Evensong to celebrate the ministry of The Right Reverend Neil Gedney Lebhar on August 26, 2022 at 5:00 pm. Read More.

Bishop-Elect Farmer will be consecrated at St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral on August 27, 2022 at 11:00 AM. Read More.

Diets and Nourishing Summer Reading

Dear brothers and sisters,

I don’t know about you, but I have almost given up on reading diet books. It is not that I don’t need to eat less and eat better. It is more that it almost feels hypocritical to investigate another diet when I have not followed the most recent one very faithfully.

I suspect the same is true for many of us when it comes to reading books about discipleship. Why read another one when we haven’t mastered the content of earlier ones?

But in the cases of both diet and discipleship books, I can fail to realize that by God’s grace I have learned through them some things that actually helped me to change. In terms of diet, I don’t eat as much sugar as I used to, I am more content with fruit and vegetables, and I avoid unnecessary carbs and fats more often.

Similarly, I have learned lessons in discipleship that did indeed help me grow in following Jesus. I may not be miles ahead of where I started, but I have made it some yards farther.

Having said all this, let me share two short books for your summer reading, books that have been life-changing for me. I have recommended them before but would like to promote them again as I head into retirement. If you have already read them, perhaps it is time to read them again. (I might add that I have lost count of the number of times I have read J.I. Packer’s Knowing God and C.S Lewis’ Mere Christianity, both highly recommended for reading or re-reading.)

The first book describes what day-to-day discipleship can be like. It is entitled The 10-Second Rule: Following Jesus Made Simple, by Clare De Graaf. The title points to the simple practice of acting immediately on promptings by the Holy Spirit before we have excused ourselves from obeying. But the book also makes clear both the joys and the costs of following Jesus.

Secondly, I strongly recommend Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People by Michael Frost. We all know that our nation is becoming more and more a mission field. But that leads to the natural question, how are we as ordinary Christians meant to live as lights in an increasingly dark society? There is no reason to feel swamped by the secularism we encounter. Instead, we can be change agents serving Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Again, like De Graaf, Frost describes ways to make a difference that are really possible to live out.

Both books are available in paperback, e-book, or audible formats. 

May the Lord Jesus feed your hearts and minds as you add them to your soul’s diet this summer!

In Jesus the Messiah,

+Neil

The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar
Bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese