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BOOKS:
Discernment, God‘s Will & Living Jesus
Want help in hearing and recognizing the voice of God? Do you desire to discern and live into God’s Will for your life? Read this book! In this thoughtful and winsome book, Larry Warner, demonstrates the practical wisdom and heartfelt thinking that makes him such a trustworthy guide. Warner’s new book distinguishes itself from all the others by its unapologetic focus on the Holy Spirit making discernment authentically Christian. Far from the usual notion of trying to “discover God’s will” when faced with a critical decision in life, this book underscores the fact that discernment is foremost a lifestyle we need to cultivate. Written with warmth and wisdom, biblical, practical, gritty, and not always comfortable this book speaks to the mind and heart of every Christian who longs for a closer, more intimate walk with Jesus.
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Journey with Jesus
Dallas Willard writes concerning Journey with Jesus: "The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius is one of very few works produced by followers of Christ that reliably guides those who have seriously put their confidence in Christ onto a path where what we Christians endlessly talk about becomes the reality of daily existence. This is because Ignatius guides the disciple into experience of the things we talk about. The reality stands out in the details of what is experienced. But for most, trying to take the Exercises straight is like trying to board the airplane when it is already a hundred feet off the ground. Larry Warner’s Journey with Jesus effectively brings the Exercises within reach of any disciple of Jesus ready to work with grace to turn life in the Kingdom of the Heavens with Jesus into their actual existence."

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The Contemplative Pastor
If you are in full time Christian ministry, know someone in full time Christian ministry or know of someone preparing to enter full time Christian ministry—this book is for you/them. The first chapter hits enslavement to busyness head on challenge the read to take a honest look at they calendar and heart. It is an excellent book to help ground those in ministry in Jesus.
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Invitation to a Journey
This is an excellent book to help someone begin to open to spiritual formation. Mulholland's fourfold definition of spiritual formation as (1) a process (2) of being conformed (3) to the image of Jesus (4) for the sake of others is excellent. This is a good primer for those exploring spiritual formation and those who are beginners on the journey.
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Abandonment to Divine Providence
This is a book that encourages you to be present to the present moment as well as being present to the Presence (God) who surrounds us and indwells us. The will of God is embody moment by moment as we live life. This is a challenging book, insightful and well worth the investment the time spent reading it.
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The Spiritual Life
I love this book and have read it numerous times and will continue to read it. It is profoundly simple and straightforward. If you haven't read it I would encourage you to do so.
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New Seeds of Contemplation
This along with Thoughts on Solitude is my favorite of Merton's books.
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Thoughts in Solitude
This is one of those books I tend to ponder more than read. It is very short and very insightful.
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Dangerous Wonder

I love this book. It is both fun and profound. It communicates the twin truths that God is dangerous and, at the same time, a loving, caring parent who enjoys being with us, continually inviting us into adventure, wonder and mystery. The author, Michael Yaconelli, reminds us of Jesus’ encouragement to become like a child. Michael artfully explains what is lost when we lose our childlikeness and what is gained when we choose to re-embrace it.

This book will rekindle your awe, mystery and wonder of God, bringing forth a new freedom and abandon in your relationship with Him.


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Let Your Life Speak

In this book the author challenges you to start paying attention to yourself, to become students, intentional observers of your thoughts, feelings, dreams, desires and emotions in order to begin to discover and own who we most truly are as one created by God and re-created in Christ Jesus.

This book is an invitation to self discovery and self awareness which will help you to more fully embrace and live out of who you are as a one of a kind masterpiece of God. The book will challenge you to live a life in harmony with who God created you to be rather than ordering your life in accordance with the voices of culture, family and friends.


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The Way of the Heart

This short book (94 pages) seeks to draw ministry leaders from their over-packed schedules into the rich, life-giving practices of solitude, silence and prayer. Henri Nouwen explains that these practices are more than just pleasant, “spiritual” additions to one’s life, they are critical, foundational ingredients for healthy relationships with God, ourselves and others. Nouwen’s clear, concise style of writing makes it an easy, yet impacting read for even the busiest pastor.


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Testament of Devotion

This is a little book which I re-read at least once a year. The author, Thomas Kelly, is a Quaker. Therefore, sometimes his language seems a little strange, but his insights are profoundly life-changing; bringing hope, challenge, direction and freedom into the reader’s spiritual life. Each time I go back through this book, I am, once again, inspired to pursue my moment-by-moment walk with God with even greater intentionality. This book motivates through invitation and freedom, not guilt or shame. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for pearls of wisdom and truth that will encourage your intimacy with God.


