Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
“What the world needs is not a greater number of gifted people, or of intelligent people, but of deep people” – this is how Richard Foster begins his masterclass in the rhythms and patterns of Christian spirituality. If the title sounds draconian, the content of the book is anything but: Foster walks us through the ancient paths of a Spirit-filled life, everything from meditation to celebration, radical simplicity to prayer and worship. These ’spiritual disciplines’, he says, are a ‘doorway to liberation’, a way to position ourselves – body, mind and spirit – so as to receive grace and power from the living God. The point is not inward piety, but to open ourselves up to the liberating work of the Spirit for a life of holiness, peace and justice in the world around. This book revolutionised my relationship with God and is considered by many a classic.
Recommended by Tim L.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
Pete Scazzero’s main point in the book is this: ‘you can’t be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature’. He gives the reader an incredible insight into his own journey with emotionally unhealthy spirituality and discusses how God helped him to see that a biblical integration of emotional health is absolutely key to good discipleship. Scazzero then discusses the signs of emotional neglect and then provides 7 practical ways for Christians to embrace a more holistic discipleship, with the hope of radical transformation.
Recommended by Tee.
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
This book played a key role in inspiring me to want to start Just Love. Shane Claiborne is someone who has heard the biblical call to pursue social justice and shaped his entire life around it. This book is radical, uncomfortable and beautiful. There are books that are more rigorous on theology or doing justice effectively, but in terms of cultivating a passion and attitude towards a whole-life, lifelong pursuit of justice, this book is absolutely brilliant. You will hear some crazy, high-risk stories of someone following Jesus no matter the cost, and you will hopefully be challenged to live and think differently as a result. Shane has wonderful vision and integrity and his writing and lifestyle were a key influence on the early direction of the Just Love movement.
Recommended by Tom.
Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton
This book is especially aimed at those in Christian ministry, but I think is deeply important reading for any leader. The challenge Barton addresses is how easy it is for our leadership of others to come at the expense of our own life with God. Building on her own experience of ministry, and mapping each chapter onto the life of Moses, Barton invites us into a more sustainable, more life-giving, and more God-glorifying way of doing life and leadership.
Recommended by Josh.
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
This is one of those books that I couldn’t put down, yet also wanted to stop reading, so I could savour each sentence. This book will strip you of the frills of your faith, the pretences and the performances. It draws you deep into the heart of God and has you examining your own heart; it widens your perspective and lifts your eyes to heaven by reminding you of the simplicity and yet profound nature of God’s love. It then unashamedly convicts you of your own lack-lustre faith and puts a fire in your belly to pursue Jesus like never before. You cannot read this and remain unchanged, just like you can’t receive God’s love and go unchanged.
Recommended by Anna.