the best of the books i read in 2014

This was a year of books for me. there were some I liked and some that I did not wish I started and then there were some that I wish I did not finish. 2 years ago you would not have caught me reading a book any day of the year except before finals to study and write papers, but a book called King’s cross changed it all for me. after that book I have read over 200 books. Most of the books are nonfiction and focus on personal growth and short story telling. Half way through this year I realized the majority of the books I have read come from two dominate context of the male perspective and the Christian theoretical stand point. This is something I hope to change and develop. this coming up year I hope to get into fiction, so that I can experience the expanse of the mind of other people’s creation. This year I read close to 100 books an di had come up with close to 20 books that had left an impression and would add to a favorite pile to get sorted through at the end of the year. So without further a due here is my top book list for this year in descending order
1. the return of the prodigal son Henry Nouen. A great book using Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son narrative as the back drop of this insightful book on the father child relationship, but more importantly the emphasis on the transformation from the child into the father. If I described anymore I would give it away and I would not want to do that with this wonderful book. Truly transformational.
2. faith works Jim Wallis. Seeing the practicality of faith in it can be lived out in practical steps , but this is more than what you will just hear at church. This will allow you to see real life holistic community built churches do big things in the everyday life by living with the marginalized and working on business
3. mountains beyond mountains: Michael French and Tracey kiderard. This is the story of Paul Farmer. For those that know him his name should be infamous if you don’t know him you probably should. This 1 man doing a million things and saving a million people, sounds interesting huh, well it is. it’s worth the read
4. a million miles in a thousand years: Donald miller. Inspiration, motivation, guidance, all unnoticeably will come from this book of real life stories of how one man found his path and started living it to the fullest.
5. people before profit Charles Garber. The title pretty much says it all. Corporate power influences our sociological and our personal development, this may not be a bad thing , but the main value that is behind this is profit. This is a critical and analytical look at how we are forgetting the importance of the individual and humanity as a whole. Very important read for our times to see how corporate power influences us.
6. unleashing the real me: Brennan manning. This was adapted for his more famous book Abba’s Child, but focused on the transformation aspect of being the child of the father. Come to a place of peace and comfort in how the father has created you is what this book is focused on, but it does it from a place of affection and acceptance.
7. the circle maker: Mark Batterson/ a great story about a guy that had a vision and pursued it. bringing people together in urban Washington DC to create a community that cared for the city. His visions are led by prayer and a circle of what the goal is, but only his goal is to provide opportunity for the city to come to a place where they will be cared and provided for. entrepreneurs will enjoy this with the goal oriented church planter, but not only that he starts organizations and mechanic shop sand meeting place’s that turn into coffee shops.
8. turning my mourning into dancing: Henry Nouen. Want to be able to have joy through the tough times, to be able to dance in the futility of life, well see how Henry sorted through it and practiced dancing in his life. he takes you on a journey through loneliness, identity, and purpose and then comes to terms with the end of life on this earth. This will take you through the highs and lows of life
9. ruthless trust: Brennan Manning. Ever wonder how much faith you need to believe, here Manning shows us that faith and trust should not be rendered synonymous more, but instead we need to realize that trust is where we are lacking. We are not so much lacking in faith but our trust is not ruthless enough.
10. getting out of the boat to walk on water: john Ortberg. I think we all wish we could walk on water. How cool would it be to walk on the ocean during the middle of a hurricane. John shows us how much power we have when we are with Jesus. The more we connect and trust god that is here with us and for us then we will be able to do things that we did not think we would be able to do, but this is not a self-help book that is going to help you reach a goal. It will be a book that brings you to a greater understanding of how god desires to connect with you in all of life.
11. relationships a mess worth making: Paul David Trippp. A great book that will help you see the reality of relationships, the messiness and the value of great relationships. This is not just the boyfriend girlfriend context, but the wider range of general relationships. Paul is a psychologist that brings his faith and truth into his insights on relationships. You will not only leave this book knowing more about yourself, but holding higher value in depth and connection in your relationships with others and with god.
