The 23 Books I Read in 2013

January 2, 2013

It has been a while since I have posted anything here. But I thought I would bring in 2013 by posting about the books I read in 2012. I had set a goal to read 30 for the year but fell a bit behind. So I matched my number for last year. I have a feeling this post may get long so I am just going to start right in.

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll. This was an absolutely amazing book on marriage. When it first came out all of the reviews were about the sex part. The Driscolls take an honest and biblical look at sex without being crass but it still caught people off guard. The majority of the book is on being friends in marriage and how important that is. It is an incredibly helpful book and I would highly recommend it.

No Wonder They Call Him Savior by Max Lucado. This is a beautiful collection of thoughts on Jesus. Lucado takes an honest look at Christ and dives into the deep way in which he loves us. I read through it kind of quickly but this is a book I will definitely read again. It is enriching and very moving.

Monster by Frank Peretti. Monster was my fiction book. It was captivating right from the beginning. I love a good conspiracy and this book has some. I was reading it right before bed and there were some part that I wished I had waited til daylight to read. I felt as though I was right there among the characters and the way Peretti wrapped his book up was perfect.

When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley. All through Bible College I heard about how to be effective in ministry. Many of the professors talked about how they had put in 60-80 hour work weeks. It was just to be expected that ministry came before everything else. Stanley took a completely different approach. He is now the preacher at a very large and thriving church in Atlanta. But he mentions, even during the start of the church he would keep himself to a 40 hour work week and would be home by the time his wife requested. He wanted to make sure his marriage and family were not suffering while the ministry was thriving. I had often felt guilty about leaving the office at 4, but this changed my perspective.

The Coming Revolution by Dr. Richard G. Lee. I really enjoyed this book. Lee takes a look at our nations past to point to what he believes is a coming revolution. I mostly enjoyed this book for a purely historical read. I love reading about history and getting a good read on our nation’s history was wonderful. It is fair to consider Lee’s warnings about a coming revolution as well.

Nearing Home by Billy Graham. In his book, Graham discusses the struggles of being old and continuing to follow Christ. Nobody ever discusses how to be a Christian after you reach a certain age. How can you serve or teach or lead others to Christ? What is expected of you when you can no longer take care of yourself and most of your friends have passed out of this life? Even though I am not in this stage of my life, it was a wonderful read as I dove into this man’s thoughts.

Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton. I want to start by saying I highly recommend this book to others! Lupton discusses how giving away free charity in the magnitude that we have been has actually been hurting the very people we have been trying to help. The sense of entitlement that it brings is devastating. It also end up causing some to feel like dirt because they cannot take care of their own families. It makes those who are doing the service feel great about themselves, but what about those we are helping. He comes at charity from a radically different way than I have ever heard of but I loved it!

How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews. This is a very short read, only 80 pages and the font is huge but it was great! Andrews writes about how important it is to tell the truth and not succumb to other people’s lives. He uses the example of the Holocaust. How was it possible for so many to be killed the way they were? They believed a lie.

Man Alive by Patrick Morley. I wrote a review on this book earlier this year. I was very pleased with it. In our world, men are skipping out on being the men they were created to be. So many kids are growing up without dads, men abuse, tear down, or live as boys their entire lives. We can be more than that, and this book points at a few ways it can be accomplished.

Called to Controversy by Ruth Rosen. This was the first biography I read in 2012. It was spectacular. I sped through the book, completely captivated by the life of Moishe Rosen. The story of him becoming a Christian and starting and running Jews for Jesus was amazing. I would highly recommend this book!

George Washington Carver by John Perry. I guess after reading one biography I wanted to read another. I’ve been interested in George Washington Carver since about the 4th grade when I had to do a report on him. In Perry’s book, you find he contributed way more to the world than just peanut butter. He was a man of faith and worked his way up in life by working hard and doing what he believe God wanted. This is a short book and a great read.

