9 Summer Reads for Spiritual Growth and Renewal


9 Summer Reads for Spiritual Growth and Renewal

By June 10, 2022June 9th, 2023No Comments

As the weather warms up, the days stretch out, and a palpable sense of relaxation fills the air—the summer reading season has arrived.

Yet, for some of us, with kids out of school, vacations, social gatherings, and a whirlwind of birthdays, summertime can be a bit overwhelming.

Within this guide, you’ll discover a mix of short daily devotionals and deeper reflections, all designed to help you draw closer to Jesus.

Whether you’re preparing for a much-needed getaway or simply seeking space and time for yourself—here are our recommendations for summer reading:

Short Devotionals:

The Mission-Centered Life

By Bethany Ferguson

A group of powerful reflections from the front lines of mission and ministry. Bethany’s experiences may be rooted in Africa, but the principles she shares apply to anyone, wherever we are. 

Whether you are contemplating a mission calling or simply desiring to experience the profound grace of God, this study unveils the powerful truth that when we step outside our comfort zones, God not only meets us but also works in the broken world around us and within our own hearts.

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1 Peter: Life as an Outsider

By Robert H. Thune

This new release from Serge’s Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible Series, is a compelling exploration of 1 Peter, a letter written by Peter to early Christians facing discrimination in the Roman Empire. In an increasingly post-Christian world marked by division, this study is a timely resource. 

With short articles and practical reflection questions, this study will help you learn to cultivate deep joy in the face of discouragement and hold firm to biblical truth, while extending love to those around you.

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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.

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Saving Grace

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.

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Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life

By Barbara Miller Juliani, MA, and Patric Knaak, MA

This bible study 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.

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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.

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Longer Devotionals:

Running on Empty: The Gospel for Women in Ministry

By Barbara Bancroft

Ideal for small group discussion or personal reflection, Running on Empty is a study for women in ministry who feel weary in their journey. Author Barbara Bancroft deeply understands the challenges that ministry can bring—moments of insufficiency, exposure of weaknesses, and tests of patience. 

Drawing from her personal experiences as a Christian, missionary woman, and pastor’s wife, Barbara invites us to step into the overflowing pool of Jesus’s love, find encouragement, and experience the freedom He intends for us as we faithfully serve Him.

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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 with an honest glimpse of what a missionary doctor goes through while serving in one of the most medically neglected countries in the world.

It includes questions for personal reflection that will personally challenge you to look at the world through a different lens. And encourage you about the reality of God’s Kingdom that is coming and will come.

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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.  

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Upcoming Releases – August 2023

Coming soon to the Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible Series


As an international missions agency, we understand the challenges of staying grounded in the gospel. That’s why our dedicated Renewal team develops gospel-centered resources – devotionals, small group studies, podcasts and more to help you apply the gospel to every area of your life. 

Learn more about our Renewal work or explore all of our books and studies>>

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Serge is an international missions organization with more than 300 missionaries in 26 countries. We send and care for missionaries, mentor and train ministry leaders, and develop resources for continuous gospel renewal.