Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Zach Kendrick

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Zach Kendrick

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

My wife and I serve our local church, Immanuel Church in Birmingham, in a variety of ways. We mainly serve on the connect team, where we welcome people as they come to worship. We also help serve communion during the worship gathering. Professionally, I work at a local retail bookstore that offers self-publishing services for local authors. As stated above, I am married to Courtney (no kids, yet). We just celebrated our fourth anniversary. My joys in life include spending time with my wife, who is my best friend. I enjoy reading, of course, and playing golf on occasion.

What are you reading right now?

Like most contributors to SOG, I have several books going at one time. I like to read certain books depending on the context. In the morning I’m reading through the devotional The Songs of Jesus by Timothy and Kathy Keller, which walks through the book of Psalms in a year.

I’m also reading The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken, which is a great book about the cost of following Jesus. Following Jesus in America does not cost us much (in the grand scheme of things), but our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in hostile cultures are paying a steep price for their faith. This book is both an encouragement and conviction. When I go to the gym, I like to listen to an audiobook.

Currently, I’m listening to Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas. When I have time at night before bed I like to read fiction. Currently, I am reading through The Grantchester Mystery Series by James Runcie, which is also a PBS miniseries. It’s a British fiction series about an Anglican vicar who helps solve crimes in his community.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

To be honest, I haven’t re-read many books. I have referenced books that I’ve read before and re-read certain sections, but I have not read them all the way through a second time.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?

So far this year I have read 41: A Portrait of My Father by former president George W. Bush and God and Churchill by Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley. Currently, I’m listening to Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas. I suppose I’ve been on a world leader/politician biography kick because of it being an election year.

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is probably the best biography I have ever read. It took me a while to finish, but it is excellent! The life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer serves as a great testimony to the Christian faith. Here is a man who was deeply dedicated, not only to his faith in Christ but also to the Church. He was willing to risk his own life to lead the movement of the Confessing Church in Nazi Germany. He was also willing to pay the ultimate price to do what was right. Christians today have a lot to learn from Bonhoeffer. Thankfully much of his writing has survived and can be read for generations to come.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

That’s a tough one. There are tons of great books on the topic of Christian living and spiritual formation, it’s hard to narrow it down to just five. Here are five that have had an impact on me and they are in no particular order.

  1. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  2. Every Good Endeavor, (and pretty much any book) by Timothy Keller
  3. The Heart of a Servant Leader by C. John Miller
  4. The Purpose of Man by A.W. Tozer
  5. Radical by David Platt

What books have molded how you to serve and lead others in the gospel? 

One book that stands out, in particular, is Called: My Journey to C.S. Lewis’ House and Back by Ryan J. Pemberton. In the book, Pemberton discusses what it means to be called by God and following the Lord wherever he leads. Sometimes the journey takes us to places we did not expect, but in the end, it is always worth it. I read this book during a time of transition and questioning my own calling. I would recommend this book to anyone considering vocational ministry.

Another book would be Be You. Do Good. by Jonathan David Golden. In his book, Golden discusses how the Lord led him to start his own coffee company that seeks the good of the farmers, roasters, employees and customers. This book reminded me that in Christ I am free to serve others by doing good and glorifying the Lord.

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

Right now, I’m learning to hold fast to the truth that the Lord is sovereign. My life is not my own, I am his servant. I have no claim on my life to do as I please. I have to remind myself daily that no matter what comes my way, the Lord is leading me and has a plan for my life. That works itself out by seeing everything that happens as an opportunity to serve Jesus. Everything that I do throughout the day is an opportunity to glorify Him.

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Charlie Handren

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Charlie Handren

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

Charles Handren is the Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Glory of Christ Fellowship in Elk River, Minnesota. His wife Kimberly (1991) is a Spanish and English as a Second Language teacher, and his daughter, Rachel (1994), is a student at the University of Minnesota. Charles enjoys reading, cycling, hiking, fishing, and traveling. He holds degrees from California Baptist University (Riverside, California) and the American Baptist Seminary of the West (Berkeley, California), and is currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois). 

What are you reading right now?

