A few weeks ago I had the flu. It started on a Wednesday night and stayed strong until about Saturday morning. By then I could move around fairly well and went on a cleaning binge. Part of that was a reorganization of my bookcases. My bookcase is filled with Christian books that I’ve either partially finished or never got around to. I recently brought home 3 more and realized that if I keep bringing them home, I’ll want to read those and never get around to the ones that I already have and was once excited about. Well, I went on a book purge. I sorted the list to 1. Get rid of, 2. Not gonna read right now, but want to keep, and 3. Gotta read. Incidentally, the whole get rid of pile netted me a cool $31 at Half Price Books.
So, I have sorted the gotta read pile in an order that won’t get me too tired of one subject for too long, I hope. I am determined to get through these. I have never been a huge consumer of non-fiction titles, but why have these if I’m not going to learn from them. The list is not a hard-locked list. I may want to read another book someone recommends, or an opposing view read if someone recommends one. Here is my list, in order of intention to read, with commentary on why I want to read it and any other pertinent background you may want to know. I would be glad to read these with someone else and change my order if interested.
This one was suggested by a friend who I am having discipleship with. I asked him what he wanted to read because his passion and interest are difficult for me to pin down. It has taken me about 3 weeks to read chapter 1 and I intend to write a review after each chapter. I started a group on that one site called “West Plains Christian Men’s Deliberation Alliance.” This group is intended for discussion but hasn’t had many posts. That is where I’ll post my reviews… well, maybe they’ll be more of a summary. Packer seems to be a hard read; this one will take some time.
This one I received from my wife’s uncle, whom I lovingly call dad. A few years back he was getting rid of books too, and this is one I got. I think I started reading it at one point but then got distracted. It is up early in the list because the subject is something I very much want to be. I have always been fascinated with Barnabas and hope to be one some day. It is not a thick book and I think it may be a much quicker read.
I’ve appreciated Viola for quite some time. He was instrumental in my understanding of the Church’s purpose. I have listened to many a podcast and read many a blog from him. The fact that I have picked up and began reading this particular book at least 3 times shows my interest. It is a larger book, but one that I really need to finish. We all could learn a lot from this. I believe this one will always stick with me.
Unity is a subject I am very interested in. Since a friend of mine moved here, whose main ministry is unity, I have gained the desire to see the Church come together in many ways we have come apart in that we never should. My friend gave me this book. Seeing the Church live out its purpose is a hope for many of us seeing such division within His body. It should be a quick read, but I think might be a bit controversial to some who are close to me and may in fact be reading this post now.
I like listening to Timothy Keller. I like his books too. He and Frank Viola are probably my favorite authors, as well as James Sire. This one I found at some junk store and happened to read a lot of it. It is an excellent read so far, from what I can remember. Suffering has a purpose.
I read this one years ago with my men’s group in Salt Lake City. We read it together and was a real eye-opener finding out all who struggle with the horrible temptation of sexual lust. After a sermon at church the recently, I thought it’d be a good one to read again… perhaps with a friend.
Dialogue. One of my biggest passions. This also was found at a junk store. I had never heard of the author, but the synopsis sounded spot on. Not a very prolific author, this is one of his two books apparently, but I’m eager to get to it. Small book, hopefully easy read.
Another Viola, another one I read a lot of. This one I’d like to study to share with the youth of our church. Let us get back to focusing on Jesus.
One of my favorite books is the Universe Next Door, which comes much later in this list. That book was given to me by my best friend. He is very philosophical and recommended it to me. It was a hard read, but not completely over my head. This one is one I am eager to get to, interestingly enough, because it might be difficult to get through.
Another one that may be seen as controversial. I have heard a lot of warnings about Nee, but have never fully read a book by him. I have a very old copy that I don’t remember where I got, but was found or given to me around the time of my great understanding of the Church. Small book, most likely a very challenging read.
This one was given to me by someone I do discipleship with. We were all given a copy and were reading it together. We never finished it. It is very textbook like and was hard for me to read. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I felt like I was in school and my mind couldn’t wrap around this big textbook. I really enjoyed the discussions we had and hope that when I get to it, I can convince others to read it as well.
