Summer affords many of us a few spare moments to sit down someplace warm and relaxing and read a good book. In case you're looking for something deeper than a celebrity magazine or cliffhanger novel, consider picking up these new releases that make theology accessible and practical while staying true to Scripture.

Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters
by Joshua Harris
Multnomah, January 2010
240 pp., $19.99

The senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has a gift for weaving personal narrative with biblical truth. Dug Down Deep will bolster your faith in God and inspire you to dig deeper into Scripture. A winsome summary of core Christian beliefs, the book is an especially good gift for high school graduates heading off to college.

The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture
by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Paraclete, May 2010
164 pp., $14.99

It's the right time to write about stability, with the U.S. mobility rate falling to an all-time low in 2008 and rebounding only slightly in 2009. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, a new monastic leader in Durham, North Carolina, lives what he writes. The Wisdom of Stability might make you appreciate home in case you're anxious about an upcoming reunion this summer. The book would benefit, though, from more reflection on the biblical narrative of mobility and less reliance on quotes from the monastics.

Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry
by Michael Lawrence
Crossway, April 2010
240 pp., $16.99

Probably no one does practical theology for the local church better than the crew from 9Marks and Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Associate pastor Michael Lawrence, leaving the capital this summer for a church in Portland, Oregon, relates biblical to systematic theology, traces prominent themes through Scripture, and demonstrates how theology shapes local church practice. Vacationing pastors re-examining their ministry will particularly benefit from Lawrence's insight and example.

The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More Than Our Lips
by John Dickson
Zondervan, May 2010
240 pp., $22.99

Summer sends many Christians on mission trips around the world where they preach in the open air and seek to engage strangers in evangelistic conversations. While some evangelicals thrive in these situations, others dread them with fear. John Dickson, a pastor in Sydney, Australia, and director of the Centre for Public Christianity, offers a wide range of ways believers can promote the gospel, including prayer, public worship, financial partnership, and everyday conversations.

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Jonathan Edwards on Beauty
The Essential Edwards Collection
by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney
Moody, February 2010
160 pp., $9.99

Beach bums and National Park visitors reflect during summer vacations on the beauty of God's creation. Back in the 1700s, Jonathan Edwards enjoyed long walks in the wilderness as he reflected on the beauty of the Creator. This slim book, part of the five-volume Essential Edwards Collection by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, will stir you with deep reflections on the beauty of God, creation, Christ, the church, and the Trinitarian afterlife.

Rescuing Ambition
by Dave Harvey
Crossway, May 2010
224 pp., $14.99

Ambition might be the last thing on your mind during the dog days of summer. But when is there a better chance to pause and take stock of your life? Sovereign Grace leader Dave Harvey discerns the difference between godly and selfish ambition. Humility is good, but it shouldn't stunt our desire to see a greater glimpse of God's glory.

Surprised By Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels
by Tullian Tchividjian
Crossway, May 2010
208 pp., $18.99

Looking for a section of Scripture to study in depth this summer? Take a closer look at the Old Testament book of Jonah. Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, explores the background of this fish tale and relates it to our contemporary situation. God's grace amazes us when we realize how much we don't deserve it.

Collin Hansen is a CT editor at large and co-author with John Woodbridge of the forthcoming book, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir (Zondervan).

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Collin Hansen also gave his summer reading list last year. More book reviews and recommendations are in CT's books section.

Previous Theology in the News columns available on our site include:

Obama's AIDS Dilemma | White House funding priorities determine who will live and who will die. (May 17, 2010)
Piper, Warren, and the Perils of Movement Building | Why the debate over separatism still matters. (April 19, 2010)
The Toll of Our Toiling | John Piper takes an eight-month leave of absence. (March 30, 2010)