I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d like in the past year, especially some of the heavier theological works that I have waiting on my shelf. I’m told this is an occupational hazard of church planters, but one I want to rectify in the coming year.
Still, it’s been a good year for some meaningful books. Here are the top dozen I’ve read this year.
Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being — This is a brutally honest and helpful book about ministry and leadership. It’s a book to be savored, and I’m going to read it again in the coming year. I wish I had read this book years ago.
Rhythms of Grace: How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel — We’ve had the privilege of launching a church and designing a worship service from the start. This book has been immensely helpful as a guide to our thinking. It’s both theological and practical. Bonus: the Kindle version is on sale right now.
Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians — Carson is a great expositor, and this book is a very helpful exposition of the text. So practical, biblical, and helpful.
Come Back, Barbara — I don’t know of a book that exposes the hidden idols of a pastor and father as much as this one. It’s a heartbreaking but helpful story of the power of the gospel, and a peek inside the family of Jack Miller. It’s a quick but penetrating read.
Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace — Porn is a huge problem, and the solution is not more law, but more grace. This book is the best I’ve read on this topic, and should be on every pastor’s — perhaps every man’s — bookshelf.
The Power of Less: The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life — One of our greatest problems is that we have too much of everything. I’ve been working on implementing the ideas in this book, which is tougher than it seems. Very helpful.
Succeeding When You're Supposed to Fail: The 6 Enduring Principles of High Achievement — Some people seem to rise above adversity against all odds. This book examines the reasons why. There are some good principles here that should be, but aren’t, common sense.
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church — I can’t think of a more informative and entertaining book about the politics of the Catholic church. I read this during the papal transition, and it helped me understand some of the workings of the Vatican.
Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness — I saw the movie at the Toronto Film Festival, and the book is just as good. It’s hard to believe that former enemies like this could become friends.
Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables — Remember Veggie Tales? This is an inside look at the rise and fall of talking vegetables, and was an entertaining summer read.
Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting — This book isn’t so much about weight loss as it is about rediscovering and enjoying real food. Food is one of God’s great gifts, and one to be savored. This book will help you do that.
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals — I learned a ton from this book, and Michael Pollan is a great writer. This book is proof that you can educate and entertain at the same time.
I have lots more great books on the shelf. I can’t wait to read more of the amazing books that keep coming out.