For many years, I have tried to enter January focusing on the Lord and His attributes by reading A.W. Tozer’s seminal works, The Knowledge of The Holy and The Pursuit of God. Tozer’s writing always challenges me. Even though I have worked through these numerous times, they still seem fresh and refreshing to my soul. These books serve as a compass to help me reorient my way back to the true north of the Christian experience. Tozer’s passion for the Lord and the Word encourages and challenges me in a remarkable way. (His writings have been compiled and edited into newer volumes along with study guides that would make for an excellent introduction to his heart for God. See The Attributes of God Volume 1 with Study Guide: A Journey Into the Father’s Heart). Here’s one quote from Tozer:
The only way to recoup our spiritual losses is to go back to the cause of them and make such corrections as the truth warrants. The decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of God will go a long way toward curing them. – The Knowledge of the Holy (17)
Preaching Points: 55 Tips for Improving Your Pulpit Ministry by Scott M. Gibson, Haddon W. Robinson, Jeffrey D. Arthurs, Patricia M. Batten, and Matthew D. Kim was a helpful book this year as I constantly need to “sharpen my axe” for preaching. The collaborative nature and the abbreviated chapters make this a surprisingly helpful volume for novices and seasoned pulpiteers alike. Here’s a sampling of the quote-worthy material:
But what he was really getting at is, “Do you have a deep and profound relationship with the Lord?” D. L. Moody was known to say, “He who kneels the most, stands the best.” That’s what R. Kent Hughes may have in view when he wisely encourages: Sermon preparation is twenty hours of prayer. (284)
Daniel Darling made my list with two of his books – The Characters of Easter: The Villains, Heroes, Cowards, and Crooks Who Witnessed History’s Biggest Miracle (co-authored with Tim Mullins), and The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus. He threads the needle between storytelling that flows and an eye for detail that a casual reader might all too easily miss. His prose is backdropped against a healthy orthodoxy that keeps any “sanctified imagination” in check.
As a fan of Trueman’s prose, I thoroughly enjoyed finally finishing The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (by Carl R. Trueman). The scope of this book should earn its own review, but suffice it to say that it should be required reading for anyone engaging our culture. His treatment of our current obsession with sexual identity and the revolution that enabled the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015 and our current assault on biological gender is comprehensive while still being accessible to those who are not as familiar with modern psychology.
Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression by Zack Eswine was a book I have read on and off for quite some time. Finishing it again this year gave me a new set of tools for counseling and tremendous insights into the life of Spurgeon. For those whose heart hurts and for those who help the hurting, I highly recommend this resource.
I could fill several pages with new (and new to me) resources on Revelation as I am currently preaching through that marvelous book. However, here are a few other books I am enjoying as we finish up 2023:
Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul David Tripp
Heaven: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything the Bible Says About Our Eternal Home (Clear Answers to 44 Real Questions About the Afterlife, Angels, Resurrection, and the Kingdom of God) by Randy Alcorn