8 Books I Read This Summer & A Few Takeaways

As a campus minister, I have more time to read and study in the summer than any other time throughout the year. This past summer was a great learning season for me. In keeping with what my blog is all about, I wanted to share what I’ve been reading…


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“Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown

This was the perfect message at just the right time for me. After reading it, I simplified big time. I gave away over half of my clothes, took email off my phone, and scheduled a weekly date night with Katie. I’ve never taken more decisive, practical action after reading a book.

“God on Campus: Sacred Causes & Global Effects” by Trent Sheppard

I’d been meaning to get to this one for a long time. It did not disappoint! The book’s all about how God has moved through universities, on college campuses, and through college students over the years. It was inspiring and hopeful. And, it turns out, Nooma will be releasing a “God on Campus” series…

“Red Moon Rising: How 24/7 Prayer is Awakening a Generation” by Pete Greig

“God on Campus” led me to “Red Moon Rising.” Pete Greig is a gifted writer and storyteller with a refreshingly honest approach. This book cemented something in my mind: movements start with prayer. “Red Moon Rising” gave me a vision for what that could look like today.

“Prayers from the Pit: What the Ten Prayers of Jesus Teach About Praying in Times of Pain” by Chris Altrock

I read this book while going through a 40 day prayer experience with a small group led by the author, Chris Altrock. The book — and the experience — was fantastic! The main idea is that the ten prayers from Jesus’ life where the words are recorded, all come from extremely difficult times in Jesus’ life. The gospel writers were careful to give us Jesus’ words in prayer during these times which helps us learn how to pray in the most difficult seasons of our lives.

“God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer” by Pete Greig

After reading “Red Moon Rising,” Pete Greig left me wanting more. He writes about prayer in such an honest and refreshing way. He’s obviously a deep thinker and very articulate. But, it’s clear to me that he’s a practitioner of prayer. That’s what draws me to him.

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, & Lead” by Brene Brown

I heard Brene Brown speak on vulnerability at Catalyst Dallas a few years ago and it was one of the best talks I’ve ever heard. The whole book is great. My biggest takeaway came from the chapter on parenting. The idea is simple. Your kids will most likely end up being like you. The best thing you can do as a parent is be the kind of person you want your kids to grow up to be.

“Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God’s Spirit Invades the Hearts of His People” by Jim Cymbala

This is another inspiring book about prayer. It tells the turnaround story of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, a church in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. Jim Cymbala, the author and pastor, tells how the Brooklyn Tabernacle went from 26 people to over 6,000 by prayer alone. Like I said, it’s inspiring.

“Paul: In Fresh Perspective” by N.T. Wright

This book was required reading in a grad school class but I decided to go back to it this summer. I love N.T. Wright’s straightforward approach to reading Scripture. A lot of what he writes about is the “new perspective” on Paul. Basically, he takes the Scriptures at their word and concludes that Paul was thoroughly Jewish, a thought that wasn’t prevalent in the early 20th century when biblical scholarship mainly came out of Germany.

What have you been reading? I’d really like to know.

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