Every New Year, in addition to setting new goals and habits, I recommit to many of the same resolutions I made in previous years. Some are character-related, like talking less. Others are more relatable, like health and nutrition. Of course, one of my favorite things to do is read, so naturally there is always some commitment to read more, or read more regularly, or read something outside of my usual literary palate. This year will be no different.
Actually, this year will be slightly different. I’d like to invite you to read along with me this year. Commitments are better kept when made with friends, and I’d love to read along and discuss some great books with you this year. Below are the twelve books I will be reading in 2019, one book a month. They range from theology to Spiritual disciplines, some classics, some philosophy, Christian living, and even some fiction! If you see a book you’d like to read, then jump in on that particular month and join me! I’ll post a review of each book at the end of each month, and encourage your thoughts and feed back as well. (Click the images to link to Amazon)
JANUARY | The Gospel Comes With A House Key, Rosaria Butterfield | Christian Living
This book came out in 2018 and I’ve heard some really positive things about it. Rosaria’s testimony is amazing and her insight into the power of Christian hospitality is much needed in today’s climate. This book connects the welcoming, open, and hospitable life of the Christian to the power of the gospel.
FEBRUARY | Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero | Christian Living
I came across this book earlier this year and was able to skim it and see that I could personally be helped by the insight Scazzero offers regarding self-awareness and emotional health, particularly someone in ministry. This is a tried-and-true resource for some time (2006), and so I thought I’d let it do its work on me!
MARCH | Same Sex Attraction and the Church, Ed Shaw | Christianity & Ethics
I was given this book at a T4G conference a few years back and it’s been on my to-read list since then. For obvious reasons, this is a relevant book that will hopefully provide some clarity and understanding to a complicated issue. It comes highly recommended by the likes of Russel Moore, Justin Taylor, and Rosaria Butterfield (see January’s pick).
APRIL | A Camaraderie of Confidence, John Piper | Biography
Next is a popular biography series from Dr. John Piper. The works and ministry of both Dr. Piper and the men he covers here (Spurgeon, Muller, and Taylor) have been influential on me, so this small sketch of their lives should be an excellent and inspiring read.
MAY | My Name is Asher Lev, Chiam Potok | Fiction Novel
I’ve started this book at least twice. It’s won awards. I’d like to finish it. It’s a fascinating tale about art, faith, and the cost of the pursuit of truth. Novels are a great way to get a change of pace and scenery, as it were. Why not start with a modern classic?
JUNE | Leisure the Basis of Culture, Joseph Pieper | Philosophy
Heralded as “One of the most important philosophy titles published in the twentieth century,” this book seems to just be right up my alley. Like I really need a philosophical reason to justify leisure – but I’ll take it. I’ve seen this title cited in several other books I’ve read, so I figured it was time to go straight to the source. Hopefully I can understand it all!
JULY | The Spirit and the Church, John Owen | Theology
John Owen deserves to be read at least once a year. I usually re-read his Mortification of Sin, but this one has been sitting on my shelf for sometime and, although I’ve used it briefly for reference, I have not read it in its entirety. This little book packs a punch – unpacking how the Spirit affirms God’s word, helps believers to pray and know God’s will, and guides them through life.
AUGUST | Paradise Lost, John Milton | Poetry
Not sure what I’m getting myself into with this one, but as a title that’s been lauded as the greatest epic poem in the English language, I think I ought to give it a go. It tells the story of the Fall of Man in beautiful free verse and in an entirely ambitious manner. It’s an epic, and I am sure it’s going to live up to its name!
SEPTEMBER | Til We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis | Novel
I’ve decided to re-read Til We Have Faces because it has always landed in a way that both deeply excited and troubled me. Lewis has a way of capturing the heart of a story and telling you something you’ve never heard but feel like you’ve always known. This one is too good to not read again.
OCTOBER | Fearless Prayer, Craig Hazen | Christian Living
Recommended to me by a friend, this looks like a challenging but much needed read. Prayer is crucial to the Christian life, and I think we all need help to be not only more consistent, but more bold in our requests.
NOVEMBER | Disruptive Witness, Alan Noble | Christian Living
Tim Keller said this was one of the best books he’s read in 2018. I don’t need another reason! But there are still plenty that commend this book. Christianity is inherently a worldview that shakes up the culture around it. How we can be better cultural warriors rather than panderers is something I need to read.
DECEMBER | In the Year of Our Lord, Sinclair Ferguson | Church History
Sinclair Ferguson is an intellectual with a shepherd’s heart. The way he weaves theology together with grace and practical wisdom is illuminating. I’ve long been a student of church history, so I believe this book will be a fitting end to the year.
I know reading can be a bit of a challenge for some. But if there’s even one book on this list that piques your interest, consider joining me! There will be plenty to do and accomplish in 2019. Let’s make growing in our understanding of God, ourselves, and the world around us one of them.
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