2012 Book List

I know this may seem like I am trying to be an overachiever! Especially since I didn’t even complete my 2011 Book List! My husband said I need to limit myself to 40 so I don’t fail… but…

There are 52 books on this list. I KNOW, okay? But does it matter that I have already started a few and it’s not even 2012 yet?! And if I read one per week (which is do-able), I will finish the reading list by the end of the year. Having 52 books and 52 weeks may make it easier on me to stay on task… I’ll know when I’m behind anyway if I didn’t finish a book that week. Anyway, some of them are small and some are more of a reference type book than a read-from-cover-to-cover book. Some are even coffee table books that you can peruse while you’re waiting for your tea to steep.

So that is my goal and I am intent on reaching my goal. One note: The list is subject to change because almost every day Gospel eBooks comes out with free and inexpensive books for your Kindle or eReader. So I may replace some here and there, depending on what pops up. This year I also plan to do short reviews for all (or nearly all) of the books.

Without further adieu:

PARENTING/FAMILY
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus Elyse Fitzpatrick
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches Rachel Jankovic
Bringing Up Boys Dr. James Dobson
Gospel-Centered Family Ed Moll & Tim Chester
Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training Louis Paul Priolo
The Joy of Family Traditions: A Season-by-Season Companion to 400 Celebrations and Activities Jennifer Trainer Thompson

EDUCATION
The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education Leigh Bortins
Life Skills For Kids Christine M. Field

HEALTH
The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food Kaayla T. Daniel
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability 
Lierre Keith
Good Calories, Bad Calories Gary Taubes
Gut and Psychology Syndrome Natasha Campbell-McBride
Great Cooks and Their Recipes: From Taillavent to Escoffier
Anne Willan

HOME/HOSPITALITY
Living Organized: Proven Steps for a Clutter-Free Home Sandra Felton
No Ordinary Home: The Uncommon Art of Christ-Centered Homemaking Carol Brazo
One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler Tsh Oxenreider
Open Heart, Open Home: The Hospitable Way to Make Others Feel Welcome and Wanted Karen Mains

MARRIAGE
Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands Gary Thomas
The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God Tim and Kathy Keller
Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together Mark and Grace Driscoll
What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage Paul David Tripp

BIOGRAPHY
Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin (Swans Are Not Silent series- Book 1)
John Piper (Free PDF here) 
The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce (Swans Are Not Silent series- Book 3) (Free PDF here)
Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen and J. Gresham Machen (Swans Are Not Silent series- Book 4) John Piper (Free PDF here)
Portrait of Calvin T.H.L. Parker (Free PDF here)

CLASSIC WORKS
Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers John Owen
Imitation of Christ Thomas A Kempis

MINISTRY
Planting Missional Churches
Ed Stetzer
Breaking the Missional Code: Your Chuch Can Becmome a Missionary in Your Community Ed Stetzer
Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ Elyse Fitzpatrick
Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support Brad House
Vintage Church: Timeless Truth and Timely Methods Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by Church Starts Jim Griffith
What is the Mission of the Church? Kevin DeYoung

SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Cross of Christ John Stott
Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian John Piper
Jesus + Nothing= Everything Tullian Tchividjian
Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends and Others Who Know You Well Randy Newman (Free here from Desiring God)
Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus Bill Clem
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism Mark Dever and C.J. Mahaney
A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World Paul E. Miller
The Soul-Winner: Or How To Lead Sinners to the Saviour Charles H. Spurgeon
A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table Tim Chester
Gospel Wakefulness Jared Wilson
 The Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing C.J. Mahaney
A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life J.I. Packer
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Donald S. Whitney
Death by Love: Letters from the Cross Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer John Piper
Holiness of God R.C. Sproul

APOLOGETICS
Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of  the Christian Message Ravi Zacharias
Christianity at the Religious Roundtable: Evangelicalism in Conversation with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam Timothy Tennet
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society Leslie Newbigin

Book Review: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

I can’t say this enough… I love biographies! Okay, so I will admit: while I’m reading them I don’t LOVE them. They are sometimes filled with boring facts and often too detailed in things that get me lost. It happens every time. But when I get to the end, my faith is so built and encouraged and in this case, I am so inspired to press on in being a Missionary to my town, my friends, my family, my sphere of immediate influence and extended influence.

