Monday, December 14, 2015

My top ten books for 2015 (Part 2)

Last Friday I shared the first five of my top ten books for 2015. I will finish my list today. It was not easy to limit my list to just ten books this year as I read several that I found very helpful. Some of them I commented on throughout the year so you can go back to previous posts and see some of those. Again, these are not in a particular order, but they will round out my top ten for this year.

On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision was written by Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig. Craig has debated some of the leading atheists of our time and in this book shares some of his strongest arguments for the existence of God. He also addresses the problem of suffering which may be one of the most common complaints non-theists make about God. Craig can be challenging for some not trained in philosophy to read, but this book was written especially for those of us who want to better defend our beliefs.

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain was written by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. I love these books because they challenge much of what we commonly accept as true, and they address issues most people (certainly economists) never discuss. In this book they explain why Nigerian e-mail scammers make such a point of saying they are from Nigeria as well as explain the amazing success of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion. One of my favorite stories was of how a cure for ulcers was discovered and why the medical community refused to recognize this cure for so long. This is fun and informational reading.

Timothy Keller wrote The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism to respond to the most frequently voiced doubts and concerns non-believers bring to his church. As he does this, he provides Christians with the answers we need when we face the same challenges. Since reading this book I have become a big fan of Keller and have another of his books on my to-read shelf.

Kingdom Triangle: Recover the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit's Power is written by J. P. Moreland, a professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. In this book Moreland seeks to replace scientific naturalism and postmodern worldviews with a Christian worldview. Even many Christians have been influenced by the first two worldviews which is one reason the church is as weak as it is. As he explains in the preface, "I want to foment a revolution of Evangelical life...My purpose is to mobilize, inspire, envision, and instruct an army of men and women for a revolution on behalf of the cause of Christ." I've also added a couple more of Moreland's books on my to-read shelf.

Wrapping up this year's top ten list is Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath. Too many of the choices we make are based on information we have sought that would support the decisions we want to make while ignoring information that doesn't support our presuppositions. Short term emotions often overrule logic leading to poor choices. By sharing information gained through various studies and numerous stories the authors show how we can make far better decisions that will have a positive impact on our lives and our organizations.

I hope you will find this list helpful as you think about your reading for 2016. As I written before, leaders are readers. It's important to look at reading as an investment in our ministries so we need to read those books that will add the most value to our leadership. I found these books to be very informative and beneficial to me so I encourage you to at least look at them as possible helpful resources to your own ministry.

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