  • Andrew Murray, Lord Teach Us to Pray
  • Augustine, On Christian Doctrine
  • John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood
  • Carol A. Bailey, Qualitative Research Methods

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret—this book has stoked the fires of my faith and of my consciousness of my union with Christ more than any other.

Bounds, Power Through Prayer—this book has been the most influential one on my personal and pastoral prayer life. I am profoundly grateful to the Lord for the work of E. M. Bounds but more so for the life of prayer—of communion with Christ—that brought forth his work.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?

  • The Autobiography of George Müller.

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

  • The Autobiography of George Müller
  • George Marsden, A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

  • John Piper, Desiring God
  • Andrew Murray, Lord Teach Us to Pray
  • Bob Kauflin, True Worshipers
  • Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness
  • Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism
  • John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad

What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel? 

In addition to those I’ve already mentioned:

  • Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor
  • Don Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry
  • Haddon Robinson, Expository Preaching

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

Our union with Christ is our life, and consciousness of that union is our rest. Fruitfulness in Christ grows as constant, conscious communion with him grows.

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with David Schrock

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with David Schrock

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

For the last year, I have served as the pastor of preaching and theology at Occoquan Bible Church. Our church is located twenty miles south of Washington, D.C. and named after a local river that runs into the Potomac. Until last year, my family and I lived in Indiana, where I continue to support the work of a new seminary, Indianapolis Theological Seminary. I am a board member and adjunct faculty member there.

My wife and I celebrated our tenth anniversary this year. We have three energetic boys and are looking forward to welcoming our first daughter this month. Life is full, but we are thankful for all that God has given us in this season.

What are you reading right now?

Because the Bible has sixty-six books in it, I try to read sixty books at one time—or, at least, it feels that way sometimes.

In addition to commentaries on 1 Corinthians (our current sermon series), I have been reading Jamie K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom, Jim Hamilton’s biblical-theological study on Daniel (With the Clouds of Heaven), Geerhardus Vos’s Reformed Dogmatics, and few books on hermeneutics for an upcoming series in our men’s breakfast.

I just finished a couple audiobooks too, Mark Noll’s God and Race in American Politics and Eugene Peterson’s Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. There are more, but that’s enough to mention.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

The only books I regularly re-read are the Bible and the Valley of Vision. The reason for the former is obvious, but should not be taken for granted. Even in ministry, it is easy to neglect God’s Word. I have developed a pattern for reading Scripture that gets me through the New Testament at least twice in a year and the Old Testament once every sixteen months or so. While I read Scripture “for distance,” I also look for ways to study and meditate on it through writing. This shows up on my blog a few times a month.

The other book, The Valley of Vision, is a collection of Puritan prayers that gives shape to my prayer on most days. Additionally, I will return to sermons, books, and messages of John Piper, whose writings over the years have had the largest impact on me.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?

I am currently reading Calvin’s Company of Pastors, a historical account of pastoral ministry in Geneva, by Scott Manetsch. That has been my Sunday afternoon reading since last Fall. Before that, I read the abridged version of Iain Murray’s biography on Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Over the years, other important biographies have been Alexander Haldane’s account of Robert and James Haldane, Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ, and all of John Piper’s biographical sermons.

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

Again, Piper’s biographical sermons have probably been most influential. I’ve listened to all of them multiple times. I remember listening to his biography on John Owen as I drove into Indianapolis (circa 2003). While listening, I was overwhelmed by a holy desire to preach; that sermon helped clarify my calling to pastoral ministry. Likewise, the message of Spurgeon’s troubles has given me a real sense of the trials ministers face. Much of my theology of suffering came from those sermonic biographies. Other biographies have widened my heart for missions and encouraged me to abide in the work.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

There are a lot of variables that would shape my answer—Is this a new believer? Do they read? Can they read? Do they have time to read? Or, do they, like many in my congregation, need to listen to books as they spend two hours commuting?

So, with those factors in mind, here is a short list of topics I’d want to emphasize. Each topic has two books, the first book is long, the second shorter.

  1. Religious Affections. Desiring God or The Dangerous Duty of Delight by John Piper
  2. Spiritual Disciplines and Prayer: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life or Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney
  3. Discipleship: The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman or Discipling by Mark Dever
  4. Bible and Hermeneutics: According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy or God’s Big Picture by Vaughn Roberts
  5. Missions and Evangelism: Operation World or Pray for the World by Patrick Johnstone

If I were to add anything else it would be related to the nature and ministry of the local church. Anything from the brothers at 9 Marks would be suitable.

