Tuesday, December 1, 2009

10 Years; 10 Books

It's hard to believe it but were coming up on ten years into the 2000s and still no flying cars. It doesn't seem like ten years ago when I was standing in Tampa, Florida watching the clock wind down on the 90s and praying that every computer in the world wouldn't crash. It's also weird to me that September 11, 2001 was so long ago. In a weird way, a lot has changed since then and nothing has changed since then.

With all of that said, it's time to look back on the last decade. I can hear it now. Some purist is thinking, "Actually, the decade doesn't end for another year." By my sub-standard math, it's been ten years since we entered the 2000s so I'll call it a decade. In that decade, here are the ten best books I've read. Some were written long before the new millennium but I didn't get around to reading them until the past ten years. Here goes.

An efficient and helpful explanation of how all of scripture, not just the New Testament, is about Jesus.

I don't fully agree with his family-driven model for the church but Baucham's book is an excellent call for parents to train up their kids to be faithful to the God of the Bible.

The best disturbing book I've ever read. It made me want to hug my son and build a bomb shelter. Haven't seen the movie yet.

In an era where it's cool to brand all churches as money hungry and outdated, this book highlights the beauty of the church without ignoring some of the ugly warts.

Two really good things about this book come to mind immediately: it's free and it's short. By the time you're done you realize you got more than you paid for and you actually wish there were a few more pages. A very frank and biblical discussion on the damaging effects of pornography and lust.

An apologetics book for the rest of us. In a conversational and transparent way, Keller gives excellent defenses for the faith. As with most any book, I don't fully agree with one or two of his conclusions but that's not enough to stop me from recommending it to skeptics and saints.

I can think of no other book outside of the Bible that has done more to expose the self-righteousness and hypocrisy that seems to linger in my heart.

I like this one because I get to read it with my sons. With sound theology and great art work, this children's Bible highlights Jesus as the main theme of the Bible better than a lot of publications aimed at adults and seasoned theologians. Also, the artist actually portrays Jesus as a middle easterner and not a male model from 1950s Germany.

I read this book after I was in youth ministry for about three years. When I was done, I threw away three years worth of my sermons. It focuses more on the why of preaching biblically than the how in a way that I will never forget. It was about a year or so after I read this book before I ever said anything funny in a sermon. I've since learned that there is a balance between humor and exposition in preaching but Piper's book set my balances on the right path and rescued me from wasting time with life principles, funny stories and no gospel. I cannot adequately express how thankful I am for this book.

I think it took me about 9 months to read this book. That doesn't sound like a very good sales pitch but the length of time is not due to the length of the book. Knowing God is relatively short and it is written in a way that is easy to digest. That's a good thing because there is a lot to digest. It seems as though every page forced me to think on the vastness of God. I think that when I finished each chapter I told myself that it was the best one of the book so far. Knowing God gives an excellent description of who God is and why it's important for us to care.

Many thanks to Justin Taylor. If it wasn't for his blog, I probably wouldn't have heard of half of these books. Thanks also to Lifeway on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for the employee discount back in the day.

Up Next: 10 Years; 10 CDs

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