Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go by Adam Hamilton (Abingdon)
Failure to forgive or seek forgiveness weighs a person down, according to Adam Hamilton, pastor of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan. Every missed opportunity to say “I am sorry” or “I forgive you” is like a stone added to a backpack. Minor offenses may just be pebbles. Major transgressions—such as intentional acts of cruelty or infidelity may be like rocks the size of bread loafs. But every one adds to the burden of guilt. Each one weighs a person down and threatens to break one’s spirit.
Hamilton views forgiveness as essential. Considering human nature and the tendency to take offense and be offensive, relationships cannot survive without forgiveness. Most important, God’s forgiveness of our sins makes possible relationship with him.
Hamilton offers a potent reminder about the power of forgiveness. The imago Dei—the image of God—in humanity is evident most clearly when we forgive, because that is when we most clearly reflect the character of God. He writes: “It is sin that often leads us to say and do things for which we need forgiveness. And it is sin that sometimes keeps us from seeking or extending forgiveness. But when we do ask for or extend forgiveness, we live into the imago Dei.” God forgives us. When his children show forgiveness, it enables others to see the family resemblance.
Ken Camp, managing editor
It Only Hurts on Monday: Why Pastors Quit and What You Can Do About It by Gary L. McIntosh & Robert L. Edmondson (Church Smart Resources)
This tremendous guide will help pastors and congregations alike understand some of the reasons pastors are leaving the ministry and how it can be prevented. The authors cover key problems including tight finances, unrealistic expectations, burnout, spiritual warfare and loneliness. They also discuss pressures affecting the pastor and his family, such as never being off-duty and being in crisis mode for long periods of time. The authors share case studies that help the reader process and understand how each of the situations can lead a pastor not only to leave a particular congregation, but also leave the ministry altogether.
I would recommend this book to pastors, churches, denominational leaders and anyone else who has worked in a ministry capacity. A section at the end of each chapter provides a self-assessment tool for the pastor. The congregation also is shown how to provide support and encouragement, so the issues and problems can become a win/win situation for both.
Second Baptist Church of Houston South Campus
How to Win in Life in a Greater Way: Principles That Will Change the Way You Look at Success by Ronald Cooper (Gazelle Press)
Please don’t read the subtitle of this book and think it is a resource on the “prosperity gospel.” It is far from that.
Ronald Cooper, an author and ordained minister from Albuquerque, N.M., divides his work into four sections—“Believing is Seeing,” “As a Man Thinketh,” “A Two-Edged Sword” and “More than Conquerors.”
The book begins by reminding readers each individual is unconditionally valuable, of great worth and possessing eternal significance.
Cooper encourages every Christian to have a transformed mind. Using 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, he reminds readers to take every thought captive. He urges Christians to recalibrate their thoughts, perceptions, feelings and behavior.
Cooper uses stories from individuals—many of them Christians—who illustrate the point he is making. For example, he cites the story of Tony Dungy, who won Super Bowls as a player and a head coach.
He closes by encouraging the reader to have positive expectations by putting God first. He rhetorically asks the reader, when these principles mentioned in the book are put into place, “What will your story be?” This book is extremely encouraging.
Skip Holman, minister of discipleship
Northeast Baptist Church