Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Ten Reads of 2011

Although, like John Wesley, I'm a man of one book, I consider it a pastoral duty to read deeply and widely, Good reading is essential to good preaching. That said, here's my Top Ten list for 2011:

1)  Parade of Faith by Ruth Tucker.  I consider this the best general church history book on the market.

2)  Soul Shift by Steve DeNeff and David Drury.  An outstanding book on spiritual transformation -- getting us to move outside of ourselves.

3)  Circle Maker  by Mark Batterson, my favorite pastoral author.  An inspiring book on prayer and faith, that has led me to start praying circles around people and projects.

4)  The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight.  A challenging call to a more robust Gospel understanding.  Beyond Jesus as Savior (which is vitally important) to Jesus as Lord.

5)  Nearing Home by Billy Graham.  A beautiful gift from a wise pilgrim nearing the mountain top.

6)  Spiritual Waypoints by Bob Whitesel.  An excellent overview of the faith journey, and how we can best engage people where they are.  An outstanding resource for evangelism and discipleship.

7)  Revise Us Again by Frank Viola.  A refreshing, Christ-centered perspective on spiritual life and ministry.

8)  The Confession by John Grisham.  An action packed novel with a pastor cast as the central character.

9)  Dug Down Deep by Josh Harris.  Teaching grand doctrines of faith through spiritual autobiography.

10)  Population 485 by Michael Perry.  A a humorous account of life as a Wisconsin volunteer emergency worker, packed with meaning.  Perry know how to turn a phrase.

Honorable Mention:

*  I hope it's not crass self-promotion to mention the book I've written, Filled Up, Poured Out:  How God's Spirit Can Revive Your Passion and Purpose.  (To be released April 2012.)  As it's author, I've become it's primary reader.  On a few occasions recently, I was recently convicted and challenged by statements from the book.  I suppose you could say the sermon should fit the preacher first.

Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo.  A heartwarming reminder that there's a glorious home on the other side.

The Enduement of Power by Oswald Smith.  A powerful little book written decades ago, which addresses the greatest need of the church.  I used it as a resource for my book.

Sermons by John Wesley.  During my devotioanl time, since November, I've read several of Wesley's sermons out loud to myself.  Reading them silently doesn't work very well for me -- but when I read them aloud, the dry bones take on flesh.

Going Deep by Gordon McDonald.  A wise pastor's invitation to mentor young believers, told as a compelling fictional story.

Bush Aglow:  The Life Story of Dwight Lyman Moody by Richard E. Day.  An old book, giving the inspiring account of the 19th Century's greatest evangelist.  Especially helpful when read in conjunction with R. A. Torrey's, Why God Used D. L. Moody.

Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas.  Explores the various ways people grow spiritually, based on their unique personality.  A fascinating and liberating read.

* Evangelism Handbook by Alvin Reid.  A good overview of the histroy, purpose and practive of sharing the Gospel with others.

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