I’ve been a book worm since the summer between second and third grade when my parents paid me for every book that I read that summer. I know, my motive may not have been so pure back then, but my love for books remains to this day. That’s one of the reasons why I love summer so much. Things in “church world” slow down a bit as the kids are out of school, families are traveling on vacation and the general program of ministry at the church slows down from a whirlwind to at least a strong breeze.
I normally read voraciously during the school year for sermon prep as well as for personal productivity and efficiency. I do make time for “fun reading,” but even that can get put on the back burner with all the demands of ministry as the pastor of a local church. So, when summer comes around, I normally have an arsenal of books waiting to launch into so that my mind may be stretched and my spirit might be refreshed.
I know that others surely must feel the same as I do, so I thought that I would share with you ten books that I have selected to read during the summer of 2014. Some will be downloaded on my Kindle and carried on the trips that I will take this summer. Others are “classic” and thus not available for download. For these I’ll get to enjoy the feel of paper in my hand and experience the sensation of folding the corner down to save my spot for the next time I get to open the pages and dive in again.
Here are the 10 books I’ve selected for my summer reading, along with either the information on the back of the book, or a review from Amazon.com. I pray that this is a help and an encouragement to you.
From the back cover: “Calvin Miller has long been one of the most creative voices in the church. As a best-selling author and poet he has enabled believers to flourish. As a pastor and educator he has equipped countless thousands to know and serve God more fully. And he’s got the battle scars to prove it. Having survived these tumultuous decades, Dr. Miller now shares his well-earned wisdom with the next generation of pastors—including you, or someone you know. Miller acknowledges much has changed over his years of ministry, as we’ve moved from switchboards to smartphones and from big-haired evangelists to cigar-smoking emergents. But two truths remain the same: God is love and people are broken. In this honest, engaging, and humorous collection of letters, he encourages you to fight the good fight, stay the course, and keep your eye on the Author and Finisher of the faith…to serve well every Sunday so you’ll never feel the urge to resign on Monday.”
From Amazon.com: “This majestic new biography of James Madison explores the astonishing story of a man of vaunted modesty who audaciously changed the world. Among the Founding Fathers, Madison was a true genius of the early republic. Outwardly reserved, Madison was the intellectual driving force behind the Constitution and crucial to its ratification. His visionary political philosophy and rationale for the union of states—so eloquently presented in The Federalist papers—helped shape the country Americans live in today. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Madison would found the first political party in the country’s history—the Democratic Republicans. As Jefferson’s secretary of state, he managed the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the United States. As president, Madison led the country in its first war under the Constitution, the War of 1812. Without precedent to guide him, he would demonstrate that a republic could defend its honor and independence—and remain a republic still.
From Amazon. com: “When is the last time you thought about the state of your soul? The health of your soul isn’t just a matter of saved or unsaved. It’s the hinge on which the rest of your life hangs. It’s the difference between deep, satisfied spirituality and a restless, dispassionate faith. In an age of materialism and consumerism that tries to buy its way to happiness, many souls are starved and unhealthy, unsatisfied by false promises of status and wealth. We’ve neglected this eternal part of ourselves, focusing instead on the temporal concerns of the world—and not without consequence. Bestselling author John Ortberg presents another classic that will help you discover your soul—the most important connection to God there is—and find your way out of the spiritual shallow-lands to true divine depth. With characteristic insight and an accessible story-filled approach, Ortberg brings practicality and relevance to one of Christianity’s most mysterious and neglected topics.”
From the Inside Flap: “TEN YEARS IN THE MAKING, View From the Top is a true achievement. Books on power and leadership rarely present insights that are fundamentally new, and they seldom ground their conclusions in original scientific research. This remarkable book does both. It presents the key results of sociologist Michael Lindsay’s unprecedented Platinum Study, an examination of how the most powerful people in the United States operate. A few elite leaders in business and government make decisions that affect all 300 million Americans. Dr. Michael Lindsay set out to discover what sets this handful of influential people apart. Through in-depth interviews with 550 top CEOs and senior officials, including two former U.S. presidents and a sizeable group of Fortune 100 leaders, Lindsay learned that power is not a matter of luck or breeding, but follows a set of seven surprising—and surprisingly simple—principles.The findings of the Platinum Study have the potential to change the way we think about leadership. The stereotypical image of the hard-nosed Ivy League boss who’s always looking out for number one may ring true somewhere, but it completely fails in the upper echelons of leadership. View From the Top will surprise readers by demonstrating the compassion, hard work, and humanity that unites the most influential Americans. For the first time, Michael Lindsay has revealed the characteristics and behaviors of the people who shape the world we live in.By shedding light on the inner workings of America’s elite, this book serves as an inspiration and a guide for anyone who dreams of making it to the top. It’s easy enough to be an effective leader, but to lead some of the most powerful institutions on Earth requires something special. Ambitious leaders and leaders-to-be will find guidance in firsthand stories and advice. The author allows the gurus to speak for themselves, and then follows up with helpful synthesis of leaders’ candid revelations. The result is a book that stands alone among business titles in terms of both insight and impact. If you read only one business book this year, make it View From the Top.”
