Thursday, January 13, 2011

Top Twelve books I read this year

My (Dave Farley) goal  in 2010 (along with Troy Evans) was to read 52 books. This may seem like a lot but I know of some people who read 300 books a year. I fell short of my goal by 1.5 book. As the year went on the books got shorter.  Thankfully we are not justified by meeting our goals. Here are the twelve books I enjoyed the most (kind of in order).

1. "Money Greed and God" This book is a fabulous mix of history, Bible, economics, humor, and well crafted sentences. After reading this book you will have strong convictions about the necessity of the free market (even if you don't care about economics).
















2. "The Unquenchable Flame". This is the best book I have ever read on the Reformation. Ok, so I have only read a handful of books on the Reformation but seriously this book is that good. If you think church history is boring Reeves will change your mind.  Furthermore, If you’re a Protestant and you have not read this book you must repent and prove your repentance by reading this book (not by doing penance). 















3.   "Revival and Revivalism"  This book will not only help you understand the nature of authentic spiritual revival it will encourage you to pray for it.
















4.  "A short life of Jonathan Edwards"  I thoroughly enjoyed this little book on America's greatest Philosopher/Theologian.   If all you know of Edwards is what your learned in your high school literature class you need to read this book to set the record straight.   Although Edwards had his faults his whole hearted pursuit of Godliness is inspiring.  Plus Marsden writes engaging prose that will not bore you (unless you're boring).   
















5.  "Open"  Even if you are not a Tennis player who grew up watching Andre Agassi in the 80s and 90s like I did you will still enjoy this book due to its superb story telling.  "Open" shows the emptiness of glory, girls, and gold and the power of perseverance and hard work.  Unfortunately Agassi's did not find solace in Jesus Christ, although he does describe his spiritual experiences with the church and his pastor.  Caution this book has some bad language. 
















6.  "Church Planting is for Wimps"  This is the story of a flawed, funny, and feisty church planter in the DC area.  The premise of the book is that God can use flawed people (wimps) to do great things as they depend on Him.   I laughed out loud often as I read this funny, entertaining, and inspiring story. 
















7.  "Just do something"  Many Christians are in a fog about how to make Godly decisions.  Deyoung's book clears away the clouds.This is the best book out there (in my humble but accurate opinion) on decision making.  Plus it is a short hilarious book.  Admit it, it is hard to beat that combination.  
















8.  "The Last Juror"  I don't read allot of fiction but "The Last Jurror" by Grisham makes me want to read more.  This is my third or fourth Grisham novel and now my favorite.  There were several times when I replayed (audiobook) paragraphs because the sentences were so amazingly well crafted (unlike this sentence).  By the way the narrator did a phenomenal job with all the voices.  Caution-  part of this story is about a man on trial for rape and the details of the crime are disturbing.   
















9.  "The Case for the Creator"  This fall I did some teaching on the the New Atheism, Evolution, Christians and Science, Proofs for God, etc...   Of all the books I used to prepare for the series this was the most helpful.  It is well written, clear, and detailed but not overly technical.   I highly reccomend it to those struggling with doubt (which is all of us at times).  After reading it I'm not sure how, humanly speaking, one can remain unconvinced that God exists.   
















10.  "Nothing in my hand I bring"  I highly reccomend giving this book to your Roman Catholic Friends.  It is a fun non technical read that exposes the errors of the Roman Catholic church in a gracious style.  The premise of the book is that the Roman Catholic system of doctrine undermines the work of Christ.  Even if you don't have Catholic friends to give this book to you should still read it becuase it will help you, yes you, understand the gospel better. 
















11.  "The Deep things of God"  This book argues persuasively that most Evangelicals have no idea how important the Trinity is.  The author goes on to say that apart from the trinity we can't do anything (read our Bibles, Pray, evangelize, etc...)  I guarantee that you will love God more if you read this book.















12.   Last place is a four way tie- 








   

4 comments:

  1. Last place is a four way tie??? That's fifteen books, not twelve. That is cheating.

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  2. Pastor,

    As a Catholic, I eagerly look forward to reading book #10. I am constantly amazed at how Protestants misrepresent the teaching of the Church. Reading a Protestant critique of Catholicism is like reading a East German handbook on Democracy. If you want to know with the Catholic church teaches, I suggest letting the Church speak for herself.

    -B.J.

    Proverbs 3:5

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  3. Perhaps this year you should set your reading goals by pages and not numbers of books read. That should curtail the temptation to read only short books when you fall behind, though it might add to the temptation to simply abandon a longer book, say like War and Peace with 500 plus characters (I've never read it myself.) Speaking of Tolstoy, I notice no literary classics on your top 12. I hope a few were included in your 52 in 2010!

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  4. Aaron Gardner3/24/11, 2:22 PM

    Dave,
    "The Last Juror" is my absolute favorite work of fiction. Most people know that I am a huge John Grisham fan (one full bookshelf in my house is devoted to his entire collection), but this book stands apart. The character development is phenomenal, and I admire the faith of Mrs. Ruffin. Willie Traynor in some ways reminds me of myself, despite his more liberal leanings, and Harry Rex is someone I'd enjoy having a drink with.

    You might also be interested in reading Grisham's first novel, "A Time to Kill", or his collection of short stories, "Ford County". While not necessarily as good as "The Last Juror", both are set in the same county and have some of the same characters as this novel. I can lend them to you if you're interested.

    Sincerely,
    Aaron Gardner

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