By: Chris Sigfrids
Senior Online Marketing Manager
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers
Looking for a great Christmas book for your small group leader (or for your small group to go through after the holidays)? Here are three of my favorite books for small group discussion. And don’t forget…use coupon code CHRISTMAS20 to receive 20% off and FREE SHIPPING with any order on WaterBrookMultbnomah.com!
Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson
Jeff Anderson was sitting at his desk working when his daughter brought him a plastic donut from her fake food toy collection. Jeff accepted her gift and pretended to nibble on the donut. His daughter giggled with delight in her father’s delight in her gift. So much so, that she brought him more and more plastic food to enjoy. After this brief, yet poignant encounter, Jeff had an “ah-ha” moment where he realized his giving to God is similar to his daughter giving him a plastic donut. God doesn’t need our money. We don’t give to things to God because he’s in need, but because he delights in our giving. It’s not the gift that matters…it’s the heart of the giver and the delight our Heavenly Father takes in our desire to give.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense his own already … It is like a small child going to its father and saying, ‘Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.’ It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.”
I love how Jeff, in a sense, expands on Lewis’ thoughts in this short but punchy book which gave me several of my own “ah-ha’s” on giving. I also appreciate how this book approaches the subject of giving in a way that doesn’t feel threatening to me or “guilt” me into wanting to give.
Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley
Previously releases as It Came From Within, Andy’s book was re-released a couple years ago as Enemies of the Heart. It’s amazing how a title can do so much for a book! This work had been around for years and after reading it, I wish I would have engaged it sooner.
In Enemies of the Heart, Andy breaks down why we get angry, why we feel guilt and why we might struggle with greed and jealousy. I especially love how Andy explainswhy we get angry when he says, “The root of anger is the perception that something has been taken. Something is owed you, and now a debt to debtor relationship has been established.” Wow! This concept, which appears to be a “no duh” kind of concept, comes crashing into light as Andy details why we might be angry overs something as complex as a father walking out on his family (because that father took away security from a spouse, tossing the football with a son, walking a daughter down the aisle, etc.) or slomething as trite as someone cutting you off on the insterstate (you’re andgry because your safety was taken or your spot on the road was taken).
Andy breaks down the relationship between anger and guilt. Whereas we’re angry when we’re owed something, guilt comes when we owe someone something that we took from them. A father feels guilt for leaving his family because he stole countless moments of love, protection, and togetherness from his wife and kids. A drunk driver feels guilt over hitting and killing someone because they took someone’s son, somebody’s friend, some spouse’s lover and they can’t give them back.
This viscous cycle of anger and guilt perpetuates itself…but there is hope. This is one of those books I’ve placed on that special place in my personal library along side books from Chesterton, Piper, Lewis, and Nee…because it had such a profound and personal impact on how I perceive anger, guilt, greed and jealousy…the four enemies of our hearts. Many pastors have done sermon series based on Enemies of the Heart. Below is a great message based on Andy’s book.
Raising Boys by Design by Dr. Gregory L. Jantz and Michael Gurian
I have two boys…Ransom (age 9) and Lewis (age 7). Take a look at the picture of the boy on the book cover to the left. Now picture two of those boys jumping off the couch, crashing onto the floor (or onto one another). Yeah…that’s my life. Parenting boys is exhausting. It’s so…much…work.
As a parent it’s easy to start doubting yourself. Am I doing this right? Are my boys a little “too” crazy? As I read through Raising Boys by Design I found myself saying to myself, “Oh, wow…maybe this is normal. Maybe my boys are okay. It’s okay if my kids don’t get life right 100% of the time.” It also challenged me to be more active in creating “moments” where our boys can learn, via hands-on activities and by setting up weekends to go and be active with my boys and talk through things like character, respect, self-discipline, comassion, and other important issues. Jantz’s and Gurian’s book looks at the brain science behind boys. Their findings, mixed with personal stories, provide clear insights into what it means to parent boys. Their research is also extremely valuable for teachers, youth pastors, and even wives…who are trying to better understand why boys will be boys.
[PDF Download] Top Tips for Engaging Boys in Church
[PDF Download] Memory Verses for Boys
[PDF Download] Top Tips for Helping Our Sons Do Their Best in School
[PDF Download] Chapter 1 – Raising Boys by Design
Use coupon code CHRISTMAS20 to receive 20% off and FREE SHIPPING with any order on WaterBrookMultbnomah.com!