Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

My Summer Reading Plan

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I love to read, and enjoy books in a variety of genres – theology, Christian living, biography, leadership, professional and personal development, sports, etc. Here are the books I’m planning to read this summer along with a short synopsis of each:

The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church by Albert Mohler 
My Friday Morning Breakfast Book Club recently started reading and discussing this book. Here’s the description from Amazon:
“A storm is coming. Western civilization and the Christian church stand at a moment of great danger. The storm is a battle of ideas that will determine the future of Western civilization and the soul of the Christian church. The forces we must fight are ideologies, policies, and worldviews that are deeply established among intellectual elites, the political class, and our schools. More menacingly, these ideas have also invaded the Christian church.
From threats to religious liberty and redefinitions of marriage and family to attacks on the sacredness and dignity of human life, the perils faced by the West and the church are unprecedented. How should Christians respond to this challenge? The Gathering Storm provides the answer, addressing each dimension of culture and showing Christians how to give an answer for the hope that is within them and how to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.”


Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund
My wife Tammy and I are reading and discussing this book. Here’s the description from Amazon:
“Christians know what Jesus Christ has done—but who is he? What is his deepest heart for his people, weary and faltering on their journey toward heaven? Jesus said he is “gentle and lowly in heart.” This book reflects on these words, opening up a neglected yet central truth about who he is for sinners and sufferers today.”


Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows by Ravi Zacharias
I read this autobiography when it was first published in 2005. Ravi Zacharias went home to be with the Lord on May 19. I’m re-reading it to refresh myself with Ravi’s life. From the Amazon description:
“Ravi Zacharias lived an extraordinary life. In this touching memoir, Zacharias shares an intimate look into his formative years, inviting you to follow him all the way back to his roots and journey with him through his life: to see and smell the neighborhood in India where he grew up, to feel a mother’s love and the consternation of a harsh father, and the lure of friends and sports.
He also tells about his long search for truth in wrestling with Eastern thought and the newer ideas of Christianity, the cry for help in a dark moment when he tried to take his own life–and the dramatic turning point that led to a life lived for Christ. Zacharias recalls his early days as a new convert, what it was like to find a new life in the Western world, and the eventual birth and growth of a worldwide ministry.
He has traveled from the East to the West, and then back again to answer skeptics’ penetrating questions about the meaning of life and the existence of a God who is there for his children.
This is a story about an amazing man. Yet it is also everyone’s story about belief–how it begins, how it grows, and the struggles associated with it.”


The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind by Ravi Zacharias
I’ve added this 2019 book by Ravi Zacharias to my daily devotional readings. From the Amazon description:
“We all have doubts that challenge our faith. We wonder whether the Bible still matters, or whether God is truly as loving and personal as we hope. In his first ever devotional, The Logic of God, apologist Ravi Zacharias offers 52 readings that explain how and why Christianity, the Bible, and God are still relevant, vital, and life-changing for us today. To all our dilemmas Ravi says, “I am convinced that Jesus Christ alone uniquely answers the deepest questions of our hearts and minds.”
With a remarkable grasp of biblical facts and a deep understanding of the questions that trouble our hearts, Ravi tackles the most difficult topics with ease and understanding. But The Logic of God is more than intellectual; it is also personal, offering thoughtful wisdom on:

  • when Jesus draws especially near you
  • the deep ray of hope found in God’s Word
  • how God transforms disappointments
  • why prayer matters
  • how genuine peace is possible
  • making sense of suffering

The Logic of God is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Logic of God was named the 2020 ECPA Christian Book Award winner for Bible Study category.
Ravi makes profound biblical truth easy to understand. And if your life is busy, this book is designed for you! It addresses 52 topics that you can read over the course of one year or slowly digest at your own pace. Each entry includes a scripture, questions for reflection, and some practical application steps.
When you’re struggling with questions and doubts, confused, curious, or just want a clearer way to express your faith The Logic of God has answers that satisfy the heart and the mind.”


Every Moment Holy: Volume 1 Pocket Edition by Douglas McKelvey
I’ve heard Andrew Peterson read selections from this book, and Tammy gave me one – “For the Loss of a Living Thing” – after Molly, our Alaskan Malamute died last year. I’m reading from the new pocket edition.
Here is the Rabbit Room description:
Every Moment Holy is a book of liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life–liturgies such as “A Liturgy for Feasting with Friends” or “A Liturgy for Laundering” or “A Liturgy for the First Hearthfire of the Season.” These are ways of reminding us that our lives are shot through with sacred purpose even when, especially when, we are too busy or too caught up in our busyness to notice.”
Watch this video of Andrew Peterson describing the book.


