Books_contemporaryI love reading. In fact, I love buying books. There’s something rewarding about just buying a book and putting it on your shelf (even if you haven’t read the last 10 books you bought!) Okay, I admit it – I’m addicted!

The truth is that reading is such a great way to learn and to expand your perspective on life and God’s world. Wisdom is the principal thing, so make every effort to acquire it (Prov.4:5-9).

Here are twelve non-fiction books that will make stimulating reading for you from a variety of disciplines:

  1. [Culture] – Advance Australia … Where? by Hugh Mackay. Mackay is a highly respected Australian social researcher and his latest book gives us a detailed picture of the changes that have taken place in Australian society over the last 30 years, as well as some insights into where we may be heading as a nation. [For those living outside of Australia, why not check our Microtrends by Mark J. Penn which takes a look at the small forces behind the big changes taking place in our world].
  2. [Church] – Beyond Megachurch Myths – What we can Learn from America’s Largest Churches by Scott Thumma and Dave Travis. This is a helpful read for anyone wanting to better understand the changing landscape of churches, both large and small.
  3. [Family] – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey. Written by the best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this book has a wealth of insight and suggestions for building a strong healthy family.
  4. [History] – The Story of Christianity (2 volumes) by Justo L. Gonzales. These two volumes are a very informative and entertaining read of the unfolding history of the church from the first century through to the twentieth century.
  5. [Leadership] – The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company by Ram Charan. This is a very good book on leadership development within organisations – how to create a process for training your own leaders.
  6. [Ministry] – 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones. This book contains down-to-earth and practical principles for building a healthy and effective ministry.
  7. [Politics] – God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It by Jim Wallis. In this book, the author challenges both the Left and Right sides of the political arena. His section on ‘Moving Beyond the Politics of Complaint’, where he shows that protest is good but alternatives are better, is excellent.
  8. [Preaching] – Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley. This book offers a fresh and innovative approach to contemporary communication.
  9. [Psychology] – Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman. The author is a Jewish psychologist who helped to spearhead the positive psychology movement. This is a very insightful book about developing an optimistic, hopeful outlook on life (essentially good ‘mind renewal’ stuff).
  10. [Relationships] – Sacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Oneness in Marriage by Tim Alan Gardner. An excellent book, written for married couples, from which I gleaned quite a few thoughts for my recent series on the same topic.
  11. [Spirituality] – Eat this Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson. This is an excellent book on the art of effective Bible reading.
  12. [Theology] – Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense by NT Wright. This book, written by one of today’s leading theologians, has been compared to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, but for a new generation.

Happy reading!

11 thoughts on “Some Recommended Reading

  1. Great stuff — will check some of these out! Have you read “Getting things done” by David Allen? Or “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss? Both provide interesting insights on using your strengths to maximise your time/impact (cf. Marcus Buckingham’s strengths-based books and Jim Collin’s hedgehog concept)

  2. Dear Pastor Mark,
    You and your team have done a wonderful and fantastic job (in every sense of the word) in declaring the churches believes in the latest messages that you gave in the last two weeks. Your sermons in handling the greater role of leadership in the lead-up to the election by stating the principles of the church in the last two weeks was very clear and well done. Your messages in-regards to the church belief on sexual conduct could not come at a better time (and way over due). You and your team have done a great job over the last two weeks with topics that are probably the hardest to deal with ever imagined for a minister, and a church. With the federal election only weeks away, your agenda was very clear to me and my wife, and with this politically charged “politically right” atmosphere it was well placed.
    Mark; May God bless you ……period.
    You are a true blessing to the families of God, and I hope you truly influence the election to be one of Gods will, rather then one of politically correct individuals who can’t see past their narrow views.

  3. Lots of good feedback for your last 2 messages in regard to sex…
    like the previous comment from Charles, it is way overdue among the Christian community all over the world, but Mark, you delivered this message out of the heart of God. He wants us to be holy, because He is holy, and we know this, without holiness, no one will see the Lord.
    but I guess most importantly, you delivered the truth right out from the word of God, you spoke the truth in love, well done Mark. Looking forward to your next messages.

  4. Yay books! I’m a complete bookworm. I’ve been reading C.S.Lewis’ ‘The Cosmic Trilogy,’ (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), it was his science fiction series. They’re fantastic, like the allegorical Chronicles of Narnia, but more blatantly Christian. They’re great!
    I’ll have to keep an eye out for the books you’ve mentioned here. 😀

  5. Thanks for the book review and recommendation Mark. We wanted to show the book’s readers that actual national survey data on megachurches paints a different picture of them than the one we usually hear in the press and from certain religious commentators. I hope we have accomplished that.
    Currently Warren Bird and I are working on a sequel that is much more practical and should be a helpful book for pastors in all sizes of churches.
    Scott Thumma, Hartford Institute for Religion Research

  6. Hey Mark, wondering if you can help me?
    When we were in Queenstown you mentioned a guy in Adelaide(I think) who could be interested in marketing my book ‘Pursued’
    Its now available at Collins, Readings, Andrews, and Booktopia bookstores(as well as Koorong)but unless there’s some marketing done I realise I risk losing a great opportunity.
    Any help/suggestions greatly appreciated as I’vwe drawn a blank!
    dani cherrie
    ps – made contact with Word Books and was put in contact with Katie Mallett(the buyer).
    Left numerous messages, but havent connected yet.(Craig Moulton was unavailable)

  7. Hi everyone. Thanks for the encouragement – really appreciate it!
    Nathan, no I haven’t read those books – sound interesting though. Marcus’ Buckingham’s stuff is helpful. I’m currently reading his ‘Go Put Your Strengths to Work’ book.
    Fiona – I love CS Lewis too, though I must admit I don’t read as much fiction as I should (so Nicole says!).
    Dani – glad to hear you contacted WORD. I can’t recall who the other contact was that I suggested. If I remember it, I’ll let you know. All the best!

  8. A couple of Brand and marketing books for the mix:
    A New Brand World – Scott Bedbury
    The Brand Gap – Marty Neumeier
    Robin Hood Marketing – Katya Anderson

  9. A couple of Brand and marketing books for the mix:
    A New Brand World – Scott Bedbury
    The Brand Gap – Marty Neumeier
    Robin Hood Marketing – Katya Anderson

  10. I’ve been reading the book you recommended: “Learned Optimism.” And I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, on what things do you agree, and on what things don’t you agree?
    I have found that I became a pessimist because optimists place the blame on others. But shouldn’t Christians always try (or at least think about how) to be part of the solution?

  11. Hi Rafferty. I enjoyed Seligman’s book. He is a Jewish psychologist – not a Christian, that I know anyway. I think his book has a lot of good things to say about both pessimism and optimism, and especially about changing thinking patterns (‘mind renewal’, as we’d call it). However, the added dimension that we have as Christians is the aid of the Holy Spirit and God’s power.
    It’s been a few years since I read it, so I can’t think of any specific things to mention that I’d disagree with.
    Hope this helps

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