Saturday, January 23, 2021

Best Books of 2020 - Fiction

This is the last of my 3 annual posts about the best books I read in the past year.  This last post focuses on the fiction books I read.  Here are the best and the rest.  Please forgive the formatting issues - Blogger has recently decided to make it near impossible to make text wrap around pictures.





Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel.  Although it is a bit difficult to get into because of the writer’s style and perspective, Mantel’s amazing trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell is a classic.  She follows Cromwell’s early life and rise to become one of the most trusted servants of the volatile King Henry VIII of England.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  This is part 2 of Mantel’s trilogy, another amazing book.  In this volume, Cromwell, now flush with power, has to manage the rise and subsequent removal of Queen Anne Boleyn.



The Burning White by Brent Weeks.  This book brings Weeks’ 5-part Lightbringer series to an end.  The conclusion is exciting, absorbing and satisfying.  If you like epic fantasy and interesting world-building, this may be a series for you to check out.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini.  Paolini, a fellow Montanan, burst on the scene as a teen with his Inheritance Cycle, featuring Eragon and his dragon Saphira.  He became the Guinness record holder for the youngest author of a best-selling series.  This book is different; it is Paolini’s first science fiction novel.  While the book moves slowly at times, it is a wonderful read set in a fascinating future universe.

Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson.  Sanderson has become one of my favorite authors and is in the middle of a huge series of books, the Stormlight Archive.  Dawnshard is book 3.5 in the series, an e-book that bridges the gap between books 3 and 4.  It introduces new characters, fleshes out existing characters and adds layers to an already intricate but immensely interesting plot.  Look for Rhythm of War, book 4, to top my best fiction books list next year.

2nd Tier Reads, but still very good books:

In the Region of the Summer Stars by Stephen R. Lawhead

Sandstorm by James Rollins

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

Map of Bones by James Rollins

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Best Reads of 2020 - Christian and Ministry

This is part 2 of my annual summary of the best books I read in the past year.  This post will focus on books pertaining to the Christian faith and ministry.  I set a goal to read 20 books in this category each year.  I barely made it this year.  Need to be a bit better in 2021.



The Gospel-Driven Church:  Uniting Church-Growth Dreams with the Metrics of Grace
by Jared C. Wilson.  I don’t have much time of day for the church growth movement.  It is a movement that always seems to be tempted to over-apply business models to the church of the living God.  Wilson takes another approach.  What might it look like if we approached church growth with a gospel-driven perspective?  Read the book and find out.

Hearers and Doers:  A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples through Scripture and Doctrine by Kevin J. Vanhoozer.  Disciple-making should be a central focus in any church.  Vanhoozer’s book is an insightful study of the pastor’s role in making disciples, through teaching and consistently reminding the congregation to be hearers and doers of the truths of Scripture.


A Big Gospel in Small Places – Why Ministry in Forgotten Communities Matters
by Stephen Witmer.  The only ministry we often hear about is mega-church ministry.  Those are the churches who frequently make the headlines, for both good and ill.  Witmer’s book is a gentle push back against the assumption that ministry only happens in big places or big churches.  All you small town pastors and Christian workers – read it and be encouraged and challenged.

Sons in the Son:  The Riches and Reach of Adoption in Christ by David B. Garner.  This is a book for anyone who loves to dive deep into theology and the riches of the gospel.  Garner’s argument is that adoption, which at best is under-taught, at worst basically forgotten, is a central piece – perhaps THE central piece - necessary in our understanding of the salvation found in Jesus Christ.


Did America Have a Christian Founding?
By Mark David Hall.  Hall presents a well-argued and passionate defense of the Christian roots of America.  While he does not assume all of the founders were evangelical Christians, he pushes back strongly against the assumption that the pivotal founders were deists.  He takes scholarly consensus to task for their unwarranted assumptions, as well as their selective use of the evidence available.




Gentle and Lowly:  The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund.  Apart from the Bible, easily the best, and most encouraging, Christian book I read this year. Ortlund focuses on the many varied but always merciful and compassionate heart of Christ for those who belong to Him.  Jesus does not only love you, he likes you and his heart is continually and eternally bent in compassion and mercy toward you.  Believe it!

