Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Books I Read in 2017"

I didn’t set out to read a minimum number of books last year. But, I remember wanting to read more than I did in 2016. Part of the motivation came from something Matt Perman writes in his book, What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done: “Books are for insight, articles are for awareness. Give preference to books (70 percent) without neglecting articles (30 percent)” (p. 187). By the end of 2016, I knew I had been heavy on the articles and light on the books.
    To my surprise, I ended up reading a dozen books in 2017. All of them were worthy of my time. A couple or three are what we sometimes call “life changing.” So, here they are:


  • The Three Hostages by John Buchan
  • The Island of Sheep by John Buchan
  • Sick Heart River by John Buchan
  • Wabash: A Novel of the American Frontier by Collin Higginbotham


  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  • How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N.T. Wright
  • The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight
  • Living Jesus: Doing What Jesus Says in the Sermon on the Mount by Randy Harris
  • To End All Wars by Ernest Gordon
  • A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works edited by Patricia S. Klein
  • For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton
  • Some Writer: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

    So, how was your 2017 reading year? You are invited to share in the comments section.
 Grace and peace to you!

Friday, January 12, 2018

“On Daily Devotionals & Authors’ Works”

Each year, for the past several years, I’ve chosen a daily devotional to supplement my morning Bible reading and focused prayer time. Such works include, but are not limited to, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s I Want to Spend These Days with You, Henry & Richard Blackaby’s Experiencing God Day by Day, A.W. Tozer’s Mornings with Tozer and Tozer on Christian Leadership (now titled Tozer for the Christian Leader), Eric Liddell’s The Disciplines of the Christian Life, Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. In 2017 I read, with great benefit to my walk with Jesus, A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Writings.

In addition to daily edification, I’ve found that devotionals such as A Year with C.S. Lewis provide opportunity to nibble (feast?) and savor an author’s works that I have yet to read, or a pleasant review of works read previously. For example, in A Year with C.S. Lewis, daily selections are gleaned from Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed, The Weight of Glory and The Abolition of Man.

Sometimes such devotionals spark interest not only in reading more of the author’s works from which excerpts were obtained, but also in the author’s life. More than once the result has been reading at least one biography of the author. For example, I’ve read biographies of A.W. Tozer (A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer by Lyle W. Dorsett and The Life of A.W. Tozer: In Pursuit of God by James L. Snyder), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945: Martyr, Thinker, Man of Resistance by Ferdinand Schlingensiepen) and Eric Liddell (For the Glory by Duncan Hamilton). After reading A Year with C.S. Lewis, I may reread the short biography No Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis by Terry W. Glaspey or perhaps something new to me such as The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs.

For 2018, my daily devotional selection is George McDonald: An Anthology compiled by C.S. Lewis. McDonald was the writer who most influenced C.S. Lewis. But this is a topic for another day.

Do you do something similar? If so, please share your experience in the comments section.

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus.