Here is a little something for readers and lovers of books. I read more than one book per week in 2011 and I recently read through the notes that I had made on each of these books. I have selected the ten books that made the biggest impact on me throughout the year and I would like to share that list with you.
Stan Gleason tweeted on the day I wrote this, “A book is only as good as where you ‘are’ when you read it.” That has proven to be true so many times for me. I have reread books that didn’t make much of an impact five years ago that spoke deeply to my present situation. That being said, these may not be the best books I read, but they all affected me deeply because I read them when I needed to read them.
In no particular order:
- Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God by Eric & Leslie Ludy. This is an excellent book on, you guessed it, prayer. The authors deal specifically with the attitude of prayer in the life of the believer.
- Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. This is a classic on Leadership from a Biblical perspective. I used this book often in lesson preparation for a leadership class I taught in Ghana.
- Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson. This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose. I will reread this book often as keeping margin in my life is something I struggle with.
- Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc by Kevin DeYoung. I found this book to be an interesting take on finding the will of God. I didn’t agree with everything, but my eyes were opened in a lot of ways.
- The Five Star Church: Serving God and His People with Excellence by Stan Toler and Alan Nelson. The Five Star Church reveals how you can pursue Christian excellence and uphold the Lord’s command to “honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). I don’t believe that we will have revival if we put all of the information in this book to practice. However, I do believe it is important that we create a culture of excellence and doing ministry to the best of our God-given ability.
- Living By the Book by Howard Hendricks. This is the best and most comprehensive book on Bible study that I have found. Not to mention, it is written by the teacher’s teacher, Dr. Howard Hendricks. This material should be taught in every church.
- Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence by Tim Sanders. If you will approach this book with the purpose of eating the meat and spitting out the bones, you will find some things worth eating. Tim Sanders teaches us to be rich in positivity and gratitude.
- Ashamed of the Gospel (3rd Edition): When the Church Becomes Like the World by John MacArthur. In this book John MacArthur challenges the seeker-sensitive, user-friendly, entertainment-oriented pragmatism that permeates the church today.
- One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. Ann has become one of my favorite authors. She has a style and a flair that will keep you coming back for more. In this book, she teaches us to live a life of gratitude regardless of our circumstances. Very good!
- Historical Drift: Must My Church Die? by Arnold Cook. The author identifies the cycle of drifting from the truths of Scriptures that many churches go through and how to reverse the drift. This is a great read for anyone in ministry.