our books

Happy New Year! One of the most powerful ways we shape our future and determine the direction we will go is by choosing who will pour into our lives. If each of our responsibilities and resolutions is a straw, drawing on us, each of the books we read (and sermons we listen to, etc. etc.) is one of the sources flowing into our lives, filling us up. Those who draw on our lives will either get garbage or goodness based on what we’re full of. If we pour in twaddle and TV, we won’t have a very nutritious or delicious milkshake for our families and others to draw from. But if we fill our lives with the truth of God’s Word, healthy relationships, Bible-based preaching and teaching, and quality books, we help ensure that what we’re giving out to others is only the good stuff!

Each year I enjoy composing my “nightstand” list for the following year, and for the past few years, you’ve been helping me! Thank you for your recommendations from last year. Here are the good books (i.e. I’d recommend them) I read in 2014. I’ve put * by my favorite 5.

  1. Quest For More by Paul David Tripp. Fabulous books about letting go of our small Kingdom (which often masquerades as His Kingdom) in exchange for something bigger–the Kingdom of God. Excellent, challenging read. no compromise
  2. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Historical Fiction about a little girl in France during 1942 roundup of Jews in Paris and journey into the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp.
  3. *No Compromise by Melody Green. GAH! This book is so good I can’t even talk about it.Challenging to the core. Must read.
  4. Quiet by Susan Cain.  Wow! Fascinating look at introversion/extraversion and how our culture has elevated the “Extroversion Ideal” equating it with success and health, even in the church! A fabulous, freeing read. Caveat: The book has 3 parts. I recommend the 1st and 3rd parts.
  5. Making All Things New: An invitation to the spiritual life by Henri Nouwen. Quick read with classic Nouwen depth.
  6. 84 Charing Cross by Helen Hanff. Oh I love Helen! Literary lovers: read this. Quirky and clever, charming. So fun. If you love literature, curl up with this and a cup of tea and be delighted. surprisedbyoxford
  7. *Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. Oh this book! I wish I could buy a copy for every person I know. A captivating and honest look at a non-believer’s journey to Oxford and the authentic Christian community she encountered there. Please, read this!
  8. Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk. A quick, great parenting read. Silk basically takes Parenting with Love and Logic and teaches this method from a Christian perspective, explaining how God our Father parents us. This was very helpful not only in our parenting this year, but in how we “parent” adults who are in recovery from addiction or dangerous behaviors. Very helpful.
  9. Restless by Jennie Allen. Fun, quick read about taking all the “threads” of your life (passions, gifts, suffering, experiences, places) and going through a process of watching God weave together these threads into something beautiful. We went through it as a women’s Bible study this summer and it was helpful to share our “threads” with each other, and speaking into each other’s lives. A good small-group book.
  10. Undaunted by Christine Caine. Well, Christine Caine is just as legit as they come. Wow. I so enjoy her and to say her life challenges me is about the understatement of the year. This book is a one-sitting kind of thing. Read it for a powerful kick in the pants, GO FOLLOW JESUS PEOPLE! Caine is worth following.
  11. Birthing The Miraculous by Heidi Baker. And if Christine Caine doesn’t kick you in the pants enough, Heidi Baker will! Oh my. This book is just nuts. A  lot of it is outside my realm of experience, and I don’t know exactly what I think about it all, but it’s just insanely challenging all the same. Reading this book dared me to dream again, to believe God for whatever He wants to do.women of the word
  12. Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade. Written almost 300 years ago, this book wins the Oldest Book of the Year award. Wow. Perhaps because of my passion for the Sacred Mundane, this book is one of my all-time favorite reads. But it might not be your cup of tea. My hope is that Sacred Mundane takes these age-old truths and presents them in a way that’s accessible and appealing.
  13. *Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. Yay for Jen Wilkin! She has written a short, concise, clear text about how to study God’s Word. Fabulous overview of how to study Scripture.
  14. The Keys to Healing by Etty Blaney. I’ll tell you straight-up: I don’t understand miraculous healing. But this book certainly builds one’s faith and shows that yes, God does heal today. Helpful and biblical.
  15. The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook edited by Pat Ennis. I have to confess: This book was recommended to me by a woman I respect and admire, but when I got it I was like, “Really? A book on homemaking? What, is it going to tell me how to iron?” I was skeptical. And I kind of didn’t want to read it in public, “Oh I’m just reading some really meaty theological truth on … how to be a housewife.” ANYWAY, I was wrong (as usual). It’s a great book, and very challenging concerning the ways contemporary views of domestic life has caused us to overlook a sacred and holy calling.
  16. Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. I’m not sure how I’ve lived almost 35 years without hearing about this book! Apparently everyone knows about it. It’s fabulous. Written as a (shockingly honest) journal of a young girl struggling to follow Christ, it hits on pretty much every inward issue a women could face. It starts slow–stick with it!simplicity parenting
  17. Look Me In The Eyes by John Elder Robison. I’ve debated whether to include this, but here it is. I’d just say I don’t recommend buying it, but if you have a child with Asperger’s, it is a helpful read, so maybe check it from the library. The beginning and end are good, but the middle is pretty dark. I could have gone without it. But the beginning chapters especially really helped me understand my son more.
  18. *Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. You’ve already heard me sing this book’s praises for long enough. I’ve written about it a dozen times. Just buy it and read it. Today.
  19. The Spark by Kristine Barnett. I’ve written about this too, but this is a fascinating read for any parent, not just those with kids on the spectrum. It starts slow also, but push through the first few chapters and you’ll be quickly enthralled.
  20. Platform by Michael Hyatt. More confessions–I had this book for 2.5 years before opening it. I don’t like the idea of building a “platform”  for ministry, when ministering is serving. However, this book IS great at learning how to make content more accessible to people, and I learned a lot. I do recommend it to any of you writers or creatives who are seeking to better serve a wider audience.voice of jesus
  21. *Voice of Jesus by Gordon Smith. THIS is the hidden pearl of the year. Oh this book! I cannot believe it only has 5 review on Amazon because it is absolutely phenomenal. That said, it’s written by a theologian, so it’s not a quick read. I’ve actually been working on it for several months now. I read 2-3 pages almost every day and just chew on it. It is SO good. I keep it next to my Bible and read it during my quiet time. Wholeheartedly recommend!
  22. The Homeschool Experiment by Charity Hawkins. I’ve already written about this here–a fun, quick comic-relief read for any mom of littles. Snag it on your kindle and curl up for a treat!

*I also re-read two of my all-time favs: The Pursuit of God  (free on kindle!) and Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman.

There you have it! What a fabulous year of reads! I am so grateful for authors who have labored over these pages, making them accessible to us. Again, my top 5 favs are: No Compromise, Surprised by Oxford, Women of the Word, Simplicity Parenting, and The Voice of Jesus.

{And thank YOU for faithfully reading here. May 2015 be a rich reading year for us all.} 

PS Would you please share YOUR favorite reads from this year? (Comment here) I need to make my 2015 Nightstand list. Thank you!

  • Abide: keeping vigil with the word of God.
    Beautiful, restful and a solid daily read….I love the intentionality of this book.

    Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
    Challenging and funny and just oh so good!

    Happy reading and thanks for your list!

    • Ooh, thank you Jessica–I will check out ABIDE. I love Interrupted. Great book!

  • Debi C

    The Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer…so, so good…for those hungering to know more of the character of our Mighty God.

    A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards A short read packed full of beautiful insight.

    • Oh, thank you Debi! Yes, I have read both of those and I agree–excellent! Would be worth a re-read one of these days. Thank you so much for sharing.

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