Summer has begun and so has the rush to find the perfect books to read. Rachel Campbell is the owner of Beacon Book and Bible in Belton, Mo. She’s compiled a list of new books you may have overlooked. Whether for the beach, the long car ride, or the shade on your deck, you’re sure to find something to keep you cool and interested through the long, lazy, hazy days of summer! –Editor
Just Open the Door, by Jen Schmidt, will help you to understand how inviting people into our lives and homes can be not only rewarding but a special way of helping to change the world. And what better time to begin than right now during the summer months when we usually get outside and see our neighbors more often! Jen covers all the bases with her personal stories, practical ideas, and insights that will give you more confidence in opening your door and showing hospitality to friends and neighbors. This book even has a study guide available for small groups. Her ideas are nothing new, but a good reminder that this is how the church grew in the very beginning– the early believers eating together often and inviting others to join them around their tables.
Finding Jesus in Israel, by Buck Storm, is different from other books that have been written about Israel because this isn’t a dry, uninteresting book of facts and descriptions of the land. It is Buck taking you on a tour like the one that he and his wife began to experience when they decided to take a few friends at a time, rent a van, and see Israel off the well-worn tourist trails so they could meet some of the people living in Israel, as well as see the land that Jesus walked.
Buck will entertain you with stories of those travels as he describes not only the incredible scenery, but also those individuals who make up the population of a very, very old land, where traditions and customs are so different from what we experience here.
I Can Only Imagine, by Bart Millard, is a must read even if you saw the movie! There were so many scenes that could not be kept in the movie, plus Bart’s story is so much deeper and memorable than even the movie could capture. You will not regret picking this book up, but you may have a hard time putting it down! There are many things you learn in the book that help to make even more sense of the things depicted in the movie. It is so good that every time one of my customers would ask if I’d seen the movie, I would come back with “Have you read the book?”! It will also make you even more appreciative of how the group MercyMe stuck it out through many long road trips before they became such a well-known group, and you’ll find yourself encouraged by the faithfulness of God.
You’ll learn that Bart has a brother which isn’t shown in the movie and so many other things regarding his dad and his relationship with his girlfriend who finally becomes his wife!
Don’t Forget the Fiction!
If you read the Circle books which consisted of Black, White, Red and Green, then you will be very excited to once again read his latest book which ties in with some of the characters of the previous books. The 49th Mystic is even better in the way that Dekker brings out the spiritual insights through his characters. If you’ve never read these books, here is what to expect…they are allegorical in nature. The new main character, named Rachelle Matthews, lives in a small town named Eden, Utah, which has been established as an experiment by well-meaning people who are infiltrated by someone who has a sinister side. Rachelle is blind but her father finds out about something that can possibly restore her sight. She becomes the target of the sinister person, discovers that when she falls asleep, she wakes up in another world, etc. which is what happened with Thomas in Dekker’s previous books. In this book we have the struggle between good and evil, darkness and light, all told in an exciting, adventurous saga as Rachelle discovers her place in an ancient prophecy. I highly recommend it!
Charles Martin has written several really great fictional Christian stories. His last book, Long Way Gone, was a modern day telling of the biblical story of the prodigal son. This one, Send Down the Rain, is also very riveting from beginning to end as you follow the story of a man named Joseph who has suffered in body and spirit as a result of trauma at home and in Vietnam. The story captures you from the very beginning with characters that come into his life, from a refugee little family whom he becomes involved with, and they all eventually wind up in Florida where he has a bittersweet reunion with his childhood sweetheart. The story builds all the way to its surprising ending when the truth is revealed. Charles Martin is a great storyteller!
For Young Readers
This summer would be a good time to get the children’s version of I Can Only Imagine, A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever, by Bart Millard and Laura Neutzling. It’s beautifully illustrated from beginning to end and a wonderful way to talk about heaven with your children. Instead of the usual lyrics of the beloved song, it puts it into the kinds of questions children would be asking, i.e. ”Do you wake up in heaven with your hair all a mess? Must you make up your bed right before you get dressed? Is there breakfast in heaven when your tummy’s all rumbly..” Your kids will love it!
–By Rachel Cambell