2nd Tier reads – still very good books, just did not make the “best” list:

Paul’s Vision for the Deacons: Assisting the Elders with the Care of God’s Church by Alexander Strauch
Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures for Approaching God’s Word by Matt Smethurst
In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilken
A Praying Life: Connecting with God is a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller
How to Walk into Church by Tony Payne
The Power of Vision: How You Can Capture and Apply God’s Vision for your Ministry by George Barna
Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible by Mark Ward
Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders
1 Timothy by Phillip Graham Ryken
One to One Bible reading: A Simple Guide for Every Christian by David Helm
The Case for Biblical Archeology: Uncovering the Historical Record of God’s Old Testament People by John D. Currid
Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul Tripp
Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper
Journey Through Colossians: 36 Day Verse-by-Verse Devotional by Tara Barndt

 

Best Reads for 2020 - History and Biography

I am finally getting to my annual blog posts about the best books I read in the past year.  Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a shut-down, reading time was still at a premium this year.  Pastoral ministry does not shut down in a pandemic.  Between that and having a preschooler (and for 2 months an additional toddler foster child) in the house, it has been a bit of a challenge to find time to read.  That said, here are the best books I read this year, starting with History/Biography books.


Vicksburg:  Grant’s Campaign that Broke the Confederacy
by Donald L. Miller.  I have read a lot of books on the American Civil War, but Miller’s book is one of the best I have read in a long time.  He traces the origins of Grant’s campaign all the way to his final victory at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

 The Second World Wars:  How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson.  Hanson is one of my favorite authors, in that he always seems to find a way to think out of the box.  This book, a top-down analysis of World War 2, is a prime example.  Organized thematically, Hanson does an amazing job of unfolding the what’s and why’s of these pivotal events.

 


The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara
by David Kertzer.  Kertzer’s expertise is the early modern Papacy.  He has a knack for bringing seemingly forgotten events that changed the world to new light.  In this book, he tells the tale of how the abduction of one Jewish boy played a part in the unification of Italy and the loss of the Papal States, the country the Pope governed in central Italy.

 



The Road Not Taken:  Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam

by Max Boot.  Edward Lansdale was a CIA operative who had great success bringing fair and peaceful elections to the Philippines.  The US government sent him to Vietnam to do the same, without giving him the tools to make his ideas a reality.  It is fascinating to speculate what could have happened had he been provided with more support during his time in the war-torn country.

 


JFK:  Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956
by Fredrik Logevall.  I am not a JFK fan necessarily, but this is a spectacular biography of Kennedy’s early years.  Logevall analyzes Kennedy’s early life, unpacking the influence of his father, his continual health struggles and even his frequent moral failures.  This is not a hit piece – it is a balanced biography of a flawed man that inspired America with his leadership.

 



Tower of Skulls:  A History of the Asia-Pacific War, July 1937-May 1942 by

Richard B. Franks.  In this book, part 1 of a planned 3-part history, Franks examines the origins and beginnings of World War 2 in the Pacific.  Instead of starting with Pearl Harbor, he begins where the war actually started – with Japan’s invasion of China in 1937.  This volume ends with the fall of Corregidor and the Bataan Death March, the events that were probably the lowest point for the Allied side in the Pacific conflict.

 


The Anarchy:  The East India Company, Corporate Violence and the Pillage of an Empire
by William Dalrymple.  Today entities like Google and Facebook have a powerful effect on our culture, economy and politics.  Dalrymple looks back in time to the approximately 50 years (about 1750-1800) when the East India Company, a private corporation, went from a small trading outpost to ruling the Indian subcontinent.

 



2nd Tier books – Very good books, worth a read, just not as good as the one’s previously listed.

Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France by James Holland
Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West by H. W. Brands
Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final year of the American Civil War by S. C. Gwynne
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance during the Blitz by Erik Larson
Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage by Ken McGoogan
When the Irish Invaded Canada: The Incredible True Story of the Civil War Veterans who Fought for Ireland’s Freedom by Christopher Klein
Forgotten Victory: First Canadian Army and the Cruel Winter of 1944-45 by Mark Zuehlke
The Desert Generals by Correlli Barnett
The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950’s by William L. Hitchcock
Crusaders: An Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands by Dan Jones
The China Mission: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, 1945-47 by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan
Chiang Kai-Shek: China’s Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost by Jonathan Fenby
Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor by Russell S. Bonds
The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi by Timothy B. Smith
Destination Casablanca: Exile, Espionage and the Battle for North Africa in World War 2 by Meredith Hindley
Dam Busters: The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen who led the Devastating Raid to Smash the German Dams in 1943 by James Holland
Iron Empires: Robber Barons, Railroads and the Making of Modern America by Michael Hiltzik
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their Battle for Speed and Glory at LeMans by A. J. Baime
Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland

3rd Tier reads – not bad, but somewhat disappointing:

Countdown 1945:  The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days that Changed the World by Chris Wallace

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

What is God doing through the Coronavirus?

