Ten from 2011: Books

I read more books in 2011 than any other year of mylife.  I read books that a guy likeme was supposed to like but I ended up hating, I read books that disturbed meand I read books that helped me to understand the gospel a little better.  As usual, many of the books on thislist were written and published long before 2011 but these are ten that Ibenefited from in 2011 and, for one reason or another, would recommend to you in2012. 
This isn’t the kind of book that you take with youto the beach.  I read it overseveral months as I prepared to preach through the book of Ecclesiastes lastyear.  It is a very accessible andpractical read.  If you are apastor you need to preach through Ecclesiastes and you need to use this book.
This book falls into the disturbing category.  Jeannette Walls’ memoir details herchildhood under an alcoholic father, an enabling mother and the wreckage theyleft behind them.  This one is notfor the squeamish. 
Keller is one of those rare authors who is able totake complex concepts and break them down for the common reader.  This book on the Gospel of Mark is noexception.
Here’s another one from the disturbingcategory.  Pat Tillman was an elite defensive back in the NFL and a patriot.  After 9/11 he walked away from the game he loved to defendthe country he loved as an Army Ranger. The friendly fire that killed Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and thepolitical maneuverings that hid the facts regarding his death from his family aren’tnear as disturbing as the image Krakauer paints of Tillman using his dyingwords to affirm that there is no God. This is not a Christian book but it should inspire Christians to taketheir disciple-making mandate more seriously. 
Krakauer is an excellent author and that excellence is on full display in this book.
This was one of the most beneficial books I read in2011.  Altrogge’s theme of findingcontentment in Christ was spot on. This book is short, powerful and much needed.
I got in trouble for reading this book while I wassitting through a jury selection process.  The bailiff told me that if I put it up he wouldn’t take itaway.  It was the 4thgrade all over again.  The trial Iwas waiting on involved a husband and wife who were splitting up and fightingover who gets what.  I wish I hadlet the bailiff take the book up and give it to them.
This book is now required reading for couples Icounsel.  It’s another quick readthat packs a big punch.
Keep your eye on this Spurgeon kid.  If he keeps at it I see big things instore for him.
Spurgeon’s classic is the best pastoral ministriesbook I’ve ever read.  If you are apastor, elder or deacon you are doing massive harm to yourself with every daythat goes by without having read Lectures to My Students. 
You can use this book for bicep curls while you’reaway from your home gym but don’t let the size intimidate you.  This biography reads like a thrillerand reminds us of the importance of taking the gospel seriously with our head,heart and hands.
This is another fast paced historical thriller thatis by far the most entertaining book I’ve ever read.  I hope the movie does it justice.
My friend Marty Duren recommended this to me andI’m glad he did.  He called it agame-changer and he was right. This book forces the reader to wrestle with the possibilities thatgiving the poor family in the community a bunch of Christmas presents everyyear may be doing more harm than good. But this isn’t a book that just talks about what’s wrong.  There are real solutions offered herefor how churches and individuals can engage in strategic generosity.
We question our government for simply throwingmoney at needs and our questions are valid.  But we are no different when we do the same thing with aJesus stamp.  True Christ-honoringgenerosity is thoughtful generosity and this book helps with that.
If you care about helping those in need you mustread this book and talk about it with those who are helping you in your vision.