Recommended Books

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity .jpg

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

See Utmost.org for the free online copy of My Utmost for His Highest



"The Story" is a Church-wide, all ages, experience. "The Story" facilitates  deeper relationships with God.  It was originally published to encourage the reading of the Bible and to help people meet God in the Bible. The Story" is an abridged chronological Bible.  Abridged means it does not contain all the books of the Bible, but it does include the essential texts of the Bible that enables the reader to read the Bible like a seamless story.

For those who are new to the Bible, this way of reading scripture reduces the confusion factor that one can experience when reading a full-length unabridged Bible, and it gives the reader a holistic and sequential picture of the storyline of Scripture. For seasoned Bible readers, the chronological arrangement of the essential texts reveals the way the whole Bible fits together in a single grand narrative. Reading through "The Story" stirs reader interest and guides readers back to the original Bible texts for further exploration. 

The Bible (and "The Story") contain an Upper Story and a Lower Story.   The Upper Story tells the big picture; the grand narrative of God unfolding throughout history. The Lower Story contains the sometimes delightful and at other times dreadful particulars of human experience. Without the lens of the Upper Story, the Lower Story seems out of focus and perplexing. As we make our way through "The Story", we will be mindful of both the easily seen events, and the not so obvious yet truly eternal realities.

In the opening chapters of Genesis, the Upper Story and the Lower Story are virtually one. God, who is love, creates the universe, and places humanity at the crown of all he brings into existence. Man and woman, as individuals and also in their union, reflect God’s image. People are both the objects of God’s love and lovers in return. But when the first man and woman choose to reject being with God (in favor of the promise to be like God) the Upper Story transitions to God’s relentless pursuit and restoration of what was lost. The Upper Story never changes even to the last chapter in the Bible. The details in the Lower Story describe the many ways people resist God and wreak havoc with themselves and each other. In trying to be God, people ruin what God has made, and pass that curse to their offspring. In one dramatic episode, God decides to start over by destroying all life through a flood except for eight people (Noah and his family). In the Lower Story, those few given that second chance fail miserably to build the new world God envisioned, and evil continues to hold sway. But in the Upper Story, God makes the promise that he will not flood the earth again, thus teaching every generation that He is intent on redeeming what’s broken, not destroying it.  

Familiarity with the Upper Story empowers us to focus more and more on the Upper Story, and live in that realm as opposed to living in the realm of the Lower Story. 
 

Freedom Fellowship journeyed through "The Story" in 2013


Introducing the life you’d gladly stand in line for

You don’t stand in line at Starbucks® just to buy a cup of coffee. You stop for the experience surrounding the cup of coffee. Too many of us line up for God out of duty or guilt. We completely miss the warmth and richness of the experience of living with God. If we’d learn to see what God is doing on earth, we could participate fully in the irresistible life that he offers.
You can learn to pay attention like never before, to identify where God is already in business right in your neighborhood. The doors are open and the coffee is brewing. God is serving the refreshing antidote to the unsatisfying, arms-length spiritual life–and he won’t even make you stand in line.
Let Leonard Sweet show you how the passion that Starbucks® has for creating an irresistible experience can connect you with God’s stirring introduction to the experience of faith.


Learning What Your Father Could Never Teach You


Static: Tune out the "Christian noise" and experience the real message of Jesus.
 


UnChristian by David Kinnaman

Christianity has an image problem. Find out why these negative perceptions exist, learn how to reverse them in a Christlike manner, and discover practical examples of how Christians can positively contribute to culture.


Every church is driven by something. Tradition, finances, programs, personalities, events, seekers, and even buildings can each be the controlling force in a church. But Rick Warren believes that in order for a church to be healthy it must become a purpose-driven church by Jesus. Now the founding pastor of Saddleback Church shares a proven five-part strategy that will enable your church to grow...Warmer through fellowship - Deeper through discipleship - Stronger through worship - Broader through ministry - Larger through evangelism. Discover the same practical insights and principles for growing a healthy church that Rick has taught in seminars to over 22,000 pastors and church leaders from sixty denominations and forty-two countries. The Purpose-Driven Church shifts the focus away from church building programs to emphasizing a people-building process. Warren says, "If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church."


What on earth am I here for?