In the past I have made a list of what I believed to be the best books from different categories. After reading a few different lists this year, I decided to reshape this list. This year it will be a list of my favorite books from 2019. Below, you will see a short explanation of why these books were on the top of my list this year. Thanks for reading.
- The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church that Has Abandoned It by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel
I really enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the way Goggin and Strobel contrast the New Testament church and the business-model church so many Americans are engrossed in. With the public fall of so many popular pastors, we are seeing the need for faithful pastors who guard doctrine, live life with their people, and submit to the way of the Lamb. Second, I loved how these guys interviewed faithful old saints who have walked the way of the Lamb and have some things to teach us younger pastors. Great book that made me thankful to pastor a small church that is following the way of the Lamb.
2. Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament by Mark Vroegop
This book was very timely for our church. A couple months after reading this book, we went through an incredible time of sorrow and loss. Little did I know that this book was preparing me and the church for so much. I am so thankful for this book because it freed me and taught me how to lament and cry out to God in a way that isn’t grumbling. Great book in preparing yourself and others for the unavoidable experiences of injustice, sorrow, and loss.
3. Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
As an avid reader (and re-reader) of all things Lewis, I finally tackled this beautiful work. I could say quite a bit about this book but the main take away for me was learning how to love others with a more pure love. I tend to love people for my sake, but this taught me to love others for their own good. A must read.
4. The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home by Russell Moore
No one prepares you for the reality of being a family. Sure, we grow up in our own version of a family but the family we become (with our own spouse and kids) is different. Moore takes readers on a trek through family life, from early stages all the way to growing old together and dying). While weaving in his own personal stories, this cross-centered book gives great lenses to see God’s purpose for the family, in the good and the difficult.
5. Matthew, Disciple and Scribe: The First Gospel and Its Portrait of Jesus by Patrick Schreiner
Anyone who knows me knows that studying Old Testament allusions in the New Testament is kind of my thing. Schreiner has given the church a great gift with this contribution. I am not exaggerating when I say that the Gospel of Matthew is an exposition of the Old Testament, finding the fulfillment of all its shadows and types in the person of Christ. Abraham, Moses, David, and Israel were all types pointing to Jesus, and Matthew meant to write his Gospel in a way which makes these things clear and beautiful. Whether you are preaching through Matthew or studying it individually, add this book to your collection.
6. Sagan: My World by Peter Sagan
Remember, this list is my favorite books. This may be one you might not be dying to read but I loved it. As an avid cyclist, this autobiography of cyclings most exciting and colorful rider was such a fun read. It made me want to get out and ride faster and have more fun ascending and descending mountains.
7. Recovering Eden: The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes by Zack Eswine
At the beginning of 2019, I decided to spend 6 months in the book of Ecclesiastes. This was my favorite of all the books I had to help me on my journey. Eswine always rights with such a clear and pastoral heart for those who love Jesus but don’t feel all that amazing. This book should be mandatory reading for all students of the Bible because it trains us to be able to say some of those things we think but feel voicing around others. Yes, the world is cursed. Yes, life sometimes is awful. And yes, Jesus is among us walking us home.
8. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
My wife suggested this one. She read it years ago and once the movie came out, was reminded what a good story it was. Nothing life-changing but it was a fun ride along with a race-car driver and his dog. Cool story and emotional in good ways.
9. The New Testament in Its World by N.T. Wright and Michael Bird
Incredible! Wright and Bird have created a trek through the New Testament in a way that makes you feel like a citizen of the first century. To understand the New Testament in its proper context is helpful in numerous ways. If you are an Audible person and listen to books, buy this as a physical copy. The pictures, separate articles, etc. make this such a fun and helpful read. Although it’s 1,000 pages long, I flew through it out of pure enjoyment.
10. Judges For You by Timothy Keller
I read this short commentary alongside my daily reading through Judges. Keller is so good at explaining tough passages in a simplistic way and then driving home the gospel and some application in such a profound way. There were so many mornings where I would read something in this book and be fixed on it all day long. Great work, as usual by Keller.
I hope you enjoyed this list and hope that 2020 will be a great year of reading for you.