First Baptist Church, Mound City

A place to connect with God and others

Top Books for 2017 (Joe)

2017 presented the opportunity to go through many interesting, challenging, and perhaps, even a few boring books. Here is a rundown of some of the top books of the year. It is hard to list them 1 through 10 because of the broad categories. So, I will give a category and then a book or two that fits into that genre. Happy hunting as you select one or more of these for your 2018 reading list. Two-thirds of the books for 2017 were audio and one-third were hard copy. Audio has become a great way to pass the time while driving or running. Give it a try!


Inspirational. Inspiring stories make me want to live a better life.

Fearless, by Eric Blehm remains a remarkable story of failure and faith, along with Navy SEAL grit and determination.  This has made the list before… and probably will again.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. A must for anyone looking to be inspired by grit and determination. Louie Zamperini shows us what an unbroken determination looks like.

Into the Fire, by Dakota Meyer. The story of Meyer and the heroics that led to his awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor in Afghanistan.


Historical. I like history so there will always be a good dose of history on my list. 2017 saw more than a dozen in this genre.

Killing the Rising Sun, by Bill O’Reilly. All of the “Killing” series are very good. Add this to your list.

Last Hope Island, by Lynne Olson. An account of how Britain was the last, nearest hold out again the Nazi regime. I was fascinated to learn that the U.S. had two embassies in London during the war. One for our dealings with Britain. The other for our dealings with all the governments in exile there.


Fiction. Like history, fiction helps drive time or run time go by.

The First Hostage, by Joel Rosenberg. This author presents a biblical worldview inside riveting stories. This is the first of a series, and they are all a homerun.

The Heist, by Daniel Silva. This is one example of a few good Silva books that spun a good tale about Israeli secret agents. The Mossad doesn’t mess around.




Lasting Impact, by Carey Nieuwhof). The subtitle says it well: 7 Conversations Church Leaders Need to Have. Each of the seven are spot-on and were helpful to me.

Turn the Ship Around, by David Marquette. A Navy submarine captain shares the secrets of his success in leading a remarkable rise in crew effectiveness. “Sir, I intend to…”  Great stuff here!

First In, Last Out, by John Salka. Leadership lessons from the FDNY. Don’t waste your water on smoke. Save it for a real issue. Many more nuggets in there.


Ministry focused

Making Sense of God, by Timothy Keller. I hope Keller is on my reading list every year. He makes me think in fresh ways. This was one of four Keller books for the year, all of the excellent.

Every Man’s Battle, by Steven Arterburn. An entire series of excellent resources in the “Every Man” series. This one deals with the struggles men have with their eyes and pornography.


Personal growth

Grit, by Angela Duckworth. Examples and stories, along with inspirational teaching about developing grit, mental strength.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, by Amy Morin. Another outstanding book to improve my personal determination. It keeps me running, among other persevering endeavors.

Start with Why, by Simon Sinek. Outstanding book teaching us to look to our motivation for what we are doing… and to encourage others with the same. It reminds me of why I run, among other persevering endeavors.

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. I need to read this one again to drive beneficial habits deeper into my life.



The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller. Keller makes the list again, with this great book expounding Ephesians 5 and the mystery of Christ and the church, and husbands and wives. There is much at stake in how I honor my wife.



Disciple-Making Parent, by Chap Bettis. Brings to the fore the parent’s primary duty of advancing the spiritual formation of their child.

Sticky Faith, by Chap Clark and Kara Powell. Another that keeps the focus for parents where it needs to be – spiritual development of our children.



Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby Payne. The book delivers on the title. Should be something I read every few years.

The Vanishing American Adult, by Ben Sasse. This work deals with parents who are raising the current younger generations without much grit or understanding of why, or spiritual formation.