At this moment, I am sitting in my house, theoretically enjoying my remaining vacation days left, but in reality, my family and I are in close-contact quarantine because of coronavirus exposure.  Having some time on my hands and unable to really go anywhere, I got to thinking about how COVID-19 has affected our lives so profoundly this past year.

Each of you reading this has experienced it.  Fear, especially at the beginning, of the unknown regarding this virus.  Loved ones dying or becoming seriously sick because of the virus.  Our lives being shut down and constrained to prevent the spread of the disease.  Enduring the social distancing that is required.  Suffering with the discomfort of wearing a mask in public settings.  Vacations being cancelled and visits with loved ones limited to phone or video calls because of travel restrictions or border closure.  Disagreements between families and friends over COVID-19 “facts” and mask wearing.  And now, with vaccines becoming available, being told time and time again that the vaccine is our salvation for this thing.

All of these things and more are reminding me that, as believers, we need to have a proper theological perspective on this whole matter.  I don’t see a lot of that happening.  I see a lot of angry Christians.  I see a lot of fearful Christians.  I see a lot of Christian spending a great deal of time and energy figuring out ways to skirt government mandates like mask-wearing requirements.  I hear Christians grumbling about how this whole virus situation has been politicized.  I see Christians putting their own comfort ahead of the safety and health of the corporate body.  But I don’t see a lot of Christians resting in God, assured of his sovereign control in the midst of a pandemic.  I don’t see a lot of Christians that reflect an assurance, deep in their hearts, that God is big enough to use even this for his great and gracious purposes.  And admittedly, I have been guilty at times of a number of the things I just listed.  It is hard in these circumstances to rest in God.

But rest in God is what we must do.  This is a prime opportunity for believers to show
the difference Christ makes in a heart.
  This is a prime opportunity to demonstrate the fruit of a mind that is being renewed (Rom. 12:2).  This is a great time to display the transformation that comes as part of the new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).  And those things involve trusting that God is in charge, that God is purposeful and that we can live our lives trusting in His plan.

Recently I finished an excellent little book entitled Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper.  John Piper seeks to assure us that though times are not normal, and sometimes life seems to be spinning out of control, God is still worthy of our trust.  He is still righteous, holy and good.  He is sovereign over the coronavirus.  And he can use even the coronavirus to fulfill His good purposes.

At the end of the book, Piper lists 6 things that he believes God is doing amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  I want to share them with you to remind us of how we should be looking at this pandemic as believers.

 What is God doing through the Coronavirus?

1.         God is giving the world in the coronavirus outbreak, as in all other calamities, a physical picture of the moral horror and spiritual ugliness of God-belittling sin.  Human sin has corrupted everything.  The coronavirus is another picture of the horror of that sin.

2.         Some people will be infected with the coronavirus as a specific judgment from God because of their sinful attitudes and actions.  Not all individual suffering is a specific judgment for personal sin, but some is.

3.         The coronavirus is a God-given wake-up call to be ready for the second coming of Christ.  The pandemic is part of the birth pangs (Matt. 24:7-8), evidence of the groaning of creation awaiting the full redemption of the people of God (Rom. 8:18-25).

4.         The coronavirus is God’s thunderclap call for all of us to repent and realign our lives with the infinite worth of Christ.  God is showing us – graphically, painfully – that nothing in this world gives the security and satisfaction that we find in Christ.

5.         The coronavirus is God’s call to His people to overcome self-pity and fear and with courageous joy, to do the good works of love that glorify God.

6.         In the coronavirus God is loosening the roots of settled Christians, all over the world, to make them free for something new and radical and to send them with the gospel of Christ to the unreached peoples of the world.  The pandemic will ultimately serve God’s invincible global purpose of world evangelization.

Is this all God is doing through the coronavirus?  Surely not.  But this is enough to rest on right now, enough to assure ourselves that God is sovereign and righteous and holy and good and that He is worthy to be trusted, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Coronavirus and the Prayer of Daniel


I was reading through Daniel 9 the other day and there were two verses that leaped out at me as soon as I read them.  Daniel 9:13-14 reads:

As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. (Dan. 13:13-14, ESV)

Immediately after I read those verses, I was struck by the parallels between Daniel’s situation and our own in the midst of a pandemic.  Both of us are experiencing a calamity, and our nation’s response unfortunately seems to be the same as the response of God’s people during Daniel time.

I want to be clear – Daniel’s situation is not an exact parallel of ours.  In Daniel 9, we are told that Daniel recognized that the 70 years of Jewish exile in Babylon predicted by the prophet Jeremiah were almost over.  As a result of his realization, he devotes extensive time to prayer, confessing the sins of his people and asking God, in his mercy and forgiveness to restore them to their land.  His prayer can be found in Daniel 9:3-19. 

