Faith General Identity Life Skills Relationships

What’s on Your Shelf? What’s in Your Mind?

Despite my constant hunger to grow and know more, I’m not a fast reader,  I read, not for head-knowledge, but for the greater transformation of my life; to be a healthy influence in my corner of the world. God has placed in me this deep desire to know Him. After all, everything and all knowledge ultimately find its roots in Creator God. Some may claim I am very narrow-minded; too much in the spiritual camp and not enough in other areas of life. I like to think of it as a laser-focus on Christ so that He is made known in all of life.

If you are looking to add to your shelf and to fill your mind, here are some recent reads to suggest. This website is centered on six primary areas warriors face:  

Self-management     Life-skills     Education/Career     Faith     Relationships     Identity

I’ve categorized each book accordingly.

David’s Thumbs UP! Scale

1  Barely worth the read.  

2 So, So. Not worth a second read.

3  Good and helpful.

4  Quite compelling. This one got me thinking!  

5  This is great! Read, repeat and refer others!

Top Row, left to right

  • Conquer Series- DVD series by Kingdom Works Studios.
    • Identity, Faith, Relationships  

This series focuses on sexual purity and how to fight addictions. It takes a biblical approach with helpful tips. You can view this 11 part DVD series on your own, one-on-one, or in a small group.  Pure Desire Ministries joined with Kingdom Works.  5 THUMBS UP!  

  • Act Like Men- James MacDonald.  
    • Identity, Faith, Relationships  

This is a 40-day guide towards manhood. Read it daily on your own or use it as part of your men’s small group. One idea is to ready three day’s worth a week and then meet as a group to discuss. This will last 13 weeks and help you think about different aspects of godly manhood.  4 THUMBS UP!

  • Uncommon Community-Biblical Soul Care in Small Groups.
    • Faith, Relationships

There is a strong desire among many in the church today for authenticity in relationships. We are tired of playing church. We want to be known and loved unconditionally, with the desire to grow in how we love each other in Christ.  I’ve seen God use this study to change people. 5 THUMBS UP!

  • Wild At Heart- John Eldredge.  
    • Identity, Faith, Relationships

This is a classic in men finding a deeper, richer walk with God; the adventure of manhood. He also deals with an issue many men face; father wounds. Eldredge guides us to God being our Father and how he heals father wounds.  5 THUMBS UP!

Second Row

  • Martin Luther-Eric Metaxas.
  • Faith

With over 700 pages, Metaxas takes a good, long look into the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation.  I’m still working on it; at the part where Luther is now back home and getting married. 4 THUMBS UP!

  • Suffering and the Sovereignty of God- John Piper and Justin Taylor.  
    • Faith, Identity

When you have a crisis, like heart surgery, you think about suffering and God’s plan- a lot!  One suggestion; don’t wait till you are in a crisis to ready this book. Read it when life is good. Then, when the crisis hits (and it will), you will be in a better place to receive it from God.  4 THUMBS UP!

  • The Steward Leader by R. Scott Rodin.  
  • Faith, Relationships

A lot of Christian books tout the servant leader viewpoint.  Rodin takes it to another step; steward leader. This is the one who leads as stewardship of the time, talent and treasures God’s entrusted.  Servanthood is a vital part, but this is more about stewarding your leadership. 3-½ THUMBS UP!

  • Shame Interrupted- Ed Welch.
    • Identity, Faith

Ed has some great things to say about shame. Shame is something we all deal with and he points us to Christ; who takes on all our shame. Welch is thorough and detailed, and rightly so. He just takes a long time to say it!  3-½ THUMBS UP!

  • Bible Study Magazine-
  • Faith

This is for the semi-scholarly guy who wants a bit more depth than fluff.  It comes out six times a year and is a good read. I keep renewing my subscription! 4 THUMBS UP!

  • Motor Trend Magazine
    • Life skills

I like cars! New ones! Most I can’t afford, but it’s a fun read on what’s the latest in cars, trucks and SUVs.  3 THUMBS UP!

  • Christ is NOW! David Bryant.  
    • Faith

With over 600 pages, it first appears daunting, but it actually reads more like a 2-4 page chapter/daily reading. The premise is that Christ is present NOW and wants to have a real relationship with you.  The idea of Christ present now makes me want to give it a 5 THUMBS UP. However, how it is organized makes me give it an overall 3-1/2 THUMBS UP!