What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel? 

Surely there were books that helped form me in gospel ministry. I’ve mentioned some of them above, but more than books are people, churches, and ministries. I’ll mention three and include a book with each.

First, Campus Crusade for Christ played a significant role in shaping my understanding of disciple-making. Yes, we read Robert Coleman’s book on Jesus’ approach to evangelism, but it was Phil Gillespie who yanked me out my dorm room to share my faith that made the truths of the book come to life. To this day personal disciple-making has been a passion, instilled through Cru.

Next, the pastors at Woodland Park Baptist Church modeled expositional preaching, elder leadership, and received ministry. The first two concepts are probably familiar to most readers. The third idea may be less common. It is the idea that ministry is not achieved through self-appointed volunteerism but received as we abide in Christ and give ourselves to the opportunities God provides. For more than a decade, this approach to ministry (described here) has guided many decisions and protected me from all kinds of ministerial disappointments. I suppose if there was any book that captures a similar mindset, it is John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals.

Last, the biblical theology of Southern Seminary influences every sermon I preach and every article I write. While Southern Seminary is often pegged as “Calvinistic,” it is more accurate to say it is Christocentric. Spending nine years at SBTS, the biblical theology of Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Steve Wellum, and Tom Schreiner shaped my vision for the way Scripture should be read and proclaimed. Now as a pastor and teacher of theology, I ground everything in a redemptive-historical approach that puts Jesus at the center. The works of Graeme Goldsworthy has been most illuminating in this respect, and was for me and many of my peers at Southern a paradigm-shaping book.

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

The biggest thing I am learning right now is that if I am going to last in ministry I must cultivate habits that disconnect from the technologies and social media beckoning for my attention. While there is a place for such online connectivity, I am relearning patterns of study and meditation that are not connected to my computer.

When I first started walking with Jesus, I would read and journal for hours at time—without a single distraction from phones, computers, or social media. Now, however, with instant access to information, I struggle to meditate like I once did. Therefore, I am looking for more paper and pen ways to read, think, pray, and study. What is lost in efficiency, I gain back with fewer distractions.

This is the biggest thing I am learning and laboring to apply in my walk with Christ. Maybe someday I’ll write my thoughts down on paper and then upload them online.

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Mike Boling

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Mike Boling

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)  

I live in Belleville, IL, a suburb of St. Louis, MO with my wife Erica and daughter Alissa. I am an eight-year Navy veteran and have been employed for the past 11 years at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) where I oversee advanced educational programs. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion (Biblical Studies) from Liberty University.

As far as ministry efforts are concerned, I run a personal blog (Christian Apologetics and Intelligence Ministry, http://intelmin.org) and associated social media which provides original content and shares articles of interest I come across. I also have the pleasure of serving as the Managing Editor of Servants of Grace and the editor for Servants of Grace Apologetics.

It is probably not a surprise I am an avid book reader which also happens to be my favorite hobby.

My biggest joy in life (outside of being a child of God of course) is my family. We are a homeschool family with this year being our third year doing the homeschool thing. This has proven to be both a wonderful and challenging experience. With that said, it is a joy to watch our daughter blossom academically and to be able to spend time rearing her in this regard in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Our other “child” if you will is my wife’s thoroughbred horse named Beckham. We get to spend a lot of time going to horse clinics and shows which occupy any remaining free time we may have.

What are you reading right now?

I am a very eclectic reader meaning I read on a variety of topics to include old books (Puritan authors are a favorite) and new releases. There is really no pattern to my reading madness. A particular subject matter catches my attention and down the rabbit hole, I go.

I am currently reading:

  • Atlantis: Fact or Fiction, edited by Edwin Ramage – Why?  This subject has long fascinated me.  Why?  I have no idea.
  • The Lordship of Christ by Vern Poythress – A newer release by a favorite author of mine on a very important topic.
  • Nephilim Hybrids by L.A. Marzulli – Why? See below where I note my voracious interest in the first few chapters of Genesis. The topic of the Nephilim has long interested me. Marzulli is a well-known author and researcher on this subject.
  • The Inerrant Word by John MacArthur – Another newer release on an always important subject.  I appreciate MacArthur’s (and the other authors who contributed) diligence in affirming the inerrancy of Scripture.

