My end-of-the-year vacation is quickly approaching. You just don’t know how much I need this time of rest to recharge my batteries. One the special features of my vacation time is that it allows me to catch up on my personal reading. I am a bookaholic. Of course, reading is a vital part of my work. But it is also just a part of how I am wired. I begin to get anxious if I go a day or so without doing some personal reading. It keeps my mind alert and it’s humbling to be constantly learning things I don’t know. As I was writing this post, I reached down into my computer bag and pulled out seven books, besides my Bible and my journal. And on one the shelves behind me, I have another stack of books that I am trying to work through. Here are the ten books from my current reading list. I am at different places in my reading of these books. A couple of them I have just started. Others I have just a chapter or so to go. Regardless, I intend to be finished with these 10 books in the next six weeks:
1. Living By the Book – James Montgomery Boice – (Baker Books)
I love to read the late James Boice’s writings. This particular book is an exposition of Psalm 119. I am reading it to help me get ready for the exposition of Psalm 119 that I am scheduled to begin in our Midweek Service on 1/18/05.
2. Trusting Thy Word – Jimmy Draper (Heartspring Media)
This is another verse-by-verse exposition of Psalm 119. I have several books by Draper that I have picked up over the years at various Lifeway Stores across the country. His work has proven to be biblical and practical. This one is also homiletical, which helps as I get ready to preach through Psalm 119.
3. Humility – C.J. Mahaney (Multnomah)
The Lord has been making me more and more sensitive to issues of pride in my life. And I truly pray and long to cultivate greater humility in my life. So I am looking forward to working through Mahaney’s treatment of this subject. I also think it’s the January book-of-the-month at MSMBC.
4. And the Place Was Shaken – John Franklin (Broadman & Holman Publishers)
This is a book on corporate prayer that I picked up somewhere a few months ago. Specifically, it’s about the importance of corporate prayer meetings and how to lead them effectively.
5. On Writing Well – William Zinsser (Quill/Harper Collins)
I have read this book already. But I keep going through it as kind of an ongoing reference. It is filled with helpful advice about the principles, methods, and forms of good writing.
6. When Grace Comes Home – Terry L. Johnson (Christian Focus)
I have been richly blessed by this book. It discusses how the doctrines of grace have practical impact on the various aspects of our personal lives. Johnson has been enlarging my vision of God’s sovereignty, goodness, wisdom, faithfulness, and love. This book has been a great blessing to me this year.
7. Preparing Evangelistic Sermons – Ramesh Richard (Baker Books)
I read Richard’s previous book on preaching, “Sermon Sculpture.” And it is quite helpful. I have just begun this work. But if it is anything like Sculpture, I trust that my preaching will be helped by this work as well. Most of my preaching is pastoral, seeking to nurture Christlikeness among the saints I serve at MSMBC. But I have to work at making sure that my preaching is consistently evangelistic, no matter what subject I am preaching on. I hope this book will aid this process.
8. Elders in Congregational Life – Phil A. Newton (Kregel Books)
In March, 2006, we intend to begin the process of formally embracing biblical eldership in MSMBC. Along with my preaching and teaching, I want to recommend several works for the congregation to read. Newton’s book is readable, expositional, and practical. Along with his case for eldership in congregational life and his expositions of pertinent texts, he also discusses the transition process to eldership in his own church.
9. Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian – John Fisher (Salt River/Tyndale House)
Admittedly, I have not begun this book yet. And I really don’t have any clue what it’s about. But I love John Fisher’s books. I have more than ten of his previous works. And his writing has always proven to be challenging for me. As one who grew up in church, I take a lot of things for granted. But Fisher cuts through the fog of the evangelical subculture and challenges the reader to be authentically Christian. If you want to read him, I would recommend that you begin with “On a Hill Too Far Away.”
10. Made for His Pleasure – Alistair Begg (Moody Press)
I am reading this book for no particular reason. I am just on this Alistair Begg thing, lately. I really appreciate his stuff. I have caught him on the radio a few times. And I really enjoy his teaching (not to mention his accent).
Well, that’s the current list. It’s nothing deep. But it will keep me going over the next several weeks. Then it will be time to move on to the next group. Years ago, a friend of mine bought me a t-shirt that perfectly sums up the matter: “So many books; so little time!”