Book Recommendations 2019
As the end of the year draws near, we thought we would share the favorite books read by our leadership team. These are not necessarily books that were written in 2019, but books that were read by our leadership team this year. Our hope is that these book recommendations would encourage you to include those that catch your eye in your reading list for 2020.
Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple, Adam Hamilton.
This was a fresh look at a familiar character of Scripture. The book offers hope and encouragement for the believer who sees that “discrepancy” between who they are declared to be in Christ and what their decisions/faith sometimes causes despair or hopelessness.
Durable Church, Dave Harvey
Harvey's book talks about the importance of plurality, unity and diversity within a church and church leadership.
Letting Go: Rugged Love for Wayward Souls, Dave Harvey
I think this is Dave at his “pastoral” best. It provides a wonderful template for sorting through the relational challenges that comes with trying to love people…especially the ones that “go”
Living Life Backwards, David Gibson
I know that Ecclesiastes is a part of the wisdom literature in God’s Word, I can just have a hard time understanding it, much less try to apply it to my life in some way. This book took a very practical look at why the moments I walk through today matter in light of eternity bringing much meaning to the seemingly mundane moments of life for me personally.
The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Peter Scazzero
I like to work, but it can too easily become my identity. Without being a book entirely about Myers Briggs, Enneagrams or Emotional Intelligence The Emotionally Healthy Leader contains some helpful ways to help process the things we face in life. More than anything though this book has one of the most helpful chapters I’ve read in a while related to the practice of Sabbath. May God help me grow in that practice! (two books worth reading alongside this one are You Are What You Love and Liturgy of the Ordinary).
Irresistible Faith, Scott Sauls
I am aware of the call to be a light in the culture… too often I seem to look more like the culture than the light I’m supposed to be. This book explores the beauty of the depths of an abiding faith and benefits of community as essential aspects of our mission along with asking the question: “What would it look like for Christians to become an irresistible force again, even among nonbelieving friends, colleagues, and neighbors?”
Cherish, Gary Thomas
Even though I’ve read it before, this book continues to have a profound effect on our 45+ years of marriage. It is truly transformative! Our core attitude towards each other is slowly changing
Pressing On Finishing Well, Michael Black
As I continue to explore how to glorify God in retirement, this book has been comprehensive in helping me understand the last season of life on this earth
New Morning Mercies, Paull Tripp
I have spent most of my time this year in the Scriptures, reading very slowly. It has been an amazing adventure to read and meditate not because I’m preparing a message but just for deepening my personal relationship with the Lord. Likewise, Melodye and I have been reading New Morning Mercies together most days and spending time talking/praying through a grace-filled perspective on literally everything.
I've not read much new this year as I've re-read a few classics, here are some I recommend:
The Holiness of God, RC Sproul
"the Pursuit of God", AW Tozer
"The Glorious Pursuit", Gary Thomas
Work : Its Purpose, Dignity and Transformation, Daniel Doriani
How my work (and anybody’s) can fit into a meaningful God-honoring life.
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, Charles Mann
An interpretation of the past that birthed todays political disputes, immigration and trade policy, and culture wars. Made me look at events going on from a historical perspective.
Old Paths, New Power ,Daniel Henderson
Ordering our lives and ministries around that which produces eternal results. Encourages me and others not to look at what is happening elsewhere (individuals, churches, countries), but imitate the faith that is being demonstrated through prayer, transformational preaching and revival only the Holy Spirit can unleash.
A War Of Loves, David Bennett
This is a personal and moving testimony from a man who was an openly gay activist who, over the course of years, encountered the transforming love of Jesus. It is not an end to the conversation but I believe a helpful place for anyone to start. I grew in understanding and compassion as I read my brother’s story.
A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
Another powerful and real story but this time centered on the heart rending loss of a spouse. A young man shares his story of “pagan love”, skepticism to the gospel, the power of friendship, salvation, and unspeakable grief. The book has the added voice of C.S. Lewis who befriended this young couple and writes over 18 letter that are included. I constantly found words in this book for feelings and desires that I didn’t know how to articulate before. I’m grateful to God for C.S. Lewis and this book.
Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung
I’m busy. And I don’t say that as a boast. This short book was practical and very easy to read. It helped me slow down and place some fresh boundaries in my life. We all need meaningful work but we all need rest too. If you feel overwhelmed, burned out, or tired all the time, maybe you should check this book out.
Confronting Christianity, Rebecca McClaughlin
This is a book on apologetics in which McClaughlin does a wonderful job at engaging with some of the toughest question people have about the Christian faith. It is wonderfully written and easy to read. Her style of writing and engaging with tough questions is reminiscent of Tim Keller's best work.
Another wornderful book on apologetics is Disruptive Witness by Alan Noble.
The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction, Justin Whitmel Earley
I debated between this book and James K. A. Smith's "You Are What You Love" because they are similar in their message. I went with this one because it is a little more accesible in readabilty and a lot more practical. Both of these books however talk about the importance on how habits form our loves and give shape to our lives.
Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, Michael Reeves
This is a delightful little book that does a wonderful job at explaining why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important for the life of a believer. This is one of those books that I think every believer should read no matter of how far in their journey they are.