Pastor's Picks for December 15, 2016

December 15, 2016



Every Week, I will do my best to share with you books I like, articles that are interesting and any other resources that I think will help you on your Christian journey.


The Christian and Santa Claus

In light of the video of the “evangelist” at a mall in Amarillo telling kids lined up to see Santa that he was not real, I have gotten a few questions on how Rachel and I deal with Santa in the Kennedy household.  If you want to know, go here for my response.


Insights on the Unchurched:

Often times, we think that unchurched people will be hostile to the Gospel.  In his article, Thom Rainer dispels that myth.  I think this is worth the quick read.


Humor on the “Christmas Shoes”

Jon Acuff is a Christian satirist.  He writes a rather humorous blog on the popular Christmas song, “Christmas Shoes.” Check it out here:


Christian Clichés That Need to Die

Sometimes as well-meaning Christians, we end up talking in a lot of platitudes.  When people have honest questions, we answer in clichés.  In Matt Smethurst’s blog, he challenges us to really think about the advice we give people in their deepest time of need.  Check it out here:


Devotional Tips for Parents:

Every night we try our best at doing family devotions.  It has quickly become one of my favorite moments of the day.  I read from a devotional book written to girls (I have 2 girls), we pray, and I read a chapter in a book.  Right now, we are going through Narnia.  This works for us.  However, it may not work for your context. The Logos blog offers some great tips for family devotions during Christmas.  It may be something your family can adopt this year.  Check it out here:


Recommended Books:

Recently in my research for my dissertation, I have come across Donald E. Miller.  He is a professor at the University of Southern California.  He has done extensive research on Global Pentecostalism.  While these book are rather scholarly, these two books are worth the read if you want to know what God is doing around the world. 


Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism by Miller


Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Social Engagement by Miller and Yamamori


Books I Am Excited to Read in 2017:


I wanted to add to books that I cannot wait to start in 2017. 


New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp

This is Paul’s devotional book for 2017. Here is the description on Amazon, “Focused less on behavior modification and more on helping people encounter the living God, this resource equips readers with the good news that they need to trust in God’s goodness, rely on his grace, and live for his glory—day in and day out.”  If you want a good devotional book, this may be the one for you.  Check it out here:


They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz

This book does not come out until April, but I have already ordered it. I have a feeling that it will be a one of my favorites in 2017.  Here is Amazon’s brief description:

               “Everywhere militants were blowing up Christians, their churches, their shops. They threatened          them with kidnapping. They promised to take their children. The message to these ‘infidels’: You         have no place in Iraq. Pay a penalty to stay, leave, or be killed.” Sweeping from Syria into Iraq, Islamic State fighters (ISIS) have been brutalizing and annihilating   Christians. How? Why? Where did the terrorists come from, and what can be done to stop  them? For more than a decade, journalist Mindy Belz has reported on the ground from the  Middle East, giving her unparalleled access to the story no one wants to believe. In They Say We Are Infidels, she brings the stark reality of this escalating genocide to light, tracking the stories of  real-life Christians who refuse to abandon their faith—even in the face of losing everything,  including their lives.


You can pre-order here:

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