My Ten Favorite Books I read in 2021
Here are my ten favorite books that I read in 2021:
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
It was my second time reading it but enjoyed it more this time.
Carl R. Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self
I found Trueman’s account very helpful and accessible. I appreciated the sweeping nature of the book, taking into account court cases, philosophers, pornography, and entertainment. Not exhaustive but a fair and I believe accurate overview. Overall, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self was definitely one of the best books I read all year.
J.P. Moreland, Scientism and Secularism
Moreland gave a helpful and accessible explanation of the problems with scientism.
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath transports you back to the sad and seemingly hopeless story of a family of “Okies” during the Dust Bowl. It paints a picture of what life was like for a lot of people and thereby cultivates empathy and understanding of other people and their varied journeys.
Paul David Tripp, Lead
Tripp is one of my all time favorite authors and now he has written one of my favorite books on leadership. I have a bunch of highlights in this book, perhaps more than any other book I read this year. Tripp offers a lot of timely wisdom for leaders in Christian ministry.
Randy Newman, Questioning Evangelism
Perhaps the only thing I think is a little unhelpful about this book is its title. When you read the title you might think the book is calling evangelism into question. That, however, is not the purpose of the book. The book is about the important place that questions play in evangelism. I found the book quite helpful.
Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation
I read a few books on the book of Revelation this past year and this one sticks out to me as the most helpful. I’m thankful for Richard Bauckham and his scholarship.
Sam Alberry, Why does Gos care who I sleep with?
Alberry wrote a very relevant and helpful book. I hope this book is read widely. I think a lot of people will be helped by it.
Timothy Z. Witmer, The Shepherd Leader
I recently transitioned to Care Pastor at my church and found this book very helpful in looking at what the Bible says on pastoral care.
Vivek H. Murthy, Together
I read the lion’s share of this book in 2020 but only recently finished it. It is a timely and well written book on the importance of relationships.
I try to track my reading on Goodreads. If you want to “be friends” on Goodreads you can do so here.
Quotes from Nancy Pearcey’s book Love Thy Body
Here are 10 quotes from Nancy Pearcey’s book Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Backer Books, 2018). It’s a really good and timely book.
“A worldview that says human life has no inherent value or dignity will never lead to utopia, no matter how advanced the tools and technology” (Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 101).
The Apostle Paul “would have seen prostitutes on the street and in the doorways of brothels. He probably saw slave auctions, where youths his own age were being sold to local pimps” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 187).
“From the beginning, Christians have not defended ‘traditional values.’ They have stood for truth against prevailing cultural norms” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 188).
“The biblical ethic says our sexual identity has the high honor of being part of the moral structure of the universe” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 189).
“Christians must once again become known as those who honor the whole person. The reason they speak out on moral issues should not be because their beliefs are being threatened or because they feel‘offended.’…. Christians must make it clear that they are speaking out because they genuinely care about people” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 190).
“People must be drawn in by a vision that attracts them by offering a more appealing, more life-affirming worldview. Christians must present biblical morality in a way that reveals the beauty of the biblical view of the human person so that people actually want it to be true. And they must back up their words with actions that treat people with genuine dignity and worth” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 190).
Pearcey quotes Jean Paul Sartre: “There is no human nature because there is no God to have a conception of it…. Man is nothing else but that which he makes himself.” So, in this view, as Pearcey says, “There is no blueprint for what it means to be human…. And if nature reveals no purpose, then it cannot inform our morality” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 206).
“Christianity assigns the human body… much richer dignity and value. Humans do not need freedom from the body to discover their true authentic self. Rather we can celebrate our embodied existence as a good gift from God. Instead of escaping from the body, the goal is to live in harmony with it” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 210-11).
“Those who respect science the most should also be the most pro-marriage” (Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 242). Why? Because “children of unmarried or divorced parents are far more likely to suffer emotional, behavioral, and health problems. They are at higher risk for crime, poverty, depression, suicide, school difficulties, unmarried pregnancy, and drug and alcohol abuse” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 242).
“Instead of moving out of the state of nature populated by lone, autonomous individuals, we are moving into a state where adults are isolated individuals, connecting with others temporarily and only when it meets their needs. We are regressing to a pre-civilized condition” (Pearcey, Love Thy Body, 248).
The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2020
Here are the ten most popular posts of 2020.
What if Satan wants to destroy the Church more than the country?
In the book of Revelation the Church is not called to react to the End or the antichrist by moralistic, militaristic, or political means. The Church is called to return to Messiah Jesus, remembering that those who continue faithful to the End will receive the “crown of life.” The way of resistance of evil, is the way of Christ. That is, loving Christ Jesus, and loving others. Taking up our crosses and following Jesus and loving others, even when it hurts, is a sure sign that we don’t and won’t have the “mark of the beast.”… Read More.
Statistics and Comfort in Calamity
Some sources are saying that the mortality rate of COVID-19 looks to be 2%. However, it is too early to say. The percentage will be bigger or smaller depending on various factors (such as the age of the people infected, access to the needed medical treatment, etc.). I think we should acknowledge a few things about the statistic. First, 2% looks like a small number. And it is. At least, relative to a larger number… Read More.
Why do Black Lives & LGBTQ+ Lives Matter?
