I read a blog post by someone else where they suggested books to read in the upcoming year and I loved the idea. But I also wanted to personalize it by suggesting some of the books I read in 2012 and explain how they spoke to me. I also wanted to reveal some of the books that I will be reading in 2013, in case anyone wanted to join in. I love this idea and I think I am going to keep this as a New Year’s tradition on my blog (which means next year it will be better because I will be planning ahead of time and collecting information and thoughts as I read them). You can also connect with me on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/9326025-tina) and see what I am currentlly reading. Goodreads also has a 2013 reading challenge, therefore I have challenged myself to read 24 books in 2013 (I am really hoping to read more, but felt I should start with a reasonable goal the first time, especially with resolving to blog on a regular basis).
So here is my review of 2012 in books:
From Fear to Freedom: Living as Sons and Daughters of God by Rose Marie Miller
This was an amazing book from a personal standpoint. It was a book that God very clearly had brought to my attention, and after reading it I knew what He wanted to teach me through it. Rose Marie Miller is poignantly honest as she speaks through her own testimony, but it was so often like I was reading about myself. She speaks of the characteristics of an orphan mindset as opposed to living as a child of God, such as living in our own strength instead of in Christ’s transforming power. I read this book on my flight home from Nicaragua, after living there for six and a half weeks with friends there adopting a sibling group of four children. So many times the children would handle a situation as an orphan would and I would feel God whispering to my heart of times I act like that towards Him.
Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis
“People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.” – Beth Clark (Author of the Introduction)
This book was referred to me by the same friend who is adopting the sibling group of four (we share a heart for orphans and therefore she knew upon reading this book that I would love it). It is one of those books that I know I will read again, probably many times, which my friend already has done. There are so many things in this book that are both convicting and inspiring.
Katie Davis writes, “People from my first home say I’m brave. They tell me I’m strong. They pat me on the back and say, ‘Way to go. Good job.’ But the truth is, I am not really very brave; I am not really very strong; and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am simply doing what God has called me to do as a person who follows Him. He said to feed His sheep and He said to care for ‘the least of these,’ so that’s what I’m doing, with the help of a lot people who make it possible and in the company of those who make my life worth living”
To read this story of an ordinary girl doing something extraordinary through Christ, as a response to Christ’s love, spurs me on to live boldly for Christ in His transforming power. I cannot live boldly for Him in my own strength, but I can “do all things in Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)
Real Life Discipleship: Building Churches that Make Disciples by Jim Putnam
I read this book as part of a small group as my church moves towards being more intentional about making disciples, but it was very informative even in my own walk with Christ. As it teaches through spiritual maturity from a standpoint of training up disciples, it is also revealing about your own spiritual maturity and areas where you need to grow. I also found this understanding of spiritual maturity has helped my relationships as I can see the role spiritual maturity plays within the relationship.
The Fitting Room: Putting on the Character of Christ by Kelly Minter
My finding this book was unintentional and ironically after beginning the book recognized Kelly Minter’s name as the author of a study that my small group was going to begin upon my returning home from Nicaragua. What I love about Kelly Minter is her realness. She is funny and uses daily life illustrations. It appears that she also has a heart for foreign missions, is also a single woman of God (like myself), and clearly we both love to write and study God’s Word, therefore I related well with her and saw similarities to my own life.
Kelly Minter writes, “For it is out of the unfathomable riches of Christ’s love for us that all these characteristics become attainable virtues: First, because His love gives us a new life, literally allowing us to cast off our selfish natures and clothe ourselves in the character of Christ. Second, because knowing we’re loved gives us the confidence and freedom to live in this new way. When we know and believe God loves us, the biblical virtues are no longer like school uniforms we begrudgingly put on but exquisite clothing we are eager to slip into. When we are confident we are loved, Paul’s list of Christlike characteristics become less chores and more delights we are eager to embody, because we trust the ways in which God has called us to live. We understand that these characteristics will not only bless those around us but will be beneficial for us as well. This is all a distant cry from moralism or behavior management.”
Fearless by Max Lucado
Oh where to begin. I had seen this book in a catalog and made a mental note that I wanted to read it, but had done nothing to pursue reading it. While at a friend’s house, I was asked if I wanted to borrow any books, I took a look at her bookshelf as I thought about how many books I was already in the process of reading and therefore how I really shouldn’t start another one. Then I saw Fearless on her shelf and immediately picked it up. Then it was a done deal and I had to borrow it. I read the book that week and loved it. I struggle with fear and tend to live according to my fear, so it was not hard to figure out that Christ wanted to teach me a few things before I left for Nicaragua. Many of the areas in this book were areas where I struggle with fear. I would definitely suggest this book to anyone else who struggles with fear.
What I am planning to read in 2013:
Nothing is Impossible with God: Reflections on Weakness, Faith, and Power by Rose Marie Miller
Love Does by Bob Goff
Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan
Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City by Timothy Keller
Don’t waste your life by John Piper