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2019 was an exciting year of reading! I set a goal of reading 26 books and was able to finish on the last day of the year. Below is my 2019 booklist broken into categories that I predetermined before the year started, along with a summary of each book.

Let me give a brief context to my thoughts on each book. There are two groups of people. Some are “for it,” and some are “against it.” I have looked at some book reviews where readers absolutely will not give a five-star rating to any book unless it’s a once-in-a-lifetime read.

I am for it! I start every book with a five-star rating, and the author has to work very hard to lower my expectations. I am not a book critic; I am a book lover. I only share my thoughts and booklist to inspire someone else to love reading and leading as much as I do.

SUNDAY SCHOOL 

  • 1) Creative Teaching Methods Marlene D. Lefever
    • As a ministry consultant, I try to read in as many ministry areas as possible. The first three chapters of this book were incredible. Five stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ These chapters represent everything I believe in teaching. The remainder of the book, though it was good, was quite tedious and repetitive. I would give the last part of the book, three stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I would challenge everyone who is in any teaching role to at least read the first three chapters of this book!
  • 2) From My Head Down To My Socks Justin Hamby
    • My friend, Justin Hamby, has written an excellent book on children’s ministry. His passion is to empower kids to lead NOW! This book is a short but exciting read on preparing the next generation NOW! The only issue I have with this book is that I want MORE! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

LEADERSHIP

  • 3) Ten Powerful Phrases For Positive People Rich DeVos  
    • I liked this book. It was slower than I like. The first three paragraphs of each chapter summarize the big idea, and the rest is redundant. However, I believe in positive leadership, and every leader would glean from the positive phrases in this book! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 4) The Hardhat: 21 Ways To Be A Great Teammate Jon Gordon
    • I love parables! I love John Gordon! This true parable is a refreshing work on being a great teammate. I was motivated to put on my hardhat and give my best effort to my teammates in life and ministry. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 5) The Gift Of Struggle Bobby Herrera
    • The concept of this book is brilliant! Herrero lists struggles and heartbreaks in his life, and singles out lessons he learned from each battle. I can see much more purpose in the journey as I identify a gift for every trial I have endured. I give this book four stars only because of the needless use of pedestrian cussing throughout. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BIBLE

  • 6) Essentials Of The Oneness Of God David K. Bernard  
    • Anyone that knows me understands I have a short attention span. I have enjoyed this entire essentials series because it boils down Bishop Bernard’s signature 300+ page books into a comprehensive study of 35 or so pages. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 7) Essential Doctrines Of The Bible – David K. Bernard  
    • Again, I love this essential series for its conciseness. This particular guide gives you a brief overview of many doctrines of the Bible. The reader receives enough understanding to dive deeper if they wish. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 8) The Books Of The Bible John H. Sailhamer
    • Dr. Daniel Segraves provided this book as required reading in my Old Testament class at Urshan. This was one of my favorite books of the year because it surveys all 66 books of the Bible at two pages per book. Readers recieve a clear and concise understanding of each book and how it works with the Bible as a whole. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 9) Delights And Disciplines Of Bible Study: A Guidebook For Studying God’s Word – Warren W. Wiersbe
    • Wiersbe is one of my favorite authors. He did not disappoint this time either. It was much like “The Books of the Bible” mentioned above but went more in-depth. I still prefer Sailhamer’s version due to its concise nature, but these two books are great complements one to another. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

PERSONAL 

  • 10) Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul – Courtney Ellis
    • Some books speak to you because of your season of life. I read this book because I am desperately trying to clear out the clutter from my truck, house, office and, basement, etc. However, what I did not expect was for Courtney to focus at least 60% of the book on uncluttering my spirit. I had no idea that the book would focus on observing the Sabbath as a subtext of the book. As odd as it sounds, this book on organizing my life challenged me to schedule time each week to focus on times of Sabbath. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 11) Summary Of Gary Taubes’ The Case Against Sugar: Key Takeaways & Analysis – Sumoreads
    • Sugar is bad! That is what I learned from this book. I knew that already but I was hoping for some alternatives and ways of managing sugar. It detailed the history of sugar, some of which was interesting, but mostly conspiracy theories and hatred towards the sugar industry. I am glad I only read the summary version and not the actual book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 12) FinishGive Yourself The Gift Of Done Jon Acuff 
    • I loved this book! I like Acuff even though he is pretty quirky. I found his books through his blog. He is a straightforward common sense type of guy. I enjoy practical and common-sense reading! He outlined ways to cut through life’s arbitrary “rules” and find ways to finish. This book focuses on eliminating excuses that hold us back. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MINISTRY

  • 13) Follow To Lead: The Journey Of A Disciple Maker – Stan O Gleason
    • Follow to Lead is an incredible book challenging us to not merely “WIN” someone to Christ – denoting the journey is complete – but we are to “LEAD” them to Christ – suggesting the journey is ongoing. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 14) King In A Cave Joshua McElhaney
    • I was introduced to this book while preaching VBS for Pastor McElhaney. I enjoyed the book as much as I enjoyed spending time with the author of the book. The audience is for young readers, and their working relationship with elder leaders, but its principles are applicable for all leaders! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 15) Light In A Dark Place Carleton Coon
    • Elder ministers often appear to lack vulnerability. I can assure you that Rev. Coon does not! In “Light in a Dark Place” Brother Coon is transparent as he talks about a topic of mental health that many people aren’t comfortable dealing with or even willing to accept it exists. The author talks about depression from a Biblical and personal perspective that every Christian should understand. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

FAMILY

  • 16) Raising Uncommon Kids: 12 Biblical Traits You Need To Raise Selfless Kids – Sami Cone  
    • This book was a complete bait and switch! The author expresses a principle I have been teaching for years; More is caught than taught. 70% of the book focuses on the character and leadership of the parent. About 30% of the book focused on the child. Her point is there is more value in DOING right then TEACHING right. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 17) A Parent’s Guide To New Year’s Resolutions (Axis Parent’s Guide) – Axis
    • This book was my last read of the year. I had never read 26 books before, and I wanted to achieve that milestone. This is the weakest book on my list. It is a glorified PDF. However, it did achieve its intended purpose; to spark thoughts and ideas of how to set family goals for the new year.⭐️⭐️⭐️

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES

  • 18) Bible In One Year Nicky Gumbel
    • This devotional was incredible! Each day gave you a devotion on the Old Testament, New Testament, and a Psalm. It sparked my thinking and gave me fresh insights into the Word of God. It was pretty long, each day, the devotional was usually longer than the Bible reading, but it was still excellent. There were doctrinal issues such as the Trinity that one must be mindful of, but- all in all- it was the best devotional I have used. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 19) The Divine Mentor Wayne Cordeiro  
    • My book of the year! It was the first book I read of the year, and you continue to feed me week by week. My favorite part of this book was the soap method of Bible Study – S.cripture, O.bservation, A.pplication, and P.rayer. It is simple to use and has been a great blessing to me during my devotional time.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 20) On Being PentecostalDavid K. Bernard  
    • This is an excellent concise book on the Doctrine and History of the United Pentecostal Church International. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

PERSONAL GROWTH

  • 21) Are You Fully Charged Tom Rath  
    • I try to read at least one health book a year. I previously read “Eat Move Sleep” by Rath and enjoyed it thoroughly. “Are You Fully Charged?” was good, but I enjoyed “Eat Move Sleep” a lot more. This book honestly felt a lot like the sequel that did not live up to the original. I still give it⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 22) Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan For Achieving Your Most Important Goals Michael Hyatt  
    • I am a huge Michael Hyatt fan! Living Forward was my book of the year in 2016, and I have probably given out 25 copies of that book. I enjoyed “Your Best Year Ever,” I just felt it did not live up to “Living Forward” and seemed pretty redundant, again like a bad sequel.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 23) Wired to Create: Ten Things Highly Creative People Do Differently Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire  
    • This book was fun! I love creativity! This book was more scientific than I would have liked. I was looking for more ways to apply creativity; however, it was still excellent. Some of my favorite quotes were:

      • Inspiration favors the prepared mind.
      • Instead of pitting hard work against inspiration, we’d do well to recognize that it’s the dynamic dance between the two that leads to creativity.
      • Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.
      • Taking Play Serious – You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. —PLATO ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 24) I Choose to Win: How to Get Unstuck, on Track, and Enjoy Abundant Life Brian Kinsey
    • Winning is a choice! Not everyone agrees with that, but you can rely on the Word of God and have full confidence that He is on your side. The book is divided into three parts; The Choice to Win, The Principles of Deliverance, and my favorite, Profiles in Overcoming. Kinsey shares the profiles of Helen Keller, Joseph, Esther, and Joseph. Bro. Kinsey states, “Learning is always a key to overcoming adversity.” I love this excerpt on responding to adversity:“Three books of the Bible deal almost exclusively with adversity and how to respond to it in order to advance. Psalms is an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE to adversity; it shows the range of pain and praise that we experience through hard times and helps us express those thoughts. Proverbs is a PRACTICAL RESPONSE to adversity; its pithy sayings give us practical guidelines for applying God’s wisdom to our lives. And the book of Job is an INTELLECTUAL RESPONSE to adversity; it explains that bad things do indeed happen to good people and teaches us to respond with faith.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 25) You Are A Writer Jeff Goins
    • I like the “J” trio of authors John Gordon, Jeff Goings, and Jon Acuff. All three of them operate in the same network and have somewhat of a Christian background. This book was basic, but it motivated me to start doing what writers do – write. I desire to write, but I always have excuses and keep delaying. After reading this straightforward book, I began writing 30 minutes a day every day for the last four months. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BIOGRAPHY

  • 26) Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity In The Midst Of Life’s Storms  Tim Tebow
    • I like Tim Tebow. I do. It is fashionable to bash him, but I did enjoy hearing his story. I can’t entirely agree with everything that Tebow believes theologically, but I do think that he has a genuine commitment to what he believes. Through his story, he shows authentic character with his responses to adversity. I began reading this book while sitting with my mother-in-law in the hospital as she started her decline. This book gave me the strength for the storm ahead. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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