Recommended Readings

A comprehensive list of recommended readings

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Manna: When You’re Out of Options God Will Provide by Steve Farrar
 In a wilderness? You need manna. Using the experiences to the Israelites in the wilderness after their delivery from Egypt, Farrar shows how God is sufficient for every need. Manna – 6 days a week – forty years -- never missed once. Encouraging, insightful, inspiring.

Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to do with You by John MacArthur
 Having written a book on the twelve apostles, MacArthur wrote this one on twelve ordinary women made extraordinary by their heart commitment to the Lord. This traces how through that commitment most of these women were instrumental in the coming of the Messiah – and the others gave extraordinary testimony to His person and work. Inspiring and insightful.

Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin W. Lutzer 
This is by far the best and most accessible overview of the Reformation that I have ever come across. The characters, theology and history of this critical time are clearly and carefully laid out by Lutzer in a manner that is comprehensive, compelling, yet brief. If you want to know why it happened, how it happened and why it still matters, this outstanding book will take you there.

Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? by Walter J. Chantry
If you think becoming a follower of Christ is merely a matter of walking an aisle or praying a prayer, you might be shocked by this book. Using the illustration of Jesus dealing with the rich young ruler, Chantry shows that Jesus’ method of evangelism differs greatly from that most prominently seen today. The sobering reality is clearly laid out by Jesus in this extraordinary encounter. 

“Parenting is Your Highest Calling” and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt by Leslie Leyland Fields.
Some books are good and helpful; others are of surpassing value. This is the latter. Of the dozens of books on parenting that I’ve read, this one is decidedly different. I wish I could get it into the hands of every parent who is struggling with families which are less than perfect – even dysfunctional. If “parenting is your highest calling” is a myth, what is your highest calling? If “good parenting leads to happy children” is a myth, what is the biblical truth? The answers to these and other parenting myths are in the book, and they are life-changing. This is food for the soul for every parent whose dreams of the “perfect family” have been shattered. Take a vacation from worry and guilt. Soak in some biblical truths that will refresh your heart and renew your outlook.

Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Husband by Marilyn Chadwick
David Chadwick authored Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Wife. Now comes this book with a companion title from his wife. Once again, great insights and practical advice are set against the backdrop of a thoroughly biblical worldview. Any wife would benefit from reading this book, reviewing its adherence to Scripture and applying those suggestions which are relevant to her situation. And her husband would benefit as well. 

Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Wife by David Chadwick
 Chadwick, former basketball player for Dean Smith at UNC and now a pastor for many years in North Carolina, has written a fine book on the biblical basis for and importance of honor in marriage. His case is compelling. Many insightful suggestions and illustrations are included, but the overall impact is to create a mindset that will enhance any marriage. It offers both challenge and hope. 

The True Measure of a Man: How Perceptions of Success, Achievement & Recognition Fail Men in Difficult Times by Richard E. Simmons III
Simmons has become one of my favorite writers. He is articulate, insightful and biblical and in great demand as a speaker in both Christian and secular contexts. In this book, he demonstrates how the world’s definition of success is (predictably) the opposite of God’s perspective. He shows how we all tend to buy into the viewpoint of those around us, consciously or unconsciously. Yet – even for those who are most “successful”, emptiness, discontent and anxiety are the rule rather than the exception. Is it all about ambition, money, position, recognition, comfort, etc? Or is there something more? And how can our lives be re-oriented toward God’s perspective of success. This thought-provoking book can help change our thinking.

Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure by Alistair Begg
This is one of Begg’s finest books. With clarity, comprehensiveness, and compassion, he identifies major issues that affect marital relationships and proposes solutions for each from a biblical perspective. He does it without condescension or ambiguity. He covers the subject from beginning to end, starting with principles for dating, husband/wife relationships and family dynamics. Helpful for any marriage at any stage.

Big Trouble Ahead: A Real Plan for Flourishing in a Time of Fear and Deception by Allen Jackson. 
Jackson writes with a pastor’s heart (he is one in Nashville, TN). His emphasis is less on a changing and increasingly challenging culture, and more on the fact that we are not the first to face challenging times. As others have thrived under challenge and even persecution, so can we. Practical insight from the Bible comes on every page as he encourages us to look up, not out; to trust God, not circumstances; and to live for eternity, not time. 

Sex and Money: Pleasures that Leave You Empty and Grace that Satisfies by Paul David Tripp
Here are two major life challenges that face all of us and are the cause of many spiritual problems in the lives of genuine believers. As long as life endures and the pull of the “present” has its claws in us, the challenges will persist. But each challenge also represents a test and opportunity for growth. Tripp shows us a way to victory by identifying God’s perspective, God’s patience with our failures and God’s resources to help us live victoriously, even in these hard areas.

Hope in Times of Fear: The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter by Timothy Keller
This is a book about the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like most books on the resurrection, Keller marshals evidence demonstrating the truth of this fact. But that is only the first chapter. The rest of the book deals with what that historical fact means to present life. He spends several chapters showing how the resurrection informs the message of the Bible throughout, looks at its impact on specific lives, and then shows how it relates to very personal issues such as relationships, justice, suffering and the future. This is one of Keller’s finest coming from the crucible of strong exegetical study and challenging experience. 

God is Stranger: Finding God in Unexpected Places by Krish Kandiah
Why does God sometimes judge immediately and sometimes not. Why is His presence sometimes clear and sometimes not. Why does He sometimes seem contradictory or arbitrary or unexplainable? Kandiah answers using a number of Bible characters from Adam to Abraham, Gideon to David and many others. Their stories illuminate truths about God that you may not have considered. And a challenging theme runs throughout.

Name Above All Names by Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson
This is a short book tracing references to Christ in the Bible starting with Genesis 3:15 all the way through to Revelation. While brief, the book contains many keen insights into how the whole story of Jesus’ person and work are developed. It includes chapters on Jesus as the Seed of the Woman, the True Prophet, the Great High Priest, the Conquering King, the Son of Man, the Suffering Servant and the Lamb on the Throne. 

We Will Not Be Silenced: Responding Courageously to Our Culture’s Assault on Christianity by Erwin W. Lutzer
Dr. David Jeremiah says, “If I could, I would put this book into the hands of Every Christian in America.” That’s how informative and insightful it is. Lutzer pulls no punches in identifying threats to the true church from a secular culture. For some, this will be an eye-opener. At the same time, he urges courageous, thoughtful, aggressive, and yet compassionate response. If you want to know where we are, how we got there and how we can most faithfully represent our Godly heritage, this book will be of immeasurable help.

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus: The Explosive Power of Jesus’ Parables by R. Albert Mohler. 
If you want greater insight into the parables of Jesus, this book will be a great help. All of Jesus’ major parables are here with explanations that take into account the theological, historical and contextual background. This also gives insight into Jesus Himself.

Why America Hates Biblical Christianity: Pursuing Christlikeness in Times of Mounting Hostility and Apathy by David A. Harrell
If you are over 20 years of age, you are aware that our culture has gone through massive changes in attitude away from the Christian orientation that dominate the environment in which we lived if not the hearts of the people. In a very short time, Christians have gone from being respected even by non-believers, to tolerated with reservations to clearly opposed. The hostility level against the Christian faith has been accelerated to the point of discomfort. Why? This book will help explain why – and what our attitude should be toward the changes with which we are faced. 

Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle by Alistair Begg
This is a uniquely practical book on how to pray using Paul’s prayers in Ephesians as a model. As usual, Begg is clear, compelling and pastoral in his presentation. Eight simple chapters which will help you prioritize and enjoy your times of prayer. Kevin DeYoung says this book “helps you feel not just like you should pray, but that you can pray.”

Humbled: Welcoming the Uncomfortable Work of God by David Mathis
Okay. We know we are supposed to be humble. But how do you humble yourself. The harder you try, the more you are not really being humble, right? As soon as you think you are – you’re not! So how does this work. Mathis has given us a wonderful perspective, which is that it is God who is constantly working to humble us. So, the initiative is His. Ours is but to cooperate with the work He is doing in our lives. Insightful thoughts. 

Why is That in the Bible by Eric J. Bargerhuff
Here is an interesting little book that tackles some of the more obscure (from our perspective) parts of the Bible. You will find comments on the talking donkey, the finger on the wall, death at Communion, killer bears and much more. Not deep, but helpful information on interesting biblical accounts.

Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t: The Beauty of Christian Theism by Gavin Ortlund
In this award-winning book, Ortlund argues for the existence of a personal God based on what we actually experience in the world which we inhabit. Four chapters – the Cause, Meaning, Conflict and Hope of the World. In each, Orlund shows how life as we experience it – including such phenomena as cause and effect, beauty, the universal nature of mathematics, the desire for a “good ending” and the need for hope – all suggest subtle but telling ways that there is a God. Well written and accessible. 

