Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Best Books I Read in 2012

I thought I would take some time to highlight some of the best books I read in 2012.   These are in no particular order.

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller.  Keller is becoming one of my favorite authors and this is one of the best books on marriage that I have read.  It seems like many marriage books contain similar material and very little original thought.  This book takes a unique approach, which is probably why I liked it a lot.  As the title implies, Keller explains the biblical foundation of marriage.  Understanding the foundation on of marriage helps with the practical day to day aspects of marriage.  I highly recommend it for singles - yes a marriage book for singles.  Keller preaches to many singles in his church and he specifically addresses singles in this book. For example, he explains why marriage is better than living together.  Again, understanding the foundation of marriage helps singles find a spouse and have a godly marriage.

Weird:  Because Normal Isn't Working by Craig Groeschel.  Groeschel is also becoming one of my favorite authors.  Here, he explains that most Christians live normal, ordinary,  mundane lives and this is not what God intended.  Instead, God intends for Christians to live extraordinary lives of faith.  This is a great challenge and a must read for everyone.

Sun Stand Still by Furtick.  In some ways, this book is similar to Weird, but it is a challenging in its own right.  Using the example of Joshua asking God to make the sun stand still, Furtick challenges Christians to look for God to do extraordinary things in their lives.  He says we should pray for, and expect, God to do seemingly impossible things in, and through, our lives.  How many of us actually expect God to do the impossible in, and through us?  This book is a faith builder.

A Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur.  Here, MacArthur provides an in depth understanding of the Prodigal Son.  As I said before, Timothy Keller has become a popular author and many have read his book, Prodigal God, which examines the Prodigal Son.  While Prodigal God is good, I think MacArthur's book is better.  I think MacArthur includes everything that Keller included, but MacArthur includes a lot more, which should not be surprising since MacArthur's book is more than twice as long.  This book caused me to see the Prodigal Son in a whole new light and how it applies to everyone, even to Christians.  We can really see ourselves in the life of the Prodigal and the older son.  I especially like his "tragic" ending of the story, which I had never heard before, even in Keller's book.

Bonhoeffer by Metatexas.  This is a good biography of someone that I had heard of, but knew very little about.  It is fascinating how he, early on, saw the dangers of Hitler and Hitler's influence on the church.  Then, how he tried to combat Hitler, even to the point of being part of a plot to kill Hitler.  I have some questions about how accurately Metatexas portrays Bonhoeffer's theology, but the book is very good.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  Fascinating biography of Zamperini, who was a wild child, ran in the 1936 Olympics, survived an airplane crash in the Pacific in World II and weeks on a raft, was a POW tortured by the Japanese, returned home a broken man, and accepted Christ at a Billy Graham crusade.  It gives a good understanding of World War II in the Pacific - heartbreaking. A little long, but that probably helps the reader understand the torture that Zamperini lived through.

What reading recommendations do you have?

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