Each year I seek to read more and more, and over the course of 2014 I read some amazing books, some even, that aren’t on this list. As a disciple of Christ, a continual learner and follower, we are to soak up biblical content, not as hearers only but as doers of it. Immerse yourself in scripture and resources of His followers and may it allow you a deeper love and understanding for the things of God.
This list is not all encompassing nor is it in order of importance. Enjoy, I did!
1. Creature of the word – Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson and Eric Geiger
I began reading this at the start of 2014 and it hit me in a time where worship and meditating on scripture was stagnant. This book is challenging in its call both to corporate worship of scripture as well as personal worship and meditation on scripture.
Within the first chapter Chandler, Patterson, and Geiger assert that we, as Christians, are to be constantly and permanently affixed and planted in the Word of God, and that the very same word of God breathes life into the church and believer, and not the other way around.
This book aided in my commitment and passion of God’s word and allowed me to see the priority it deserves within the life of the Church and all its activities.
2. Multiply – Francis Chan
Multiply is a recommitment to New Testament evangelism and church growth, but Chan’s primary goal was, as is the scripture, to point others to Christ and to make disciples…who then go and make other disciples.
Beginning in OT scripture, Chan allows the reader’s frame of reference to affix itself to the overarching theme of scripture; Jesus Christ as messiah and savior of a fallen humanity. This book is structured specifically with small groups in mind as it implements questions and video resources to give a better experience.
I enjoyed this book and was challenged by the great commission call to go and make disciples of all nations and teaching them all that Christ has commanded us.
3. Follow Me – David Platt
Similar to Multiply, Platt’s “Follow Me” is a question of what it looks like to follow Jesus, what did it look like in Bible times, and what does it look like now.
This simple two word call, “follow me” only carries as much weight as the one making the call. In our case, as Christians, the one calling is the creator God. That changes everything, and our commitment to following Him should reflect His greatness, yet often falls short.
Challenging throughout Follow Me was simple yet complex as Platt’s other books would lead you to expect, but his passion for Jesus is shown through his writing and made it contagious. Pick up this book and explore its detail with a friend.
4. Expositional Preaching – David Helm
Up until reading this book I didn’t know what expositional meant, I even debated the difference between exegetical and expositional to find out that they are very similar and almost synonymous. As a young preacher I seek to be biblically accurate, and that entails context, both historically and culturally. I understand the weight of the message being proclaimed as well as the weight on the preacher to be accurate to the text, but through reading this I was convicted of flaws within my preaching but then encouraged to proclaim and prepare faithfully.
This book prepared me to rely on the authority of scripture and not some fancy illustration. It allowed me to see blind spots and promoted a more precise desire for glorifying God through the proclamation of His word. It ignited a passion to preach what the scripture says and nothing else, and elevated the process by which I study. If you’re a preacher, going to be a preacher, or studier of the word I would encourage you to pick up this book.
5. Church membership – Jonathan Leeman
As a future church planter I love to see different dynamics within church culture. But as it pertains to the New Testament definition of the Church I believe Leeman has hit the nail on the head. Defining its role as the embassy of the Kingdom of Christ he focuses on our role to be Christ’s ambassadors, and that we do so most productively within the community of believers.
In the last few chapters he discusses the responsibility within the governing church, and to what extent, it should discipline its members. It is concise and helpful for anyone within a church, be it staff, pastor, deacon, member, or visitor.
At the end of reading this book personally I encouraged our church staff to read it together and examine where we as a church are being called to repentance in our practices as we seek to glorify God in Christ in totality. Read this and keep it for referencing purposes.
These above books are five of ten of my favorite books. I would encourage you to check them out and explore them as you seek to follow Christ more fully.
Look for part two next week as I write about the last five:
6. Your first two years in youth ministry – Doug Fields
7. Sustainable youth ministry – Mark Devries
8. Gospel Centered Teaching – Trevin Wax
9. The Meaning of Marriage – Tim Keller
10. God’s at War – Kyle Idelman