First off, Christian Audio has a free download of an audio book every month. A couple months ago I got Augustine's On Christian Doctrine for free and this month they're giving away Jonathan Edward's Religious Affections for free. So if you're an ipodder or listen to books in the car, go forth and reap the freebie.
Next up, some book reviews:
The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper - What kind of book can both fill a preacher's soul with visions of glory and slap him around at the same time? Well, Piper's short take on preaching fits the bill. The first section of this preaching manifesto - and you should know it's not a lengthy theology or practical book about preaching - consists of lectures given by the author at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. The second section returns Piper to his favorite historical subject, Jonathan Edwards, to see what the preacher can learn about preaching from the life and ministry of America's greatest theologian. This isn't a whole compendium on preaching, but a lightning bolt of a preacher's passion. I greatly recommend this to any preacher and to anyone interested in reading a book which might show them a Biblical vision for preaching.
The Gospel & Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever - Evangelism being a weak area of mine, as I'm sure is true of many of you also, I was glad to find another resource from a pastor I would trust on the subject. The many unbiblical assumptions about evangelism prevalent in the church today ("Let's get them all the watch 'The Passion' and then we'll hand them tracts!") often makes me hesitant to go near Christian leaders when they're talking about spreading the gospel. But this book is different! Not only is it short (helpfully so) but it is full of long and deep thinking on the idea and practice of evangelism. The chapters are helpful ("Why Don't We Evangelize?" "How Should We Evangelize?" etc.) and the writing is Biblical, clear and to the point, often with great illustrations. Though Pastor Dever should write with more authority in spots ("I don't know what you think, but I agree with...") this book is worth having in multiple copies to give away to anyone longing to be used by Jesus in building His church.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne - This is the book I reviewed for our most recent book club (which has been a real blast so far). The Secret has been near the top of the bestselling nonfiction list for more than a year now, catapulted to fame by the endorsement of Oprah, or the "Great O in the Sky" as some like to call her. What is the Secret? I'm terrified to even tell you. The Secret is "the law of attraction." You want more? Really? The point is this: the universe is at your command, by your thoughts and emotions you are sending out wavelengths to the universe which will inevitably attract the things you are thinking/feeling about. That's it. That's the secret. Think it and it will come true. So...let's reason together...if you're sick it's because you've attracted sickness to yourself with negative thoughts. If you're rich it has nothing to do with God's blessing but everything to do with how powerfully you are commanding the universe. Oh, but why can't these people "attract" immortality? Or why can't they "attract" the end of the law of attraction? Or if, as they claim, the law of attraction has the same scientific merit as the law of gravity, why can't they "attract" anti-gravity and fly around for a little bit. The real secret isn't in this book - the real secret is why people are buying this book. Figure that out and you'll have found the desperate condition of humanity, the condition crying out for Jesus Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.