Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

About Me

I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Encouraging, Convicting, and Helpful Books Which Have Shaped My Life and Ministry

Recently, I had a friend of mine ask me for a list of books that I have found to be encouraging, convicting, and helpful. I am indebted to the wisdom that has been handed down to me through books. The books that I have read in the past several years have had a profound impact on my life and really have shaped my ministry. I am fully convinced that I would not be who I am today and would not be serving the Lord in the manner in which I do were it not for the wonderful life changing knowledge that I have encountered. Realizing that not only might my friend benefit with such a list but others for their own personal Christian growth or development in ministry could as well, I have decided to put together the list in this blogpost. While it may seem to be, it certainly is not exhaustive, and many more could actually be added to these lists. However, I tried to limit myself to the ones which I found MOST encouraging, convicting, and helpful. Ones whose impact continue to be felt in my life and ministry today and/or which I run back to for advice or reread for the much needed refreshers. So without any further ado, here are my selective lists organized by category:

For preaching, the books that I have found most encouraging, helpful, and convicting are as follows (in no particular order):
"Spirit-Empowered Preaching: Involving the Holy Spirit in Your Ministry" ~Arturo G. Azurdia III

"The Supremacy of God in Preaching" ~John Piper

"Preaching for God's Glory" ~Alistair Begg

"Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism" ~Timothy Keller

"God's Message, Your Sermon: Discover, Develop, and Deliver What God Meant by What He Said" ~H. Wayne House & Daniel G. Garland

"How to Preach & Teach the Old Testament for All It's Worth" ~Christopher J. H. Wright

"Preaching & Preachers" ~D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

"Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scriptures" ~Trevin Wax 
"Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching" ~Steven J. Lawson (This book I come back to read anytime I start to question the importance and effectiveness of expository preaching.)

As for ministry in general, the following are some that come to mind:
"Pastor to Pastor: Tackling Problems of the Pulpit" ~Erwin W. Lutzer

"Confident Pastoral Leadership: Practical Solutions to Perplexing Problems" ~Howard F. Sugden and Warren W. Wiersbe (This one as well as Lutzer's book were so very beneficial to me in the first two years of my ministry. I found myself looking to them for advice with how to handle several issues that I were encountering for the very first time.)
"Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome" ~Kent & Barbara Hughes (A very dear brother in ministry got this book for me a couple of years ago when I was experiencing a discouraging time and discovered that I had bought into the "success syndrome," needing the reminder that God is most concerned with our faithfulness in ministry with Him being in charge of the fruitfullness.)

"Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry" ~John Piper

"Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice" ~Christopher Ash

"Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry" ~Paul David Tripp (Reading this book was like undergoing heart surgery for me! God used it to expose so many sinful attitudes that had been welling up within me. Ones that would have done so much damage to my ministry if left unchecked. I am so thankful that God placed it in my hands about five years ago at such an early time in my ministry. I like to think that it saved me from me-though I still know I am my own greatest problem. In fact, it might not be a bad idea for me to pick it up off the shelf and read it again.)

"On Being a Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work" ~Derek Prime & Alistair Begg

"Lectures to My Students" ~Charles Spurgeon

"The Pastor's Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry" ~R. Kent Hughes and Douglas Sean O'Donnell (This has become my "go to" ministry manual. Before any type of service, I always like to glean the wisdom of these two seasoned pastors. It is much more thorough and helpful than my denomination's manual and other ones that I have come across.)

Regarding Those Which Have Aided in the Development of My Theological Framework
"The Holiness of God" ~R. C. Sproul

"Chosen by God" ~R. C. Sproul

"Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology" ~R. C. Sproul

"The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word" ~R. C. Sproul

"Desiring God" ~John Piper

"Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments" ~Geerhardus Vos

"A History of the Work of Redemption" ~Jonathan Edwards

"The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments" ~Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.

"Counterfiet Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters" ~Timothy Keller

"9 Marks of a Healthy Church" ~Mark Dever

"The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel" ~Mark Dever and Paul Alexander

"Putting Amazing Back Into Grace" ~Michael Horton

"Christless Christianity" ~Michael Horton
"The Mystery of Providence" ~John Flavel

"The Gospel According to" Series by John MacArthur ("The Gospel According to Jesus," "The Gospel According to the Apostles," "The Gospel According to Paul," and "The Gospel According to God.")

"Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God" ~J. I. Packer

"Radical" ~David Platt

"Let the Nations Be Glad" ~John Piper

"Sing: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church" ~Keith and Kristyn Getty

"The Bondage of the Will" ~Martin Luther

"The Freedom of the Will" ~Jonathan Edwards

"The Institutes of the Christian Religion" ~John Calvin

"The Death of Death in the Death of Christ" ~John Owen

"The Cost of Discipleship" ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Holiness" and basically anything else that I have read by J. C. Ryle.

Wow! I listed far more than I had intended! I certainly am a theology nerd who loves to read. And the sad thing is that I could probably add so many more but I will stop here for now. I am thankful to God for, in His providence, exposing me to these works and using them to mold and shape me for His glory. I trust that this list will continue to grow as newer books continue to be written and as I dust off the covers of some of the old classics which will continue to have an impact on our lives well into the future. My list of what I want to read continues to grow much sooner than I can check any of these off. Anyway, hope that some of you might find some of these helpful as they have been for me. God bless!

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria!!!

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