My 2019 Reading List

Since there are only a few days left in 2019 and I don’t think I will get any more books in before the year ends, here’s a list of some of the books I read in 2019 that you should add to your 2020 list.

“Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg

“The Red Sea Rules: Ten God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times” by Robert J. Morgan

“The Pilgrim’s Regress” by C.S. Lewis

“The Boy Crisis: Why our boys are struggling and what we can do about it” by Warren Farrell Ph.D. and John Gray Ph.D.

“The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis

“Punk Monk: New Monasticism and the Ancient Art of Breathing” by Andy Freeman

“The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

“The Naked Now: Learning to see as the mystics see” by Richard Rohr

“Orthodoxy” by G.K. Chesterton

“Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go.” By Richard Rohr

“The Lord and His Prayer” by N.T. Wright

“Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life” by Henri Nouwen

“Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer” by Richard Rohr

“Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life” by Henri Nouwen

“Everything Belongs to God: Discovering the Hidden Christ” by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

“Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr

“Humility” by Andrew Murray

“The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henri Nouwen

“A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” by Eugene H. Peterson

“The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Own Unique Path to Spiritual Growth” by Christopher L. Heuertz

“How the Bible Actually Works” by Peter Enns

“Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image” by Dr. Paul Bland and Philip Yancey

“How To Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People.” by Pete Greig

“No Man Is an Island” by Thomas Merton

“Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved” by Kate Bowler

“The Lord of the Ring” by Phil Anderson

“The Jesus Way” by Eugene Peterson

“Blessed Broken Given” by Glen Packian

“Letters from a Modern Mystic” by Frank C. Laubach

“The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

You can read my lists from previous years or check out the list of books I think everyone should read.

You’ve Become a Pharisee

“Imagine yourself moving into a house with a huge picture window overlooking a grand view across a wise expanse of water enclosed by a range of snow-capped mountains. You have a ringside seat before wild storms and cloud formations, the entire spectrum of sun-illuminated colors in the rocks and trees and wildflowers and water. You are captivated by the view. Several times a day you interrupt your work and stand before this window to take in the majesty and the beauty, thrilled with the botanical and meteorological fireworks.

One afternoon you notice some bird droppings on the window glass, get a bucket of water and a towel, and clean it. A couple of days later a rain storm leaves the window streaked, and the bucket comes out again. Another day visitors come with a thrive of small dirty-fingered children. The moment they leave you see all the smudge marks on the glass. They are hardly out the door before you have the bucket out. You are so proud of that window, and it’s such a large window. But it’s incredible how many different ways foreign objects can attach themselves to that window, obscuring the vision, distracting from the contemplative beauty.

Keeping that window clean develops into an obsessive-compulsive neurosis. You accumulate ladders and buckets and squeegees. You construct a scaffolding inside and out to make it possible to get to the all the difficult corners and heights. You have the cleanest window in North America — but it’s now been years since you looked through it.

You’ve become a Pharisee.”

Eugene Peterson, ‘The Jesus Way

Two Great Books I Read Over Christmas


I took some time off over Christmas to do nothing but unplug, hangout with my family, and not think about anything.

I also read two amazing books. (Seriously, these are great.)

“Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight
 This is the story of Nike from its first day to the day it went public in the 80’s, written by the founder Phil Knight.
 I love books like this because it reminds me that big companies like Nike weren’t instant successes. We see the big company but miss the years of hard work, doubt, failure and in some cases dumb luck that lead to breakthroughs.
 Something I did not expect from this book was how honest Phil Knight was on how empty and frustrating parts of his success has been, and what he lost along the way. (His oldest son died in a diving accident and he is really open about how he dealt with it.) I really loved this book.

“Stuff Matters” by Mark Miodownik
 Everything we use and rely on is made of something, and that something is made of something else. The screen you are reading right now is made of glass or crystal and that glass or crystal is made of other elements that is made of a combination of other elements (and so on and so on). The author, Mark Miodownik, is a material scientist and is able to explain what “stuff” like glass, paper, or concrete is made of in a very scientific yet simple way that anyone can understand and be completely fascinated by.

I literally read this book in a couple hours. It was that interesting and understandable.

So, there you go. Add these books to your 2017 reading list. (You have already started writing your reading list right?)


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

My Favorite Books from 2016

Last year I listed my top 5 books as well as 8 that almost made top 5. (Check out 2015’s list here)

This year I am going to list my top 5 books of 2016, these are the books that I read and re-read that made the greatest impact on how I live and think, plus 12 other books that I had a hard time not adding to the top 5.

The “Honorable Mention” list are a few other books I enjoyed from the books I completed in 2016. (I don’t finish every book I start, if I get bored or I lose interest I don’t waste my time in finishing.)

All of these books are really amazing. Just buy them all.

Top 5 Books of 2016:

1) “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown
 2) “The Way of the Heart” by Henri J.M. Nouwen
 3) “American Icon” by Bryce G. Hoffman
 4) “Humility” by Andew Murray
 5) “Reclaiming Conversation” by Sherry Turkle

“Originals” by Adam Grant
 “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson
 “Adventures in Prayer” by Mary Jo Pierce
 “Deep Work” by Cal Newport
 “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg *Re-read from 2015 (Probably should be top 5 since it’s the second year I’ve listed it.)
 “Sprint” by Jake Knapp
 “Finding Eve” by Rita Springer
 “The Wisdom of the Desert” by Thomas Merton
 “The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Church Monks” by Benedicta Ward
 “Sacred Listening” by James L. Wakefield
 “Prayer Primer” by Thomas Dubai
 “The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting” by Talbot W. Chambers

Honorable Mention:

“Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday
 “Poets and Saints” by Jamie George
 “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin
 “The Leader Who Had No Title” by Robin Sherma
 “The Lives of the Desert Fathers” by Norman Russell


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

Tozer on the church vs other institutions.

According to the Scriptures the church is the habitation of God through the Spirit, and as such is the most important organism beneath the sun. She is not one more good institution along with home, the state, and the school; she is the most vital of all institutions- the only one that can claim a heavenly origin.