From an Avid Bookworm: What's on Your Nightstand?

This past Monday, Dannah Gresh blogged about how she’s not reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and we received over 18,000 site visits in a day! Obviously, books are important to you.

We love them, too. While we’re purposefully not reading certain books around here, there are plenty of others that we are devouring! Read on to learn what several Revive Our Hearts staff members are reading right now.

Then, I’d love even more good book recommendations. Other than your Bible, what’s on your nightstand right now? Do tell! 

Yours truly,

An Avid Bookworm

What’s on Your Nightstand . . . and Why?


  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson – Because Carolyn McCulley recommended it; because it’s refreshing in my line of work to read a good mainstream book every once in a while; because his writing is exceptional; because I love to learn, and this book is full of fascinating tidbits for me to share with my next-door neighbor on our evening walks.
  • The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis – I’ve been trying to get through this book for ages. It’s so good, but C.S. Lewis takes me awhile to digest—no skimming with him! God’s wired me to be interested in relationships, and in this book, Lewis compares affection, friendship, eros, and charity.
  • Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper – Because I need books that fuel my love and enjoyment of God.
  • One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill – This book propels this scaredy-cat off her comfy couch and out into the streets to boldly share Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him.
  • Seeing the Unseen: Preparing Yourself for Spiritual Warfare by Joe Beam – Because I’ve sensed God preparing me for more front-lines ministry for a while now (and have been asking Him for that). I know that means increased warfare, and I want to be ready.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss (you know who she is!): 
Invariably, I have more books in/around my nightstand than I will actually have time to read. But here are some of my top ones at the moment:

  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions – Current devotional book—love it!
  • Song of Songs by Richard Brooks – I’m reading this, along with others, as part of my prep for the current radio series I’m teaching on the Song of Solomon.
  • Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul by Gary Thomas – A friend who is praying with me in regard to personal physical disciplines recommended this . . . SOO good, very convicting, practical, really impacting the way I think about this whole (difficult) area of my life.
  • The Secret of Power and other sermons by Alexander MacLaren, 1882 edition – Pastor Michael Catt gave me this treasure when I visited his office recently; am hoping to dive into it this summer. 

Tammy Zebell, Web Project Manager

  • An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louis May Alcott – I’ve been loving it. It so reminds me of life here–waging a battle for womanhood. There are some cool quotes in the book that are very “true womanish.” 

Justin Converse, Media Specialist

  • Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller – Tim Keller's books are some of my personal favorites. Counterfeit Gods is one I had not read yet.
  • Drinking with Calvin & Luther: A History of Alcohol in the Church by Jim West – Recommended by friend. A fascinating historical read.
  • Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker – I heard Meg Meeker on FamilyLife Today talking about this book. Since I have two daughters, I wanted to read more on how to be a better father to them.

Carla Shier, Ministry Representative

  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions – cause I want better God vision.
  • Becoming a Woman who Pleases God by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock – cause I want to grow in my womanhood.
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sallie Fallon – cause I’m a nutrition freak!!

Lindsay Swartz, Church Engagement Coordinator

  • Soaring on Broken Wings by Kathy Bartalsky – The Lord uses biographies and autobiographies to build my faith more than anything else, second to the Bible. Kathy’s story of trust in and worship of the Lord despite really hard circumstances spurs me on to press in to know the Lord and serve Him with my whole heart.
  • Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose – Darlene's testimony like Kathy's, is a hard one. It left me asking the question, "Do I really count all things loss compared to knowing Jesus?"
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Who doesn’t need more the classics in their life? There's nothing quite like getting lost in another time and another place, all while sitting on my couch.
  • Taste and See by John Piper – The Lord uses rich and solid teaching of His Word to increase my confidence in and love for Him. These little tidbits wake up my soul during my time with the Lord in the morning.

Wes Ward, Sr. Director, Media
Our family of six has declared this "the Summer of Reading" (well, at least Carrie and I have!). For kids—and for us—we're hoping to mainly lean towards classics.

  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis – Wow, I can't believe I've never actually read this. It's time. Plodding slowly and devotionally and chewing on the ideas.
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – We're reading it as a family at night, getting ready for the movie this December.
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas – Fascinating to read this and Cost of Discipleship at the same time. I love the way Metaxas writes. Smart, witty, insightful . . . and biting at times.
  • Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Unpacking and repacking how I think about what it means to surrender and follow Christ wholeheartedly . . . and, how I shepherd people.

Dabbling in . . .

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I keep picking up and then setting down Isaacson's biography. It's tragic and human. On every page I wish Jobs knew Christ.
  • What's the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung – Really helpful to not assume I have this figured out. Challenged to love Christ's bride and equip her more intentionally.
  • Christ Formed in You by Brian Hedges – Superb, easy-ish read to look at how Christ transforms us. I love how it covers so much, conversationally, and oh-so biblical.
  • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt — Rather than just setting goals, having raw ambition, or even a good vision, a strategy details the problem and gives possible solutions.
  • The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni — Recommended by a friend, centers on organizational health as paramount.
  • More CS Lewis and Metaxas (Socrates in the City; Amazing Grace)

Angela Temples, Project Manager

  • The Tehran Initiative by Joel Rosenberg – Several in the office said it is really good and I like to read fiction right before bed. It helps clear my mind, and at night I cannot process deep books.
  • Rees Howells:  Intercessor by Norman Grubb – I have a real burden for prayer, and the Lord has been waking me up many nights. Rees Howells has a call on his life to pray and be obedient to whatever the Lord may ask. A friend said I must read it. It is my second time through.
  • Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro – Recommended read since I was weary in my role and needed refreshment.

Karen Watts, Administrative Assistant

  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas – The pastor of my home church in Texas said, “If you only read one book this year, make it Bonhoeffer.” I took the challenge, even though it took me over a year to read!
  • They Found the Secret by V. Raymond Edman – Recommended by a relative.

Carrie Gaul, Biblical Correspondent

  • Kisses From Kate: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis – Recommended by several friends
  • Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman – Recommended by a friend
  • Transformed By Grace by Jerry Bridges – Because I always, always, always need reminders of what it means to live under grace.

Dawn Wilson, Writer, Editor, and Researcher for Revive Our Hearts
I'm always reading books for Revive Our Hearts, but this is my personal stack:

  • I'm Not Good Enough . . . and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves by Sharon Jaynes
  • How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? by Rhonda Rhea
  • Made to Crave Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst 
  • The Promise of Heaven by Randy Alcorn
  • When You Can't Find God: How to Ignite the Power of His Presence by Linda Evans Shepherd
  • Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD.
  • A Girl after God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George (This is the book that I'm studying with my eleven-year-old granddaughter in our "God, Grammy, and Megan" time . . . eight dates with Grammy.)
  • Spiritual Leadership by Henry & Richard Blackaby
  • Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

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About the Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula Marsteller

Paula has served with Revive Our Hearts for thirteen years. She is the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There's nothing she loves to share more than the gospel-centered truths that have so transformed her own life: what it means on a daily basis to be "dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus." Paula, Trevor, and their son, Iren, make their home in New York.

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