Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

Book Blurbs (May-August 2021)

Book Blurbs is a segment on the blog where I list books I’m reading along with a brief blurb about each book. The aim is to help you identify new authors and potential books of interest. Maybe I didn’t read every word of every page, but I read enough to mention them. I don’t list every book I read. You can find some of the books I read in May-August of 2021 below. You can find all the Book Blurbs posts here.

1. Every Day Matters: A Biblical Approach to Productivity by Brandon Crowe

I love, love reading about productivity and time management. This is especially true when it’s from a Christian perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed this volume. It set me ablaze once again to focus on being productive for the glory of God.

2. Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less by Michael Hyatt

See comments on book #1 above. The content in this book is not distinctly Christian, but Hyatt is a believer, so he is trustworthy. I particularly enjoyed the tip on batching, which means doing the same kinds of tasks one after another to maximize momentum. For example, writing. Do it in batches: write a blog post, then 500 words for a book chapter, then outline a sermon. Do this back-to-back because you are already in the swing of doing it, and switching to a different kind of task hurts your momentum, and consequently inhibits productivity.

3. Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament by Mark Vroegop

The 2020 Christian Book of the Year according to the ECPA. Didn’t read the whole thing and only used it as a resource for preaching about lament, but I like what I see. Both practical and deep.

4. How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp

Lots of basic stuff in here, but we need these powerful truths. A good book on how to grow in Christ.

5. Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation by Dan Doriani

My new favorite overall book on Christian faith and work. So, so good.

6. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

I like Jordan Peterson. I hope the recent news about his conversion to Christ is true. I particularly like how he speaks well of marriage and children. He appeals to young men, but he is fascinating in general. In this book that has sold millions of copies, he gives you 12 rules he thinks you should follow. I don’t agree with everything he says, especially his exegesis of some biblical texts, but his writing is engaging, and there are some profound insights in the book.

7. Work That Makes a Difference by Dan Doriani

This title is somewhat of an abridged version of Work (mentioned above), although there are some new and fresh insights included. Work That Makes a Difference has closing reflections and discussion questions added at the end of each chapter, making it an ideal book to read in a group setting. See also my interview with Dan Doriani: Work That Makes a Difference: An Interview With Dan Doriani.

8. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief by John Frame

I started reading parts of this book in 2020, but only seriously started reading it this year. I love reading Systematic Theology and it’s a goal of mine to read one such book every year. Nothing gets me more fired up like knowledge of God. John Frame is one of my favorite theologians.

9.Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi

 

An excellent book on networking, which inspired my article Christian Reflections on Networking. If anything, we need to make friends and connections to see how we can use our gifts and abilities to serve others.

10. On Being a Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work by Derek Prime and Alistair Begg

Convicting, practical, and helpful. This is a recent read for me. With the Fall starting soon and ministry picking up again (depending on how things go with COVID) I wanted to read something on pastoring that would empower me to serve well, and this book fits the mark.

11. Letters of John Calvin

I read somewhere that if you want to know Calvin, you have to read his letters. His Institutes gives you a comprehensive view of his theology, but his letters display vulnerability, personal circumstances, and his pastoral heart. I’m loving each letter and trying to savor them as I read them slowly.

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children. Learn more.