Looking for some great reads? You’ve come to the right place! But first a little blog trivia for you :)
I don’t often look at the stats for this blog but since we are nearing year-end, I wanted to know what the top posts for 2017 were. I won’t go into the results (that’ll be a different post) but will say that last year’s book round-up, 10 Books to Read in 2017, made the list.
Clearly, we all like good books. Like it should be :)
With that in mind, here is my list of 10 Great Books to Read in 2018. I hope these grow your faith and stir you up to good words.
Oh, and please add your book recommendations in the comments so we can find even more great reads.
10 Must-Read Books for 2018:
1. This Dangerous Book – by Steve Green
How could one book have such power? That’s the question Steve and Jackie Green asked… and answered… in This Dangerous Book. As the Greens worked to establish Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., they began to discover the incredible history and impact of the Bible.
A Museum contains artifacts and the Greens share some of the challenges they faced in acquiring biblical artifacts from around the world. As I read through This Dangerous Book, the Bible became relevant and exciting to me afresh. Their findings and stories illustrate why generation after generation of people have risked their lives to preserve this precious book.
The book explores ancient tablets, medieval commentaries, modern translations, and how they have used cutting edge technology to find new discoveries with ancient texts. Most of all, it reminds us that the Bible is the Word of God, able to change lives and entire nations. If you yawn when you hear someone say, “The Bible says,” this book will recapture the wonder of the written Word of God.
2. The Simplest Way to Change the World – by Dustin Willis
Deep down, every Christian wants to make a difference. But for many of us, we just aren’t sure where to start. Years come and go and we never do. That’s a problem!
The Simplest Way to Change the World is about biblical hospitality and how it’s a natural and effective means to sharing the gospel. But the best news? It can be learned! In this book you’ll discover:
- How the home can be a hub for community
- How hospitality leads to joy, purpose, and belonging
- How it grows families to love the things of God
- How it’s not about being the perfect host
- How to be hospitable regardless of your living space
Hospitality is a beautiful legacy of the church, and a great way to make disciples. My challenge to you this year is to be a bit more intentional about opening your life to others. Maybe even set a hospitality goal (small is good! The authors say something as simple as grilling in the front yard naturally opens doors!) and start sharing in the very character of God.
3. 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You – by Tony Reinke
Within a few years of its unveiling, the smartphone had become part of us, fully integrated into the daily patterns of our lives. Never offline, always within reach, we now wield in our hands a magic wand of technological power we have only begun to grasp.
But it raises new enigmas, too. Never more connected, we seem to be growing more distant. Never more efficient, we have never been more distracted.
Drawing from the insights of numerous thinkers, published studies, and his own research, writer Tony Reinke identifies twelve potent ways our smartphones have changed us—for good and bad. Reinke calls us to cultivate wise thinking and healthy habits in the digital age, encouraging us to maximize the many blessings, to avoid the various pitfalls, and to wisely wield the most powerful gadget of human connection ever unleashed.
4. Questioning Evangelism – by Randy Newman
There was something different about the way Jesus communicated with the lost. He asked questions.
So why don’t we?
I’ve had this book on my list to read because Randy Newman has been successfully using a questioning style of evangelism for decades. While The 4 Spiritual Laws approach may seemed canned and thus fall on deaf ears, real back and forth conversation are never forced or fake. In this provocative book, Newman provides practical insights to help Christians engage others in meaningful spiritual conversations. A must-read!
5. The Benedict Option – A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation – by Rod Dreher
From the inside, American churches have been hollowed out by the departure of young people and by an insipid pseudo–Christianity.
Rod Dreher argues there is a way forward and it’s actually the way back—all the way to St. Benedict of Nursia. This sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following Rome’s fall, retreated to the forest and created a new way of life for Christians. He built enduring communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. His spiritual centers of hope were strongholds of light throughout the Dark Ages, and saved not just Christianity but Western civilization.
We may not be able to retreat to the woods but this is one of those books I’d love to read with others to discuss. Perhaps more Christ following is what we all need, yes? In what practical ways do we need to dispense with the Christianese? This book is food for thought that will hopefully spark change for the better.
