Good Reads: The 2013 Edition

Here are the ten best books I read in 2013.

10. Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson

This is the very gritty yet inspiring true story about the only survivor of Operation Redwing, the largest loss of life in SEAL history.

“They weren’t completing each task as it came, living for the day. They had allowed themselves to live in dread of the pain and anguish to come. And he’d told us never to do that, just to take it hour by hour and forget the future. Keep going until you’re secured.”

9. In Christ Alone, Sinclair Ferguson

The short chapters in this book make it excellent for devotional reading. If Ferguson wrote it, you need to read it.

“Here are wonders upon wonders: the Strong One is weak; the Infinite One lies in a manger; the Prince of Life dies; the Crucified One lives; the Humiliated One is glorified.”

8. The Cross and Christian Ministry, D.A. Carson

This is a very thorough and practical book that should be required reading for any minister.

“Rather, he is roundly condemning that kind of judging that simply writes a Christian leader off because he does not neatly fit into my camp or because he appears to compete with my preferred guru or because he is not in my pocket.”

7. Tactics, Gregory Koukl

This is a very helpful guide for those wishing to engage others with an opposing viewpoint. The message for Christians is simple: Question the questioner and the truth is on your side.

“We have ignored one of the first rules of engagement: Never make a frontal assault on a superior force.”

6. 1984, George Orwell

Read this book and you’ll never watch the news the same again.

“The heresy of heresies was common sense.”

5. A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm, Phillip Keller

Keller does a good job of taking perhaps the most familiar passage of scripture and reminding us that it is so much more than poetic. It is real life truth packed in a real life analogy.

“In the course of time I came to realize that nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field. The presence of their master and owner and protector put them at ease as nothing else could do, and this applied day and night.”

4. Happy, Happy, Happy – Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach

Phil and Mark make for an excellent storytelling team. This is a great redemptive story.

“In other words, it wasn’t like my love for the Almighty was contingent upon whether the blessings came or not. My prayer was always: ‘Lord, if you bless me, I’ll thank You; but if you don’t, I’ll be thankful for what I have. I have plenty. I’m in good shape.'”

3. David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell

This is the most interesting book I read in 2013. With intriguing stories and impeccable research, Gladwell challenges the reader to be more creative and crafty when trying to stand up when the odds are against you.

“An innovator who has brilliant ideas but lacks the discipline and persistence to arry them out is merely a dreamer.”

2. My Cross to Bear – Gregg Allman with Alan Light

This is by no means a Christian book but it does an excellent job of showing the despair that comes with excess. Allman knew excess. And he knows despair. After reading his story I wanted to go share the gospel with him. This book is both fascinating and sad.

“The thing is, you can’t go out there and look for the right one, because all you’ll find is the wrong thing, and it will do nothing but hurt you. I learned that the hard way – a few times.”

1. Death by Living – N.D. Wilson

This book is an excellent reminder to live without fear, pursue a legacy and die all used up.

“There is a school of American thought that suggests we are supposed to live furiously and foolishly when young, slave away pointlessly when adults, and then coast into low-impact activity as soon as financially possible. Isn’t that just a kiss on the lips (from a dog). The truth is that a life well lived is always lived on a rising scale of difficulty.”

Merry Christmas.

Happy New Year.

See you in 2014.