I told you my reading habits are eclectic!

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

I seem to find that I return to the writings of the Puritan authors more so than other books.  Perhaps it is their passion for holiness and style of writing that draws me into what they have to share.

Titles I find myself coming back to include:

  • Holiness by J. C. Ryle
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (or anything by him for that matter)
  • The Sinfulness of Sin by Ralph Venning

I am also a voracious reader on all things related to the first 8 or so chapters of Genesis. A book I find myself returning to as I study that topic is The Biblical Doctrine of Man by C. Ryder Smith.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?

The last book in this genre I read was Unashamed by Lecrae.  It was a truly fascinating read, not just because I am a big Lecrae fan, but because it was an autobiography I actually enjoyed reading. Some books in this genre can be a bit dull and boring for me.

Unashamed was an excellent read and I gained an even greater appreciation for Lecrae as a person and for his musical talents and ministry. My daughter is now reading this book and she is not known for reading non-fiction.

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

I have not been a big reader of biographies over the years, but I will say there have been some that have both drawn my attention and that had a lasting impact.

Perhaps most notable in this regard are the twin autobiographies by Charles Colson, Born Again and the follow-up to that book, Life Sentence. I read these books as a teenager. The lasting impact they had was the reality that God can take even the hardest of individuals, woo them, and remake them as a child of God for His glory and for the furtherance of His kingdom.

Colson was known as the “White House Hatchet Man” and for good reason. God broke through that hard exterior and Colson’s life story speaks to God’s mercy and grace.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

Just when I thought the questions would be a bit easier.

I will again point to one I noted earlier and that is Holiness by J. C. Ryle.  A second recommendation would be Knowing God by J. I. Packer.  A third would be The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. My fourth suggestion would be The Christian in Complete Armor by William Gurnall. The final one on my list would be The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs.

What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel? 

Once again I have to say I appreciate the writings of the Puritans in this regard. The message of the gospel is one of understanding the impact of sin and the solution to that gigantic problem. The gospel is more than just “getting saved”.  It is truly a day to day, moment by moment realization of who we are as the people of God. It is rooted in grasping what it means to draw closer to a relationship with our Creator and what this whole thing of loving God and others is about and how we do it.

So I may be cheating a bit here by referring to some already named titles, but I have to again say books like Holiness by J. C. Ryle, Knowing God by J. I. Packer, and Mortification of Sin by John Owen have been impactful in that area.

Concerning books that mold how I serve, I see my biggest service at this point in life as being in the home as a father and a husband. I am not a pastor nor do I lead any specific ministry effort in my church at this time so I tend to gravitate towards titles that are impactful in the areas of fatherhood and marriage.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp was a tremendous hugely impactful for me in the area of child rearing and fatherhood. Both the book and the DVD teaching series are well worth the time. What Did You Expect by Paul Tripp was also quite helpful when it comes to the realities of marriage.

I must also plug a subject I think is of great important when it comes to service, a book that deals with the thorny issue of debt. Part of loving God and others involves how we deal with the funds we are provided. Being in debt to the point where you are unable to love God and others through the area of financial giving is all too common these days.

Getting out from that ungodly burden of debt is a must. Debt causes all manner of anxiety, it causes us to pass by those in need, and quite frankly it is just plain unbiblical to be a slave to debt. So I have to recommend Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover or other books of a similar nature that help people refocus their financial priorities.

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

I will keep this one very simple – I learn each and every day that I have so much more to learn. Every time I open my Bible or I read an excellent book, I come just a bit closer to understanding what it means to be the chaste bridegroom, to be a child of God, to be part of the called out people of God, and what it means to love God and others. Oh, I have such a long way to go in this regard.

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Gaye Clark

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Gaye Clark

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

I’m a self-described recovering Pharisee, jack of all trades, master of none. I’ve been a cardiac nurse for more than 29 years and am a part-time correspondent for WORLD magazine, a contributor here at Servants of Grace, and a regular contributor to the Gospel Coalition. I also am very involved in mercy ministry and working with victims of sex trafficking.

