1. Counter Culture by David Platt – Seemingly overnight, culture has shifted to the point where right and wrong are no longer measured by universal truth but by popular opinion. And as difficult conversations about homosexuality, abortion, and religious liberty continue to inject themselves into our workplaces, our churches, our schools, and our homes, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we supposed to respond to all this? In Counter Culture, New York Times bestselling author David Platt shows Christians how to actively take a stand on such issues as poverty, sex trafficking, marriage, abortion, racism, and religious liberty—and challenges us to become passionate, unwavering voices for Christ. Drawing on compelling personal accounts from around the world, Platt presents an unapologetic yet winsome call for Christians to faithfully follow Christ into the cultural battlefield in ways that will prove both costly and rewarding. David Platt is one of my favorite authors and I look forward to hearing him speak at Urbana 2015 in December
2. Dedicated by Houser and Harrington – In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded his followers to go into the world and make disciples, teaching them to obey all that Jesus had said. But the very first “great commission” was really given much earlier—to parents. In Deuteronomy 6, God calls parents to the task of discipleship in raising their children. Discipleship is the greatest test for the Christian family today. In today’s busy world, many parents feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure what to do—or even where to begin. In Dedicated, Jason Houser is joined by Bobby Harrington and his son Chad, as they unpack the simple, practical, and essential practices of spiritually parenting and discipling children in the home. An inspirational training manual to equip parents, Dedicated will empower parents to pass along their faith to the next generation. With so many millennials leaving the church, this a book that is necessary for “just such a time as this”.
3. Scary Close by Donald Miller – After decades of failed relationships and painful drama, Donald Miller decided he’d had enough. Impressing people wasn’t helping him connect with anyone. He’d built a life of public isolation, yet he dreamed of meaningful relationships. So at forty years old he made a scary decision: to be himself no matter what it cost. From the author of Blue Like Jazz comes a book about the risk involved in choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more, about the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving. It is a story about knocking down old walls to create a healthy mind, a strong family, and a satisfying career. And it all feels like a conversation with the best kind of friend: smart, funny, true, important. In a culture that esteems platform building and crafting our public images so carefully, this book is a refreshing reminder about the power of authenticity.
4. The Prodigal Church – Jared Wilson – This book is not a tired rant. This book is not a reactionary diatribe. This book is a gentle manifesto against the status quo. In The Prodigal Church, Jared Wilson challenges church leaders to reconsider their priorities when it comes to how they “do church” and reach people in their communities, arguing that we too often rely on loud music, flashy lights, and skinny jeans to get people in the door. Writing with the grace and kindness of a trusted friend, Wilson encourages readers to reexamine the Bible’s teaching, not simply return to a traditional model for tradition’s sake. He then sets forth an alternative to both the attractional and the traditional models: an explicitly biblical approach that is gospel focused, grace based, and fruit oriented. As trusted member of the Gospel Coalition, Jared speaks with respect and authority on a critical issue for our age. This book will be available on April 30th.
5. The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler – The Song of Solomon offers strikingly candid—and timeless—insights on romance, dating, marriage, and sex. We need it. Because emotions rise and fall with a single glance, touch, kiss, or word. And we are inundated with songs, movies, and advice that contradicts God’s design for love and intimacy. Matt Chandler helps navigate these issues for both singles and marrieds by revealing the process Solomon himself followed: Attraction, Courtship, Marriage … even Arguing. The Mingling of Souls will forever change how you view and approach love. Having seen Matt Chandler in action and loving his previous books, this looks to be a vital resource on a hot topic.
6. Keep It Shut – Karen Ehman – Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman explores how to better control your tongue, knowing what to say and how to say it, and realizing when it is best to say nothing at all. From Bible times to modern times women have struggled with their words. What to say and how to say it. What not to say. When it is best to remain silent. And what to do when you’ve said something you wish you could now take back. In this book a woman whose mouth has gotten her into loads of trouble shares the hows (and how-not-tos) of dealing with the tongue. Beyond just a “how not to gossip” book, this book explores what the Bible says about the many ways we are to use our words and the times when we are to remain silent. Even though we know that Scripture has much to say about how we are—and are not—to use our words, this is still an immense issue, causing heartache and strain not only in family relationships, but also in friendships, work, and church settings. As a the publisher of Resisting Gossip, this book is a must read for me and my team.
7. The Day I Met Jesus – Frank Viola – a fascinating journey back in time as Viola and Demuth retell the dramatic accounts of five women who met Jesus. Each narrative is told from each woman’s unique perspective, yet tightly grounded in the Gospel accounts and faithful to first-century history. Elegantly written and profoundly stirring, this book blends creative narrative with uncommon insight, spiritual depth, and practical application. One of my favorite books of 2013 was Frank Viola’s book, God’s Favorite Place on Earth. I really love his prose and can’t wait to read this new book.
8. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi – In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi’s inner turmoil will challenge Christians and Muslims alike. Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart—and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus. This book is getting a lot of buzz in evangelical circles and should be very thought provoking.
9. What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality – Kevin DeYoung – In this timely book, award-winning author Kevin DeYoung challenges each of us—the skeptic, the seeker, the certain, and the confused—to take a humble look at God’s Word regarding the issue of homosexuality. After examining key biblical passages in both the Old and New Testaments and the Bible’s overarching teaching regarding sexuality, DeYoung responds to popular objections raised by Christians and non-Christians alike, making this an indispensable resource for thinking through one of the most pressing issues of our day. Coming from one of today’s preeminent Biblical scholars and pastors, this should be a must read for all of us looking to address this critical issue of our age. This book is available on April 30th.
10. Preaching by Tim Keller – Pastor, preacher, and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller’s wisdom on communicating the Christian faith from the pulpit as well as from the coffee shop. Most Christians—including pastors—struggle to talk about their faith in a way that applies the power of the Christian gospel to change people’s lives. Timothy Keller is known for his insightful, down-to-earth sermons and talks that help people understand themselves, encounter Jesus, and apply the Bible to their lives. In this accessible guide for pastors and laypeople alike, Keller helps readers learn to present the Christian message of grace in a more engaging, passionate, and compassionate way. Once again Tim publishes a book with a one word title that will probably become one of the most important and sought after books on this topic. I am not a preacher and yet can’t wait to get my hands on it. This book is available on June 9th