My Top Five Books I Read in 2015 (Plus a poem I wrote)

It seems like the time of year when everybody is giving their “Top Ten” list of books read in 2015. While I read quite a few books this year, I could only come up with five that were truly memorable. So here it is: my list of “Top Five Books I Read in 2015.”

“The Pastor in Prayer” by Charles Spurgeon. I’ve read a lot of Spurgeon over the years, but somehow I missed this one until now. Prayer is the number one area I need to grow in a as a Christian/missionary/pastor. Virtually every page of this book helped, inspired, and convicted me in every area of my prayer life. However, one practical change that I made after I read this book was that I began thinking about and planning my prayer for church services much more carefully than I had done before. As a result, I feel my public praying is growing more passionate and Scriptural.

2“Preaching” by Tim Keller. By the end of this year, I will have written and prepared almost 90 messages and will have preached at least 120 times. If I am going to spend my life preaching, I want to grow and become the best preacher I possibly can. I’ve read many books on preaching, but this one helped me the most. There are three chapters that really make the book special: chapter 2 “Preaching the Gospel Every Time, chapter 3 “Preaching Christ from All of Scripture, and chapter 6 “Preaching Christ to the Heart.” Having read this book, I am becoming better at tying every passage I preach to Christ and the Gospel.


“Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing” by Sally Lloyd Jones. This is a children’s book I read to Laura. Essentially it is a devotional for kids, but it is as profound and encouraging as any devotional for adults. I want to teach the Bible as creatively and beautifully as this book does. Buy this for yourself and for a child you love.



“Unbroken” by Laura Hillebrand. This is a well-known bestseller released a couple of years ago. And as everybody says, the book is definitely better than the movie.


“The Conviction to Lead” by R. Albert Molher Jr. This is a very general, but helpful and practical book on leadership. Every chapter challenged me in some way.


Finally, I leave you with my first attempt to write a poem in many years. It was inspired by a recent moment in our home with Samuel and Laura.

My Little Cain

Through the door he burst,

Diapered bottom, milk in hand.

The peaceful evening in our home

Pierced with his cry.

“Mine!” he screamed,

His words were few,

But panic-stricken, rageful eyes said all.

He spotted the offender

Perched happily,

His sister did assemble block on block,

Higher her tower grew.

Chubby legs tottered quickly

To amend this wrong

And take back what was “Mine!”

So the mighty clash began,

He reached,

She withheld.

He grasped,

She pushed.

Then his doughy fingers clutched

A red brick

With fire in his eyes

And trembling fury in his heart,

He let fly the weapon,

True to its target was.

Blocks came crashing down,

Tears flowed,

Cries of, “That’s not fair!”

Echoed from his sister’s mouth.

Soon salty tears and anguished bellows

Of victim and aggressor

Flowed into one groan,

Shared by all creation.

While I looked on

And dutifully corrected

This son of Adam,

I knew the apple

Had not fallen

Far from the tree.

Our helpless race knew

All too well

The rage and pain,

Darkness and shame.

Then I held my little Cain,

Paradise lost and Paradise yearned.

Our beating hearts together,

Longing for the second Adam.