2014 Reading List

Here is a list of the books I read in 2014.  Feel free to ask questions about any of them, especially if you are looking for a new book to start!

Redefining LeadershipRedefining Leadership, by Joseph Stowell emphasizes that leadership ought to be driven by one’s character rather than one’s position and outcomes. As Stowell outlines what truly defines successful leadership he consistently points the reader back to the life, teachings, and example of Christ – our greatest model of leadership.

Stowell offers several goals and habits that a character-driven leader ought to embody:

-Prioritizing character as the primary goal of one’s life
-Embracing the transformational identity of a follower of Jesus
-Seeking to lead from the platform of moral authority
-Leading as a shepherd
-Leading as a servant
-Leading from a pure heart that is God-reliant, repentant, meet, and    righteous, and
-Living and leading to magnify Christ

 

Heart Wide OpenHeart Wide Open is the author’s account of how she began to pursue a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the Lord. After growing up as a church girl she fell into the all too common routine of settling for a flat and uninspired relationship with God.   Shellie shares her story of discovering what an intimate, abundant, and fulfilling life with Christ looks like.
I appreciated how Scripture was woven into each page. What an excellent reminder that God calls us to Himself not on the basis of who we are or what we’ve accomplished, but because of His great love for us. Too often, authors include plenty of their own experiences and opinions without including how the Bible speaks into that subject.
This book was a good reminder for me to continue to pursue greater levels of depths in my relationship with God.  It was a refreshing and easy read, but not a book that challenged me deeply or touched me in any sort of profound way.

 
Creeds and CouncilsKnow the Creeds and Councils is a guide of ecumenical history.  Justin Holcomb walks through centuries of Church history with the purpose of emphasizing how God directed the foundation of the Christian faith through Creeds, Councils, and Confessions.  Holcomb outlines the major creeds and councils in order to allow the reader to have a deeper understanding of the tradition of the Christian faith.
Each chapter provides the historic context of a certain creed or confession, an outline of important doctrinal decisions made, a section pertaining to the modern relevancy of that council, a series of discussion questions for group study, and suggestions for further reading.
This book in an excellent resource for both leaders and laypersons within the church.  Understanding how the church has wrestled with doctrine and faith throughout history gives us such a precious and helpful perspective on Scripture.  As you read this book it is clear that dependence on the Spirit’s revelation in our hearts of God’s Word is of utmost importance to the deepening of our faith and an accurate understanding of the nature and work of God.  It gave me such an appreciation for men and women who were so deeply committed to preserving God’s Word and defending the Christian faith.  Their hard work has paved the way for so many after them and has given us a rich proclamation of the greatness of our God!

greaterMost of us aren’t in danger of ruining our lives.
We’re in danger of wasting them.

Are you unsatisfied with the kind of Christian life you’ve settled for? If you are tired of cul-de-sac Christianity or self-help pseudo solutions, today is the day God’s greater plan for your life begins in full force:

Greater than the labels you were given when you were young.

Greater than the cynicism that settles in as you get older.

Greater than the dreams you’ve dreamed for yourself.

Greater than even the greatest moment you’ve had thus far.

In Greater, Pastor Steven Furtick draws on the biblical story of Elisha to give you the confidence to know that nothing is impossible with God, the clarity to see the next step He’s calling you to take, and the courage to do anything He tells you to do

if godEvery one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God–Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

hearing jesusIn this paradigm-shifting book, Nancy Guthrie gently invites readers to lean in along with her to hear Jesus speak understanding and insight into the lingering questions we all have about the hurts of life: What was God’s involvement in this, and why did he let it happen? Why hasn’t God answered my prayers for a miracle? Can I expect God to protect me? Does God even care? According to Nancy, this questioning is not a bad thing at all but instead an opportunity. It’s a chance to hear with fresh ears the truth in the promises of the gospel we may have misapplied. It lets us retune our souls to the purposes of God we may have misunderstood.

 

 

bonhoefferIn the decades since his execution by the Nazis in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor, theologian, and anti-Hitler conspirator, has become one of the most widely read and inspiring Christian thinkers of our time. Now, drawing on extensive new research, Strange Glory offers a definitive account, by turns majestic and intimate, of this modern icon.

