With Memorial Day behind us, the summer reading season is starting. The school year is coming to a close, and as our days get longer, warmer, and less structured, it seems like things might be starting to slow down for the first time in a long while. Finally.
But for some of us, between the kids out of school, vacations, social gatherings, birthdays, you name it… summertime can end up feeling physically and mentally exhausting!
Whether you’re packing for a much-needed vacation or just trying to find a little bit of space and time for yourself before chaos ensues – we hope you can find moments this summer to stay connected to Jesus.
We’ve put together a reading guide that includes both short daily devotionals as well as longer, more in-depth devotionals to help you find true rest and renewal and to continue to grow in your relationship with God.
Here are our 7 recommendations for summer reading:
Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life
By Barbara Miller Juliani, MA, and Patric Knaak, MA
This new release from Serge’s Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible Series, is a great way to immerse yourself (or your small group) in the world’s greatest prayer book, the Psalms. Full of wisdom and fresh hope for our up-and-down lives, authors Barbara Juliani and Patric Knaak will help you experience the Psalms with greater clarity and greater joy.
This study can be done as a short daily devotional – each section includes a short article to read, and opportunities for self-reflection and spirit-renewing prayer.
By C. John “Jack” Miller, PhD, founder of Serge
This very portable little book consists of excerpts from Jack Miller’s sermons. Through topics like forgiveness, relationships, temptation, prayer, joy, and perseverance—this daily devotional offers us a wonderful way of dunking ourselves into the pool of grace and coming up with quick, gentle, reminders of the truths of the gospel. While short enough to read in just a few minutes, it’s a great way to ‘preach the gospel to our own hearts’ every day.
1 John: Relying on the Love of God
By Scotty Smith
We talk about being ‘Christ-centered’ and yet all too often we default to moralistic patterns deeply embedded in our hearts and heads. This study on 1 John by Scotty Smith explores how we can better know and rely on the love of God and apply it to every nook and cranny of our lives.
This study is designed for groups but is great for individual study, too. While it provides a good overview of 1 John, it focuses on one truth from each section, which makes it ideal for those who are not looking for an in-depth bible study. Rather than being aimed at increasing theological knowledge, it’s more relational in style, making studying 1 John a joy to the reader.
Mini Books for Spiritual Growth
By C. John “Jack” Miller, PhD and other authors
These little booklets are quite short but still very substantive. Available in print and Kindle versions, they are ideal for people who might not want to take the time to read an entire book but are looking for practical and sound biblical guidance on the difficult issues we encounter on life’s journey. Each book addresses real-life issues, such as accepting God’s forgiveness, how to deal with rejection, and how God meets our needs in times of deep distress. Whether you are struggling with these areas or not, these are a great resource for anyone seeking to grow to be like Christ.
From Fear to Freedom
By Rose Marie Miller
This is the kind of book that is hard to put down once you start reading it. It’s a thought-provoking narrative of the author’s experience over her years as a wife and mother hoping to serve God well. Rose Marie is open and honest about her life struggles with self-righteousness and fear and about how the gospel changed her heart from the inside out. If you feel defeated in your faith, this book can help deepen your understanding of the heart of your Savior and release you into the liberating power of God’s love.
Promises in the Dark: Walking with Those in Need Without Losing Heart
By Dr. Eric McLaughlin
Dr. McLaughlin, a missionary doctor at a rural hospital in Burundi, East Africa, wears his heart on his sleeve in the best possible way in this engaging and thought-provoking book. He gives an honest glimpse of what a missionary doctor goes through while serving in one of the most medically neglected countries in the world, while sharing both stories of healing and death, of hope and despair.
The questions for personal reflection will personally challenge you to look at the world through a different lens. If you are a global health worker, or you support someone in medical missions – Eric’s perspective can encourage us that the good we see today is a glimpse of the reality of God’s Kingdom that is coming and will come.
Heart of a Servant Leader
By C. John “Jack” Miller, PhD
This book contains candid and honest letters from seasoned pastor/professor/mission agency founder, Jack Miller. They explore a variety of issues, including physical suffering, overcoming sin, learning to forgive, and spiritual warfare.
Jack’s message is always clear, humble and loving, and yet very convicting and powerful – challenging our self-protective patterns. This book is especially encouraging to ministry leaders, but also to any believer who longs to rediscover the impact of the Gospel of Grace.
As an international missions agency, we know how hard it can be to stay grounded in a biblical identity as sons and daughters of God.
That’s why our Renewal team develops gospel-centered resources – devotionals, small group studies, and more, to help ministry leaders and all believers apply the gospel to every area of their lives.