Five Books for Spiritual Renewal

March 7, 2024

Back in September, we began focusing on renewal as our theme for the program year. Six months later, we find ourselves in the season of Lent and preparing for Easter. This is also the time of year when we observe renewal and rebirth in nature. The snow starts to melt away and flower buds begin emerging out of the ground. As a season marked by new life and new beginnings, I think spring offers us a different kind of invitation to get back into a rhythm of spiritual practices such as prayer, silence, solitude, and Bible reading. There’s something powerful about how the Church calendar coalesces with the seasonal calendar. 

As I thought about this season, I wondered how many of you might be in search of renewal. The hustle and bustle of life can easily distract us from the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Perhaps you feel like you’re in a place of stagnancy and are wondering when your next season of spiritual growth will come. 

I thought I would recommend five books that have had a strong influence on my life and have helped me to experience this type of spiritual renewal. I hope these will be an encouraging resource to you as you walk through these final weeks of Lent!

(Click on any title you are interested in learning more about!)

1. A Different Way by Christopher Hall 

I was in college when I first encountered Christopher Hall and his series of books on the Church Fathers (see more here). In A Different Way, Hall provides a fresh perspective and practical insights on how to go deeper in your faith journey. He begins the book by identifying our distorted views of God and then points us toward practices – such as simplicity – that can help us become more aware of His work in our lives.

2. Holier Than Thou by Jackie Hill Perry 

Jackie Hill Perry contextualizes the holiness of God for the modern day. Often, our need for renewal comes from a disbelief in God’s sovereignty, or from desiring an idol more than God. Perry’s straightforward writing brings us to a greater appreciation of the awe, wonder, and transcendence of God. For us to have a fresh experience with God, we must see Him as He really is. 

3. Survival Guide for the Soul by Ken Shigematsu 

Ken Shigematsu shares candidly about his burnout with serving in the Church. This experience led him to deeper practices of connecting and communing with God. From its unique perspective, the book suggests different spiritual practices that can reorient our souls away from over-producing and over-focusing on success.  

4. Boundaries for Your Soul by Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller 

My wife Robyn recommended this book to me. Boundaries for Your Soul invites us to renew our souls by processing our emotions in a new way. The first challenge involves a self-examination of our internal world and feelings. Cook and Miller invite us to delve into the deepest thoughts of our souls so that we might open our lives to the Holy Spirit and experience freedom. The last section of the book talks through difficult emotions to help bring healing, and then encourages us to invite God into this healing journey.

5. Having the Mind of Christ by Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke 

Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke provide eight axioms “to cultivate a robust faith.” The one that meant the most to me was “God meets us in our messy reality.” This axiom encourages us to find renewal by naming the pain, grief, and other negative emotions in our lives. We must believe that God is there for us in our struggles and wants to walk with us through them. Ultimately, this book makes us aware of the ways that God works, even when we are not attuned to what He is doing.

BONUS – Seeing Jesus in John by David Hertweck 

Our keynote speaker for the upcoming Spiritual Formation Conference, David Hertweck, has written a 52-week devotional on the Gospel of John. This devotional has prompts for all ages to engage with. The word pictures of John embody the renewal we are looking for from Jesus.  

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I pray that you will embrace the beauty of this season and the opportunity it gives us to reflect. We look forward to walking alongside you through the remainder of this Easter month. Blessings! 

About The Author

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