Brave by Faith: God-Sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World by Alistair Begg
Begg is his usual pastorally helpful self in this book. He takes various passages from the biblical book of Daniel to identify similar cultural issues and derive principles from them on how we might address the increasingly secular culture in which we live. Daniel’s experience is amazingly similar to ours and thus, its relevance is clear. Some principles are obvious; others more nuanced; and a few will surprise you. Begg is always good; this is one of his best.

Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church by Paul Washer
Paul Washer was a missionary in Peru for 10 years prior to founding HeartCry Missionary Society. He is a fearless proponent of biblical principles of ministry, regardless of culture. In this book he gives a no-holds-barred evaluation of modern church life which challenges the way churches often function. Some of the subjects he covers include what the gospel really is, our ignorance of God, denial of the sufficiency of Scripture, lack of church discipline and several others. Thought-provoking and challenging. 

God vs. Government by Nathan Busenitz and James Coates 
What is the relationship between church and state? Must we always follow government dictates? Are there limits to governmental authority? Can the government “overstep” its God-given boundaries? That is the subject of this book which details the experience of two churches during the COVID-19 pandemic. It defines the theology of government authority, and then tells the helpful story of how two churches faced up to the challenge. The book is a bit duplicative in places, but overall, a fine presentation on the benefits and boundaries of state authority. 

Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell
So, who is Eutychus? Check him out in Acts 20! As the title indicates, this book is primarily about preaching. But it has much to say to anyone who is teaching, facilitating or otherwise leading a Bible study. It is largely devoted to the art of holding people’s interest once one has a firm grasp on the meaning of a text. Many helpful insights.

Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley
This is a readable yet comprehensive, one-volume church history. A classic. It begins with the time of Christ and traces the major divisions of church history, highlighting major events in each time period. Easy to follow and well-explained. This fourth edition covers also the last decade of the 20th century into the 21st written by R. L. Hatchett. That section does not have the same vibrancy as the rest of the book, but all in all, an excellent reasonable-length church history. 

Where Do We Go from Here? How Tomorrow’s Prophecies Foreshadow Today’s Problems by David Jeremiah
Concerning His second coming, Jesus told His disciples, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matt 24:36). Despite this unequivocal statement, history is strewn with the bodies of those who thought they had it figured out only to be proven wrong. Dr. Jeremiah is not a date-setter. But he does show how ten current trends portend end-time conditions. If they are not precursors to actual end-time events, they are at least highly representative of what those times and conditions will look like. In each case, he also discusses what our reaction should be in light of these events and trends. Thoroughly biblical; highly relevant. Eye-opening for those who would like to see current events in light of biblical prophecy.  

Reflections on the Existence of God by Richard E. Simmons, III
Do not miss this book. This has been recommended before, but is good enough to mention again. This is the best book I have read in years. In 56 short essays (2-3 pages each) arranged in ten sections, Simmons makes a logically reasoned case for the existence of God and the beauty and reasonableness of Christianity. The essays are filled with stories, quotations and simple but compelling argumentation. Very easy to read. Interesting on every page. You will not be disappointed. Excellent for anyone who is searching. Will strengthen the faith of believers. Available at

Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See by Eric Hedin
Hedin taught a class at Ball State on Boundaries of Science which exposed students to an evidence-based case for design and purpose in Creation – all without pushing an agenda beyond committing to where the evidence leads. He was eventually severely attacked form the outside, though even atheists in his class defended the integrity of his presentations. It’s a thrilling real-life adventure story revealing the intolerance of those who preach tolerance. AND the book covers much physical and biological evidence which build a compelling case for design in creation. 

Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World That Says You Shouldn’t by Stephen McAlpine
This book answers three basic questions: 1) How did we get to be the bad guys? 2) What does being the bad guys look like?  3) How can we be good bad guys? This is a wonderful critique of the culture we now live in which has changed drastically in the past 25 years – only because of two centuries of lead-in. But now that we have arrived, and not only is culture rejecting Godly values, but creating laws against them, how do we react? How can we live Godly lives in an increasingly Godless society? Great food for thought throughout.

Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ is Essential by Collin and Jonathan Leeman
At a time when many people are undiscovering church, it seems a good time to review what is church all about, is it really necessary, should one become a member, what responsibilities attach to that, and what difference does it make. All these questions and more are addressed in this small but compelling book. It is a wonderful challenge to be all we can be to each other and to our Lord and Savior.

Christianity and Wokeness: How the Social Justice Movement is Hijacking the Gospel – and the Way to Stop It by Owen Strachan
For Christians who long to see divided peoples come together, to see injustice and oppression vanquished and to see significant societal change, the ideas of Critical Theory, intersectionality, and “woke” theology can appear very attractive. But all that glitters is not gold. Are these popular theories biblical? If not, what is the solution to the issues raised above. Owen Strachan answers biblically, graciously and compellingly. This is a book for our time. Helpful to anyone who wants to understand our current cultural context.

The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God by Alva J. McClain
This is a book for the serious student. It is a classic theological presentation and defense of the premillennial position of future things. McClain deals with opposing positions with clarity, kindness and always with appeal to Scripture. Excellent resource for someone who wants to go deep on this subject.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones 
This is my new favorite children’s storybook. Over forty Bible stories are included, and each is treated, not as a morality tale, but as containing truth which points to Jesus. Beautifully illustrated; wonderfully helpful to parents learning to present biblical truth to children.

Surviving Religion 101: Letters to a Christian Student on Keeping the Faith in College by Michael J. Kruger
Kruger is a notable New Testament scholar whose writings are normally academically oriented. However, in this book, he has written a delightful and highly accessible apologetic of the Christian faith in the form of letters to his daughter as she enters life in a secular college. This is my new go-to book for college students as it gives honest, comprehensive, yet readable answers to questions such as are heaven and hell really real; what about evolution; why is Christianity so exclusive; if faith is in, is science out; is there genuine truth; aren’t there a lot of contradictions in the Bible. Kruger ducks nothing and explains well. Great book for adults as well as students.

Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham  
In this book, Dr. Baucham takes dead aim at the infiltration of evangelicalism by critical race theory and other secularized social justice initiatives which offer secular solutions to spiritual problems. Baucham is eminently qualified to speak to these issues as an African-American who grew up in South Central Los Angeles as well as parts of a segregated south. As a trained sociologist and theologian, he understands the need for change. But he argues persuasively that the biblical pattern starts with the heart and individual responsibility. Great book paired with Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice, by Scott David Allen. We all have a responsibility to understand and apply the gospel to issues of injustice and societal unrest. Books like this help us see that only the gospel can help.

Ten Words to Live By by Jen Wilkin
In a small but insightful book, Jen Wilkin takes on a journey through the Ten Commandments showing how they reflect not only God’s character, but also a more fruitful way to live. Along the way she urges more than dutiful compliance, but rather, heartfelt embracing of each of the “words” such that we seek to see how far we can go in obeying rather than how close to the edge we can come without going over. Good study book.

Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms Our Talk by Jeff Robinson, Sr.
When it comes to the tongue, too many of us as believers, excuse our loose talk of whatever variety by saying, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” Better we should be saying, “I am striving to be like Christ.” This book will help you identify what that looks like – and how to get there.

The Secular Creed by Rebecca McLaughlin
In this book, McLaughlin tackles tough current issues: Social Justice, homosexuality, gay marriage, feminism and transgenderism. In each case, she salvages the parts of cultural understanding of each issue while showing what the biblical teaching is and why it surpasses cultural understanding in providing solutions to the issues. A compassionate, but biblically sound examination. 

The Moment of Truth by Steven J. Lawson
This book of all about truth – not relative truth, but True Truth – what it is, why it matters, the judgment on rejecting it, and its final triumph. In a day of relativism, this book speaks eloquently and comprehensively to the need to find the truth, study the truth, believe the truth and share the truth. Challenging book for every truth believer.

Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries that Bring the Bible to Life by Titus Kennedy
Excellent book that packages a lot of archaeological information into small spaces to accommodate the average reader. Each discovery is depicted and written about, usually in a 2-page format. Outstanding presentation of archaeological evidence that will increase faith in the reliability of Scripture. The historical reliability of the Bible is formidable as demonstrated by archaeology. Highly recommended.

