I love to read. I would never have believed I would say that 15 years ago.

When I graduated high school, I had never finished a book, scary I know. Now I ready 2-3 books per month. While I do occasionally dip into fiction novels, I spend most of my time reading the nonfiction genre. 

I’ve provided a list of 17 books you need to read in 2017. These are not necessarily new books, just books that I love and/or have impacted my life.

1. The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears

If you follow me on social media or read my writing, you know how much I love this book. I would say this is a top 5 most important book in my life. It changed my prayer life, which was nonexistent before I read it the first time. The Circle Maker is not a book explaining the theological ins and outs of prayer; it is is a book meant to inspire you to pray bigger prayers more often. I reread this book once per year, and recommend everyone read it at least once.

2. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

This book changed my life. I don’t say that lightly. It’s not a “Christian” book, but it might as well be because it is the most convicting book I’ve ever read. Bryan Stephenson is a lawyer who represents minorities trying to get off of death row. If you think you don’t have racist tendencies or bias you need to read this book, you will change your mind. Stephenson’s doesn’t make you feel like a terrible person, but you do finish the book with a realization you have been oblivious to the trouble and unfair advantages minorities face in the US legal system. Even if you disagree with my last statement, please read this book. It’s that important.

3. What’s So Amazing About Grace

Written in 1997, this is not a new book. Philipp Yancey is probably my favorite author; I read everything he writes. This is his most popular book, and rightfully so. You cannot read “What’s So Amazing About Grace” and not come away determined to give more grace because it reminds you how amazing the Grace of God has been in your life. This is another book I’ve read several times; you need to read it.

4. Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz changed my life; it was the book that caused me to fall in love with reading and helped me realize other people in Christianity had the same questions and doubts I had. Since reading Blue Like Jazz, I have followed Donald Miller and read everything he writes. He runs a business now and doesn’t put out as many books, but his latest, Scary Close, is worth your time. It’s an informal, messy conversation about the hard work it takes to have truly genuine relationships. It’s not for the faint of heart, but I highly recommend.

5. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

It’s rare I read a book that exceeds my expectations, but “Love Does,” by Bob Goff, blew me away. It reminded me of the feelings I felt while reading Blue Like Jazz, which is fitting since he and Donald Miller are best friends, and Miller wrote the forward. Love Does a memoir about the incredible experiences and life Bob Goff leads, and a challenge for all of us to love people like Christ does.

6. Wild At Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul

I refused to read this book for years because I had wrong assumptions. I assumed this was a sappy emotional book about how men need to be more in touch with their feelings, but I WAS WRONG. It was actually the opposite. Wild at Heart is about how men have settled for less than the adventure-filled life God created for them. After I had finished I purchased five copies and gave them to men in my life. If you are a man, read this book right now, if you are not a man buy a copy for a man you care about.

7. Thriving in Babylon: Why hope Humility and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture

I cannot explain how important this book is, especially in the political climate and culture we currently live. This book was released in 2015 but was scary prophetic of what was about to unfold. Thriving in Babylon teaches lessons learned from the book of Daniel while he lived in a culture that didn’t prioritize God. It teaches us how not just to survive but thrive in a culture that does not put God first.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

I was in the Atlanta airport on a layover and picked up a book called “Triggers” by Marshall Goldsmith. It was good, but the rabbit trail of learning about the author led me to his most famous book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” Goldsmith is a business/personal coach, and this book explains why so many leaders are defensive of the habits and personality quirks that hold them back, while they assume it’s what makes them successful. If you are a leader, this is a must read.

9. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

I heard about The Power of Habit on the Andy Stanley podcast a few years ago, but it didn’t capture my attention enough to buy the book. After several other books had referenced it, I decided to give it a read. The first four chapters alone are worth the price of the book. It will help you personally, but it will also help your organization if you are in leadership.

10. Addicted to Busy: Recovery for The Rushed Soul

I didn’t want to read this book because I knew before I started I was going to be convicted. I am a “techaholic, ” and my guess was right, Boyd lays out a biblical case that we are all addicted to the wrong things in life. We’re distracted, tired, and focused on things that have no eternal value. I needed to read this book, and I’m glad I did. It has helped me make subtle changes; I think you would enjoy it.

11. Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others

Steven Furtick has written four books, they are all good, but I believe “Crash the Chatterbox” is his best, and it’s not even close. If you have ever battled self-doubt, fear, and constant feelings of inadequacy, you will love this book. It is well written, and mixed with humor and powerful insight like only Furtick can do.

12. The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the foot of your Savior

This book ranks in the “Circle Maker” category but not because of the way it’s written, (I don’t mean it’s written poorly) I just mean it’s more educational. Cordero uses Divine Mentor to teach the method of Bible Study he has taught at his church for 25 years called SOAP. This book helped me as much as any book I’ve ever read. All of Cordero’s books are great, but this book was my favorite because of the resource it was to me.

13. The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors

I recommend “The Measure of Success” for pastor’s only. If I could only recommend one book to every pastor, this would be the book. Shawn Lovejoy shares his heart and concern that as pastors we have lost sight of the ultimate goal. He challenges pastors to get back to our love for God and our people and let the results handle themselves. It is very very very good.

14. Strong Father’s Strong Daughter: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know

If you read much of my stuff you know I have a soft spot for my daughters. I have two sons as well, but my two daughters are daddy’s girls, so when a friend gave me this book five years ago I was hooked from page 1. If you are the dad of a daughter, you MUST read this book. Meg Meeker is a doctor who has spent her career treating girls, and she shares the stats and lessons learned from the impact fathers have on their family and specifically their daughters. This book will scare you and inspire you to be a better dad.

15. I Want To Bear Fruit

This book by Chuck Quinley may be the most impactful shortest book you will ever read. I’ve probably given away at least 30 copies; it’s that good. Quinley shares stories from his journey as a missionary, and more importantly he shares practical tips for every Christian to be a missionary wherever they live and lead people to Christ without feeling weird. You will read it in 1 day, and you should.

16. The Beauty of Spiritual Language

As a recovering Pentecostal, I’ve spent most of my life trying to understand and have a comfort level with speaking in tongues. This book by Jack Hayford is an old book, but it’s still important and relevant today. If you have ever wanted to learn more about speaking in tongues or are cynical about the idea, You need to read this book; it’s the best I’ve read at explaining the Holy Spirit.

17. Chasing The Scream

I can’t remember why I ordered this book on Amazon; it’s not in the genre I normally read, but it was captivating. Johann Hari rights about his travels and research around the world examining the impact the “war on drugs,” started long ago but especially reenergized by Regan. Has had on drug addicts. I had no idea how clueless I was about drug addiction, government legislation, and the economic influence drugs has. It also helped me empathize with addicts more. This book isn’t for everyone, it’s intense, but if you’re up for it, you will benefit.

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