Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jason's Year End Book Review 2011

2011 Book Review

If you follow our blog, you will know that I really don't like to make resolutions.  But every year I have a goal of trying to read at least 5 books.  In 2010 I accomplished this feat, however, this past year (2011) I came up just shy of 5 total by completing 4 and a half.  Halfway through the 5th book isn't too bad considering I'm trying to balance this reading with graduate school reading and other adult responsibilities.  So here you go.  The 5 books a read and would recommend to you to read this year!

Generous Justice:  This book was written by one of my favorite authors, Tim Keller.  He has such a thoughtful way of writing and tackling secular issues logically and eloquently.  This book aims to deal with the common thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the great hinderances to doing justice and that the Bible is filled with regressive views.  But in this book, Tim argues against these preconceived beliefs and presents the Bible as the fundamental source of promoting justice and compassion towards those in need.  He explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace. This book will give you a new and fresh understanding of modern justice and human rights.  I highly recommend this book if you are searching to answer questions about justice and the world around us.

Hudson Taylor, Autobiography:  This was recommended to me by a friend and it didn't disappoint.  It is the thoughts and journals of a dedicated man of God to taking the Gospel to the Chinese at all costs to himself in the 1850-60's.  In it, he records amazing stories of God's provision and work as well as life changing experiences in a foreign country.  This book is also applicable if you want to see the attitude of a Godly healthcare practitioner because he was a doctor.  A powerful and inspirational book that I would recommend.  There are many nuggets of provoking thought and challenging questions but I'll leave you with a powerful one.  Having come back to England from China to rest and get over some severe sickness, Taylor makes this observation at his church.  "On Sunday, June 25, 1865, unable to bear the site of a congregation of a thousand or more Christian people rejoicing in their own security, while million were perishing for lack of knowledge, I wandered out on the sands alone, in great spiritual agony..."

The Seeds of Turmoil:  This is an excellent book written by Bryant Wright.  In this book he describes the current unrest and chaos in the Middle East in light of Old Testament history and prophecy.  This was a fantastic book if you want to understand Old Testament history and the what is happening in the world around us today.  And, as always, Bryant eloquently makes bold arguments and staunch lines while compassionately presenting Jesus and the Gospel.  I think this is a must read of you want to gain practical insight into Old Testament history, the nation of Israel, the Gospel, and the world around us.

Preach and Heal:  This book was written by Charles Fielding and was given to me be one of our pastors at our church.  This book deals more with strategy for plans for carrying medical missions in unreached people groups.  The author is quick to emphasize that the number one priority of medical missions is to make disciples and then establish a local church to disciple new believers and have the locals outreach.  He makes it clear that the medical aspect is solely used to gain access to difficult communities but that really medical missionaries are disciple makers and church planters first.  So he describes many different approaches as well as medical strategies for all healthcare practitioners to use.  I was especially captivated by his thoughts on rehabilitation and missions.  I think this is a must read if you are considering medical mission abroad.  Oh, and there are also cool stories of miraculous healing's!

Bonhoeffer - Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy:  This is the book that I didn't finish before the end of the year.  But I am halfway done.  It's quite extensive at over 500 pages so now you might see why I'm only halfway!  Anyway, this biography was written by Eric Metaxas, who is a brilliant writer.  The book is excellent so far and Metaxas meticulously explores every facet and detail of this incredible mans life.  A brilliant German theologian, Bonhoeffer was at the forefront of preserving the truth of the Gospel and the german pastorate that was being attacked and changed through political pressure and indoctrination to meet the needs of the powerful leader of the third Reich, Hitler.  A truly inspiring man and I am excited to finish this up in the next few weeks.  Last year I read is book Cost of Discipleship, and now knowing more about his life and the risks and costs he took to preserve truth and defend justice, his other writings have more profound impact.  If you want a lengthly, in depth biography, this is your book.

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