Books

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My books are back. After three long years, they’re back.
Ever since we moved out of my office at Palm Harbor Church my books have resided in boxes, shifting from one storage space to the next. First in my garage and then in a storage container outside my office at 6 Stones, we’ve been separated for far too long.
I have a strange relationship with books. By that I mean I have an unreasonable love for my paper books, yet I prefer to actually read on my Kindle. The Kindle (or Kindle app on the ol’ iPad) simply allows me to carry around more books in my purposefully minimalistic backpack-slash-manbag. But the real reason is because it serves as a much more efficient sourcing tool for assessing past margin notes and highlights.
But I digress.
This past weekend my beautiful bride and I rummaged through 20+ boxes worth of books on topics such as theology, church-planting, leadership, pastoring, student ministry, mission, Christian Living, history, politics and culture (along with a few useless novels on baseball and psychopaths).  A few of them didn’t make the shelf, but the vast majority are once again receiving their due glory-of-display for all to see (or at least all who actually walk by my office – which by the way is populated by a steady flow of little old ladies that work in the New Hope Center and seem to be curiously interested in what this guy is doing in the low-lit room featuring the bizarre mixture of sounds of my eclectic Hillsong-Miles Davis-The Beatles-The Meters-Metallica-Johnny Cash-Taylor Swift playlist).
It’s like having old friends return home after a long journey away. Great men and women speaking to me once again such as Piper, Lewis, Platt, Spurgeon, Bonhoeffer, Schafer, Edwards, Hauerwas, Bosch, Wright, Packer and Hirsch – just to name a few. I suddenly want to re-read them all, but am forced to settle with the occasional flipping through to find past highlights and scribbles, pondering over old insights and inspirations.
It may be the first time I’ve really missed the old lifestyle of thinking and pontificating, one that I traded in for action and mobilizing.  Yet, all the millions of typed words that are now in my small, dark office, residing in their alphabetized order from floor to ceiling on new bookshelves, these are meant to propel me into the very work that consumes my days of late.
So while they wait patiently for short conversations whenever I can afford the time, they quietly cheer me on in my work of pressing and advancing into the darkness that surrounds me.  They infuse the dank air, speaking words of God’s glory and his design for his church to make Jesus famous and benefit the city where we exist as strangers.
So if you’re ever in the neighborhood, come on by. My friends enjoy the company and are always ready for the next conversation.
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