Christians throughout history have been avid readers and writers, and we should avail ourselves often of the best that God has on offer for us. This year I will be undertaking Tim Challies 2017 Reading Challenge. Below is the May update, which encompasses the previous four months worth of reading.
What follows are the books I have completed in January 2017, and in parentheses, the reading challenge categories that they fulfill. They are listed in the order in which I have completed them. Below that is the complete list of categories I need to cover.
- Life on Life: 15 Principles to Get Started as a Disciple Maker, by Harold & Luke Harper (A book about Christian living). Discipleship is one of the most important tasks that Christians can engage in, and this book by Harold and Luke Harper is filled with practical advice on how to encourage one another to treasure Christ in life on life ministry. Helpful read.
- Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards “Religious Affections”, by Sam Storms (A book about theology). One of my favourite books of the last two years. If you are the sort that happily moans about our feelings-laden services, then you should immerse yourself into Edwards and Storms book. This interpretation of Edwards original work has shaped my thoughts and ministry on this to no end.
- Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition, by James K. Smith (A book about theology). Most Calvinists have not read Calvin, let alone anyone else. James K. Smith’s book is a highly engaging read to anyone exploring Reformed theology for the first time and wanting to understand more than merely TULIP.
- The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, by Bill Simmons (A book of your choice). Mammoth read, enormously enjoyable. Bill Simmons is one of my favourite sports authors and this is his magnum opus. Anyone with a passing interest in basketball should do everything in their power to invest significant time into Simmons read.
- The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professors Journey into the Christian Faith, by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (A memoir or autobiography). There are good books, and there are good writers. Rosaria is both. A highly engaging read from a former feminist, queer theory, lesbian tenured professor and her conversion to faith in Christ.
- The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism and the Gospel, by Sinclair B. Ferguson (A book by Sinclair B. Ferguson). This came highly recommended but I never felt like I truly grasped the entirety of what Ferguson was talking about. Perhaps the kind of book that requires more time to be pondered over.
- Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung (A book of 100 pages or less). Having started a new role this year which involves more tasks to be achieved in less time, this was helpful. I don’t think I will ever be one of those naturally inclined organised individuals but even I can put some of these practices into place.
- Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream, by Dave Platt (A book that won a prize). I have a penchant for re-reading books. This gets a read every year, as one of the books that have continually pushed me towards faithfully pursuing Christ in all areas of my life.
- Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton (A book more than 100 years old). Lewis and Tolkein are fondly remembered by many Christian, however, Chesterton is oft forgotten. Full of wit and a master of words, Orthodoxy is a gem from years past.
- You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K. Smith (A book of your choice). If you have talked to me in the last year, you would have heard me recommend this book or heard me repeat lines verbatim from it. Please read this book.
- People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality is Not Just an Issue, by Preston Sprinkle (A book about a current issue). Helpful perspective. Researching for a sermon on same-sex attraction, Sprinkle proved to be a helpful and challenging companion in articulating a helpful and loving response for those in our church who experience same-sex attraction and those within the church who need to have their perspective challenged.
- Is God Anti-Gay?, by Sam Alberry (A book by someone you have never read before). Sam is a Church of England pastor from Maidenhead, England. From as far back as he can remember, he has been same-sex attracted. Many people want to shift their opinions on same-sex marriage because it conflicts with their opinion of a loving God. Sam challenges that in gentle ways in this short, yet important book.
- Humilitas, by John Dickson (A book with a one-word title). Every single leader should read this book by John Dickson. Conventional wisdom has it that humility is the virtue of the beaten, but according to recent research, nothing could be further from the truth. This book is a gem.
- The Plausibility Problem: The Church and Same-Sex Attraction, by Ed Shaw (A book about Christian living). The book that the church desperately needed about same-sex attraction. Ed Shaw delves into the question that most people are asking, ‘Is what the bible have to say about sex and marriage and attraction still good news’? Must-read.
- Reformation Thought: An Introduction, by Alastair McGrath (A book about history). For any history aficionados, I thoroughly enjoyed this read about not only the incidents and issues that led to the Protestant Reformation throughout Germany, France and Switzerland but the thought as well behind Calvin, Luther, Zwingli and the Anabaptists.
- 7 Ancient Wonders, by Matt Reilly (A book of your choice). On the odd occasion that I pick up a fiction book, it’s inevitably one by Matthew Reilly. Fast-paced and read like an action thriller, I cannot wait to get my hand on the next couple of instalments.
- The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis (A book your pastor recommends). No other book has been recommended more to me by other people than C.S. Lewis’ address ‘The Weight of Glory’ and the other assorted essays and addresses in this collection. Does not disappoint.
