From the library of Pastor Mark:

Suggestions for a good read. Grab some hot cocoa, put your feet up by the fire and dive in! Happy Reading! And if you find a great read you would like to share with Pastor Mark, or have questions, or just want to chat about a good book, contact Pastor Mark here.


Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

Who better to face the greatest evil of the 20th-century than a humble man of faith?

As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and author. In his blockbuster New York Times bestselling biography, Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer’s life—the theologian and the spy—and draws them together to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer’s heart-wrenching decision to leave the safe haven of America to return to Hitler’s Germany, and sheds new light on Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in “Operation 7,” the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland. In a deeply moving narrative, Metaxas uses previously unavailable documents?including personal letters, detailed journal entries, and firsthand personal accounts?to reveal dimensions of Bonhoeffer’s life and theology never before seen.


Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas

Amazing Grace tells the story of the remarkable life of the British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759-1833). This accessible biography chronicles Wilberforce’s extraordinary role as a human rights activist, cultural reformer, and member of Parliament. 

At the center of this heroic life was a passionate twenty-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, a battle Wilberforce won in 1807, as well as efforts to abolish slavery itself in the British colonies, a victory achieved just three days before his death in 1833. 

Metaxas discovers in this unsung hero a man of whom it can truly be said: he changed the world. Before Wilberforce, few thought slavery was wrong. After Wilberforce, most societies in the world came to see it as a great moral wrong. 

To mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade, HarperSanFrancisco and Bristol Bay Productions have joined together to commemorate the life of William Wilberforce with the feature-length film Amazing Grace and this companion biography, which provides a fuller account of the amazing life of this great man than can be captured on film. 

This account of Wilberforce’s life will help many become acquainted with an exceptional man who was a hero to Abraham Lincoln and an inspiration to the anti-slavery movement in America.


Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for ChristianityChristian Behavior, and Beyond PersonalityMere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.


Live Wide Awake by Laura Degroot

Would you say you know God or know about God?

How well do you know yourself? And, who are the guides that speak truth into your life?

Do you believe knowing God and knowing yourself influences the way you live your life and love others?

     In this curiosity-generating, interactive approach to engaging with the Word of God Laura will take you on a powerful exploration of knowing and loving who you really are, knowing God personally and being able to speak and act from a life that is leaning into healing and wholeness. 

Drawing from a life of being strong willed, acquainted with grief, full of ideas, falling a lot and getting back up, Laura’s relatable storytelling helps you embrace your story.  Having been mentored, taught, challenged, and led by influential people, experiences and environments, Laura offers creative ways to engage with God’s story.

The variety of pay-attention practices show the reader how to engage with scripture, loving who we are through the lens of the Good News and knowing God through a close relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. 

This spiritual formation guide will help the reader:

  •     Learn to pay attention to what’s going on around them and inside them.
  •     Learn to ask questions of themselves, of others, and of the Living Word.
  •     Learn to hear, dig, wonder, accept, let go, stand up, speak up, live wide awake.

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

Now a New York Times Bestseller!

As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.

Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.


Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff

New York Times Bestseller!

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it?

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Alwaysreveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same.


Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times by Os Guinness

We live in dark times. Christians wonder: Are the best days of the Christian faith behind us? Has modernity made Christian thought irrelevant and impotent? Is society beyond all hope of redemption and renewal? In Renaissance, Os Guinness declares no. Throughout history, the Christian faith has transformed entire cultures and civilizations, building cathedrals and universities, proclaiming God’s goodness, beauty and truth through art and literature, science and medicine. The Christian faith may similarly change the world again today. The church can be revived to become a renewing power in our society―if we answer the call to a new Christian renaissance that challenges darkness with the hope of Christian faith. In this hopeful appeal for cultural transformation, Guinness shares opportunities for Christians, on both local and global levels, to win back the West and to contribute constructively to the human future. Hearkening back to similar pivotal points in history, Guinness encourages Christians in the quest for societal change. Each chapter closes with thought-provoking discussion questions and a brief, heart-felt prayer that challenges and motivates us to take action in our lives today.


The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon

Once upon a time, people knew their neighbors. They talked to them, had cook-outs with them, and went to church with them. In our time of unprecedented mobility and increasing isolationism, it’s hard to make lasting connections with those who live right outside our front door. We have hundreds of “friends” through online social networking, but we often don’t even know the full name of the person who lives right next door.


The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversation by Mary Schaller and John Crilly

Love God, love people. Could evangelism really be that simple?
Often, it doesn’t seem so. It can feel scary, awkward, and uncomfortable as we try to navigate loaded questions and different perspectives. Even the most faithful of believers sometimes get stumped. But can you imagine if we, as Christians, simply spent time with people who are far from God and provided a safe place to talk about spiritual matters? If we listened to them and discovered what was really important to them? After all . . . it’s what Jesus did. And it’s what you can do too.

Drawing straight from the life and ministry of Jesus, The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations offers simple practices to help you build relationships with people who believe differently. Anyone who has read and appreciated Becoming a Contagious Christian or Just Walk across the Room won’t want to miss this book on creating a safe space to have natural, loving, and spiritual conversations with others.

This unique and inspiring book asks the question: What is the most loving thing I can do for the people who live on my street or in my apartment building? Through compelling true stories of lives impacted, the authors show readers how to create genuine friendships with the people who live in closest proximity to them. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this book perfect for small groups or individual study.


Un Christian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity And Why It Matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

Christianity has an image problem. Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like “hypocritical,” “insensitive,” and “judgmental,” young Americans share an impression of Christians that’s nothing short of . . . unChristian.

Groundbreaking research into the perceptions of people aged 16-29 reveals that Christians have taken several giant steps backward in one of their most important assignments. The surprising details of the study, commissioned by the Fermi Project and conducted by The Barna Group, are presented with uncompromising honesty in unChristian. Find out why these negative perceptions exist, learn how to reverse them in a Christlike manner, and discover practical examples of how Christians can positively contribute to culture.

About the author: David Kinnaman is the author of the bestselling books Good Faith, You Lost Me and unChristian. He is president of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company that works with churches, nonprofits, and businesses ranging from film studios to financial services. Since 1995, David has directed interviews with nearly one million individuals and overseen hundreds of U.S. and global research studies. He and his wife live in California with their three children.