12. importance of being foolish: Brennan Manning. I bet you never thought being a fool could be radical or transformative. Manning shows us how he has discovered that Jesus looked like a fool to the world because of how counter cultural he was and he denounced everything that the people of his time thought was right. The journey that Manning takes you on is not only one that points out the radical nature of the gospel, but it is one that will encourage you to step into the uncomfortable atmosphere of being foolish.
13. Lazarus awakening Joanna weaver. Raising somebody from the dead and bringing life back, I do not think that can be topped. There are many things that we can resurrect inn our own lives. We may feel that our dream is dead or the passion in our marriage has weltered away, but Weaver reminds us that there is hope. Bringing things back from the dead will be a messy process and will take effort, but it sure will be worth it because in the end there will be so much fruitful faith.
14. free yourself be yourself Allen Wright. What gets in the way of you being you and not what society and peers have pressured you to be. Wright believes that only a small amount of who we are is really displayed to others and the rest we form around social norms and what we believe about ourselves. Wright shows us what it looks like for us to be free to be real and to be honest with who we are. You will be sure to find the power that comes from this freedom, we just have to learn how to continue to live inn that freedom.
15. everybody’s normal until you get to know them: John Ortberg. I listened to this book out loud with a group of friends on a road trip and I do not remember many main points of the book, but I do remember some of the great discussions that it provided, so on that premise it makes the list. One thing that you can expect to get from reading this book is the proof and illustration of depth in relationships. Ortberg provides many compelling points that point us back to our created nature of being relational and how we are all uniquely created, but often we do not take the time to enter into meaningful relationships, so we have settled for a case of normative relationships. Ortberg will leave you seeing so much more glory and uniqueness in each created being and life form on this earth.
16. the search for significance: Robert McGee. We all want to know we have done something purposeful, but do we want to know we have a purpose or that we have significance. The futility of life often takes us over and we live to feel good instead of living for a significant purpose and meaning. this book was helpful for me to reflect on my life and find the theme of restoration taking place in it so far. We search not only for purpose , but to know we are significant and not just somebody aimlessly passing through this thing called life. McGee uses his experiences of encountering god as his loving father as the back drop of coming to terms with our significance.
17.Integrity the courage to face the demands of reality: henry cloud and john Townsend. These guys are some of my favorite authors and psychologist, so it is surprising that they are this far down the list, but they can not win all the time. This book is important for those of us tat know there is more in life, but often we can not grasp it because of things we find weighing us down in this place we call reality. You can expect to have your reality check by the time you finish this book, but you can also expect to finish knowing you have the strength to be truer and more honest without being conformed by the outside pressures of the world.
18. Christianity after religion, Diana butler Bass. the title was what got me. I do not join with the “ I hate religion but I love Jesus” crowd, but I was curious where this book was going to take me. oddly enough it made me see religion in a truer way and allowed me to appreciate it more than I did before. While reading this I was brought to a greater understanding of formalized religion and how it form. Since I was able to understand the roots of the formation I think I was able to objectively see the purpose of religion. Formalized religion has great potential if it is used in eh correct manner and of course the incorrect uses get highlighted and Bass also provides examples of those. a very balanced book.
19. Friendship with god, an uncommon dialogue: Neale Walsh. Ever wonder what those people mean when they say I have entered into a relationship with god well here it is in its unfiltered manifestation. We talk, we hang out, we do things, we go on adventures, and we want our friends to be there to answer the big questions with us; well this is how Walsh approaches god. Walsh takes us on his journey with him and god and how he came to converse with god as if he were a friend. I felt for the longest time that people talked about a relationship with god and praying and talking to god, but it always seemed so ambiguous, but now Walsh has written it out and described it clearly. A great way to take the next step of diving deeper with god.
20. living as the beloved: Henry Nouen. Another one from my favorite author. This story takes place with Henry writes to one of his friends who asked him to explain the importance of being the beloved. Henry’s friend did not see the great importance coming from a secular background. This book was great because Nouen explains the beloved identity in an understandable way, but still in his witty eccentric self. you do not have to be a believer, person of faith, or secular to appreciate this book. It truly comes from a heartfelt place and the passion that Henry has for his friend and for being the beloved come together and get magnified in this book.

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