"Bring the Books With" — A New Recommended List

As you head back to school, or out to visit a friend or family member—or perhaps as you leave the National Conference in Minneapolis—take a cue from the apostle Paul and bring some good books with (which is a quintessentially Minnesotan way of saying it).

The Time Is Short

In 2 Timothy, the grizzled gospel-carrier knows he’s nearing the end of his days on earth. “The time of my departure has come,” he writes. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (4:6–7).

His time is short, and he’d like to see his disciple Timothy as quickly as possible. “Do your best to come to me soon” (4:9). It will be a great joy to see his beloved son in the faith one more time before departing this life.

Don’t Return Empty-Handed

But Timothy shouldn't flatter himself by coming empty-handed: “When you come, bring . . . the books” (4:13).

How much more should we, who perhaps don’t yet sense ourselves at the brink of departing from this world, be eager to bring the books!

The DG Conference Bookstore

Likely the vast majority of those reading this post will not be on the ground in the Twin Cities this weekend attending Finish the Mission. However, our hope here is that the below recommendations (titles available in our conference bookstore) might spark an interest in those keeping score at home, whether you’ll be tuning in to the live-stream or not.

Missions

Our theme this weekend is world evangeliziation, particularly among unreached and unengaged peoples. So we start with a few missions titles—some new, some old.

Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation by Jason Mandryk

Mandryk is one of our seminar speakers this afternoon, and Operation World, as the subtitle right claims, really is the definitive guide for praying globally. This new edition, released within the last year, may be one of the most important volumes for the world-minded Christian to secure.

Reckless Abandon: A modern-day Gospel pioneer's exploits among the most difficult to reach peoples by David Sitton

David is a veteran missionary and founder/leader of the missions agency To Every Tribe. The book is being released this weekend at the Desiring God conference. I’m eager to get my hands on a copy.

The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman

Here’s an ole classic of sorts, first published in 1963, of which Billy Graham has said, “Few books have had as great an impact on the cause of world evangelization in our generation as Robert Coleman’s The Master Plan of Evangelism.” Coleman himself is both an evangelist and a disciplemaker, and he tracks Jesus’ own ministry from the calling of his disciples to their commissioning to disciple all nations.

Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God by David Platt

Platt, one of our plenary speakers this weekend, followed up his 2010 bestseller Radical with this sequel earlier this year. It’s not strictly a missions book, but it fits well with the call to normal Christianity that takes up global concerns and seems so radical to so many. (For more, see Jared Wilson’s helpful review.)

Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey

Here’s another by one of our speakers (church-planting seminar) not strictly about missions but with significant missionary implications.

The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God’s Plan for the World by David Sills

Especially relevant to our theme this weekend, Sills (leading one of this afternoon’s seminars) explores the missionary call and helps us clarify our thinking and God’s direction for our lives.

A Holy Ambition: To Preach Where Christ Has Not Been Named by John Piper

Piper has been preaching an annual missions sermon at Bethlehem since the early 80s. In this missions reader of sorts, Desiring God has pulled together some of his key sermons, as well as other missions addresses Piper has given over the years. The result is a kind of missions anthology that we hope will fuel your passion for world evangelization—and hopefully serve as a useful tool spreading to others. In particular, these are priced to sell in bulk.

Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions by John Piper

Republished just last year with a handful of updates throughout and a new preface and substantive new introduction, this is, in many ways, the foundation and core for our conference this weekend.

New Books

It’s a conference on missions, but there’s more in the bookstore than just titles on this theme. Here are a few newer titles, out in the last year, we’d recommend.

Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn

A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, & Mission around the Table by Tim Chester

Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God by Sam Crabtree

This book is very well done. Crabtree has been at Bethlehem now almost fifteen years, is a profound Christian Hedonist, and knows how to sound a complementary note we’re sometimes slow to hear.

Redeeming Sociology: A God-Centered Approach by Vern Poythress

King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus by Tim Keller

Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke.

Save yourself the vanity of reading any more books before you really learn how to read. Time with Reinke’s book is an investment that should pay off in your future reading.

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well by Randy Newman

We were privileged to have Randy on a recent DG Live, and we hope you’ll find his thinking (and experience) on this subject as helpful as we have.

Doctrine of the Word of God by John Frame

Like Don Carson says, “If Frame writes it, I read it.” Join us.

Desiring God 25th Anniversary Edition

Of course, Piper’s classic Desiring God was re-released just this year. If you’ve not yet read Desiring God, perhaps let this be your final call to take it off the shelf, or acquire a copy, and give it your careful and unhurried reflection. We seriously think you’ll be glad you did. (If you’re at the conference this weekend, we’re offering the paperback for only five bucks and the hardcover at only $8.99.)

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Finally, stay tuned for three fresh Desiring God releases this month. The launch is imminent for Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, a new major work from Piper on race and the gospel. Read an excerpt here.

Also coming is the collection of revised and expanded messages from last year’s Desiring God National Conference called Thinking. Loving. Doing.: A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind. There most of us real bookish types will be wonderfully challenged by Francis Chan’s chapter in particular. Available alongside it will be a DVD of the main sessions from a year ago, as well as Piper’s extended interview from May with Rick Warren.

Lastly, re-releasing this month is Piper’s Advent poem The Innkeeper. The original poem, first published in 1998, is accompanied with new artwork by Glenn Harrington. Here’s a good way to plan ahead for the Christmas season.

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Previous DG Conference Recommended Lists —

David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.