Charles Marsh brings Bonhoeffer to life in his full complexity for the first time. With a keen understanding of the multifaceted writings, often misunderstood, as well as the imperfect man behind the saintly image, here is a nuanced, exhilarating, and often heartrending portrait that lays bare Bonhoeffer’s flaws and inner torment, as well as the friendships and the faith that sustained and finally redeemed him. Strange Glory is a momentous achievement.

true beautyWhat is true beauty?

Whether it’s age-defying makeup or the latest diet fad, our culture continually tells women that beauty consists of flawless skin and a supermodel figure.

In True Beauty, Carolyn Mahaney and her daughter Nicole Whitacre direct us to the truth of God’s Word, where we encounter an entirely different—and refreshingly liberating—standard of beauty.

Offering a path to freedom from the false idols that society, the Devil, and our sinful hearts so often create, this encouraging book will help you exchange the temporary glamour of pop culture for the unfading beauty of godliness.

 

StormStorm: What Jesus Is Saying to His Church is a book for those who are concerned about the challenges that face believers today. Using powerful stories of people who have been transformed by Christ, it will strike a note of encouragement and hope, helping Christians to remember that a life surrendered to Christ in the midst of a church transformed by his presence cannot be defeated. No amount of spiritual darkness or cultural pressure can drown out the life-giving power of the gospel.Storm: What Jesus Is Saying to His Church is a book for those who are concerned about the challenges that face believers today. Using powerful stories of people who have been transformed by Christ, it will strike a note of encouragement and hope, helping Christians to remember that a life surrendered to Christ in the midst of a church transformed by his presence cannot be defeated. No amount of spiritual darkness or cultural pressure can drown out the life-giving power of the gospel.

 

91Ya1SOyOEL._SL1500_Is it possible to reconcile God’s sovereignty with human choice? This is one of the most perplexing theological questions. It’s also one of the most personal.

In hand in Hand, Randy Alcorn says that the traditional approach to this debate has often diminished our trust in God and his purposes. Instead of making a one-sided argument from select verses, Alcorn examines the question in light of all Scripture. By exploring what the whole Bible says about divine sovereignty and human choice, hand in Hand helps us…

· Carefully and honestly examine the different views on this issue
· Gain a deeper understanding of God
· Appreciate God’s design in providing us the freedom of meaningful choice
· See the value in better understanding what we cannot fully understand
· Learn how to communicate about the issue in clear and compassionate ways
· More fully experience the unity Christ intends for his Church

A careful guide through Scripture, hand in Hand shows us why God’s sovereignty and meaningful human choice work together in a beautiful way.

messy beautifulLove gets messy.  Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come along to threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging our ideas for his, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.  Perhaps you’ve picked up this book because your marriage is messy already-now is the time to make a change. If your marriage is tidy, thank God-there is no better time to prepare for the future.

Messy Beautiful Love is an invitation to that obedience. An invitation to surrender. The cynical world says marriages don’t last. God knows better. Tune out the world and tune in to him. When you do that, a beautiful marriage is not only possible-it’s inevitable. That’s something to be excited about!

apostles creedThe Apostles’ Creed is the oldest, most beautiful succinct summary of Christian beliefs. Though often recited in unison during worship services, the creed begins with the phrase “I believe,” making it a deeply personal profession of faith. But when was the last time you examined it closely?

In Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, an excerpt from Growing in Christ, noted Bible scholar and author J. I. Packer explains the meaning and implications of each phrase of this great creed. Each concise chapter serves as an invitation to dive further into the creed-and as a result, into the essentials of the Christian faith-by concluding with discussion questions and Bible passages for further study.

 

jesusAuthor J.D. Greear asks those questions because throughout his Christian life he felt disconnected to God and unsure about how to interact with him. Although he had learned a lot of truths about God, he sensed very little relationship with him—at least, not the dynamic, two-way relationship he really wanted. He tried to have such a relationship, but all of God’s work seemed stockpiled in the past: he created the world, died on a cross, and left a Bible. God seemed like a busy teacher who had given an assignment and then stepped out of the room, leaving students to get the work done on their own.

But Greear discovered it doesn’t have to be like that. Not at all. In clear and practical language, he explains how any follower of Jesus can have a satisfying, powerful relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

While many books about the Holy Spirit get stuck in secondary questions that divide believers, The God Factor focuses on a central, truth that unites us: God wants to be vitally present in and through his people. This truth, though central, is sadly neglected. This generation of Christians—mission-driven but burned out, weary, and longing for joy—desperately needs to recover the dynamic presence of God. And the good news is that God wants us to have exactly that.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s