Best Books of 2014

Each year I read quite a few books and while I don’t recommend everything I read, I thought there were some that might interest you. In no particular order, this is the list of books I read this past year that I found the most helpful/interesting/challenging.

Make Your Mark by Brad Gray. Brad is a personal friend of mine who has written a wonderful book subtitled "Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong." This book is an invitation to dig deeper into the Samson story to unearth practical insight and wisdom for today.

Torn by Justin Lee. A must read for anyone wanting to explore both sides of the "gay vs. God" debate. 

Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd. Make no mistake. Every word in every paragraph on every page will challenge what you think/feel about the Christian response to violence. Of all the books listed this would be the book that challenged my worldview the most!

Satisfied by Jeff Manion. Jeff is one of those communicators who captures peoples' imaginations and in this book Jeff teaches the reader the value of drinking deeply from the well of contentment in an overly consumeristic culture.

Banished: Surviving my Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain. As a new resident pastor in Topeka I'm glad I read Drain's memoir as she recounted her days growing up in the WBC. Her story really helped me to understand why and how what the WBC does.

The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight. This is hands down one of the best books on how to read the Bible for today. Highly recommended.

The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton. By far this was my second most favorite read this year! Walton opened my eyes to a deeper (and better, in my opinion) understanding of the Genesis account of creation. Walton is brilliant!

The Walk: Steps for New and Renewed Followers of Jesus by Stephen Smallman. The Walk is an excellent discipleship resource. It's great for one-on-one discipleship and small groups.