West Franklin Family,

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer. Bring. It. On. Due to our family’s calendar and dynamics, we took a vacation to the beach SUPER early. We got a head start. I am not sure what summer and beach time mean to you, but one thing always leaps to the top of my mind: READING. I love to read and I love books. I love to read books on the balcony of a condo. I love to read books at the beach, under an umbrella. I love to read before bed. I love to read when I wake up. I love to read on the front porch. I love to read on the back porch. I love to read by the fire pit. Summertime opens up a bit more time and space for reading. Bring. It. On.

In case, like me, you are always on the hunt for some good summer reads, here are several suggestions…

Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig

I purchased the hard copy version of this book for the beach last week. I am still less than half way through (it is nearly 500 pages!). So far, I have been captivated. Leonnig is a Pulitzer Prize winner for journalism and does a remarkable job of tracing the highs and lows of the Secret Service. She starts at the beginning (think Lincoln’s assassination), and walks the reader through what took place in Washington on January 6th of this year. If you like behind the scenes stuff and enjoy history – this is the summer read for you.



A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson by Winn Collier

If you are looking for a compelling biography – one that doesn’t just recount facts, but invites the reader into the heart of the life being observed – read this book immediately. I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Winn Collier last year during my sabbatical. His writing style has gripped me now for several years. Couple that with the reality that I have been “pastored” (through his books) by Eugene Peterson (the translator of The Message) over the years, and you have a book I could not wait to arrive. I’ve read it twice already and highly recommend you give it a look.


Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness by Eugene Peterson

Speaking of Eugene Peterson, I recommend this book for your summer reading for two reasons. First, it’s Eugene Peterson. And, of all his books – and there are many – this one is top three. It’s a deep dive into Jonah, his calling, and God’s interactions with him as only Peterson can lay it out. Second, we will be looking at the book of Jonah together as a church in July. Peterson’s book will not only encourage/challenge you spiritually, but will also prep your mind and heart for our time together later this summer.


Sooley: A Novel by John Grisham

Basketball. Poverty and heartache in Sudan. Dreams of making it big. Longings to be reunited with family. John Grisham. Need I say more?



Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund

I have recommended this book before. I will probably do so again. If you are stuck in your daily devotionals and/or are looking for something to process prayerfully this summer, get this book. Wake up 10-15 minutes earlier in the morning’s and read a couple of pages a day. You will be finished before August. You will be glad you did. I promise.




What recommendations do you have? What will YOU be reading this summer?

Speaking of summer and daily devotions, let me also encourage/challenge you to read Romans 8 every day throughout the month of June. Sunday June 6th, we will begin a four-part series through this revolutionary and life-transformational chapter in the Bible. Cannot. Wait.

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning with my Bible open to Philemon, eager to hear Josh Lynn preach the Word!

Bring on Summer,

Pastor Matt

For further summer book recommendations from a guy I love and trust, go here and here. Danny Franks is an avid reader, a man who loves Jesus, and a guy who just gets it. Enjoy.