Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Top 10 of '10

I am thankful for the time I have during this chapter of my life to be able to drink deeply from the Bible and to supplement that with really great books and sermons and resources from those who are also walking along this Christian road. Last year I sent out the “top 9 of 09”, the best of what I had seen/heard/read during the year. I wanted to do the same again this year, just as a way to reflect back on the year and what I’ve learned, and to share some super solid stuff with all of you. This is in no particular order, since they’re all great resources. I do hope each of you finds something useful and helpful from this list.

1) A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, by Paul Miller. This is an incredible book on prayer. Incredibly real. Incredibly practical. It honestly transformed some major aspects of my prayer life, and I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Amazon link here, and a brief review I wrote on my blog here.

2) Tim Keller’s Marriage sermon series (I know, I know, some people have an issue with Redeemer charging for sermons when so many other churches give them out for free. Just do it, you won’t be disappointed). And Mark Driscoll’s Song of Solomon sermon series (this links to the first sermon in the series- his are free to download). Yes, this is two in one. But if you know anything about these two guys, you’ll be able to guess how differently they approach teaching the subject of dating and marriage. But both are incredible, and I think these two series complement one another. Both are worth listening to in full. Multiple times.
3) The Unreached People Group of the Day email from Joshua Project. This is an organization that has catalogued and organized all of the (by their account) 16,598 “people groups” of the world, of which nearly 7,000 are considered unreached by the gospel. Considering one of the clearest indicators we have of when Christ will return is when every people group is reached with the gospel (Matthew 24:14), this is such an important ministry. It’s truly an incredible undertaking, and I was amazed when I first went to the site at how much information there was about all the groups. And they have a great daily email that highlights one of the least reached people groups in the world (like where less than 1% are Christians) with prayer requests. It’s a short email (ie, not overwhelming to add to a busy life) and since I have added it to my daily routine I’ve seen my heart grow more burdened and led to pray for the many in the world who have never heard of Christ.

4) John Piper’s talk at Wheaton College entitled Doing Missions When Dying is Gain. In case you don’t know, the Desiring God website has almost all of Piper’s materials for free (sermons, articles, blogs, talks, and many books as well). Super solid stuff. This sermon is incredibly convicting and wow, just wow.
5) Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God With a Hope Deferred, by Carolyn McCulley. Ok, you need to ignore the title, which is kind of cheesy. Because the book is super solid, real and practical, and very un-cheesy. McCulley wrote this as a 40 year old Christian single woman. She first argues that singleness is just as much a GIFT from God as marriage is. And then dives into Biblical womanhood and femininity and how we should live that out in singleness, based on the Proverbs 31 woman. I am definitely reading it a second time. Amazon link here, which lists the table of contents, to give you more of a feel for the book.

6) The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving, by Randy Alcorn. If you want to think more intentionally about how you use your money and how God views generosity, this short book is just for you. As in so many aspects of our life, God’s view is radically different than that of the world, and as I’ve been thinking more and more about how to have a Biblical view of money and generosity, this was helpful for me. Amazon link here and my review on my blog is here.
7) Tim Keller’s sermon Praying our Tears. For anyone who is struggling for joy or just going through a particularly difficult period, this is a stellar sermon on how to go to God with our tears. The sermon right next to in the free sermon list, Praying Our Fears is also pretty stellar.
8) Christian Audio’s free download of the month. Each month Christian Audio gives a free audiobook download. I first heard about this in August when they had Keller’s Ministries of Mercy, and since then there have been some pretty sweet other free books as well. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about audiobooks, but I totally dig them! Definitely worth signing up to receive an email each month to know what book is free that month. January 2011 is The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges.

9) RT Kendall’s talk Total Forgiveness. I’ve certainly heard plenty of sermons on forgiveness, but this one in particular struck me in a new way and hit home a lot about the nature and method of forgiveness.
10) Tim Keller’s article on God’s Global Urban Mission from The Lausanne conference in South Africa. While not everyone is called to live in a city, this is a pretty amazing article about urban ministry. After all, though the human race started out in a garden, we will end in a city. Just sayin.  

The Best of the Rest
Though I could only pick 10 to keep with the theme, there were a few that could have made the list. For the books, I’ll just link to my reviews on my blog, as I've written about all of them over the year.
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. This should probably be in the Top 10. It’s really incredible.
A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot. This is a biography of Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India in the early 1900s. I love missionary biographies, and this one ranks among my favorites.
Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs by Ergun and Emir Caner.  Great, approachable resource to learn more about Islam, particularly looking at various aspects of Christianity and Islam side by side.
Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper. We did the Bible study that was developed out of this book in our church this summer. The book and the study are phenomenal and will revolutionize your understanding of missions. I am a missionary, and it revolutionized my understanding on the subject.

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