“Before that evening when Bob told me the gospel, I literally knew nothing of God or His Word. I’d never cracked open a Bible. But from the day of my conversion I couldn’t get enough of Scripture or Christian books. Not long after my conversion, I got a job at a Christian bookstore just so I could read as much as possible” (Living the Cross-Centered Life, p. 148).
Donald Whitney observes, “I’ve always found it to be true that growing Christians are reading Christians. For some it’s a habit they find hard to develop…But let me encourage you to find some time to read anyway, even if it’s no more than one page per day and one book per year” (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, p. 221).
Here’s a list of books I read in 2011. Some were deeply convicting or comforting; others were purely amusing and relaxing.
A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Kindle Edition by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (in progress)
The Bible by God (I’m currently reading through the New Testament)
The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
“But God…”: The Two Words at the Heart of the Gospel by Casey Lute
The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe and Jason Wright
Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life by Jimmy Davis
Getting Back in the Race: The Cure for Backsliding by Joel Beeke (in progress)
The Evangelicals: What They Believe, Where They Are, and Their Politics by Christopher Catherwood
Flip Flop Fly Ball: An Infographic Baseball Adventure by Craig Robinson
Heaven Revealed: What is it Like? What will we Do? … And 11 Other Things You’ve Wondered About by Paul Enns
How to Meet the Enemy: Arming Yourself for Spiritual Warfare by John MacArthur (in progress)
Intentional Parenting: Family Discipleship by Design by Tad Thompson
Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin by Brian Hedges
Living by God’s Promises by Joel Beeke (a couple chapters)
Navajo Code Talkers by Nathan Aaseng
The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies
Presentations in Action: 80 Memorable Presentation Lessons from the Masters by Jerry Weismann
The Organized Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Conquering Chaos by Staci Eastin
Pujols: More than the Game by Scott Lamb & Tim Ellsworth
Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys who are Sick of Porn by Tim Challies
The Sword: A Novel by Bryan Liftin (just started this one)
Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro
What is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert (in progress)
Each of these books had a unique role to play and shaped my thinking in new areas. It’s hard to know which influenced me the most. Apart from the bible, I think it’s a three-way tie between A Praying Life, Trusting God, and Heaven Revealed. All of them ministered to me deeply as my family went through so much suffering this year. They really became dear friends that brought comfort and food to my soul, and helped me better care for my wife and others.
So what have you been reading lately? What was your “Book of the Year”? Do you have any books you plan to read in 2012?