Recommended Books

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The goal of this page is to give you readable books on a variety of issues. There is no point in compiling a list of books that no one outside of academia would ever want to open. None of these books are scary long or technical, they are reasonable in length & practical in nature.

APRIL 2019: WOW! Finally back at this again…unbelievable. Well, you’ve had 4 years to catch up on all these wonderful books listed below, so now it is time for some fresh book recommendations!

In 2019, my goal is to read 100 books…that’s right…100 books in 1 year. The Century Club (I plan to make myself a T-shirt upon completion). So this section will get updated as I make my way through the year of reading with some of the best 100!

On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior

This is the first book by Karen Swallow Prior that I had read, although I’ve followed her on Twitter for awhile & found her thoughts (especially on theological fronts) to be refreshing yet grounded…so when I saw this book was available, I jumped at the chance to read it. And here’s what I found, this book gave me a desire to open up other books in a way that I had never experienced before. I’ve always thought myself to be well-rounded when it comes to books, but this led me down some roads into classics that had bought on a whim in the past but remained in mint condition. All that to say, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to get encouraged to start reading more.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Here’s why I loved this book & I love this writer…there are moments throughout this book where I sentence is crafted & I have to stop reading to ponder…I mean…really ponder. Marilynne Robinson is one of the more brilliant writers I’ve read over the past 5 years & what’s incredible is that the subject material comes from so many different places. So if I were to say, which of the Marilynne Robinson books would be the best to start on…I would choose this one. You won’t regret it, and you’ll think about the deep things of life because of reading her work.

Running On Empty by Marshall Ulrich

This is the kind of book that I devour in no time. It is a story of one man & his running across America, but it is also the story of a man making sense of his life…both what’s gone well as well as the regrets. I can get behind that as I’ve had seasons of life where I’ve had to do the same…although I usually do that kind of thinking as I take a shower, not run across America.

MAY 2015: Well it has been a year since I have added new book recommendations. It isn’t that I stopped reading, but I just forgot to put my recommendations on here! Sorry about that…

So here you go, three books I’m reading right now. Hope you will find these helpful to you!

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney

My church is beginning a new summer sermon series on spiritual discipline. So I have been going back through this book as I prepare to be a part of the teaching in the series. This is just one of my all-time favorite books. Don Whitney gets to the heart of discipline and connects these disciplines back to godliness each and every time. If you are a Christian, you need to read this book!

Kept for Jesus by Sam Storms

I am reading through this book right now with a friend & thoroughly enjoying it. It is theological, but practical. That is always a tricky balance. Storms does it quite well and I think this is a great book on a subject that gets brought up often in my interactions with Christians. So read it and find confidence in Christ as you read this solid book!

Do Over by Jon Acuff

This is a book that has just been encouraging and different from my usual books. It has really pressed me to think about how I view work, how I encourage others as they deal with their work & just to hustle in everything I do. It really does a great job of showing how passion and joy in your work can make such a huge difference. If you feel bogged down in your job, read this book & you’ll gain some insight!

MAY 2014: After attending the T4G Conference in April, I started working through some of the books that I brought back with me. So during this stretch I read & re-read a few of them because they were so helpful & timely. God is good to give us minds to consider His truth & time to gain perspective on truth.

Taking God At His Word by Kevin DeYoung

DeYoung is easy to read…I mean that. He uses words carefully & seriously, but also in a lively & engaging way. That’s a tough balance, but he does it quite well in this book. If you are a person that wants to be convinced that the Bible is worth trusting & reading or a person that wants to consider the merits of the Bible or a person that has ever thought about the value of the Bible…then read this book. Very short, very good, very timely as we live in an era of skepticism when it comes to the Bible.

Truth Matters by Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock & Josh Chatraw

This books takes on some of the popular criticisms of biblical, historical Christianity. That is such a need in the arena of thought! So many people are questioning the validity of Christianity & so many Christians are not finding resources to help them address those questions. This book is dipping your toes into the pool of defending the faith. I’m considering going through this tiny, but helpful, book with members from my church. I think resources like this are the way to go for churches down the road: instructive, to the point & not daunting, but doable.

MARCH 2014: This past month I started a teaching series for our Young Adult Wednesday night gathering (UNDERGROUND) entitled, “The Gospel & __________.” So we started with the issue of Identity…so all the books I’ve been involved with during the past month lean that way. Maybe you’ll find one of them to be helpful!

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent

A trendy word among evangelicals today is “gospel” & that’s a good thing. It becomes dangerous when we use it without understanding it. This book will help you unpack the beauty of the gospel & see how it is worth loving & remembering consistently.

Sex & Money: Pleasures that Leave You Empty & Grace that Satisfies by Paul David Tripp

If you read this blog for any period of time, you will most likely read a thought that I wrote down because of something I read by Paul Tripp. He’s great to read because he’s thorough, grounded, & biblical. This book is timely. It addresses our tendency to create idols that will never be worthy of our worship & points us to the one that is worth every bit of worship.

Found In Him: The Joy of Incarnation & Our Union with Christ by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

I like the way Fitzpatrick writes. There is a real sense of joy & amazement in the work of God through her writing. I think you’ll be pressed to see the significance of being “in Him” through this book. For those wanting to understand the idea of identity in Christ, give this book a read.

Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll

I don’t know what your opinion, if any, is of Mark Driscoll. He seems to be a pretty polarizing figure. But I found this book to say some hugely important things about our identity in Christ & say them in the typical, down to earth, straight-forward manner that suits Driscoll. I like that this book leans heavily on the Bible (specifically Ephesians) to give us our identity in Christ. I know that sounds pretty basic, but that’s not always the case with books on identity…

ORIGINALS: When thecobbnation.com began, these were the books listed. What a moment…

What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp

This book does a tremendous job of reminding readers that God’s grace is absolutely needed in order to see marriage accomplish its goal: glorifying God. Excellent read for married couples or for those who are considering marriage.

What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti M. Anyabwile

If you are a part of a church, why not contribute to its overall health? This book is incredibly helpful in giving practical ways that you can invest & involve yourself in the local church’s health. Read it & give a copy to a friend!

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

If you want a great story that speaks to the goodness of God in giving us love, perspective, hope & joy…this is a book to read. If you want to start writing better love letters, read this book & it will happen naturally.

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

This book can be read by all: Christian or non-Christian. Keller does a fantastic job of showing how Christianity is a reasonable position to hold. This book can be a great starting point for talks with others.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

If you find yourself needing motivation to start running, this is an excellent book to read! The story moves quickly, the writing is easy to read, and by the end you’ll be tempted to buy some minimalist running shoes.

Risk is Right by John Piper

This book will get you in the pool, but is safely on the shallow end. Piper has written a load of books that are incredibly helpful, but this is a good place to start. Give it a try & see where you go from here.

The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler

If there was ever a cover that needed to be revised, this is it. I like Al…but the cover is weird. I don’t want to look at him that much. However, the contents of the book make up for the cover & then some. Any leader, especially those in Christian leadership, would do well to give this a read.

Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp

I almost didn’t put this book on the list since I already had one of Tripp’s books on here…but this is too good. This book exposes some of the most dangerous traps in ministry & how a new culture must be created in order for ministers to be effective for God’s Kingdom. If you are in ministry, read this. If you know someone in ministry or considering ministry, buy this for them.

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