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Sabbatical Reading List

A lot of folks have been asking what I am going to read on my Sabbatical, so I thought I would share my (loosely) planned reading for my time away from the normal responsibilities. Here is my reading list in no specific order:

1. A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr.

I am a history nut, especially when it comes to military history and the men who led through strenuous times. I am excited to dive into a book about one of those men, President Abraham Lincoln. White provides a unique perspective focusing on the person of Abraham Lincoln and his development as a moral, political, personal man.

2. Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey

This is a book I picked up, but for some reason put down. I think it was one of those books I desperately wanted to read but life happened. I am excited to pick it back up and to hear about this unique friendship between my favorite preacher and a passionate African-American missionary.

3. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni

I had a good friend recommend Patrick Lencioni. I am not quick to pick up books that have “three” anything (tips, ways, principles, etc.) in the title. This title, however, captured my attention. As a boss and leader, the last thing I want is for the staff I oversee to hate their job. Anything I can do within the organization to encourage my staff to enjoy their work, well then it’s worth the time investment in learning.

4. The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable...About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life by Patrick Lencioni

Another book by Lencioni that captured my attention. This book though focuses on the family. Part of the reason I am most looking forward to this sabbatical is because of the frantic schedule of our family in this season. I never want our lives to be so busy, we let accomplish our to-do lists but leave little room for family memories.

5. A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage

This book was a recent Christmas gift and was recommended by a friend. This unique book focuses on the history from the Stone-Age to 21st Century through the lens of the influence of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. I am most interested in how coffee has played an influential role in the history of mankind because it sure has played a role in the history of this man.

6. For the Love of Discipline: When the Gospel Meets Tantrums and Time-Outs by Sara Wallace

This book is by far one of my favorite books on parenting. I have read and reread this book. I have given it away. This time, however, I am going to read through it slowly and with my wife. As parents of a six-year old girl and a four-year old boy, the principles in this book keep shaping how we parent and how we keep the Gospel central in all we do.

7. Your Money, Your Marriage by Cherie and Brian Lowe

I absolutely loved How to Slay the Debt Dragon by Cherie Lowe. She is as equally helpful as she is entertaining in her writing. Known as the Queen of Free, her biblical and practical wisdom is refreshing with frustrating topics, such as dealing with money in marriage. Looking forward to diving into this one and implementing some new principles for our family and finances.

8. Learning from a Legend: What Gardner C. Taylor Can Teach Us about Preaching by Jared Alcántara

Doc Taylor is one of the most well-known and gifted preachers of our time. He is one of my favorite preachers to read and to listen to on a regular basis. His wit and wisdom pour out in his preaching. This book focuses on six lessons to learn from this giant of a preacher.

9. Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of under 250 by Karl Vaters

Another book I have been tremendously helped by and wanted to pick up again was this one. Our church is a healthy and growing congregation, but if I have learned anything it is that complacency often leads to callousness and callousness almost always leads to death. Every time I pick up this book I am helped by something. My goal for reading this book is to develop a plan to implement some specific changes in the next few years to put us in a better place to not grow complacent.

10. The Art of Rest by Adam Mabry

The choice of this book may be a bit obvious, but rest is something I truly need to work on learning and perfecting. As in my previous post, I like to work hard. I am the kind of person who does not stop on a road trip, skips lunch if need be, and makes up time I lost in the wee hours of the night. I want to create a better rhythm of work and rest in my life. Looking forward to being helped by Mabry in this adventure.

11. Meditations on Preaching by Francis James Grimké

Grimké was an African American Presbyterian preacher for over fifty years. He was born in 1850 in the South and pastored in Washington D.C. the majority of his assignment. I am looking forward to learning from the personal insights of this gifted preacher.

I would ask for recommendations, but I am afraid I will probably not be able to finish these if I am sabbatical-ing (not a word) right. So many books, so little time. I hope to come back a better man.

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