The calamity that has come upon them is one predicted by the Law of Moses.  In places like Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, the people of God are warned of the curses for disobedience, which included defeat at the hands of their enemies and captivity far from their homeland.  In his prayer, Daniel confesses that his people deserved such a calamity – they were aware of the price of disobedience and disobeyed anyways.  Daniel seeks God’s face, asking that this time of calamity would come to an end.

We too are experiencing calamity.  While it would be unwise to tie the COVID-19 situation to a specific Scripture passage, the pandemic we are experiencing is the result of sin.  In the broadest sense, since human sin has corrupted each of us as individuals and all of this world we live in, we can fairly say that sin is ultimately behind the COVID-19 epidemic.

What I was struck by as I read Daniel’s prayer was the response of his people.  Despite the calamity they experienced at the hand of God, the Jewish people did not entreat God’s favor, they did not turn from their sins and they did not gain insight from God’s truth.  As a result, the Lord has “kept ready” the calamity.  This phrase refers to God watching over the calamity and allowing it to continue until the time allotted to it has passed.  Because God’s people had not obeyed God’s voice, their calamity continued.

We too are in the midst of calamity – a worldwide pandemic.  How have we responded to it?  We have social distanced ourselves.  We have shut down our economies.  We have sought out drugs and researched vaccines.  All these things are likely necessary responses.  But have we turned to God?  Statistics show that instead of turning to God, we have turned to other things.  Streaming services are up 34% as people are stuck at home and turn to entertainment as an answer.  Alcohol sales are up 25 to 40%, depending on the type of alcohol, despite the fact that alcohol is readily available and liquor stores remain open.  Marijuana dispensaries, open because they are deemed “essential” businesses, have seen sales spike between 33 and 75 percent, depending on the state.  And pornography use has spiked in the US and worldwide by 18%, with some major pornography companies seeing the pandemic as an opportunity to get more people addicted to their “product.”

Let’s remind ourselves of Daniel’s words.  God’s people had calamity brought upon them, and they did not call out for God’s favor, they did not turn from their sin and they did not seek insight into these things in God’s truth.  Sadly, we are no different as a nation.  This is a time for us to be different as believers.  To use our extra time to entreat the favor of God.  To use this time for gaining insight into God’s truth as found in God’s word.  And instead of diving even deeper into sin, to ask for the transforming grace of God to empower us to increasingly turn from our sins and seek the face of the One who loves us and gave his One and Only Son so that we could know Him and live for Him, both now and for eternity.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Best Books of 2019 - Fiction


This is third of 3 yearly lists of the best books I read in 2019.  This post contains the best fiction books I read this year.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks.  Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series, of which The Black Prism is the first, is a wonderful addition to my collection of fantasy epics.  While it has the seemingly prototype clueless hero, it has a very unique power/magic system and wonderful world building.  With many story arcs and characters you either love or hate, Weeks’ books keep you coming back for more.  I am patiently waiting for the 5th and last book to come out in paperback.  The other titles in the Lightbringer series I read this year are:  The Blinding Knife, The Broken Eye and The Blood Mirror.

Empire of Glass by Tad Williams.  William’s series, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, still remains one of my favorite fantasy series.  Empire of Glass is book 2 of a series set in the same world, but decades after the first trilogy.  This book picks up where book 1 ends and drives the various threads of the story along.  And, not surprisingly, Williams leaves you hanging at the end waiting for book 3.  GRRRR!

Tombland by C. J. Sansom.  This is another one of Sansom’s magnificent Shardlake historical mysteries.  Set in 1549 in England, after the death of Henry VIII and during the reign of his son Edward, lawyer Matthew Shardlake, while investigating a mystery, gets caught up in a peasant revolt against the ruling nobility.  The book is long and imposing looking – 866 pages! – but is well-paced and fascinating, both as a mystery and as history.


2nd Tier reads – good, recommended, just not up to the level of those above:
Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin
Malice by John Gwynne
Outcasts of Order by L. E. Modesitt Jr.
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Deep Fathom by James Rollins

3rd Tier reads, somewhat disappointing:
Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Monday, January 13, 2020

Best Ministry-Related Books of 2019


This is the second of three blog articles about the best books I read in 2019.  This list is about the ministry-related books I read, which span from church history to theology to analysis on current cultural trends.

