I love reading. I believe carefully choosing the books I read, and studying as I read enables me to be mentored by men and women I have never met. This is an amazing opportunity that must not be wasted. Additionally, I believe that an active mind is crucial in my obedience to Christ. Romans 12:2 says to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind.” While reading the Bible is certainly the best way to do this, maintaining an aggressive reading schedule has helped me in this aspect of becoming a disciple of Jesus. It is my goal that the books I recommend here will be of assistance to you as you seek to know Christ more intimately in 2015.

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1. A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by J. I. Packer

This book isn’t a super quick read, but it’s a solid dose of church history and encouragement in the faith. I came to this book knowing very little about the lives of the Puritans and left it with a new respect for the dedication to Christ. It also helped me pinpoint areas in my own life that needed to change as I learned from the example of those who had gone before. Reading stories of pastors who awoke every single day at 3 am to pray and prepare so they were able to feed their sheep was powerful in exposing my lack of discipline and commitment to holy living.

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2. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

I read this book every year and find new nuggets every time. It’s a timeless classic that will be instructive to new non-Christians, new Christians, and those who have been saved for decades. Lewis eloquently and concisely explains the core teachings of Christianity in an accessible way that my high school students adore. Many of them find his style very difficult at first, but after a month of reading, they have experienced a change of heart (and mind)! While arguments are not often built with precision and care today, Lewis takes the pains to systematically build a compelling argument that cannot be quickly dismissed. I trust you will enjoy this book as you engage your mind in 2015.

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3. Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission by Darrin Patrick

This was the first book I read in 2014, and I spent my 2014 New Year’s Eve reviewing it. If you are a pastor or desire to be a pastor, you will enjoy and be challenged by the 1st section, “The Man.” However, if you are neither a pastor nor desiring to be a pastor, you will still be blessed by Patrick’s accurate explanation of what is needed from the clergy. In the 2nd section, “The Message” Patrick clearly unpacks the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a convicting and encouraging way that will benefit all readers. Given my interest in apologetics, I’m particularly grateful that the first chapter in this section emphasizes the historical truth of Christianity. The 3rd section, “The Mission” offers some unique stories from the author’s ministry experience in St. Louis. Given the recent mess in Ferguson, this portion is particularly poignant, although it was written well before the recent tragedies. For those who desire to live a radical life, following the missional approach modeled by Jesus, this final section will help you connect the theoretical with the practical. You won’t regret investing  $12 and a few hours reading this book!

Leave a comment with a book or two I should check out in 2015!!

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