Derek Brown put up a few book recommendations the other day. He’s got some good stuff there. I put together a few of my own that I’d recommend today. I wouldn’t necessarily call them all “must reads”. They’re just some that challenged me. (Some would argue that doesn’t take much!) So here they are in no particular order.
Epic by John Eldredge. Now I am a fan of most of his stuff. I have to admit that one of his most popular, Wild at Heart, didn’t speak to me as much as some others. But that’s only because I’m not much of an outdoorsy guy. My idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service. In Epic, John helps us see that each of us were specially created to be the principle character in the epic story that is our lives. Unfortunately we’ve forgotten (or we were never told) how big the story is that we are a part of. We each have an important part to fulfill in the greatest story ever. It’s a pocket book so it is a good one for people who are not big readers. And it help you see a much bigger view of your own life.
Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow was first recommended to me by a buddy of mine that I often don’t agree with. I love him, in part, because he makes me think. So when he recommended this one, I though, “Sounds like another church bashing book to me.” Finally I think my buddy gave me a copy of it to get me to read it. Man am I glad he did! I kept saying to myself, “That’s exactly how I feel!” Murrow points out that in the typical church in America there are far more women than men. He’s right. Men are staying away from the church in droves. (As an aside, this is one area where I think our church, Seacoast excels. One of the first things I noticed about the church when I walked in was that there seemed to be a much higher percentage of men than I was used to in church.) But the best part is that Murrow doesn’t just point out a problem, even though he has tons of research and figures to back up his points. He goes on to give bunches of things that churches can do to help attract more men again. And the changes he suggests are pretty much all simple, real world things well in the reach of the smaller budget traditional churches. They aren’t gimmicky or trendy. This book really resonated with me. Everyone in leadership should read it. If we are going to reach our nation, we’ve got to get better at reaching our men.
I consider Desiring God by John Piper to be one of the modern classics of our faith. I can’t seem to find my copy at the moment. I might have loaned it to someone. But I remember that his thesis is this: The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him for ever. We were made, and we feel our most fulfilled, when we are enjoying God. Some of you out there may think, “Duh!” But for me it was a pretty profound statement. And then the way Piper goes on to plumb the depths of what that all means really changed my walk with God for the better. “You mean life a Christian can be fun? Full of enjoyment?” Radical stuff considering most of our churches are filled with folks who look like they’ve been dipped in pickle juice!
Based on recommendations from Mark Batterson (Is that a cool name or what?) over at Evotional.com I went ahead and ordered Chazown by Graig Groeschel. If this bit from the book description doesn’t get your juices flowing, I don’t know what can. ”Vision and Purpose: Dream It, Live It, Attain It Do you wake up each day motivated by knowing exactly why you were created? Guided by intention in every step? Enter: chazown.” I’m excited to get it and I’ll let you know what I think of it after I’m done with it.