What I’m Reading

As I reflect on the last three years of my doctoral studies, perhaps the greatest benefit was a reawakening of a desire to read. Before my studies, I was completing about a book a month, and often the busyness of life would slow that pace down. My doctoral studies forced me to set aside time every day to read. As my time of study is coming to completion, I do not want to lose my consistency in reading. My goal for 2019 is to read a book a week.

The reason I am blogging about my reading is because I feel it is important for a church to know and understand what their pastor is reading. Not only that, the world is filled with great intentioned religious books that simply do not measure up to faithfulness to scripture. I hope from my reading lists I can recommend quality books to my congregation, as well as give my opinions on books that simply don’t measure up.

January 2019 books:

ReClaimed Church, Bill Henard

81jhih65jwlWhy I chose this book: Dr. Henard is my advisor for my doctoral studies. I gleaned an immense amount of understanding regarding leading established churches to find health and new life from his seminars.

Simple Summary: ReClaimed Church is a seminary class in a book. Much of what I learned through my doctoral studies regarding church revitalization is communicated within this book. Where many popular church growth books are written by megachurch pastors who planted their congregations, this book is written by a man who knows the ins and outs of normal churches.

Who should read this book? This book is an excellent book for pastors who are serving in established churches. If a pastor is looking to bring health to his church instead of the next quick fix, this is his book.

Blood Brothers, Elias Chacour

9780801015731Why I chose this book: In the early part of January, Jennifer and I had the opportunity to travel to Israel. Our trip to Israel included lunch with Dr. Chacour.

Simple Summary:  Dr. Chacour is Palestinian by birth and a believer in Jesus Christ. The book details his experience as a Palestinian Christian living in Israel. It follows his path in attempting to minister to Muslims in his community, as well as bring peace between the Palestinian and Jewish people in Israel. The first person view given by Dr. Chacour is extremely helpful in understanding the background politics between Israel and Palestine, as well as gaining a heart to love both.

Who  should read this book: Everyone. Jenn and I used the audiobook version of this book, but it reads like a biography or a story. Blood Brothers would be a great book to expand your view of the world, as well and understand what is often lost in the politicized news coverage of the day.

God’s Country: Brad Roth

9781513801612“We need a new approach, one that sees rural communities not as places to pity or lionize but simply as places, places open to God’s goodness and in need of God’s grace.”

Why I chose this book: Moving to Vidalia, Louisiana has been a major cultural change for me. I grew up in a major city, and my view of the world is directly connected to San Antonio, Texas. I have learned that the way a rural town runs is quite different than a big city. I picked up God’s Country to help my understanding of how to serve in a rural church.

Simple summary: God’s Country is a book on the rural church. Roth wrote this book distinctly to help pastors understand the dynamics of how rural communities are wired and how the church ministers in their midst. The insights learned in the first half of the book are invaluable for any pastor serving in a rural community. As I read through the book, many dynamics which I did not understand became clear as Roth defined and explained how the rural culture is wired. That said, Roth’s explanation and application in the second half of the book did not resound with me.

Who should read this book: Pastors in rural areas.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, Tony Reinke

3552434“The more addicted you become to your phone, the more prone you are to depression and anxiety, and the less able you are to concentrate at work and sleep at night.”

Why I chose this book:I will gladly confess that I am addicted to technology. As I see the growing problem of the glowing screen in my life, I felt I needed this book. Also, I get to be the parent to two preteens. As they enter the world of phones, I want to know what I am handing my kids.

Simple Summary: Reinke in his book outlines 12 specific ways that technology is reshaping the way we live. In this well researched and written book, Reinke exposes the often overlooked consequences of technology into our lives. 12 Ways might be one of the most difficult books I have read in recent years because of the conviction it has brought to my heart. As an early adopter, I was challenged to see what I am missing because of my tech addiction.

Who should read this book: If you own a smartphone, you should read this book. If your kids own smartphones or tablets, this should be mandatory.

The Tech-Wise Family, Andy Crouch

41vj8hqrnkl“We are meant not just for thin, virtual connections but for visceral, real connections to one another in this fleeting, temporary, and infinitely beautiful and worthwhile life.”

Why I chose this book: Just as I read Reinke’s book, this book falls in the same reasoning. I specifically chose this book to help me understand how to lead my family regarding technology.

Simple Summary: I read Crouch’s book after Reinke’s book. I would suggest this order. Where Reinke’s book showed how technology was affecting us, Crouch communicated deliberate strategies to avoid the tech consumed life. He makes the case that families are missing the wonder of God’s creation because of our addiction to technology.

Who should read this: Every parent should read this book.


That’s what I read this past month. What  have you read? Are there books you would recommend?

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