With 2018 nearly ushered in, that puts 2017 distinctly in the rear view mirror. As years end and new years begin, it creates a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the year that was and the year to come. For me personally, this has been a year of learning, and most of that knowledge came from the books I read.
As a year in review post, the following blog will be a short overview of some of my favorite books I read in 2017. Please feel free after you look through my list to share your own favorite book/books in the comment section.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is a powerful book helping Christians become more in line with a Biblical framework for healthy emotions. Somewhere along my faith journey, I gained the basic understanding that “emotions are bad until they have run through the filter of your thoughts/Bible.”
This thinking led to the mindset of “feelings are bad” and “thoughts are good”. While there are worse personal philosophies, it’s not the complete Biblical picture for internal health. Emotions, when expressed correctly, are a God given gift used by our Heavenly Father to point us in His direction.
One caveat, though, is that this book is not for the faint of heart. It will force you to look in a mirror, examine your past, and come out on the other side a healthier you, but the transition from sick to healthy is paved with tears, hurt, and heartache. It’s worth it though.
Growing Young by Kara Powell
Young people are walking away from church more than before, getting married later than ever, and not having kids till much older. All of these unprecedented statistics result in the church rarely reaching the younger generation, and as a former youth pastor for 6 years, these trends, especially the leaving church, are unsettling to say the least.
Kara Powell and her team did some incredible research of churches across the country who are effectively reaching the next generation. This book outlines and interprets that research in a way that gave me hope for the future and a map for how to accomplish it. If you are in ministry and you want to reach young people, you need to read this.
Finish by Jon Acuff
Before you read anything by Jon Acuff you must understand a few things about him. He’s hysterical, witty, and brilliant. That goes for his social media, email lists, and all of his writings. This book is no different.
Rarely do I laugh out loud at a book, but Jon made me crack up multiple times throughout Finish. Then not even a paragraph later he would hit you with a deep insightful principle that would make you say, “Dang! That’s good.”
If you have a goal or a dream you want to accomplish, then this is the book for you to read. He helps you dream big and work to accomplish those plans in a way that doesn’t feel daunting or overwhelming.
Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast
Ok. Ok. Ok. I know this one isn’t a book. It’s a podcast, but Carey’s podcast is too good not to mention. Each week he interview various guests from pastors to professionals, and I always learn.
If you want to develop as a leader, you have hours upon hours of information and practical knowledge packed away in this series of podcasts. Each episode is a well worth running back to for leadership insights. I cannot recommend it enough.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
As a pastor I probably shouldn’t say a fiction book was my favorite, but darn it, this was my favorite read. Imagine Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game infused with high octane adrenaline and energy. This book started off incredible and ended even better. Seriously, if you like fiction book, this is one you MUST read.
Enough about my reading plan.
What about you? What was your favorite book your read this year?