This month past month I read four books: The Ten Commandments, The Unsaved Christian, Faith Among the Faithless, and Your Future Self Will Thank You. Here are my brief reviews of these books. For some reason, I chose books with ridiculously long titles.
The commandments not only show us what God wants; they show us what God is like. They say something about his honor, his worth, and his majesty. They tell us what matters to God. We can’t disdain the law without disrespecting the Lawgiver.
Why I chose this book: I have always enjoyed DeYoung’s writing. I also have a particular passion to understand Old Testament application in our day. I picked up the book to further understand and support my preaching as we continue our journey through the Bible.
Simple Summary: Kevin DeYoung writes a practical explanation of the Ten Commandments. Within the book, he builds the case for why the commands are still relevant today and then expounds how each law applies to your life. DeYoung spends time walking through each command through both the New Testament application, as well as the intent of God.
Who should read this book? The Ten Commandments should be read by any person desiring to further understand the Old Testament and generally any person desiring to live for God. I was surprised by the devotional/practical nature of the book and the real life application of the text of scripture. Go read it.
In the Bible Belt, many people think they’re Christians but have no concept of the severity of sin, necessity of repentance, message of grace, or the overall message of the gospel.
Why I chose this book: I followed Inserra on Twitter about a year ago, and he hits the issues of nominal cultural Christianity hard. Go follow him. The Unsaved Christian is Inserra’s first book, and it is an essential read. I chose this book because The Unsaved Christian is the mission field I serve in.
Simple Summary: Inserra dissects the Bible Belt culture of America and points to a huge problem: many people who have walked through the church, been “saved” by the church, might come to the church, etc are not saved. He builds the understanding of the mission field which exists in culturally Christian America and then helps the reader understand how the gospel can radically change and genuinely save unsaved Christians.
Who should read this book: Every pastor, Sunday School teacher, deacon, and any church member who desires to understand and reach their community. Inserra’s book hits the nail on the head regarding faith in the churched south.
So this is not a story about virtue and character, but about someone who has become acclimated to a godless world and has grown quite comfortable with it. It’s about compromise and crisis, and God’s way of preserving and renewing faith in the midst of it all.
Why I chose this book: I will admit, I liked the cover. Beyond that, the concept of living faithfully in a post Christian time intrigued me. I read the main title when I bought the book but did not see the fine print about the book of Esther. I chose to read this book purely from the title concept with little knowledge of the author or details of the book. I judged this book by its cover.
Simple Summary: Cosper’s book reads less like a textbook or nonfiction book and more like a detailed retelling of the book of Esther. He weaves in details of history and secondary sources into the story where much of the book reads like a modern day novel. You can see the story. As Cosper retells the book of Esther, he pauses to apply the book to modern times, all the while never losing the feeling of reading through the story. This is a brilliantly written book.
Who should read this book: Everyone. Cosper’s book delivers commentary grade information written in such a way where an average Christian can understand the history, theology and cultural impact of the book of Esther. He does this in a way where the average reader feels they are reading a fictional novel.
Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science (A Guide for Sinners, Quitters and Procrastinators), Drew Dyck
Self-control isn’t just one good character trait, a nice addition to the pantheon of virtues. It’s foundational. Not because it’s more important than other virtues, but because the others rely upon it.
Why I chose this book: A friend recommended this book stating, “best book I’ve read in a while.” Upon that recommendation I jumped. I have followed Dyck on Twitter for a while, and his online presence is hilarious. Right now I am in a season where I feel overwhelmed by ministry, and this seemed to resonate with what I needed to read.
Simple Summary: Dyck writes openly about his struggle in consistency in his daily walk of faith. Within the book he builds the case of why a Christian should build discipline in their lives to follow Christ. He outlines and explains simple basic disciplines backed up by science and scripture to follow God. His book is extremely biblical and practical. As I sat reading the book I was able to contemplate changes which I could put in practice immediately.
Who should read this book? Everyone. Many books I read make me smarter or help me be a better pastor. Dyck’s book helps build the foundation for daily faithful living. If you are looking to get genuine practical wisdom in following Jesus, pick up this book.