Dec 27, 2011

Best Books of 2011

I love to read whenever I can.  Unfortunately, with the noise and chaos at my house, my reading is usually limited to late at night when everyone is in bed.  I tried to keep up with all the books I read this year and balance out my reading selections to have a very broad base. Here are a few of my favorite books I read this year.

Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller
I loved Keller's book!  It was the first book by Keller that I have read all the way through.  It is one of the most important books I have read and exposes one of the major problems in the contemporary church.  Tim Keller's insight into idolatry is profound.  This book went a long way to exposing my own idols and has caused me to be more profoundly dependent upon Christ and not my idols.

Decision Points by George Bush
I got this book last year for Christmas and dug into it this Spring.  I love biographies.  I have not been much for presidential memoirs before, but Bush's presidential span was during a large part of my young adult life.  I think Bush served in one of the most critical times in the life of our country and his impact will not be fully measured or appreciated for many years to come.  It was fascinating to look at decisions that he made behind the scenes that the media has wrongly portrayed consistently. I believe Bush to be a brother in Christ with a deep faith that was placed in a role where biblical values are not embraced or tolerated.  This book is a must read for history and presidential buffs.

Gospel by JD Greear
Greear hit a home run with this book.  The word "gospel" has become a buzzword in the contemporary church and much is being preached about it, especially among the young and reformed evangelical types.  As much as it's being talked about, it is also being highly misunderstood.  Greear does a great job showing that gospel centrality has a massive impact on our daily lives.  He shows that the gospel is not just theological language, but the power for personal transformation.  Great book I wish everyone in my church would read!

Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson
I am still reading this book.  I had seen much tweeted and written on it recently.  Wilson's book is also a beautiful work on the majesty and power of the gospel to transform our personal lives.  I am only halfway through and have already worn a highlighter dry.  I will hopefully post some of my favorite quotes from this book later.  However, if I recommend one book for you to read in the next 2 months, this would be the one!

Onward by Howard Schultz
I love business books and behind the scenes looks at great companies.  This is one of those.  It is written by the CEO of Starbucks and chronicles the turnaround that Starbucks did several years ago as he saw some dangerous trends in his company.  Since I love coffee and Starbucks, much of what he wrote about I saw and remembered.

Radical Together by David Platt
This is Platt's follow-up to his first book Radical.  It is written to show more of the corporate implications of a church that commits to radical obedience to the word and the gospel.  It's a small but powerful book.  I believe that church leaders and pastors should pay careful attention to the words of Platt in a day and time where we are losing influence and impact for the gospel in our culture.  I believe David Platt is a prophet for our time and is being used of God in mighty ways.  His writings and sermons have had an impact on several in our church.  

Other books I read this year and really enjoyed were: Don't Call it a Comeback by Kevin DeYoung, Slave by John MacArthur, Pujols by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth, Erasing Hell by Francis Chan, John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock by Iain Murray, Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley, The Jesus Mission by Steven Scott, I, Alex Cross by James Patterson, Great by Choice by Jim Collins, and Where Has Oprah Taken Us? by Steven Masfield, and Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson.

Dec 22, 2011

A Calvin Christmas

I loved Calvin and Hobbes comic strips.  This is one of the Christmas strips.  Having 4 boys of my own, this one hits close to home.

Dec 21, 2011

Around the Internet

Here are a few links to some website articles and blogs I have recently found of interest.

What's the perception of Southern Baptists? This is some vitally important information about the perception of many of the unchurched about the denomination I belong to and deeply love.  I am so thankful for Ed's research eye and the important questions he asks.  These are prophetic words that need to be heeded.

The Year in Pictures (Part 1 and Part 2) - These are fascinating pictures of events that happened this year in the world.  A very powerful way to look back at the year 2011.

Who Was Saint Nicholas? This is a good post on the real Saint Nick by Mark Driscoll.  This will help you to better understand the man behind the myth and what to tell your kids about Santa Claus. 

Journey of the Wests - This is a blog started by my friend and church member Myron West about his family's recent journey to Uganda and God's calling of them to serve in missions on a full-time basis.  Myron is a deacon in my church and God has used him and his family to ignite a missions movement in our church.  Pray for them as they continue being obedient to God.

Don't give to the Cooperative Program - This is a great blog article by Micah Fries about the difference between giving "to" the Cooperative Program and "through" the CP.  I think it's a good word for SBC leaders to hear and for members of SBC churches to read and understand how the Cooperative Program works and why it's vitally important.  I agree with Micah's assessment that we need to be very careful about projecting an image that appears we are holding up an organizational structure more than advancing a heavenly kingdom. 

Return to Middle Earth

I never read the books, but I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the work that Peter Jackson did with those movies.  Now, he's doing The Hobbit, the prequel to the LOTR.  It looks to be pretty good.  The announcement trailer recently came out.  Enjoy.  Let the countdown to December 14th begin...

Dec 19, 2011

Hello Again...

Sorry it's been a month since I posted anything.  It's not because there hasn't been anything on my mind.  Too much happening to have any productive time to blog.  In the last month, Nathan and I got back from our mission trip to the Dominican Republic; we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in Mississippi;  my church has hired a new staff member to do youth ministry and discipleship; we had a party for my music minister who is retiring; I've had several surgeries and a couple of funerals; I've read a couple of really good books; and we've got a cat.  Never a dull moment.

Hope to have some things to put up here in the next few days.  Until then, I thought I would give you a little video to humor you.