Last Sunday morning my pastor, Mike Bullmore, included a bulletin insert with twenty-six book recommendations and brief comments. I’ve published it here with Mike’s kind permission, and I’ve updated it in several ways:
- combined it into one list: The bulletin insert has two sides. One recommends old standards: “If you are relatively new to CrossWay, these resources are selected with you in mind as they represent values that are foundational and particularly dear to us.” I’ve placed an asterisk (*) by these books. The other side highlights new additions to the CrossWay bookstore.
- added ten more books from a similar, previous bulletin insert: Again, I’ve placed an asterisk (*) by books under the category “Old Standards.”
- added bibliographic information (e.g., author, subtitles, publisher, year)
- added book covers
- arranged the books in alphabetical order
- added some comments in brackets
Randy Alcorn. The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance. Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2003.
If we want to be like Jesus, we must be “full of two things: grace and truth.” Discover these two must always work together in order to minister Jesus Christ to others.
Randy Alcorn. The Purity Principle: God’s Safeguards for Life’s Dangerous Trails. Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2003.
Deals with the sensitive but timely issue of purity, in our highly sexualized culture. Helps you to think through the consequences of sexual impurity, God’s design for sex, and how to successfully battle for personal purity. A helpful book for singles, couples and parents.
* Randy Alcorn. The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving. Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2005.
At some point we all need to soberly consider the radical and liberating teaching of Jesus about wealth. This little book serves that purpose. [Also available as an audio book.]
* Jerry Bridges. The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006.
Helps you grasp the key principle of the “gospel for believers” and then helps you with a vision for grace-motivated progressive sanctification.
Jerry Bridges. The Fruitful Life: The Overflow of God’s Love Through You. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006.
Discover what genuine Christian character is, how it is cultivated, and how it is expressed in the nine “fruit of the spirit.” Discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
Jerry Bridges. The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the Liberating Power of the Cross . . . Every Day. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2003.
We have learned from Bridges that the gospel is the very lifeblood of our daily walk with God. This book helps us see how the gospel empowers our daily progress in holiness.
Jerry Bridges. I Will Follow You, O God: Embracing Him As Lord in Your Private Worship. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook, 2001.
Written as a personal devotion and is a companion volume to I Exalt You, O God. In this book, explore what it means to really fear God. You might be surprised. It is also an excellent aid to help you develop a deeper relationship with God—practical, everyday applications.
Jerry Bridges. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007.
Helps us meet God on a deeper level by identifying and confronting sins in our lives that he calls “refined or subtle.” Over it all, he reminds us to apply the gospel every day.
* D. A. Carson. A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992.
A very compelling treatment of the Apostle Paul’s heart for a Christian’s growth as seen through his prayers in Scripture. [This is probably my favorite devotional book by DAC. Enlightening, convicting, motivating, and edifying.]
ESV Study Bible. Edited by Wayne Grudem. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.
A valuable tool to help you in your own life in the Word. Beautiful maps and illustrations. Helpful background articles and text notes. [See the official ESVSB website for more info.]
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.
Challenges us to ask, “In your pursuit of godliness have you left Jesus behind?” She then explains how God’s love personally transforms us and our daily lives.
* Wayne Grudem. Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999.
A great question-answerer that can also make for some rich devotional reading. Available also in a fuller version called Systematic Theology. You should have something like this in your home as a reference tool. [Grudem’s Systematic Theology is available in three levels: elementary (Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know), intermediate (Bible Doctrine), and advanced (Systematic Theology), which isn’t really “advanced” in the sense of being specialized and challenging to read; it’s just more thorough than the other two.]
* Dave Harvey. When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage. With a foreword by Paul David Tripp. Wapwallopen, PN: Shepherd, 2007.
An honest look at the reality of marriage. Since we still struggle with our flesh, expect problems to arise, but also expect that God’s grace is sufficient for all our needs. Brilliant final chapter. [Also available as an audio book.]
* John Bunyan. Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress. Edited by Oliver Hunkin. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.
A CrossWay favorite that simply can’t be beat for illustrating the joyful and dangerous realities of living the Christian life. Every home that has children in it should have this book in it also.
Timothy Keller. The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith. New York: Dutton, 2008.
A surprisingly fresh treatment of the familiar parable of the prodigal son. As he looks at both of the sons, he leads us into a more profound understanding of the gospel. [Also available as an audio book.]
Timothy Keller. The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Dutton, 2008.
Written for the skeptic, but also for the Christian who is looking for answers to his own doubts or the doubts of a friend. Keller encourages believers to engage skeptics in a spirit of grace in the hopes of leading them to God. [A New York Times best-seller. Also available as an audio book.]
Sally Lloyd-Jones. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. Illustrated by Jago. Grand Rapids: ZonderKidz, 2007.
Read with the children in your life many favorite Bible stories, but with a new twist. Every story really tells one big story; the story of salvation and the One who came to save.
* Kris Lundgaard. The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1998.
A very readable and very helpful treatment of the reality of indwelling sin. Will give you hope and weaponry as you fight the good fight.
* C. J. Mahaney. Living the Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2006.
