I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.
KEEP CHRISTIANITY WEIRD – by Michael Frost
Frost is encouraging the church to return to its counter-cultural beginnings. Instead of trying to blend in under the guise of being relevant, he encourages believers to be different. This is not about being strange to be noticed, but to do things differently than people expect. This is about actually caring for the needy, and being okay with doing things that the average person thinks is strange, if it means being more like Jesus. Frost writes, “Just as business and education is fostering greater creativity and innovation, the church is in a phase of rewarding compliance and conservatism and suppressing eccentricity.” (p. 16) We need to reward creativity, not “toeing the line”. We need out of the box thinkers and leaders.
Frost wants believers to come back to being different in a way that points people to Jesus and a proper understanding of God. “In a world of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, keeping Christianity weird involves recovering our strange belief in a scary God who can’t ever be fully known, who doesn’t need us, whose face we can’t look upon, and whose name we can’t utter.” (p. 158)
This is a great book for anyone who wants their mediocre Christianity challenged!
I recently came across a book titled, 501 Must-Read Books. I have no idea how the author came up with their 501 books, but it made me think: what books would I include on a “must-read” list?
I was given a chance to consider this after moving into a new house recently. As I was setting up my office I was trying to down-size my library. There were some books that would obviously not make the list, as I had an easy time throwing them in my “donate-to-the-thrift-store” box. Others made me pause and think about whether it was a book that I might want to glance through again. Some easily made it onto my shelves because they had made an impact on my life and ministry and I did not want to part with them.
Here are twenty-eight books that have impacted me, in no specific order:
The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn’t Exist, Craig Groeschel (2010)
The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times, Robert J. Morgan (2014)
Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas (1996)
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, by Jim Cymbala (1997)
A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer, by John Piper (1997)
Visioneering: God’s blueprint for developing and maintaining personal vision, by Andy Stanley (1999)
Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church, by Nelson Searcy with Jennifer Dykes Henson (2007)
Leading On Empty, by Wayne Cordeiro (2009)
And: The Gathered and Scattered Church, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (2010)
The Empowerment Pivot: How God is Redefining Our View of Normal, by Douglas A. Balzer (2020)
Divine Appointments, by Bob Jacks and Matthew R. Jacks, with Pam Mellskog (2002)
Who Moved My Pulpit? by Thom S. Rainer (2016)
Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend, by Andy Stanley (2012)
No Little Places: The Untapped Potential of the Small-Town Church, by Ron Klassen and John Koessler (1996)
How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor, by Steve R. Bierly (1988)
The Monday Morning Church: Out of the Sanctuary and Into the Streets, by Jerry Cook (2006)
Communicating for Change, by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones (2006)
The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving, by Randy Alcorn (2001)
The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective, by R, Paul Stevens (1999)
With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God, by Skye Jethani (2011)
Red Moon Rising: How 24-7 Prayer is Awakening a Generation, by Pete Greig and Dave Roberts (2003)
Prayer Coach: For All Who Want to Get Off the Bench and Onto the Praying Field, by James L. Nicodem (2008)
Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills, and Heart of a Christian Coach, by Tony Stoltzfus (2005)
Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking all the Rurals, by Shannon O’Dell (2010)
Don’t Invite Them to Church: Moving From a Come and See to a Go and Be Church, by Karen Wilk (2010)
Boondock Church: Small town – Massive Potential, Tony Warriner (2019)
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip & Dan Heath (2010)
Every Man’s Battle, Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey (2000)
Those are 28 of my favorites, to name a few. Some of these have impacted me recently, others impacted me years ago, and I still remember being challenged as I read them.
If you were to create your own “must-read” books list, which books would you include?
Let me know in the comments – I’m always interested in recommencations!