A Sample of Books From 2022

7 minute read

A few weeks ago I received a group text asking, “what books are you guys reading?” As we shared I was encouraged with the wide variety of genres that had been read throughout 2022. One friend shared his entire list of 2022 books and I was shocked at the number he had recorded. I thought, “there’s no way I read that many this year!” Out of curiosity I looked at my Amazon, Hoopla, Libby (soon to be gone), Kindle, and Logos accounts and was surprised. I read quite a few as well. Here are some that I really enjoyed and one that I didn’t.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

John Mark Comer

I read this book with a cohort of pastors and we loved it! Comer’s easy-to-read writing style, frequent illustrations, and reminder that hurry is the enemy of a fulfilling spirit filled life was refreshing. The publisher went with a very large font (print version) that made the book easy to see and about twice as long as it should have been. The font size was a nice change of pace. At times his language was raw, yet unoffensive. It’s definitely a book I would recommend. I was reminded of several things from Comer:

  • I need to spend more time resting in my relationship with Christ.
  • I am in control (for the most part) of my schedule and how I spend my time. There’s no need for me to feel like I’m wearing myself out at the expense of my walk with the Lord.
  • Most leaders feel the same way and need this reminder. I’m not alone. Our spiritual work can get in the way of our spiritual walk.

Word and Spirit: Truth, Power, and the Next Great Move of God

RT Kendall

I learned about RT Kendall from listening to a podcast and found this book on Hoopla. It is amazing! Many churches are Word focused and others focus on the Spirit. Dr. Kendall foresees a day when churches focus and practice both.

Holy Fire

RT Kendall

I read this one right after Word and Spirit. Amazing as well! Many of his illustrations are repeats, but I didn’t mind. After reading this I began to listen to the sermons of Kendall’s mentor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. MLJ was truly a Word and Spirit preacher even though the church did not outwardly practice any spiritual gifts.

I’m Dead, Now What? A Planner

Morbid, I know.

A couple years ago I began digitizing all our important documents. After updating our last will and testament I began to think about how our children may have a difficult time finding everything should something happen to Christy and I at the same time. This book helped me with ideas to organize everything into an easily accessible digital folder that I can update each year with ease. Nobody likes to think about these things. I feel like this is a way I can love my family after I’m gone by having all our accounts, important information, and other documents in one place. I originally got the idea from Dave Ramsey, but this book helped me with ideas that I’d missed.

Even In Our Darkness

Jack Deere

Dr. Deere’s raw honesty was so refreshing! If many of us wrote a book after 40-50 years of ministry and told the whole truth about our personal lives and struggles, this would be it. It highlights the fact that you aren’t perfect yet God still desires a relationship with you and will use you if you let Him. It includes issues of depression, pride, addiction, and how the Lord sustained Deere and his sweet wife through a tragedy no parent should have to weather. The themes of redemption and listening/responding to the Spirit are really encouraging.

Letters to the Church

Francis Chan

Francis Chan’s account of going from a mega-church pastor to a house church network pastor was fascinating. I bought a Kindle copy and read this in a few sittings. I planted a house church in Kansas City MO with several friends and really enjoyed his thoughts on this model of church. He openly shared his thoughts on what he was seeing as the pastor of a very large church and how it was beginning to change him. I was encouraged by his words that a relationship with the Lord is what He truly desires. We often find our identity in our work, academic achievements, or family name. These things can and often do change throughout our lifetimes. Christ alone remains the same.

Letter to the American Church

Eric Metaxas

I purchased a Kindle copy not long after it was released. Metaxas did a wonderful job engaging the reader with his great knowledge of Bonhoeffer and the Nazi regime. He begs the American church to wake up from its slumber and cry out to the Lord regarding the atrocities of legalized abortion. He tackles other current issues and likens the church today to the sleeping German church of the 1930’s and 40’s who passively stood by as millions of Jewish men, women, and children were gathered up, tortured, and murdered not far from their places of worship.

A Church Called Tov

Scot McKnight

Do you ever wonder what created the environments that allows a pastor/leader to abuse those who are entrusted to them for care and protection? McKnight and daughter Laura Barringer call on their experience from Willow Creek to encourage churches and leaders to create a culture of Tov, or goodness. Every pastor needs to read this and ask, do I do this-am I creating an environment where abuse could occur? and what can I do to help create an environment where this doesn’t happen. Every church member should read it and ask, is this (abuse) happening at my church? and if this isn’t happening, how can I make sure it doesn’t?

Gift and the Giver

Craig Keener

New Testament scholar and professor Dr. Craig Keener gave me a gift (see what I did there?) through this book. My professional goal for 2022-23 was to learn how to listen to others more clearly and to focus on listening to the Lord more fully and intentionally. Keener’s work was the best resource I used this year for the later. While it is a tad more on the academic side, I would recommend this book to anyone desiring to learn more about the Spirit and His work in the believer’s life.

Miracles Today

Craig Keener

I brought Miracles Today with me on vacation and read it while sitting on the beach in about four days. It’s the smaller version of his two volume work on miracles found here. Every miracle listed in this book is verified by medical professionals or a large group of people. Keener encourages the read that the Lord is still working today for His glory in ways that are unexplainable. Highly recommend!

Least Liked: AWKWRD

Sean Benesh

AWKWRD was not a favorite of mine. The author had been hurt and I could feel it in his writing. Many of the chapters were helpful, but the overall tone caused me to NOT recommend this work to any colleagues, pastors, or planters. Once the author shared his history I could understand his tone. I’ve been hurt denominationally when planting and it takes time and forgiveness to work through things that were said, left unsaid, and done. I certainly won’t air any of my past hurt/issues/mistakes here, but am very thankful to the Lord that He allowed them. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was handed an invaluable gift during that time that would shape me and enable me to care for planters in a way that I would not have understood otherwise.

I’m looking forward to 2023. It’s my goal to buy very few paper copies and read mostly on Kindle or through Hoopla or Logos. I’m planning on reading more from RT Kendall, Keener, and other authors from faith traditions that I’ve not spend much time in. I’m hoping to read more academic books (Grudem’s Christian Ethics is being read now), biographies of American heroes, and fiction to wind down before I go to bed.

I’ve been reading the Bible in larger chunks this past year and love it! Some years I’ll focus the majority of my personal Bible reading time in shorter pericopes, but in 2023 I plan on continuing a read through of the OT in a year and the NT once a month. This habit through the NT has allowed me to see new things as I’m coming across them more often. I’m also reading with my Logos app open and stopping to make personal notes in my Bible and in a notebook.

What are some of your favorite books from 2022?

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