My Year in Books

Around this time for the last couple of years, I’ve shared with you some of the books I enjoyed during the year. I thought I’d do the same again this year. The following are all books I found stimulating, enjoyable, meaningful, and helpful, and I commend them to you.

Destiny: Learning to Live by Preparing to Die by David Gibson

I read this in preparation for our sermon series through Ecclesiastes (Chasing the Wind) and was greatly helped and greatly encouraged. Ecclesiastes is notoriously knotty and Gibson is a helpful guide to unravelling its complexity, revealing its insights, and applying its lessons. In particular, this book opened my eyes to the beauty and significance of the seemingly small moments in life.

Untangling Emotions by J. Alasdair Groves & Winston T. Smith    

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I don’t know about you, but I need help when it comes to processing and engaging my emotions. And this book helped me greatly. I can see myself returning to its important lessons and insights for years to come. In fact, it was so helpful, we’ll be exploring some of its insights from God’s word in a sermon series early next year. Stay tuned.

Sipping Saltwater: How to find lasting satisfaction in a world of thirst by Steve Hoppe

Idolatry is not a word we use in everyday life, but it’s an undeniable struggle and reality for every single one of us. We are all tempted to look to people, places and things other than God for our meaning, purpose, and satisfaction. Steve Hoppe, with great vulnerability and down-to-earth clarity, helps us to see the emptiness of our modern idols and leads us to the only source of true and lasting satisfaction.

The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine

You might think this book is perfect for me. And you’d be right. I am an imperfect pastor. I have many failures, foibles, and follies. And I don’t have all the answers. This is what Eswine helped me to see more clearly. As he puts it, his main burden is “to rescue the pastor from trying to fix it all, know it all, be everywhere for all as fast and as famously as possible.” Instead, Eswine calls on ministers to do “small, mostly overlooked things, over a long period of time”. It might not sound sexy but it is solidly Scriptural, and a great corrective. Don’t let the title put you off, Eswine is certainly writing to pastors, but I think all Christians would benefit from this beautifully written work.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I’ll admit it, I had tears (lots of them) in my eyes at the end of this one. Paul’s meditations on life and death, love and loss, suffering and meaning, are not only poetic but deeply poignant. What really brought me undone was Paul’s reflections on the future of his young daughter; a future he knew would likely not include him. This book may be a “house of mourning”, but there is deep and profound wisdom to be found (Eccl. 7:4).

Grace and peace,