This is just a short post highlighting 13 of my favourite discoveries of 2013 (9 books, 2 lecture series, 1 T.V series and a YouTube channel) . Some are Christian, some are secular, all belong to God. Maybe you can get some ideas of things to try out or look into next year. I have not listed them in any particular order, but if you read my comments you will probably be able to see what would have been ranked the best. Enjoy!
1. Cross Talk: where life and Scripture Meet
Read my review of this amazing book by clicking here
I didn’t review this book, but should have. It is an excellent primer on Apologetics and has a special focus on the attitude and way to go about defending the faith in a non-offensive manner. Definitely a highlight of my year.
Humans can endure loads: That was one take away from this book. It’s the true story of an Olympic runner turned shipwreck, turned prisoner-of-war in terrible conditions turned Christian and forgiver. The other take away is that through Christ the most unbelievable forgiveness and healing is possible.
Easy to read book on preaching, very simple and to the point. Loved reading this, best I read on preaching this year
Brother of renowned former atheist Christopher Hitchens, Peter wrote this book describing his movement from unbelief in God to trust in Christ. An excellent look at British culture and how it has been influenced in the past century. A beautifully written book that is worth the read.
Possibly my favourite book of the year. Lit! is a short book about how to read and how to pick what to read. How a Christian can appreciate secular literature, why a Christian should enjoy secular literature.
The autobiography of the son of the founder of Hamas- the Muslim terrorist organisation. I enjoyed how he demonstrated the Palestinian side of things, he really loves his people. I feel like this is a much needed book in our always-on-the-Jews-side-everyone-else-is-wrong era of Christendom. In the book he turns from terrorist, to double agent to Christian. Fascinating and very helpful read as we seek to get rid of cultural and eschatological myopia.
This is not a Christian book so if you don’t have a very solid Christian worldview rather don’t read this. However if you live in South Africa and are firm in your biblical worldview you have to read this. Biko’s criticism of liberalism is devastating and insightful; it’s the same mistakes that liberals tend to make today. It shows us how Christians need to go beyond the secular humanism of liberalism if they are going to take racial justice seriously. While I don’t always agree with his conclusions, Biko did help me see past some of my cultural blindspots and understand things from a black South African perspective. A must read for any pastor in South Africa who is not in a homogenous church or who believes that the gospel is for every South African.
A brilliant series done by the history channel. If you don’t have filters in your mind to cope with ungodliness and violence portrayed on film, then don’t watch it. While slightly historically inaccurate for the sake of creating more of a story, Vikings does a great job of showing us what the West was like before the gospel got to it. How did Europeans behave and live before their culture was filtered through the lens of the gospel? Watch this show and find out. It provides us in South Africa with a wonderful model of how culture is shaped by the gospel if you consider the life portrayed in film and compare it with the modern day European.
10. Lecture series: Preaching Christ to a post-modern world
This lecture series by Keller and Clowney is perhaps going to be the most influential thing in my preaching for years to come. I can find no words to recommend this highly enough. If you are a minister or a Sunday school teacher; if you ever have to deal with the scriptures YOU MUST LISTEN TO THIS SERIES! Please ignore everything else on this post if you must; this will blow your universe away! Download from the iTunes store by clicking here
11. Lecture series: Outreach and Apologetics- Jerram Barrs
Mind blowing brilliant series on how to share the gospel and defend the faith in the modern age. If there is anything on the list after ‘Preaching Christ to a post modern world’ that I would recommend as the second best thing, it’s this. This series has been formative for me this year, and will mould me for many years to come. Barrs’ is not the easiest guy to listen to sometimes, but it is well worth it. Please get this. You can download it for free from Covenant Seminary; just make an account and download it. Click here to get it
If you are a communicator this is a book for you. Whether you teach children, or run a business this book is for you! If you are a minister it is extremely helpful. Though this book is secular, it is extremely helpful in showing what good communication is and isn’t. Extremely practical, this book was incredibly helpful.
If you enjoy keeping fit but want something that includes strength training, stretching and balance, than look no further. Add to that something that is fun and different and you are starting to describe Ido Portal. A friend of mine and I have been doing the basic training presented by Ido this year and his philosophy is fun and very effective. If you are into keeping fit, this is the next level. Suitable for girls as well as guys. Just a warning if you watch some of his videos he does use foul language occasionally and is a bit arrogant, but look beyond that to the good stuff. If you are committed to training, all you need is the YouTube channel and some space. Here is a taste of it: