Books and Music

On this page, I provide some of the books and music I am currently enjoying or recommendations of past material I have found interesting, enriching, enjoyable, or all of the above! I have never been a great reader, so the availability of audiobooks and podcasts have been a great resource for me in recent years. I can listen while walking or driving. Having the Bible on audiobook has been a great supplement to my regular Bible study. While my study is usually in small segments, focusing on smaller passages at one time, listening to large chunks of Scripture at once has been a great addition and provides the larger context of the passage. I highly recommend it.

  • Current reading and listening – books and music I am reading and listening to at this time.
  • Recommended books – Books that I have found to be helpful and/or thought provoking. Includes study resources, fiction, apologetic, current issues and more.
  • Recommended news, magazines, and podcasts – In a world of information overload, I have found the following resources to be a valuable source of information on current events and other various topics.
  • For families and kids – Stories that are engaging, enjoyable, and that contain timeless messages and principles. Great for any age (0-100) and especially for spending time reading to your kids or grand-kids.

Current Reading and Listening

Books and music that I am reading and listening to at this time.

  • NIV Zondervan Study Bible – D.A. Carson, editor. This study Bible has been excellent as a general Bible study resource. Study notes providing by a team of very good biblical scholars.
  • Listener’s Audio Bible NIV – read by Max McLean. Can sometimes seem a little over dramatic, but is very good for the most part. I appreciate listening to an audio Bible from someone who is a believer, and not just a celebrity reader.
  • Phil’s Main Playlist – A group of songs that I have collected over the years from various artists and styles of music, both old and new.
  • Worship and Reflection – This is the playlist I go to when I want to listen to more worshipful and introspective music. Probably my most used playlist.
  • Instrumental Favorites – A collection of instrumental songs that is great for background music or when you don’t want a lot of noise.
  • Christmas Favorites – Christmas music is for all-year round! Some of my family’s favorite songs from through the ages.
  • Classical Favorites – A collection of some of my favorite classical music.
  • Love Songs – A collection of songs that focus on love and romance.

Recommend Books

Books that I have found to be helpful and/or thought provoking.

  • ESV Study Bible – Wayne Grudem, editor. A very good study Bible, especially if you like the English Standard Version (ESV). Great study notes from solid biblical scholars.
  • NIV Zondervan Study Bible – D.A. Carson, editor. A very good study Bible, especially if you like the New International Version (NIV). Great study notes from solid biblical scholars.
  • Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World by Josh McDowell & Sean McDowell. There is a ton of information and detail in this book. It is a great resource, especially if you want a good reference book dealing with the reliability of the Bible.
  • The Story of Christianity, Volumes 1 & 2 by Justo L. Gonzalez. Very readable history of the Christian church through the ages. Covers the good and bad and how we got to where we are today.
  • Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
  • True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to God by Bob Kauflin
  • Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin
  • Sing!: Why and How We Should Worship by Keith & Kristyn Getty
  • Worship Essentials: Growing a Healthy Worship Ministry Without Starting a War! by Mike Harland
  • Hand in Hand: The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice by Randy Alcorn. This was a very readable book that discusses the Calvinist-Arminian debate, looking at the background and teaching of both.
  • The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life by Os Guinness
  • Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction by Caleb Kaltenbach. This book offers a unique insight into this topic.
  • Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore
  • Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
  • The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus by Dallas Willard
  • The God Who is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D.A. Carson
  • Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life is Designed by Douglas Axe
  • Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer
  • Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer
  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman Geisler
  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

Recommended News, Magazines, & Podcasts

In a world of information overload, I have found the following resources to be a valuable source of information on news, current events, leadership, worship, and other topics.

  • World Magazine – The best news source that I have found that presents current events within the a Biblical framework and perspective.
  • Disrn – News site created by the founder of the Babylon Bee. Disrn was created in order to provide a news outlet that delivers what people actually want to know about in a quick, straightforward, honest manner.
  • The Babylon Bee – A Christian satire site that frequently makes me laugh, but also pokes fun in a way that conveys truth on serious subjects. If you subscribe (even for as little as $5 a month, you get access to their site ad-free and access to their full weekly podcast). You have to be willing to laugh at yourself to really enjoy this site.
  • The World and Everything In It – Current events, news, and commentary podcast from the World Magazine group.
  • The Olasky Interview with Marvin Olasky – Editor of World Magazine conducting interviews with various influential individuals from various fields and walks of life.
  • EFCA Theology Podcast – Encouragement for pastors and church leaders to stay passionate about the gospel and faithful to the Scriptures.
  • Covenant Theological Seminary – Recordings of lectures and seminary courses on various topics. Usually provides the lectures from the entire course offered at the seminary.
  • The Briefing with Albert Mohler – President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaking on current events and issues in our culture.
  • Signposts with Russell Moore – President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Conventon, speaking on theological, cultural, and ethical issues and topics.
  • WorshipLife with Mike Harland, LifeWay Worship – Helping worship leaders live out God’s greatest commandment, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.
  • Rainer on Leadership with Thom Rainer, LifeWay – Leadership topics, lessons, insight, and practical training for church leaders and pastors.
  • Listening In with Warren Smith from the Colson Center – Features interviews with newsmakers and thought leaders, with a biblically objective Christian perspective.

For Families and Kids of All Ages (0-100)

One of my favorite memories of when our children were younger was the time we spent reading together in the evenings before bedtime. Most of these were not available then, but I have found them to be excellent stories, grounded in biblical values. Hope you enjoy.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. If you are an adult who knows Jesus, try and read these without the biblical images moving your soul.
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    • Prince Caspian
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    • The Silver Chair
    • The Horse and His Boy
    • The Magician’s Nephew
    • The Last Battle
  • The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. Came across these books after listening to Peterson’s music for years. Some of the best fiction I have ever read. In my opinion, as well written as the The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia.
    • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Book 1
    • North! Or Be Eaten, Book 2
    • The Monster in the Hollows, Book 3
    • The Warden and the Wolf King, Book 4
  • The Green Ember Series by S.D. Smith. Wonderfully written stories telling quests, courage, betrayal, hope, and redemption.
    • The Green Ember, Book 1
    • Ember Falls, Book 2
    • Ember Rising, Book 3
    • Book 4 not released yet
    • Additional stories related to the series
      • The Black Star of Kingston (Tales of Old Natalia: Book 1)
      • The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner (Tales of Old Natalia: Book 2)
      • The Last Archer: A Green Ember Story
  • The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers. Retelling of the story of David and Goliath. Even knowing that, and what would eventually happen, these are still well written and worth reading.
    • The Bark of the Bog Owl, Book 1
    • The Secret of the Swamp King, Book 2
    • The Way of the Wilderking, Book 3