The 10 best books I read this year.

I set a goal for myself this year to read 52 books I ended up reading 42, even though I didn’t reach my goal I read more books than I typically did because I had an agressive goal. Here were the 10 best books I read all year.

The Meaning of Marriage

Meaning of Marriage

This was by far the best book I have ever read on marriage. Practical, insightful and challenging. This book is a must read for every  married couple as well as every sigle adult. Kellers chapter on singleness was the best chapter I have ever read on singleness. So powerful and so challenging.

 

 

 

 

Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer
Loved this book. Was so inspired by the faith, trust and passion for the Gospel. The scariest thing for me was reading this book and seeing the startling similarities between the US and Germany. It was so encouraging and challenging reading Bonhoeffer’s life. I pray that I have the same clarity of thought and conviction of faith he had.

 

 

 

Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars

Silos, Politics and Turf Wars

 

One of the biggest challenges most churches face is ministry silos. It’s awful but most churches are made up of ministries that are far more loyal to each other than the overall vision. If a church staff is going to accomplish what God has called them to accomplish takes hearts that beat together and eyes that see the same thing.

 

 

 

Death By Meeting

death by meeting

 

Death by meeting was a fantastic read. In ministry much of your life is spent in meetings learning how to hold a good, productive meeting is essential no matter who you lead.

 

 

 

 

The Reason for God.

The Reason for God

Loved the reason for God. I am not a big apologetics fan.  However I Really liked how Keller clearly articulated the main objections people have to the gospel. There is much of it I plan on re-reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Life Together

life together

 

This was the first of many Bonhoeffer books I plan on reading. What a fantastic gem this is on community. There are many books out there that talk about small group and community. They have lots of value but if you work with small groups or in forming the community aspect of your church do yourself a favor and read this brilliant dissection of true Christian community.

 

 

 

Gospel Powered Parenting

Gospel Powered Parenting

 

Gospel Powered Parenting is easily one of two best books on parenting I have ever read. Loved how he explains parenting in light of the gospel. He explains that the grace of God can only be truly understood in light of the wrath of God. I think I underlined something on each page of this book. Such a good book.

 

 

 

The War of Art

The War of Art

 

The War of Art was fantastic. It has a bit of language in it, but if you are a creative you need to read this book. Pressfield does a masterful job of explaining the primary reason we don’t write, create and innovate. He explains how to push through it and create what you have always wanted to create. It was very challenging  There isn’t a day I don’t face resistance and there isn’t a day I don’t think about what Pressfield said to do to overcome that resistance.

 

 

A Tale of Three Kings.  

A Tale of Three Kings

This is one of my top 10 books of all time. I try and reread this book every year. If you are a young leader its a great reminder of how to respond to the authority God has put in your life. If you are an older leader is a great reminder how to lead in a way that insures you do not create an environment that is conducive to rebellion in the hearts of the young leaders you lead. Really such a great book. Short, quick, powerful read.

The influence of parents’ church attendance on their children.

I recently read a parenting book that was literally one of the best parenting books I have ever read it’s called Gospel Powered Parenting. (Here is a review my friend Dustin Nickerson did of it.) I loved it because it focused on the Gospel and Jesus not simply behavior modification. I also loved how it called men to be fathers. We have an epidemic in our country of fatherlessness. Our homes and our country are in dire need of men to be what God has called them to be. I believe the same thing to be true about mothers but I don’t see the need as severe. The difference between men and women is that women step up when men step out and society is pushing men far to many of us are advocating our responsibilities.

In working with kids you see the evidence of fatherlessness everywhere. Fathers who have left home for good, fathers who have checked out mentally and emotionally but are still there physically. Godly men in our culture have to do more than just be good fathers to their kids the need is to great they need to be fathers to their kids and to someone else. It doesn’t really matter who are next president is if we don’t have a renewal of the Gospel and fatherhood our country will never recover from it’s self inflicted wounds.

Here is a quote from Gospel Powered Parenting about the role fathers play in determining if kids will end up being church attenders.

“God holds fathers accountable for parenting because he has given them inordinate influence over their children. The Bible presumes, in the language of the Puritans, that fathers are a mirror in which their children look to put on their spiritual dress.
The June 2003 issue of Touchstone magazine published the conclusions of a Swiss study that confirm this proposition. It examined the connection between a parent’s church attendance and the future likelihood that his or her children would also attend church.  (below are their findings in graph form.)

Guest Book Review: Gospel Powered Parenting.

gospel-powered-parenting-big

Have you ever read a book and it’s like the author is reading your mind? Well, I am 40 pages into Gospel Powered Parenting and so far I keep calling my wife over and telling her to read whole sections. It has to be one of the best parenting books I have ever read. My friend Dustin Nickerson a children’s pastor at Mars Hill Seattle wrote a great review. I have posted part of it please click through to read it all.

Here is his review:

“I am convinced that the gospel is sufficient to answer all our parenting questions.”

I found this quote on the first page of the introduction of William P. Farley’s Gospel Powered Parenting and was immediately captivated.

Really? All of them? A colicky newborn, a defiant preschooler, and a prodigal teenager?  The gospel has the answers I need as a parent to deal with all these situations and more?

Farley submits that it does, and he does not disappoint unpacking how in this fantastic book. Honestly, this is the book I’ve been waiting for as a kid’s pastor. A book that never leaves the foot of the cross, and sees there in the gospel the wisdom and power we need to parent our children.

If you’re looking for a how-to manual, an index of sorts of how to handle specific and unique situations, this is not your book.

In Farley’s own words, “The emphasis of this book differs from that of many other Christian books on parenting. Most emphasize techniques. By contrast, Gospel-Powered Parenting­ will emphasize the parents’ relationship with God, with each other, and with their children, in that order. The emphasis of this book is that parenting is not primarily about doing the right things. It is about having a right relationship with God – a relationship informed by the Gospel.” –p. 51

He adds to that same idea later, “Have you ever noticed most books on parenting – Christian and secular – emphasize technique? … This book will take another approach. I want to change your thinking, especially how you think about God and yourself. If I’m successful, the techniques will take care of themselves. That is because what we do is a by-product of how we think. People change their behavior as their understanding of God and man change.” –p.69

4 things I love about this book

#1 Gospel, Gospel, Gospel.
It’s in the title, it’s on every page.

For example, Farley says that the fight against the world’s influence on our children will be won or lost based on parents understanding of the Gospel.

He says, “We change their hearts by teaching the gospel, modeling the gospel, and centering our homes on the gospel. The Gospel, rightly understood and modeled, makes Christianity attractive. Effective parents make the gospel so attractive that the world cannot get a foothold on their children’s hearts.” –p. 24

#2 Mom and Dad, it’s on us.
“God is sovereign, but parents are responsible. –p.22

And Farley really focuses in on dads, their presence, and their love of the Gospel. “When men abdicate, their children suffer. When men assume their proper role, parenting thrives.” –p.126

He continues “God holds fathers accountable for parenting because he has given them inordinate influence over their children. The Bible presumes, in the language of the Puritans, that fathers are a mirror in which their children look to out on their spiritual dress.” –p.129

To finish reading his review please click here.

If you want to buy the book here is the amazon link.