Thursday, May 19, 2016

Summer Reading 2016

I'm not sure that 'Summer' necessarily frees up any more time to read than other parts of the year! But, if it does for you, I'm happy to suggest some books for your edification. These are in no particular order or category...

1. The Bible - 

Ha! This isn't a #JesusJuke but just an encouragement. Maybe you want to pick out one book from the Bible that you'd like to spend June-August reading over and over. 1 thing I do is buy a 1" binder, print out the book using EsvLiteralWord and have something I can mark up and take notes on. Do what works for you, but I think you will find this practice beneficial. Even if you already have a regular reading plan, you can add this to it! I mean, we make extra time for other books don't we?

Ok, so now the rest of the list is in no particular order:

2. Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon -

I put these together because they are both by S.W. Gwynne. Rebel Yell tells the story of Stonewall Jackson and Empire of the Summer Moon covers Quanah Parker and the end of the Commanche era in Texas and the Southwest. Gwynne is a great story teller and if you're into History reads, pick these up. If I had to pick I'd say I liked Rebel Yell better, but they were both great.

3. Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Iain Murray

Every reading list needs a good biography or two (see #4)! You won't be disappointed with this one. Whether you are new to the Doctor or have known about him for sometime you will appreciate this work by Murray. One of the greatest things that encouraged me about it was Lloyd-Jones' commitment to stand on biblical convictions even when others around him persuaded him not to.

4. George Whitefield: America's Spiritual Founding Father by Thomas Kidd

Every Christian and every American ought to read this book. Since most of you reading this are probably both, then put it on your list! Kidd gives a well-rounded assessment of Whitefield which includes his faults as well as his important influences. Another bio on Whitefield you should read is Dallimore's 1-Volume work.

5. Lion of War Series by Cliff Graham

Here's some fiction to include although it's based on King David's Mighty Men. I've read the 1st two books of the series and am jumping in my 3rd that I just picked up from our local library. Graham is faithful to the Biblical narrative and tells a great story. The main character is Benaiah.

6. The Vine Project by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne

If you care about improving the culture of discipleship in your church, grab this book. Yes, it's primarily focused toward pastors, but any person with a burden for biblical discipleship will benefit. This is not your typical 'go out to the coffee shop and read the bible with someone' sort of book. Although that is mentioned, the authors do a great job of connecting discipleship to the whole life of the church, including the vital role the main weekly gathering plays. This is their follow up book to The Trellis and the Vine, which is also a helpful read. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

7. The Absurdity of Unbelief by Jeff Johnson

Speaking of highly recommended books! Pick up this book by Jeff Johnson on apologetics. I've written more on why you need to grab this book here. I also highly recommend Johnson's book The Church: Why Bother? (If you don't believe me, check out the endorsements!)

8. The Glory of Christ by John Owen

The Puritan Paperback series is golden. I've actually read through this one twice and have benefited greatly both times. Owen faithfully, and biblically, draws our minds to Christ and His glory and includes the practical effects such meditations will bring to the Believer's life.

9. Rescuing the Gospel: The Sory and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin W. Lutzer

"Every generation, including ours, has to fight for the purity of the gospel." Lutzer does a great job at introducing us to the Reformation. The book spends most of its time with Martin Luther, but does eventually delve into the lives and significance of Zwingli and Calvin. This is a very engaging read. Once you start reading you'll be finished before you know it and hungry for more. Not only will you brush up on your Reformation history, you will also be emboldened to carry on the fight in 2016! We are still protesting...

I know, Jared is writing some new stuff! I haven't got around to reading his latest book Unparalleled. But Gospel Deeps is my favorite of his.  As I've heard Jared say 'The gospel is Narnian'. We need to go deep into it, not just to become a Christian but to rest in it and to have it empower us every day of our Christian life. My 2nd favorite book by Jared is The Prodigal Church. If you haven't read that one, put it on your list as well.

What do Baptists believe about church government historically and biblically? And why does this matter today? This book answers both of these questions in a helpful and practical way. Church membership is something Southern Baptists must get better on soon (I've written some about this here, here, and here)! I'm not sure how we've come this far because it is not the way of our forefathers. 

If you haven't read this classic yet, do so this Summer! I think Spurgeon read through this at least once a year. This year we've been reading it together as a family and have been refreshed and encouraged once again by Bunyan's great allegory. 

Well, that gives you 15 or so books to consider for your Summer Reading List. I think that would keep you pretty busy...unless you read like Dr. Mohler, then it would take you all of a few lunch breaks. I'm always interested in hearing people's book selection. Feel free to comment below or holler at me on twitter

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