Why do black lives and LGBTQ+ lives matter? This is an important question because some people have views that don’t support the idea of lives mattering. For example, Charles Darwin, the most famous proponent of evolution titled his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle of Life. And in his book, The Decent of Man, he says, “The Western nations of Europe… now so immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors… Read More.
We Harvest what we Plant
“If you sow to the flesh you will reap from the flesh, reap corruption. But if you sow to the Spirit you will reap from the Spirit, reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8). Sowing and reaping are not things most of us are really familiar with, let alone sewing and weeping. So, what does it mean to sow? To sow means to plant seeds. What does it mean to reap? To reap means to gather, to harvest what was planted… Read More.
Unrest and Our Rest
I have friends that are cops. I have friends that are black. I have friends that think COVID-19 is a hoax and friends that I couldn’t coax out of their house if I tried.
Friends, we are in a time of unrest; economic, social, political, and physical. I’m not trying to be dour or dark. I believe that is an accurate articulation of our current time. And yet people are pining for peace and rest. Where is this peace and rest to be found?… Read More.
The Ten Best Books I Read in 2020
Check out the top ten books I read in 2020 here.
Sometimes life gives you a gift that you want to lose but you have to use.
Do you view singleness as a gift? Sometimes we receive gifts that we don’t want to use, don’t know how to use, or don’t even want to possess. I am afraid many of us feel this way about singleness. We don’t know what to do with it, we don’t know why we’re stuck with it, and we just want to get rid of it.
The Apostle Paul saw singleness as a gift… Read More.
Living as Canceled Christians
It happened to the elect exiles to whom Peter wrote. Our voice can vanish too. We are not immune. We can be canceled.
But are we ready? Can we stand in the storm or will our house be blown to smithereens? Will it crumble on the sand that it is laid or is its foundation deep and solid? Will our life vanish and wither? Where is our source of life?… Read More.
A few helpful resources before you vote…
I highly suggest that you check out Jonathan Leeman’s article: “What Makes a Vote Moral or Immoral? The Ethics of Voting.” And I found Justin Taylor’s article “The Case Against Pro-Lifers Voting for Joe Biden” helpful too. Taylor quotes John Piper: “No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office.”… Read More.
Why did Jesus flip over tables?
“And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And He would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple” (Mark 11:15-16).
Why did Jesus drive out those who sold and bought in the temple? Why did He flip over tables? That seems pretty extreme. Why was He so worked up?… Read More.
How to Evaluate Christian Leaders?
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of Christian leaders be criticized or criticize, and even call other Christian leaders names because of disagreement on such things as politics, the pandemic, and policies regarding justice. And not surprisingly, those who are not leaders are also jumping into the fray and lobbing grenades too.
How many people actually think through the appropriate way to evaluate Christian leaders?… Read More
*Photo by Aaron Burden
The Ten Best Books I Read in 2020
Here are my ten favorite books that I read in 2020 (they’re listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name):
- D.A. Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12–14
- Kevin DeYoung, The Ten Commandments: What They Mean, Why They Matter, and Why We Should Obey Them
- David Kinnaman, Faith for Exiles: Five Ways to Help Young Christians Be Resilient, Follow Jesus, and Live Differently in Digital Babylon
- Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying
- Rebecca McLaughlin, Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion
- Reggie McNeal, The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church
- J.P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle: Recover the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit’s Power
- Gavin Ortlund, Finding the Right Hills to Die on: The Case for Theological Triage
- David Platt, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask
And five runner-ups:
- Andy Crouch, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power
- Albert Mohler Jr., The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church
- Tony Reinke, Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age
- Deepak Reju, On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church
- Mark Dark Vroegop, Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament
Here are my favorite books from last year.
20 of the best books I read in 2019
Here are twenty of my favorite books that I read in 2019. I think I only read three fiction books this year. I need to fix that. I plan to read quite a bit more fiction next year. Anyhow, here’s some of my favorites… (in no particular order)
- Why Suffering?: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
by Ravi Zacharias
- Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
- Apologetics at the Cross: An Introduction to Christian Witness by Josh Chatraw and Mark D. Allen
- Them: Why We Hate Each Other–and How To Heal by Ben Sasse
- How Long O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil by D.A. Carson
- Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow
- Alienated American: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse
by Timothy P. Carney
- Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story by Christopher Yuan
- Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope by Matthew McCullough
- The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr by Clayborne Carson
- Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success by John C. Maxwell
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
- Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller
- Preaching as Reminding: Stirring Memory in an Age of Forgetfulness by Jeffrey D. Arthurs
- An Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence by Alan Fadling
- Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
- Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.
- To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson by Courtney Anderson
- Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Out of all the books I read last year, Remember Death by Matthew McCullough, is the one I would suggest you read over all the rest.
Books you should’ve read in 2017
I’m being facetious in the title. But here are my favorite books that I read in 2017. They are in no particular order. That would be too difficult. If I could make you read just one book, however, it would be The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch.
- John M. Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down
- William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith
- Ben Sasse, The Vanishing American Adult
- Andy Crouch, The Tech-Wise Family
- Andrew T. Walker, God and the Transgender Debate
- Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone
- Tim Challies, Do More Better
- Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
- Frank Turek, Stealing from God
- John S. Dickerson, The Great Evangelical Recession