Thanks to Netflix and writing a book of my own, I didn’t read quite as much this year as I usually do. But what I did read was really good. Here are my ten favorites. As always, not all of these books were released in 2014 but they were all read by me in 2014. In 2015, between bingewatching shows on Netflix, try to find a few good books to read. I hope that this list helps.
1. Habitudes for Communicators, Tim Elmore
If Tim Elmore writes a book, buy it. You’ll learn something. This one is no exception. If you spend any portion of your life speaking in public, you’ll find this book very beneficial.
“In our world, it isn’t enough to simply suggest your topic is important. It must be urgent as well. When something is important, people prioritize it. When it is urgent, they rush to act.”
2. Everyday Prayers, Scotty Smith
This is a very good devotional book. There is an entry for everyday of the year and each one reads as a prayer from Smith. These quick prayers will make you think and give you encouragement.
“I want my tongue to be a scalpel for healing, Jesus, not a hammer for harm.”
3. The Final Days of Jesus, Kostenberger and Taylor
This has all of the depth of a seminary textbook with the readability of a devotional. I read this leading up to Easter and I’m glad that I did. If, like me, you’ve grown up celebrating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, there can be a tendency for your celebrating to become mere tradition. This book will help to keep that from happening.
“Up to this point in Jesus’s ministry, he could still have managed to live a long, happy, peaceful life, but his actions on Sunday set in motion a series of events that could result only in either the overthrow of the Romans and the current religious establishment – or his brutal death. He has crossed the point of no return; there would be no turning back. Caesar could allow no rival kings.”
4. Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Rainer
This one falls in the Every Church Member Should Read This category. It is a disturbing reminder of just how easy it is for a church to die.
“The most pervasive and common thread of our autopsies was that the deceased churches lived for a long time with the past as hero.”
5. The Naked Communist, W. Cleon Skousen
This is a fantastic book that was written during the Cold War. But don’t let its age fool you. It is far from outdated. While many Americans fear that our Constitution may one day be replaced with Sharia Law, this book exposes that our Constitution is already under attack by Communism. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Communism did not. It simply started looking for a new host and we just might be it. Skousen’s book gives a fascinating history of Communism while also charting its path to where we are today.
“When you run across dedicated Socialists, remember that the only difference between a Socialist and a Communist is in the method of takeover. The desire to seize monolithic control of society is the same in both. Sometimes people forget that USSR stands for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Some people count Socialism ‘good’ and Communism ‘bad.’ In reality the two are twins.”
“…the whole picture of Marxism which is simply ‘modern materialism in action.'”
6. The Pastor’s Kid, Barnabas Piper
If you are in full-time ministry and you have kids, read this book. Your children are growing up with unique challenges and this well prepare you to walk with them through those challenges.
“We need parents who strive to put themselves in our heads and ‘get’ us. We need parents who remember their own idiocy as children and young adults and give an extra measure of grace.”
7. Christ the Lord Out of Egypt, Anne Rice
There are no vampires in this one but Rice’s historical fiction makes for a good read. If you’ve ever imagined what it must have been like for a young Jesus to come to grips with who he was, this book will help.
“I saw it as I’d seen it in my dream. I bowed my head and closed my eyes. As he went on speaking, I could see what he was telling us.”
8. The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek
This isn’t the easiest book to read but it is definitely worth the trouble. It helps to explain how our country got to where it is and where we are headed if things don’t change. The chapter on the rule of law is worth the price of admission.
“Hence the familiar fact that the more the state ‘plans,’ the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.”
9. The Dude’s Guide to Manhood, Darren Patrick
When I finished reading this book I wished that I could buy a copy for every man that I know. With passion and eloquence, Patrick encourages men to leave boyhood behind and be the leaders they are called to be.
“Dads, through their presence or their absence, define us and the road we will travel.”