The following are Christian books that are recommended by our staff for high school students and families. Many of these books are used in our life groups and personal studies. If you are looking for a book to help you in your own individual spiritual journey or want to learn more about Christ with your family then these are a great place to start. Descriptions are taken from Amazon.com and most books are available via Amazon or other online retailers.
"The Gospel Centered Life For Teens"
by Robert Thune
Techie? Jock? Class Clown? You Can t Build a Life on a Label. Something or someone will always try to define you. Maybe others call you the techie, the jock, the class clown, or the smart kid. It s easy to think that those labels sum up who you really are, express what really matters in your life, and define the things you should pursue. But your identity goes far deeper than the positive or even the negative labels people use to define you. There is something at the core of a satisfying and meaningful life that can t be summed up by any label. The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens offers you the chance to center your life on the only thing in the universe that actually has the power to define you, give your life meaning, and shape how you live each day. This 9-lesson Bible study, adapted from The Gospel-Centered Life by Bob Thune and Will Walker, gives teens and young adults a road map for living a life centered on God and the gospel. Each lesson is self-contained, featuring clear teaching from Scripture, and requires no extra work outside the group setting. The self-explanatory Leader s Guide helps small group leaders with discussion questions and background material that clearly explain and apply the gospel truths from each lesson. Nine-lesson small group study defining and applying the gospel in a teen-friendly way Adapted from Thune and Walker s best-selling The Gospel-Centered Life Appropriate for believers and non-believers alike, with self-contained lessons and clear teaching from Scripture Easy-to-use, requiring no homework Brings teens together, making community the context for gospel change Self-explanatory Leader s Guide available with discussion questions and background material for each lesson
"ON GUARD: DEFENDING YOUR FAITH WITH REASON AND PRECISION"
BY WILLIAM LANE CRAIG
This concise guide is filled with illustrations, sidebars, and memorizable steps to help Christians stand their ground and defend their faith with reason and precision. In his engaging style, Dr. Craig offers four arguments for God’s existence, defends the historicity of Jesus’ personal claims and resurrection, addresses the problem of suffering, and shows why religious relativism doesn’t work. Along the way, he shares his story of following God’s call in his own life. This one-stop, how-to-defend-your-faith manual will equip Christians to advance faith conversations deliberately, applying straightforward, cool-headed arguments. They will discover not just what they believe, but why they believe—and how being on guard with the truth has the power to change lives forever.
"How People Grow:
What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth"
By Henry Cloud and John Townsend
All growth is spiritual growth. Authors Drs. Cloud and Townsend unlock age-old keys to growth from Scripture to help people resolve issues of relationships, maturity, emotional problems, and overall spiritual growth. They shatter popular misconceptions about how God operates and show that growth is not about self-actualization, but about God’s sanctification. In this theological foundation to their best-selling book Boundaries, they discuss: •?What the essential processes are that make people grow •?How those processes fit into a biblical understanding of spiritual growth and theology •?How spiritual growth and real-life issues are one and the same •?What the responsibilities are of pastors, counselors, and others who assist people in growing―and what your own responsibilities are in your personal growth
"Growing Deep in God"
By Edmund Chan
"The Spirit of the disciplines:
UNderstanding how God changes lives"
By Dallas Willard
Dallas Willard, one of today's most brilliant Christian thinkers and author of The Divine Conspiracy(Christianity Today's 1999 Book of the Year), presents a way of living that enables ordinary men and women to enjoy the fruit of the Christian life. He reveals how the key to self-transformation resides in the practice of the spiritual disciplines, and how their practice affirms human life to the fullest. The Spirit of the Disciplines is for everyone who strives to be a disciple of Jesus in thought and action as well as intention.
"The Book that Made Your World:
How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization"
By Vishal Mangalwadi
"Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist"
Satisfaction…Happiness…Joy. According to John Piper, the pursuit of pleasure in God is not only permissible, it’s essential. Desiring God is a paradigm-shattering work that dramatically alters common perspectives on relating to God. Piper reveals that there really is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. In fact, for the follower of Jesus, delight is the duty as Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him. Constantly drawing on Scripture to build his case, Piper shows why pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God. He discusses the implications of this for conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering. Piper beckons us to approach God with the hedonist’s abandon. Finally, we are freed to enjoy Jesus—not only as our Lord and Savior, but also as our all-surpassing, soul-satisfying Treasure. Desiring God may turn your Christian world upside down. And that will be a good thing, for the glory of God, and for your deepest joy.
"Radical: Taking back your faith from the American Dream"
By David Platt
What is Jesus worth to you? It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily... But who do you know who lives like that? Do you? In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus. Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment--a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.
"Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a relentless God"
God is love. Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love. Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something's wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts—it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.
The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers"
By Christian Smith and Melina Lundquist Denton
In innumerable discussions and activities dedicated to better understanding and helping teenagers, one aspect of teenage life is curiously overlooked. Very few such efforts pay serious attention to the role of religion and spirituality in the lives of American adolescents. But many teenagers are very involved in religion. Surveys reveal that 35% attend religious services weekly and another 15% attend at least monthly. 60% say that religious faith is important in their lives. 40% report that they pray daily. 25% say that they have been "born again." Teenagers feel good about the congregations they belong to. Some say that faith provides them with guidance and resources for knowing how to live well. What is going on in the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers? What do they actually believe? What religious practices do they engage in? Do they expect to remain loyal to the faith of their parents? Or are they abandoning traditional religious institutions in search of a new, more authentic "spirituality"? This book attempts to answer these and related questions as definitively as possible. It reports the findings of The National Study of Youth and Religion, the largest and most detailed such study ever undertaken. The NYSR conducted a nationwide telephone survey of teens and significant caregivers, as well as nearly 300 in-depth face-to-face interviews with a sample of the population that was surveyed. The results show that religion and spirituality are indeed very significant in the lives of many American teenagers. Among many other discoveries, they find that teenagers are far more influenced by the religious beliefs and practices of their parents and caregivers than commonly thought. They refute the conventional wisdom that teens are "spiritual but not religious." And they confirm that greater religiosity is significantly associated with more positive adolescent life outcomes. This eagerly-awaited volume not only provides an unprecedented understanding of adolescent religion and spirituality but, because teenagers serve as bellwethers for possible future trends, it affords an important and distinctive window through which to observe and assess the current state and future direction of American religion as a whole.