The End of Anxiety: the Biblical Prescription for Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Panic by Josh Weidmann
Weidmann is a pastor who has in the past suffered from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, and who still at times suffers from emotional trauma. He has searched for help from God’s Word and this book is the result. Many issues are covered – why these things happen and how God uses them, how to gain control when out of control, how to deal with doubt, depression, fear and anxiety. Each chapter ends with suggested actions to take, reflections to think about and suggestions for further reading in the Bible and outside. Excellent resource from someone who speaks from experience.

A Practical Guide to Culture by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle
An excellent resource to help instill a Christian worldview in children growing up in an increasingly secular society. Covers such topics as materialism, gender identity, addiction, sexual orientation, entertainment, social justice and others.

Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk by Heather Kopp
This is an excellent book by a Christian woman who found herself addicted to alcohol, but the principles herein apply to any addiction -- any besetting sin. The book answers the hard questions. How come God didn't keep me from this addiction? Why did He not release me? Is it a sickness or a sin? Straight forward. Clear. Inviting us to know God better.

Finding Hope in Hard Things: A Positive Take on Suffering by Pierce Taylor Hibbs
Taking his own life as a reference point, Hibbs shows how hard things in life actually can and do create the greatest growth in life. He uses three data points – his father’s premature death, his own ongoing battle with anxiety, and the intrusion of self-doubt. While such events often overwhelm us, Hibbs shows how they are used by a loving Father to further our knowledge of Him and fruitfulness in life. 

The New Creationism: Building Scientific Theories on a Biblical Foundation by Paul Garner
If you have ever wrestled with the issue of young earth vs. old earth creation, this book will be helpful. Garner takes as a starting point a literal interpretation of the various biblical comments regarding creation. He then examines these in light of scientific knowledge and theory, eventually proposing theories that support a young earth answer (which is heavily dependent on seeing God as the ultimate creator, and taking a worldwide flood as a genuine and significant catastrophic event). Good reading for those interested in this area.

Under the Apple Tree by Jon McNeff
If the Song of Solomon is a mystery to you, this book will be an immense help. In easy-to-read language, fittingly illustrated from real life, Jon will walk you through the Solomon’s guide to dating, sex, marriage and marriage relationships. Written with the skill of a scholar, but the heart of a pastor. Excellent material for marriage or those on the threshold.  

Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters: What Is God Saying to Us? by Erwin W. Lutzer
This book does not purport to give all the answers. But it shows many of the things that God says about difficult times, thus providing perspective, comfort and hope. This will help your faith grow rather than fade in the midst of trying times whether they are personal or global. Easy, short, but profound. 

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman
This is a scholarly work which traces the philosophical and theological underpinnings of the move from general belief in a Transcendent Lawgiver, governing the attitudes and behavior of society, to the modern approach which makes “Self” the end-all when it comes to morality, behavior and even sexual identity. Fascinating study, but requires some expenditure of time to follow the logic. 

You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay) by Allie Beth Stuckey
In a society that focuses intently on individualism and authenticity, it is easy to come up feeling short – and sometimes hard to put the various demands into a biblical context. Stuckey helps with that in a book written particularly for older girls and women. She organizes her book around five cultural myths:
·      You are enough
·      You determine your own truth
·      You’re perfect the way you are
·      You’re entitled to your dreams
·      You can’t love others until you love yourself
A solid biblical response is given for each of these, illustrated largely from personal experience. If you have found yourself assaulted by one or more of these myths, this book will be helpful.

Being a Dad Who Leads by John MacArthur
This is not a book about new techniques. Rather, it is a clear and challenging rehearsal of biblical truths that have eternal relevance when it comes to parenting and family life. For those who desire to be Godly leaders in their home, this book will be a great help.

Reflections on the Existence of God by Richard E. Simmons, III.
Do not miss this book. This is the best book I have read in years. In 56 short essays (2-3 pages each) arranged in ten sections, Simmons makes a logically reasoned case for the existence of God and the beauty and reasonableness of Christianity. The essays are filled with stories, quotations and simple but compelling argumentation. Very easy to read. Interesting on every page. You will not be disappointed. Excellent for anyone who is searching. Will strengthen the faith of believers.

Why Social Justice is not Biblical Justice: An Urgent Appeal to Fellow Christians in a Time of Social Crisis by Scott David Allen
This is perhaps the most important book I have read this year. All contrasts the social justice movement, which has appeal just from its name, with true biblical justice to show that there is a dramatic difference. We all want to see injustices righted and justice done. But this eye-opening book will show that worldview is all-important in determining how to go about fighting for justice without getting taken in by a counterfeit philosophy that is all about power and little about justice. If you have wondered what is going on in the world and how to engage biblically, you need to read this balanced, compassionate but revealing book. Highly recommended.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn
This is a life-changing book. Want to know where you are going as a Christian? Read this book. Want to encourage an eternal perspective in your life. Read this book. Got questions about heaven? This book has answers. Alcorn speculates in some areas and give his imagination credible rein. But this book is soundly biblical. You will find yourself checking out cross references constantly. You will also find yourself amazed at what you have read before and overlooked. Where is heaven located? Won’t heaven be a little boring? Will heaven be familiar? Will we know each other in heaven? Where will we live in heaven? Will there be music and art and culture in heaven? Will we eat and drink in heaven? What will our bodies be like in heaven? Are there animals in heaven? What does restoration really mean? These are just a few of the questions that the book addresses. Some of the answers will surprise you. Check it out.  

Happiness by Randy Alcorn
Is it better to be holy or happy? Are the two really mutually exclusive? What about the difference between joy and happiness? This book will answer these questions and many more – most in ways you would not anticipate, but thoroughly biblical.

Amillennialism and the Age to Come: A Premillennial Critique of the Two-Age Model by Matt Waymeyer
Not a book for the novice, but for anyone with a detailed interest in future things, this is an excellent comparison of the two major schools of theology (Premillennialism and Amillennialism) covering virtually every relevant passage of Scripture with great clarity. A fine, thorough and articulate defense of the Premillennial position.

Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves
This is an outstanding book on the life and work of Christ. It is easy to understand, yet theologically profound. Reeves has unique way to making Jesus come alive. Excellent devotional book.

The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
This book is a thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of American culture. Positive in nature, but spot-on in applying biblical and common sense to identifying weaknesses and suggesting solutions in areas such as passivity, education, age segregation, work ethic, consumerism, travel, and reading. Thought-provoking and challenging, especially for parents. 

Parenting: The 14 Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp
If you attended the Tripp seminar, or even if you didn’t, this book will be a great help in teaching how the gospel relates to parenting, and how God’s relationship to us as Father can help inform our own parenting. It’s not just about changing behavior; it’s about changing hearts. This book is excellent in helping parents see what they can and cannot do – and how to point kids in the right direction.

Pathway to Freedom: How God’s Laws Guide Our Lives by Alistair Begg
Ever wonder how believers relate to the Law? Or how law and grace relate? Or what the Ten Commandments really require? This is the best book I’ve ever read on the Ten Commandments. It shows how true freedom comes from obedience – not disobedience as we often think.

This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel by Trevin Wax
What does a secular culture tell us? What is the Christian counter? What is the gospel truth? Covering subjects such as media, entertainment, pursuit of happiness, marriage, sex, culture and the future. Well written with clear illustrations, creative thinking and challenging conclusions.

None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us by Jen Wilkin
In order to know God personally, we need to know what the Bible teaches about Him. This book will help you do both. In particular it will teach you the things about God that are different from us, why we try unsuccessfully to emulate them, and what our response really ought to be. Challenging and devotional look at who God is and what it means to us.

The God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith by J. P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff
If you have difficulty expressing your faith in a confident and clear manner (who doesn’t?), then this book may help. It is not comprehensive, but it has some very helpful way to talk about faith in and evidence for the existence of God with various stories used to illustrate that faith. It will also strengthen your own faith.

Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller
This is the best book I’ve read on this subject. Excellent if you are currently going through hard times, but even better to be prepared. As D. A. Carson says, “If you live long enough, you will suffer.” How we suffer is of great important both to us, and to God. This book will help you see how the Bible prepares us for this eventuality.

The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung
It is not unusual for a book about holiness to seem boring and bringing with it an overwhelming sense of guilt. This book does neither. It rightly brings conviction, but it has an excellent and realistic idea of what Christian living looks like. DeYoung is always enlightening, easy to follow and very helpful. This book is an excellent resource to help you grow in Christ.

Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ by Andrew David Naselli and J. D. Crowley
This is an outstanding book on a much-neglected and little understood subject. What is that little voice inside saying, “Do this,” and “Don’t do this”? Should you listen to it? Is it always right? Why does it differ somewhat from person to person? Can it be re-trained? How should we treat someone who differs from us? These are just some of the questions addressed in this book. Highly recommended.

