizes prayer as the driving force in relational ministry. Root gives compelling and well-reasoned arguments on the many benefits of minister’s becoming “relational pastors.”  

Jeff Friend

 

Click here for book details and Andrew Root’s bio