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What I Read This Month | July 2013

July 31, 2013

It was a hectic month with lots of work preparing for the fall and a vacation thrown in the mix, but I still managed to read a few great books this month. For those who have not read this blog in a while, I have started “What I Read” as a new monthly update to add to the discussion of what good books are out there. Hopefully these finds will encourage you! Let me know if you ever come across a great read. I am always looking to add to my list!

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Strengths Finder 2.0 – This book is more a tool than a book. With the book comes a code to take a test online that gives you your top 5 strengths out of 30+ categories. In doing this, the book’s aim is to help you focus on your strengths and the strengths of those around you to optimize yours and a group’s potential. I may start using this tool with ministry teams at Trinity as we try to do effective ministry that utilizes the gifts God has given us. For the record, my top 5 strengths are:  Achiever, Strategic, Focus, Competition, and Learner. But, you’ll have to get the book to learn what those mean!

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9 Marks of a Healthy Church – Mark Dever is a gift to God’s church, plain and simple. I have been around him in person only once, but he has an unusually pastoral heart. By that I mean that he is not your sappy, sweet, docile pastor. Instead, he is a guy who loves you enough to hold your feet to the fire. I felt like his sections on church discipline and church membership were especially helpful. This is worth a read for anyone who wants to encourage the growth of healthy churches.

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Bloodlines – I heard people say this was Piper’s best work since Desiring God and I may have to agree. He is equal parts pastor and scholar, which is why I love him! This book is both a personal reflection on a life lived largely in racism and the biblical antidote for racism which is the gathering of nations to worship Jesus. Piper goes beyond surface level examination and opens the gospel up in all its implications for racial harmony. I thought he was especially strong in explaining how the gospel not only puts an end to racism, but also gives us the power, motivation, and resources to do so.

Every-Good-EndeavorEvery Good Endeavor – I could not put this book down. Tim Keller has written a masterpiece here and one that will become a classic in the faith and works conversation. I always appreciate how down to earth, yet profound, Keller’s work is. He is accessible for a non-Christian, yet engaging enough for a mature one. He is simple for a non-academic, and complex enough to challenge a scholar. He avoids reductionistic arguments, which have run so rampant in the faith and works discussion. I’m not sure he even once mentions that work is for the purpose of sharing the gospel with co-workers. Instead he focuses on the beauty and glory of work as we are sub creators of the creator. He brings to light discussions on ethics, love for neighbor, quality, balance, and more in how they relate to a kingdom-oriented perspective on work. I enjoyed every page of this book and would recommend it to just about anyone.

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