Most people who go to church only thing about preaching on Sunday, but preachers think about preaching all week long. I have the privilege of explaining God’s Word every week to an eager congregation. Here are three books that have had the biggest impact on my preaching.
1. He Is Not Silent by R. Albert Mohler
Albert Mohler argues that preaching God’s Word is a central, irreducible, and non-negotiable part of authentic worship. The kind of preaching he has in mind is expository preaching. He defines expository preaching as “reading the text and explaining it – reproving, rebuking, exhorting, and patiently teaching directly from the text of Scripture” (p. 52). This book has been foundational in my approach to preaching. It would help anyone who wants to make the most of their ministry.
2. Biblical Preaching by Haddin W. Robinson
Haddon Robbin makes a case for expository preaching and then explains in step-by-step detail how to produce an expository sermon. The thing that I like best about the approach described here is the flexibility. Messages that are based on the text of Scripture need to conform to the contours of each passage preached. This book is great for the preacher who wants to sharpen his skills or the church member who wants to get the most of the messages he or she hears.
3. Planning Your Preaching by Stephen Nelson Rummage
Preaching is a privilege, but it’s also a great responsibility. Preaching expository sermons week after week can benefit from careful planning. In this book, Stephen Rummage explains how a preacher can plan his preaching up to a year in advance. I don’t usually plan that far ahead, but I have used his approach to plan out my preaching calendar for almost a decade. It works! Preachers who want to make the most of their time and resources would do well to use the techniques described in this book.
As always, you can find these books at your online retailer or bookstore. If you decide to pick up one of these books as a last-minute Christmas gift for your preacher, make sure you don’t include a note that says, “Your preaching stinks. I hope this helps you get better.”
I’ve met a lot of believers who are eager for revival and spiritual awakening to come to our nation or their community, but few who know what it takes to experience such things. Revival and spiritual awakening are a gift that only God can give, you and I can prepare ourselves to receive that gift. Here are three books you should read about the mighty movements of God.
1. Miracle in the Mountains by Lonnie and Belinda Riley
Lonnie Riley and his wife, Belinda, left a pastorate in a well-established church in Mississipi for an opportunity to serve God in Lynch, KY – with no official position and no salary. This book is about all the ways God took care of the Rileys and how He brought spiritual awakening to the town of Lynch and the surrounding area. Check out what God is doing today through the network of ministries that have grown up through their faith at www.meridzo.org.
2. Fresh Encounter by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
Henry and Richard Blackaby are most well know for their Experiencing God study. In this book, the Blackabys explore the factors involved in having a face-to-face encounter with God. They discuss the difference between revival and spiritual awakening then outline the seven phases of revival through Bible study and examples from history. This book would be great for those who want to teach and lead others to have a life-changing encounter with God.
3. Firefall by Malcolm McDow and Alvin Reid
In this book, McDow and Reid describe the revivals that have shaped the world from the first awakenings in the Old Testament to the movements of the twenty-first century. Even though this book focuses on the history of revivals and spiritual awakenings, it’s aim is contemporary. When I read this book, it makes me think more and pray harder bout what it would take to experience one more mighty move of God in my generation.
You can find these books at your favorite retailers. Feel free to share this post and share these books with the people who are eager for revival and spiritual awakening in our neighborhoods and our nation.
Thanksgiving is a holiday built around gratitude. It has been a national holiday since 1941 and it was an annual tradition for a longtime before that. We should be thankful all year long, but the holiday helps to remind us of our God-given blessings. Here are three books that will spark your gratitude this Thanksgiving.
Choosing Gratitude: Learning to Love the Life You Have by James Autry
James Autry is a former Fortune 500 executive turned author, poet and business coach. In this book, Autry writes about finding gratitude for the simple things of life like family, friends, spiritual matters, those who serve, and even the pain of life. He doesn’t necessarily come from an evangelical Christian direction, but his writing is humorous, warm, and inspiring. His original poetry is a breath of fresh air too. This book is great for someone who is looking for new inspiration this holiday season.
Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin
Cranberry Thanksgiving is a classic children’s tale about sharing with others and mistaken impressions. In the Devlin’s tale, Grandmother and her granddaughter Maggie invite someone poor and lonely over for Thanksgiving dinner. When one of their guests steals the receipt to Grandmother’s famous cranberry bread their meal takes a surprising turn. Share this book with your children or grandchildren as you prepare for your own Thanksgiving feast.
Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
In this book, DeMoss challenges and equips readers to live intentionally based on the freedom that is found in Christ Jesus. My favorite quote in this book is, “Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard-fought, grace-infused, biblical lifestyle. This is a guide for readers who want to push back against the bitterness and resentment that exists all around us and who want to choose joy. Gratitude and joy exist together in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
You can find these books at your favorite retailers. Feel free to share this post and share these books with any one that you know who wants to grow their gratitude.
Seminary offers intense instruction and specialized training for those called into various leadership roles in the kingdom of God. Seminary exposes students to wide variety of Biblical, theological, and practical themes. It also inevitably involves a lot of reading. Here are three books a student should read before he or she goes to seminary.
