There is an almost never-ending list of “must reads”. Everywhere I turn someone else is telling me that this book or this article or this blog is a “must read for every Christian”. Most years begin with a rather ambitious reading list and many of those years end with only about a quarter of that list being completed. I often get a short way through my list only to have that be overcome by the latest “must reads”.
Well, here’s my effort to maintain some level of accountability. I have chosen a “top ten” list for 2012. I am pretty confident that I can make my way through this list and still allow time along the way for the inevitable appearance of the next greatest book. Along the way, I’ll provide a brief review for each.
I begin with a book by Larry Osborne called “Sticky Teams“. I have looked through this one already and it looks to be a good one, especially as I am looking forward to sharpening my leadership skills with the leaders at Calvary Bible Church.
I’ve really come to enjoy Jonathan Leeman. The ministry of 9Marks has been a tremendous help and encouragement to me. This book is titled “Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People“.
This is a new book to me, a Christmas gift from a friend. Having served in pastoral ministry for nearly 20 years, I have experienced the great highs and deflating lows of relationships. I have been greatly encouraged as well as terribly discouraged. A few words from the book cover grabbed my attention: ”Practicing Affirmation sounds a call to recognize and affirm the character of Christ in others. When done well, affirmation does not fuel pride in the person, but refreshes them and honors God. All who are discouraged in relationships will find wisdom and practical insight in this book” (from the book cover).
This is the story of Louis Zamperini, a young lieutenant in the Army whose bomber crashed into the Pacific during World War in 1943. I’ve heard great reviews of “Unbroken” and my love for the history of WWII motivated me to purchase this and put it on my 2012 Top 10 List.
Sinclair Ferguson…enough said! ”The Holy Spirit“, I purchased this book a few years ago during a Ligonier conference. It was one of those books that kept getting put off the list by others. Well, here it goes again this year!
Every year I try to concentrate at least a portion of my reading on the subject of pastoral ministry. Usual readings include “The Reformed Pastor” (Baxter), “Preachers and Preaching” (Lloyd-Jones). This book has come highly recommended by other pastors and friends. ”The Shepherd Leader“. Of this book, Sinclair Ferguson writes, “This is an intelligent and informative book. Here exegesis and exposition provide a solid biblical foundation. So this is also a wonderfully practical, as well as instructive book. It underlines principles that ministers and leaders can employ in the specifics of their own church context, and provides workable suggestions about how to put them into practice. We need this desperately today when so many are “like sheep without a shepherd.” These pages have the potential to transform the way undershepherds together lead their flocks.”
“The Christian Ministry” by Charles Bridges is a ministry classic! And I’ve never read it! I plan on taking my time to work through this and to spend lots of that time repenting and reforming for the glory of God.
Okay, here’s one of the “must reads”. I’ve been working with a couple of leaders at the church as we consider the subject of worship, especially in terms of the corporate worship of the local church. We are going to read this book together. According to Bob Kauflin, “Christ Centered Worship” by Bryan Chapell is important. ” Bottom line — if you’re responsible for leading, overseeing, or planning corporate worship in your church, you should read this book.”
I bought “Release the Power of Prayer” by George Mueller because I’ve noticed a trend toward prayerlessness in my life. I hope to use this to begin the year as I participate in our church’s Week of Prayer.
I simply love to read biographies. A few years ago I heard John Piper advise young pastors to spend time reading the works of and about those who’ve gone on before us. I’ve had an almost insatiable desire to read biographies for a long time. ”God’s Bestseller” is a biography on the life of William Tyndale.