I was encouraged when I came to the biography of Hudson Taylor. However, I was also troubled by a few things I saw in his life. It is true, he left all- family, country, familiarity- to meet the spiritual needs of Inland China. He was resisted, he was mocked, he wore the chinese garb when no other missionaries were doing so. He lost a daughter, two sons, and a wife (and actually, his second wife died before him, as well.) He himself had serious health issues. He trusted the Lord through it all.

The issues I had were regarding his view toward his family and ministry and the balance of the two. When his daughter was on her death bed, he was sitting beside her and said, “I laid my wife and children with myself on the altar for this service.” To quote Mark Driscoll in his message on Ministry Marriages, “What is that? Idolatry… There was an occasion where a father nearly killed his son on an altar in the BIble. God came and said, ‘No. I’ll send My Son; you don’t need to sacrifice your son.'”

In addition to this, he sent his kids away so that he and his wife could commit themselves to the ministry. He sent his kids AWAY from him. His kids were his ministry! Why did he cast aside a ministry that God provided in exchange for another?

So, you can see why I was greatly disturbed by Taylor’s view and actions toward His own family.This is not our calling. He is not an example to ministry leaders or missionaries of how to reach the people. You don’t reach the people by neglecting your own little people. It is important, before (and while) pastoring a church or leading a mission, to pastor your family and be on mission with your wife and kids.

Hudson Taylor had a calling from God. He obeyed and pursued that calling with passion and singleness of mind and heart. He did neglect his main ministry for a secondary ministry, which is not just unfortunate, but unwise and disobedient to the overall call of God on the life of a husband and father. Nevertheless, we can still draw from his life.

Believer, you have a calling from God. Will you follow Him wherever He leads? Will you be faithful to His call? Good. But do it without irresponsibly sacrificing marriages and children on the altar of service and in idolatry, call it “ministry.”

Book Review: A Chance To Die

For any who have never read anything by Amy Carmichael, get yourself to Amazon.com now!

Reading this biography (written by Elisabeth Elliot after Amy Carmichael had died) showed me what a life of faith and self-denial really looks like. Amy lived in England in the late 1800’s and left home at 18 to be a Missionary. Never marrying or having children of her own, and through illness and heartbreaks, she finally ended up in India where she found her life’s call. Her heart was distraught and broken for the victims of the sex temples in India- the children. Eventually, God called her to rescue these children by whatever means, but mostly by prayer and watching God work (for “prayer was the center of every day”), and start a home for these children, which she called “Donavaur”. She became their “Amma” or “mother” and they became her dear children.

God gave her insight into her role as a “mother” of these children:

“Motherwork, like any other honest labor, is God’s work– not to be despised, but offered up to Him.”

Every third sentence and every poem is quotable and worth passing on, but one especially stuck with me. Maybe it is what mothers (and all who call themselves Believers) need to hear.

“… If the Lord of Glory took a towel and knelt on the floor to wash the dusty feet of His disciples (the job of the lowest slave in an Eastern household), then no work, even the relentless and often messy routine of caring for squalling babies, is demeaning. To offer it up to the Lord of Glory transforms it into a holy task. ‘Could it be right,’ Amy had asked, ‘to turn from so much that might be of profit and become just nursemaids?’ The answer was yes. It is not the business of the servant to decide which work is great, which is small, which important or unimportant–he is not greater than his Master….

“‘If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love,'” Amy wrote after many years of such unspiritual work.”

Verdict: Very Good

She wrote many other books. She wrote until- literally- her index finger and thumb would no longer touch. Then she dictated. It is only when she slipped into a coma that she stopped writing. If you don’t read this book, read another book of hers… or every other book she wrote. I plan on it!

Others by her: