This year, I set a goal to read more books than the previous year, in which I didn’t make a goal at all. In all this reading, three titles have really stood out from the rest and I wanted to share them with you. I hope they will bless and benefit you as well.
Here are three must read Christian books this year:
1. Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane C. Ortlund
Without a doubt, Gentle and Lowly is my favorite book this year. This book focuses on Christ’s heart for us and will deepen your understanding of various Scripture verses. Gentle and Lowly presses out the riches of Christ’s heart in every possible nuance with the desire that we will truly know His rich love for us.
I don’t think any reader could come away from this book without growing in the knowledge of God’s love for sinners (which we all are) far more than we’ve know it before.
In my opinion, this is the number one book to purchase right now and start reading, letting Jesus meet you right where you are through the truths of His Word about His own very heart.
A few quotes from the book:
“You might know that Christ died and rose again on your behalf to rinse you clean of all your sin; but do you know his deepest heart for you? Do you live with an awareness not only of his atoning work for your sinfulness but also of his longing heart amid your sinfulness?”
“Whatever is crumbling all around you in your life, wherever you feel stuck, this remains, un-deflectable: his heart for you, the real you, is gentle and lowly. So go to him. That place in your life where you feel most defeated, he is there; he lives there, right there, and his heart for you, not on the other side of it but in that darkness, is gentle and lowly. Your anguish is his home. Go to him. ‘If you knew his heart, you would.’”
2. The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel by Dean Inserra
In The Unsaved Christian, Dean Inserra details different kinds of cultural “Christians” who may or may not be truly saved. These include:
- Those who think they are saved simply because they or their parents attend a church.
- Those who think they are saved because of participating in a rite of passage (such as Baptism or Holy Communion).
- Those who think they are good enough because of their morality or that they hold to Christian values.
- Those who believe in God or only pray to God during crisis or when in need despite yet have never heard the Gospel and given their whole lives to Christ.
Yikes! This reveals a sad truth that there are people who think they are saved for all the wrong reasons (such as those listed above). This shows that they do not rightly know the Gospel. This could include those in the very churches we attend or even among our family and friends. This book brought me to a place of serious prayer for any who might not truly know or understand the Gospel.
A few quotes from the book:
“…the hallmark of Cultural Christianity is typically familiarity (or even comfort) with biblical principles without a sense of personal need for salvation.”
“The Bible is clear that ‘there is no one righteous, not even one’ (Rom. 3:10), but Cultural Christians often don’t think in terms of righteous and unrighteous. They think in terms of being a good person as defined by Western standards of values and ethics.”
”Cultural Christianity is the most underrated mission field in America.”
3. Thou Shall Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics by Eugene Cho
In Thou Shall Not Be a Jerk, Eugene Cho explains how we as Christians are not to forget that we are called to represent Christ even in our politics and how we treat those who we disagree with.
God’s ways and truth should inform our political beliefs and practice, not the other way around. He issues a necessary reminder—especially to believers in America—that we are to be about Jesus, loving as He loves and seeking His kingdom first, not the agenda of a nation or political party.
This book will challenge believers of every belief and political persuasion concerning the issues before us. You will be left with much to ponder as you work through this must read book.
Some quotes from the book:
“…cultural Christianity is when our theology is held captive by our politics rather than our politics being informed and even transformed by our theology.”
“…we shouldn’t ever profess blind loyalty to a party. And by party, I mean any party.”
“To devalue the life of another, to be a jerk, is counter to the kingdom. To be a jerk, to revel in earthly shouting matches, sells short the radically different way of Christ. It’s a poor representation of Christianity and also a foolish political move. Before all of our best arguments, let’s first show love. That’s what we’re supposed to be known for, after all.”
I’d love to know what books you’ve been reading, especially any that have impacted you this year, so let me know! You can also find my other book recommendations and reviews here.
Disclaimer: Book reviews that appear on the IPFJ website do not mean IPFJ agrees with or endorses everything the author writes, believes or stands for.