#1 – Jesus Continued by J.D. Greear. The subtitle of this book is “Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You.” Greear uses the statements Jesus makes to His disciples about it being better if He leaves them because the Comforter is coming (John 16:7) This book is a balance between two extremes: (1) the extreme of those who only teach the doctrine of the Spirit and (2) the extreme who simply claim to experience the Spirit and rarely refer to the Scripture’s teachings. One group doesn’t study doctrine enough; the other group thinks doctrine is enough. It is not a complete theology of the Holy Spirit but a practical guide in how to experience His presence. It is a book written for the laymen and not too technical that you cannot follow the author – like some books on the Holy Spirit. If you want a book on the Holy Spirit that is not just a list of facts, but also talks about the active ministry of the Spirit to believers and longing to have more of a sense of His presence, and what that looks like practically, this book is for you. BOOK RATING: 8 out of 10 stars.
#2 – The Holy Spirit: Contours of Christian Theology by Sinclair Ferguson. Unlike the previously mentioned book, this book is much more academic. While Greear’s book is more for the laymen, I would recommend Ferguson’s book for the scholar. What Ferguson seems to be concerned about isn’t the fascination that people have today with the Holy Spirit but their total lack of any understanding of who or what the Holy Spirit is. Ferguson seeks to correct a lack of understanding by educating his audience on the Person of the Spirit. It focuses more on theology and doctrine of the Spirit than the experience of the Spirit in one’s life. BOOK RATING: 8 out of 10 stars.
#3 – Creature of the Word: the Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson and Eric Geiger. I was a bit disappointed in this book. I found myself confused throughout about the book of it’s purpose. The author’s took a quote from Martin Luther where he referred to us (the church) as “creatures of the Word” and I previously blogged about the helpful insight, but the rest of the book didn’t seem to flow from that premise very well. And to add to that, there were a number of times when you read, “We are a Jesus-centered church” and then “we are a Gospel-centered” church. Are they the same or different? Again, no explanation. It would seem that the proponents of new Calvinism like to use the term “Gospel-centered” and the more traditional term would be “Christ-centered.” These authors use both interchangeably … I think … maybe not … okay, I’m confused. BOOK RATING: 6 out of 10 stars.
#4 – Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur. This book is vintage MacArthur. I think every book of his is a collection of expositions of various passages – just like this one. The book gives a synopsis of the lives of various Bible character that, from the human standpoint, were unlike to do anything significant in their life. And yet, God used them, because He is an all-wise, omnipotent God. The chapters include the stories of Enoch, Joseph, Miriam, Gideon, Samson, Jonathan, Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James, Mark, and Onesimus. If you are struggling with your purpose in life or know someone who is discouraged by their ineffectiveness, this book can be an uplifting tool to fight those battles. BOOK RATING: 7 out of 10 stars.
#5 – Storm Kings: America’s First Tornado Chasers by Lee Sandlin. My favorite reading so far of 2015! This book is a short compilation of the history of storm-chasing. It chronicles the earliest of men who were trying to discern the kinds of storms (e.g., tornadoes) were causing such destruction. I hadn’t realized that one of the earliest of storm chasers was Benjamin Franklin. The idea of storm-chasing was the foundation of modern day meteorology, which for us Kansans is a part of our daily lives. If you are interested in the science of predicting weather and would be entertained by the earliest means of how they tried to predict coming storms and even “stop them,” pick this book up. Or better yet, you can borrow mine! BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.