As my family and I prepare to go on vacation beginning this Sunday afternoon my biggest decision is what books to bring with me. I've made the mistake in the past of bringing too many. And I've also made the mistake in the past of bringing too few. So, last year I decided to bring two. It worked well. I read and deeply digested both.
I've actually been thinking for a couple of weeks about what I should read. I'm not a big fiction guy. I do like biographies, but I don't think I'll bring one with me this year. So, although I reserve the right to change my mind before Sunday, I think I've decided to bring Mike Emlet's book Crosstalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet and Andrew Purves' book The Crucifixion of Ministry. I decided to take Purves' book with me after I read this small, powerful exhortation from the introduction yesterday morning:
To ministers, let me say this as strongly as I can: preach Christ, preach Christ, preach Christ. Get out of your offices and get into your studies. Quit playing office manager and program director, quit staffing committee's, and even right now recommit yourselves to what you were ordained to do, namely the ministry of Word and sacraments. Pick up good theology books again: hard books, classical texts, great theologians. Claim the energy and time to study for days and days at a time. Disappear for long hours because you are reading Athanasius on the person of Jesus Christ or Wesley on sanctification or Augustine on the Trinity of Calvin on the Christian life or Andrew Murray on the priesthood of Christ. Then you will have something to say that's worth hearing.
I hope and pray that God will reorient, recapture, and refresh me while I'm away so that I will come back ready to do the great, hard work He's so graciously called me to do.