Top 5 Books of 2022

I tried to set a goal of how many books to read in the year. Last year (2022) I wanted to read 24 books and ended up reading 25. I had a wide range that I read. Some were for school (Masters of Theology), some were fiction for fun (for example, Jeff Carson’s David Wolfe series is awesome), and for growth with my relationship with the Lord.  

I use Goodreads to keep track of my progress. I don’t usually add a review on there but others do and sometimes it is helpful to read what others think about the book. You can set up your reading goals and add the books as you go.

Here are 5 of the ones I took away the most from:

Live No Lies

John Mark Comer, a pastor in Portland, brings forth this thought-provoking book about living a life of honesty. He is influenced by Dallas Willard and thinking spiritual formation. I did this book as an audiobook. John Comer read was the narrator and it was good. His writing style is different, and you need to listen well. I think I would like to go back and read it the next time around. 

Comer writes, “Human beings simply can’t live without loving relationships and meaning to both our suffering and our existence as a whole. Jesus comes to offer both.” This quote shows the focus of the book is on the power of the gospel transforming our lives.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

After reading George Orwell’s 1984, I was intrigued with dystopian social science fiction. I wanted to read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. It takes a different approach to dystopian literature that instead of the government limited reading and knowledge, people are so amused by news and media that they are apathetic to reality. Postman warns that we would become so inundated with irrelevant information that we would be apathetic to what does matter. Given today’s strong social media presence this is very timely.

Overcoming Apathy

Uchi Anizor is an associate professor of Theology at Biola University. This book was challenging and very needed. Anizor describes what apathy is and the dangers for the Christian. It is a light book and easy to read. I would recommend this book as a read for Christians.  

Anizor writes, “Overcoming Apathy is an attempt to think through the concept, experience, and healing of apathy. Its goal is to help readers see apathy and its causes more clearly, highlight how God responds to the apathetic in gracious and hope-filled ways, and explore practices to help combat it in the day-to-day.” Christians need this reminder as we are inundated with many distractions. The danger is becoming apathetic to God’s calling in our lives. Apathetic to loving our neighbors. Apathetic to loving God.

Gospel Bound

Collin Hansen and Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra do an excellent job of presenting the importance of the gospel in an age of anxiety. Through storytelling they share the struggles of others relieved and impacted by the gospel. We live in an age and day where hope is lost and many are anxious. It is so important for us to point others to true hope that is in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul writes, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

Secular Creed

Rebecca McLaughlin addresses contemporary terms and what do they mean. This was a great and short read that helps navigate through some the culture wars of today. It is so important for Christians today to be grounded in the Word of God (1 Peter 3:15).

McLaughlin handles tough topics such as Black Lives Matters, Women’s Rights, and Transgenderism with grace and truth. I recommend this read to Christians to help navigate those tough topics while being able to address them with truth in love.

Summer Reading List-2018

Summer Reading List
Photo by Claudia on Unsplash

It’s that time, summer! The kids are winding down their school years and I am sure that most everyone is thinking, what can I read this summer? Let me encourage you as your vacations are planned to make sure and pack a book. There are many great books out there and there are many not so great books out there. Last year I wrote a blog post “What Not to Read” during your summer time reading. Let me give you ten books that I recommend this summer.
This list is in no special order but are based on books that I feel were worth the time to read. Whether you read diligently or are challenging yourself with just trying to read more than you already do, I encourage you to grab a book, spend some time reading it, and digest what you read. Let it be something the encourages you in your Christian walk and share it with someone else.
Summer Reading List:* Continue reading “Summer Reading List-2018”

Reading for the Fun of It?

Reading for Fun
Do you read for the fun? Is that even a statement that you hear very often?
Some are seasoned readers who would say, “Reading is always fun!” I am not there. Reading is enjoyable (most of the time) but my problem is not enjoying reading, it is finding the time to read.
As a pastor, reading should be high on the list of things to do. I should always be challenging myself to learn more in theology, studying for messages, church life, christian living, etc. There are books I have to read, books I should read, and books that I want to read, but I don’t have the time at this moment to get to. I love receiving recommended books to read but those go to a long list of books that I may get to, one day.
To be honest, not everything I read is fun. The process of learning and being challenged is good but I don’t know if I would categorize it as always fun. There are times that I am really challenged with a book, and that’s not fun at times. Reading books that may convict me of sin and pointing me to the grace of God would not be considered always fun but needed. Continue reading “Reading for the Fun of It?”

What Not to Read this Summer

School is out for most children, vacations are planned and raring to go, and it’s time to encourage our mental growth. What are you reading this summer? If you check out the latest bestseller list, you can be overwhelmed and wonder where to start. Each bestseller has raving reviews, but not all bestsellers are great books to read. Here are some things to keep in mind when picking something to read this summer.
What Not to Read: Continue reading “What Not to Read this Summer”

God Speaks Through the Pain

img_3574Like some, we choose a book to read based on a situation that you may be currently facing and it comes recommended. A Small Cup of Light is one of those books for me. For almost the past year, I have been dealing with some stomach ailments. I have had numerous tests done but all came back negative. Though I am thankful that nothing serious was found, still, not knowing what is causing these problems has been frustrating. What I deal with feels like having a constant stomachache—the feeling when you have the stomach flu and your stomach hurts, but it is constant. I know my affliction is so minor in comparison to others, and by no means do I want to compare, but it is my affliction nonetheless.
Continue reading “God Speaks Through the Pain”

The Joy of Reading

It’s a new year and it’s time to start thinking of all those challenges you try to accomplish within the next year. I try to set a goal on how many books that I would like get through in a year. I didn’t come close to my goal for 2016 but I will still shoot for a similar goal just for 2017. I view a reading plan as a way I can have direction and encouragement without feeling obliged to stick to it knowing that there are some things that can happen in the year that may hinder reading.  One area that I am always wanting to grow in is not only the quantity of books but the quality of books.
Continue reading “The Joy of Reading”

Fan the Flame

I just picked up my copy of J. C. Ryle’s autobiography printed by Banner of Truth. I love the writings of Ryle. Though I have not ready everything by him,I hope to one day. One of his books that have impacted me more so than many other books is his book Holiness. I have read Iain H. Murray’s biography on Ryle, Prepared to Stand Alone and am drawn to Ryle. I love his insight and though he lived in the nineteenth century his writings still have weight today. I look forward to reading this book and giving a review once I finish.
I like books, more specifically I like biographies on Christians. I am drawn to reading about men and women who have gone before me. The author of Hebrews writes, “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).” The author was referring to those mentioned in chapter eleven, the “hall of faith” chapter. But, I also believe it is referring to the believers who have gone before us in church history. I find myself as if I am a fly on the wall of their lives. I am drawn in, seeing their lives, God’s plan for them unfolding before me. Granted, when you read a biography it can somewhat be biased but a good biographer will share the good and the bad of that person. I am thankful that the Bible does that. It shares the flaws and the faith of those who are the examples before us. Ultimately they are  pointing to Jesus in their lives and we should desire the same thing. You learn from them. You are inspired by them. You are thankful to God for them.
Let me encourage to read the lives of the saints before us. Let it be fan to your flame of faith and we can learn from them. Let the Lord use it to inspire you, challenge you, and encourage you. What Christians have impacted you and why? Please share, I would love to hear from you!