With the extra time at home, in addition to the 10,000 piece puzzle and your virtual visit to The Louvre, you might also be looking for a few good reads for you and/or the kids. While this isn’t exhaustive, here are a few recommendations I wanted to pass along that you might find worthy of your time and attention. These books and resources are here to help you grow closer to the Lord, deepen your faith and equip you to live as salt and light in a dark and decaying world – perfect for this season.
The Bible – always a great time to dive into the Word, but you may want to change things up just a bit to keep things interesting. Dive into one book or even just one biblical concept and go deeper, use a commentary to dig farther than usual. Or try adding memorization and meditation to your spiritual routine – Wilberforce memorized all of Psalm 119 walking to Parliament every day – you could put this corona quarantine to good use and do something similar!
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan – especially for younger readers, this truly is a classic – in fact, it is (or was) the second-most printed book behind the Bible. Also check out several groups who are offering a free animated movie based on the book!
The Indwelling Life of Christ by Sir Ian Thomas – nice short and profound insights into the Christian life – great reminder that you are not living the Christian life on your own power!
Life without Lack by Dallas Willard – profound reminder by a great Christian thinker (USC philosophy professor for 30 years) about what truly is important in your life.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – one of my wife’s favorites – little longer read, but with the extra time…now might be the time to tackle it!
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi – great time to gain a better understanding of a competing worldview and maybe none more important than Islam in the days ahead.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster – another Christian classic, gain a better understanding of the spiritual disciplines like prayer, meditation, memorization, etc.
Parenting by Paul David Tripp – great reminder during these crazy times to parent our children as God parents us…pretty high standard!
Cultivation of Christian Character by J. Oswald Sanders – short, but sooo powerful – what does spiritual maturity look like?
The Good Life by Tripp Lee (or Rise) – great for high school students. You’ve said it all before, but someone when Tripp Lee says it, kids listen!
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson – I think Batterson’s stuff is great for guys to read.
Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall – classic read for the young ladies in the group
Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko – read with a box of tissues, trust me on this! Powerful testimony of God’s goodness in the midst of trials and despair.
The Mountains are Calling by Jarrett Stephens – great guy, encouraging read
Literary Classics – now might be the time to dive into that great book you didn’t get to read in high school or college – I’m working my way through East of Eden by Steinbeck (also love others by Steinbeck including The Pearl and Of Mice and Men), and also recommend Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), Brave New World by Huxley (a world without God), anything/everything by CS Lewis (The Abolition of Man, Mere Christianity, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters are personal favorites), anything by Joel Rosenberg (latest book Jerusalem Assassin just released), Kennedy and King by Levingston (great history lesson), Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury or anything my Malcolm Gladwell.
Also, you simply can’t go wrong with anything by Tim Keller, Os Guinness, Francis Chan, Rosaria Butterfield, James Emery White or – my favorites – the Puritan classics from Thomas Watson or Richard Sibbes (The Bruised Reed – awesome).
I developed a love for reading since my parents owned a Christian bookstore and I grew up around great books by Francis Schaeffer and CS Lewis. Over the years I’ve kept track of the number of books I’ve read, written hundreds and hundreds of reviews to help others and developed a “reading plan” to help my growth in spiritual maturity – I try to read at least one book from each of the following “categories” – Biblical Literacy (growing deeper into understanding the Word of God), Cultural Apologetics (applying the Word of God to the issues of the world), Marriage & Family (reading to deepen your understanding of God’s design for the family), Spiritual Disciplines (learning to walk out my faith in practical ways), and Passion and Devotion (drawing encouragement from the “great cloud of witnesses” who have walked the path before us). Yes, you should read for enjoyment, but also remember that the greatest joy is knowing God and making Him known – so don’t forget to read books that lay Christ at the bottom upon which you build your life!