are to the preacher what meat is to the Atkins diet. I’ve simply never known
a really effective preacher who was not also an avid reader. In fact, most of
the great ones are reading all the time.
why every year in the January-February issue of Preaching,
we offer a special focus on books. It’s important for preachers to be able to
sift through the thousands of titles published each year to be able to identify
the ones which will be most valuable to their lives and ministry. We aren’t
able to include all the good ones that are available, but we work hard to recognize
and share some of the most important books released over the past year.
an editor and preacher – a dangerous combination if there ever was one – I spend
most of my days (and often nights) working with words, either reading them or
writing them. I always have at least one (and usually two or three) books going
at a time: one or more at the office, one by the recliner, one by the bedside
table, one in the car for my treadmill time at the YMCA, and so on. Allow me
to share some of the books which made the most impact on me this year. I know
such lists are usually a “top ten,” but I just couldn’t stop at ten.
So sue me. (Click on a title for more information or to purchase from Amazon.com)
Divine Conspiracy (Harper San Francisco) by Dallas Willard has been
available for about five years now, but I had never read it until this fall.
Now I suspect it’s one of those I’ll re-read before long. Willard shares wonderful
insights on spiritual formation. This is a book any preacher (or believer) will
read with profit.
book that’s been around for several years is A
Godward Life (Multnomah) by John Piper. This book includes 120 brief
readings and meditations designed to help the reader in his or her “quest
to savor the supremacy of God in all of life.” This is one of those books
so filled with wisdom that practically every reading lights a fire (and a sermon)
in my mind.
for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce by Kevin Belmonte (NavPress)
inspired me with its tale of the bold, faithful Christian leader who helped
lead Britain to outlaw the slave trade. Wilberforce is a model to which we should
point young Christians as a demonstration of how God can use one person to change
(Houghton Mifflin) by historian Stephen W. Sears isn’t the first book I’ve read
on that climactic Civil War battle, but it is a well-written reminder of the
price our nation paid to eradicate the evil of slavery from our midst. Sears’
well-written narrative puts the spotlight on the bravery of individuals who
made a difference on the battlefield and in our history.
(Regnery) by David Limbaugh was an eye-opening (and at times frightening) recounting
of the way in which our culture has shifted at many points toward an anti-Christian
bias. Those who think the term “culture wars” is overblown haven’t
read this book.
always looking for books that will help me work more effectively; the only problem
is that most of them want me to change something. One of those which persuaded
me that change may not be so bad is Getting
Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Penguin Books) by
David Allen. It is filled with helpful ideas that will make me more productive
if I ever get around to doing them.
course, much of my reading focuses on homiletics, and a number of excellent
books on preaching hit my reading list in the past year. In addition to our
book of the year (see page 14 of this issue), 360-Degree
Preaching (Baker) by Michael Quicke, some of my favorites were The
Passion-Driven Sermon (Broadman & Holman) by Jim Shaddix, Preaching
That Changes Lives (Thomas Nelson) by Michael Fabarez., and Preaching
With Bold Assurance (Broadman & Holman) by Hershael York and Bert
one of the most enjoyable books I read this year was Seabiscuit
by Laura Hillenbrand. In a beautifully-written tale, the author shows how an
unlikely band of people achieved more than any could have individually dreamed.
Who could have guessed that a story about a racehorse could be so fascinating?
that 2004 is upon us, I’m looking forward to a whole new batch of great books.
As the T-shirt slogan says: “So many books. So little time.”
Duduit is the Editor of Preaching magazine.