From Amazon.com: “Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won. Or should he have? In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, David and Goliath examines Northern Ireland’s Troubles, the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms—all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity. In the tradition of Gladwell’s previous bestsellers—The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw—David and Goliath draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to reshape the way we think of the world around us.”
From Amazon.com: “As a Christian father, you bear a tremendous responsibility–to raise your children through both biblical instruction and personal example. But how can you succeed in a society that attacks the role of fatherhood and godly family values? Are you sometimes tempted to give in or give up?The rewards of being a dad who leads are well worth making the effort to stand firm. The Bible offers clear guidance for dads on how to parent effectively. Join pastor-teacher John MacArthur as he looks at…
- the keys to building healthy family unity
- essential character qualities to teach every child
- how to lovingly discipline children and nurture obedience
- traps to avoid in the course of parenting
- the power of a dad’s example to influence future generations
Commit yourself to being a dad who leads, and God will enable you every step of the way. There’s no surer path to experiencing a lifetime of family blessings!”
From Amazon.com: In an era when cooperation between the national media and the US government seems laughable, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s timely 100-year look backward explores the origins of the type of muckraking journalism that helped make America a better country. Focusing on the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and his successor, William Howard Taft–one-time colleagues and friends who later became sworn foes–Goodwin chronicles the birth of an activist press, which occurred when five of the nation’s best-ever journalists converged at McClure’s magazine and helped usher in the Progressive era. At times slow and overly meticulous, with a lot of backstory and historical minutiae, this is nonetheless a lush, lively, and surprisingly urgent story–a series of entwined stories, actually, with headstrong and irascible characters who had me pining for journalism’s earlier days. It’s a big book that cries out for a weekend in a cabin, a book to get fully lost in, to hole up with and ignore the modern world, to experience the days when newsmen and women were our heroes.”
From Amazon.com: “Ask the best leaders in any organization how they learned to be successful, and you often hear the same answer: they had a good mentor.Now international leadership expert John Maxwell gives the bottom line on mentoring in one short, easy-to-read volume. In Mentoring 101, he gives the steps needed to effectively reproduce your success in someone else. He explains how to choose the right person to mentor, how to create the right environment for leaders to thrive and grow, and how to get started.What if you spent your entire life achieving but never shared your wisdom with anyone else? don’t let your success end with you.As a mentor, you can create a legacy that will last long after you are done reading.”
From the Back Cover: “Since 1974, men around the world have practiced the biblical teaching in this book to live by God’s terms. Now you can follow in their footsteps to reach God’s standards as a father, a husband, and a mentor to other men—and Gene Getz tells you how to make the grade. True masculinity isn’t measured by strength but by these 20 biblical guidelines drawn from the apostle Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. With ideas for real-life applications and words of inspiration, here is Gene’s greatest work— fully rewritten and updated to speak in the most practical terms to men from every generation.”
From Amazon.com: “Plenty of books talk about living a deeper life. This one shows you how–how to truly discover the answers to life’s core questions and live them out in your thoughts, words, and actions.An acclaimed teacher on spiritual renewal, Daniel Henderson shares the principles and practices that are vital to a transformed life. He explains the longings that resonate in our souls–longings such as wanting to know God more fully, to know ourselves better, to spend our time on things that matter–and shows how to systematically apply them to daily decisions and even long-term goals. As countless believers have already discovered, this gospel-oriented, Spirit-empowered approach will touch every part of your life and change the trajectory of your journey.”
These are the books that I’ve selected for my summer reading. What books are you excited about diving into this summer?