Top 5:

5) Encounters with Jesus – Tim Keller

Our preaching team actually preached through the passages of scripture and topics found in Encounter with Jesus as a tool to teach the gospel focus and apologetics needed in our society. Tim Keller always provides thought-provoking insight and a unique view and love for Jesus. This book does a remarkable job bringing to surface the grace and truth in the experiences of people when they had an encounter with Jesus.

4) Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink

In Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink takes his experience from leading Navy Seal Task Unit Bruiser in the dangerous area of Ramadi during the Iraq War and provides business, organization and personal applications that I found easily transferable to family and ministry. The best book on leadership I have ever read. Found Extreme Ownership to be very inspiring and also followed a great format of a military story, organization application, and then personal application. Every person should read this, especially if in any leadership capacity. Would be ranked higher if not for the following books that I will hope to re-read every year. You also need to listen to the Jocko Podcast.

3) Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

The classic allegory by John Bunyan tells a pilgrim’s story named Christian. Christian goes through trials and temptations involving his family and neighbors and then more as he travels. I read this previously but used the modern translation, this year I used the classic translation and it was very worth it. This book is beautiful, devotional, and refreshing. Find a copy that cites the constant use of scripture for as Spurgeon quoted of the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, “if you pricked John Bunyan, he would bleed Bible.” This book is almost as if you rearranged scripture in the timeline of the Christian life.

2) Morning and Evening Devotionals – Charles Spurgeon

These are a collection of a few paragraph long devotionals to read as it says, every morning and evening. I found a greater connection to Spurgeon not only for his preaching the gospel but his personal struggle with depression. I spent the year with Spurgeon reading this devotional along with biography, sermons, lectures, and commentaries. Spurgeon always points to Christ and does so in a Victorian/Puritan way that is not only beautiful but does so in a way that always preaches the love and hope of the gospel to the lowest of us as he battled his own depression.

1) Knowing God – J.I. Packer

This is almost a systematic theology on the person of God. One of the few books that are easily labeled as a modern day classic. This book is not dry and overly academic but is a book to be used to fire up the mind and soul to love God and his word. While handling extremely large concepts J.I. Packer concisely and passionately provides Christian doctrine, or how Jill Heatherly puts it, “puts the hay where the sheep can reach it…” Because the content is so great and it is written so every Christian can read it, every Christian must read it. My goal is to re-read it every year. It is that good.

* Honorable Mention

41: A Portrait of My Father – George W. Bush

After watching the funeral services of President George H. W. Bush, I was compelled to dive into more of this wonderful life that I was hearing in the eulogies from family, friends, and world leaders of the 41st president of the United States. I was not disappointed in this easy to read, funny, warm, and insightful book from a son’s point of view covering this great man, husband, father, president, and from this book and eulogies, one of the greatest friends of all time. Friendship seemed to be a key theme of George H. W. Bush’s life and we could all use some advice on that. Well worth the few hours it took to read.

A complete list of 2018 books in order of reading:
1. Expositional Commentary Psalms – James Montgomery Boice
2. Morning and Evening Devotionals Spurgeon
3. Lectures to My Students – Spurgeon
4. Knowing God – J.I. Packer
5. Heart of the Church – Joe Thorn
6. Life of the Church – Joe Thorn
7. Character of the Church – Joe Thorn
8. 8 Hours or less – Ryan Huguley
9. Shepherd Leader – Timothy Whitmer
10. Luther on the Christian Life – Carl Trueman
11. Faithful Preaching – Tony Merida
12. Supernatural Power – Jared C. Wilson
13. Spurgeon on Christian Life – Michael Reeves
14. Galatians – Martin Luther
15. Galatians – Christ-Centered Exposition – David Platt
16. Proverbs – Preaching the Word Commentary – Ray Ortlund
17. The craft of Research and Writing – Wayne Booth
18. Think – John Piper
19. Is there a Doctor in the House – Ben Witherington
20. Becoming a Pastor / Theologian – Wilson and Hiestand
21. Fellowship of The Ring – Tolkien
22. Trials of Theology – Rosner and Cameron
23. Praying the Bible – Donald Whitney
24. Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink
25. Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual – Jocko Willink
26. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
27. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
28. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
29. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
30. Encounters with Jesus – Tim Keller
31. Letters to the Church – Francis Chan
32. The Prayer that Turns the World Upside Down – Al Mohler
33. Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
34. Reset – David Murray
35. Steal Away Home – Matt Carter & Aaron Ivey
36. 41: A Portrait of My Father – George W. Bush

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