Growing This Summer

June 14, 2022

Thank God it is summer, for so many reasons. One of the reasons I love summer is because it affords us an unusual number of options in how to spend our time. The daylight hours are longer, and we typically draw energy from that. One of the options I usually choose is reading lots of good books. Some people like to read novels and love stories or history books Those are not typically my style. I read quite a few leadership books, but I also value reading books that challenge my thinking and cause me to examine my beliefs and attitudes.

I recently had a conversation with a guy on a subject in which we both had extremely different views. I asked him if he ever read anything about the other point of view. He said “no” with a great deal of pride. “I don’t need to read anything. I know what I believe.” I didn’t respond, but inside I was shaking my head. However, all of us, me included, come to things with a filter. Our filter is our own biased opinion, one that was usually shaped by the environment we grew up in (our blind acceptance or rejection of it), the experiences we have had, and the people with whom we associate. We accept our pasted-together beliefs with confidence and pride, without even considering whether or not they are factual and valid. We’ll fight to the death for things that, upon examination, we find out are wrong.

God said to us through the wisdom of Solomon, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.

Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7 NIV). This summer is a good time to do that through reading.

Here are three things that are helping me think and grow:

Not in It to Win It by Andy Stanley


Is it possible to disagree politically and love unconditionally? The reaction of evangelicals to political and cultural shifts in recent years revealed what they value most. Lurking beneath our Bible-laced rhetoric, faith claims, books, and sermons is a relentless drive to WIN! But the church is not here to win. By every human measure, our Savior lost. On purpose. With a purpose. And we are His body. We are not in it to win anything. We are in it for something else entirely. That something else is what this book is about.

You'll discover…

  • How to take a stand the right way. You'll learn how to make your case with a posture of humility and understanding, rather than being fueled by the fear of losing something.
  •  How to view politics through the lens of faith. Learn curiously, listen intentionally, and love unconditionally. How the life of Jesus and His teachings apply to modern-day challenges in a fresh way. The "biblical" stand may not be what we've been taught.

Jesus never asked His followers to agree on everything. But He did call them to obey a new command: to love others in the same way He has loved us. Instead of asserting our rights or fighting for power, we need to begin asking ourselves this question: What does love require of me?  Purchase the book here.

Soul Healing – Living Beyond the Pain of Your Past by Tammy Smith


All of us bear wounds from living in a fallen world. Soul Healing will guide you in becoming aware of how your wounds affect your relationships and daily life. It provides a path of understanding, gives instruction for how to reclaim emotional damage, and guides you to true healing from the Ultimate Healer, Jesus Christ. Purchase the book here. 

Book of Proverbs – The Bible

Proverbs accomplishes something no other biblical book does: It simply compiles numerous short instructions for living an effective life on earth. Proverbs concerns itself completely with instructing people in the path of wisdom. The writers of the book recognized the varied circumstances of a person’s life and provided principles to apply in a variety of situations rather than instructions to follow in only a few specific instances.

The Book of Proverbs gives us an incredible portrait – everything the Bible is about and how to live inside of that portrait. The Proverbs are radically insightful, radically convicting, radically encouraging, radically hope-giving.

A long time ago the library had a summer campaign for reading. The slogan was “Readers Are Leaders.” It is still true. You will lead yourself into significant growth, and probably others as well.