This year was an encouraging year as far as the number of books I was able to finish reading—some continued from previous years, while others I started and finished in 2022. So, this morning, I perused my Goodreads account and selected a dozen which I found helpful to my growth as a person. The first one, Seasons of Sorrow, is my TOP READ for this year, but the rest of the books are in no certain order.
Seasons of Sorrow (Tim Challies) – It’s difficult to put into words the impact of this book on me–my mind, heart, and soul. However, I will say this: No matter what kinds of loss God ordains for me to experience in my remaining days on this earth, I will never grieve the same way again. Tim’s life example and heart-wrenching, transparent words—richly embedded in the unalterable truths of Scripture—have drenched me in Christ-centered hope. Jesus tells us that no seed will bear fruit unless it dies first. Here, Tim lays bare his soul, dying to self, so that fruit may be born in us, his readers. I am forever grateful to Tim’s and Nick’s Savior for welcoming me into this valley of suffering and pain.
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Carl Trueman) – I read through this with four other men in our church. It’s difficult but essential reading. If you want something less intimating, you might want to check out the briefer edition, which I have not read: Strange New World:How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution.
Lectures in Systematic Theology (Henry Thiessen) – According to my handwritten note at the beginning, this book took me twenty (yes, 20!) years to complete, poking about here and there. A systematic theology is more of a reference book, rather than something that most people read from front to back. At least, it is for me. I have at least four other systematics that I continue to pull off my shelf from time to time.
When Home Hurts (Jeremy Pierre and Greg Wilson) – This book is intended to equip pastors, church leaders and church members to respond with the heart of God to situations of domestic abuse that occur in their local church. Very helpful.
The Elements of Style (Strunk and White) – One of my goals is to read a book about writing every year since one of my life goals is to grow to become an excellent writer. Therefore, I seek new and old books to guide me. This little classic is incredibly helpful. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get to it.
The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) – The Holocaust must never be forgotten. I could not put down this young adult historical fiction.
The Complete Maus – Another holocaust title, but this is a graphic novel.
Overcoming Bitterness (Stephen Viars) – Bitterness is a destructive poison, yet we all struggle with it sometimes due to circumstances our sovereign God has allowed. This book is biblical and practical.
Cheer Up! The Life and Ministry of Jack Miller (Michael A. Graham) – This biography encouraged me so much. It also reminds me of why I used to read more biographies (one of my goals for 2023).
Created in God’s Image (Anthony Hoekema) – This is another book that took me years to read, but it was well worth it. If you are looking for a thorough, biblical, and easy-to-read theology of man, this is for you.
A Painful Past: Healing and Moving Forward (Lauren Whitman) – Lauren counsels our hearts with a beautiful balance of grace and truth. By gently and faithfully applying Scripture to our painful pasts, Lauren helps us to renew our minds and redirect our focus on our true identity–what we truly are before God in Christ–instead of who we may think we are because of what we did, or what others did to us, in our past.
When Shepherds Weep: Finding Tears of Joy for Wounded Pastors (Glenn Daman) – The purpose of this book is to help pastors regain their spiritual perspective in the trials of ministry by understanding how suffering is used by God to develop the pastor and the church. This book helped my heart.