Walking towards the Light from the cross of a King

A blog by Josh Humbert

My Top 3 Reads Of 2021


Here’s a short list of my top 3 reads of this past year. These books may not have been published this year – but this was the year I was able to read them. 

Gentle And Lowly:The Heart Of Christ For Sinners by Dane Ortlund

This is also my most recommended book for 2021 as I’ve told many around me of how beneficial this book has been in my own life. The chapters are short and concise but have a clarity to them that all readers will appreciate. As noted in the title, the book is mainly about refreshing or clarifying the real Jesus.

Here is one quote I particularly appreciated:

Jesus does not love like us. We love until we are betrayed. Jesus continued to the cross despite betrayal. We love until we are forsaken. Jesus loved through forsakenness. We love up to a limit. Jesus loves to the end.”

As someone who preaches, writes, and podcasts, I am always striving for clarity (“clarity IS it’s own style” is one of my favorite quotes). This book has that. I came away from this book refreshed with a distinct, true, and clear glimpse of Jesus.

Your Old Testament Sermon Needs To Get Saved by David King

I try (and don’t always succeed) in reading at least one book on preaching each year. I’m so glad I came across this one. The subtitle of the book is “A Handbook for Preaching Christ From The Old Testament,” and the book  is exactly that. I found it to be full of helpful ways of preaching Christ in all of Scripture (as should be done, in my opinion). 

Here is one quote I appreciated:

Before the Old Testament was yours to apply, it was Jesus’ to fulfill….Ask yourself, ‘How would Jesus have read this text?’”

I would say this book isn’t JUST for pastors – though I think most would benefit in having this handbook in their library. This book can be a fantastic resource for any Christian but especially for leaders such as: Sunday School teachers, AWANA leaders, youth pastors, adult youth leaders, etc. If you are involved in teaching or preaching in any capacity – this book can be a worthwhile addition for you.

Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy

As a kid, I loved the Tom Clancy movies and video games. The Splinter Cell series with it’s emphasis on stealth action was my favorite as it seemed so unique in a video game world that was filled with games that just encouraged shooting, tossing grenades, and shooting more. 

However, it was only recently that I actually began reading in the Clancy universe of techno thrillers. I was hooked. So Rainbow Six (also a fun game I enjoyed back in the day) was next on my list.

Imagine: a deadly virus, created in a lab by humans, spreading across the world as acts of terrorism rise. I know…doesn’t sound like our last 2 years of world history at all, right?

Rainbow Six felt very “familiar” to 2021 even though it was published in 1998. The way Clancy introduces these different story threads, then weaves them together as the story goes along is part of what makes his books so compelling.

***BONUS BOOK***

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Tis the Christmas season, so I’ll expand my Top 3 list here and give you a bonus book! Jocko is a former Navy SEAL and now a successful podcaster, speaker, and leader. I appreciate his no-nonsense approach in a world full of excuse-making. This book feels like a stark contrast to so much of our culture today where people want to point the finger and blame everything and everyone else for their misfortunes. Extreme ownership isn’t just a good “idea” in a book; it’s sorely needed in today’s world.


Also, for parents of younger kids, Jocko has a book series and podcast for that age and I would highly recommend both. My kids LOVED it!

So, there’s my top 3 (and one more) books that I read this year. Have your own list? Have you read any of these I’ve mentioned – and what did you think?

Thanks for reading.  Your comments and insights are always welcomed.  If you enjoyed this, please share it.  Want more content?  Check the archives or listen to me on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast on iTunes.

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This entry was posted on December 22, 2021 by in Blogroll, books and tagged , , , , , , , .

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