Each December I love sharing with you some of my favorite things that I’ve enjoyed reading, listening to, and being connected with during the year.
Like nutrition for your body, your mind and your soul need nourishment too. In today’s world the resources are endless. And these are some place I’ve been nourished that might be helpful for you also. So, my 2021 favorite books, podcasts, and organizations.
I usually have a book or two on the table beside me. I read almost every evening.
And here are some of my favorites recently.
- The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World by John Mark Comer (WaterBrook, 2019). The hurry and busyness of our modern culture may be biggest threat to our spiritual formation ever. This book will challenge you to follow Jesus in a whole new way.
- Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships by Curt Thompson MD (Tyndale Momentum, 2010). After recently becoming familiar with Psychiatrist Curt Thompson’s work I went back and read his first book. A profoundly spiritual look at the way God made the human mind, and how that leads to our transformation. It has changed the way I think about my own heart, and how I seek to help others.
- The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves by Curt Thompson MD (IVP Books, 2015). Dr. Thompson’s second book explores how the spiritual disease of shame infects us all, and the spiritual and practical tools God uses to tell a different story about us and our lives.
- The Soul of Desire: Discovering the Neuroscience of Longing, Beauty, and Community by Curt Thompson MD (IVP Books, 2021). Dr. Thompson’s latest book suggests that underneath all our longings is the desire to be known, and how this manifests itself in the God-like desire to make things of beauty. This is a mind-stretching coming together of neuroscience and spiritual formation that will not leave you the same.
- A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of The Message by Winn Collier (WaterBrook, 2021). This essential authorized biography of Eugene Peterson offers unique insights into the experiences and spiritual convictions of the iconic American pastor and beloved translator of The Message. I thoroughly enjoyed this biography.
- Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation by Peter Scazzero (Zondervan, 2021). This challenging book lays out how to create an emotionally healthy culture and multiply deeply-changed people in every aspect of church life. It is vital reading for anyone in Christian leadership from small group facilitators to lead pastors or nonprofit leaders of Christian organizations.
- An Impossible Marriage: What Our Mixed-Orientation Marriage Has Taught Us About Love and the Gospel by Laurie and Matt Krieg (IVP Books, 2020). Matt and Laurie share their story of a mixed-orientation marriage, and how the challenges and breakthroughs along the way illustrate what God has always meant marriage to be. This speaks to marriage, intimacy, and sex regardless of your relationship status.
- A Church Called Tov: Forming a Goodness Culture That Resists Abuses of Power and Promotes Healing by Scott McKnight and Laura Barringer (Tyndale Momentum, 2020). In recent years revelations of abuses of various kinds by church leaders have rocked many church communities. This encouraging book looks at what the body of Christ can do to fulfill their calling to be like Jesus personally and collectively.
- The Thing Beneath the Thing: What’s Hidden Inside (and What God Helps Us Do About It) by Steve Carter (Thomas Nelson, 2021). Discover how to identify and then heal from past wounds that have kept you from reaching your full potential and the life of freedom that Jesus has promised every believer. Very real, practical, and easy-to-read.
- Marriage in the Middle: Embracing Midlife Surprises, Challenges, and Joys by Dorothy Greco (IVP Books, 2020). Midlife is a season of change – personally, professionally, relationally, and spiritually. This is a practical and encouraging look at how to navigate those changes as they relate to marriage.
- Finding the Hero in Your Husband, Revisited: Embracing Your Power in Marriage by Dr. Juli Slattery (Health Communications, 2021). As a wife you have more power than you realize. Dr. Juli helps women understand God’s design, have healthy expectations, and apply all this to areas including work, home life, intimacy, conflict, and many more.
I’m quite voracious in consuming podcasts. You can gain an education while you jog, drive, or clean the house. I keep my podcast feed full with these nourishing resources.
- Being Known Podcast, with Curt Thompson MD and Pepper Sweeney. Conversations about the mind, spiritual formation, and interpersonal neurobiology. One of the most life-changing podcasts I’ve encountered.
- The Emotionally Healthy Leader, with Pete Scazzero. Exploring themes around spiritual authenticity and growth in the Christian life. I don’t miss an episode.
- Java with Juli, from Authentic Intimacy. Conversations about sexuality, intimacy, and culture from a solidly Biblical worldview. Unafraid to “go there!”
- Ransomed Heart with John Eldredge. Conversations about the life of the heart, and the restoration God intends us to all experience.
- Catalyst Podcast, for leaders who love the church. Conversations with both young and seasoned church leaders, authors, and influencers.
- Typology, with Ian Morgan Cron. Enneagram expert, Ian interviews thought leaders from every sphere of life who are trying to become the best version of themselves.
- Dream Big Framework, with Bob Goff. Conversations about helping you discover, declare, and realize the ambitions you were created for.
- Entreleadership, from Ramsey Solutions. Lively conversations with many of the top minds in business, in a faith-friendly way.
- 48 Days to the Work You Love, with Dan Miller. Talk about finding or creating work that is meaningful, purposeful, and profitable, from a man of deep faith.
- Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. Practical insights from the leader of one of the largest multi-site church organizations in America.
- Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. From successful pastor, author, and awesome communicator, helping leaders go farther faster.
- Relationship Prescriptions with Dr Carol. OK, shameless self-promotion. This is my weekly podcast, and I’d love you to join me!
Here are some organizations I connect with, believe in, and am happy to recommend.
- Christian Healthcare Ministries– believers helping to share the costs of medical care for each other. (I am honored to be a member of the Board of Directors.)
- Emotionally Healthy Discipleship– helping believers move from shallow Christianity to depth in Christ. At least take the free personal assessment on their website, and discover if you’re a spiritual/emotional infant, child, adolescent, or adult.
- Compassion International– releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. (I sponsor a precious child, Luz Esther.)
- Charity Water– they do water – and charity – right. I love donating to this organization.
- Covenant Eyes– amazing organization providing help for those who want to break free from pornography and related sexual bondage. (Use code DrCarol for a free month.)
- Be Broken– Helping men and women find freedom from a life of sexual brokenness and addiction.
- Ransomed Heart– a bunch of resources and events helping men and women regain the life of the heart as Jesus intended.
- JuicePlus+ – the only nutritional supplement I take. It’s the next best thing to fruits and vegetables.
- Noom – a revolutionary way to control weight and get fit, providing a personalized custom plan and help to develop a healthy lifestyle.
May these resources be inspiring and fill your winter days and evenings with meaning and growth.
Your Turn: Have you enjoyed any of the books, podcasts, or organizations listed here? Are there any others you would recommend? You can leave a comment below.
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** Note: Listing a resource here does not imply that I or Dr. Carol Ministries endorse every idea promoted in these resources. Amazon links, and links to Covenant Eyes, JuicePlus, and Noom are affiliate links, whereby you can also support Dr. Carol Ministries by purchasing/connecting with them.
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