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The Gift of Being Yourself

This book is an excellent guide to self-discovery and self-acceptance. In a straight forward, profound manner, David Benner leads us to discover and embrace God’s love for you and in turn become free to be and become your true self.

Our journey of internalizing God’s love is also a journey of exploring and living into all that we are. As we begin to apply the truths of this book we will be freed to be more fully ourselves, living freely and lightly as God intended and have a deeper internalized sense of God's unique and unconditional love for us.


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Satisfy Your Soul

If you are wondering about all this talk regarding spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines, ancient prayer practices, meditation, contemplation and the like, this book might be the perfect fit for you.  The author, Bruce Demarest wondered about these things as well. He set out to discover if these practices are good, helpful and biblical or if they could be harmful. This book is a byproduct of his journey. In this book, he explores many of the practices associated with spiritual formation; dealing with the objections, dangers, and benefits of these practices. This is a wonderful introductory book for those who are new and a little apprehensive about spiritual formation and the spiritual disciplines.

 


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Imaginative Prayer in Youth Ministry

This book was written to help people learn the value of incorporating their God-given imagination into their relationship with God as well as their interactions with God's Word. The book also provides a biblical and historical foundation for the use of imaginative prayer.

Although the book is targeted toward those working with youth, the exercises in the back of this book would be of value for people of all ages. If you are interested in encountering God in a way that is deeply impacting and transforming, this may be the book for you.

Our Executive Director, Larry Warner, is the co-author of this book.


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Invitation to Solitude and Silence

Solitude and silence are two critical components in one’s journey into greater intimacy with God. In this book, Ruth Haley Barton gives an excellent introduction to the “why’s” and “how to’s” of embracing the dual practices of solitude and silence. This book is written for ordinary people who have ordinary lives. The material and exercises are readily assessable and practical. If you are wondering how to make solitude and silence a part of your daily life, this book will serve you well.


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The Return of the Prodigal
This is a wonderful book that helps us to explore the various characters from the parable of the prodigal. As we ponder the reflections and insights of Henri Nouwen we begin to discover how we are both sons in the story and how we continue to be in need of the outrageous grace of God. And if we listen carefully we may hear God calling us to an adventure of faith beyond anything we thought possible.
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Surrender to Love
This is what it is all about. When all is said and done it is our realization and internalization of God's unconditional love for us that fuels our Christian life and gives us the desire to love God and one another. David Benner beautifully presents the nature, scope and transforming power of God's love. This a a book that helps you to move from knowing that God loves you to embracing, experiencing and surrendering to God's love for you.
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The Spirit of the Disciplines

Dallas Willard provides the theological underpinning of the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ of the spiritual disciplines. I find his comments regarding the disciplines in the preface and the first two chapters invaluable. There he outlines the role and benefits of the disciplines.

Through the rest of the book, in greater detail, he unpacks the function of the disciplines in terms of our life, salvation, redemption and body. He finishes the book by giving an overview of the history of the disciplines and walking us
through a number of the main spiritual disciplines. The book is both informative and practical.


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Hope for the Flowers

At first glance, this book appears to be a children’s book. Its cover is bright yellow with a big butterfly on it, containing pages of hand-drawn caterpillars, branches and cocoons. Closely akin to a storybook, it is full of many pictures and few words, all of which offer us an invitation to newness of life…a plea to leave the madness of the rat race and become the one-of-a-kind creation God has created and is calling us to be.

This is a book of hope. Its simple, yet profound story reveals how a wrong focus and misplaced desires can lure us away from the life God has for us. It reminds us of the abundant life Jesus died to provide for us – the very life we truly yearn for.


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When the Heart Waits

In this book the author shares the questions and process that lead her into a deeper and more intimate relationship with God. It begins with naming some realities in her Christian life which do not match up to the life Jesus offers and moves from there to an internal exploration through which she discovers herself, God and freedom in Christ. Though each of our stories is unique there is much to glean from Sue Monk Kidd's journey that will help us on our journey and alleviate some of the fears and anxious thoughts we will encounter as we proceed down the road to holistic spiritual development and Christ likeness.


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