Seeker Selections II

     Last month, I recommended several resources appropriate for handing over to your "seeking" students, those who are still unconvinced of the truth of the gospel. I hope that many of those students were present at RSVP a couple weeks ago, and that those seekers have now found what they've been seeking in the Gospel message. I promised that I would be adding to that list of seeker-friendly resources in a future column. Here are a few more: God's Outrageous Claims by Lee Strobel (Zondervan) $12.99. This shows what the Bible says about doubt, sex, loneliness, business, forgiveness and more. Follows the typical Willow strategy of evangelism through life issues. The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor (Zondervan/Lightening Print) $14.99. Taylor invites us to be "reflective Christians" who ask tough questions, take risks and trust God. So what if we can't know it all! A few of our staff love this book. The Call by Os Guinness (Word), $17.99. You know this as a thoughtful and eloquent invitation to find the purpose and meaning in life through discovering the idea of calling and vocation. One of my all-time favorites! See also his classic, very thorough book, God in the Dark (which is a reworking of his older work, In Two Minds, which is a serious study of doubt.) Who Switched the Price Tags? by Tony Campolo (Word), $10.99. Classic Tony, with fun stories about getting priorities right, choosing the good life and working it out in family, work and church. An invitation to reflect more, risk more, do more things that matter. Carpe Diem: Seize the Day by Tony Campolo (Word), $10.99. What a great book about fulfillment, passion, life! We should use this book more! Dangerous Wonder: The Adventures of Childlike Faith by Mike Yaconelli (NavPress,) $17. Wish this were paperback so it could be sold more easily; what a journey he invites us on, to adventure and freedom! Wishful Thinking: A Seekers ABC by Frederick Buechner (Harper), $12. What he misses in staunch theology he makes up in artistry and word-play. Time called it "beguiling for the restless believer, the doubter and all who love words." Yearning: Living Between How It Is and How It Ought to Be by Craig Barnes (IVP), $9.99. Nicely written argument for finding deeper fulfillment and hope. Looks at the early chapters of Genesis and explores our pain and disillusionment and explains proper expectations. Barnes is a Presbyterian preacher and a solid writer. Bold Purpose by Dan Allender & Tremper Longman (Tyndale), $19.99. With a nice fictional plot device, this is also a study of Ecclesiastes, on the search for true happiness and real meaning in life. Very usable for adult seekers. Drained: Stories of People Who Wanted More by Johann Christoph Arnold (Plough), $8. With a stark photo of a shaved-head youth on the cover, this shouts that it is not "chicken soup for the soul." Still, that it's inspiring, if gritty, stories of seekers who long for something more. See also the similar collection, Cries of the Heart, which includes intense stories of struggle for hope and change and justice. Stories of Hope for a Healthy Soul (Zondervan), $12.99. An extraordinary packaging of nice essays and stories by the likes of Barbara Johnson, Chuck Colson, Joni Eareckson, Dave Dravecky, Phil Yancey. A beautiful gift book, lavish, traditional nature photographs and ribbon marker. The Heart's Desire: Satisfying the Hunger of the Soul by James Houston (NavPress), $12. A splendid, deep book on desire and the search for true fulfillment through a transforming relationship with God. Similarly, see the companion book, In Pursuit of Happiness, which maybe should be read first. Rich and rewarding. How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is All Wrong? by Lewis Smedes (Shaw), $8.99. Although a collection of sermons, I think his insight is so realistic that a non-Christian could come to faith. Smedes, of course, doesn't explain away pain, but shows God's presence if we are open, and reassures us that, somehow, things are in His hands. Finally, it is a book about grace and hope. Highly recommended. See also his recent hardback, Standing on the Promises: Keeping Hope Alive for a Tomorrow We Cannot Control, which is also great reading. Hurtling Toward Oblivion: A Logical Argument for the End of the Age by Richard Swenson, MD (NavPress), $9. Fully aware that this isn't for everyone, this is a book of social criticism arguing that our faith in progress tempts us to assume that our world will last indefinitely, but that ecological realities are such that we are indeed in a social crisis. The last chapter considers how a new lifestyle based on Christian principles and hope could create authentic good news. The Creator and the Cosmos by Hugh Ross (NavPress), $12. For those inclined towards the sciences, we suggest various books by Ross, who attempts to show how the greatest scientific discoveries of the century reveal God. Other books on intelligent design might be useful, or works by Phil Johnson, Michael Behe, etc. Unriddling Our Times: Reflections on the Gathering Cultural Crisis, Os Guinness (editor) (Baker), $8.99. A warning that we are at a critical time in the erosion of the notion of truth, complete with some classic short stories, biographical sketches of some great thinkers (Solzhenitsyn) sounding a call to recover a Christian worldview. A powerful book for thinkers who care about cultural trends and deep answers. The Sacred Romance: Drawing Close to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge (Nelson), $12.99. A marvelous invitation to see what God is already doing behind the scenes of our lives to woo us to Himself. A call to recognize our heart's deepest longings. Nicely done spirituality, for believers or seekers. Other similar books on spirituality might be useful as well. The Gift for All People: Thoughts on God's Great Grace by Max Lucado (Multnomah), $12.99. What a stunning and attractive book. A page-a-day format of Lucado's nice writing, with the last entry an invitation to receive Christ. A perfect and classy evangelistic gift book. Faith Is. by Pamela Reeve (Multno-mah), $7.99. A touching collection of inspirational thoughts; each page offers a gem of a little insight. Quite a handsome package. For those who may want a more literary investigation of Christ and faith, but not the standard Josh McDowell or John Stott: Looking for Jesus by Virginia Stem Owens (Westminster), $18. A marvelously written look at Jesus through the eyes of those who met him. (Although it is not for everyone, she has a great book, Assault on Eden: A Memoir of Communal Life in the Early '70s, about when she and her family lived in a commune and how it ultimately failed. Anguished in body and soul, they end up in a little all-too-ordinary small-town church and find something there among the common worshipers. Her description of how they grew into faith within that mundane community is wonderful!) Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (Pantheon), $23. All the rage right now, Lamott is a well-respected writer who shares her life's wildness and her coming to faith. Some raw language and edgy ideas, this is a miracle story of an esteemed artist who really does become a Christian. Perfect for the avant garde, nonconformists and the like. Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris (Houghton Mifflin), $13. Raved about in the secular press, this autobiographical memoir describes the author's stay in the Great Plains and how she discovered the spiritual writings of the desert fathers. A contemplative book full of devotion and care. Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians, Kelly Monroe (editor) (Zondervan), $12.99. What a marvelous and diverse collection of essays by those who searched for truth. Compiled for a Harvard Christian fellowship group, this is a remarkable anthology of compelling and well-written testimonies. Life After God by Douglas Coupland (Pocket), $10. Gen Xers are impressed with this novel; not a Christian author, he still knows that a generation without God is in desperate need. I also recommend his moving and quirky novel, Generation X. Bright Evening Star: The Mystery of the Incarnation by Madeleine LÕEngle (Harold Shaw), $17.99. It is a delight to offer solid doctrine in reflections by a world-renowned and well-loved writer. Her paperback The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth should also be available to postmoderns who need to know that stories can lead to truth, and that the biblical story is the greatest of all! Her Penguins and Golden Calves, written as memoir and reflection, reminds us that everything in life can point us to God (and that if it doesn't, it has become an idol). The Gospel in Dostoevsky by F. Dostoevsky (Plough), $15. The ultimate guide to God for the literary-minded, this is a collection of powerful excerpts from the master writer.