1. How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
This suggestion is not a put down. Before I went to seminary, I didn’t realize how bad I was at reading, analyzing, and interacting with written text. Alder’s and Van Doren’s book on how to read gave me the tools I needed to become a better reader, which a must in seminary. This book is especially for those who already think they are a good reader and those who would like help improving their skills in this area.
2. Who Needs Theology? by Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson
In this book, Grenz and Olson describe why everyone is a theologian and why theology (especially good theology) matters. Then they explain how to “do” Christian theology well. The authors go into the tasks, traditions, and tools that are available to a theologian in order for him or her to do their work. This book is good for the student who may look past the reflective side of seminary in a rush to learn the more practical skills of ministry.
3. Why I Am Not An Arminian by Robert A.Peterson and Michael D. Williams and Why I Am Not A Calvinist by Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell
The titles of these two books alone should be enough to explain why they are this list. Too many seminary students have emerged from there first semester of study thinking they have solved a debate that has been raging in the Church for generations. These books should be read together by the student who wants to get better, humbler handle on these popular approaches to salvation.
You can find these books at your favorite retailers. Feel free to share this post and share these books with any one that you know how is thinking about going to seminary.
Churches can be as creative as they want to be with their vision, strategy, and values, but not when it comes to the mission of the church. In the Great Commission, Jesus tasked the church with making disciples in His name (Mathew 28:18-20). The mission of the church is and always has been to make disciples. Here are three books I would suggest about how that can be done in today.
- The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman
This book has evangelism in the title, but it’s really about discipleship. In it, Robert Coleman traces the eight guiding principles Jesus used to train His disciples and to send them out in His absence. Coleman cautions church leaders against prepackaged discipleship programs. Instead, he encourages a more relational approach. This book would be good for anyone who is thinking though the overall process of discipleship and leadership development.
2. Rediscovering Discipleship by Robby Gallaty
Robby Gallaty builds his case for discipleship in the church on the ministry of Jesus and other discipleship leaders throughout church history. He goes on to suggest a model of progressive discipleship found in Charles Wesley’s ministry. Gallaty gains ground by including spiritual disciplines like Bible memorization and journaling into his suggested model. This book is excellent for church leaders who want to refocus their churches on reproducible discipleship.
3. Disciple-shift by Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington
Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington believe that discipleship should be the core focus of the church. To that end, they suggest five shifts to engage the “engine” of discipleship. The shift that is most meaningful for me as a pastor is to go from informing the church to equipping the church. This book is best for those who are already looking to ramp up the discipleship efforts in their churches. Readers will find value insights to help them troubleshoot their revitalization efforts.
You can find these books at your favorite retailers. Feel free to share this post and share these books with the people who know who care about discipleship in the church.
New believers need lots of encouragement and instruction when the begin their walk with the Lord. Ideally, this should happen within the supportive community of a local church. In addition to the Bible, here are three books that I would suggest.
1. New Christian’s Handbook: Everything Believers Need to Know by Max Anders
Max Anders does a wonderful job of summarizing all of the introductory issues of Christianity in one relatively small and approachable volume. He focuses on what Christians believe, why they believe it, and how they should live in response. Each chapter is organized around a different question like, “Who is God?” and “How Did We Get the Bible?” making it easy to digest. This is a great place to start for new believer.
2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis is a literary legend. In this book, Lewis helps believers (and unbelievers as well) come to grips with a Christian view of the world. He unpacks a Biblical view of morality and explains how it applies to difficult issues of like human sexuality and personal forgiveness. He cautions against “the greatest sin” of pride and encourages the virtues of faith, hope, and charity (love). This book would especially helpful for new believers who are wrestling with big questions in their life.
3. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
Donald Whitney recognizes one of the greatest needs of a new believer is growth. In this book, he describes ten personal and corporate habits (spiritual disciplines) that promote spiritual growth. Each chapter has application questions to urge the reader towards action. Whitney has written some related resources, but they point back to this volume. This book is great for new believers who are ready to grow in their faith.
You can find these books at your favorite retailers. Feel free to share this post and share these books with the new believers that you know.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones” once said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Some have add, “the experiences you have” to Jone’s insight and I would agree. These are the things that have shaped me and they have inspired me to start a new weekly series called “Three Things.”
I will start the series with what I think are the three most important books to read on a particular topic. For example, three books someone should read once they get saved. You will notice that I will be pick categories that should matters to wide variety of believers.
The absolute importance of the Bible will be assumed in all my posts. I write, teach, and preach using the Bible all the time. It is God’s inspired word and it gives us everything we need for faith and godliness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). At the same times, it can be a tremendous help to read how other people think about a particular topic.
You may wonder why just three things. Here are three reasons why:
- Focus. The number of choices in our modern world can be overwhelming at times. This includes books as well. The writer of Ecclesiastics warned, there is no end to the making of many books (Ecclesiastics 12:12, HCSB). A book in your hand that you will actually reading is more valuable than a whole bookstore worth of books.
- Developement. Reading forces us out of our comfort zones and into a new world of possibilities. It helps us to develop and grew, even when we are defending our treasurer assumptions.
- Memorability. Three things stick together. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. They make an easy list to follow up on.
I will launch this series with three special posts over the next three days covering:
- Three books to read once you’re saved
- Three books to read on discipleship
- Three books to read before you go to seminary