No God But One: A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam & Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi
Qureshi is a former Muslim who came to faith in Christ after an exhaustive investigation into the claims of the two faiths. No one better understands Islam and how the Christian faith provides more compelling answers to life’s questions. If you want to know what Islam teaches and why, this is an excellent resource. It also gives compelling explanations of and evidences for major tenets of Christianity.

The Masculine Mandate: Gods Calling to Men by Richard D. Phillips     
This excellent book divides into two parts: Understanding our mandate, and Living our Mandate. The first deals with defining masculinity from a biblical perspective. The second part deals with how that definition applies in various areas of life: marriage, family, children, the church and working with others. Grounded in Scripture and challenging in content. Highly recommended for anyone who sincerely wants to be a man of God.

The Story of Reality by Gregory Koukl        
This is a simple, but comprehensive presentation of a Christian worldview – how the world began, how it ends and everything important that happens in between. Koukl has written for the inquirer, but it will also edify and strengthen the faith of believers. You will understand the difference between a secular and Christian worldview – and see some of the reasons that the Christian worldview is compelling.

Hope Has Its Reasons by Rebecca Manley Pippert 
This is a great book to share with others what the Christian faith is all about. Becky Pippert has been sharing Christ in hostile environments for years and this book encapsulates what she has learned about presenting the gospel in a compelling manner for a skeptical audience. It will also strengthen the faith of a believer. Very articulate and easy to read with fine illustrations.

The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard
Lundgaard’s life was changed by reading two Puritan classics by John Owens: Indwelling Sin in Believers and The Mortification of Sin. Knowing that few “moderns” would spend the time necessary to labor through those volumes, Lundgaard wrote a superb summary. Answers questions like what is indwelling sin? Why is it so powerful? What are its tactics? How can it be defeated? If you’ve ever wondered why the struggle got worse after you came to faith in Christ, this will help you understand – and overcome. Easy to read and absorb, yet profound and lifechanging.

Overplayed: A Parent’s Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports by David King and Margot Starbuck
If you’ve ever wrestled with trying to bring order out of the chaos of competing priorities having to do with kids and sports, you will appreciate this balanced book. This is not an anti-sports book. One of the authors has coached at high school and college level and is currently Director of Athletics at a college. But the book does recognize the excesses of modern youth athletics and addresses them from a biblical and common-sense perspective. I promise you will learn a lot about yourself and about your kids. You will find many helpful suggestions and a lot of food for thought in this guide. High school athletes will find it interesting as well.
The book addresses seven myths perpetrated by a sports-crazed culture that thoughtful and conscientious parents need to consider: 
1.    Because we owe our children every opportunity, we can’t say No to youth sports.
2.    My child deserves to play with the most-skilled players.
3.    My child should specialize in one sport.
4.    There’s no harm in participating in youth sports.
5.    Youth sports instill our family’s values.
6.    Good parents attend all their children’s games.
7.    The money we are investing into youth sports will pay off.
A final section deals with how to talk to kids about sports. You may not agree with everything; but you will find much helpful information here. Highly recommended.

Justice Revealed by Jim McNeff
If you enjoyed Jim’s first book, The Spirit Behind Badge 145, you will enjoy this one as well. It is a series of 44 devotionals utilizing police experience and biblical truth to inform and inspire.

Love Kindness by Barry H. Corey
Barry Corey has been president of Biola University in CA for the past ten years. This semi-autobiographical book captures much of his character as he argues biblically for toning down the rhetoric in legitimate internal or external disputes – and correctly assessing when there is not legitimate cause for dispute. It covers how to address many of the societal ills that reflect an anti-biblical and anti-Christian perspective. But there is also much here to help with relationships of all kinds – parent/child, husband/wife, believer/unbeliever and even believer/believer. It is an enjoyable and helpful corrective.

Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today by Robert Jeffress
This is a great book to give you an overview of what the Bible teaches about future things. It is written in an easy-to-read style and explains appropriate theological terms with clarity and helpful diagrams. Follow the scriptural references and it will help build your knowledge of what God would like us to know about our future.

The Lie by Ken Ham
The start of a new year is a good time to think about what your kids are being taught. Unfortunately, throughout most of our education system, scientific theory has been turned into scientific fact – thus evolution and a billions-of-years old earth are readily accepted. Christians, with good intent, have followed suit by trying to harmonize the Bible with these “facts”. In other words, man’s word is being given priority over God’s Word. Ham, a scientist and teacher who has wrestled with these issues for years gives an articulate and pointed perspective on the results of allowing the wisdom of man precedence over the revelation of God.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi
This book documents the 4-year long encounter between the author and a Christian witness which eventually led to Nabeel making a commitment to Christ. It documents how his four main objections to Christianity were overcome by facts, and how the pillars of his faith in Islam eventually crumbled – again based on facts. The price he paid was not an easy one. Excellent resource for anyone who wants to know more about the Muslim faith – or who wants a resource to share with someone of Islamic background.

You Will Be Made to Care: The War on Faith, Family and Your Freedom to Believe by Erick Erickson and Bill Blankshaen
This book documents in detail dozens of instances where religious liberty is being trampled on in our culture in the name of tolerance (where everything is tolerated except the Christian faith). It’s not just waiting to happen; it is already happening, and not just in isolated instances. The premise of the book is that while Christians have been able to populate the sidelines of apathy on cultural issues, such is no longer the case. The trend is not just toward the acceptance of lifestyle choices that reject the revelation of the Creator, but toward the insistence that we all share their beliefs – or pay the price. If you are at all concerned about where things are headed, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn
This is an outstand book that tackles the problem of suffering and evil from every angle. Biblically informed, theologically and philosophically astute – and yet extremely clear and understandable. You will come away with much greater appreciation for the wisdom and greatness of God – filled with hope and anticipation. If you struggle with doubt, depression, and questions about God’s goodness, you will find great help in this fine book.

If You Bite and Devour One Another: Biblical Principles for Handling Conflict by Alexander Strauch
While this book is aimed particularly at how to avoid and handle conflict in church, it is equally helpful in providing principles for handling conflict in any area of life. The principles are biblical; the instruction is clear, logical and understandable; and the illustrations are very helpful. This would even be helpful for dealing with conflict within families.

Tell the Truth by Will Metzger
If you are serious about sharing your faith with your friends, neighbors, relatives, and acquaintances, this is a wonderful book to help prepare you. It is not another guilt trip. But it shows how the whole gospel meets the needs of the whole person and needs to be communicated by both lifestyle and words. It will help you know how to communicate effectively without fear, but with reliance on the Holy Spirit. An excellent resource for sharing one’s faith.

Not All Roads Lead to Heaven by Robert Jeffress
Postmodern culture increasingly assures that there is no such thing as absolute truth, that there are multiple ways to God and that intolerance is the greatest evil. Robert Jeffress does a masterful job of addressing these and many other issues. This book is filled with illustrations that will help you talk to your friends. It is thoroughly biblical, easily understood and relevant to our age. It will strengthen your faith, increase your compassion and equip you for service. 

The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
This book was originally written in the 1970’s and became a classic for its adherence to Scripture and its simplicity. The premise of the book is that Jesus plan of evangelism was to pour His life into 12 followers who, in turn, could eventually pour their lives into others and so on until the impact was felt around the world. It presents the challenge of making sure that we are being discipled ourselves by someone who knows and loves Jesus – and that we in turn are investing our lives into a small group of others who will become followers of Jesus as well. An excellent resource that will challenge and inspire. 

Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (first recommended in 2009)
Love and Respect is the result of thirty years of active ministry among married couples by Dr. Eggerichs and his wife. Based on sound biblical principles and thoroughly tested in the “real world”, the ideas and concepts in this book can help improve any marriage, whether happy or in need of help. I can almost guarantee that you will find some new insights here which are revolutionary and whose application has the potential to change long-standing habits and patterns of behavior. Eggerichs uses rich imagery to illustrate concepts which are reinforced by dozens of real-life illustrations. You will learn about the “Crazy Cycle” and how to get off of it; you will learn about the “Energizing Cycle” and how to get on it; and you will learn about the “Rewarded Cycle” and why it represents God’s will for every married life. I highly recommend this book for its potential to improve any well-intentioned marriage. 

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
 If you are looking for the best possible book to give to someone who is seeking or who is unsure about their faith, this is the book. Testimony to that fact is that more than 15,000,000 copies have been sold. It provides documentary evidence for the historicity and validity of the Christian faith in a brief, easy to read form. Includes Josh’s compelling personal testimony of his journey from atheism to one of the most sought-after college campus speakers in the country.

