This is part 2 of my best reads of 2013 series. This time up – the best ministry and faith-oriented books I read last year. I read a lot of good books in this category last year. The top 7 stand out, but I would recommend almost everything on this list.
As you will note, there are a few repeated authors in this list. What can I say, there are certain guys whose writing has had a profound impact on me.
Top Ministry and Faith Books of 2013 (in no particular order):
How People Change by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. Lane and Tripp have written a powerful tool to get to the heart of personal change. It is deeply Scriptural and hugely convicting. I will be using this in teaching and counseling situations for years.
Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Timothy Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf. This book is a readable theology of work written by one of the best communicators out there right now. I wish I could get every guy in my church to read this book. Keller does a great job laying out the God’s plan for work, our problems with work and how the gospel touches the world of work.
Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul David Tripp. This was definitely the most convicting book I read this year. Pastors, this is a profound call to renew pastoral culture with the gospel. Parishioners, this is a unique insight into the struggles and temptations your pastor faces.
Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart by Kyle Idleman. Idleman’s book is both goofy and powerfully challenging. Tackling the many idols that vie to dethrone God in our lives, Idleman gives solid biblical teaching on how to put the idols we value in their proper place – as things under the submission of the lordship of Christ.
Sex and Money: Pleasures that Leave you Empty and Grace that Satisfies by Paul David Tripp. Tripp confronts the two areas of insanity in our world – our slavery to possessions and our fascination with sex. It is a book filled with wise, biblical counsel for two areas of our life that are often out of balance.
From Famine to Fullness: The Gospel According to Ruth by Dean R. Ulrich. This book is part of a series entitled The Gospel According to the Old Testament. I read it as part of our sermon preparation for a preaching series on Ruth. Part commentary and part devotional, Ulrich competently navigates Ruth’s world and consistently brings the reader back to the places where Ruth’s story points to Jesus.
Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson. This is a book I hope to read anew every few years. If you want to know how to wisely counsel someone in light of the truths of the gospel, this is a great place to start.
2nd Tier Reads (very good, but not great)
The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman
The Grace of God by Andy Stanley
God is Not Fair, He is More Than Fair by Lee E. Pollock
The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
Humility: True Greatness by C. J. Mahaney
Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness by Charles R. Swindoll
A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in your Church by Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood
Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell
Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life by Sam Allberry
Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley
Mistakes Leaders Make by Dave Kraft
Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship and Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll
The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
The Invested Life by Joel Rosenberg and T. E. Koshy
A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity and the other Dangers of Overzealous Faith by Larry Osborne
3rd Tier Reads (good, but slightly disappointing)
Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom by Peter J. Leithart
Joseph: Overcoming Obstacles through Faithfulness by Gene A. Getz
Unleader: Re-Imagining Leadership…and Why We Must by Lance Ford
The Message of 2 Timothy by John R. W. Stott
4th Tier Reads (disappointing)
God Meant it for Good: A Fresh Look at the Life of Joseph by R. T. Kendall (for a sermon series, very over-spiritualized)