6. Hope When it Hurts – Biblical reflections to help you grasp God’s purpose in your suffering – by Kristin Wetherell and Sarah Walton
Kristen and Sarah are walking in difficult times. Both these young women deal with chronic illness so these thirty biblical reflections are full of realism about the hurts of life—yet overwhelmingly full of hope about the God who gives life.
I love the way the authors have taken a portion of scripture and just wrung it out for hope and strength. Just listening to them talk about scripture and applying it to their chronic illness and pain gave me such joy and hope.
This book will gently encourage and help any woman who is struggling with suffering—whether physical, emotional or psychological, and whether for a season or longer. It is a book to buy for yourself or for a member of your church or friend.
7. The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in its Place – by Andy Crouch and Amy Crouch
I confess, I’m a technidiot. Totally just made that up but you know what I mean, right? Making choices about technology in our family is overwhelming to me. That’s why I appreciate having a guide to help navigate this critical path.
The Crouchs say being tech-wise is about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology’s promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. And it’s definitely not just about the kids.
Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.
8. The Masterpiece – by Francine Rivers
It’s been a long time since I read a fiction book but with Francine River’s new book to release in March, I’ll be coming out of hibernation.
The story is about a successful LA artist, Roman Velasco, who appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.
Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship—and both their lives—forever.
9. Ruined: A Memoir – by Ruth Everhart
Ruth says, “It happened on a Sunday night, even though I’d been a good girl and gone to church that morning.”
One brisk November evening during her senior year at a small Midwestern Christian college, two armed intruders broke into the house Ruth Everhart shared with her roommates, held all five girls hostage, and took turns raping them at gunpoint. Reeling with fear, insecurity, and guilt, Ruth believed she was ruined, both physically and in the eyes of God.
In the days and weeks that followed, Ruth struggled to come to grips with not only what happened that night but why. The same questions raced through her mind in an unrelenting loop―questions that would continue to haunt her for years to come:
Why me? Where was God? Why did God allow this to happen? What am I being punished for?
Told with candor and unflinching honesty, Ruined is an extraordinary emotional and spiritual journey that begins with an unspeakable act of violence but ends with tremendous healing and profound spiritual insights about faith, forgiveness, and the will of God.
10. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life – by Tish Harrison Warren
If you are looking for practical ways to see the sacred in the mundane, this book may be the one for you.
Framed around one ordinary day, this book explores daily life through the lens of liturgy, small practices, and habits that form us. Each chapter looks at something―making the bed, brushing her teeth, losing her keys―that the author does every day. Drawing from the diversity of her life as a campus minister, Anglican priest, friend, wife, and mother, Tish Harrison Warren opens up a practical theology of the everyday. Each activity is related to a spiritual practice as well as an aspect of our Sunday worship.
Please note (because I know I will get comments about this): I am not Anglican, and will undoubtedly disagree with some things in regards to this book. However, I appreciate the perspectives of others and believe much is to be learned by listening and seeing how others relate with God. I am grateful we can all be iron-sharpening-iron friends to one another.
11. Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World – by Shelly Miller
I am going through a personal time of forced rest. It wasn’t on my to-do list.
After sharing about what’s happening with a friend, she recommended this book to me. God commands us to “remember the Sabbath,” but is it realistic in today’s fast-paced culture? This book helped my friend understand what it means to rest so I’ve decided to put it on my list for 2018.
Shelly Miller shows how even busy people can implement a rhythm of rest into their lives–whether for an hour, a morning, or a whole day. With encouraging stories from people in different stages in life, Miller shares practical advice for having peaceful, close times with God. You will learn simple ways to be intentional about rest, ideas for tuning out distractions and tuning in God, and even how meals and other times with friends and family can be Sabbath experiences.
Ultimately, this book is an invitation to those who long for rest but don’t know how to make it a reality. I’m looking forward to this one!
Now it’s your turn! What books are on your Must-Read list for 2018?