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May has become the big month for graduations in our culture. Back in the day, when I was in school, it was June. But times change and so I am giving you a head's up on great graduation gifts. I almost always give books as gifts because the biblical truth contained in good books changes lives. I know, for books changed me!

I was converted by the grace of God in 1969 during the middle of my junior year in college. I was ushered into a new world of which I knew so little. Pronouncing biblical names was hard enough but understanding the Word of God became paramount. I could find no evangelical, Bible believing, Bible teaching churches in my small Midwestern college town. What to do?

There was a vibrant parachurch ministry at another nearby college town and I traveled their each week for teaching, fellowship and evangelism. But as important as it was to rehearse the biblical truths of salvation, Bible truth that enabled me to grow became necessary.

Just across the street from my downtown apartment was a little hole in the wall Christian bookstore. And I would go there most weeks and cherry pick the best books I could find to help me. Now my limited maturity and the limited number of good evangelical books in 1969-1970 limited my choices. But I found enough books written for young Christians of all ages that I was very much helped to grow. As a brand new babe in Christ I did not need to try to digest Louis Berkhof, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, or John Calvin. That would come later. They showed me the meat of the Word.

But on the milk and pablum level, I found things that nourished me and pointed me to other authors. Books from Gospel Light, David C. Cook, IVP, and Zondervan became staples. Some books had "bones" that I learned did not jive with Scripture and I learned to spit out the bones while savoring the meat. Some books sadly were mostly bones and I found little meat in them. Some books on a first read seemed great but further reflection and study showed me they were mostly bones and I left them alone.

The books I have chosen today for graduates, high school or college or grad school, are picked because they are full of truth and connect with people 18-28. Here they are...


Jerry Bridges, THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE; NavPress
(The best explanation of what Christ accomplished
on the cross for laymen of any age. I would make it
mandatory if I could that every gospel minister and
parachurch worker master this book and preach it to
their people!)

Crossway (The best explanation of how the believer
is to apply the bookends of the Christian life to daily
life--that is, the imputed righteousness of Christ for
one's standing before God and the power of the Holy
Spirit to change my life day in and day out. Very

Kevin DeYoung, THE HOLE IN OUR HOLINESS; Crossway
Shows the rising generation the importance of a
neglected but vital truth--"no holiness, no heaven".


Mary Kassian, GIRLS GONE WISE (in a world gone wild);
Crossway--for years around Spring Break time,
commercials have hawked a lewd product on TV and
the Internet--videos of GIRLS GONE WILD sporting
drunk and ungodly girls doing ungodly things on
Spring Break around America. High school and
college students know about the phenomena. Mary
Kassian, professor at THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST
THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, writes to show the way to
biblical godliness and holiness. A great gift for girls
leaving home and going off into the world!

Michelle Graham, WANTING TO BE HER (Body Secrets
Victoria Did Not Tell You); IVP--InterVarsity staff
worker Michelle Graham writes to help women with
their self-perception of how they look and why it
matters too much in our culture. She even has a
special chapter for young African-American women
who grow up in a culture where white is beautiful
and black is second best. Young women receiving
this book have loved it and thanked me for giving it
to them.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, LIES WOMEN BELIEVE (and the
truths that sets them free); Moody Press--popular
author and conference speaker shows how 21st
century women are being lied to in our culture and
she helps them recognize the lies and counter-act
them. Mothers and daughters could read this
together. And there is a book for teen girls, LIES
YOUNG WOMEN BELIEVE (and the truths that set
them free); Moody Press.

Courtney Reissig; THE ACCIDENTAL FEMINIST (Restor-
ing Our Delight in God's Good Design); Crossway
A young Christian woman recounts her learning that
while she did not set out to become a feminist,
nevertheless just breathing the corrosive air of this
culture brought her to embrace several feminist
tenets. Upon seeing them and examining her life
more closely through the lens of Scripture, she left
feminism behind.

Elizabeth Prentiss, STEPPING HEAVENWARD; Calvary
Press--classic 19th century study of a young
woman's growth in mature Christian womanhood
and the lessons learned along the way. I know some
pastors who have given a copy of this treasure to
every woman and teenage girl in their congregation.


Wayne Mack, A FIGHT TO THE DEATH (Taking Aim at Sin
Within); P & R--a classic study of the Bible and
Reformed theology's teaching on putting off
(mortification) and putting on (vivification) sin. A
must for Christians wanting to grow in grace.

Jerry Bridges, THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS; NavPress
The best study of the Reformed doctrine of
sanctification in print. A classic!

Stuart Piggin and John Roxborough, THE ST. ANDREWS
SEVEN; Banner of Truth--seven young graduates of
the University of St. Andrews in Scotland who
dedicated their lives to missions and serving Christ
around the world.

Mark Chanski, MANLY DOMINION; Calvary Press
A great book to challenge men to be men of God,
not boys of God or girls of God but men of God.
What does it mean to be a man and to be a man of
God. Read it and find out. Single men will find this
most valuable too!

J. C. Ryle, THOUGHTS FOR YOUNG MEN; Banner of Truth
or audiobook. Classic study challenging young men
to live their lives for Christ in whatever He calls them
to do. But whatever they are, they are to live for

May your graduates find grace as they graduate to live for Christ the rest of their lives.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for hundreds of other articles on contemporary Christianity, church history and books!

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