A Summer of Jesus

Dear Friends,

Over the summer months, the morning congregations have the privilege of working their way through Paul’s wonderful letter to the Colossians. In a nutshell, the message of Colossians is ‘Jesus is enough’. We don’t need more than Jesus in order to experience the fullness of God’s blessing and we don’t need more than Jesus in order to live an effective Christian life. Or as Paul himself puts it, ‘in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians1:3) – Jesus is enough.

That is why Paul prays for ‘God to fill you with the knowledge of His will’ – by which He means knowledge of His BIG will – His ‘will for the world’. Which is what? That people all over the world get to know Jesus and learn to trust Him as their Lord and Saviour. The thing is, there is always more to learn of Jesus – always more of Him to ‘fill us up’, and so that’s what Paul prays for us.

And so to that end, I’d like to recommend one particular way to get filled up a little bit more with the life-changing knowledge of Jesus. As the long, warm, sun-filled summer days stretch before us (it is raining as I write), why not commit to reading a good book over the summer months? Here are a few suggestions:

Loving the way Jesus loves

By Philip Ryken

Ryken goes through episodes in the Gospels looking at the different ways that Jesus loved various people and we therefore learn about the ways Jesus loves us and ways in which Christ’s love can flow through us to others. It’s both encouraging and challenging.

On Amazon.co.uk – £9.99 new, £7.11 second-hand

A Wind in the House of Islam

By David Garrison

This is an exciting book! Garrison has researched the various movements of Muslims coming to faith in Christ throughout the Muslim world and concludes that something unprecedented is happening – never before in the history of Islam have so many Muslims been turning to Christ. The book is based on a thousand interviews in which converts were asked ‘What did God use to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ?’.

On Amazon – £12.24 new, £10.39 second-hand

My Rock, My Refuge: a Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms

By Tim Keller

If your daily Bible reading needs a bit of a kick-start or if it’s something you’ve never got into before, this super book will be really helpful to you. I have loved dipping into the Psalms with it – there’s always something helpful or encouraging that turns your heart and mind to Christ. Keller has a real gift for saying something really helpful in just a few words. Don’t worry about diving in mid-year, that’s what I did and I’m all the better for it!

On Amazon – £9.09 new, £6.27 second-hand

On a different note, very sadly, Nick and Nicole Ashton will be leaving us this summer for Oak Hill Theological College in London, where Nick will be training for ordination. They have devoted themselves to helping others to be ‘filled with the knowledge of God’s will’ – especially our teenagers and the TNT (twenties and thirties) group. We are really going to miss Nick and Nicole and their warm faith in Christ. Although they will be around until the end of August, we are going to say a ‘proper’ goodbye on the evening of Sunday 24th July, before everyone disappears for the summer.

With love in Christ,

Joe Dent