Necessity of an Enemy by Ron Carpenter Jr. I did not particularly like this book. I think I get what he wanted to say. We have the opportunity to grow through our trials. But the way he calls evil “necessary” just rubs me the wrong way. It is like saying Satan is necessary for us to be great. That gives too much power to the enemy. The book also jumped around a lot, with the author talking about something in one chapter and then not coming back to it until several chapters later. I was not impressed.

Love Does by Bob Goff. Donald Miller promoted this book so I bought it. The book is easy to read. It is easy to follow and very easy to just fly through. Goff spends the book telling stories of his life. He tells of lessons he has learned, but mostly he writes about love. Love is not something we just think about but it is something we do. We live out love, we show it, it pours out of us. I really enjoyed this book and the message inside.

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert. Colbert’s book was a bit of a break from the seriousness. It was a fun read. He takes a look at America from a comedic point of view. You can’t read this book thinking “I can’t believe he thinks this way!” The reader has to be ready for sarcasm and a lot of ridiculousness.

Fearless by Eric Blehm. I could barely put this book down. The story of Adam Brown told in this book is so moving. It is a biography written about Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator, Adam Brown. He faces so many trials in life and overcomes so much. His wife is an amazing hero in this book who was strong and stood by her husband. It was very moving and I was filled with a sense of purpose as I read and a need to work harder and do better.

What the Church Needs Now by B.J. Chitwood. It may have been written in 1973, but Chitwood’s sense of what the church needs for renewal applies greatly today. If you are in ministry, I highly recommend this book to you. Many churches are failing and this book may help us see what we need to do to get back on track.

Fatherless Generation by John Sowers. This is a short read with a big impact. Fathers are bailing out on their kids more than ever and it is leaving children to answer a lot of questions on their own. Why did my dad leave? Does he love me? What is a man supposed to be (for young boys)? What kind of man should I seek (for young girls)? It is a heart-wrenching predicament and this book discusses it.

Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick. Pornography addiction just keeps on spreading. Our culture continues to become more and more sexualized and more accepting of sex in every venue. Now, with high speed internet, porn is literally at our fingertips. Young kids (mostly, but not limited to boys) may come across porn on accident but the spark is ignited and they are curious for more. Before long the desire gets out of control. How can we battle this epidemic? This book explores some answers.

The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick and Randy Alcorn. The Resolution goes along with the movie Courageous. This is yet another book on what it means to be a godly man. It is a great resource for a men’s small group. It is easy to read and raises some great topics to discuss as men work together to become who our God wants us to be.

Middle School Ministry by Mark Oestreicher and Scott Rubin. What a book! If you work with Jr. High students at all, this book is a wonderful resources! It is the most comprehensive book I have read on Jr High students and how to minister to them I have ever found. It talks about physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual development of a Jr. High student. The authors talk about pressures students face, and how to minister to them in the best way. It is a fun book (after all it is written by crazy guys who do Jr. High ministry) as well as very helpful.

America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert. This was another fun book to read after some heavy material. I enjoy the wit and humor of Colbert and this book did not disappoint. If you do not like Stephen Colbert, don’t read this book. If you do, go get yourself a copy.

Mondays With My Old Pastor by Jose Luis Navajo. I saw this book and knew I needed to read it. I was feeling a bit stretched out and bogged down. I was losing vision on why I do what I do. This book is about a guy who is feeling these same things and then starts to meet weekly with the old man who used to be his church’s pastor. It was so refreshing to read about the conversations they had and to see how this man, weathered by ministry and time, viewed his life. It was wonderful to see a man so devoted to his God, even after so many years. This was a great book.

Through Painted Deserts by Donald MillerI may or may not have cheated with this one. I didn’t actually read it. I listened to the audio book. Don Miller takes the reader on a journey as he and Paul travel from Texas to Oregon. It is very conversational as he deals with questions he was having about the meaning of life and why it matters. I have always enjoyed how honest Miller is in his books and I was glad to finally read (or listen to) this one.

And there you have it! The 23 books I read in 2012. I am going to shoot for 24 this year. That will be 2 books a month and I feel it is pretty doable.

What were some of the books you read in 2012? 


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