There are a lot of great resources out there, many of which I probably don’t even know about. But of the ones I have encountered, here are just a few of my favorites. (Please comment below with some of your favorites!)
Your local church
If you don’t already belong to a church, it’s time to start. Right now. If you feel strongly about a certain denomination, then find your denomination and go. If not, pick a variety of churches and attend each one at least twice. If you can’t attend a regular service, attend a Bible study. Look for a church that believes the basic gospel message: that sin separates us from a holy God, but that faith in Jesus Christ allows us to reconnect to God. Just as importantly, find a church who is trying to live as though they believe what they are preaching. No church is perfect. What is important is that you find a church that will help develop, challenge, and grow your faith. Once you have surveyed the landscape, pick one and commit to it.
There was a time I didn’t think it was necessary to be connected to a local church. I was a fool. It can be intimidating to walk through the door of a church you’ve never been to – especially if you aren’t sure what to expect. But there is no better way to grow in your faith than in the company of others who are striving towards the same goal. Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Whatever your reservations, go anyway.
The Bible. There is no substitute for reading the Bible. With a variety of translations and audio resources available, there is also no excuse. There is even a searchable website www.biblegateway.com where you can read and/or hear a variety of translations for free.
Reading or listening to what other Christians say about God is good. But it is also a bit like talking to someone about a mutual friend when you have an unopened letter from that friend sitting right in front of you. The Bible is God’s letter to you. Don’t just take other people’s word for what God wants you to know. Read it yourself.
If you have never read the Bible, you may wish to start with one of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. The Gospels tell the story of Jesus Christ. The rest of the New Testament talks about the early church and the theological foundations upon which it is based. The Old Testament traces the history that lead to Jesus’ birth – from the creation of the world to the foundation and history of Israel. All of it is important. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Whether you are a non-believer wanting to learn more, or a Christian who has never read the Bible in its entirety, start right now. And don’t stop.
The Story Bible, by Pearl S. Buck. This book is NOT a substitute for reading the Bible, but it tells the main actions of the Bible in storybook form. The stories are engaging to read, and I love that I can quickly sweep through major themes of the Bible to get the “big picture” activities and timeline.
Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis. I don’t know why it took me so many years to read this book! I guess I thought it was going to be much drier than it is. Originally broadcast as radio segments in the early 1940’s, C. S. Lewis outlines his perception of the basic tenets of Christianity. For many, Mere Christianity has become a foundational work on Christian theology.
Case for Faith; Case for Christ; Case for Easter, etc. all by Lee Strobel. In these works, atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel uses his journalism background to hunt down and talk with some of the leading Christian historians, researchers, and theologians. The result is a series of books offering an interesting collection of insights into the Christian faith.
The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. Divided into 40 chapters intended to be read daily, Rick Warren covers 6 key purposes for the Christian life. It is written in plain language and filled with different translations of Bible verses. I have read this book multiple times, and every time I come away with a new insight.
Moody Radio. A ministry of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Moody Radio has stations around the country featuring sermons, news shows, and Christian music. Visit their website to see if there is a station near you, or to listen online. You can also link to affiliated ministries who are often syndicated on other radio stations. By visiting the website of a particular program, you can see if it is broadcast in your area, listen online, or download available podcasts.
Here are two of my all-time favorite songs. I’d post them here for you to listen to, but I think that is illegal. So you’ll have to download them yourself…
Go Light Your World. Written by Chris Rice. Two different version performed by Chris Rice or Kathy Troccoli. Christian.
If You’re Going through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows). Written by Sam Tate, Annie Tate, Dave Berg; performed by Rodney Atkins. Country.
- www.biblegateway.com. Read or listen to the Bible; search for passages.
- www.moodyradio.org. Moody radio. Find a station near you, or link to websites of various programs and affiliated ministries to access resources, podcasts, streaming audio/video and more.
- http://801seminaryplace.wordpress.com. My friend Rachel’s blog on moving a family of 6 to seminary. A true-life adventure story of faith.