In 2013, my 54-year-old husband was called home, leaving me and my college aged children behind. Since then I have written much about God’s faithfulness to the widow, working and the church, and Christian living.

My son graduated from Covenant College with a degree in biology and is headed to Nashville to work with immigrants with World Relief. My daughter graduated from Covenant last year also, earning her master’s degree and teaches middle and high school students. I recently wrote about her marriage to an African American which garnered considerable controversy.

What are you reading right now?

  • The White Umbrella, Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking-Mary Frances Bowley
  • The Betrayal Bond-Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships- Patrick J. Carnes
  • Blood Done Signed My Name Timothy B Tyson
  • Word-filled Women’s ministry– Gloria Furman
  • Found in Him-Jenn Wilkin
  • Being There-Dave Furman

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

  • The Bible – because I’m commanded to do so and found out why when I did.
  • *Things Not Seen- Jon Bloom
  • *Sensing Jesus- Zach Eswine

*Both these books, so beautifully and humbly written out of brokenness and wisdom give me hope God works in our darkest times.

It takes a lot for me to reread a book- there seem to be more books out there I want to read than I have time to consider.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?

Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More_Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist-Karen Swallow Prior

Mama MaggieThe Untold Story of One Woman’s Mission to Love the Forgotten Children of Egypt’s Garbage Slums-Marty Makary and Ellen Vaughn

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

Book-The Micah Mandate– Dr. George Grant

Biography-devotional -Life After Breath – After Her Husband Takes His Last Breath, and After She Tries to Catch Hers-Susan Vandepol Has helped me embrace my identity as a widow, in light of my identity in Christ.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

  • The Micah Mandate– Dr. George Grant
  • Sensing Jesus– Zach Eswine
  • Knowing God– J. I. Packer
  • Because He Loves Me- Elyse Fitzpatrick
  • The Hammer of God– Bo Giertz

What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel? 

The Micah Mandate– Dr. George Grant- read this in a day because I couldn’t put it down. It’s a glorious collection of faith and gospel driven response.

A little book called Today’s Gospel, by Walt Chantry, introduced me to Reformed theology.

I give a copy of Because He Loves Me to every new believer I encounter.

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus?

I’m learning to let go of everything- even and especially my successes to the purposes of Christ in my life and to walk in what He gives me by faith.

I often prayed and asked God for “more of Christ”, in my life. When God brought suffering, (something I didn’t know I was praying for) I have come to understand none of us can bear even a teaspoon from the cup he drank for us.

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with James Forbis

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with James Forbis

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

Hello, Readers! I am currently serving in many different roles at Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas. I am a recruiter for the school. I serve primarily as the Director for the Center of Evangelism but also work with the Men’s sports teams as the Strength and Conditioning Coach. On the side, I manage the social media for Ecclesia and work with the marketing department on how to better utilize Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. for the benefit of the students, parents, and potential students.

My favorite job though is one that I do not get paid for and that is serving the saints of First Southern Baptist Church of Goshen, Arkansas as their Discipleship Pastor. I love working at a country church because I’m able to know everyone in my congregation, minister to them more effectively, and see the fruits of the Spirit spring up in each and every one of them who calls Christ as their Lord.

As the Discipleship Pastor I focus primarily on small group ministry, pastoral counseling, and prayer ministry, but when I am “loosed” upon the congregation from the pulpit I find myself worshipping God more than I find myself preaching per se. I am passionate about seeing revival happen within my generation and seeing the next Great Awakening occur should the Lord tarry any longer.

I am also currently pursuing my M.Div at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Great Commission Studies and Expository Preaching. Upon graduation, I am planning on doing further study in Church History and Preaching through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and honing in on the political, societal, cultural, impact that the Great Awakenings, and primarily the preachers and preaching of that era, had on the early American states.

Apart from all of that I am an avid Arkansas Razorback fan, New England sports fan (Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins), and am quite the persnickety coffee and Tex-Mex snob. On the average weekend, you will find me either in a local coffee shop reading and writing or if it’s not too hot I’ll be hiking in one of the many local state and national parks.

What are you reading right now?

