I am no Al Mohler or Doug Heck when it comes to reading a multitude of books, but I do want to give God glory for challenging, educating, convicting and edifying me this year through books like these:
- None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us by Jen Wilkin. Every woman should read this book. Every husband should but this book for his wife. Every boyfriend should make sure his girlfriend read this books. Fathers should work through this book with their daughters. Wilkin does a phenomenal job comparing the limitations of man with the unlimited nature of God. Her humor and creativity is very inviting as an author. I looked forward to reading this book every time I opened it.
- Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Relationship by Bob Green. Up until now, I have never read a single book or study for premarital counseling where I found everything I wanted to cover. This book is my new “one-stop shop” for premarital counseling. The book in structured in such a way for a counselor to take an engaged couple through a series of subjects (e.g., love, problem-solving, roles, expectations, communication, finances, church, and sex) and how to keep Christ at the center of each area. The author has provided some very helpful discussion questions/homework for the couple and mentor that will help structure the counseling sessions. I cannot wait to use it with an engaged couple.
- The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. This book has been on my “must read” list from the 1st time I heard of it. And the book didn’t disappoint. You can follow this autobiography of a once liberal-feminist-lesbian English professor who now is a Reformed pastor’s wife. The hospitality of Christian people helped win her to the Lord and she is now taking advantage of her abilities and contact to spread the Gospel in a world that many Christians are still trying to figure out how to penetrate.
- The Vine Project: Shaping Your Ministry Culture Around Disciple-Making by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. After reading their previous book The Trellis and the Vine, I was left asking, “Now what?” This book answers that question. What is so valuable about this book are the practical suggestions for helping re-shape your church into a disciple-making church. The evaluation questions and charts are second-to-none. I would buy and recommend the book for that portion of the book. Every elder and deacon needs to buy this book and “take it to heart.”
- A Theology of Biblical Counseling: the Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry by Heath Lambert. Not since Jay Adams’ Competent to Counsel has there been such an insightful book on the “why” of biblical counseling. In this work, you will find the author explaining how Scripture, common grace, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, man, sin, suffering, salvation, and the church impact how one approaching a counseling relationship. Each of those areas of theology determine how we help others. The author of this book does an outstanding job showing us how.
- J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone by Iain H. Murray. This is THE biography of J.C. Ryle. As a Ryle-fan, I have read most of his works and the best of his biographies. Biographically-speaking, I have been disappointed in the previous authors, but Murray’s writing expertise when it comes to church history makes this book shine. Murray does a good job filling in the gaps biographically where others have fallen short. And Murray answered a question for me I have wondered about Ryle’s lack of background information in most works: Ryle’s library burned about 50 years after his death, which consumed many of his diaries, personal notes, etc. You need to read this book about a humble, simple man of God. Ryle will inspire you!
- Lord, Change Me by James MacDonald. Chapter 10 on the subject of friendship is worth the price of the book. Very few times in my reading experience have I read such encouraging and helpful words on the nature of biblical friendship. And the other 9 chapters on how to be a Christian who helps people change and how to change one’s own sinful habits is outstanding. I can’t think of a Christian who would not benefit from this book. I am tempted to make it required reading for every counselee I engage with.
- Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says about Sexual Orientation and Change by Denny Burk and Heath Lambert. What a great resource this is on such an important topic! Not only is the explanation of same-sex attraction helpful, but the chapter explaining the differences between external and internal temptations was foundational to my own understanding of same-sex desires. You need to read this short book if you have friends struggling with their gender or wanting to have a gender-reassignment. The final chapter lists a number of helpful “how to’s” – helping you engage and befriend those in this stage of gender confusion.
- The Life Story of Keith Green by Melody Green and David Hazard. Keith Green has long been one of my favorite musicians in church history. Despite his charismatic bent, he preached Lordship salvation, deplored the prosperity Gospel and loved to preach the Gospel in his music. I love his honesty, his passion for His Savior, and his inspiring style of worship.
- Word-Filled Women’s Ministry edited by Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson. I had never read a book on women’s ministry until I read this one. And I don’t know if I ever have to read another one on this subject either. It was that good and that helpful. You can and will benefit from this book if your church is looking to launch a women’s ministry, is the brainstorming stage of writing out a philosophy for women’s ministry, or have had a women’s ministry established for a number of years. This book is a philosophy of why churches need to invest in their women teaching one another.