My friend’s daughter was getting rid of books after graduating from college. These two seemed interesting to me. Not sure specifically how this will benefit me, and they may not be a good fit, so they are in the bookcase together and we’ll decided at that point, when we come to it.
I have had this book for a few years and I think I read almost all of it. Good commentary on the war we are facing on earth that is a spiritual war. My friends had it in their bookcase and I was interested so I bought it. I think this is another of those must reads for every Christian.
I am interested in the viewpoint of those in the Church outside of the United States. Another friend of my constantly references this book, so I bought it. Started it at one point, but became distracted don’t you know.
I like Schaeffer. I watched his videos. His books are a little harder but I like his viewpoint and I am determined to get through this one… of course not all in a row. Tough read. I predict failure to get through this one, but NO! I will read at least one. My wife got this for me for Christmas or my birthday some years ago because of my interest, but I haven’t been faithful. I am sure it will be rewarding. Also got this when my Uncle was giving away books and I felt bad that I didn’t get any Schaeffer so it was then that I asked for them.
I don’t remember where this came from. Maybe someone gave it to me. I had it at work for a long time, I think I intended to read it on breaks but it got lost in the paperwork. It sounds really good and might be for just where I am.
I have been getting the magazine “Israel, My Glory” for many years now. I remember seeing it at the Matlak’s home and asking about it. I got a free trial, paid for it for a few years then let the subscription run out. I still get it. I don’t know how and I don’t ask why. Elwood McQuaid is a regular writer in the magazine and I bought this book because I like the symbolism of Christ in the feasts. I read a lot of this book, but never finished.
This is another James Sire that I probably will find difficult to read, but rewarding to complete. Ow, my brain.
The other Packer on my list. This one I have had for a long time. I remember people telling me, when I was a new Christian, that this was essential reading. I got it, and never picked it up again. I suppose reading a book about the Holy Spirit by Packer, I should read this one too. Another brain buster in a row!
Another Viola! I printed this one out when I got the digital copy for free when I signed up for blog updates or some such on Viola’s website. It is a retelling of Christ on earth told through Lazarus’ eyes. Oh! I just thought about putting it higher on the list. Alas, it’ll have to wait.
This one was another from my Uncle’s great book giveaway… I think. A subject I’m interested in, but rarely read about. Should be good. It looks like it is no longer being published. I wonder if that means anything…
These two I put together because I believe they make up the same controversial make-up of previous entries. Given to my by my friend who cares about Church unity and mostly read, they are small reads I can quickly finish. Very controversial indeed!
A kind of follow-up to Every Man’s Battle I think. I have had it for some time. I put it on the list mainly because the cover looks like the other one.
I read this one fully before. The only one on the list. We’re nearing the end.
I was given this one by a big Steve Brown fan. I listened to his podcasts for a time, man does he have a deep voice. I think this is good stuff and finished most of it. Even though it isn’t difficult to read, you’ll find it difficult to read.
The important part about being a Christian is transferring the passion. At least that is part of what I believe. If we aren’t becoming more Christ-like and helping others do the same, we are missing much of the Christian life. Quick read.
This one I’m not so sure I want to read. Keller many times tells us this such-and-such book is for the seeker, or non-believer specifically. This is the second to last book on the list and in the time it’ll take to get here, I’m sure I’ll find many more to be interested in. Although it is good to revisit arguments for belief.
This last one, the men in our Bible-study were kind of reading together. One bought them for us all because he liked it so much. Same guy who bought us Three Free Sins. Although I think some of this is fluff, it is very valuable to know when questions arise. It may be more of a reference book than one to outright read. I have been through most of it by the way, and it is a very easy read.
The last one on this list is a book I have at work and intend to read it at breaks and down time. I have been called to make my own personal “Statement of beliefs” so I think this’ll help.
There you have it: 31 books to read. I can’t imagine how long this will take me to read. I wanted to publish this list, because I never had such a strong intention to finish a good, healthy list of books to improve my walk and my understanding. Again, if you’d like to read along with me any of these, I’d be glad to switch some around. If you have any recommendations that have an opposing viewpoint, I’d be interested in those as well.