Are you looking for the best Christian books to read this summer?
Here are my 5-star Christian book recommendations. Since my bookshelf is overflowing, I only keep books I can’t bear to let go of. These are them.
I bought an extra copy of Emily P. Freeman’s, The Next Right Thing, so I could give one away. Enter to win here or at the bottom of this post.
by Emily P. Freeman
Emily P. Freeman is one of the co-founders for a writing group I’m in called Hope*Writers. I enjoy her personable teaching style and I love her podcast, The Next Right Thing.
Emily’s book reflects her mission to help others create space for their soul to breathe.
I get anxious when I don’t know what to do. I fret between two equally good choices or when there is no clear right or wrong decision. This book offers practical ways to ease the pressure in decision-making in order to discern what your next right thing is.
“We make better decisions by making decisions, not be thinking about making decisions.”
We can lighten the weight of decision-making by learning to think about what we really want and what we are basing our decisions on.
“Fear works both ways, keeping you from doing things you might want to do and convincing you that you have to do things you don’t want to do.”
Decisions aren’t always black and white.
Sometimes it takes time to gain clarity. Clarity often comes as we move forward in slow measured steps and listen to the still small voice of the Lord leading us.
“Here’s the truth: you can only make decisions based on what you know at the time.”
I also loved the chapter titled, Don’t Give Your Critic Words. Since I struggle with people-pleasing this chapter helped me discern what kind of critic to ignore. Then when he/she says words, we have to decide what to believe.
“The voice of the critic forces us to face our biggest fears and, in turn, listen hard for the voice of God. I can worry or I can work. I can get stuck or I can move on. I can get defensive or I can be free.”
This is a beautiful hard-bound book with lots of white space, clean colors, and fresh looking font. Each chapter ends with a prayer and a practice to help you gain peace about the decisions you’ve already made and give you direction for the decisions you’re unsure about.
I received a free copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
by Kim-Walker Smith
Brave Surrender by Kim-Walker Smith tells the personal journey that led her to sing her passionate performance of “How He Loves” with her band Jesus Culture.
God used this song in my own life to reveal his steadfast love for me. It became a turning point in my life—the day I decided to stop living in fear. I was excited to read the backstory of this song that has impacted my own life as well as so many others.
Kim-Walker Smith’s writes about her walk with God with honesty and vulnerability. I tend to think that those in leadership positions at church don’t struggle in their faith. This memoir brought my false assumptions to light and gave me compassion for the struggles in life we all face—pastors, worship leaders, and speakers alike. We are all on our own journey of faith, learning about who God is to us and who we are to Him.
After Kim-Walker-Smith’s worship song went viral on You-Tube, she felt exposed and wished she could keep it to herself.
“I felt like I had recorded myself reading my diary and then blasted it out for the whole world to hear.”
The live recording was evidence of the Holy Spirit working in her own life, as she was able to freely worship without feeling inhibited or afraid of what others thought.
When she began to see how the song was working in people’s lives, she decided to write her whole story of how God’s love changed her.
Kim Walker-Smith shares the ups and downs of her Christian walk. She was abused by two of her step-fathers and shares how she wrestled with believing in God’s goodness. After her first encounter with feeling God’s love for her, she still struggled to accept herself and have confidence in who she was.
She shares the pain and hurt she experienced from church ministry and her journey towards healing.
This book was a heartfelt look into the Christian walk and how we often need to surrender over and over again.
I received a free copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers.
By Lisa-Jo Baker
I’m on the launch team for Lisa-Jo’s latest book, The Middle Matters. I enjoy her IG stories and love Lisa-Jo’s funny and relatable personality.
“The middle is the place where our lives really live. This is the place where we have grown into the shapes of our souls even as we might have outgrown the shapes of our jeans.”
I’m smack dab in the middle stage with four busy kids ages eight to fifteen. The gas tank needs refueling as often as my energy level.
Time rushes by so fast and the years blur together. I want to savor the “very center of my story.”
And if you do too, then you will enjoy this book.
Lisa-Jo refers to the chapters as essays because they can all be read as separate reflections on midlife. There are 8 parts and I loved them all:
1. Why the Middle of Your Muffin Top Matters
2. Why the Middle of Your Marriage Matters
3. Why the Middle of Your Parenting Matters
4. Why the Middle of You Living Room Matters
5. Why the Middle of Your Failures Matter
6. Why the Middle of All Those Sports Practices Matters
7. Why the Middle of Your Friendship Matters
8. Why the Middle of Your Faith Matters
I loved the essay, My Favorite Muffin Top Photo, where she shares about having her picture taken with her daughter and gets so lost in the moment she didn’t notice her “generous muffin top” bulging over her jeans.
“I look at her and forget to worry about me, my hair, my pose, my outfit, my body image. All I see is her and she is the whole world, and, dear Jesus, please help me keep focusing less on me and more on her and let that spill over into other parts of my life too.”
I also loved the chapter, What You Don’t Know About Parenting, which gave words to the pain we feel when our kids struggle with failure and rejection.
In Why the Middle of Your Friendship Matters, she shares how she was terrified to speak at a conference with two of her favorite mentors and how they ministered to her.
“We live in a world where the enemy wants to trick us women into building walls between one another. Walls of comparison and insecurity and jealousy. But we are mentored by a God who builds walls of protection around His friends.”
Every essay felt like it spoke right into the middle of my life.
I loved how Lisa-Jo’s cheerful and funny personality fills her words making them enjoyable to read.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for being on the launch team. This book releases on July 10th. You can preorder a book here.
By Alia Joy
In Glorious Weakness, Alia Joy’s poetic words reached into my heart with their courage and vulnerability. God has gifted her with an incredible ability to write! I’m a fan!
So often we think the Christian life is one of outcomes, where we are rewarded for being faithful, and #blessed means life is good. But #blessed means we are blessed with the gift of God’s presence with us and his power working through our weakness when the struggles don’t end.
This book is for those who are weak. Those who struggle. I say, this book is for all of us.
If you struggle with depression or mental illness, this book will give you hope to know you’re not alone.
Weakness does not disqualify you.
“How can we love the gospel and believe in its power if we honestly think anything we do or don’t do—whether goodness or sin—determines the kind of grace that reconciles us to God? Only Jesus, only Jesus’s blood and death and resurrection will ever amount to any accounting for my everlasting soul. It’s the most preposterous kind of grace, the kind we can’t earn or negate.”
By David Rawlings
The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings is an engaging parable about the burdens that weigh us down.
What a fun summer read!
I was drawn into this story by Rawlings ability to describe scenes as if I was right there watching them unfold. I loved the real-life lessons learned from each relatable character.
Will you let the Baggage Handler take care of your baggage?
“It’s perhaps best if you just think of me as the Baggage Handler. I help people with their baggage—those who want to be helped, anyway!” A sadness filled his eyes. “Not everyone wants to be helped.”
Here’s the back cover copy of this book:
When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever.
A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.
A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding.
And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive.
When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.