i wrote here about how i am attempting to read 36 books this year. (36 books not counting books for sermon and teaching prep). this works itself out to 3 books a month. i have gotten behind but am slowly catching up. by the end of this month i should have 12 done and be back on track- we’ll see how close i get. (click here for part 1)

here are the last 4 books i have read in no particular order:

god’s big picture: tracing the storyline of the bible – vaughn roberts
one of the most seemingly harmless yet destructive questions that is asked countless times each week in sunday school, small groups, or one on one conversations is this: “what does this passage/verse/bible story, etc. mean to you?” while the bible has many applications, it has only one *meaning*. once we see this truth, the way we read the bible will never be the same- and rightly so!
this book is a wonderful introduction in how to read the scriptures as a whole- seeing the bible as telling one story- the story of god acting to save his people. an excellent and very easy read that i would recommend to anyone who wants to be a better bible reader and learner. also a very good introduction to the broader framework of hermeneutics.

scandalous: the cross and resurrection of jesus christ – d.a. carson

an amazing scholar yet surprisingly accessible author, carson takes a handful of texts and points to the scandalous nature of the death and resurrection of jesus. if you have been in church long, it is surprising how “unshocked” we have become toward the lengths to which god went to to demonstrate his righteousness and his love. while not overly technical, this is not a casual read. you will want to stop and ponder truths again and again. carson writes with a penetrating clarity and you will be glad you read this if you truly want to plumb the depths of this scandalous act of god.

crazy love: overwhelmed by a relentless god – francis chan
a book calling us to break free from casual christianity, chan writes in a fresh and energetic voice. in this book he urges teh christian to stop allowing our lost world and its cultures to dictate to us what is acceptable christianity and to live life passionately in obedience to god. living life the way chan recommends (and which he himself lives out) may get you labeled “crazy” by the world, but as chan points out, scripture simply calls it love for god.
a good and quick read that is highly motivating. only danger is to make certain suggestions, ideas, or examples and make them “law” for yourself and others. i dont think chan would want this, but it is always a danger when passion and truth combine in s in such a brief medium that doesnt intend to address the smaller details.

what is the gospel? – greg gilbert

i have never aspired to be an author, but have entertained the notion of maybe writing a small book specifically on what the gospel is. well, now i don’t have to because greg gilbert already has. a very small book (in the IX marks series of books for the church), it nonetheless is loaded with admonition to get the gospel right and to make it clear. this would be an excellent book to do in a discussion group/book study club or even sunday school. i will probably by a box to give away to believers and non-believers alike.