5 Books that shaped me in 2014

Once again, I spent this past year reading a ton for my dissertation. Last year I was writing my prospectus, but now I’m writing my dissertation. The goal for 2015 is to FINISH that guy. So, again, I’ve been reading quite a bit for that.

I have done a reflection on the books I’ve read HERE and HERE. Throughout the year, it has become one of the most viewed pages each year. Anywho, here’s a list of different works that shaped me. These are in no particular order, just in the order that I was thinking of them.

1. The Pastor’s Justification – by Jared C. Wilson

I read this on a writing retreat (in which I completed my dissertation) and it was an excellent book on confessing pastoral oversights and sins I was committing. How I’ve often tried to find my value in ministry in MY work rather than the finished work of Christ. As a pastor of the gospel, Jared made it overly evident that I need not just preach the gospel, but NEED the gospel as well. It shaped me because I cried, confessed sin, nodded my head, and laughed. It not only shaped me but grounded me.

2. Crazy Busy – Kevin DeYoung

We’re all busy. Busy busy busy. Sometimes I hold myself to a certain standard of being busy when I just need to stop and think why I’m “so” busy. It’s a really SHORT book, but it was extremely helpful in pinpointing certain problems with my thinking, along with the art of saying “no.” It shaped me because it helped me take a deep breath and adopt normative expectations.

3. Contextualization in the New Testament – Dean Flemming

This book is a beast, but well worth your time. It’s covers biblical texts along with practical patterns of how people are encountering the gospel and living in light of the gospel. Not only does it scratch the itch of missiologists, but also contextual engagement of the gospel. But it’s not all technical, it’s also easy to read/follow. It shaped me because how we bridge the New Testament to the every day, matters. 

4. Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics – Graeme Goldsworthy

Sounds exciting, right? Hermeneutics. It is. All of us interpret the Scriptures whether we realize it or not. Graeme points us back to ensuring when we’re interpreting, we’re doing it with a lens of the gospel. Again, it’s kindof a beast, but well worth your time. It shaped me because it brought insight and reminders of how we read the Bible and why it’s important to read it in light of the gospel.

5. The Most Important Thing the Happened – Mark Steele

This is a series of short stories that I read while on vacation. It was powerful moment to read and lose myself in the wonder and excitement of a story. I may have liked this book so much because it was out of the norm of what my head is deep in. It shaped me because it showed me how all of our stories are separate, they’re one, and we’re more connected than we could every possibly see.