- Scarecrow, by Matt Reilly (A book of your choice). My favourite fiction book of all time. Dog-eared, and now read over 15 times, never disappoints.
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Stick and Others Die, Chip & Dan Heath (A self-improvement book). If part of your job involves persuasively talking in front of other people or convincing them that your idea is worthwhile, this book is a gem. Well worth the read.
The Light Reader
_ 1. A biography
_ 2. A classic novel
_ 3. A book about history
_ 4. A book targeted at your gender
✔ 5. A book about theology – Erasing Hell
✔ 6. A book with at least 400 pages – Honour Amongst Thieves
✔ 7. A book your pastor recommends – The Weight of Glory
✔ 8. A book about Christian living – Brothers, We Are Not Professionals
✔ 9. A book more than 100 years old – Orthodoxy
_ 10. A book published in 2017
_ 11. A book for children or teens
✔ 12. A book of your choice – 7 Ancient Wonders
✔ 13. A book about a current issue – People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality is Not Just an Issue
The Avid Reader
_ 14. A book written by a Puritan
✔ 15. A book by or about a missionary – Hudson Taylors Spiritual Secret
✔ 16. A book about Christian living – Discipleshift
_ 17. A commentary on a book of the Bible
✔ 18. A book about the Reformation – Reformation Thought: An Introduction
✔ 19. A book about theology – Letters to a Young Calvinist
_ 20. A book recommended by a family member
_ 21. A book with a great cover
_ 22. A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers
_ 23. A book about church history
✔ 24. A book of 100 pages or less – Crazy Busy
✔ 25. A book of your choice – Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves
✔ 26. A book that won a prize – Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream
The Committed Reader
_ 27. A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with
✔ 28. A book about Christian living – Life on Life
_ 29. A book about apologetics
✔ 30. A book of your choice – The Book of Basketball
_ 31. A humorous book
_ 32. A book based on a true story
✔ 33. A book about prayer – Old Paths, New Powers
_ 34. A book of poetry
✔ 35. A book with a one-word title – Humilitas
✔ 36. A book by Sinclair Ferguson – The Whole Christ
✔ 37. A novel by an author you have never read before – Is God Anti-Gay?
✔ 38. A book about Christian living – The Plausibility Problem: The Church and Same-Sex Attraction
✔ 39. A memoir or autobiography – The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
_ 40. A play by William Shakespeare
✔ 41. A book of your choice – You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
_42. A book written by an author with initials in their name –
_ 43. A book by a female author
✔ 44. A book about theology – Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards “Religious Affections
_ 45. A book published by Crossway
✔ 46. A self-improvement book – Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Stick and Others Die
_ 47. A graphic novel
_ 48. A book you own but have never read
_ 49. A book targeted at the other gender
_ 50. A book about Christian living
✔ 51. A book of your choice – Scarecrow
_ 52. A book about race or racial issues
The Obsessed Reader
_ 53. A book you have started but never finished
_ 54. A book about church history
_ 55. A book about holiness or sanctification
_ 56. A book about science
_ 57. A book used as a seminary textbook
_ 58. A book on the ECPA bestseller list
_ 59. A book about productivity or time management
_ 60. A book of your choice
_ 61. A book about spiritual disciplines
_ 62. A book about parenting
_ 63. A book about Christian living
_ 64. A book by Iain Murray
_ 65. A book about business
_ 66. A book about theology
_ 67. A book about marriage
_ 68. A photo essay book
_ 69. A book of comics
_ 70. A book about the Second World War
_ 71. A book by a Puritan
_ 72. A book about preaching or public speaking
_ 73. A book of your choice
_ 74. A book about suffering
_ 75. A book about evangelism
_ 76. A book by your favorite author
_ 77. A book you have read before
_ 78. A Christian novel
_ 79. A biography of a Christian
_ 80. A book about the natural world
_ 81. A novel for young adults
_ 82. A novel longer than 400 pages
_ 83. A book about history
_ 84. A book about the Bible
_ 85. A book recommended by a friend
_ 86. A book published by P&R Publications
_ 87. A book with an ugly cover
_ 88. A book by or about a martyr
_ 89. A book of your choice
_ 90. A book about Christian living
_ 91. A book about church history
_ 92. A book about money or finance
_ 93. A book about leadership
_ 94. A book by John Piper
_ 95. A book about theology
_ 96. A book for children or teens
_ 97. A book about sexuality
_ 98. A book about writing
_ 99. A book about current events
_ 100. A biography of a world leader
_ 101. A book about the church
_ 102. A book of your choice
_ 103. A book about a hobby
_ 104. A book written in the twentieth century
Jimmy founded Stirring our Affections in 2016 | Married to Sarah, Pastor in Melbourne and eternally loved and satisfied by Christ