Because of Bethlehem: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here
By Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
The race begins as decorations saturate stores, ads cram mailboxes, and special offers appear on every screen. For some, the path to Christmas winds through over-work and over-scheduling. For others, the route meanders through joyous love and eternal hope. Preacher-author Max Lucado chooses the later in Because of Bethlehem: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here.
In the volume, 12 chapters take the reader on a trip through the “becauses of Bethlehem” that change lives. Because of Bethlehem “God Has a Face,” “Humility Shines,” “Worship Works Wonders” and there’s “Hope for the Hole-idays.” Lucado’s words, stories and illustrations aren’t all sleigh bells, sugarplums and Christmas carols. They include accounts of devastation, loss and missed opportunity like the innkeeper who shut his door to Mary and Joseph.
The book closes with a four-week Advent devotional guide and special thoughts for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. A Because of Bethlehem Christmas Coloring Book illustrated by Lizzie Preston and Claire McElfatrickcan be purchased separately. Each beautiful two-page spread features a quote from the book. Some of the coloring pages are simple, others challenging. All are fraught with meaning.
For those who have time or resources for just one new Christmas book, consider the refreshingly inspiring Because of Bethlehem. Because of Bethlehem, love is born, hope is here and promise endures.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Hearts, Heads and Hands: A Manual for Teaching Others to Teach Others
By M. David Sills (Broadman/Holman)
David Sills, missions professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and founding president of Reaching and Teaching International Ministries, has written an exhaustive 842-page book designed to help pastors and leaders teach other pastors and leaders.
With content divided into nine modules, Sills covers the duties of the pastor, much of it in a “how-to” format, along with church history, missions and many other biblical issues and teachings. For each subject, he provides the spiritual foundation (“hearts”), biblical foundation (“heads”) and methodological foundation (“hands”).
Sills structures the book so it can be used to disciple others. The nine modules are presented in comprehensive outline form, making it easy to teach. Any pastor or leader serious about training and discipling others will find this book helpful.
Skip Holman, minister of discipleship
Northeast Baptist Church