Your Blueprint for Life

Your Blueprint for Life: How to Align Your Passion, Gifts, and Calling with Eternity in Mind (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

It’s tough to synthesize God’s priorities for a balanced life. Trying to include every aspect of our primacies from every perspective is tough sledding. Any book that attempts it must, by necessity, skim the surface in survey rather than offer deep, abiding truths.

Your Blueprint for Life quotes liberally from God’s Word, sources, quotes, and stories to provide a general survey of how we should attempt balance—and therefore, it is suggested, satisfaction.

The Printer and the Preacher

The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

For years I loved the story of how Ben Franklin refused to take money when he listened to George Whitefield preach. So compelling was Whitefield’s appeal, Franklin would give. One day after hearing Whitefield preach, an empty-pocketed Franklin asked a bystander for a small loan so Franklin could donate.

Outside of this episode, I had never read much about the intertwining lives of these two men—until this book.

Sacred Marriage

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? (Zondervan, 2000, 2015)

I have literally read dozens of books on marriage, and Gary Thomas has written the best. Why? Because Sacred Marriage is not about marriage but about how marriage is merely the context for married people to love and serve God.

Thomas’ classic quote says it best:

We also have to rid ourselves of the notion that the difficulties of marriage can be overcome if we simply pray harder or learn a few simple principles. Most of us have discovered that these ‘simple steps’ work only on a superficial level. Why is this? Because there’s a deeper question that needs to be addressed beyond how we can ‘improve’ our marriage: What if God didn’t design marriage to be ‘easier’? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place? What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

Dealing with topics such as romance, learning to love, honoring one another, marriage as God’s tool of sanctification, developing perseverance, learning to forgive, each chapter focuses on God and God alone as the point of marriage (and life). Even the chapter on sex drills down to the glory of God.

After 15 years of publication, this book continues to be one I read over and over. I need this book. And if you’re married, YOU need it too. Sacred Marriage is a gift to your spiritual life. 

What Keeps You Up at Night

What Keeps You Up at Night? How to Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Pete Wilson rubs his finger on the bruise that causes us each to flinch: What we fear most.

Beginning with the fact that we’re not alone, What Keeps You Up at Night shows how fear is a common response of all people—including those greats in the Bible. Abraham, Joseph, Joshua, Daniel, all faced fear and overcame because they chose to trust God in spite of the fear. 

reason for my hope

The Reason for My Hope: Salvation (Thomas Nelson, 2013)

Each chapter of Billy Graham’s book, The Reason for My Hope, leads to one conclusion: regardless of whatever you’re face, Jesus Christ provides the answer. Dr. Graham’s easygoing writing incorporates numerous stories and illustrations to support that the idea that our hope in life and after life comes by faith in Christ.

let the journey begin

Let the Journey Begin: Finding God’s Best for Your Life (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Although I’m not a big fan of gift books, Let the Journey Begin: Finding God’s Best for Your Life, may be an exception.

I began the book with skepticism. After all, this volume contains old content printed first in various Lucado books, then repurposed and as a gift book in 1999 and again in 2009. So, another reprinting and repackaging?

Complete 101 Collection

The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to Know (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

This new volume, The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to Know,  sits about two inches thick and includes most of John Maxwell’s popular content on leadership.

Some great content here on essential topics each framed around chapters on attitude, self-improvement, leadership, relationships, success, teamwork, equipping, and mentoring.

Whatever the Cost

Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Okay, I’ll be honest. I thought Whatever the Cost would be a quick, entertaining read. No big deal. Instead, I found two more heroes to add to my life.

I loved reading about the Christian home David and Jason Benham came from—how their father poured into them the mindset to “make our theology our biography.” In other words, live what you believe.

These brothers do that.

I found myself laughing out loud several times as I’d read one brother poke fun at the other one. All in good nature, but hilarious.

seven book

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Having enjoyed Eric Metaxas’ book on Bonhoeffer, I was eager to review his latest volume, 7 Men.

The book covers seven famous men in history whose faith made a difference in the way they lived.

Metaxas expressed it this way: “I was looking for seven men who had all evinced one particular quality: that of surrendering themselves to a higher purpose, of giving something away that they might have kept.”

  1. George Washington
  2. William Wilberforce
  3. Eric Liddell
  4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  5. Jackie Robinson
  6. Pope John Paul II
  7. Charles Colson

Each chapter of 7 Men includes a brief introduction why Metaxas chose the man, the story of what made the man great, and—by indirect suggestion—how we can live by their example.

Undone

Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life (Zondervan, 2015)

Michele Cushatt is one of the best writers I’ve read in a long time. And her newest book, Undone, gives more than good writing. It’s a great subject.

The book hooked me early on. I read. And read. And read. Refreshing, real, raw. She had me laughing and crying often on the same page.

The message of the book is wonderful. The fairytale we want out of life isn’t real. It never was. If you’ve ever struggled with shattered hopes, a fearful diagnosis, a wayward child, a dysfunctional church, or the silence of God, Undone will walk beside you as a companion.

Here’s why I liked it–and why I’m sure you will.