Books I Read on Sabbatical

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BooksThis summer’s sabbatical was not to be a “working” break so I read very little by way of methodology and philosophy of ministry. It’s hard for me to turn off the utilitarian “how could this improve our ministry?” perspective. As I result, I started with Black Hawk Down, by Mark Bowden. This is a fast moving and intense historical account of the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War, which took place in Mogadishu, Somalia. This book later became a major film. Hardly a “church methods” volume (though the portrayal of human courage and sacrifice could possibly rouse the apathetic).

I usually read one historical war novel each summer, mostly those set in WWII, but this was given to me by a friend so I dove right in.

I won’t comment much on each of the remaining books but will provide a few thoughts.

Holy Bible – English Standard Version

I’m still familiarizing myself with this wonderful contemporary translation. I read through the Book of Psalms, Ecclesiastes, 1 and 2 Timothy, Ephesians and the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

George Whitefield – a Biography by Arnold Dallimore

I really enjoyed Dallimore’s concise biography of Charles Spurgeon and found this work to be just as readable and digestible. A sweeping overview of a man used by God to awaken so many. The vigor and relentlessness of Whitefield’s devotion came through clearly and was what struck me the most. It is a fast paced condensed version of his massive two-volume set.

Spurgeon on Leadership – by Larry J. Michael

This book is more than a collection of quotes and excerpts from Spurgeon’s writings. Each section includes comments, reflections and thoughtful contemporary application. A worthwhile  read for those less familiar with Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students.

Evangelism – by Mack Stiles

Stiles lives what he writes and this comes through on every page. A quick read that will not leave you discouraged with your own evangelistic blunders. Rather, it will stir you to prayerfully consider how our Lord could use your work-a-day life to reach others and how to contribute to a church culture of evangelism.

The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service – by Henry A. Crumpton

This was the only E-book I completed. It is New York Times best-seller. I enjoy a good spy mystery but this was no fantasy espionage. Crumpton is a 24 year veteran of the CIA and he provides fascinating insight into how the post-911 military response took shape and why the CIA became the tip of the spear. He will make you reflect on the value and necessity of foreign and domestic data acquisition.


Here are a couple of volumes I read from but did not quite complete during the summer months.

Lit! by Tony Reinke

This is a book on how and why to read books. It’s nowhere near as long and technical as the best-selling classic How to Read a Book, by Mortimer Adler. It will spark you to re-evaluate your time spent in the digital world and might even inspire those who think they don’t like to read or don’t have time. It is written with a Christian world-view in that it cherishes the Christian imagination and value of Holy Scripture. Ironic that I didn’t complete the book on how to complete books!

The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones – a biography by Iain H. Murray

This is a one-volume condensed version of Murray’s two volumes published a few decades ago. Murray sat under the ministry of Lloyd-Jones and his first hand knowledge and access to original sources comes through. No modern Christian celebrity-ism here. A bit slow at first, this biography traces how God sovereignly used a humble doctor and man of prayer to proclaim the truth of the gospel to a time and people that did not want it.

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