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The End of Many Books

Living by the Book

by Howard Hendricks

This is THE book for learning how to do Bible study. It is book number ONE, and for many, the only.

I’ve been to Bible college and seminary, been assigned lots of books, taken hermeneutics classes and Greek/Hebrew classes. I’ve loved learning how to read and meditate and apply the Word. And Hendricks is the one I keep coming back to in order to get other people going.

I’m teaching a class at our school called Cornerstone. That’s Jesus, yes, who is the embodied Word. And it’s also a reference to the inspired Word, the Bible. This year I’ve got freshmen and sophomores, and I’ve taken a few other freshmen classes through it at a previous school.

Want to read the Bible but don’t know where to start? Want to study the Bible but need some basic steps to get going? Want some recommended resources to help you study, and would prefer not just Googling or Wikipedia-ing?

Living by the Book is your book. All the stars.

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The End of Many Books

Till We Have Faces

by C.S. Lewis

This was my second read-through, bumped up in my queue in preparation for our next Raggant Fiction Festival. As is usual for me with good books, my delight increased. Or maybe rather than delight, my gratitude grew. I’m raising my rating, adding it to my Fives.

The guy can write. Ha!

I’ve heard it argued that Lewis was not big on introspection. It may be true. But even if he wouldn’t encourage a man to look into his heart for too long, Lewis makes you look into someone else’s ugly heart. Mirrors hang on every page of this myth retold.

One guy said Lewis encouraged “imaginative glimpses” rather than a self-examination that bogs a man down in the slough of despond. We ought to hate proud self-love when we see it, yes, and then we ought to get into serving others for sake of the joy in obedience.

Till We Have Faces puts a face on that sort of narrative arc, for those who have ears to hear that they may not be the victim after all. Great story, and brutal, to the final page.

Should you read this? The better question is, why haven’t you already read this?!

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

A Failure of Nerve

by Edwin Friedman

February 2022. I do sometimes wish I could explain this book better. I almost always wish I could embody the nerve Friedman describes better.

As you can see below, I’ve read this a bunch of times. This go-round is in discussion with the men who help to shepherd our church’s small-groups. Even though I last finished it in 2019, I had intended to start it again when fearfulness ramped up during the lockdowns of 2020. Since then the world has set up its tent in CHAZ Anxietyville.

While leaders today may not have it more difficult than those in the past, they are probably more scrutinized and the criticisms more amplified. So much is broken, and the hour needs more men who aren’t panicked or pressured into over-reactivity, who can keep their heart and their direction for the good of the people they’re connected to.

You don’t have to read this book; read 1 Timothy 4:15-16 instead. And it’s true that Friedman really should be ignored in some parts. But I keep giving this thing 5 of 5 stars, so what are you waiting for?


May 2019 – 5/5 stars. With all the qualifications from my previous reviews in mind, this book is just a great challenge.

“To be a leader, one must both have and embody a vision of where one wants to go. It is not a matter of knowing or believing one is right; it is a matter of taking the first step.”


December 2013: Read again and discussed with the TEC elders through 2013. Fantastic material for a leadership team, as long as that team already has a strong theological basis.


September 2012 – 5/5 stars: One of the most compelling and clarifying books I’ve read in a long time. Though I wouldn’t use the Friedman’s vocabulary, agree with his evolutionary presumptions, or have anywhere near his positivity apart from the gospel, I’d still say the Rabbi asks great questions that every leader (husband, father, pastor, boss, president, etc.) should consider.

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The End of Many Books

Atomic Habits

by James Clear

This book was even better than I hoped. Plus, James Clear is from Ohio, and played baseball. Boom. 

But also the content about starting good habits and stopping less good ones is clear and promotes action and iteration (without causing guilt to metastasize). If you’ve read The Slight Edge, which I highly recommend as well, then the idea of small but consistent changes will resonate. 

Clear also doesn’t let the reader off the hook. We always do what we most want to do, and what we want to do comes from our own hearts and our identity, for which we are responsible. Any long term changes we make will necessarily require identity change. He also talks about personal limits very fruitfully, reminding us that we can’t be just whatever we wish we could be, but we can look for areas and ways to maximize who we are as God made us (emphasis mine). 

Should you read this? Yes, you should start today.

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Warden and the Wolf King

by Andrew Peterson

I’M NOT CRYING, YOU ARE CRYING!

I really enjoyed the whole Saga, and this fourth book did not disappoint. I already look forward, if the Maker wills, to reading it again.

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Monster in the Hollows

by Andrew Peterson

It was very hard to discipline myself to only read one or two chapters a day. Perhaps this book has more tough plot points, and twists, than the previous two books in the series, but I am very much enjoying Peterson’s novel-songs.

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

North! or Be Eaten

by Andrew Peterson

Book #2 in the Wingfeather Saga was no let down, though it’s not quite as light a story as #1. The plot surprised me multiple times all the way to the end. At a few points in the middle of the book I’ll admit I was irritated, but in good ways, because I wanted to know what’s going to happen? but also knew that certain events meant that answers were even farther away. Excited to start #3 soon.

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Screwtape Letters

by C. S. Lewis

This is some next level temptation insight. I don’t like demons, but I do like snark, so there is a lot to enjoy, even to learn from snarky Uncle Screwtape. Lewis is really good at nailing slippery sinful inner inclinations to the wall, and in this book he does so while also making our spiritual enemies look silly.

And one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

by Andrew Peterson

I’m sure there was a day when I would not have enjoyed this book at all. TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY! I thought the names were playful and many of the footnotes were fun (I’ve always wondered how to make booger gruel) and I care about what happens to the Igibys. I’d start rereading it tomorrow if there weren’t three more books in the Saga.

5 of 5 stars

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A Shot of Encouragement

Sunday Well Spent

Last August while in the UK I saw this sign on a sandwich board on the sidewalk outside a restaurant.

First, Scoff & Banter is a perfect name.

Second, “a Sunday well spent” involves more than a good pot roast. Get with God’s people and worship Him.