I know that Christmas is four weeks away, and that sounds like oceans of time, but it isn’t really. Because I work in a bookstore, and because books make amazing Christmas presents, I want to take a minute and give you some of my top-recommended books that you won’t find faced out on shelves or “pushed” by marketing machines. They are fantastic, however, and you won’t want to miss them. Ready? Here we go.
Scarlet Inkwell’s Top Five Non-Fiction Books for Christians 2012:
John Ortberg has long been a favorite of mine, and this book is the best he has ever written. It is a negative space look at Christ, focusing not so much on His life and ministry on Earth but how He literally transformed the arts, sciences, literature, history, and cultures like no other person in the history of the world. Ortberg builds powerfully towards his conclusion, making the claim that Jesus is no Man, but Someone much, much greater and supports the claim by pointing to shape that He has left behind as proof. This is one of the books I categorize in the thin stack of books that have both changed me, and the way that I look at the world. It will encourage you, exhort you, surprise you, challenge you, and most of all make you catch your breath in wonder as Ortberg unveils this Man.
J. Lee Grady is an ordained minister, a contributing editor to Charisma Magazine, and an award-winning journalist. In Fearless Daughters of the Bible he highlights the unusual, whimsical, dynamic, and daring women that the Lord uses to write His grand love story.
From daughters who boldly petitioned Moses for their own land as they had no brothers and they would receive no inheritance in the promised land because of this, to Deborah who judged Israel, to Jael who seized an opportunity to dispatch an enemy who had claimed sanctuary in her husband’s tent, the women highlighted here are the ones that listened to Yahweh and not man. It’s a challenging read and if you allow it, it will be an exhorting read as well.
Ever been pinned in a conversation by “If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?”, if you have then this book needs to fly to the top of your “must read” stack. If you haven’t been caught in that kind of conversation, odds are you will soon. Trust me, it’s much more pleasant to have some ideas to offer back when this come up then to just stammer and turn red in the face.
Geisler is a master of the art of explaining, taking huge theological concepts and breaking them down part by part to help you not only understand them yourself, but then explain them to others who have questions about good and evil. The book isn’t long, and each chapter is self-contained so you don’t have to read the book cover to cover, though you might find yourself doing just that.
If you listen to the CD The Story when it came out last year, you were probably floored by the amazing amount of talent on the CD. What you might not have known, is that most if not all the lyrics were written by one person, Nichole Nordeman
In her book Love Story, she does with printed words the same thing she did with the CD. Each Biblical person she highlights has their story woven (both the dark and the light) into the grand and glorious tapestry of His story. She does more than that though in these pages. Nichole shares from her own life, the dark and ugly as well as the flashes of brilliance, in an eloquent plea for every reader to see just how much they matter and just how much they are loved. After all this is His story, but He’s writing it because He loves us. It really is a Love Story.
Robert Morgan has written several devotionals, but this is his finest. You can start the devotional any time, as the pages are simply labeled Day One, Day Two,Day Three etc. Each takes a verse from the Bible using the word “all” in it. From this starting place Robert shares his own anecdotes, or amazing stories of the saints that have gone on before like Fanny Crosby, Charles Spurgeon, and Dr. Livingston. Each story or idea ties into the scripture for that day and centers around that ‘all’ in the scripture.
There are prayers and psalms in it too, and thoughts from contemporary Christians as well as those that are now in the great cloud of witnesses. It is a deep devotional, but the readings for each day are short. I find myself reading two or three at a time, they’re so wonderfully meaty.
So, those are my top five non-fiction Christian titles for 2012. What books should I definitely NOT MISS this year? I’ve still got space on my Christmas list! C’mon, which titles have slipped by me? Let me know in the comments.