Each of us have our different tastes in music, books and movies, but most of us enjoy music and books and or movies. I might read a book that I find particularly stirring or one that impacts me and my wife will think it's just "okay." So, your list might match mine or be completely different. In fact, if you have a book, CD or movie that helped move you forward in your journey with Christ during the previous year, feel free to share it in the comments section. I might just add it to my own list of things to read, watch and listen to in 2012. My list below is not ranked in any particular order. That is not my intention. They are simply the top ten books and recordings that have fueled my fire for Christ during the last year. And maybe a movie or two. Anyway, here goes...
- Bonhoeffer - Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy, by Eric Metaxas - This is a huge book about a great man. I took my time with it and read it over the course of two months. If you enjoys biographies or are inspired by the lives of great Christians, this is a must read! I loved this book and passed it on to a friend who passed it on to another friend.
- Ghosts Upon the Earth - Gungor - I don't really know how to define Gungor and I think the band would be very proud of that. This is a very talented, creative, innovative group of musicians and worshipers. As a worship pastor, looking for more songs to help us say all that we need to say to God, most of Gungors songs are attainable for congregations' singing, but it was unmistakable to me that worship was taking place during their concert at NWLC last summer. It's difficult to put my finger why they're so appealing to me, but I can say that my kids and I can't get enough of Gungor and Ghosts Upon the Earth displays everything we like about the band Gungor. Trans-Siberian Orchestra meets Sigur Rós and Queen - minus a measure of flamboyancy.
- Jesus Manifesto, by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet - I read this book toward the beginning of last year with my brother. We live in different states, but called each other to discuss what we were reading. Reading this sparked a revival in my own heart. I didn't even realize that I was in need of a revival, but after years of working in a church, I'd begun to subconsciously convince myself that I had to live this Christ life out of sheer will. I would have never said that out loud or even believe that I believed it, but my inner thoughts were telling me a different story.
- 10,000 Reasons - Matt Redman - Last summer I attended the National Worship Leader Conference in Kansas City, KS and when Matt Redman lead one of the evening worship times, his recording 10,000 reasons became my top favorite worship album of the year. We have already incorporated 2 of the songs and I suspect more are to come. The two songs we sing as a congregation are 10,000 Reasons and Holy.
- Bark of the Bog Owl, by Johnathan Rogers - In 2011 I began following the blog at rabbitroom.com. It's a community of creatives - song writers, authors, musicians, theologians, artists, etc. I encourage you to check it. On to my point... one of the contributors to that site is the author, Johnathan Rogers. The Bark of the Bog Owl is the first book in the Wilderking trilogy and takes the reader into world of swamps, gators and of course the mysterious Feechie folk. Rogers is a wonderful writer and, though this book is more of a young adult fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
- The Reckoning - NEEDTOBREATHE - For me it seemed like this was a step back from the groups previous offering - Outsiders - at least on my initial enjoyment level. But I found that I couldn't stop listening to it. I'm still trying to figure out the deeper meaning behind some of the lyrics, but even if I don't pick up on them, the music is fantastic!
- The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge - An older book that I finally got around to reading. I can't express enough that I wish I had read this book when I first purchased it several years ago. I think I'd be a better dad to my sons. I hope that I can make up for some of the time I've lost, know that many of the things Eldredge pointed out have turned a switch on in my brain. If you have sons, or just need to understand some of the "why questions" on your journey as a man, then I encourage you to read this book.
- Over The Edge by Brandilyn Collins - Okay, I admit that I might be rounding up on this one, but let me explain. I don't normally read murder mysteries or suspense, but another book I read encouraged me to read the some of the same authors my wife chooses so... I actually like the book and finished it in maybe two days. My wife and daughter had been reading a lot of Brandilyn Collins recently so I thought I would join them. This is in my top ten to say - I'm glad I did - and it really is a good book for it's genre.
- The King's Speech - This was such a great movie. I didn't catch it in theaters when it came out, so I'm a little behind, but my wife and I rented it this year and found it to be a very compelling story. Reminds me of another who tried to use his stammering as an excuse not to serve. Yes, I'm talking about you, Moses. For the rest of us, we have no excuses to offer God when He calls us.
- Captain America - The First Avenger - A shout out to my favorite childhood super hero! There were certainly better pieces of cinema in 2011 and certainly more inspiring movies. I willingly concede. But I was excited to finally see my favorite super hero on the big screen.
Well, that's it - nothing too spectacular to an outsider, but to me, this was a big part of my journey over the last year and includes the things I really enjoyed. I'd love to hear about the books/albums/movies you enjoyed last year. Please share your comments.