Book Spotlight: Winter 2021
by Jim Killam | 5-minute read   Winter is a great time to discover books that can challenge us, help deepen our faith and spark our imaginations. Here are a […]
Jim Killam
January 13, 2021
First Free Rockford Book Spotlight
by Jim Killam | 5-minute read


Winter is a great time to discover books that can challenge us, help deepen our faith and spark our imaginations. Here are a few staff recommendations for books you can find in the Scroll Resource Center.


Luke Uran, Lead Pastor

CSB Scripture Notebook: Ephesians

Pastor Luke recommends this as a note-taking and study companion for our current sermon series on the book of Ephesians. Scripture from the Christian Standard Bible is accompanied by lined, blank journal pages to record insights, questions and ideas.

The Christian Standard Bible

Pastor Luke says: “I’ve been using the Christian Standard Bible for about three years for my personal devotional time. I appreciate that it is more word-for-word in its translation like the ESV (English Standard Version), but easier to read like the NIV (New International Version).”

Sue Nelson, manager of The Scroll Resource Center, adds: “I have recommended the Women’s Study Bible in that version to many,”  “Reading a different translation helps sharpen you, especially when you are reading familiar passages of Scripture.”

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

This New York Times best-seller helps people set healthy, biblical limits with the people in your life. “Boundaries define us,” the authors write. “They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.”

What are You Going to Do with Your Life? by J.D. Greer

This challenging book might make you rethink everything. “We can love those in need or ignore those in need,” Greer writes. “We can live for treasures on earth or treasures in heaven. We can forsake or follow Jesus. … To be a Christian means that you have surrendered the right to determine the course of your life. Now to be clear, that’s not the common picture of Christianity, at least not in America.”

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jago
For kids ages 4 to 12. Twenty-one stories from the Old Testament and 23 from the New Testament, all pointing to Jesus as the center of the story.


Josh Pardee, Associate Pastor

Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life, by W. David O. Taylor

Here’s a fresh look at the bottomless resource of the Psalms, reminding us “that we are never alone in our joys, sorrows, angers, doubts, praises, or thanksgivings.” U2 lead singer Bono writes in the Afterword: “David Taylor’s take is ‘open and unafraid’ alright. He really goes there, exposing himself before God in the most beautiful way. He might have called the book Naked, because if you don’t find your own self feeling a little exposed here, it might be time to take some armor off.”

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, by N.T. Wright

Do we understand the Bible’s message about heaven and what happens after we die? Or are our views shaped more by Christian tradition? Wright writes: “A massive assumption has been made in Western Christianity that the purpose of being a Christian is simply, or at least mainly, to ‘go to heaven when you die,’ and texts that don’t say that but mention heaven are read as if they did say it, and texts that say the opposite, like Romans 8:18-25 and Revelation 21-22, are simply screened out as if they didn’t exist.”

Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation, by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.

Scripture, the author writes, does so much more than just inform us. God uses his living Word to shape us, to transform us.


Kari Heckler, First Free Kids Director 

Wherever You Go I Want You to Know, by Melissa Kruger, illustrated by Isobel Lundie

A wonderfully illustrated picture book for kids ages 3 to 8, about how a parent’s greatest desire for their child is to love and follow Jesus.


Finally, The Scroll also recommends:

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional, by Paul David Tripp

This devotional book grew from the author’s Twitter feed, in which he posts daily gospel thoughts. “One of the stunning realities of the Christian life,” he writes, “is that in a world where everything is on some state of decay, God’s mercies never grow old. … Formfitted for the challenges, disappointments, sufferings, temptations, and struggles with sin within and without are the mercies of our Lord.”

Women of Courage: A Forty-Day Devotional, from the (in)courage community

From the introduction: “Featuring forty brave women—some well-known (like Ruth, Elizabeth, Mary, and Marth) and some lesser-known (such as Shiprah, Puah, Lois, and Eunice)—this devotional will walk you through the hardest days and leave you with the courage you need to lead, to love, to trust, and to turn to God in every situation.”

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden, by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark

Best-selling author Ann Voskamp wrote in her review: “Rarely has one heard The Greatest Story ever told like this―with such winsome grace and compelling truth. Once we began, we couldn’t stop reading the The Biggest Story aloud to our family, all in one sitting. Laughed, stilled, and wept by the last line―the moving glory of His amazing grace.”

The Biggest Story ABC, by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark

Similar to above, but this one’s a board book for kids ages 1 to 3.


Most items in the Scroll are at least 30 percent off the suggested retail price.



Jim Killam
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


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