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my favorite books of 2012

2012 might go down as the year where I read the least amount of books (for myself, that is, I’m sure I’ve read hundreds of books to Raeca including The Lorax about 7,853 times). And while I read a mere 18 books this year half that number are on this list. Less books but lots of great ones.

I’ve listed my favorite from the year in the order that I completed them:

Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick // A great book on prayer and an excellent reminder that God really does answer our prayers. One of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I’m not raising my kids to survive the world, I’m raising them to change it” (pg. 32)

You can read my full review and lots of my favorite quotes from the book here.

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson // Another great book on prayer. This is the book that spurred on my media fast back in the spring as well as the thirty day prayer challenge.

“Over the last year I’ve been repeating one prayer with great urgency: ‘Lord, do something unpredictable and uncontrollable.’ That’s a scary prayer . . . but it doesn’t scare me nearly as much as a life void of holy surprises. And you can’t have it both ways. If you want God to surprise you, you have to give up control. You will lose a measure of predictability but you will begin to see God move in uncontrollable ways!” (pg. 64)

7: an experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker // I LOVE, LOVE this book. It is mostly written as a journal over the course of 7 months as Jen focuses each month on an area of excess in her life. Her prayer throughout the book was “Jesus, may there be less of me and my stuff and more of You and Your Kingdom.” One month she gives away 7 articles of clothing a day, one month she eats only 7 seven foods . . . the seven areas of excess that she saw in her life were clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, media and stress, and quite honestly they are probably the same for each of us. This book really got me when I read this paragraph in the book:

“The ivory-tower approach to sermonizing just wore me out after 25 years. I developed resistance to sermons because so many had been heard but rarely seen.” (pg. 24)

If you are ready to be challenged I can’t recommend this book enough. You can also read some of my thoughts on the book here.

Love Does by Bob Goff // Bob really believes that loves does. The book is all about taking a stand and living a life of action. He tells story after story of adventure, from interviewing and filming world leaders with his children and giving them the keys to their home in case they ever want to visit, to helping to rescue children wrongly imprisoned in Uganda. I’ve got so many favorite sections from this book but I’ll just share a few.

“Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those ‘we’ll go there next time’ deferrals. The sad thing is, for many there is no ‘next time’ because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision. They need a change of attitude, not more opportunities.” (pg. xv)

“I once heard somebody say that God closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if, when we do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.” (pg. 44)

“I used to think I had to be somebody important to accomplish things, but now I know Jesus uses ordinary people more.” (pg. 67)

The Scent of Water by Naomi Zacharias // This book opened up my eyes to many social injustices around the world that I wasn’t even aware of and has left a fire inside of me that wants to fight each one of them.

“It is not a war I disengage from because I do not know what I can win. We have to continue to fight for the individual and against evil and destructive forces -because the cause is always worthy. And once you have stepped in to this world, you can never walk away. Once you have been make aware, you have a responsibility to care.” (pg. 163)

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker // I had to read this book after reading 7. Jen alludes to this book a lot in 7, it is the story of how her and her husband left their life living the American dream to plant a church focused on loving Jesus and serving the least of these.

“We don’t get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated. We’re not allowed to neglect the oppressed because we have reservations about their discernment. We cannot deny love because it might be despised or misunderstood. We can’t withhold social relief because we’re not convinced it will be perfectly managed . . . Doing nothing is blatant sin of omission. Turning a blind eye to the bottom of the grounds of “unworthiness” is the antithesis to Jesus’ entire mission.” (pg. 58)

“What if we really loved our neighbors and offered a safe place for community in our home, showing them the church instead of inviting them to one.” (pg. 130)

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman // We are not to just be fans of Jesus but rather, completely devoted followers.

“If you say to Jesus, ‘I’ll follow you wherever’ you can be sure that where He points will be out of your comfort zone. ‘Out of your comfort zone’ could be defined this way: ‘the places where saying yes to God means saying no to me.'” (pg 182)

Real Simplicity by Randy Frazee // When I first got this book I assumed it was about simplifying by getting rid of stuff (aka possessions) but I quickly realized it is about simplifying your life -your schedule. In the book the author gives way to both simplify your schedule while increasing the amount you witness to your community.

“Jesus moved into your neighborhood when you did. Have you introduced Him yet?” (pg. 208)

Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker // Notice all the Hatmaker books on this list? Brandon is the husband to Jen and this book is another must read. In it he tells his story of giving up the American dream and planting a church focused on loving Jesus and serving the least of these in the first chapter and then uses the rest of the book to share ways in which they are doing that in their life, church and community.

“It was clear that Jesus was saying: ‘This is how I want my church to look, a place where love and self-sacrifice are hardwired into the DNA of my people, of solidarity with the poor -a true community rallied around my gospel. I want a church where the altar is not only a place to take communion but also a place to leave your shoes. I want a barefoot church.'” (pg. 21)

You can also checkout my favorite books from 2011.

What were your favorite books from the last year? And what’s on your list for 2013?

with love,

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  1. soo excited to spend my amazon gift card on some of these:) completely agree with 7 and love does. i now want to be bob goff’s bestie.

    1. Totally! Especially if that involves a trip to a foreign country doing some great social justice work!

  2. I have read & love most of those books!! Can’t wait to see what’s on your 2013 list! You should read a million miles for a thousand years by Donald miller!

  3. I’ve read a few of these, started some and I just put the rest on my to-read list! I love reading reviews from people like you, whose opinions I respect. I’m especially excited to finish Love Does!

  4. I love this list! I read all but two of them this year. I’m adding The Scent of Water and Real Simplicity to my list!

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