Jesse’s List

Today we continue our look at the most influential books in the lives of the elders and staff at Lighthouse. Today, we get to hear from Jesse Terasaki about the 5 Christian books that have been most influential to him. Jesse serves as a Ministry Associate overseeing Beacon (Lighthouse’s college ministry), as well as other areas of our church life.

1. Desiring God by John Piper.

This book introduced me to John Piper and opened up my mind to the thesis of Piper’s ministry–that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Through his insight I realized what the Bible was teaching about Jesus, that loving and serving him is not only the right thing but the best and most enjoyable thing. The Christian life clicked for me through reading this book the first time and I have reread it three or four times since.

2. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem.

Disclaimer: I have not read this book all the way through–it is more of a reference book. However, that being said, Grudem helped me to understand the basics of Christian doctrine. He explains theology in a clear, simple, and biblically accurate way and I would recommend that this work be on any Christian’s shelf.

3. Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp.

Perhaps I am alone but I have experienced firsthand the mess that is relationships. This book helped me to understand God’s plan for people and the truth that the Bible speaks to all the problems we daily face in our interactions. If you want an introduction to biblical counseling this might be a good place to whet your appetite. Though it is not a counseling manual, Tripp and Lane establish the framework found in a uniquely biblical approach to sin, the human heart, and hope.

  4. Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller.

I love Tim Keller. I love the insight he brings to to the Bible, the implications he pulls from the text, and how he applies the gospel to all of life. Though I have enjoyed many of his books, this book in particular helped me to take the theology that I have learned and apply it to normal everyday life. We all struggle with idolatry, worshipping gods of sex, money, and power, and this book helpfully and articulately lays out the problems and the solution.

Honorable mention: King’s Cross also by Tim Keller.

  5. The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter.

This is an old Puritan book and is a little different than every other on this list. But it is a gem. Baxter lays out his convictions for pastoral ministry and describes his practice of visiting each person in his congregation for personal ministry. This book challenged me to be better in ministry and to love people individually and personally. I still fail often but I appreciate Baxter’s exhortation and example.


Jesse Terasaki serves as a Ministry Associate in Lighthouse’s college ministry, Beacon. He also works, ironically, in a coffee shop. He is married to his wonderful wife, Christine, and is thankful for the many ways God has blessed him in his life. He loves being part of the Lighthouse church family and staff. He is thankful for God’s grace in his life and wants to pour himself out for Jesus Christ and follow him.

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