Without a doubt 2020 was a turbulent year. What a blessing it was to be encouraged, refocused, and stimulated with the help of good books. So here at last, are my mini-reviews from that year (better late than never).
Sobre la Roca: Un Modelo para Iglesias que Plantan Iglesias by Justin Burkholder – Gospel-centered and helpful overall––it’s refreshing to read a book on church planting written originally in Spanish and from a Latin American perspective.
Orando la Biblia (Praying the Bible) by Donald S. Whitney – Very good and practical. I especially appreciated the emphasis and insights on praying Scripture.
Last Call for Liberty by Os Guinness – Excellent in so many ways, though his cursory interaction with Theonomy was disappointing and uncharacteristically dismissive––I was hoping for a more robust engagement on that issue. Still, the fundamental arguments of this book are incredibly insightful for understanding what is going on in the West today.
Ember Ends by S.D. Smith (Green Ember Book #4) – A fitting conclusion to a captivating series––and a good reminder of how things end in the ultimate story. The kids and I were entertained and edified by this endearing and epic novel.
Growing in Prayer by Steven Shead – A straightforward, encouraging, and practical guide for a most crucial area.
Future Men by Douglas Wilson – Though I may not agree with everything here, there are numerous practical and biblically supported insights for raising boys to grow to be men that honor God. Despite their detractors (and there are many), Doug and Nancy’s own family legacy merits giving this read a fair-hearing.
Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson – Very good––includes some wonderful writing tips and inspiration to press into the gifts that God has given you.
The Mighty Weakness of John Knox by Douglas Bond – A great encouragement—I appreciated the implications and exhortations woven throughout for our current time.
Death by Living by N.D. Wilson – Amazing. One of the most unique and encouraging books I’ve read!
Critique of Modern Youth Ministry by Christopher Schlect – The audio reader sounds incredibly staunch and prudish, but overall this short book makes some worthwhile points.
Blood-Bought World by Toby Sumpter – Good overall. Though there are some very distracting and silly tangents (critiquing essential oils and the organic food fad would be two examples).
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane – Good but not as good as I expected. Still, my boys enjoyed it and remained engaged throughout.
Fidelity: How to Be a One-Woman-Man by Douglas Wilson – Very good. I know this author has taken heat for his “misogyny” but his exhortations in this book flatly contradict the accusations of his critics. After nearly 15 years of pastoral ministry and counseling men with sexual sin, this will definitely be one of my go-to resources.
Note: the books mentioned above are ones I finished sometime in 2020, but there were some others that I read significant portions of for ministry projects or sermons I was preparing. Though I did not include those on the above list, some worth mentioning would be commentaries on the book of Acts by F.F. Bruce and John Stott, on Genesis by Matthew Henry, and The Mission of God by Joe Boot (maybe I’ll finish this one in 2021). And though I have not included the Bible on the list, my personal goal and encouragement to you is to read twice as much Scripture as anything else.
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