I once heard a pastor say, “Do you want know where you will be in five or ten years? Look at the books you are reading and the friends you hang out with.” I suppose that is a little simplistic, but it stuck with me all these years later. Books really do have some powerful juice in them. I can’t tell you how many times my life has been shaped or influenced by something I read.
This year I read a bunch of great books on topics that ranged from systematic theology to parenting to chasing bad guys. Here are a few of the religious themed books that I will share with you.
- Family Driven Faith – Voddie Bauchman – If you read one book this year on the topic of family, this is the one! Voddie Bauchman gives a powerful call for parents to step up and disciple their children. Throughout the book he shares some helpful ways that parents can do just that and I came away not only feeling challenged but also feeling like I had a whole new arsenal to work with.
- Shepherding A Child’s Heart – Tedd Tripp – This is another really good book for parents. Tedd Tripp talks a lot about the importance of “biblical” discipline and then explains how that might look with various ages of children. All parents should hear what he has to say, but I would particularly recommend this book to those parents who are having a tough time with a rebellious child.
- The Last Sin Eater – Francine Rivers – Moving to the Christian fiction genre, Francine Rivers writes an entertaining yet poignant story set back in the 19th century about a small mounting community who deals with sin in a peculiar way. This book has a great message about how Christ dealt with sin.
- The Scarlet Thread – Francine Rivers – This is another Christian fiction book. The story is more geared toward the female reader (or males with sensitive souls J) as there is no outright action or adventure. The story is about a husband and wife who have to move to another part of the state far away from family and how they deal with the change. During the story the wife finds a diary of one of her distant relatives who is also moving far away from home and has to adjust to the change. I know it sounds sort of boring but it is actually a very well written book that will make you think at the end.
- I Still Believe – Jeremy Camp – Even though the Christian musician Jeremy Camp is still a young whippersnapper, he has lived a lifetime of grief already and has a sad yet hope-filled story to tell. As someone who grew up listening to Camp, I was interested to hear his story. I won’t say that this is the most well-written story, but he has powerful story that you will not want to miss.
- God’s Smuggler – Brother Andrew – I read this book a while ago but reread in 2013. This is a Christian classic that I think every Christian would benefit from reading. It tells about the life of Brother Andrew and focuses on his work taking Bible into closed countries during the height of the communist regime. His story will not only increase your faith but it will also challenge you step out for God.
- The Pastor by Eugene Peterson – Peterson is the author/translator of the modern paraphrase of the Bible, The Message. His autobiography tells about the different parts of life that had an influence on him as a Christian and as a pastor. I particularly recommend this book for pastors, but any Christian would benefit from it. There are a few parts that get a little dry and wordy, but the rest of is full of wisdom.
Please note the books are not in any particular order. This is my own list and is not an official recommendation from Grace Crossing Church.