Devotional: 13th Annual Outreach Resources of the Year

Resource of the Year: Devotional

Jesus, Continued … Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You
By J.D. Greear (Zondervan)

Books on the Holy Spirit can easily lose their balance and be pushy for logical or emotional extremes, or so doctrinal they lack daily application. Not this one.

The “anointed by the Spirit” subject is a good example—I have heard that designation after a great saxophone solo, a moving sermon and a tongues speaker! Greear instead shows the Spirit’s anointed presence is for all of us, and every day.

Even the major “experiencing the Spirit” division of the book, including the gift of prophecy and the way the Spirit leads us, is written with pastoral cautions and explanations I think the apostle Paul would like.

Greear starts with concerns about “the missing Spirit,” then defines our “experiencing His work,” especially through the Bible, our church and daily events. The third division gets very practical about seeking God’s strength through his Spirit.

Good for me and I would give it to a new believer also.

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Also Recommended:

Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human
By John Mark Comer (Zondervan)

Work and rest are elevated, weeds are explained, and “TGIF” is canceled in this masterful “priesthood of all believers” call, with many ties to creation and eternity–how it was meant to be and how it will be. Gorgeous in layout and style.

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#Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World
By Craig Groeschel (Zondervan)

If people can let go of their smart phones long enough to read this, they will be challenged in a superb way to guard their hearts and use their devices to do good. Straight talk on contentment, intimacy, boundaries, and use.

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Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down
By Tony Merida (B&H)

Marida’s passionate hopes about “the voiceless, powerless, and vulnerable” are not “ordinary” enough–-to love with action and show mercy to the abused and so-called “losers” (not his word). Strong biblical and historical examples.

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Think, Act, Be Like Jesus: Becoming a New Person in Christ
By Randy Frazee with Robert Noland (Zondervan)

Not a fill-in-the-blank study, this is warm pastoral coaching about evangelical essentials, fruits of the spirit, and real change—good for new believers of all ages and anyone looking in the mirror. Easy to read, it avoids controversial areas.

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EVALUATED BY KNUTE LARSON, a contributing editor for Outreach and a pastoral coach and teacher. He is Pastor Emeritus of The Chapel, Akron, Ohio, where he pastored for 26 years; a consultant for Great Lakes E Free Churches; a teacher for Moody and Trinity’s D.Min track for larger churches; and editor of Pastorpedia, a monthly emailing for pastors.

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