Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A year of reading - 2015

At the beginning, or sometimes the end, of the past few years I have made a habit of blogging about the reading I did in the previous year (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009) . I have done this for several reasons.

First, it is a means of holding myself accountable. I value reading and intend to make it an integral part of my life. By making my reading life public, I can allow people a glimpse into one of the disciplines of my life.

Second, I hope for my reading history to be an encouragement to others. Though I know many others who read much more than I do, nevertheless, my year-long record of reading often surprises people in terms of what is possible if reading is a priority. I have a full-time job and five kids heavily involved in extra-curricular activities. A very small portion of my reading occurs at work; though, I think I should read more at work and I hope to do so in 2016. I think that if I can share some of my successes with reading, that other busy people will be encouraged to read more. And that, in my estimation, would be a good thing.

Third, to give glory to God. It is by grace that we read, desire to read, learn from our reading. The fact that my life allows me time to read, and that I have the faculties to do so, are nothing more than gifts from God to a person who has done nothing to deserve such favour.

So, here is a list of all the books I read, or re-read, this year:
  • The ESV Bible by God via Various Authors
  • The Pastor and Counselling by Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju
  • Pleased to Dwell by Peter Mead
  • The Incarnation of God by John C. Clark and Marcus Peter Johnson
  • Malachi: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary by Andrew E. Hill
  • Tough Questions about God and His Actions in the Old Testament by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
  • The Final Days of Jesus by Andreas Kostenberger
  • Future Grace by John Piper
  • Soul-Depths and Soul-Heights by Octavius Winslow
  • The Gospel by Ray Ortlund
  • The Joy Project by Tony Reinke
  • The Church by Mark Dever
  • Ordinary by Michael Horton
  • Understanding Prophecy by A. Bandy and B. Merkle
  • Malachi: A Study Guide Commentary by Charles D. Isbell
  • Prayer by Timothy Keller
  • The Compelling Community by Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop
  • 40 Questions about Baptism and the Lord's Supper by John S. Hammett
  • The Son of God and the New Creation by Graeme Goldsworthy
  • Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves
  • Text-Driven Preaching by eds. Akin, Alan, Mathews
  • Preaching? By Alec Moyter
  • Is God Anti-Gay? By Sam Allberry
  • God and the Gay Christian? Ed. Albert Mohler
  • Compassion Without Compromise by Adam T. Barr and Ron Citlau
  • What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung
  • The Prodigal Church by Jared C. Wilson
  • Interpreting the Prophetic Books by Gary V. Smith
  • Footprints by Lindsay Reynolds
  • Blood Work by Anthony Carter
  • Preaching with Accuracy by Randal E. Pelton
  • Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
  • The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
  • Jesus in the Present Tense by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • From Heaven He Came and Sought Her eds David and Jonathan Gibson
  • The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
  • Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine
  • Jesus' Blood and Righteousness by Brian Vicker
  • Changing Places by David Lodge
  • Know the Heretics by Justin Holcomb
  • All for Jesus by Robert L. Niklaus et. al.
Most of the books I read were non-fiction. You’ll see that these books are mainly on theology, Christian living, preaching, and Bible interpretation. But I also read some fiction including a couple of plays by Shakespeare. I’d like to read more fiction than I do, but for now I guess I’m content to read it when I can.
A list of books that I’ve read doesn’t tell you much about the books themselves. Be watching in the near future for a post on my favourite books of 2015 for some more detailed info on a few I considered the best.
Increasing your reading will not happen by accident. You will need to be purposeful about it. But there are some simple tips and techniques which can help you. Here are a few that have been helpful to me:
  1. Always have a book with you. This is easy in the digital age.
  2. Have a specific goal in mind. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
  3. Redeem wasted minutes throughout the day. There are many 10-15 minute blocks of usable time throughout the day in which reading would be a great activity.
  4. Keep a record of everything that you read. This will encourage you!
  5. Limit your entertainment intake. More screens usually equates to less books read.
  6. Get recommendations by people you trust. Reading great books is easier than reading lousy ones.
  7. Read to glorify God. Because God.
  8. Read several books at once or only one at a time. I’ve found that either of these may be helpful.
  9. Read a book on why reading is so important. Two birds with one stone.
  10. Read books around a theme that interests you. I am in a “books about preaching” phase and my excitement about preaching encourages me to read more.
I have already made some plans for my reading in 2016. There are some new books I’m looking forward to and some books by “dead guys” that I should have read by now and intend to this year. I hope you are looking forward to a year of reading as well!

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