My Top Five Books of 2014

Someone once told me that a good leader reads at least a book a month. Seeing as to how this same person read a book a week on average and was a phenomenal leader, I figured I should give it a shot. Eventually, I started keeping a running list on what I read for future reference. These are the top five books I found most enjoyable to read (in no particular order). They’re not necessarily the “best,” only the ones that took me off guard with their goodness.

  1. The Lost World of Genesis One – John H. Walton

Every so often you stumble on one of those books that completely shatters your view Scripture in the best way possible. This is one of those books. In a time where many people are torn between creationism and evolution, it’s easy to wonder where you stand. While The Lost World of Genesis One doesn’t provide any clear answer (I personally walked away with more questions than answers), Walton does a great job at helping us understand the context in which Genesis One was written and how that context informs the passage.

  1. The God Ask ­– Steve Shadrach

If you’d told me six months ago reading a book on personal support raising would be fun, I would’ve laughed in your face. As much as I love my job there are some parts that are more challenging than others. Personal support raising sits at the top of that list. Between your loved one’s misconceptions of what you do and the lies you, as well as the enemy, tell yourself, support raising is tough business. This book not only gives you hope it’s possible, this book will convince you it’s a privilege.

3. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free – Tullian Tchividjian

A book about suffering an enjoyable read? Granted a large part of that probably had to do with my lack of affliction, I found this book to be refreshing. Tchividjian neither dismisses suffering as real nor does he allow us to remain so eclipsed we fail to see the hope. Like a true shepherd, he embraces us while helping us find comfort in Jesus. It’s not about understanding why but understanding who is with us in our suffering.

  1. Unlost – Michael Hidalgo

I honestly didn’t have high expectations for this book. I got it free courtesy of my job and it sat on my shelf collecting dust for months. But when I read it I was glad I did. Hidalgo is one of those people who just get it. He pushes past all the “religious” gunk so we can get to the core of the matter and in doing so he invites the reader into the joy that can be found in following Jesus. I want my students to read this book.

  1. Disunity in Christ – Christena Cleveland

I don’t know if there’s ever been a book that’s convicted me while simultaneously making me laugh but Christena Cleveland’s Disunity in Christ did it. Drawing deep from her well of sociological and theological knowledge, she exposes the forces that are secretly destroying and dividing the body of Christ and gives us hope for better. You’ll walk away feeling validated in your expression of faith but also challenged not to look down on others for theirs. And might I add: black woman? Boo-yah!

Bonus: Paper Towns – John Green

In reading books that often pertain to God, it’s easy to read to attain facts or new ideas and forget how to read with the heart. While fiction isn’t always conducive to productivity, sometimes it’s nice to get lost in a story. And that’s what happened with Paper Towns. It’s got everything I love: love, misadventure, and black Santas. Only qualm I have with this book is that the second section of the book lags on a bit, especially in light of the first. But aside from that, it was wonderful. My favorite from him so far.

Honorable Mention (only because I’m not done): Bonhoeffer: Pastor Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Eric Metaxas

Normally I rush through books like there’s no tomorrow but with Eric Metaxas’ sweeping biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I’ve been taking my sweet time. As someone who didn’t pay attention in history class, this book is catching me up on all the things I missed. I love this book and so glad I saved this one as my last read of the year.

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