We love new beginnings, this is why every New Year folks make resolutions as they think about areas of their lives where they would like to see change. The New Year provides a kind of new beginning, a blank slate and fresh start. As Christians, we all should want to grow in the gospel in 2019. Who wouldn’t want to be more Christ-like one year from now?
Here are some resources I’d recommend to assist you this coming year.
Without a doubt, the first and foremost important need is regular time in God’s Word. There are many yearly Bible reading plans that can help you pace yourself and stay consistent in reading the Bible this year. Ligonier Ministries has compiled a list of many of these Bible reading plans. Take a look here.
Here are two good books that will help you grow in your prayer life.
Prayer by John Onwuchekwa
Onwuchekwa wrote: “My hope is that this book will be a guide and a springboard that helps you enjoy the amazing gift of prayer we have as a church.” (pg. 15, emphasis original)
Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney
Whitney writes: “Why don’t the people of God enjoy prayer more? I maintain that people—truly born-again, genuinely Christian people—often do not pray simply because they do not feel like it. And the reason they don’t feel like praying is that when they do pray, they tend to say the same old things about the same old things.” (pg. 11, emphasis original) Whitney’s answer? Pray the Bible!
Gospel Growth (Sanctification)
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
Bridges said: “Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”
How To Grow by Darryl Dash
I really like this book. It’s very practical but theologically driven at the same time. Dash wrote: “This should be our prayer…that we grow in our knowledge of the riches we have in the gospel, and that we begin to live with the knowledge that all these riches are ours and more.” (pg. 35)
Habits of Grace by David Mathis
Mathis says: “…the point…(is) to understand the key pathways of ongoing grace and seek to create regular habits for these principles in life.” (pgs. 17-18)
The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung
DeYoung wrote: “My fear is that as we rightly celebrate, and in some quarters rediscover, all that Christ has saved us from, we are giving little thought and making little effort concerning all that Christ has saved us to.” (pg. 11, emphasis original)
I wanted to recommend three books I read in 2018 that were really helpful. Two are on productivity and one is on being overly busy.
Do More Better by Tim Challies
Challies says: “Productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. Productivity calls you to direct your whole life at this great goal of bringing glory to God by doing good for others.” (pg. 16, emphasis original)
He continued: “Are you a stay-at-home mom? Are you a CEO with a corner office? Are you a teacher, a toolmaker, a doctor, a driver? This is the measure of your productivity (bringing glory to God by doing good to others).” (pg. 17)
How to Get Unstuck by Matt Perman
This is a more detailed and comprehensive book on productivity. Perman says: “In a nutshell, many of us feel like we are not getting done what really matters to us and what we are truly capable of doing.” (pg. 13)
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung
DeYoung writes: “My outline is as simple as three numbers: 3, 7, and 1: three dangers to avoid (chapter 2), seven diagnoses to consider (chapters 3-9), and one thing you must do (chapter 10).” (pg. 18)
He continued: “We are here and there and everywhere. We are distracted. We are preoccupied. We can’t focus on the task in front of us. We don’t follow through. We don’t keep our commitments. We are so busy with a million pursuits that we don’t even notice the most important things slipping away…We wake up most days not trying to serve, just trying to survive.” (pgs. 20-21, emphasis mine)
Happy New Year!