The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex and Redemption by Matt Chandler
Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, TX, has authored an insightful and inspiring work on dating and marriage using the Song of Solomon as his text. This interpretation of the Song of Solomon is somewhat unique, yet exegetically sound. The fact that Chandler finds and comments on the courtship leading up to marriage makes this an ideal book, not only for young marrieds, but also for those who are contemplating marriage. Excellent interpretation and application.

The Cross and the Crescent: An Informed Response to Islam’s War With Christianity by Erwin W. Lutzer
Few authors these days combine theological insight with historical and cultural perspective as well as Erwin Lutzer, longtime pastor of Moody Church in Chicago. In this book he gives a clear, thorough and balanced overview of the history, theology, and strategy for world domination that Islam represents. He tells what this means to the church and suggests appropriate responses. And excellent overview on a subject of importance to all of us.

Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism and Other God Substitutes by Nancy Pearcey
A few months ago I recommended Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth. This book is in the same vein, defending a Christian worldview against other contenders with skill, clarity, passion and biblical truth. Using Romans 1:18-28 as a guide, Pearcey articulates a 5-fold filter for evaluating philosophical systems, along the way demonstrating that everyone has one, showing how to identify various competitors and then demonstrating how they not only self-destruct, but also counter God’s revelation in Scripture. All this in easy-to-understand language. Highly recommended, especially for college students, near college students, or parents of either.

Unleashed: Discover God’s Extraordinary Journey for Your Life by Steve Oeffling
If you thought the spread of the gospel through Holy Spirit-driven ordinary people was only for the book of Acts in the first century, Steve Oeffling will change your view forever. Steve has been Pastor of Global Impact at Christ Community Church and this book chronicles how God has sovereignly used Steve and hundreds of “ordinary” people to spread the gospel and bring others to Christ in some of the most difficult places in the world. It will inspire you to find God’s leading to use the giftedness He has given you in ways you never thought possible – not because you have to but because you want to. Inspiring, uplifting, challenging and motivating.

The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor
This is a devotional book with excellent content that takes you through the events of the last week of Jesus’ life as presented by all four gospels. The records of each event are compared to broaden your understanding. And “apparent contradictions” are simply, reasonably and clearly answered. This will give you a new appreciation for the wisdom, passion, purpose and claims of Jesus Christ.

Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey
This is the finest book I’ve ever read on this subject – Christian worldview. It deals with the following questions. What is a worldview? Does everyone have one? Why is a worldview important? What is a Christian worldview? How can one defend a Christian worldview in our secular society (this is particularly helpful)? How did we lose our way? How can we live it out? If you are a thinking Christian, you will enjoy this book. Nancy Pearcey makes hard concepts easy. She is an extremely talented writer who will hold your interest throughout. 

Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in An Age of Relativism by John C. Lennox
If you’d like to do a personal study of the book of Daniel, this would be an excellent resource. John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and is a committed believer – demonstrating that it is possible to be both brilliant and Christian! In this books he presents excellent information on the historical background, handles the prophetic sections with great clarity and always has an eye toward how Daniel’s experience helps us know how to live a godly life in a thoroughly secular surrounding. Articulate, readable, accurate. Highly recommended.

King Solomon: The Temptations of Money, Sex and Power by Philip Ryken
This book is a fine study of the life of King Solomon with great background information and application. Ryken, former pastor of the Tenth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and now president of Wheaton College, writes with great clarity and interest. His pastor’s heart shows on every page. Great book for late high school and college students as well as adults.

The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel
If you have a child in college or one preparing to go in the next few years, you would find this book helpful. In a day and time when even most churches, Bible schools and families are caving in to the idea that evolution is inevitably true and the Bible must be made to conform, this book is eye-opening. Strobel interviews experts in several fields of science to demonstrate that not only is the latest scientific information not supportive of evolution or an atheistic point of view, it, rather, points more and more toward theism.
Can you give half a dozen reasons that science supports rather than refutes the Christian faith? You will if you read this book. Strobel is talented at making complex subjects understandable to us who do not have a technical background. Highly recommended.

Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley
If you don’t want to be convicted as a parent or grandparent, don’t read this book. If you want your children to go secular, don’t read this book. If you don’t mind abusing your children by lack of discipline, don’t read this book. If you content to train your children apart from the fear of the Lord, don’t read this book.
But if you want to understand the gospel and how it can inform Godly parenting, please read this book. It will challenge and encourage you. Brought to my attention by Karla Bowness. One of the finest books I’ve seen on rearing children.

Girls Gone Wise – in a World Gone Wild by Mary A, Kassian
This is MUST reading for anyone with a daughter – and of great benefit to any woman of any age. Despite the name “girl” in the title, this is a gracious, positive, comprehensive presentation of biblical womanhood. Kassian contrasts the Girl-Gone-Wild of Prov 7 with the Girl-Gone-Wise of Prov 31 in 20 areas including heart, approach, habits, appearance, body language, roles, sexual conduct, boundaries, authenticity, neediness, reliability, speech, influence, teachability, sustainability and others. Profound truths are to be found on almost every page. Thoroughly scriptural, unfailingly interesting, compellingly illustrated. If I could I would put a copy in the hands of every woman in our church. Don’t miss this. Parents – you need to read this yourself (Dad and Mom, both) and determine for yourselves when best to put it into the hands of your daughter. But do not deprive her of some of the best, clearest and most helpful advice she will ever receive.

The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt by Joseph Loconte
Using his background as a professor of History at King’s College in New York, Joseph Loconte has written an extremely thought-provoking defense of the Christian faith against the backdrop of the account of the resurrection appearance of Christ to the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. Along the way, Loconte deals with many issues of doubt that plague those who are honestly seeking in chapters about grief, illusion, religion and mythology. But he drives to thoroughly biblical conclusions in a refreshing, unobtrusive manner. Excellent to give to someone who has doubts but is willing to approach Christianity with an open mind. 
Counterfeit Gospels by Trevin Wax
This is a fine book by a pastor who serves now as an editor for LifeWay Christian Resources identifying the various ways in which modern theology has re-shaped the gospel message. So, if you want to see how the gospel has been distorted, this is the book for you. Some of the names Wax gives to false messages are the therapeutic gospel, the judgmentless gospel, the moralistic gospel, the quietist gospel, the activist gospel and the churchless gospel. I dare say you are more likely to find one of these gospel in most churches than the true gospel of the Bible. Wax’s writing is clear and well-illustrated.

Finally Free by Heath Lambert
This is one of the finest books I have encountered dealing with sexual purity. It was God who made us sexual creatures from the beginning, bestowing on us one of his great gifts. But with great potential for good comes great potential for evil as well – a fact the Bible frankly addresses. “Sexual immorality” or “sensuality” is mentioned over 50 times in the New Testament, usually at or near the top of the list of sins which threaten to destroy us. God knows the danger. This book can help. It gives practical, godly tools for maintaining sexual integrity from the heart. And the principles delineated here are equally valid for almost any addiction. An outstanding resource for attaining and maintaining victory in this area of life.

Does God Believe in Atheists? by John Blanchard
Blanchard is a pastor, teacher and apologist who has written more than 30 books in defense of the Christian faith. His extensive knowledge across many disciplines shines brightly in this book which traces the philosophical and scientific history of atheism and provides detailed answers to those who deny the existence of God. This book is not for everyone. Its length alone limits its potential audience. But for the serious student, looking for a framework and answers to this issue, this book is excellent. In addition to the above, Blanchard also gives detailed and convincing arguments in defense of the Bible as God’s revelation and the resurrection as the lynchpin of all apologetics. Blanchard is very articulate, easy to read and thorough. Great as a reference book as well.

Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World by Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock and Josh Chatraw
Want to know what you young person will face when he/she gets to college? This book will inform you. And it will provide answers. It is actually intended for reading by late high school or college students, but parents desperately need to be informed. This book is especially interesting because the authors identify and answer specific challenges from a professor named Bart Ehrman – a former evangelical believer who left the faith because of exactly the kids of challenges our young people will face. Help them be prepared. Get it, read it, give it to them to read and then discuss it with them.

