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In Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, pastor Tom Nelson offers a new perspective on work, providing a look at God’s purposes for work in a way that is both practical and theologically based. He helps readers to make the most of their God-given vocations and to treat their work as God intended, as acts of worship.

I really enjoyed this book and was truly blessed by it. Nelson gives a look at this important topic that is both refreshing and convicting. He is not afraid to debunk common myths nor to reveal his own shortcomings and he uses biblical accounts as well as modern-day stories to deliver his message. He covers topics such as why work is more important than we commonly believe and how to make the most of our “mundane” work and many, many more.

If you would like a fresh perspective on a healthy work ethic and theology of work for Christians, I highly recommend this book.

I recently received a distressing email from Javed Irshad, who, with his family, runs a Christian ministry in Pakistan, reaching out to Pakistani children. Here is what Javed shared:

Dear Brother Nate,

Christians in Pakistan are in “grievous distress” as large swathes of Pakistan are once again submerged in water. Serious flooding has forced thousands of people into emergency camps where facilities are poor and they are at risk of catching diseases such as malaria, dysentery and dengue fever. It comes exactly one year after flood waters covered vast swathes of Pakistan last summer.

Some areas were seeing worse flooding than last year, with the equivalent of an entire monsoon season’s worth of rain falling in just a few days. It warned that Christians were particularly vulnerable because they already live in poverty and is often overlooked in the distribution of aid. We are terribly sad to see the destruction and poor condition of the people affected by heavy rains.

We have noticed and seen that Christians are being deprived of the help, relief and support that other people are getting.

Our Ministry has launched an emergency appeal to provide food, clean water and hygiene products to Pakistani Christians caught up in the floods and as I shared with you that many of Christian families are staying with us.

In this latest calamity our brothers and sisters in Pakistan have no way to help themselves, and other organisations may never come to their aid.

“They are crying out to us for their very lives. Will you please help us help them to survive?”

You can learn more about Javed and his ministry by visiting  http://newlife.id.au/little-disciples-of-jesus/. Photos of the flood relief team can be found here. Oxfam America has additional information about the crisis in Pakistan. At the bottom of this post is a video with further information.

When I spoke with Javed recently, he had 27 people living with him and they were in dire need of funds to purchase food and will soon be in need of warm clothing as well. Please join with me in helping Pakistani flood victims. You can email Javed at thelittledisciples@msn.com or find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Javypk to learn more about how to help. A little bit of help can go a long way.

Review: Lit! by Tony Reinke

By Nate LaClaire —  November 8, 2011 — 2 Comments

In Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books, former journalist Tony Reinke offers a theology for reading as well as practical suggestions for reading. Using scripture and a great deal of additional research, Reinke provides Christians with a deep, multifaceted look at the topic of reading.

Pastor C. J. Mahaney’s foreword does a thorough job at setting up the book by describing the important part that reading has played in his life and Christian walk. Reinke then begins the book by explaining what the title of the book (Lit!) represents: while short for “literature,” it also reminds us that “the glow of God’s creative power is all around us” (pg. 16) and, most importantly, emphasizes the fact that Christian readers are illuminated by the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). Therefore, says Reinke, we see God’s truth in all literature. The author then dives into the topic, covering everything from the biblical foundation for reading, to the benefits of reading non-Christian books, to Reinke’s own formula for determining what he reads, to finding time to read. He ends the book with a look at the five marks of a healthy reader.

If you’ve read my blog before, you probably have already determined that this book covers a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I love to read, although I go through periods where I fail to set aside proper time to do so. I found the theological portion of the book enlightening. Reinke makes many excellent points for why to read a wide variety of literature and how our faith relates to our reading. I also found the practical portion of the book incredibly helpful. His tips on reading fiction, reading non-fiction, choosing books, setting aside time to read, taking notes, and many other topics are very useful.

I urge you to read this book whether you enjoy reading or not. If you don’t enjoy reading, perhaps it will help you to find enjoyment in the practice and to grow in your faith as a result of it. If you already enjoy reading, I think you’ll walk away from the experience ready to grow your love of reading and with a new appreciation for the importance of it. I know I did.

In Honestly: Really Living What We Say We Believe, Johnnie Moore, vice president and campus pastor of Liberty University, challenges readers to live an authentic Christian life. He argues that one of the chief problems with Christians, particularly those in the US and other developed countries, is that we have become hypocrites, whether intentionally or otherwise. We need to start living what we say we believe.

I found this book to be inspiring. Through a variety of stories and musings, Moore unpacks what authenticity looks like and what we need to do to have an impact on our world. One of my favorite things about this book is the author’s own authenticity. Moore goes to great lengths to be honest with readers about his own shortcomings and struggles. That combined with his conversational writing style yields a book that is big on conviction and inspiration without feeling preachy.

This book seems targeted at millennials, the author’s own generation, but is well-suited for people of all ages. I feel transformed and convicted after reading this book and I urge you to read it as well.

Do you have a secret? Something that you’ve kept in the dark and hope never sees the light of day? Each of us has at least one, but author and pastor Aaron Stern says that secrets can destroy us. In What’s Your Secret?, Stern explores the topic of confession. Using scripture, personal stories, and stories from others, he leads readers on a path toward the joy that is only found in living as God intended, free from secrets and complete in His forgiveness.

This is an excellent book. Unlike popular self-help books on the topic, What’s Your Secret? doesn’t claim to give a simple solution. The book begins by guiding you through the process of confession (to God and others) and discusses what real confession is all about. It then proceeds to introduce readers to what it looks like to live out in the open. Chapters cover “unpacking” your baggage, making things right, and many other topics related to healing and living life free from secrets. Along the way, the author has provided anonymous confessions that he has collected, reminding us that we’re not alone – the secrets that we think are so terrible and unique are close to, if not identical to, those of others.

What’s Your Secret? is encouraging, insightful, motivational, uplifting, and inspiring. If that seems like hyperbole, it’s not. If it seems like I picked up a thesaurus and copied every word under a single heading, well, I didn’t, but maybe I am being repetitious. It’s intentional. You have to read this book. Aaron Stern wants you to live in freedom. God wants you to live in freedom. The road will be difficult, but with this book as a guide, you can do it.

The audiobook is read by the author, which I often enjoy. This case was no different. Hearing the author’s words in his own voice adds authenticity to the reading. The recording and production quality were also very good.

Book trailer: