External Focus Awards: Some of the Best Books to Trade Your Christmas Presents For

Before we take a little blogging-break for Christmas, we wanted to present some of the newest and best External Focus-related books we’ve been using! Consider buying and reading one over the holidays – maybe after you return a few “uninspiring” Christmas presents you receive?

We hope to make these “honors” a regular occurrence, but unfortunately we were unable to land on a name for our awards. (“Externies” and “EF-ies” got booed at our staff meeting.) So we’re going to leave it up to you: If you have a good name for our awards, put it in the comments! We’d also love to hear about any External Focus-related resources that YOU love!

Now for This Year’s Book Awards…

New Book about Becoming a “Modern-day Good Samaritan”

Jeff Ward nominated Get Off Your Donkey: Help Somebody and Help Yourself! by Reggie McNeal.get-off-donkey According to the blurb on the back, GOYD “calls you to dismount, get messy, and live a life that makes a real difference.”

New “Experience” for Community Groups

As you may know, we at Watermark LOVE When Helping Hurts. Now the authors have produced some additional books, including When Helping Hurts: The Small Group Experience. It’s not only a book – it’s an experience! – with online supplements, video, and other elements to make a great study for your community in the New Year.

Tools for the World Christian – or for Becoming One!

Marcus Toussaint nominated Operation World, now in its seventh edition – which might imply just how useful it’s been since the first edition came out in 1964! Its subtitle: “The Definitive perspectivesPrayer Guide to Every Nation” explains exactly why it’s so useful…

Meanwhile, this year we began promoting the “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” class for anyone interested in participating in God’s work in the world… or who wants a better understanding of that work! So Benson Hines nominated the companion book, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, which offers really cool articles from both long-ago missionaries and recent practitioners.

And as we noted above, the When Helping Hurts guys have been hard at work – so we’re thrilled about Helping without Hurting in Short-Term Missions. If you’ve even considered one of our Discipleship Trips, it’s worth a read!

Tool for Addressing Poverty & Injustice Biblically

The Poverty and Justice Bible, nominated by Jeff, is great to keep around as a quick-reference… or to use as your regular Bible! It highlights over 2000 verses related to these topics.

Best Tiny, Waterproof Book for Helping the “Man on the Corner”

Our newest Ministry Partner, OurCalling, has begun publishing its Help I’m Homeless Directory for Dallas Countyand helpbookletLaura Trent nominated this little jewel for this year’s awards! It’s chock-full of places to go for shelter and other services, so it’s excellent not only for looking up info but also for handing out to homeless individuals around town. And what’s more, they’ve designed it on paper that won’t smear when wet! (Benson tested it under the faucet himself.)

Tool for Diving in to an Externally-Focused Book of the Bible

The Book of Ruth is filled with “External Focus themes,” so Benson nominated the Bible commentary that has been most useful and encouraging in his study of the book. Plus it’s not only strong academically, it’s a really great read. The Book of Ruth by Robert L. Hubbard would be a powerful resource for anyone who wants a scholarly understanding of this book.

Trophy photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc. The rest came from Amazon and OurCalling.

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