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung
Some of you may remember Kevin DeYoung from a sermon video a few weeks ago. He has written a fine, short and very readable book about the need for balance between living, ministry and rest. Two chapters are worth the price of the book. One demonstrates the tyranny of 21st century parents who have been programmed to think that over-involvement in the lives of their children is required to guarantee their success in life. DeYoung has some practical advice regarding how to take the pressure off by realizing there are no perfect parents, and furthermore, kid-focused homes may not be in the best interests of children anyway. Worth reading.
There is also a fine chapter on how technology in general and social media in particular has come to dominate our days (and nights). What to do? Some very helpful suggestions that just about all of us would benefit from.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: an English Professor’s Journey Into Christian Faith by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
The theme of this book is Amazing Grace. The author was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, a leader of the feminist agenda and living a lesbian lifestyle when she was stopped in her tracks by kindness of a Christian pastor who eventually led her to saving faith in Christ. The journey was long and arduous and infinitely instructive. The lessons are many both for anyone caught in the web of sexual sin as well as for the self-righteous Christians who help them stay there by their harsh and unloving reactions.
I wish I could get everyone in our church to read this book. It shows the price one has to pay in patience and time to lead someone to Christ. It shows the extreme demands of true discipleship as opposed to the “easy believism” that many of us were raised on and it depicts grace in a thousand ways as Rosaria slowly finds her way from a life dedicated to the causes of feminism and sexual license to a higher calling as a wife and mother of numerous foster children. Highly recommended and thought-provoking.

Nearing Home by Billy Graham
 This book is particularly pertinent to those who are “getting along in years”, but it provides plenty of material for thought for those who are younger as well. From his perspective as a 93-year-old at the time the book was written, Graham speaks of facing the increasing limitations of age with a positive and productive attitude. There is much common sense, biblical content and encouragement here as he discusses such topics as retirement, loss, physical and mental limitations, leaving a legacy, planning for one’s departure, handling grief and many others. Helpful book for those who do not want to waste their lives but stay strong to the end. 

The Murder of Jesus by John MacArthur
Any book by John MacArthur is worth reading, but this is one of his best. If you are interested in the historical and theological relevance of the death (and resurrection) of Jesus, you will be interested in reading this book. Thoroughly researched. Theologically sound. It will help you see the life and death of Jesus in a whole new and compelling way. You will also be better prepared to evaluate the historical and theological content of recent movies and TV presentations! 

The Spirit Behind Badge 145 by Jim McNeff
Yes, my brother the cop has written a book! And, yes, it is a good one. Jim retired a little over a year ago from the Fountain Valley Police Department in southern CA, and this book documents some of the many fascinating experiences he had. Each story also includes a devotional thought regarding its spiritual significance. This book has it all – how Jim was almost killed with an ax by a drug-crazed lunatic, how his own marriage almost foundered in the early days of his career, how he was attacked by one of his own canine units, how he had to deal with the discovery that his own partner was a bank robber. Excellent illustration of how the Lord can be brought to bear on real life situations in the most trying situations.

Because the Time is Near by John MacArthur
For those of you who have had difficulty understanding the book of Revelation (join the club!), this is the book for you. Dr. MacArthur takes the book chapter by chapter and verse by verse giving easy-to-read commentary helping you to understand the basic message of this wonderful book. The book is written for the lay person. You don’t have to be a theologian to understand and benefit from it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested to do a personal study of Revelation.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill
This was one of the classic Christian books of the 20th century. If you have not read it, now is the time. It is the true story of Corrie Ten Boom, a 50-something single lady, living a placid life with her watchmaker father and sister in Holland at the outbreak of WWII. Their strong faith led them to become involved in protecting Jews and resistance operators after the Nazi occupation. Eventually they are captured and imprisoned in brutal conditions. Their father dies almost right away, but Corrie and her sister Betsie bring the message of God’s love in places of persecution that stagger the imagination. Corrie is later used in a powerful way to bring the message of God’s love to friend and enemy alike. Great for adults and teen-agers alike. A message of hope and victory where one would least expect it.

Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Demoss and Dannah Gresh
Parent Alert! If you have a young girl in your house who is nearing high school age, you need this book. It is great for any woman, but is especially aimed at unmarried women of any age, and the younger the better in terms of absorbing and applying the information contained in the book. It demonstrates the reality of a Deceiver and shows how easily he takes us in. The book then deals with specific lies dealing with God, Satan, self, guys, relationships, faith, sin, media, and the future. It ends with a discussion of how to overcome lies with truth.
This is a resource a young lady will reference again and again. Thoroughly biblical, well-illustrated, humbling but uncompromisingly written. Attractively presented. Read it and give it to your daughter. It’s a five-star book not to be missed.

The Serpent of Paradise: The Incredible Story of How Satan’s Rebellion Serves God’s Purposes by Erwin Lutzer
We all know that Satan is a powerful enemy according to the Bible. But did you also know that in the end, he is nothing more than God’s tool? In this fine book, Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, traces the past, present and future of this being in whom sin began, showing both his power as well as his subservience to a God who takes his every move and turns it to God’s own advantage. This book will enlighten and encourage you regarding the spiritual warfare that we wage in this life.

Forgotten God by Francis Chan
What do you know about the Holy Spirit? Who is He? What does He do? How do I relate to Him? Need answers? This short book provides them in a very readable form. While the theology is solid, it is written in an easy-to-understand popular style. If you want to know more about the Holy Spirit and His work in your life as a believer, this is the book for you. 

Different Children, Different Needs by Charles F. Boyd
If you have multiple children, you will find this book very helpful. If you are married, you will find this book very helpful and insightful. The basic premise of the book is that different people are created by God with different personality types. No one is all one or all the other, but most of us have a predominant type. Boyd describes four different types and provides some simple exercises to help define which one you are and which one(s) your child(ren) are. Nothing new here. This kind of analysis has been around for a number of years.
The real help comes in that Boyd provides solid, detailed instruction on where the four types conflict with each other and how to deal with those. The book is also rich in illustrations that are very helpful. It affirms that you may treat different children differently because they have different needs. He also devotes a helpful chapter to how these differences can erode or enhance a marriage relationship, depending on how they are handled. Loosely biblically based, but highly useful to parents with young children.

ApParent Privilege by Steve Wright and Chris Groves [Yes, the title is spelled correctly!]
Wright is a 1988 National Champion wrestler who has been a youth pastor for the past 20 plus. He has written a very practical book whose major premise is that the primary responsibility for rearing children falls to the parents by how they model what they instruct. The church can and should help, but it falls to parents, with emphasis on Dad, to make sure it all happens – that’s the message. He emphasizes the importance of grace and gives practical advice for a wide variety of situations – all thoroughly biblical. This is a short but useful book. Available at

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas   
Excellent book that asks (and answers) the question – what if marriage is not about happiness, but about holiness? What if God’s purpose in my marriage relationship is less for making me feel fulfilled and more about building Christlikeness? Thomas shows how the Bible urges that every relationship we have is intended by God to draw us closer to Him – and marriage is no exception. He shows how godly qualities, like forgiveness, prayer, love, perseverance, servanthood and respect for others are not only fostered by the marriage relationship – but actually lead to great happiness when we see them in this light. This will show you how to be closer to God and as a bonus, closer to each other in your God-given mission in marriage.

Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel by J. Mack Stiles
This is one of the finest books on sharing faith that I have come across. While many such books make one feel guilty and obligated, this one makes you want to share your faith. It is less concerned with how than why. Excellent on what the gospel is, why we must vigorously guard it, how it relates to social action, and what part the church plays. If you are serious about sharing your faith, as we all should be in light of Matt. 10:32-33, then you will benefit from this book. 

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
I am not normally a huge fan of Christian fiction; however, this book is an exception. It tells the story of Ben Fielding and Li Quan -- roommates at Harvard who went their separate ways after college. Fielding becomes a major company executive in the United States, and under his direction the company expands rapidly into China. Li Quan returns to his native China with ambitions to become a college professor.
During their time at Harvard, Fielding has introduced his Chinese roommate to Christ through on campus ministries. However in the 20 years since, he has gone through divorce, has lost all interest in religious activities and is focused on becoming the next CEO of this company. Through a series of circumstances he meets up with his old college roommate in China.
There is a plot to the story after that point, but the main emphasis of the story is to demonstrate the new kind of persecution which goes on in China and other places like it around the world. It is a powerful story of God's true expectations for Christian living and the value and expectation of persecution. This book will open your eyes to the realities of the world in which we live – and to what genuine Christian faith entails.

