Wednesday, December 28, 2016

More Good Books from 2016

Yesterday, I named my "top books of 2016." Today, I want to share some of the other good books that I had the privilege of reading which I recommend to others with a few words about what I appreciated about them.

Even More Good Books

Beating the College Debt Trap by Alex Chediak

In my Goodreads review, I said:
Ready-for-college-themed author Alex Chediak has done it again! In this easy-to-read guide, Alex breaks down the complex world of college financing for math and money simpletons like me and gives sound, practical, biblical counsel. The most significant thing he does is write directly to the prospective college student--not their moms and dads (though parents will profit from reading it, too). Highly recommended. Start reading it yesterday!  
[Also read my interview with the author from his book for parents on getting kids ready for college.]

Hungry by Rondi Lauterbach

If my wife had a top books list of her own, this one would be on hers for 2016. Heather and I will be reviewing it soon for Lifeway Pastors.

Like an encouraging and experienced friend, Rondi does a great job of both wetting our appetite for serious Bible study and convincing us that we can gain satisfying nourishment from any faithful Bible intake even with limited time to prepare.

This will be our go-to book for introducing women to studying the Bible for themselves.

Settlers or Sojourners? by Marty Schoenleber, Jr.

In my Amazon Review, I said:
In this mini-book, Schoenleber wants followers of Christ to think beyond our security, comfort, and convenience. He illustratively contrasts two kinds of travelers each on a journey who might look similar on the outside but who will make radically different choices based on their internal self-identity.
Even though it's only 50 short pages, the book overflows with scripture. My friend Marty wants us to re-program our minds to see ourselves as "Cross-bought" and "Cross-shaped," and he wants us to orient our lives around that new identity. Much good food for thought here.

More People to Love by Jason Abbott and Benjamin Vrbicek

I got read an advanced version of this new book by my new online friend and fellow EFCA pastor Benjamin Vrbicek and his co-pastor.

This is my endorsement:

"In More People to Love, Pastors Abbot and Vrbicek nudge us to abound in love for others because of God's big plan for the world. I was both joyfully reminded of my part to play in God's grand story and challenged to think beyond myself."

As for Me and My House by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

This is an old book, but Heather and I didn't discover it until recently. In my Goodreads Review, I said it this way:
The best book there is on the WORK of marriage. I wish I'd had known about it two decades ago (we had to learn how to do it on our own!). 
Dense but beautiful writing. And the word "insightful" doesn't cover it by half. A must read for people who want to do the necessary work of building a safe, happy, and holy marriage.


For the last several years, I've had the privilege of serving as the book review coordinator for EFCA Now, the church leaders blog of our association of churches. The perks include helping to pick books to be reviewed and free copies for myself! This year, I got to read these engaging books alongside our reviewers (and offer a review of my own for Expositional Preaching).

Understanding Gender Dysphoria by Mark Yarhouse  [EFCA Now Review]

Going Public by Bobby Jamieson [EFCA Now Review]

Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk by Brad Hambrick  [EFCA Now Review by our church family's own Schenley Pilgram]

How to Survive the Apocalypse by Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson [EFCA Now Review]

Preaching and Teaching

One last category of good books for 2016 is the excellent commentaries I get to read as I prepare sermons and lessons for pastoral ministry at Lanse Free Church.

At the beginning of 2016, I finished preaching through the book of Romans (a much longer process than I had anticipated!). I read many things, but the two best commentaries were:

The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT) by Douglas Moo
The Epistle to the Romans (BNCT) by Thomas Schreiner

The majority of sermons for the rest of 2016 has been an ongoing series on Books of Kings. I'm profiting from several commentaries (I'll report on the best when I complete the series), but the ones that find the most all-around-helpful and imminently quotable are by Dale Ralph Davis from Christian Focus Publications. And our Link Group also studied the first 12 Psalms with Dale Ralph Davis as our guide. If you are studying either yourself, I highly recommend:

1 Kings: The Wisdom and the Folly by Dale Ralph Davis
The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life (Psalms 1-12) by Dale Ralph Davis