Unshelved ~ What I Read in August, 2017

J. Oswald Sanders writes in his well-known and practical book, Spiritual Leadership, “Indeed, if we read merely to stock our heads with ideas, to feel superior to others, or to appear learned, then our reading is useless and vain.” Such a quote captures both the importance and the integrity reading. Books are an important part of the Christian life, but they are not an end in and of themselves. Instead, they should point us to the end by building up and causing us to draw nearer to the Lord.
Because of its importance, for my own life, I have placed a high emphasis on reading, both of Scripture and of extraneous materials. As such, I have found myself desiring to motivate others to do the same. It is my hope that by sharing what I read this past month, you will be motivated to read and if you are struggling to try to find something to read, perhaps this list will give you some ideas. Admittedly, my reading was a bit slower this month, however,  I could classify my books into the following two primary categories:
  • Discipleship & Development: While reading is always about development, even fiction, I try to be intentional in reading books that I know are solid and will motivate me to move forward in my Christian walk. The bulk of reading should come from Scripture and for me part of that feeding upon the Lord’s word involves a regular plan to read through the Bible once a year and this month, utilizing the ESV Reader’s Bible set, I completed the Wisdom Books volume. Such applicable teaching coincided well with J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Discipleship, a wonderful and practical book that Moody Press is repackaging and republishing this year along with Sanders other books in this trilogy (Spiritual Leadership and Spiritual Maturity) books that I would recommend to anyone. Further reading took me into the doctrine of God with God Is and God’s sovereign care of individuals in Steal Away Home, a biography of Charles Spurgeon and former slave Thomas Johnson. Finally, Jeff Goins released a book this month about sustaining one’s lifestyle as an artist doing what a person loves (such as being an author) in Real Artists Don’t Starve.
  • Destruction & Death: This is where you will find most of my fiction reading because I like my mysteries, but not all of them are fiction. After four months, I finally completed the Harry Potter series by reading through the last two books, The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. I’ve been curious for years to see what the noise was about with these books and wanted to be informed if my children ever desire to read them. I’m still deciding if I will write my thoughts on the subject or not. Along those same lines was The Kill Artist, the first book in the Gabriel Allon series by famed author Daniel Silva. If that’s all the fiction, what about the nonfiction in this category? Four Princes, a fascinating book by John Julius Norwich that explores the connection between Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, and Suleiman the Magnificent. Regardless of whether or not they are tales of fantasy, fiction, non-fiction one thing is certain: you can see the search for morality in a lost world of characters who, not understanding God, have no real grasp of what goodness is. They point much to the state of the world in which we live.
There were some fun reads in there. There were many provocative reads as well that caused me to think intently about who God is. This is certainly something we need to think more about and consider the effects of a world without God.

If you are interested in any of the books mentioned above, the links below will take you to any reviews I have done if they are available as well as to their page on Amazon if you are interested in purchasing them. Note: As an Amazon affiliate, if you click the links below a very small portion is directed to me for the maintenance of this website. Please know I am grateful for any help in that regard.