I love this time of year. The kids are back in school, the weather is getting cooler and it is time to read some great new books that are just coming out this fall. Here are my suggestions of some books that I have already read and others that I can’t wait to get my hands on.
1. Wrecked is on the top of my list of books that I want to read this fall and not just because Mike Hyatt likes it. In it, Jeff Goins shares his own experience of struggling as a missionary and 20-something who understands the call to live radically while dealing with the everyday responsibilities of life. Wrecked is a manifesto for a generation dissatisfied with the status quo and wanting to make a difference. While lot’s of 20 somethings will resonate with this message, Jeff’s unique take and gifted writing ability should make it an important book for all of us that are pursuing our life’s work in a way that leaves us without regrets. Jeff Goins is a blogger, speaker and author. He is also the Communications Director of Adventures in Missions, an international nonprofit organization.
2. Life without Limits is written by one of the most courageous people I know. I had the privilege of hearing him speak this summer at the Creation Music festival and could not believe his sheer joy and excitement with life, coming from a man with no arms or legs. This book has just come out in paperback and is one that I know will inspire anybody who reads it. I am sure that I will be reminded over and over again that we serve a good God who can and will use anyone regardless of their limitations.
3. Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst is a new book that is getting a lot of buzz in Christian book reading circles these days. It rocketed to the top of several best seller lists in the week or so after it released and continues to sell well in stores across the country. With a provocative cover like this on the subject of making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions, it is very timely and really seems to be touching a nerve. Lysa is well known for her previous books, Made to Crave and Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. As parents of teenagers, I think that my wife and I may need to read this book together.
4. The Reason by William Sirls is my favorite new Christian fiction book this year. I was able to read a pre-release edition this summer and was captivated from the very first page. It is William’s first novel and it’s quality is all the more remarkable because it was written in jail where he was serving a sentence for wire fraud and money laundering. His character development and plot pacing reminded me of one of my other favorite Christian fiction book called Rooms by James Rubart. You will never see Jesus the same way again after reading this book.
5. I am in the middle of reading this incredible new book, Body Broken by Charles Drew that should be mandatory reading for all of us this election cycle. It will be the basis for some teaching that I will be doing later in the fall on the subject of civil discourse. His initial section on first principles for Christians as we consider our political engagements and public pronouncements was worth the price of the book. He is deft at pointing us to the only source of power that really matters while giving the reader great wisdom on staying involved with a culture that seems to get more morally corrupt by the day. It has been a breath of fresh air to read at a time of great acrimony over politics among believers. If his message were widely read and accepted by the church in America, it could radically change the tone of many of our conversations.
6. Running for My Life is not a story about Africa or track and field athletics. It is about outrunning the devil and achieving the impossible faith, diligence, and the desire to give back. It is the American dream come true and a stark reminder that saving one can help to save thousands more. Lopez Lomong chronicles his inspiring ascent from a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War to a Nike sponsored athlete on the US Olympic Team. It came out this summer and is on my list of must reads because it shares a story that can inspire anyone no matter how bad their circumstances may be to begin with. How awesome that we serve a God 0f second chances.
7. The Hole in our Holiness is that we don’t seem to care much about holiness according to Kevin. Or, at the very least, we don’t understand it. And we all have our reasons too: Maybe the pursuit of holiness seems legalistic. Maybe it feels like one more thing to worry about in your already overwhelming life. Maybe the emphasis on effort in the Christian life appears unspiritual. Or maybe you’ve been trying really hard to be holy and it’s just not working! Whatever the case, the problem is clear: too few Christians look like Christ and too many don’t seem all that concerned about it. Given that CLC just published Holiness without the Halo by Stuart Briscoe, this seemed like an important follow up on a needed topic.
8. I could not finish the list without a Tim Keller recommendation. In this new book, Every Good Endeavor, due out in November, he deals with the subject of work. In a work world that is increasingly competitive and insecure, people often have nagging questions: Why am I doing this work? Why is it so hard? And is there anything I can do about it? Tim Keller, pastor of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church and New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God, has taught and counseled students, young professionals, and senior leaders on the subject of work and calling for more than twenty years. I can’t wait to see what he has to say in this important new book.
9. John Ortberg is senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California and a bestselling author. I have appreciated his writing for years since he was a part of the Willow Creek staff. In this book, he shares his take on the person that is at heart of our faith. He writes that Jesus’ impact on our world is highly unlikely, widely inescapable, largely unknown, and decidedly double-edged. It is unlikely in light of the severe limitations of his earthly life; it is inescapable because of the range of impact; it is unknown because history doesn’t connect dots; and it is doubled-edged because his followers have wreaked so much havoc, often in his name. He is history’s most familiar figure, yet he is the man no one knows. His impact on the world is immense and non-accidental. From the Dark Ages to Post-Modernity he is the Man who won’t go away. As a person who seeks to emulate Jesus, this book could prove a pretty challenging read.
10. Saving the best for last, Platform is one of the best and most necessary books that I have read this year. It is a must read for writers, speakers, bloggers and anyone seeking to get a message across in a world where people are overwhelmed with information every day. It has given me a number of tangible ideas for cutting through the clutter and for improving my own approach to communication. For those of us challenged with presenting the truth of the gospel publicly on a regular basis, this book is a manifesto. I am sure that I will be reading it over and over again.