I had a good friend ask me several times to make a list of the books I would recommend. For whatever reason, I kept putting it off. My thinking was “no one cares what books I read.” Yet each time I would bring up a book in my “teaching” and maybe read from the book, this friend, who I greatly respect, continued to ask me when I was going to put together “the list.” The following list isn’t comprehensive of the books I would recommend, but it’s a start as they are some of the more impactful ones I’ve read this year.
I like to learn, and I like to read. I’m convinced that reading is the path to learning and growing. I don’t just read books for the pleasure of a good story. Typically, my reading is to learn, and especially to learn more about the Lord. When someone writes a book, you can bet they have put their hearts and souls into their work. As one who writes occasional blogs, I can tell you it is work. I can’t imagine putting out books every year as many authors do. If you have followed my blog or read any of my posts, you know I am an avid fan of author, blogger, and speaker Frank Viola. His heart and wisdom for sharing scriptural insights is amazing. I am a part of The Deeper Christian Life Network that Frank founded and teaches on and I love it. Recently I sent him an email thanking him for his work and how much it has changed me and helped me grow in my knowledge of the Lord. Below is our exchange:
I have followed your work for many years. I was a member of the network a few years ago, however I seldom made use of it so I canceled my membership (which looking back I deeply regret.) I renewed my membership a few months ago and I can tell you that I have so enjoyed listening to the messages. I have concentrated only on “Beautiful Pursuit” – Lessons on Knowing the Lord. I have listened to every lesson at least once and some 3 or 4 times. They are life changing. I am learning to “know the Lord” in ways I never experienced before and I am more aware of His presence today than I have been in my 48 years of “following” the Lord. The messages have helped me overcome some things in my life that kept me from “going deeper” into the knowledge of Christ. Thank you for sharing the deep things of God. I wish everyone could know what I now know. I have great respect for you and your work brother.
Your Fellow Brother In Christ,
His reply was heart felt and sincere and I want to share it here:
Thank you, Keith. I’m glad to hear this. My wish is that you would recommend the resources to EVERY Christian in their 20s and 30s who you know with as much zeal and fire as you put in this note to me. That’s the generation I’m burdened to reach with my work and it’s the one that we need not neglect, for they will carry the torch into the future.
If you are reading this, and you are in your 20s and 30s and desire to know your Lord on a “deeper” more “intimate” level, then I highly recommend you check out his work and subscribe to his email updates. It will change your life! Thanks, Frank, for all you do for the Body of Christ.
I shared that exchange with you because you will notice a couple of Frank’s books on my list (I have all his books by the way!) Many were read in prior years, and I often refer to them.
So here is my list with titles, author’s names, and a short description:
- Revise Us Again – Frank Viola
- As the tagline of the book states, Revise Us Again will help you “live from a renewed Christian script.” In the book Frank helps us deal with the times when we feel God’s presence is a universe away and refocuses us on the real presence of God in our life. He also talks about the Christian code language and Christianeze we so often use and how to get rid of it in our lives.
- Sit, Walk, Stand – Watchman Nee
- Watchman Nee breaks down Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians and explains how and why we “sit” with the Lord before we “walk” in His ways and “stand” against the enemy.
- The Myth of the Christian Church – Gregory A. Boyd
- This book is not for the faint of heart! If you are ready to be challenged and to examine the Biblical text for what it says, then get this book, strap in, and take off reading. Greg will challenge your Christian Nationalism and bring you to the truth of the Scripture and the Kingdom of God. There is a lot in this 200-page book.
- Hang on, Let Go – Frank Viola
- As a pastor, when I finished Hang On, Let Go, all I could do was say: Wow! And then order five more books to give away to people! This book can be a lifeline to anyone who is going through a tough time and is struggling with the question “Why?” Frank does an excellent job explaining the process of hanging on to God and your faith and letting go of the problem and trouble. Get this book!
- Extreme Prayer – Greg Pruett
- We went through this book as a church staff, and it is an excellent book on prayer. If you long to understand better why God does and doesn’t answer prayers, you may find this book helpful.
- The QAnon Deception – James Beverly (e-book)
- I purchased this book as an e-book during the QAnon conspiracy hype of early 2021. It’s not my typical style of book however it is well researched and exposes much of the falsehoods behind QAnon and how the evangelical church bought into “Q.” They print several online posts, so language is a problem. But if you can get past that, this is one of the most revealing books I read this year.
- A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem – Ben Witherington (e-book)
- This is narrative history and Ben does a great job of giving us insight into the week during the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Everything was changing for the Jews and the “new” church. It was an apocalyptic time! For them it was the end of the age (Matthew 24)
- Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All – Michael Shellenberger (e-book)
- If you are interested in the “truth” about the environment, then this is the book for you. Michael Shellenbeger exposes many myths and untruths about environmentalism. He is an environmental activist; however, he approaches it with a level head and sound science. This book is well researched and very insightful.
- Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom – Frank Viola (My 2nd reading)
- If you want to know the truth about the kingdom of God…this is the book for you. Frank unveils the Gospel of the Kingdom like no one else. He brings to light the differences between the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of God and how the two do not mix. Get this book, read it once and then read it again.
So there it is…some of the impactful books I’ve read this year. I hope you find it helpful and let me know what books you are reading. — Keith