Top Ten of 2011

I decided to make a list of  my ten favorite books that I have read in the past year.  This is simply a list of the books that I was most entertained, encouraged, and edified by. This list does not include the Bible, which of course goes beyond any man-made book, and is easily on top of any list.  However, I will say that I am really enjoying my new ESV Journaling Bible that my wife got me for my birthday.  It is a great resource that fosters meditation and encourages you to interact with the text.

10. Tempted & Tried -Russell Moore

Based on Jesus’ time of temptation in the wilderness, Moore attempts to show the enemy’s strategies and goals in tempting Christians.  He does so with great insight, understanding, and vividness in writing.  One of the best compliments I could give is to say that I will be reading this one again.

9.  The Reformed Pastor -Richard Baxter
Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow…“. You can find that little gem, and others like it, in this helpful book.  Baxter, a Puritan who wrote this centuries ago, writes to pastors about the high call of pastoral ministry and the need for pastors to work harder (particularly, at catechizing their congregations).  This was a convicting read, that left me with a greater appreciation for the work of those who have gone before us.

8.  Why we Love the Church  -Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck
This was an enjoyable book to read.  DeYoung and Kluck have very different styles and objectives, and so you can easily tell which one wrote the chapter you were reading.  For their sharp differences, the book still felt  cohesive. This is a necessary book in times like these, when it is popular to pile on and hate the church…Christ’s Bride.

7.  A Gospel Primer for Christians -Milton Vincent
A short, compact book that is filled with mountains of Gospel gold for Christians. The Gospel is not only for unbelievers, and Vincent gives believers great ground to rehearse the power of the Gospel daily. This reminds us of the Gospel’s power, not only to save, but to sanctify.

6.  Lit! -Tony Reinke

A book about reading. Isn’t that great? That’s like watching a TV show that is about watching  TV.  Well, not really. Reinke entices those who aren’t readers to get reading.  He also gives great practical advice to people who enjoy reading, and helps them to become better readers. This is a book to keep and review through the years.

5.  King’s Cross -Tim Keller

This is essentially a commentary on the Gospel of Mark.  Keller goes through the major themes and events in Mark’s Gospel and gives great insight into the life of Jesus and His Gospel. I’m convinced that Keller’s glasses are magical and they help him to see Scripture more clearly than the rest of us. I started reading this book as I was 3/4 of the way preaching through Mark’s Gospel in church. It was a great benefit in helping me to finish the series.

4.  John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock -Iain Murray

Murray prefaces his work by acknowledging this is not a definitive biography of MacArthur. Yet, it is certainly a helpful one. For someone who has always looked up to MacArthur, I enjoyed learning more about the man, his family,and his ministry. I think I read this in under a week. I had a hard time putting it down.

3.  The Prodigal God -Tim Keller

Keller takes aim at one of Jesus’ most popular parables… the parable of “the prodigal son”. This book is a great gospel reminder of God’s grace and how God extends that grace to both the younger and the older brothers out there….the irreligious and the religious alike. He reminds us of how everybody is in need of God’s grace. Some must repent of their obvious rebellion, while others must repent of their subtle obedient rebellion. 

2.  Note to Self -Joe Thorn
A short little book filled with Gospel meditations. This is Gospel-gold. Thorn does not just remind us of our need to preach the Gospel and the law to ourselves every day, but he also gives us a practical guide to help us do just that.  Short, to the point, and very powerful. A lot to chew on in a small package.

1.  George Whitefield (volume 1) -Arnold Dallimore
This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. I am currently working through volume 2.  This biography of Whitefield sheds so much light on the life of the great 18th century evangelist.  It is hard not to be humbled by reading about such a devout and godly man, who preached the Gospel like few ever have. Whitefield has become a  hero of mine thanks to this work. By the way, volume 2 is proving to be just as good.

 Honorable Mention:  I am currently half way through “The Bookends of the Christian Life” by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. This book would easily make my list if I finish it before year end (which I’m sure I will). This is also my next choice for our men’s group to walk through together.

All these books are available at Westminster Bookstore for a good price…. check them out


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