Summer Reading List
The unofficial start of summer is just one week away, which means the time has come not only for finalizing all your summer plans, but for preparing your summer reading list! With a slower pace and a vacation along the way, summer is usually a great time for many of us to read more than we’re normally able to read the rest of the year. So in addition to good fiction (I plan on reading a little more Wendell Berry this summer!), let me encourage you to add books that will help strengthen your faith and your life with Christ this summer.
Below is a list of 13 excellent books, each of them available in our MCBC library, categorized by the heading under which they are located in the library. Be sure to check out one or two before your next trip this summer, and happy reading!
Rosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Comes with a House Key. Crossway, 2018. 220 pages.
From the cover: “What did God use to draw a radical, committed unbeliever to himself? Did God take her to an evangelistic rally? Or, since she had her doctorate in literature, did he use something in print? No, God used an invitation to dinner in a modest home, from a couple who lived out the gospel daily, simply and authentically.
“With this story of her conversion as a backdrop, Rosaria Butterfield invites us into her home to show us how God can use this same ‘radical, ordinary hospitality’ to bring the gospel to our lost friends and neighbors. Such hospitality sees our homes as not our own, but as God’s tools for the furtherance of his kingdom as we welcome those who look, think, believe, and act differently from us into our everyday, sometimes messy lives––helping them see what true Christian faith really looks like.”
Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. Moody, 2009 (First edition, 1932). 254 pages.
From the cover: “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret is the story of a man whose life was hidden with Christ. As Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor write, ‘Hudson Taylor had many secrets, yet they were but one—the simple, profound secret of drawing for every need, temporal or spiritual, upon the fathomless wealth of Christ.’
“Compelled to share the gospel with the unreached people of China, Hudson Taylor devoted his life to this purpose. Landing in China in 1854 and eventually founding China Inland Mission, Taylor lived his life in complete abandon of all things temporal and in utter dependence on God for his every need.”
Barbara Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Woman. Crossway, 2013 (First edition, 2001). 218 pages.
About the book: “Disciplines of a Godly Woman is not a legalistic ten-step plan or checklist. Rather it is Titus 2:3–5 in action, as Barbara Hughes becomes our sister, mother and grandmother in the Lord, challenging us to trust and honor God in the whole of life. After a lifetime in pastoral ministry and family life, Barbara knows the challenges we face as sinners living in a world crowded with ideas and pressures. She also knows that God’s Word provides the wisdom we need and the cross of Christ provides the grace we need. At a time when many younger women are seeking mentors, and many older women feel ill-equipped for the task, this book is a wise and loving answer to both.” – Claire Smith; Bible teacher and author
R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man. Crossway, 2006 (First edition, 1991). 229 pages.
About the book: “Every Christian man, whether a new believer or a mature Christian, will be challenged again and again by this remarkably wise and fascinating book. Kent Hughes skillfully weaves together the teachings of Scripture with real-life examples as he powerfully teaches us what true Christian manhood looks like in the ordinary details of our lives. I highly recommend this update of a book that is becoming a Christian classic.” – Wayne Grudem, Author and Theologian
Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say ‘I Do’. Shepherd Press, 2007. 183 pages.
From the cover: “Marriage is the union of two people who arrive at the altar toting some surprisingly large luggage. Often it gets opened right there on the honeymoon, sometimes it waits for the week after. The Bible calls it sin and understanding its influence can make all the difference for a man and woman who are building a life together. When Sinners Say “I Do” is about encountering the life-transforming power of the gospel in the unpredictable journey of marriage.”
Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Shepherd Press, 2005 (First edition, 1995). 218 pages.
About the book: “Tedd Tripp knows what he is talking about and who he is talking to. He knows children, he knows parents…and he knows the ways of God. This book teaches you what your goals should be and how to pursue these ends practically. It teaches you how to talk to your children and what to talk about. It will inspire you to become a different kind of parent. This is a masterful book.” – David Powlison, former executive director, CCEF, and senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling
Dayton Hartman, Jesus Wins. Lexham Press, 2019. 144 pages.
About the book: “Thinking about the end times can produce confusion, idle speculation, and fear. Dayton Hartman’s Jesus Wins reminds us that this doesn’t have to be the case. Instead, thinking biblically about eschatology brings clarity, confidence, and hope. This is because–as Hartman reminds us in biblical, theological, historical, and creedal ways–the simple truth is that Jesus wins. And that’s good news! This book will edify, inform, and encourage every Christian, but especially those who want to understand more clearly what the Bible says about The End.” – Matthew Y. Emerson, associate professor of religion, Oklahoma Baptist University
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God. Riverhead Books, 2008. 251 pages.
From the cover: “Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics, and even ardent believers, have about religion. Using literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and potent reasoning, Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one. To true believers he offers a solid platform on which to stand their ground against the backlash to religion created by the Age of Skepticism. And to skeptics, atheists, and agnostics, he provides a challenging argument for pursuing the reason for God.”
John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ. IVP, 2006 (First edition, 1986). 342 pages.
About the book: “John Stott rises grandly to the challenge of the greatest of all themes. All the qualities that we expect of him―biblical precision, thoughtfulness and thoroughness, order and method, moral alertness and the measured tread, balanced judgment and practical passion―are here in fullest evidence. This, more than any book he has written, is his masterpiece.” – J.I. Packer, professor and theologian
“Thorough, thoughtful and timely. As I read it, my mind was challenged, my heart was warmed, my faith was strengthened, and my focus was sharpened on the cross.” – Anne Graham Lotz, author
Nik Ripken, The Insanity of God. B&H, 2013. 322 pages.
From the cover: “The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.”
Bryan Chapell, Praying Backwards. Baker, 2005. 194 pages.
About the book: “Christians often say, “In Jesus’ name” to close their prayers. But is this truly a desire of the heart or a perfunctory “Yours Truly” to God? Bryan Chapell says we should begin our prayers in Jesus’ name we should be Praying Backwards. In this practical and inspiring book, he shows readers that to truly pray in Jesus’ name is to reorder one’s priorities in prayer and in life away from oneself and towards Jesus and his kingdom. It is to pray believing in the power and the goodness of the One who hears, and thus to pray boldly, expectantly, and persistently. Readers seeking to transform their prayer lives will find wonderful direction in Praying Backwards.”
Jonathan Leeman, Church Membership. Crossway, 2012. 132 pages.
From the cover: “Becoming a member of a church is an important, and often neglected, part of the Christian life. Yet the trend these days is one of shunning the practice of organized religion and showing a distaste or fear of commitment, especially of institutions.
Jonathan Leeman addresses these issues with a straightforward explanation of what church membership is and why it’s important. Giving the local church its proper due, Leeman has built a compelling case for committing to the local body.”
Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen, The True Story of the Whole World. Faith Alive, 2009 (First edition, 2004). 171 pages.
About the book: “Have you wondered how the Bible hangs together, or how to make sense of it all? The Bible isn’t a set of separate books: it’s a compelling drama that unfolds from beginning to end. This book unfolds Scripture in six “acts”–from the establishment of God’s kingdom to the “return of the King.” The authors clearly show God working in the world and in the lives of people to establish the great kingdom that has been God’s plan from the beginning. Learn how God’s story continues in our lives here and now, and how to discover our meaning and place in it.”
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.