2019 Hope Awards Southeast winner Scarlet Hope | Rachelle Starr and her friends help women emerge from the sex industry
Faith. Hope. Love: The Christ-Centered Way to Grow in Grace
A combined daily devotional, scholastic textbook, and Jesus-saturated neo-catechism, this book inspires readers to delight in its titular virtues. The work is meaty, though its tone is so measured readers may wonder whether Jones ever sings. He certainly wonders. Questions like “What is the worst sin?” (Answer: unbelief) and “What is the foundation of the Christian religion?” (God’s love and His people’s love for Him) indicate a lively intellect—and break down technical theology into smaller chunks nonscholars can enjoy. To contemplate the glory of Christ is “faith’s principal exercise,” and Jones’ too.
Enough Horses in the Barn: Thoroughly-Equipped Disciple-Makers and the Ministry of Jesus
Kurt Sauder & D. Eric Schansberg
Sauder and Schansberg contend that Christians need to be equipped with the proper tools to be disciple-makers for the kingdom. Taking some painfully accurate potshots at preaching, they show that discipleship by “osmosis” isn’t enough. They believe every church needs a straightforward plan to move its people from passive listening, to active studying, to sharing what they’ve learned. This is best done in small groups that ban rabbit trails, require homework, and allow each person in the group equal time to talk. They promise it works, and I believe them.
God & Soul Care
Eric L. Johnson
Johnson, a trained psychologist who teaches at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, compellingly synthesizes Christianity and modern psychology. Rejecting the latter’s naturalistic bias, Johnson insists that the empirical studies and creation-grace resources secular psychologists use are valuable for Christian counselors too. Modern psychology generally limits itself to humans’ “biopsychosocial” dimension—missing their crucial ethical and spiritual components. Theologians and pastors have generally done the opposite. But Johnson shows how the triune God’s plan to glorify Himself in Jesus’ work of redemption is comprehensively psychotherapeutic. Christ heals ethico-spiritual sin, and biopsychosocial weakness too.
What Happened to You? Hippies, Gospel Outreach, and the Jesus People Revival
Marc S. Allan
“Hitchhiking Hippies Get Saved” might have been a more accurate title for Allan’s eyewitness account of revival amid the Northern California redwoods during the delirious years of 1969-75. The first Gospel Outreach commune began on the Pacific Coast. Later, three more formed. The resulting movement sent out missionaries to Oregon, Germany, Switzerland, and Alaska before the revival dried up and the communes shut down. Deftly weaving anecdotes together, Allan makes his narrative hum with excitement and joy over each repentant sinner. It’s a powerful reminder: God revives.
Susan Soesbe’s Bringing Mom Home (Rend, 2018) tells the true story of two sisters who decide to care for their dying mother at home. Their families buy a big house, move in together, and bring their mother out of assisted living. The decision disrupts their lives and reveals long-festering hurts. But it also allows healing and growth as the Holy Spirit works. Soesbe’s engaging writing, eye for detail, and willingness to reveal personal struggles make this a compelling and helpful read. —Susan Olasky
Made for Friendship: The Relationship That Halves Our Sorrows and Doubles Our Joys (Crossway, 2018) by Indianapolis Pastor Drew Hunter is an excellent book about friendship. Hunter brings a good dose of strong theology to bear, connecting friendship to Biblical concepts: the Trinity, sin, union with Christ, redemption, eternity, and heaven. The book includes footnotes and comments from Jonathan Edwards and Francis Schaeffer—though Hunter is much easier to read than either of them. —Russ Pulliam