The Book of Virtues Compiled by William J. Bennett
From Allen Walworth:
This book is a collection of classic excerpts and writings about each of the primary virtues, a must-read anthology that illustrates and inspires each one.
Prayer by Richard Foster
From Pastor June Barrow:
This book is a thorough study of all the ways we pray. I read it 30 years ago and have re-read many parts since. We all want to pray for people, and this book invited me and helped me.
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
From Pastor June Barrow: Trusting God is a core virtue, requiring that we honor God’s authority, believe in the goodness of God’s character, and commit ourselves to follow and obey God as Lord. When you read Jerry Bridges, you are learning from someone who was a true disciple.
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
From Pastor Steve Clark:
It might seem strange to recommend a book on sin for a study on virtue. Still, it’s quite effective because Jerry Bridges helps us understand how the “little” sins we don’t consider a big deal—things like envy, pride, irritability, and more—create significant obstacles to a virtuous life. This book is insightful, convicting, and exceedingly practical in helping us grow as followers of Jesus.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
From Pastor Steve Clark:
In this book, Pete Scazzero challenges some of the common assumptions we can have about living a good Christian life. He argues that well-meaning Christians can tend to do things for God without being with God. As a result, we become busy, productive, accomplished, and involved in church—but not necessarily kind, gentle, loving, or humble. In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Scazzero invites the reader to take a reflective dive into their soul, to remember the grace and love of Jesus, and to let him shape us to be more like him as a holistic and healthy person. This book has benefited me regarding leadership, ministry, and my relationship with God.
Absolute Surrender: How to Walk in Perfect Peace by Andrew Murray
From Pastor Steven Grant:
To give virtue a chance to take root in our hearts and minds, we must prepare the soil of our souls. The only way to provide a permanent home for virtue is if Jesus has our heart, mind, and soul firmly in his grasp. One of the best books on this topic is Absolute Surrender: How to Walk in Perfect Peace by Andrew Murray. It inspires us to repent from a life of self-serving and self-interest and build a life of absolute surrender to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This little book can change your life.
After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright
From Pastor Brad Rogers:
N.T. Wright’s After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, the third in the series including Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope, explores the life of Christian virtue. Wright pleads, “We urgently need to recapture the New Testament’s vision of a genuinely ‘good’ human life as a life of character formed by God’s promised future, as a life with that future shaped character lived within the ongoing story of God’s people, and, with that, a freshly worked notion of virtue.” (p. 57) Wright stresses that living a virtuous life goes beyond merely “following the rules” or “following one’s heart,” but rather argues that true virtue involves a lifelong, disciplined journey toward becoming more like Jesus. Employing vivid analogies, such as the miraculous landing of Flight 1549 (see introduction to this issue), the cultivation of ‘moral muscles,’ acquiring a second language in anticipation of the day one might live in the place where that language is spoken, and mastering a musical instrument, he reinforces his point in memorable ways. The book culminates with an emphasis on the indispensability of Scripture, engagement in Christian community, and the practice of spiritual disciplines.