Who said summer reading lists are just for students? Below I’ve listed 10 books I highly recommend for Christian adults. I’ve read each book – not a snoozer on the list. No exhaustive Greek-to-Hebrew-to-English translations or hermeneutical gymnastics, I promise. These are my all time-favorites (so far!).
BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus by John Eldredge. Have you ever considered Jesus’ sense of humor or His playfulness? It’s clearly in the scriptures, but somehow we’ve missed it. This is not a parenting book, per se, but after reading this book I can better articulate and show my kids who Jesus is, how much He loves us and that He is available on an immensely personal level to all who know Him. Not only have I read this book multiple times, but I also love to give it as a gift. Other great books by John Eldredge include Waking the Dead, The Utter Relief of Holiness and Walking with God.
COUNTERFEIT GODS: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters by Timothy Keller. I heard this book described as a “game-changer” and it is just that. Even as a Christian, I was horrified by how much of the world had seeped into my goals, my habits and my thoughts. This book helped me see myself as the cultural Christian I had become instead of the faithful, Jesus-following Christian my heart was meant to be.
NOT A FAN: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus Christ by Kyle Idleman. Do you want to be a follower of Christ or just a fan? This book will meddle for sure – no more sitting in the stands (pews) any longer and checking your Christian box. Idleman tackles this subject with more tact and humor than I thought possible for the topic. This is a great book whether you are a new believer or a long-time Christian.
PRODIGAL GOD: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller. I have to admit, I steered clear of this book because I didn’t understand the title. But Keller hits it head-on in the introduction and I’m richer for having taken the chance to read this great work. I now have a new appreciation for one of the Bible’s most-loved parables, The Prodigal Son, and a deeper love for our Father who is recklessly extravagant in His love for us.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. What can be said about C.S. Lewis except that he was a master at his craft? If you’ve ever wondered what demons are up to or wished you had a peek at their playbook, look no further. I read The Screwtape Letters years ago and it has remained (and shall remain) one of my all-time favorites. This religious satire piece is a classic for a reason.
THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller (with his wife, Kathy). Keller’s message about marriage seems so new and progressive until we realize it’s actually as old as marriage itself. I have the honor and privilege of speaking to newly married women from our church and I tell them, “Read this book. Then read it again. And then pick it up and read it all over.” It’s that good and flies in the face of all the messages our culture sends us about marriage. I recommend reading this book whether you are married, divorced or single.
WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING MARRIED TO ME? And Other Dangerous Questions by Linda Dillow. I passed on this book for several months because of the daunting title. But, thankfully, I picked up this jewel and was blessed by its pages of wisdom. Written for women, Dillow uses her own experience and the experience of others to shine a light on common problem areas in marriage and brings God-glorifying solutions.
CLEANING HOUSE: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma. This book is more than chore-charts and reward systems. Wyma dives deeper into the heart of what is going on in many American homes – youth entitlement and the-world-revolves-around-me syndrome that is plaguing our society. “By the time (our kids) reach adolescence, they’re so used to being taken care of that they have no idea they’re missing out on discovering what they can do or who they can be.” Preach it, sister.
THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. This is a must-read for every parent. Each child has a different love language and this book helps parents recognize and speak their child’s love language. Few parenting books will bless your entire family like this one.
THE MISSION OF MOTHERHOOD: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity by Sally Clarkson. I read this book when I was a new mother, and it still influences me today. Clarkson goes to God’s original design for mothers and empowers them to be who God intended them to be. She’s creative, practical and encouraging.
I hope you have a wonderful summer with your family. Make it a goal to read one…or two…or all of them!