Here to Help With Your Last Minute Christmas Shopping from a Pastor's Point of View

"I'm just not much of a reader."

I'm sure you've heard it before. Maybe you've offered the phrase yourself. But in an age of growing smartphone use, that self-estimation isn't going to cut it much longer. Smartphones are about images and words. We read from them and write on them over and again throughout any given day. Because of your smartphone, you likely are more of a reader and writer than you think you are.

Here are the facts:

  • 80% of American men and 75% of American women own a smartphone.

  • 94% of the Gen Z and Millennial generations own a smartphone while 89% of older Millennials and those up to age 49 own a smartphone.

  • Even retirees embrace smartphones at nearly 50%.

Can we agree the excuse, "I'm not much of a reader," is no longer a valid statement for you and others like you?

Let me connect this to Christmas and the time you're spending right now not buying that last minute gift. You've got one week left to purchase a gift for that hard to buy for family member or friend, how about a book?

You can get recommendations on a wide range of subjects from teachers and the internet. Here are a few from a pastor.

For middle school, high school, and college age guys: Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle. In a handful of chapters, Ryle exposes the four temptations young dudes face: laziness, lust, loving pleasure, and peer pressure. More than exposing the problems, he shows the way out.

If you want to gift a study Bible, I have been using the Zondervan Study Bible for about two years. Without exaggeration, this tool is like having a whole library of Bible helps on every page. It is outstanding.

Only time will tell if a newly published book will stand the test of time. If I were to speculate, I'd anticipate Kevin DeYoung's The Hole in Our Holiness to rise to that level. In less than 150 pages, DeYoung will help you in your maturing Christian Life. As a bonus to all you Vikings' fans, Kirk Cousins endorsed this book!

I am surprised how many Christians have neither read nor heard of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. If you give one book as a gift or read one book in the coming year, this is the book. Be sure to read both parts one and two. I actually enjoy part two over part one, but you have to read part one to understand part two. I read this book every other year because it's good for my soul.

You have to read Elisabeth Elliot. Begin with Through the Gates of Splendor, the story of her husband's death along with the deaths of four other missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador. At the time of her husband's martyrdom, Elisabeth was 29-years-old and the mother of a 10-month-old girl. When you've finished her first-hand account of the events leading up to the massacre, read more from her. Her writing produced helps for the whole church, but especially for the girls and women of the church, help we desperately need.

If none of these recommendations fits your gift list, hit me up with a question, and I'll make a suggestion.

I don't recall the first time I heard him say it nor do I know if the quote was original to him, but I was very young when I heard my pastor, Bill Schroeder, say the two influences that will most significantly impact your life are "the people you meet and the books you read." I think he had that right.

  • God has given you a good mind, so read.

  • God has given us good authors, so read.

  • God has given us a wide variety of interests and no shortage of authors on our favorite subjects, so read.

  • God's method of revelation of himself to the church is a book, the Bible, so read.

Happy last minute shopping, and thank the Lord for ebooks and two-day shipping on those online book orders.

As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.