My Top 8 Books of 2015

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I enjoyed so many of the books I read last year to narrow the list down 8 is a challenge indeed. But if had to recommend only 8 books out of the books I read last year these would be it. Each one challenged me personally in unique ways. Each of them is well worth the time it would take you to read them. Enjoy.

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True Spirituality – Francis Schaeffer
Francis Schaeffer is amazing. I only regret I never stumbled upon him sooner. He is best known for How Shall I Then Live also an excellent read but True Spirituality has to be my favorite book by Schaeffer to date. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from a book that is a must-read for any Christian.

In our culture, we are often told that we should not say no to our children. Indeed, in our society repression is often correlated with evil. We have a society that holds itself back from nothing, except perhaps to gain something more in a different area.

There is one difference between the practice of justification and sanctification. As justification deals with our guilt, and sanctification  deals with the problem of the power of sin in our lives as Christians, justification is once for all, and the Christian life is moment by moment

When I lack proper contentment, either I have forgotten that God is God, or I have ceased to be submissive to him.

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The Republic by Plato

A sad reality of the state of our school systems is we no longer teach our kids classically. They are not taught how to think but increasingly through programs like no child left behind and common core are taught what to think. I was never forced to read the classics in school and that is to my detriment.  The Republic should be mandatory for every student before they graduate. The Republic created categories in my mind that didn’t previously exist. It’s treatment of education and politics make it a must read for any person who wants to be a productive member of society. The Republic was an excellent book. It is definitely one of those books you read more than one time.

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Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcy

Nancy Pearcy has a gift that is definitely needed in our world today. Her ability to describe and articulate what a true biblical worldview should be is amazing. I highly recommend Finding Truth and Total Truth. For any High School senior going to College this fall these books are more than a good idea they are essential.

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Preaching by Timothy Keller

Tim Keller is my favorite preacher so a book by him on preaching for me was a rare treat. To see how he thinks and where he is coming from as he communicates is amazing. I have read several books on preaching. Keller’s book is by far the best I have read, he is practical, spiritual and overall helpful. If you communicate to any size group his stuff on preaching to the heart is gold.

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A Free People’s Suicide by Os Guinness

Os Guinness is becoming one of my favorite authors. His insight and classical background give him such depth in everything he says. A Free People’s Suicide is a thoughtful critic of the American experiment from the outside in. Guinness has a genuine love of America without being blinded to her weaknesses. He is approaching the topic of America’s freedom and responsibility as an outsider so he equally implicates Republicans and Democrats alike. Really balanced and very convicting. Great book

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Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower

Loved this book by Jack Klumpenhower. It was much needed among the growing number of books for youth pastors and kids pastors. He does an excellent job of explaining the need for gospel-centered teaching and then explains how we can do that more faithful in the classroom. I bought a copy for everyone who preaches to our kids or youth.

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John Newton: From disgrace to amazing grace by Jonathan Aitken

This was a lengthy treatment of the life of John Newton. A fantastic Biography that did not gloss over the awful life that Christ redeemed. The things Newton faced were staggering. I found this biography so informative and at the same time life-giving. It challenged me to love and trust Christ more. I left with a greater appreciation of the Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like John Newton and especially me.

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The Prodigal Church by Jared Wilson

I like Jared’s writing style he doesn’t pull any punches and he isn’t afraid to say things that I am still afraid to say. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from his book.

How we “do church” shapes the way people see God and his Son and his ways in the world

It is a customary mantra of ministry that healthy things grow. And yet sometimes healthy things shrink. This is certainly true of our bodies, when we’re eating right and exercising. I mean, the formula doesn’t always work in every circumstance. “Healthy things grow” sounds right. But cancer grows

But the only thing of value the church has to offer is the gospel. I believe that one result of the emerging Experience Economy will be a longing for authenticity. To the extent that the church stages worldly experiences, it will lose its effectiveness.

What was your favorite book of 2015?

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2 thoughts on “My Top 8 Books of 2015

  1. My top book for 2015 was Praying for Your Elephant: Boldly Approaching Jesus with Radical and Audacious Prayer, by Adam Stadtmiller. In looking back, I actually read this book in 2014. Here is my review from Amazon: Every once in awhile a Christian book comes along that really makes a difference in my life. This was one of them. The title comes from a prayer the author and a friend prayed more on a whim than anything. There was an offer to hire an elephant to bring to your youth group for something like $3000. They thought that would be cool, but didn’t seriously entertain the idea. Almost as an afterthought, they asked God to send them an elephant. Sometime later Adam was in Thailand on a mission’s trip with his youth group. The last night of the trip one of the kids came in yelling, “There’s an elephant in the courtyard.” Sure enough, there it was – God did send them an elephant, though not as they planned. From that experience, Adam developed this book on prayer, which challenges us to pray boldly. Yet this is not a “name it and claim it” book by any means. It is thoroughly balanced – and still manages to stretch your prayer relationship with God. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “The purpose behind asking prayer is not answers, but relationship with the Father.” He writes about crafting our prayers,road blocks, transforming prayer, voluminous asking, abiding prayer, aiming our prayers at the target and more. I read this book in conjunction with Adam’s 21 day podcast on Praying for Your Elephant. ( https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/praying-for-your-elephant/id950713934?mt=2 ) There were a lot of practical ways to apply the book in the podcast. I stretched the podcast out a lot longer than intended and was able to get more out of it. I usually listened right before my prayer time to 1/2 of the podcast, took notes, and then spent time in prayer. This worked really well for me. I developed (and still am) a list of 100 prayer requests in conjunction with the book and podcast. I have been amazed at how many prayers on that list have been answered. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who seriously wants to improve their relationship with God.