The Church of Irresistible Influence by Robert Lewis
Many of you will be familiar with Robert Lewis as the speaker on the Men’s Fraternity video’s. This is an outstanding book on the subject of the need for and how to create bridges to a community. It demonstrates how serious God is about our good works being a means of showing Him off to a world. 
Lewis includes a whole raft of real-life stories resulting from challenging people to become involved in their community in ways little and big. It is a sobering thought that God will hold us accountable for how we have represented him in our time and place. This book encourages us that our availability can be used in powerful ways by a God who cares how He is viewed by our world and has entrusted that responsibility to us.
Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony
Michelle Anthony, Ed.D. has a wide range of experience having taught at Biola University and Talbot School of Theology, served as pastor of family ministries at ROCKHARBOR Church in Costa Mesa, CA and as a designer of curriculum for David C. Cook. In addition, she and her husband have raised two children.
She has put that experience to great use in this book. Spiritual Parenting rocks as a biblically based guide on how to appeal to the hearts of children. The instruction is solid and the examples are relevant and practical. Anthony urges 10 home "environments" to build children who are responsive to God. Get the book to see what they are. A great companion to Tedd Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart. Where books like Parenting with Love and Logic and How to Have a New Kid by Friday are more behavior modification -- this one and Tripp's are very helpful at understanding the need to get beyond the "what" of behavior to the "why." It also includes a strong emphasis on the need to model the spiritual values we wish to instill. 
King Solomon: The Temptations of Money, Sex and Power by Philip Ryken
This book is a fine study of the life of King Solomon with great background information and application. Ryken, former pastor of the Tenth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and now president of Wheaton College, writes with great clarity and interest. His pastor’s heart shows on every page. Great book for late high school and college students as well as adults.
Unseen Realities by R. C. Sproul
Dr. R. C. Sproul is one of the most respected theologians of our time. He is founder of Ligonier Ministries and pastor of preaching and teaching at St. Andrew’s in Sanford, Florida. His writing is very articulate and biblically based.
 This particular book is a short and easy read on the subjects of Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons. It provides a wonderful overview of these subjects. If you would like to know more, but do not want heavy reading, this is the book for you. On the book table.
One Minute After You Die by Erwin W. Lutzer
Dr. Erwin Lutzer has been pastor of Moody Church in Chicago for more than 25 years and is an internationally known conference speaker and radio broadcaster.
In this book, Dr. Lutzer addresses from a biblical perspective many issues regarding our eternal destiny. He talks about reincarnation, channeling and near-death experiences. And what happens to a child who dies? What does the Bible have to say about heaven and hell and the justice of eternal punishment? The main thrust of his message, however, is a personal one. As the title suggests, he is anxious to emphasize that decisions we make now have a profound effect on where we will be then. Great book to learn more about eternity and to share with friends who may not know the Lord.
Meet the Real Jesus by John Blanchard
In this book, John Blanchard, an internationally known Christian writer, teacher and apologist, gives a clear and compelling overview of the person and work of Christ. Do you want to know Jesus better and to understand His mission more fully? This is the book for you. It explains both the deity and humanity of Christ and why both are important. It faithfully explains the purpose for the death of Christ, but also shows the importance of His life. This book is theological in nature, but written in such a way as to be understandable to the average person who does not have a theological education. 
God Built: Forged by God . . . in the Bad and Good of Life by Steve Farrar
Steve Farrar is a former pastor and founder and chairman of Men’s Leadership Ministries. A graduate of Western Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary, Farrar is a popular speaker who has authored 16 books making practical application of Scriptural principles to real life.
This book, based on a study of the life of Joseph, is exceptional. It demonstrates that God is in control of everything, from the most mundane to the most devastating events in life – assignments at work, devastating loss, grievous setbacks, broken hopes, prolonged waiting, natural disasters, promotions. God is in control. Farrar’s exposition is clear, intensely biblical, extremely well-illustrated from real-life examples, and a wonderful encouragement. A great book for anyone going through tough times – or anyone who wants to be prepared in advance for those times that inevitably come to all of us.
Holding Her Head High by Janine Turner
I want to thank Colonel Stan and Cecily Cass for putting me onto this book authored by the actress daughter of one of his military academy classmates. Ms. Turner is herself a single mother and that prompted her to research and write about 12 women of the ancient and more recent past who have found themselves as a single parent – often in very discriminatory circumstances. The book records how their faith in God led these women to endure, often under extreme conditions, and in many cases to change history. The stories are extraordinary.
If you like history, you will enjoy this book. And, obviously, it is particularly applicable to and would be an inspiration to any woman who finds herself as a single mother. 
The Politically Correct Wife by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby
I want to express my thanks to Tara Steinke who put me onto this excellent book which looks at the subject of marriage and family relationships from a woman’s perspective. The authors were both several years into self-describe “stuck position” marriages when they came face-to-face with biblical principles that we have been studying. Through different circumstances, both were challenged by Bible studies that took the Word of God seriously, even when it clashes with popular culture, and it changed their lives and their marriages. Filled with practical advice and real-life examples – all tied directly to Scripture. 
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
In 1994, Francis Chan was the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. God blessed the ministry of His Word and Cornerstone is a megachurch today although Chan resigned last year and has been writing and seeking God’s leading for a new ministry. He is a no-holds-barred believer in God’s providential working in our lives – committed to a fault to His Lord.
 Crazy Love has been a best-seller since its first appearance in 2008. Chan’s burden is to demonstrate how great is God’s love for us and what a life lived in true dependence on God can be. He mixes wonderful expositions of Scripture with compelling illustrations from real life to demonstrate that the God of the 21st century is the same as the God of the 1st century. His own absolute dedication to fulfilling God’s will in his life is breathtaking. It will both humble and challenge you. His goal is to move us from lukewarm to hot in our commitment to Christ.
The Invisible War by Donald Grey Barnhouse
Dr. Barnhouse was pastor of the famous Tenth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for many years and one of the finest expositors of the 20th century.
The Invisible War is his most enduring book. If you are interested in getting a biblical perspective on the spiritual warfare that rages all around us, this is the book for you. Barnhouse expertly interprets passage after passage of Scripture to reveal fascinating detail about Satan’s origin and strategies, how we have come to be where we are today and what the ultimate outcome will be. Passages you have read before come alive in a new and inspiring manner under the compelling teaching of Dr. Barnhouse. This is an intriguing book which will challenge your thinking and take you behind the scenes of our physical limitation in a way you never thought possible. 
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
Dr. Tedd Tripp has more than 30 years’ experience as a pastor, school administrator counselor and seminar leader. His seminars and counseling experience has related to family and child issues.
This is an outstanding parenting book. Two previously reviewed books, Parenting with Love and Logic and Have a New Kid by Friday, are based on biblical principles, are eminently practical. They primarily emphasize behavior modification techniques. Tripp takes the whole issue of parenting to another level, emphasizing that our goal in parenting must ultimately appeal to the heart. Whereas the other books deal with “How”, Tripp deals with “Why”. Yes, we want to see our children exhibit appropriate behavior. But even more, we want to bring them to the cross – to see them understand the gospel – to have right behavior for the right reasons, because they love and revere God. In a carefully written, articulate and well-illustrated book, Tripp will help you do just that.
 This is a great companion book to those previously reviewed, aimed past our children’s behavior to their spirit. 
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: an English Professor’s Journey Into Christian Faith by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
The theme of this book is Amazing Grace. She was a tenured professor of English at Syracuse University, a leading advocate of feminist causes, and pursuing a lesbian lifestyle – when her world was turned upside down by an encounter with a loving Christian couple who invested the time and patience to lead her to faith in Christ. Today, she is a pastor’s wife and mother of a number of adopted children, investing her life in a way she would never have imagined.
This is an amazing book which challenges us at every level. It shows the price one has to pay in patience and time to help someone whose whole orientation is secular come to grips with the reality of Jesus. It shows that in the end it is the call of Christ and not the cleverness of men that leads to repentance. It shows the extreme demands of true discipleship as opposed to the “easy believism” that many of us were raised on. It shows that the journey never ends. And it depicts grace in a thousand ways as Rosaria slowly finds her way from a life dedicated to the cause of feminism and license to a higher calling as mother and wife. I wish it could be required reading for every professing Christian – not only for what it teaches us about interacting with those of different backgrounds and persuasions, but for what it teaches about the gospel. 
Point Man by Steve Farrar
In typical Farrar style, here is a book for husbands and fathers that translates timeless biblical principles into 21st century language that every man can understand. The question is, can and will we effectively apply the principles. Also, in typical Farrar style, the book is heavily illustrated, making it interesting to read as well as easy to follow. This book also contains excellent and specific suggestions on talking to children about marital union. 
Heaven by Randy Alcorn [first recommended in 2010]
This is the most life-changing book I have read in years! Want to know where you are going as a Christian? Read this book. Want to encourage an eternal perspective in your life. Read this book. Got questions about heaven? This book has answers.
Alcorn speculates in some areas and give his imagination credible rein. But this book is soundly biblical. You will find yourself checking out cross references constantly. You will also find yourself amazed at what you have read before and overlooked. Where is heaven located? Won’t heaven be a little boring? Will heaven be familiar? Will we know each other in heaven? Where will we live in heaven? Will there be music and art and culture in heaven? Will we eat and drink in heaven? What will our bodies be like in heaven? Are there animals in heaven? What does restoration really mean? These are just a few of the questions that the book addresses. Some of the answers will surprise you. Check it out.  

