Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Year End Reading Review

Last year about this time, I made a goal for myself to read 5 books over the course of the year. This seemed like a pretty daunting task since most of my reading time involves reading rehab textbooks , which make you hate reading, so I didn't know if I could pull off 5 extra books in addition to my Biblical study, marriage, textbooks, and life in general. But I thought I would try. Low and behold, just two weeks before the year end period, I can say that I accomplished that goal. So for this post, I decided I would describe for y'all what I read this past year with a brief description and a personal rating. I hope you enjoy and maybe you will be inspired to read one of the selections. I must preface, all of the books I read this year were to help me grow spiritually in my walk with Almighty God and that's usually what I stick to for pleasure reading, which may be kind of weird, but I learned a megaton and I love Jesus even more.  I mean if you're going to spend time reading, it might as well be useful right?  Anyway, here it goes...Jason's Year End Book Review.

I started early this year with a book entitled Prodigal God.  This book is written by Tim Keller and is a most excellent short read that recaptures the heart of God, our miserable condition as sinful people, and relates it to God's amazing redemptive plan.  This book wasn't necessarily ground breaking theologically, however, it was very refreshing to be reminded of who God is.  The Book begins by defining "prodigal" which means recklesssly extravagant or having spent everything.  The premise is built off the parable of the prodigal son but Tim Keller also brilliantly points out that our God, based on the parable told by Jesus, is equally prodigal, having spent everything to save us.  So this book is definitely refreshing and as the title states, helps to recover the heart of the Christian faith in it's pure, biblical form.  I highly recommend this book.

After "Prodigal God"  I continued with Tim Keller by reading his book entitled "Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters."  Another excellent books describing all of the many idols that ensnare Christians today.  He covered the most common cultural idols in our hearts like money, success, sex, and power, but he also described some interesting idols like political ideology and even the pursuit of head knowledge of God. This is a great book to bring some conviction to your heart and it points you to the fact that only Jesus can offer a true and lasting hope because everything in this world will pass away and ensnare us.  I would recommend this book for some of its non-traditional points about heart idols.

The third book I read this year was recommended by our pastor, Dr. McKinley at our church.  It's called "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life."  I enjoyed this book.  It outlines major spiritual disciplines that those who profess Christ should be practicing in his our her own life.  It talks about such practices such is Bible study, memorization, fasting, praying, journaling, spreading the gospel, etc.  It also describes many practical ideas to implement those disciplines.  I would recommend this book, especially if you would like some practical ways and ideas to be more disciplined in the faith.



After learning about disciplines, I switched to an older author for some elderly insight.  I read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship".  This is a powerful book that discusses what it truly means biblically to be a follower of Christ and how, by partaking in that calling, we as disciples must surrender everything, including the attachments of the world and abandon to Jesus.  The author does this very well by providing insight alongside of Jesus' sermon on the mount.  This book is even more poignant because it was written during the Nazi reign in Germany in which professing Christians were often imprisoned or killed for preaching or sharing the Gospel.  The author had such a fate.  As a German theologian speaking out against what was happening and preaching Jesus, he was arrested and eventually killed for following Christ.  I would give you a favorite quote but there are to many.  This is a powerful book and I highly recommend it.

Finally, I just finished David Platt's book entitled "Radical."  This was an excellent book.  I liken it to the 21st century version of Cost of Discipleship.  Because of that, it is much easier to read than Bonhoeffer, but the poignant message remains the same.  The unique thing about this book is that it not only lays out the Biblical meaning of being a follower of Christ and how we are to be poured out for the sake of Jesus and the spreading of the Gospel, it also includes a year long challenge to help change your current faith into a deeper, more biblically oriented faith.  Since the author argues that Christianity in America is been diluted by the American dream, it is a great book to open your eyes, be convicted about what you're living for, and begin being poured out and living your life for Christ.  I highly recommend this one.

Well, That's my year of reading in review.  All of these selections are great.  Let me know what you think or what you have read either fiction, non-fiction, or whatever as I plan out next years reading!

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