Good Reads: The 2012 Edition

Here are the best books that I read in 2012.

11.  The Transforming Power of the Gospel, Jerry Bridges

There have been a lot of books released lately with the word gospel in the title.  This is the best of them all.

“The transformation into the image of Jesus is much more than a change of outward conduct; rather, it is a deep penetrating work of the Holy Spirit in the very core of our being, what the Bible calls the heart – the center of our intellect, affections, and will.  It is what is sometimes called “a change from the inside out.”

10.  The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins

This was a very thoughtful and well-written story that was meant to show the impact of war on children.  The most disturbing part of Collins’ account of a dystopian future is the many similarities to the present.

9.  In the Line of Fire, Jerry Weissman

This is a must read if you do any kind of regular public speaking.  Weissman does an excellent job of breaking down presidential debates to show what worked, what didn’t, why and how it can apply to your situation.

“George H. Bush’s fumbled answer, which set in motion an avalanche that brought down the house of the 41st Presidency, was a classic example of the critical blunder: ‘Ready, Fire, Aim!’  He pulled the trigger before he had the target in his sights.”

8.  Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You, Lewis Grizzard

A classic from one of my favorite authors.

“I deal in cash.  Credit cards are financial heroin.”

“Baseball is the only sport where three-fourths of the game is a time out.”

“Atlanta is a sports cancer patient that just got the word its head cold is clearing up.”

“One time I said to him, ‘I wish you wouldn’t sing so loud.  It’s embarrassing.’  He said to me, ‘Son, it’s embarrassing when you don’t sing along with me.'”

7.  The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller

I can’t prove it but I’m pretty sure that Tim Keller wrote The Matrix.  And all of Shakespeare’s stuff too.

“The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes.  It just works.  It does not draw attention to itself.  The toes just work; the ego just works.  Neither draws attention to itself.”

6.  Father Hunger, Douglas Wilson

Everyone needs to read at least one Douglas Wilson book every year.  This one is a good place to start.  It addresses the plague of fatherlessness in our country today and highlights  how it has left a negative impact in some unexpected places, like the economy.  One problem that Wilson notes is fathers who are present but just haven’t grown up yet.

“In their families, men are much more important, crucial, and influential than they believe themselves to be.  It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to grow up, get married, have kids, and still think of himself the way he did when he was a boy.”

5.  Praying Backwards, Bryan Chapell

This is a very accessible and encouraging reminder on the importance of praying biblically.

“Yet if the attitude undergirding every prayer is for the name of our God to be glorified, we need not doubt that he will answer according to his perfect will.”

4.  Mud, Sweat and Tears, Bear Grylls

Get outside and do something difficult and worthwhile that makes you dirty and could get you injured.  When possible, take your kids with you.  If they can’t come, take a friend.

“You don’t have to be strong all the time.  That was a big lesson to learn.  When we show chinks it creates bonds, and where there are bonds there is strength.  This is really the heart of why I still climb and expedition today.  Simple ties are hard to break.  That is what Everest really taught me.”

“I guess most people don’t like to trailblaze.”

“Dreams, though, are cheap, and the real task comes when you start putting in place the steps needed to make those dreams a reality.”

“I have never minded risking failure, because I was never punished for failing.”

3.  Government Bullies, Rand Paul

This is the scariest book I’ve ever read.  Sadly, it’s all true stories.  Every person who cares about our ever-eroding freedom in this country needs to read this book.

“Robbie Wrigley and her father, Robert Lucas, were wrongfully prosecuted in precisely the tyrannical manner the Founding Fathers once feared our federal government could become capable of.”

“The Corps ordered Van Leuzen to create and publicly display a ten-by-twenty-foot billboard carrying a message of apology to his government.  Aside form attempting to publicly shame him, the Corps fined Mr. Van Leuzen $350 per month for twelve years, required him to dig a two-foot-deep moat around his home, and ordered him to restore his land to its ‘original wetland’ state.  Yet since this land was never truly a wetland, Van Leuzen was forced to ‘restore’ his land and ‘re-create’ a wetland that had never really existed.  This process made for an incredible expenditure that he could not afford.  Then, after the ‘restored wetland’ had been intact for eight years, Van Leuzen was forced to evacuate his house.”

2.  True Community, Jerry Bridges

This is a deep, yet readable explanation of the importance of Christians living in community with one another.

“It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that makes us a community.  Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ.”

1.  Artificial Maturity, Tim Elmore

If you parent, teach or employ teens or young adults, this book is worth your time.  In Generation iY, Elmore did an excellent job of helping us to understand this generation.  In Artificial Maturity he explains the type of leadership that this generation needs.

“Many adults have done more protecting than parenting.”

“Educators and social scientists are mourning today’s generation of kids who have postponed growing up.  They lament students’ delayed entrance into adulthood.  Adolescence, in fact, has been prolonged among millions of teens and young adults.  I have lost count of the number of university deans who’ve told me:  ‘Twenty-six is the new eighteen.’  In a nationwide survey, young adults agree.  When asked what marks the beginning of adult responsibility, their number one response was ‘having my first child.’  Interesting.  The average age that Americans have their first child is twenty-seven-and-a-half years old.  The MacArthur Foundation suggests that adolescence doesn’t end until age thirty-four.  Employers, coaches, teachers and parents are ‘hunting’ for an elusive maturity that, frankly, is hard to find.  And what’s scarce is valuable.  No doubt about it, there’s a rush on.”