As an author – I love to read, and I also like to see what other authors and Bible Teachers I admire have been reading too. So to this end, I thought I would start to share with you what I have been reading recently. In 2020, I split the year into two halves, although it seams that the amount of books I am reading is accelerating, so it may be best to do this once a quarter, to help keep the blog posts a little shorter – let me know what you think (in the comments below).
Marketing Matters – Wendy H. Jones
This book has gnawed its way into my brain and set up home. As an independent author, this book is packed with practical wisdom, ideas and suggestions and is helping me to get to grips with the elusive art of marketing. It is utterly brilliant – so much so that I have decided to dedicate most of the coming new year to pursuing many of the ideas contained within it, as well as writing more books, of course!
One tiny issue I have with this book, it that it does not have a table of contents in the front to help with navigation, especially when I am using it as a reference book and want to keep dipping in and out of it. Apart from this, however, it is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any other aspiring authors out there as an essential piece of kit to have in their ‘toolbelts’.
The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse – Charlie Mackesy
This book is simple, but is simply delightful. It’s storytelling is done mostly through artistic visuals. Text is hand-lettered and words are carefully chosen – words that bring clarity and the simplicity of hope, faith and love to the very stuff of life. When things get dark, difficult or painful, let this book remind you of what is truly important.
Reading this book during lockdown, at a time when our world is in turmoil and life is hard, carried a poignancy that was not lost to me. It is highly recommended and is an extremely light read (although my wife says – you’ve got to like art to appreciate it).
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry – John Mark Comer
My wife jokingly pointed out that someone who really needs to read this book wouldn’t have the time to do so! All jokes aside, I find myself busy – and I mean very busy. I really needed to read this book, and I can happily report that I managed to do so.
It took me a little while to get used to Comer’s very different American conversational style of writing. I was worried that this might put me off the book, but after persevering for the first couple of chapters, it become more bearable.
The book talks about the importance of setting up rhythms of rest and reflection in one’s life. It is all very sound and sensible advice, based on scripture and should be a must-read for every Christian living in the 21st Century as we navigate faith in our fast-paced, hi-tech, consumer-driven societies.
Since reading this book I have started to ‘build margin’ into my lifestyle. Only a little, but with plans to give more space and time to just simply ‘being’ with God an myself. Reading this book was like taking a breath of fresh air.
The Post Quarantine Church – Thom S. Rainer
I have enjoyed other books by Thom S. Rainer. They come with tried and tested insights and practical common sense ideas and are all fairly small in size, so offer a quick read for the busy church leader.
This little book has some great ideas – and again I was pleased to see that the church I help to lead is pretty much on track with quite a few of the suggestions given. A timely response to the situation on the ground that the global church finds itself in at this time.
how to pray – Pete Greig
If you are looking for a book about prayer that is theologically sound, highly practical and bang-on-point, look no further than ‘How To Pray’.
This book is simply brilliant. Full of relatable stories and anecdotes as well as easy to understand explanations, this book will help to build a stronger prayer life. I have already found this book to be extremely valuable and have already recommended it to people.
God is simply amazing, and learning how to communicate with him better through the simplicity of prayer, is humbling and powerful.
If you are to read any book this year – read this one!
Dangerous Prayers – Craig Groeschel
This book is another one that is designed for super-busy people to be able to read with little trouble. Covering three main sections, each is split into bite-sized chapters of only a few pages each.
This book makes many bold statements, but is basically an encouragement to step out of our comfort zones and to risk more with God. To allow God to do what He wants to do in our lives and in the world around us without us being held back by our own fears or small mindedness.
Philippians for You – Steven J. Lawson
I bought this book to help me prepare material for a sermon series I was helping to preach at church.
To give it its due, it does explain what the messages contained within the biblical book of Philippians are about. However, I found it rather repetitive and the author seemed to be a little insecure as he continued to refer to other’s work again and again – now there is nothing wrong with doing that, I do it myself, but the thing that annoyed me is that he kept referring to the same author on several occasions, which made me think to myself, ‘Why did Lawson write the book? He should have just asked John MacArthur to do it for him, as most of the text is either saying exactly what the Bible says in the book of Philippians itself, or is a John MacArthur quote.
In the end, did I find this book helpful in preparing some sermons on the book of Philippians – sadly, no I didn’t.
Saving Zimbabwe- Bob Scott
Being born and raised in Zimbabwe, I find books about the country and the political upheaval interesting. This book does not deal with recent history, but looks at events during the civil war in the 1970s. It then goes on to extrapolate how the nation can learn and grow from past mistakes.
Usually enjoying books like this, I found some aspects interesting, but on the whole the book itself was too schizophrenic for me. It has a split personality – one section reading and feeling like a completely different book. In order to try to join the two sections, the author uses lots of repetition, which is unnecessary and annoying if you have invested in reading the first part of the book.
Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed by this book.