Once again, I’ve pulled together a list of the books I’ve read over the last twelve months. That is, books that were not related to sermon preparations and such. Perhaps if you got some gift cards for Christmas, you might get some inspiration as to how to use them from this list – whether for yourself or someone else. Here goes…
What’s Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions (James Anderson) – Remember the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from when you were a kid? Well, imagine if someone took that approach to worldviews. Let me add this great endorsement from Rod Mays, the former National Coordinator for Reformed University Ministries (RUM), “This book will become ‘the book’ that will be used by campus ministers, students, and a host of others who are constantly being drawn into conversations concerning worldviews. The layout of this book is ingenious, helpful, and engaging. The information found in these short pages will provide accurate long-term care for those on a ‘worldview journey.’”
Let Me Be Frank (Frank Beamer) – Lest anyone think my reading is all too heavy, please note this entry. Frank Beamer is the winningest active head coach in Division I college football with 229 wins in 27 years on the Virginia Tech sideline. Under his watch, Virginia Tech has evolved from a struggling independent program in the 1980s into a national power. Go Hokies!
I Am Second: Real Stories. Changed Lives (Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett) – There’s nothing quite so compelling as a personal story, especially an account of the radical change come upon someone’s life by the power of the gospel. These stories are raw but real. And they serve as something of an encouragement for the believer and a testimony to the seeker.
Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn (Tim Challies) – Internet pornography is a national epidemic. To get free of its bonds, a man needs to understand the stakes, want to change, and to go deep into where those desires are coming from. This is a potent little book that I have and will continue to give away to guys wanting to get in the fight.
Conversationally Speaking (Alan Garner) – I am an introvert at heart and at times struggle with just initiating dialogue with others. This is a good jumpstart to learning more about how to ask the kind of questions that promote conversation so as to pursue deeper levels of understanding others.
Jack’s Life (Doug Gresham) – Doug Gresham is C. S. Lewis’ stepson and, as such, claims that his stepfather was the finest man and the best Christian he has ever known. The style is informal and delightful to read. What may be somewhat lost in objectivity is more than made up for in the personal anecdotes and insights.
Be Still, My Soul (25 Classic and Contemporary Readings on the Problem of Pain): Embracing God’s Purpose and Provision in Suffering (Nancy Guthrie, ed.) – A great introduction to the Christian response to pain and sorrow, worth reading both for the sufferer, those who would help them, or those who will be suffering (which is all of us at one time or another). It’s broken up into three sections – God’s perspective on suffering, God’s purpose in suffering, and God’s provision in suffering. Well worth reading.
Walking with God through Pain and Suffering (Tim Keller) – Frankly, I’m a big fan of Keller’s works and have benefited much from his insights. This is a solid exploration of the question, “Why is there pain and suffering?” and with good exposition from the Scriptures. The book is divided into three parts, using an image from Daniel – Understanding the Furnace, Facing the Furnace, and Walking with God in the Furnace – moving from the philosophical issues to the pastoral concerns.
Christmas Uncut: What Really Happened and Why It Really Matters (Carl Laferton) – The events surrounding Jesus’ birth have gotten buried under too much sentiment and foolishness. This short book pierces through the fog in a humorous and engaging way, making it ideal for both the believer and the seeker.
Original Jesus: What He Really Did and Why It Really Matters (Carl Laferton) – Everyone has an image of Jesus. For some, he’s a good teacher. For others, he’s part of a children’s story, or a religious rule-keeper. This follow up to Christmas Uncut brings readers face to face with the real Jesus, showing how he is more compassionate, unpredictable, and wonderful than any other version.