Here are the top ten books I read in 2014 and the reasons why.
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
Total truth was a brilliant call “to awakening evangelical Christians to the need for a Christian “worldview,” which Pearcey defines as “a biblical informed perspective on all reality. I found this book to be foundational in how we see the world through the lens of the gospel. This book is a must read for every kid heading off to college and any youth pastor who works with high school or college age kids. The final section on the flaws in the evangelical church I found both helpful and intriguing.
What’s Best Next by Matt Perman
I have long been a fan of PeterDrucker. I have read “The Effective Executive” Numerous times. One things I felt was lacking from Drucker’s work and others like him. That was the purpose for productive living and working.Perman does an amazing job connecting practical ways to get things done to an underlying theological framework. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan on reading it again soon.
Proof by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones
I have read a couple of books by Jones and have enjoyed them. I was intrigued by Proof before I read it because from the index you could tell they were tackling the 5 points of Calvinism from a standpoint of grace rather than a forced acronym. Thoroughly enjoyed the book as they portrayed the Grace of God in such a profound way I found myself worshiping and filled with wonder as I read the pages of this book. This book is a must read for anyone who leans toward Calvinism. I don’t often cry when I read a book but there is a story Jones tells of his daughter that moved me to tears. Such a powerful picture of us belonging to God. It’s worth the purchase of the book for that story alone.
Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering – Tim Keller
This is one of those books that every Christan needs to read as they will encounter pain and loss at some point in their journey. Kellers treatment of suffering does all of us a favor as he so poignantly deals with suffering in such a way that it keeps us from being either trite or melodramatic when addressing the others in pain. Kellers brilliance lies in pointing to our ultimate hope which is Christ. Each chapter ends with areal life story of suffering that I found very hard to read as each one caused my heart to both wrench and rejoice at God’s goodness even if unseen. This book and “A grief observed by Lewis are the best books I have read thus far on the problem of human suffering.
The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin DeYoung
If you have been a follower of my blog for any period of time you will know that I am a huge fan of Catechism. The Good News We Almost Forgot is a weekly devotional that I read as a book because each chapter was so good I couldn’t wait a week. DeYoung brilliantly,pastorally, and devotionally dives into each of the Lord’s Days as laid out by the Heidelberg Catechism. I found myself convicted regularly and sitting there after reading a chapter in an attitude of worship.The relevance of the theology in a 400 year old document is astounding.
Bad Religion by Ross Douthat
Bad Religion was a paradox because it was difficult to read and hard to put down. Douthat argues that “America’s problem isn’t too much religion, as a growing chorus of atheists have argued; nor is it an intolerant secularism, as
many on the Christian right believe. Rather, it’s bad religion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional faith and the rise of a variety of pseudo-Christianities that stroke our egos, indulge our follies, and encourage our worst impulses.” I found it insightful enjoyed the fact that Douthat as a catholic had a great perspective on evangelical and catholic follies alike.
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller
I first read this book over 20 years ago in bible college. I read it again this year. Reading the same book 20 years later is interesting. Of all the books I read this year this book hit me hardest. I have been a “full-time shepherd” for nearly 18 years I find that I have become a pretty good Shepherd and at the same time a not so good sheep. As pastors we must not forget that we are sheep first shepherds second. This book does just that. Loved the insight the devotional feel and the loving truths that this book contains.
Compassion Without Compromise by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau
As a christian if you have not been asked what you believe about the issue of homosexuals and homosexual marriage yet, you will. What are you going to say? When someone you love invites you to a same-sex marriage ceremony what are you going to do? When you as a christian leader are interviewed by a reporter they will ask what you think. What are you going to say. Barr and Citleu offer an amazingly practical and pastoral book that will help you speak the truth in love. As christian we need to be loving but we can’t allow our desireto be loving to derail us from truth.
Evangelism And The Sovereignty Of God by J.I. Packer
J.I. Packer is brilliant. I love his high view of both God and Scripture. In his classic he talks about God’s role in salvation and how we cooperate with God in preaching the gospel. It is a classic on evangelism and should be read by all.
Brothers We Are Not Professionals by John Piper
I love Pipers passion. I enjoyed this book because he tapped into a passion of mine. That passion is for Pastors to be Pastors rather than savvy CEO’s. The business culture that has crept into the church has helped pastors be better leaders which has some value to be sure. But at what cost? That cost I would say is the erosion of the care of people, the dependence on Holy Spirit. In the United States we have turned the office of pastor into a profession rather than a calling. We need strong leaders in the pastorate but the price the church is paying for that leadership is far too steep and doesn’t honor God. I loved how Piper passionately calls pastors and leaders to the things that matter most. If you are a pastor I beg you to read this book. I pray that it will convict you as much as it convicted me.
5 comments On The Ten Best Books of 2014
I always look forward to reading your book lists. As a pastor’s wife of 30 some years, I am very impressed with the last book on your list by Piper. I plan to get this for my husband. He has a pastor’s heart, and has never felt gifted in the CEO department, so I think this would be an encouragement to him. I appreciate your relevance to today’s culture, while at the same time you have an amazing and strong rooting in the things of God. When I have time to read your blogs, it is like a breath of fresh air.
Joan, you are far to kind. The fact that people are strengthened through the things God is working out in me is humbling to say the least. I appreciate your comment and hope your husband is encouraged. If there is anything the church needs is more pastors who have a pastor’s heart. Happy New Year.
Great list Sam. That Kevin DeYoung book has been so encouraging to me. As my kids get older, I may go back to it for family devotions.
Completely agree Jared. I can’t wait to re-read that book. Incredibly encouraging.
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