Preaching and writing demand a lot of output and output is draining. When I get drained, I need refueling. And the main way I refuel is to read. And read, and read, and read. I've been on a reading spree lately and here are some of the books I am currently reading or have recently finished.
Two new books on Christian living
Red Like Blood: Confrontations with Grace by Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington. This one tops my list for a reason. One of the best books I've read this year, this jointly authored book takes the raw and edgy narrative style of Don Miller's Blue Like Jazz, but infuses it with compelling stories about the power of God's grace. I laughed, cried, and found fresh hope in these pages.
Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Jesus Christ by Russell D. Moore. A convicting, yet Christ-focused, study of temptation. Well-written, too. Let's hope Russell Moore keeps churning out the books.
Several books on preaching
Preaching for God's Glory by Alistair Begg. I like Alistair Begg's preaching a lot (partly because of his accent!) and there are some helpful insights in this short book (see my post below). But it's too short to provide anything more than a reminder on a few basics for preaching.
Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition by Calvin Miller. An excellent study of preaching from a pastor-poet who urges pastors to skillfully combine proposition and narrative, word and story, doctrine and imagination, in preaching. I'm benefiting from this book a lot.
Heralds of God by James S. Stewart. My second time through Stewart's classic lectures on preaching.
Two new books that will help you with evangelism
Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well by Randy Newman. A very well-written book that explores the challenges, pains, hopes, and joys of sharing your faith with the people you love the most. Newman writes with immense wisdom gleaned from years of personal experience as an evangelist with Campus Crusade for Christ combined with personal humility, a deep love for unbelievers, and confidence in the power of the gospel. If you've grown stale in sharing your faith, this is for you. If you're put off with the arrogance of Christians trying to stuff the Bible down people's throats, this is for you. If you're guilty of such arrogance and have torpedoed any chance of winning your unbelieving parents or siblings to Christ, this is for you.
King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus by Tim Keller. Drawn from Keller's sermons on the Gospel of Mark, this new book is both an exciting introduction to Jesus and an excellent model for relating the gospel to the concerns of a postmodern world. If Newman's book will help motivate you to do evangelism, Keller's book will give you tools for the task. In fact, if you're talking to someone who is open to the gospel, giving them Keller's book and then meeting periodically to discuss it wouldn't be a bad place to start. (I'm doing this with someone right now).
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. This is a very interesting book that challenges conventional thinking on why crime rates went down in the 1990s, the factors that contribute to your childrens' success in school, and much more. If you've ever been confused about the difference between correlation and causation, this is a good book for you. Although, I think the authors may themselves be confused about this on a few points.
C. S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters, one of my favorite books by Lewis. Today I learned that the book is now in the early stages of being made into a movie. I'm not sure I'll like it, though. We'll see.
What have you been reading? I'm always on the lookout for good recommendations!