Currently, I am reading a number of things for Servants of Grace and for seminary. I am in the middle of Wayne Grudem’s latest book, Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel, Derek Kidner’s commentary on the Psalms, Gregg Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers, Michael Bird’s What Christians Ought to Believe, and Vern Poythress’ Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God, Parliamentary Procedure for Church Leaders by Dr. Barry McCarty who is the Chief Parliamentarian for the SBC, The Unfinished Reformation by Gregg Allison and Chris Castaldo, and reading through the Harry Potter novels again.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

Well, I re-read The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer yearly because it is my favorite Christian book outside of my ESV Bible and it has taught me more about God than any other book written by a non-biblical author.

I find myself getting lost in the world of Harry Potter, Frodo, and Aslan all the time because those stories are timeless and I love all the imagery in each and every page of every chapter that Rowling, Tolkien, and Lewis crafted.

Another Christian book that I go to regularly is my dear friend Russell Moore’s Tempted and Tried. It is the best book on the temptation of sin, how to kill sin, and how to understand the temptations that Christ went through and defeated I’ve ever read.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently? Is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

The last biography I read was Thomas Kidd’s on George Whitefield. It fundamentally shifted my perception on the Great Awakenings like never before and spurned within me a passion for learning more about the man Whitefield himself. It also inspired me to formulate my doctoral work around the impact of the preachers and preaching of the Great Awakening on the culture at large.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

I’d recommend to any new believer that they must read:

  1. The Knowledge of the Holy by Tozer
  2. Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan
  3. Desiring God by Piper
  4. The Biggest Story by DeYoung
  5. The entire Bible in whole. All new Christians should work through every book as soon as they can.

What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel? 

I have five go-to books that have molded me in Christian leadership and pastoral ministry greatly that I encourage all pastors, pastoral ministry students, would be pastors, and lay leaders to read.

  1. The Conviction to Lead by Dr. Mohler

This book fundamentally changed my biblical-theological convictions on leadership and how to effectively lead with passion, love for people, and love for the Gospel.

  1. 10 Things Every Minister Needs to Know by Dr. Floyd

Dr. Ronnie Floyd is a dear friend of mine, a mentor, and a man who has been in my “corner” for a number of years now. This quick little book he wrote offers up 10 primary principles that future ministers need to learn and live by, and how to lead out in these 10 principles in the home, church, and public sphere.

  1. Knowing God by Dr. Packer

If you do not truly know God then you cannot lead God’s people in any way. As a minister, you must intimately know God, and Dr. Packer explains the Christian doctrines masterfully in his quintessential volume that has stood the test of time. This book was my primer to studying theology and knowing the doctrines of the Christian faith that have given me a passion for discipleship and evangelism and leading others to an encounter with Christ.

  1. An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People, in Extraordinary Prayer, for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth by Jonathan Edwards

No this is not a book; this is a sermon from the greatest preacher of the Great Awakening, but this sermon has done more for me than any book on prayer ever could. Edwards does more in a sermon on prayer for my heart and turns my affections more to God than volumes upon volumes that have been written. All ministers should read this and reflect deeply on its implications for the church, for themselves, and for the lost culture around them. As pastors, we must be united together for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ and no matter the denominational and ecclesiastical divides we must be united in prayer for true revival once more to occur.

  1. Preaching & Preachers by Dr. Lloyd-Jones

This is the pinnacle book outside of the letters to Timothy and Titus on pastoral ministry. Lloyd-Jones treats the reader to incredible insights on the primacy of preaching and declaring biblical truth from the pulpit, and how that preaching influences all the other ministries of the church. He is winsome, articulate, and driven by the conviction that the Word of God being preached to the people of God must take priority over all other ministries. This take on pastoral leadership is not without controversy and not without detractors, but it’s a position that must be weighed and thought through biblically.

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

I am continually learning not only how deep my sin is, but also how much deeper the Father’s love for me is. Ephesians 2:1-10 resounds in my heart all the time. I am enthralled by the fact that God is constantly refining me, equipping me, and challenging me to do more and more in ministry. I am incredibly thankful for the blessing of grace in my life and rest in the promise of an eternity with Christ. it is this promise that spurs me to do more, evangelize more, and preach the Word of God more often in any situation I’m in.