Summer Reading Recommendations (Part 3)

Jonathan Ingraham  •  June 29, 2021

Summer Reading Recommendations (Part 3)

Over the summer the team at Chattanooga Faith + Work + Culture would love to provide some helpful resources to your summer reading list. These books are essential reading on how to let the Gospel of Jesus inform how you live right now in your everyday life. Have a wonderful summer and happy reading!

(1) Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church; John Onwuchekwa

No one would argue that the Christian life should involve prayer. Praying to God for our personal challenges and immediate needs have characterized the American Christian experience. In this short but important book, John Onwuchekwa encourages the reader to look at prayer in a bigger way. He believes that our prayer life should not only be personal but also have a strong corporate element. 

Onwuchekwa argues that prayer is “God’s prescription for a life in a fallen world.” It opens God’s people to a hope that He will work and move in and amongst us. Onwuchekwa walks through how church leaders should use prayer in their congregations and also challenges individuals to build a more robust prayer life that emphasizes God’s work in the world. This book centers on the kingdom of God and gives practical steps for Christians to consider as they invite God into their corporate and public life. 

(2) Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human; John Mark Comer

This beautiful book from John Mark Comer tries to answer an immense and important question: what does it mean to be human? Through personal stories and an in depth walk through the gospel story, Comer argues that humans were created to work in the world and rest with God. Our need to rest and our desire to work are not results of sin but instead are characteristics built into our DNA as humans. These are not random characteristics but point to the truth that humans are created in the image of God (Imago Dei).

Garden City shows the reader why God created man, how sin deformed us as people, and also what Christ’s redemptive work on the cross means for our lives in the world today. Comer invites the Christian to see themselves the way God sees them: co-heirs with Christ who are called to point all of creation towards “Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom.” He calls us to live into the full story of Scripture. 

(3) Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers; Dane Ortlund

As we work in the world and live the Christian life it does not take long to realize we are a broken people living in a broken world. We can easily feel discouraged and ready to give up. Dane Ortlund’s book, Gentle and Lowly, is a healing balm for those who feel this way. Ortlund highlights that there is only one time in the gospels where Jesus tells us explicitly about his character. Matthew 11:29 quotes Jesus saying, “ I am gentle and lowly in heart.”

This wonderful book carefully and gracefully shows the reader who Jesus is and how he cares and loves his people. Each chapter looks at Jesus’ character and how his love for his people calls us to himself. If you are looking to read something with lots of practical steps or action items this is not the book for you. This book is a call to rest in who Christ is. But this type of rest does not look like inaction. Instead it is found in living a life of peace knowing that there is a Savior who is “gentle and lowly” and will never leave us nor forsake us.