Last night one of my sons asked me for book recommendations for the new year. That discussion inspired this blog.
I used to write a “Top 10 Books of the Year” blog at the end of each year. While I did not stop reading, for some reason, I stopped blogging that list. Here are some of my previous lists:2012,2011,2010,2008. Books on my Top 10 lists are not necessarily the best books, the most popular books, or the most important books. They are simply the ten books that impacted me the most in the past twelve months.
Now (after no one noticing that my list disappeared), I am reviving it. Here’s the 2016 list, in random order.
1. The Witness of Preachingby Thomas G. Long. If you are called to preach, do your congregation a favor and study this book. If you are a church member, buy a copy for your pastor. If you don’t want him to know it’s from you, just quietly slip it in his briefcase or office. I have read a lot of preaching books in my lifetime, and this is one of the best.
2. Eat this Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual ReadingbyEugene Peterson. If you love reading or studying the Bible, you will love this book. If you have a difficult time reading, studying, understanding, or interpreting the Bible, this book might just change your life. Eugene Peterson is the best in the business at making spiritual and scholarly concepts accessible to semi-spiritual, non-scholarly readers.
3.The Gothic Enterprise: A Guide to Understanding the Medieval Cathedralby Robert A. Scott. Last year, I preached a sermon and posted a blog inspired by this book. If you liked the sermon or blog, you might enjoy this book.Here’s the blog. While not a “Christian book,” it positively impacted my view of worship as much as any book I have ever read.
4.One Man’s View of the Worldby Lee Kuan Yew. While I do not always agree with his view of the world, I have always been inspired by Lee Kuan Yew’s vision, clarity, and commitment to excellence. This book presents Singapore’s long-time Prime Minister’s no-holds-barred opinions about America, Japan, China, Asia, Europe, and the Arab Spring. It not only addresses the past and present, but it also gives a glimpse into the possible future.
5.Seven Days that Divide the Worldby John C. Lennox.Written by everyone’s favorite Northern Irish philosopher, apologist, and professor of mathematics, this book is a must-read forcampus missionaries and university students.I appreciate it when really really really smart people write in a way that makes complicated ideas simple to grasp.
6.Spiritual Formationby Henri Nouwen. If you are not familiar withthe concept of “Spiritual Formation,” or if you have never reada book by Henri Nouwen, this book is a great place to start. The Dutch priest, pastor, philosopher, psychologist, author, and professor (Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame) wrote over 40 books on Christian spirituality that have been published in over twenty-two languages.
7.Succession: Are You ReadybyMarshall Goldsmith. I thought I was ready, or at least getting close to being ready. But after a couple chapters of this book, it became painfully obvious that I am not ready and the organizations I lead are not even almost ready. I have much work to do to prepare the next leaders to lead Every Nation and Victory and to prepare Every Nation and Victory for its next leaders. If you lead a church, ministry, or business, please read and reread this book. After you finishSuccession, I suggest you also read,Next: Pastoral Successionthat Worksby Warren Bird.
8.The Power DestinybyJoe Onosai. The much-anticipated autobiography by my friend, Pastor Joe Onosai is filled with brutally honest stories of sin, redemption, violence, love, pain, and healing. Most of all, it is a book about how God uses life-giving relationships to shape his leaders. I can’t wait to read the sequel!
9.Man Myth Messiah: Answering History’s Greatest QuestionbyRice Broocks.This follow-up to the bookGod’s Not Deadpresents and examines the evidence for the historical Jesus with an emphasis on the historicity of the resurrection. An important and informative book in an age of ignorance and skepticism.
10.Better TogetherbyRoger Pearce. Powerful stories of grace, forgiveness, and racial reconciliation in the shadow of South Africa’s ugly history of ethnic division. This book offers hope and a way forward for campuses, cities, and nations anywhere in the world that are experiencing racial tension. I hope to see European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and North American versions of this book. Well done, Roger!
Honorable mention (a.k.a. snubs) that I’m glad I read, but did not quite make my Top 10:The Source of Lifeby Jurgen Moltmann,On Christian Doctrineby Saint Augustine,Overhearing the Gospelby Fred B. Craddock,Preaching the Storyby Jeffrey Frymire,More Power in the Pulpitby Cleophus LaRue,Almost Christianby Kenda Creasy Dean, andMarius’ Mules Book VII: The Great Revoltby S.J.A. Turney.