It's the beginning of a new year. Looking back at 2015, I spent more time writing and creating than I did reading. I didn't complete everything I set out to read. This year, I'm hoping to spend more time reading and reflecting, and I hope that what I've set out to read is an encouragement to you.
Pastor Bill Hybels writes, "My schedule is far less about what I want to get done and far more about who I want to become." The books I've chosen for 2016 correspond with major growth goals I've set for the year. This year, I'm thinking about four broad categories--communion with God, fatherhood, pastoral ministry, and family ministry. I've chosen four books from each of these categories.
Communion with God
God lives in eternal rest and perpetual joy. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit perpetually serve one another as a happy divine family. I want to be fully dependent on God and fully awake to his presence. I want to rest in him and confidently continue with him in joy. Here are four books I'm planning to read on communion and joy with God:
- Communion with God: The Divine and Human in the Theology of John Owen by Kelly M. Kapic
- Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller
- Communion with the Triune God by John Owen, ed. Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor
- Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves
I want to be faithful, content, and joyful with my daughters, because I see raising them as my most important work. Here are four books I plan to read about parenting or with our girls this year:
- Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most by Amy Julia Becker
- North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson. Rachael got the Wingfeather Saga set for Christmas. She's on book 4 already. I'm on book 2, but I think we'll knock these out before the first quarter of the year is over.
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
- Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Devotional for Easter by Scott James
God has called me to pastor particular people in a particular place. That means knowing the people God has given me to serve at Sojourn in Louisville, giving regular prayerful attention to them, and laying down my self-interest for their good. The books in this category dive deep into the Scriptures (the life of David and the pastoral epistles) to glean truth for pastoral ministry.
- Entrusted with the Gospel: Paul's Theology in the Pastoral Epistles by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Terry L. Wilder
- The Pastoral Epistles (New International Greek Testament Commentary) by George W. Knight, III
- Leap Over A Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians by Eugene Peterson
- The Pastoral Epistles for Pastors by John Kitchen
These final four books focus less on my calling as a pastor in general and more specifically on family ministry--the particular field of ministry where God has placed me. These four books respectively explore (1) practical ideas for equipping families, (2) applying the gospel to parenting, (3) excellence in Bible teaching, and (4) kids and race:
- Practical Family Ministry: A Collection of Ideas for Your Church by Timothy Paul Jones and John David Trentham
- The Gospel-Centered Parent by Rose Marie Miller, Deborah Harrell, and Jack Klumpenhower
- The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School: Transformational Techniques for Reaching and Teaching Kids by Aaron Reynolds
- "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Tatum
What books are you reading in the coming year? What would you add that I've missed out on?