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Great leaders read books, and through their books, shape others. The word leadership is a topic on many agendas, whether in Church, politics, or business. Needless to say, not all the books are equally important or equally good.
I often wonder how God uses different books and writers to shape my life and especially my leadership. Just recently, after reading a chapter from a book, I told my wife that what I’ve read was better than most of the sermons I’ve ever heard. I like to read books that engage my thinking, challenge my spiritual life, and make me draw closer to the Lord. However, it doesn’t mean I only read Christian or religious books—I like reading a great variety of books.
J. Oswald Sanders in his Spiritual Leadership says (affiliate link):
He [the leader] should read in order to have fellowship with great minds. It is possible to hold communion with the greatest and godliest of men of all ages through the medium of their writings. The power for good of even one book is impossible to estimate.
Honestly, I believe Sanders is right. Great leaders read books and by doing this, they have (in a way) fellowship with other great minds. In the Body of Christ, we need to learn from each other.
In my post I want to share several books God used this year to draw me closer to Him:
1. The Making of a Leader by Dr. J. Robert Clinton (affiliate link)
I’ve learned from other leaders to read books about leadership for the rest of my life. I plan to do that because I believe one can grow in his/her leadership. However, growth does not happen out of the blue—it comes when one pays the price of growth.
I’ve read many books about leadership in my life, but I can honestly say that Dr. Clinton’s book is one of the best I’ve read. It was powerful to learn about the patterns God uses to shape
s His leaders—and to see that in the Bible.
2. In the Shadow of the Temple by Oskar Skarsaune (affiliate link)
I believe all great leaders read books or should read books about the Bible. Skarsaune is an incredible resource for Bible teachers and preachers in getting familiar with the context of 1st century Israel—the time when Jesus walked on earth (as we often say).
If you have questions regarding the Pharisees; or perhaps you want to know more about the Maccabean revolt or Hellenism in Israel. Maybe you desire to know more about 1st century Judaism or the diaspora Jews of the 2nd Temple period; or you wonder how important Jerusalem and the Temple for the Jewish people was or maybe you want to know more about the first Jewish believers. If all of that and much more, than Skarsaune’s book is one of the best resources you can find. His book is very well researched, and any Bible teacher should use it (especially if you’re tired of using non-academic resources like Wikipedia).
3. How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin Schmidt (affiliate link)
Most Christians do not know how much Christianity influenced the world. That’s especially difficult to learn in our secularized culture where one is required to be politically correct. Schmidt’s book points out how Christians and Christianity affected the world like no other religion.
When hundreds of books and articles paint Christianity in negative dark colors, Schmidt’s book comes as a compelling response. As Paul L. Maier says about Schmidt’s book
Even knowledgeable believers will be amazed at how many of our present institutions and values reflect a Christian origin. Not only countless individual lives but civilization itself was transformed by Jesus Christ. In the ancient world, his teachings elevated brutish standards of morality, halted infanticide, enhanced human life, emancipated women, abolished slavery, inspired charities, and relief organizations, created hospitals, established orphanages, and founded schools.
I would also recommend Stark’s book How the West Won (affiliate link).
4. Dethroning Jesus by Darrell L. Bock and Daniel B. Wallace (affiliate link)
So many books have been written in the last several years about the Person and ministry of Jesus, but so few are worth reading. The world and the Bible present two different Jesus—a true and a false Jesus. Many people are confused about who Jesus is and what He said.
In part, the confusion exists because of so many false claims made about Him by the so-called ‘gospels’ of Judah and Thomas (and the other counterfeit gospels). And because of people like Bart Ehrman and those from the Jesus Seminar who relentlessly attack the orthodoxy and reliability of the New Testament. By attacking the reliability of the Scriptures, they basically attack the Person of Jesus.
If you are interested in knowing how to defend the infallibility of the Gospels and the New Testament intelligently, I would say that Bock’s book is a wonderful start. In my view, every Church leader should know the basics presented in his book.
5. No Quick Fix by Andrew David Naselli (affiliate link)
This book was a pleasant surprise. It is a quick survey of the ‘Higher Life’ theology—where Higher Life Theology came from, what it is, and why it’s harmful. J. I. Packer said about ‘Higher Life Theology’
It is not much of a recommendation when all you can say is that this teaching may help you if you do not take its details too seriously. It is utterly damning to have to say, as in this case I think we must, that if you do take its details seriously, it will tend not to help you but to destroy you.
And J. C. Ryle said (in Holiness)
It is well known that Romish writers often maintain that the Church is divided into three classes—sinners, penitents, and saints. The modern teachers of this day who tell us that professing Christians are of three sorts—the unconverted, the converted, and the partakers of the ‘higher life’ of complete consecration. It appears to me to occupy very much the same ground! But whether the idea be old or new, Romish or English, I am utterly unable to see that it has any warrant of Scripture. The Word of God always speaks of two great divisions of mankind, and two only. It speaks of the living and the dead in sin—the believer and the unbeliever—the converted and the unconverted—the travelers in the narrow way and the travelers in the broad—the wise and the foolish—the children of God and the children of the devil.
Now, I don’t agree with everything Naselli said in his book (like his view on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit). Nevertheless, I think his book is a must-read for any believer.
What great books did you read this year? What books are you reading?
Right now, I read The Church of Cowards by Matt Walsh (affiliate link) and find it convicting and amazing at the same time.
Do you agree?
Let me know if there is anything special going on in your life or if you want prayer! Share this post with your friends and don’t forget to leave a comment.
If you plan on writing a book or if you know of someone who wants to write a book-check this link from Self Publishing School! (affiliate link)
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I am a blogger, writer, minister, husband to Olguta, and most importantly, a child of God. I am also a certified Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Teacher with The John Maxwell Team, and I am helping people reach their full potential.