Ben Hogan: An American Life by James Dodson
James Dodson is my favorite golf writer. I’ve read several of his books, and have had this one for a while. I really don’t know much about the life of Ben Hogan, so I decided that now is the time to read the book. From the Amazon description:
“One man is often credited with shaping the landscape of modern golf. Ben Hogan was a short, trim, impeccably dressed Texan whose fierce work ethic, legendary steel nerves, and astonishing triumph over personal disaster earned him not only an army of adoring fans, but one of the finest careers in the history of the sport. Hogan captured a record-tying four U.S. Opens, won five of six major tournaments in a single season, and inspired future generations of professional golfers from Palmer to Norman to Woods.
Yet for all his brilliance, Ben Hogan was an enigma. He was an American hero whose personal life, inner motivation, and famed “secret” were the source of great public mystery. As Hogan grew into a giant on the pro tour, the combination of his cool outward demeanor and invincible, laser-guided accuracy on the golf course froze formidable opponents in their tracks. In 1949, at the peak of his career, Hogan’s mystique was reinforced by a catastrophic automobile accident in which he and his wife, Valerie, were nearly killed after being hit head-on by a Greyhound bus. Doctors predicted Hogan might never walk again – let alone set foot on another golf course. But his miraculous three-year recovery and comeback led to one of the greatest performances in golf history when in 1953 he won the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open (something that’s never been repeated).
In this first-ever family-authorized biography, renowned author James Dodson expertly and emotionally reconstructs Hogan’s complicated life. He discovers an intensely honest man handicapped by self-doubt, buoyed by the determination to prove his own abilities, and unable to escape a long-buried childhood tragedy – the core of the Hogan “secret.” Dodson also reveals both the legendary devotion and eventual strain in Hogan’s sixty-two-year marriage, and a Hogan rarely seen by the public: a warm, jovial man whose charitable spirit and sharp business sense enabled him to build the powerful golf equipment company bearing his name to this day. Ben Hogan: A Life is the authoritative inside portrait golf fans have long awaited.”


Stand Firm: Living in a Post-Christian Culture by John MacArthur
John MacArthur is one of my favorite authors and I read almost everything he publishes. From the Amazon description:
“As the believer’s understanding of spiritual truth deepens and he develops godly affections, the attraction for the former, sinful life fades. The Christian life is a war for holiness. Our calling to be set apart lands us in the crosshairs of a culture that opposes God’s truth. Even as the world around us is changing, our battle remains the same. To withstand the temptation to compromise in sin or retreat from suffering, Christians must hold fast to God’s Word. Only then can we live well for the Lord.
In Stand Firm: Living in a Post-Christian Culture, Dr. John MacArthur drafts biblical battle plans for maintaining a life of Christian faithfulness. God has revealed what kind of people we are to be in a hostile world, and by His Word and Spirit, He supplies us with everything we need to persevere in holiness, humility, and love.”


7 More Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas
Eric Metaxas is an excellent biographer (Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, Luther), who has also written books of shorter biographical sketches. From the Amazon description:
“In Seven More Men, the sequel to the enormously successful Seven Men#1 New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas offers more captivating stories of some of the most inspiring men in history. A gallery of greatness comes to life as Metaxas reveals men who faced insurmountable struggles and challenges with victorious resolve.
Heroes and role models have always been tremendously important–essential for inspiring our lives and shaping the world. But in the last few decades, the need for men of valor and integrity is more vital than ever. Award-winning biographer Eric Metaxas restores a sense of the heroic in the compelling profiles of Martin Luther, George Whitefield, William Booth, George Washington Carver, Sergeant Alvin York, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Billy Graham. Each man evinces a particular quality: the courage to surrender themselves to a higher purpose, and the willingness to give something dear to them away for the good of others.
With vitality and warmth, Metaxas draws electrifying insights for our daily lives from the inexhaustible richness of history. Inevitably inspiring, this anthology reminds us that certain qualities are worthy of emulation. Becoming acquainted with these seven heroes cannot fail to make your life immeasurably richer.”


These are 8 books that I’m planning on reading this summer. Please let us know what books you hope to read this summer.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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