For the past two summers, we have shared some recommended reads with you. In case you want to check out the posts from previous summers and add even more books to your Amazon wish list, click here for 2014 and here for 2013.

Each year, I create a to-do list for the summer (I'm not Type A at all). It's good to have goals, right? And who wants to waste the summer break?

Included in my to-do list are the books that I want to read for the summer. Some I start and never finish because, if it's a dud, it's a waste of time. Some have been on the list a couple of summers now... Some I actually read, and I always end up reading other books that weren't on my list to begin with (As Captain Jack Sparrow would say, my lists are more like "guidelines" anyway.). Now, I'm not going to subject you to my current to-read list, but included below are some books that I think are worth the time and effort. Enjoy!

Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled - and More Miserable than Ever Before by Jean M. Twenge presents data regarding the generation born in the '80s and '90s (a.k.a. Generation Y or GenMe). Before you yawn and skip down to the next recommendation, this is not a book consisting of boring stats that make no sense with regards to everyday life. If you interact with GenMe in your family, workplace, church, etc., then this is a must-read (just be sure to get the revised and updated version). Being a part of this generation myself, this book magnified sin in my own life (even though this is a secular book) and has helped me to see tendencies in my own life and ministry that I need to address. Coming of age in a recession, being digital natives, and fueled by the self-esteem movement, this book highlights the worldview of this generation, how they're affecting culture and the workplace, and why they are so stressed and depressed.

While we wrote a book review of Pulling Back the Shades by Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery back in February, this book serves as more than an expose on erotica. It addresses sensitive topics regarding sexuality that you're not likely to hear from the pulpit such as the ethics of masturbation, sex toys, and BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism). These two ladies recognize that women are both spiritual and sexual beings, so they look at why women are attracted to "mommy porn" such as 50 Shades or other erotica books. Essentially, this is a "little black book" that all women should read.

Counter Culture by David Platt - yes, I'm plugging a book for our former senior pastor. :) If you've listened to the Secret Church on Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action, then you've got a good handle on what Platt discusses in this book, which is how the gospel speaks into a variety of topics including poverty, abortion, human trafficking, ethnicity, and sexuality. Because of the gravity of each of these subjects, I appreciated how each chapter concludes with ways to pray, participate, and proclaim. You read the chapter, but Platt provides action steps you can take regarding what you read.

A couple of years ago, I watched a short documentary about a Christ-following young couple whose world was rocked when the man was in a terrible car accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury. In Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn't Give Up, Ian and Larissa Murphy share their story of God's grace in the midst of suffering and how He has enabled them to respond with faith.

The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler provides a biblical perspective on dating, marriage, and sex by looking at Song of Solomon. One thing I appreciate is the variety of resources that accompany this book. There's a twelve week DVD study and study guide if it's something you wanted to walk through in a small group setting (this study is also available on RightNow Media for free!), and Matt & Lauren Chandler also have short video snippets on their website that address relevant questions such as "If I struggle with lust, what should I share with my spouse?" and "What should single Christian women do if no men in the church are pursuing them?"

Let us know what you're reading this summer. We'd love to hear from you!