Favorite Books of 2017

Many of my friends have been posting about their favorite books they read in 2017. Following suite, here were some of my top reads. My goal for 2018 is to read at least 3 books from genres/topics I normally wouldn’t pick up. Seeing some of my friends’ lists is helping me find some, but if you have some suggestions, send them my way! 
Here are some short reviews and/or favorite quotes from some of my top reads from 2017 in no particular order:
Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors – a timely reminder at the time I read it to hope in the midst of hard things. “No, He didn’t make the pain easy. But He made it beautiful. He held me close and whispered secrets to me and revealed things about Himself that I had not yet known. He scooped me into His big loving arms and held me in tenderness unlike any I had ever experienced. … I did not find all the answers to my questions. In fact, I might have more questions now than I did before. But I have found deep intimacy with the One who formed me and knows my heart. He has taught me His secrets in the darkness. He has taught me true and unwavering hope in Him.”

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Glad I finally got around to this one after many had suggested it for a while.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff – some great reminders for this perfectionist’s heart (highly recommend the audiobook version for this one!). “This is the first lie that perfectionism tells you about goals: Quit if it isn’t perfect. … You will not be perfect, but do you know what’s even more important than perfection? Do you know what will serve you for longer than perfectionism ever could? Moving forward imperfectly. Reject the idea that the day after perfect means you’ve failed. That’s just not true. You get to try again.”

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller – such good stuff here, glad I finally finished after starting it a couple years ago and forgetting about it. – “Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.’ No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11: 28, NASB). The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.” “When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worry to watching. You watch God weave his patterns in the story of your life. Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God’s drama. As you wait, you begin to see him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder. You are learning to trust again.”

A New Kind of Leader by Reggie Joiner – short, practical, and to the point; best work-related book I read this year – “Think about the orange traffic cones used to direct cars at a big concert or event. Imagine what would happen if someone just scattered the cones randomly across the parking lot. More than likely, it would create a traffic jam and cars would not be able to move anywhere. But when the cones are arranged strategically, they have the potential to move hundreds of vehicles exactly where they need to go. Now imagine that your church’s weekly programs, annual events, kid’s groups, and age-specific curriculums are like traffic cones. How you arrange them to work together is important. They are either strategic or random.”

How’s Your Soul? by Judah Smith – the title says a lot about why I liked this book 🙂 “But the more I read the Bible and the more I get to know Jesus, the more I realize that life–even with all its quirks and turns and tragedies–is meant to be amazing. Not because circumstances are always perfect, but because our souls have found their home in God. Fulfillment comes from having a healthy soul, and… our souls stay healthy when they regularly return home. … Maybe the reason we feel restless on the inside is because we haven’t been home in a long time. … Our souls are home when they return to God.”

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp – Two favorite quotes: “When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ. Because Jesus, with His pierced side, is always on the side of the broken” and “Don’t ever be afraid of the broken things, because Christ is redeeming everything.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Fascinating insights into Islam culture and religion; learned so much

The Cure & Parents by Bill Thrall – While I picked it up to review and see if it would be helpful for the parents in our ministry, I found it a great book about real family life (in all its messiness) and trust in relationships. – “The motivation of grace will always bear greater fruit than the coercion of demand. … Many of us were taught by well-intended teachers and parents that it almost doesn’t matter what means you use to get someone to do good, as long as you can get them to do good. But good done for the wrong reason–convincing me that I, at my core, am not much good–that’s one of the worst forms of wrong.”  “The degree to which your children trust you is the degree to which they will let you love them. … We may have great intentions to pass on values, beliefs, wisdom, and truths. We may faithfully love, protect, and direct our children. But if they don’t trust us, nothing is really happening.”

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