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Book Blurbs (January – April 2023)

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 Janaury-April of 2023 below. You can find all the Book Blurbs posts here.

Book Blurbs (January - April 2023)

Here’s a list of books I started, finished, skimmed, listened to, or continued reading in 2023.

Book Blurbs (January – April 2023)

1. Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture by Christopher Watkin 

This book has received high praise from people like Tim Keller and Collin Hansen. I’m reading this 600+ page book with a mentor of mine. I’m enjoying it. I must say, though, that being a Covenant Theological Seminary grad, I’m familiar with some of the material in this volume. Covenant does a great job teaching its students about the intersection of biblical theology and cultural exegesis — which is essentially, in my view, what this book is about.

2. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Barry Abrams, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf

I don’t want to get too into it. But being completely ignorant about investing seems unwise. I’ve been reading secular books on money lately to get practical advice you may not see in a Christian book about money. I want to steward what God has entrusted to me well.  Christians should read these books with a careful eye, of course.  I have become very impressed with Vanguard and the company Jack Bogle built. This book is a bit technical at times but lays a good foundation for investing.

3. Money, Debt, and Finances: Critical Questions and Answers by Jim Newheiser 

Speaking of books on money, here’s one that’s practical and gives lots of good basic advice.

4. Why We Are Restless: On the Modern Quest for Contentment by Benjamin Storey and Jenna Silber Storey

Read this for research for my book on contentment. A bit academic, but there are good nuggets here and there if you’re willing to search for them. Curiously, there are lots of references to Christian people and Christian thought in this book, though it’s not a distinctly Christian book.

5. The Gospel According to Mark by James Edwards

I am (along with the other pastors at our church) preaching through the Gospel of Mark right now. Using lots of resources. This one is my favorite.

6. Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength by J.I. Packer 

I love J.I. Packer. I’m intrigued by the idea of weakness and strength in the Christian life. This book was useful to me, particularly in seeing how weakness can be a blessing.

7. A Life of Gospel Peace: A Biography of Jeremiah Burroughs by Phillip L. Simpson 

I know a good amount about Augustine, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, and Martin Luther. But there are hundreds if not thousands of people used by God in the past who don’t get the press as the names already stated, but are nevertheless worth studying (and emulating). I am drawn to Burroughs because of his ability to remain content and at peace regardless of pressure. I’m enjoying this biography so far.

8. Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel by Mike Cosper 

I’ve become extremely interested in learning as much as I can about corporate worship. Why is the church service different than your devotional time? What exactly happens at church? Why do we even go? And what are we supposed to do when we get there? I consider putting together the Order of Service as one of my most important duties as a pastor. This book is easy to read and helpful for both pastors and lay people. I appreciate Cosper’s emphasis on the gospel as the basis that governs the structure for corporate worship.

9. The Lord’s Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship by Jeffrey J. Meyers

Another book on corporate worship. Less accessible for lay people, though. Reformed, somewhat academic, and insightful. I’m loving this book. Meyers is a clear writer. The book is stretching and challenging my thinking and assumptions, although I don’t see eye to eye on every point. This book will expand your thinking on corporate worship.

10. 2 Corinthians: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture by David E. Garland

I put my Bible reading plan to the side, and have switched to studying one book of the Bible deeply with a commentary. I picked 2 Corinthians.  Since the Apostle Paul defended his ministry in this letter, I figured it would be a good book to study for a pastor. Really enjoying it so far.

11. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson

I’m listening to this book on Audible. In a previous season of life, I was really into exercise, dieting, health, etc. I still am, but have fallen away from some of the basics, which is disappointing to me. I want to get back on track. Books like this help. Heads up, some of the content may seem unsavory to the believer. I’ve learned a lot of good actionable tips that I’ve already started applying to get better sleep.

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