[recent comment] A small book with a big message that everyone should read. Helps you battle legalism, condemnation and subjectivism.
[previous comment] A powerful extended meditation on the great truth of the atonement. Read this to stoke your affections for Christ.
[Also available as an audio book. God used this book in combination with CrossWay to introduce us to a gospel-centered approach to life. Refreshing. Satisfying. Christ-exalting.]
C. J. Mahaney, ed. Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.
A cautionary read about the sin of worldliness that affects every believer and easily infiltrates the church. Deals specifically with media, music, possessions, and the clothes we wear. [Cf. my review in Themelios and links to the the MP3s on which this book is based.]
* Andrew Murray. Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness. Reprint, Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2001.
A classic by Andrew Murray, discusses the wonderful blessings to be found in true humility. Includes a brief biography of the author. [This book is certainly edifying, but I would be remiss not to mention that Andrew Murray was probably the most prominent devotional author in the early Keswick Movement. I wrote my first dissertation on Keswick theology, and my thesis is that it is theologically erroneous.]
John Newton. Out of the Depths: The Autobiography of John Newton. Revised and updated by Dennis R. Hillman. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003.
The autobiographical account of John Newton, the former slave trader and the writer of the well known hymn “Amazing grace!” Newton candidly shares the miseries of his sin-sick life as a seafaring man and his moving experience of the mercy of God.
* J. I. Packer. Knowing God. 1973. Reprint, Downers Grove, IVP, 1993.
A classic by J. I. Packer. Probably the most influential Christian book of the last half-century. [I first read this in high school. Gripping. Formative.]
John Piper. Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce. Wheaton: Crossway, 2007.
A small seventy-six page biography about an eighteenth century parliamentarian who courageously fought for the abolition of the African slave trade in England. This book will lead you to a greater understanding of the source of Wilberforce’s perseverance and success and will greatly encourage your own faith. [Also available as an audio book.]
* John Piper. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. 2d ed. Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2003.
John Piper’s seminal book. Recognized by many as one of the most influential Christian books of the last half-century. [Also available as an audio book. Cf. my thoughts on Desiring God, summarized in this sentence: “This richly theological and warmly devotional best-seller has been the means for sending countless Christians on a trajectory towards theology that is increasingly joyful, robust, God-centered, Christ-exalting, and gospel-treasuring.”]
* John Piper. Don’t Waste Your Life. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.
This is probably John Piper’s most influential recent book. A clarion call to . . . well, the title says it. [Also available as an audio book. Appropriate for just about anyone, especially teenagers and young adults.]
John Piper. The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God. 2d ed. Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2000.
Continues his work of helping us to focus our minds and hearts on God alone, so that we might find our happiness in Him alone. Many speak of this as Piper’s best book. [Also available as an audio book. This is the first Piper book I read, and it is my favorite. It may be the most influential book (outside of the Bible) that I’ve read.]
* Gary and Betsy Ricucci. Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace. With an introduction by C. J. Mahaney. Wheaton: Crossway, 2006.
A solid introductory primer on Christian marriage. The chapters on the role of husbands and wives are themselves worth the investment.
R. C. Sproul. The Prince’s Poison Cup. Illustrated by Justin Gerard. Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2008.
A child’s allegory that winds the message of redemption with the tale of a sick little girl, a kindly grandpa, a special prince, and a golden poison cup. Another resource to instruct your children (and yourself) in the glory of the gospel. [Also available as an audio book.]
* Tedd Tripp. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Rev. and updated. Wapwallopen, PN: Shepherd, 1995.
Tripp has served many of us very effectively, and continues to be a great resource for parents just getting started and a great reminder for all of us of what parenting is all about. [Also available as an audio book.]
Tedd and Margy Tripp. Instructing a Child’s Heart. Wapwallopen, PN: Shepherd, 2008.
Provides parents with biblical insight into helping their children seek and recognize the wisdom of God as applied in their own lives.
* Milton Vincent. With a foreword by Mike Bullmore. A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love (Bemidji, MN: Focus, 2008).
Needs to be in every home and put to use in every heart. The reasons to preach the gospel to yourself are priceless. [Cf. my review in Themelios.]
* The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1975.
An excellent guide for your own prayer life. It will help you preach the gospel to yourself morning by morning. [Also available as an audio book read by Max McClean (2005). Sovereign Grace Ministries produced a music CD (2006) based on these prayers.]
Gene Edward Veith Jr. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. Wheaton: Crossway, 2002.
Explains the doctrine of vocation as God wishes us to understand it: God is truly present and working through us in our everyday, mundane tasks. Encourages us to keep on keeping on in commonplace activities with an eternal perspective in mind.
Edward T. Welch. Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest.
Dr. Welch calls himself a “fear specialist,” not because he has a PhD in Counseling Psychology, but because he has experienced fear himself. He echoes God’s voice of compassion and a hopeful strategy for our “battle with fear and worry.”
Jim Wilson. How to be Free From Bitterness. 2d ed. Moscow, ID: Canon, 2007.
A series of short essays that takes a straight look at the sins of bitterness, anger, and other similar sins in our closest relationships. Shows how God can transform our damaged relationships through His love.