A friend stopped by my office to return a book he had borrowed the day before and I had to ask, “Not going to read it?” He said, no, I figured everyone needed a copy so I went out and bought it. He was right, and it got me thinking about what other books I wished everyone had. This is the list. These are the books (besides the Bible of course) I think every Christian (and definitely every pastor) should have sitting on a bookshelf ready for action. Click on them and buy them before you forget! Then buy them again for a friend.
- Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend - This is the book my friend was talking about. If you have ever heard someone say that they had bad boundaries, or someone needed to have boundaries, this is the book. Even if they had never read the book themselves, they were referring to the concepts introduced here. They put is best: “Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.”
- Helping People Through Grief by Delores Kuenning - SIDS, Murder, Adoption, Divorce, Cancer, our world is full of difficult experiences, and most leave us unsure of what to do. This book is for non-professionals. What to do, what to say, and (most importantly) what NOT to say in those situations. Everyone needs a copy (or two or three) to look over the appropriate chapter before returning that phone call or heading to the hospital.
- Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli - The idea that landed Jesus on the cross was that anyone, no matter how sinful, could be godly... that even messed up people could follow God. This book claims to be “spirituality for the rest of us,” the imperfect, flawed, busy people who don’t have enough time to pray, read their Bible, and sleep in sometimes on Sundays. In other words, it’s spirituality for all of us. This book is full of the kind of grace that give you permission to follow Jesus no matter who or where you are. And, it’s short!
- Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern - Ever had a moment when you were reading the Bible and a reaction made no sense (disciples leave their jobs with no notice) or Jesus seemed a little dramatic (driving people out of the temple with whips), or some odd detail was slipped in (mary thought the resurrected Jesus was a gardener)? This is the best place to start for finding the cultural explanations for those odd moments. Verse by verse in the New Testament, it gives contects to this ancient holy text.