Books I Read in 2013

Okay, I did it. At the start of this calendar year of 2013, I set a goal to read twenty-four books by the end of the year. Having just finished the thirty-seventh book as we near the end of this year, I am thankful for many things:

1. For the teachers who taught me to read – it is one of the greatest gifts a person can be given.
2. For my mother who instilled in me a love to read as a young boy. My wife and I are trying to do the same for our children.
3. For friends (specifically ministerial friends) who encouraged me in my reading by recommending a book or sending me books.

Before I share the list of books that I read, allow me to give you general thoughts I had as I set goals for my reading. First, due to much of my commute being on a train, I decided to set a goal higher than I had reached previously. I have never had the luxury of having so much reading time, so in hindsight, my long commute did end up being a blessing. My thoughts were that reading a book every two weeks was quite aggressive, but doable. Second, in Evernote, I compiled a list of books in order that I wished to read them. This did several things for me. It kept me on track. It also helped me order them in categories and not read too much of one genre of a book. Although I did add a few books throughout the year that were not on my list, the list helped me focus on my goals. Third, I always tried to keep a highlighter on hand to highlight those items and truths that stood out to me.

Some will not agree with the books that I read this year. In matter of fact, a Christian pastor “unfriended” me on Facebook because he did not want to be influenced by the men that I am being influenced by. I respect his decision but am saddened by it. For too long, we Bible-believers have only been told to think one way and erect walls around our lives to such a degree that we are being hindered in our growth. Here is the interesting thing – at one time, my reading “repertoire” was very narrow because I was so afraid of anything written by someone who didn’t believe exactly like I did. Over the years, I found out that very few people believe exactly like I do and that is okay. Reading and learning from others does not mean that I accept carte blanche everything that they espouse. My brother-in-law Gary Byrd told me years ago that we Christians ought to be able to “eat a fish and spit out the bones.” At that point of my life, I was too proud to accept that philosophy and hung on to my very narrow books and ideas. That limited my growth and also fueled the “I am right and everyone else is wrong” philosophy in my life. God has used many of these books to break down my pride and show me that God CAN and WILL use anyone that has a heart for Him to reach others.

Enjoy the list! For the “book-nerds” out there, you might enjoy the statistics at the bottom of this article.

Top Five (in order)
1. Your God Is Too Safe – Mark Buchanan
2. Unbroken – Lauren Hillenbrand
3. Gods at War – Kyle Idleman
4. The Shepherd’s Covenant – H.B. London & Neil Wiseman
5. Seasons of Life – Charles Swindoll

Notable Mentions
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness – Timothy Keller
Take Time to Smell the Roses – Terry Crague
Purpose Driven Church – Rick Warren
Deep & Wide – Andy Stanley
Passion & Purity – Elisabeth Elliot
Fusion – Nelson Searcy

Complete List (In order read)
1. When the Empire Strikes Out – William Goetz
2. The Way to God & How to Find It – D.L. Moody
3. The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness – Timothy Keller
4. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
5. The Shepherd’s Covenant for Pastors – H.B. London & Neil Wiseman
6. Understanding the Times – Paul Chappell
7. Becoming the Son – C.D. Baker
8. C’MON! My Story of Rock, Ruin, & Redemption – Christopher Long
9. Spiritual Anorexia: How Contemporary Worship is Starving the Church – Doug Erlandson
10. Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes On a World Gone Nutty! – Tom Purcell
11. Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for your Heart – Kyle Idleman
12. Passion & Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Control – Elisabeth Elliot
13. The Truth of the Cross – R.C. Sproul
14. No Wonder They Call Him the Savior – Max Lucado
15. Crisis in Leadership – K.P. Yohannan
16. Take Time to Smell the Roses – Terry Crague
17. The Starbucks Experience – Joseph Michelli
18. The Ministry of a Baptist Deacon – Paul Chappell
19. The Last Plea Bargain – Randy Singer
20. The Divine Conspiracy – Dallas Willard
21. Secret Power – D.L. Moody
22. On Being a Pastor – Derek Prime & Alistair Begg
23. The Root of the Righteous – A.W. Tozer
24. The Life of Dr. Seuss – Charles River Editors
25. The Purpose Driven Church – Rick Warren
26. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire – Jim Cymbala
27. The Discipline of Grace – Jerry Bridges
28. Half Time – Bob Buford
29. Ghost in the Wires – Kevin Mitnick
30. Hedges – Jerry Jenkins
31. Deep & Wide – Andy Stanley
32. Fusion – Nelson Searcy
33. How To Run a Country – Cicero
34. The Measure of a Healthy Church – Gene Getz
35. Your God Is Too Safe – Mark Buchanan
36. David & Goliah: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell
37. Seasons of Life – Charles Swindoll

Pages Read – 8,073

Category Breakdown
Christian/General – 17
Christian/Pastoral – 7
Leadership/Inspirational – 5
Historical/Biographical – 4
Novel – 2
Christian/Marriage – 1
Comedy – 1

If there was one book you would recommend for me to read in 2014, what would it be? Please leave comments below…happy reading!

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