Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Books of 2014

A number of bloggers have been writing their top books of 2014. It’s neat to see what people have found to be the most impactful books they’ve read over the course of the year.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year compared to the last 5 or so years of my life. So I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite books from this year, especially since I never got around to writing summaries for many of them. It’s hard to pick the best because I would probably recommend every book I’ve read this year! But here are some of my top picks and why.

What Do They Think of Me? Why Do I Care? (Ed Welch)
Geared towards teens and young adults, this book is easy to read, but filled with deep truths. With many practical examples, Ed Welch addresses common thoughts and struggles of young people, including people-pleasing, but always brings them back to the truth. He reminds that those things flow out of worship and asks questions to help you see what you're believing about God, yourself, and others.

Follow Me (David Platt)
This was one of the first books I read this year, and it inspired and encouraged to make disciples wherever I am. Following Jesus should result in us bringing others to Christ. He talks about crucial topics like salvation and the call to die as we follow Christ.

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (J.I. Packer)
This is the best book I’ve ever read that clearly explains our part in evangelism and our trust in God’s ability to do the work He will do. I highly recommend it!

Counsel from the Cross (Elyse Fitzpatrick & Dennis Johnson)
This book helped me in its explanation that the imperatives (commands) of scripture are always preceded with the indicatives (who we are). It’s a transformative way to look at the commands of Scripture. We are never told just to obey, it always flows from our relationship with Christ. I love how this book helps you understand the application of the gospel to your own life and the lives of others.

Who Am I? (Jerry Bridges)
Great book on what identity in Christ means and looks like. The phrase “identity in Christ” is one that may not make a lot of sense but it is definitely a Scriptural one, with so many passages in the New Testament speaking of us being “in Christ”. It’s easy to look for our worth, our satisfaction, or our approval in the things we do or the people around us, which inevitably leads to pride as we do well, and depression as we perform poorly. Jerry Bridges expounds on what it means to find our worth and identity in Christ.

The Pursuit of Holiness (Jerry Bridges)
Another fantastic book by Jerry Bridges. This is so helpful in helping believers understand what it means to fight sin and pursue holiness, motivated by the grace of God.

Rescuing Ambition (Dave Harvey)
I’ve read this book before, and this year I listened to the audio version. It reminded me over and over that my problems are worship problems—that my sinful heart often wants to pursue my own glory (selfish ambitions), instead of the glory of God. Dave Harvey writes great personal examples and stories that you can identify with, and then points you to Christ and your need for Him

Relationships: a Mess Worth Making (Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane)
No, this isn't a book about dating, which many have asked me since it's about relationships. It's about all relationships and what God is doing through them. If I was to pick the most influential author in my life this year, it would probably be Paul Tripp. Doing a small group study of “How People Change”, re-reading “Relationships”, and reading many blog articles by Paul Tripp has helped me to look to myself and my sin first in the midst of relationship challenges. This book in particular gives Scriptural hope and helps for dealing with conflict and reminding you of your identity in Christ as you deal with sinful people in a fallen world (yourself being the #1 problem!).

Just Do Something (Kevin DeYoung)
The more I’ve thought about what is taught in this book, the more I've realized how true it is. God used Kevin DeYoung to remind me that one of the most important things in determining God’s will in regards to a decision about school or ministry or a job, is asking if there is a good, local church that I could be a part of where I want to be. Kevin DeYoung makes some excellent points that we tend to be more concerned about our non-moral decisions than we are about God’s commands in Scripture to be holy and to love God wholeheartedly. Through seeking God's face, pursuing the wisdom of other godly believers, and reading Scripture, we can make decisions that honor God, without over-stressing whether we'll be outside of God's will.


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