I'm simplifying this year.
Instead of a top ten book list, I'm giving you four.
Four and no more.
There were about four, that I read.
Front to back.
Cover to cover.
Why? Because I think I only had time (or energy...or a combination of both) to read a handful of books in their entirety. And you, like me, are probably up to your necks in life-age--so brushing up on four books seems much more exciting and do-able than ten.
Thus, I'm basing the "best" on whether or not it was engaging enough to keep my attention to be read cover to cover. I'm gauging the best on what stuck with me the longest. I'm deciding the best on the words that ruminated so much within that I had to re-read them and still want to read them again.
Here they are listed for you, how I came to find them, and what I plan on doing with what what I've learned in the future. Because what good is a great book unless it has a story of it's own in your mind and heart? Unless it lives on in you? Unless you decide to do something with it?
The Wisdom of Stability
The summer of 2012 marked a season of decision making for our family. One decision in particular was so multi-faceted and appealing on both ends of the spectrum...I've never felt so indecisive. The Wisdom of Stability was a timely recommendation from a friend and is a must read for anyone desiring community--especially if you're working in full-time Christian service.
As I'm sitting on the beach with my friend Mendy, she pulls out one of those books so beautifully illustrated that your finger magnets come out to snatch it for yourself. The pictures alone evoked emotions and thoughts that made life seem so very extraordinary, and fragile and special and yet gut wrenchingly painful all at once. She let me borrow it and I journeyed with Kelle Hampton through her very vulnerable account of the birth of her daughter Nella, who has downs syndrome. There were tears. But there were also equal amounts of laughter induced by Kelle's wit and mid-western sarcasm It opened my eyes to a world I that I don't want to miss. A world that includes everyone. While not a book meant to lure people to God, it helped me gain a greater Kingdom perspective There are things that Christians could and should be doing as we're being renewed and repurposed in the love of Christ, things that sometimes can only be found when someone is brave enough to be this honest.
Who is This Man?
Coy and I were sitting with John Ortberg at a special event that we were blessed to attend. He was preparing to speak to a small group of us about Jesus. I thought it was going to be pretty good, after all it's Ortberg, right? My expectations had been minuscule. Thirty minutes floored me. Jesus floored me. Who is this man? I was taking copious notes trying to keep up with every morsel he shared about this history and eternity changing man-Jesus Christ. Lucky me, John was preaching from his notes from his new book. When I got home, Coy had a copy from his Relevant subscription. Score! I still cannot put this book down. It's fascinating how much Jesus has impacted and will impact the world. Still reading and thinking and mulling this one over. It's dripping with truth and life-changing consequence.
Women Who Lead (Guys, this is a must read for you as well.)
I was put in touch with a faculty member at Point Loma Nazarene University this fall. As we connected I stumbled on her most recent writing Women Who Lead. Mary Rearick Paul articulates biblical vision for women in ministry in a way that all of us should consider. Her insights are thought provoking, helpful, and insightful. But what I couldn't agree with more was the focus on Scripture and the importance of understanding it and being able to share the vision with others. If you are a woman in ministry or desire to gain understanding on the call of women in ministry, or grow in your abilities as someone who supports women in ministry, read this book. Regardless of your background, denomination, upbringing...allow yourself to be stretched by the wisdom that comes from Scripture and trustworthy experience.