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
Looking for a nice, short, articulate book to help you focus on God’s perspective of life, time, possessions and enrichment at all levels – this is your book. This book will help you see well-known Bible teaching from a completely fresh perspective. It is both theological and imminently practical – written by someone who has been through the wringer. Great illustrations not only make it interesting but illuminate various principles and bring them to life. Highly recommended. Be careful – this book could change your life. 

Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
Dr. Cline is a psychiatrist who has worked extensively with children. Jim Fay worked for 31 years in education and has since worked with families and children at the Love and Logic Institute, co-founded by himself and Dr. Cline. The institute specializes in parenting and child management, classroom behavior and communication.
The first half of this book introduces parents to a method of child rearing that emphasizes the loving directed use of natural consequences as a means of training and disciplining children. It teaches parents how to maintain control while minimizing confrontation by giving children choices from the earliest age. The nature and potential impact of those choices is gradually increased as children mature so that by the time they are ready to leave home they are responsible, experienced decision-makers. The second half of the book deals with specific questions of child-rearing. Loaded with examples. An excellent companion book to Have a New Kid By Friday. Great biblical principles in both. “Must reads” for parents.

Each for the Other: Marriage as It’s Meant to Be by Bryan Chapell
Dr. Bryan Chapell is president and professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis Missouri. He is also a renowned preacher, teacher and conference speaker. His wife Kathy is an accomplished musician. They have four children. Chapell has written several books including this one, first published in 1998. In this version, he has included interesting side notes created by Kathy -- thus adding an insightful woman's perspective to the presentation.
The word sacrifice is at the heart of this book as Dr. Chapell explains the teaching on family relationships taught in Ephesians 5:22-6:4.  He gives a fine exposition of the text supplemented by numerous illustrations and stories -- many from his own life and experience. He demonstrates how denying oneself can create the most rewarding relationship ever. He tackles the question of what biblical headship and submission really mean, and offers six key building blocks to help solidify marriage and family relationships. It is relatively short (200 pages), is easy to read, and will strengthen any marriage.

Choosing Your Faith by Mark Mittelberg
I am indebted to Dick Mulhern for putting me onto this book and this writer. The premise of Mark Mittelberg’s book is that everyone places their faith in something. We are all betting our eternal destiny on some belief, some philosophy of life, that we cannot ultimately “prove.” With that in mind, Mittelberg examines various scientific and religious approaches to life with an eye toward evaluating how each stacks up against the realities encountered in daily living. 
In the end, he is, of course, recommending Christianity, but his approach will challenge your thinking. Though he is dealing with theological and philosophical issues, Mittelberg does so in an accessible manner. He is understandable. And his premise, that we should recognize that one way or another we are choosing our faith, leads to his challenge that we choose purposefully. A good book for anyone searching for answers -- excellent for young people of college age.

A Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur, and The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
These two recent books deal with the so-called parable of the prodigal son. Each is an excellent treatment and what I especially like is that both clarify that while the second son is most prominent in the parable, it is actually aimed at an audience of Pharisees and legalistic, self-righteous “elder brothers.” The major theme of grace is wonderfully presented by both authors.
A Tale of Two Sons is more thorough in presenting historical background and in setting the story in its cultural context. It almost reads like a novel, but is packed with insight and application. As might be expected, Keller’s book is more philosophical, and aptly titled to show that the prodigal (excessive, boundless) nature of God is more to the point than the excesses of the younger son. Both books effectively capture and explain the unexpectedly sudden end to the story. Revel in the grace of God by spending some time with one of these outstanding books. 

Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was educated as doctor and practiced medicine for some time before responding to the call of God on his life to enter the ministry. He eventually became pastor of the famous Westminster Chapel in London for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1968. He was a gifted expositor who left behind a number of commentaries as well as a major book on expository preaching -- a major influence on my own life.
In Spiritual Depression, which was first published in 1965, Lloyd-Jones combines the skills of both his medical and theological training. He recognizes that it is possible for a true Christian to experience the demons of depression for a variety of reasons. But this is not a modern pop psychology self-help book. Instead, in a series of 21 chapters, Lloyd Jones addresses various potential causes of emotional trauma and brings the Word of God to bear on each in a unique, clear and powerful exposition. Any given chapter can stand on its own, but the book has added value when it is digested in its entirety. The combination of psychological and biblical insights make this one of the finest books I have seen dealing with emotional problems. Maximum benefit comes from absorbing it slowly and thoroughly.
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is a former pastor with an M.Div from Dubuque Seminary and a Ph.D. in child and family ecology from Michigan State University. He is currently president of Love and Respect Ministries. He and his wife, Sarah, have three grown children and now keep busy conducting marriage seminars across the United States in addition to an active counseling ministry.
Love and Respect is the result of thirty years of active ministry among married couples. Based on sound biblical principles and thoroughly tested in the “real world”, the ideas and concepts in this book can help improve any marriage, whether happy or in need of help. I can almost guarantee that you will find some new insights here which are revolutionary and whose application has the potential to change long-standing habits and patterns of behavior. Eggerichs uses rich imagery to illustrate concepts which are reinforced by dozens of real-life illustrations. You will learn about the “Crazy Cycle” and how to get off of it; you will learn about the “Energizing Cycle” and how to get on it; and you will learn about the “Rewarded Cycle” and why it represents God’s will for every married life. I highly recommend this book for its potential to improve any well-intentioned marriage.

Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman
Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known psychologist, writer and speaker known for his wit, and common sense approach to family life. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs including Good Morning America, The Early Show, Today, Oprah and Focus on the Family. He has a PhD from the University of Arizona where he has also taught and served as an administrator. The author of more than 30 books, he is the founder and president of Couples of Promise, an organization he created to help couples remain happily married. A dedicated Christian, he and his wife, Sande have five children and two grandchildren.
Have a New Kid by Friday gives excellent principles for changing and molding a child’s attitude, behavior and character – in five days! Results are guaranteed if the principles are followed and consistently implemented! Good for children of any age. Sound too good to be true? I urge you to give it a read if you are a parent or grandparent. While Dr. Leman does not attempt to tie principles specifically to Scripture, they are soundly biblical and eminently practical. He will teach you how to “say it once” and make it stick without rancor. He will teach you how to use consequences in an even handed manner to instill personal responsibility. His concept of “reality discipline” will be an eye-opener for many.  The book also helps identify some of the destructive messages that parents inadvertently send to children in a permissive, tolerant, self-esteem (vs. self-worth) oriented society. The book gives parents “permission” to be parents and helps them keep an eye on the end goal, rather than just the momentary happiness that sometimes drives parental decisions. This is one of the best books on child-rearing that I have seen and I suspect that once you have read it you may want to check some of Dr. Leman’s other books as well. This one is on the “A” list.

Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes
It is a documented fact that men do not read much these days. However, it is also true that it is impossible to grow in the Christian life without reading the Bible and nearly as difficult to grow spiritually without reading good books. The book recommended here will help fill the void. It is eminently readable, containing many illustrations and quotations to hold attention, but it is also filled with Scripture and biblical principles that render it valuable and inspiring.
Kent Hughes was for many years senior pastor of college church in Wheaton, Illinois -- the home church of Wheaton College. He has written extensively and is series editor for the popular Preaching the Word commentaries. This particular book challenges men to exert some "holy sweat” to apply various disciplines to their Christian experience. You will find chapters on disciplines such as purity, marriage, fatherhood, friendship, prayer, integrity, leadership, ministry and several others. Kent Hughes and I were colleagues many years ago at Talbot Seminary. He is a man's man who has become one of the leading Bible teachers of our day. I can guarantee that you will enjoy reading this book, but more importantly, your life will change as you put into practice the biblical principles and therein. Take a dare, guys!  Read a book!
City on a Hill by Philip Graham Ryken
Philip Ryken is pastor of a great historic church, the Tenth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Though located in the inner city, it is a thriving church with special emphasis on small home Bible study groups located throughout the metropolitan area. Ryken is widely known as an evangelical leader and speaker.
It is a book on “how to do church” and basically argues for a return to biblical principles (reference the subtitle, Reclaiming the Biblical Pattern for the Church in the 21st Century) as opposed to the adoption of worldly methods that has been so popular in recent years. Virtually all aspects of church activity are covered including worship, discipleship, missions and many others. Ryken’s work is very biblically based, but it also reflects a wealth of real-world experience. The book has great depth, but is very easy to read and follow. If church government and ministry interest you, this would be an excellent resource.