Love Thy Body:  Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality by Nancy R. Pearcey.  Hands down the best ministry-related book I read last year.  Pearcey does what she claims in her title – she unmasks the evils of personhood theory and relates in stark, logical detail how a denial of our created body affects many areas of life, including abortion, sexuality, marriage and even parenting.  This should be required reading for any Christian serious about understanding our times.

Holy Sexuality and the Gospel:  Sex, Desire and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story by Christopher Yuan.  I heard Dr. Yuan speak at Montana Bible College’s Pastors conference a few years back and was eagerly awaiting his book.  Yuan is a celibate, same-sex attracted believer who teaches at Moody Bible Institute.  His book speaks to same-sex attraction, marriage and singleness, as well as the need for all believers to find their primary identity in Christ above all else.

Union with Christ:  The Way to Know and Enjoy God by Rankin Wilbourne.  I read Union with Christ with my associate pastor and we both enjoyed it greatly.  Wilbourne blows the dust off the doctrine of union with Christ, a reality that all believers enjoy but few understand or truly embrace.  The book is very practical and applicable in many ways.
 
Gospel Eldership:  Equipping a New Generation of Servant Leaders by Robert H. Thune.  This short book will likely become a wonderful tool in developing and training elders.  It has some great homework at the end of each chapter.  It is so good it might replace my usual go-to book – They Smell Like Sheep.

The Question of Canon:  Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate by Michael Kruger.  I find origin of the Bible a fascinating topic.  Kruger’s book addresses the whole debate about the origin of the New Testament with a fair, but thoroughly conservative position, all the while excellently rebutting the assumed liberal positions about how the New Testament was written and came into its final form.

Even Better than Eden:  Nine Ways the Bible’s Story changes Everything about Your Story by Nancy Guthrie.  This is biblical theology done well.  Guthrie traces nine redemptive themes that span the entire Bible.  Each theme is traced all the way through to its ultimate fulfillment in heaven, encouraging us to remind ourselves that heaven will be even better than the life Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden.

God’s Design for Man and Woman by Andreas and Margaret Kostenberger.  This is an excellent survey of a difficult topic – gender roles in the Bible.  This husband and wife team survey the whole Bible, examine what it says about roles and when necessary, critique the egalitarian and feminist interpretations that challenge or question what the Bible says.  The footnotes and appendixes are also worth mining for more valuable information and resources.

Sacred Marriage: What is God designed Marriage to Make us Holy more than to Make us Happy? by Gary Thomas.  This is an older book, and some of the examples are dated, but the truths are timeless.  Thomas tackles many of the usual topics of a marriage book, but delves deeper than most.  He also addresses topics that most books of marriage do not cover in a thought provoking way.

2nd Tier Reads – still very good and recommended.
Letters to the Church by Francis Chan
Unlimited Grace:  The Heart Chemistry that Frees from Sin and Fuels the Christian Life by Bryan Chapell
2000 Years of Christ’s Power, Renaissance and Reformation, vol. 3 by Nick Needham
A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble by Paul Tripp
Handbook of Church Discipline:  A Right and Privilege of Every Church Member by Jay Adams
Psalms by the Day:  A New Devotional Translation by Alec Motyer
Give them Grace:  Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
Church Discipline:  How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus by Jonathan Leeman
Journey Through Philippians by Tara Barndt
Man Overboard:  The Story of Jonah by Sinclair B. Ferguson
The Prodigal Prophet:  Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy by Timothy Keller
Ecclesiastes by Douglas Sean O’Donnell
Ecclesiastes by Craig G. Bartholomew
Ecclesiastes:  Why Everything Matters by Philip Ryken
A Life Well Lived:  A Study of the Book of Ecclesiastes by Tommy Nelson
Living Life Backward:  How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End by David Gibson
God’s Glory Alone:  The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life by David Vandrunen
Christianity at the Crossroads:  How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church by Michael J. Kruger
Uncomfortable:  The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community by Brett McCracken
The Church in Babylon:  Heeding the Call to be a Light in the Darkness by Erwin Lutzer
How Does Sanctification Work? by David Powlison
Isaiah by the Day:  A New Devotional Translations by Alec Motyer
All That’s Good:  Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment by Hannah Anderson

3rd Tier Reads – disappointing in some ways
Developing Female Leaders:  Navigate the Minefields and Release the Potential of Women in Your Church by Kadi Cole
The Book of Ecclesiastes by Tremper Longman III
Recovering Eden:  The Gospel according to Ecclesiastes by Zach Eswine
Why Everything Matters:  The Gospel in Ecclesiastes by Philip Ryken

Uggh!!  I am amazed I finished it
Tyndale:  The Man Who gave God an English Voice by David Teems