For most of you this won’t come as a surprise, but I thoroughly enjoy reading. I’ve read a lot of books, and I’ve found a structured plan is one of the best ways to get through multiple books quickly. So in the above picture you’ll find what I plan to read in 2016. I originally planned on choosing 12 books (1 for each month) but I finished 2 of them before 2016 even began, so I added two more to bring the total back up to 12. Some of you won’t think 12 books is much at all, while others of you will think it’s not even possible. I’ll explain each choice below:
(disclaimer: before I pick up any of these books I’ll be reading my Bible through again this year, using a Chronological Bible Reading Plan with my wife. No Christian should pick up a book, until they’ve read their Bibles first.)
Already finished: Church Elders, Jeramie Rinne – A concise, honest, and most importantly Biblical portrait of what the New Testament elder is. This is challenging, encouraging, funny, and heartfelt. Lord willing, we’ll be ordaining a new elder at SonRise this coming year and this book helped me greatly.
Already finished: Live Like a Narnian, Joe Rigney – WOW! I can’t say enough good things about this book. I’ve read Lewis’ Chronicles many times and gleaned much from them in my own study but Rigney reveals much about the stories that I simply never knew. This treated my soul well, and I couldn’t stop reading it (I think it took 2 days to finish). Open it’s pages, breath deeply of Narnian air, it will change you.
January: Knowing God, J.I. Packer – This a best seller that I’ve never read. A good friend and retired pastor gave me a copy and I want to honor him by devoting time to read this wonderful book. (I’m already 5 chapters into it and it is good!)
February: The Priority of Preaching, Christopher Ash – ‘LISTEN UP: A Guide on Listening to Sermons’ is a great small read by Ash that I read in 2015 and gained much from. When I found that I had another book on my shelf by Ash it quickly joined my 2016 cast. Why a book on preaching? Aren’t I already a preacher? Yes I am, and I want to be a better one. This book will aid me in becoming a better expositor of God’s Word.
March: The Conviction to Lead, Albert Mohler – It’s always a good idea to read a book on leadership each year, especially for men like me who have careers in leadership. Mahler is an easy choice for a leadership book, his role at Southern Seminary/Boyce College has done much good to the Church Universal.
April: The Things of Earth, Joe Rigney – Taking the reverse of the popular hymn ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’ Rigney teaches when we fix turn our eyes upon Jesus the things of earth ‘grow strangely bright.’ Glorifying God by enjoying His gifts, classic Christian Hedonism, classic John Piper-esq, but from a new voice and a new angle. This will be good.
May: Calvin and the Calvinistic Tradition, Albert-Marie Schmidt – Historical take on Calvin and the tradition that grew out of his ministry. I am a glad part of this tradition, so an old take on an even older tradition should be healthy for me.
June: Ordinary, Michael Horton – After the American Church was blasted with powerful rhetoric in David Platt’s book ‘Radical’ Michael Horton has seen some negative effects of such a view on the Christian life, and this is his response. The Christian life is an ordinary life, before it is anything at all.
July: Prayer, John Bunyan – Each year every Christian should read a book on prayer. Last year I chose to read Tim Keller’s ‘Prayer’ and was changed. This year I hope to be similarly impacted by Bunyan through his offering on the massive discipline/joy of prayer.
August: The Forgotten Spurgeon, Iain Murray – Never read anything on Spurgeon before, I’ve quoted him from the pulpit many times, and have enjoyed reading a few of his sermons. Finally, I’ll be able to dive into the man himself. Eager to get into this one.
September: Kingdom Come, Sam Storms – I do not believe in a rapture. I am not premillennial. I do not believe in a literal tribulation. I believe we are in the last days right now. But most of my peers on the gulf coast of Florida do not believe these things. I want to build a stronger bulwark in the theological arsenal in my eschatology. Storms will aid me in this endeavor.
October: Calvin on the Christian Life, Michael Horton – October 2016 will mark the 499th anniversary of the Reformation. What else should I read this month than a book on Calvin? I love October.
November: The Trellis and the Vine, Marshall/Payne – I’ve read this before while in seminary, but now that I’m out and pastoring I need to re-read it to train my heart and my congregation about what true church growth looks like. This book is what we need to do this.
December: Preaching, Tim Keller – Again, I’m a pastor. I preach, on average, 48 weeks out of the year. That’s a lot of sermons. I need help to become a better handler of God’s Word. Keller is a classic communicator and he will come alongside me in this book for the joy of my own heart and the joy of my congregation.
I’m eager to get to many of these, while some of them I’m eager to get through. Either way, my heart, my family, and my church will benefit from me reading these books. Thus, I want to leave you with a question: what are your plans? Do you have them? No one naturally grows toward holiness. We all naturally drift toward laziness and sin. This type of plan of one of many ways to grow spiritually. I encourage you to plan out a reading schedule, it will help you, and aid you to grow in holiness and godly living. Take the risk, devote much time to reading robust Biblical books in 2016.