Ask a Pastor - Book Recommendations

Pastor Joel asked me if I would write a piece for this issue of "Life" and I immediately thought about books.  If you know anything about me, you know that outside of Jesus and my family I have two great passions, coffee and books (please don't make me chose between the two).  

Since summer is here and many of us have a little more time on our hands I want to suggest 6 books to you that you might consider reading at the pool, the beach or on the back porch swing. These are some of my favorites and I tried to include a little something for everyone (including genre).  If you do chose something from this list please let me know what you think. In fact I'd love to talk about it over a cup of coffee. 


Desiring God

by John Piper (theology/devotion)

Outside of the Bible no book has had a more profound impact on my life and ministry than this one.  It helped me see that the desire to be deeply satisfied and God's glory are not at odds. 

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

by Eugene Peterson (devotion)

We live in a world of microwaves, fast food and high speed internet and the pace is honestly killing us. Peterson walks through the 15 Psalms of Accent pointing out that the life of the Christian is one that can't be or shouldn't be rushed through but enjoyed.

 The Pilgrim's Progress

by John Bunyan (fiction)

Charles Spurgeon once said of this work: “Next to the Bible, the book I value most is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I believe I have read it through at least a hundred times. It is a volume of which I never seem to tire; and the secret of its freshness is that it is so largely compiled from the Scriptures.”  If you can only read one book from this list this should be it. 

Jonathan Edwards: A Life

by George Marsden (biography)

Jonathan Edwards is a giant in American Christianity.  His "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" has been reprinted and more widely read than almost any other sermon in history.  His influence echoes through the history of the church in America all the way to our modern day.  Marsden does a masterful job of showing Edwards andhis devotion to the God he loved and adored.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)

by Andrew Peterson (fiction)

This is book one in the Wingfeather Saga.  If you have kids, do yourself and them a favor and read this out loud to them.  This is one of those stories that could only be written by someone who understands the deep truth of the gospel.  You will laugh out loud and have moments where your struggling to read because of the lump in your throat and the tears in your eyes.  This series is a Doss family favorite. 

The Old Man and the Sea

by Earnest Hemingway (fiction) 

This book is the reason I love books.  I read it almost every year (preferably on a beach).  Its Hemingway at his absolute brilliant best.  Sparse, short sentences and imagery that makes you feel like your miles out in the gulf.  It's a beautiful heartbreaking story that reaches far beyond a man and a fish into what it means to be aging in a world that values youth above everything.