Middle Row

  • Sex and the Supremacy of God. John Piper and Justin Taylor.  
  • Relationships, Identity

What guy wouldn’t want to read about sex?!  Here’s the deal, most of us have a skewed view of sexuality, which is at the core of our manhood. This book offers a series of biblically-anchored chapters on various aspects of sexuality. It’ s not a how-to manual, but it sets a good foundation for what glorifies God in our sexuality. Married or single it’s worth a repeated read!  5 THUMBS UP!

  • Boundaries. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
  • Relationships, Identity

This book has been around for 25 years. It offers biblically-rooted guidelines for healthier relational boundaries. Some would argue this book is too psychology-based with Jesus thrown in. What I’ve noticed, however, is if you practice what Scripture teaches on relationships, you will draw some lines where others may not like, but in the end makes relationships healthier. There’s even a chapter on boundaries with media.  3-½ THUMBS UP!

  • Into the Depths of God. Calvin Miller.  
    • Faith

Calvin died in 2012 but his words of truth live on. This is my 3rd read of his book!  If you want to grow deeper with God, savor this book. Imagine yourself sitting next to a man who obviously had a deep walk with God. He may be with Jesus now, but his words carry on!  5 THUMBS UP!

  • Evangelism. J Mack Stiles
    • Faith, Relationships

Here’s a guy who lives in Dubai and is making in-roads into sharing the Gospel. He offers practical helps that, to be honest, diffuses the fear of speaking of Christ to an unbelieving world.  A short but thoughtful read. 4 THUMBS UP!

  • Family Handyman Magazine.
  • Life skills

“Honey” the pocket door is off the track, again!”  You may not be Tim the Toolman, but you can learn things from this magazine that will help your life-skills.  4 THUMBS UP!

  • Canadian Geographic Magazine.
  • Life skills

I am one of the few Americans who is a subscriber to this magazine.  Hey, when you love your Canadian wife and discover the vast land of adventure up north, this is a great peek into the country she grew up in.  5 THUMBS UP!

  • Spurgeon Study Bible.  
    • Faith

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a great preacher in the 1800s in England. He preached God’s Word faithfully. This study Bible has many of his quotes and sermon excerpts. It’s not my daily Bible, but it’s a good reference for the insights of a man who lived 150 years ago.  5 THUMBS UP!

Fourth Row

  • Who Does the Dishes? Decision-Making in Marriage by CCEF.
    • Relationships

Newlyweds often struggle with decision-making and roles in their new covenant relationship.  This is a quick read. Worth it! 4 THUMBS UP!

  • Portrait of a Worshipper. Shamblin Stone.  
    • Faith

Shamblin is from Wichita. He approaches worship for a Spirit-filled Charismatic viewpoint. Although I am totally on board with living the Spirit-filled life and know that we often skim the surface of worship; that is in experiencing the manifest presence of God, I would not say I am Charismatic.  Shamblin’s writing style is a bit loose for my concrete brain, but I appreciate his desire to see God glorified. 2-½ THUMBS UP!

  • Overcoming Anxiety-Relief for Worried People by CCEF
  • Why Do I Care? When Others Approval Matters too Much by CCEF
  • Temptation-Fighting the Urge by CCEF
  • Social Anxiety-Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin by CCEF
    • Identity, Relationships

Four more quick read booklets by CCEF on some very core issues a lot of us face; I do!  3-½ THUMBS UP!

  • Family Handyman Best Tips and Projects 2018.
    • Life skills

 The title says it all.  Get a copy! 4 THUMBS UP!

Bottom Row

  • Supernatural Power for Everyday People.  Jared C. Wilson
  • Faith, Identity

This Kansas City author brings home the fact that every Christ-follower has the Holy Spirit living in them. The supernatural power you need to live in everyday life is right there and is set in motion by faith in Christ. This reminds me of James MacDonald’s infamous quote “God made no provision for you to live the Christian life. Rather, He made every provision for the Holy Spirit to live the life of Christ through you.”  4 THUMBS UP!

  • Finally Alive!  John Piper.  
    • Faith, Identity

What Christ has done for you on the cross is what makes you alive.  All too often we live as if the cross was a historical fact but not a living reality that changes us today. Piper shows us how life in Christ is truly being alive!  4 THUMB UP!

  • The Bravehearted Gospel. Eric Ludy
  • Faith

A young man and I read this book together.  To be stirred from within, to rise up and take a stand for Christ when everyone else is catering to consumer Christianity definitely convicted me in 2018. It’s one reason I started this website. 5 THUMBS UP!

There are other books I could have included, but we’ll stop here for now!  What books are you reading?  Post a comment below and we might contact you for a quick review.  

Warrior on!


David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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