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Lanny Recommends...

On this page you'll find information regarding some suggested books to read from some of Lanny's favorite authors. In most cases we've provided a link to take you directly to a site to order your own copy of the suggested work.

The Life-Saving Divorce - Hope for People Leaving Destructive Relationships by Gretchen Baskerville is a revelatory read for anyone who has gone through or contemplated leaving any type of abusive relationship. Gretchen’s experience working in Christian divorce recovery programs for decades provides the foundation of this profound message of hope, assurance, escape and healing from abusive relationships.


For the first time ever, the church is being challenged on the unbiblical perspective that encourages someone to remain in abusive relationships due to the sanctity of the marriage covenant. In many churches, adultery, physical abuse or abandonment are the only considerations that warrant divorce. And even then it is more often than not, highly discouraged. In the long-held, misinterpretation of biblical doctrine regarding divorce, the sanctity of the marriage covenant trumps most forms of abuse cast upon a relational victim. Too many pastors and Christian counselors believe that we are called to serve as sacrificial scapegoats in order to maintain even abusive relationships. The reality of sacrificial love is that only Christ was called to sacrifice His all so that the world might be saved. Requiring a spouse to tolerate disdain, neglect, abandonment or even emotional, or physical abuse because of the sanctity of the marriage covenant is not part of God’s plan for anyone. This is a form of spiritual abuse as many church leaders/representatives allow, ignore or perpetuate toxic behavior under the guise of sacrificial love. You are not required to tolerate or turn the other cheek to an abusive spouse in order to stay in good graces with God Almighty. Divorce is not an unforgivable sin that separates someone from God’s grace. However, unrepentant, toxic abuse within a relationship is clearly a sin that needs to be addressed. It’s time that the church stands behind the victims of abuse, rather than aligning themselves with the abusers.


I discovered Gretchen’s book while doing research for my latest release, Amazon Culture. I only wish I had found this book years ago. Not only would it have provided the truth about what God has to say regarding divorce, it would have catapulted my healing process while providing the insight necessary to avoid engaging in the same type of abusive relationships later on in life. I have to say this is a must read for any Christian leader, including pastors and counselors. And, if you have ever endured any form of abuse within a relationship this book will help set you free. Gretchen thoroughly defines, or maybe I should say biblically redefines the truth regarding the grounds for any type of biblical divorce. I highly recommend you pick up a copy today, either for yourself, a friend or even your pastor.  


                                             ~ Lanny Recommends

Shannon Thomas’ revelatory book, Healing From Hidden Abuse brought clear definition to a multitude of personal experiences I had endured throughout much of my adult life. Literally, her expertise on this subject was life-altering. It allowed me to identify and process all sorts of toxic abuse experienced through various friendships, personal relationships, working relationships and even some within my personal ministry in several churches.


Years of dealing with certain, emotionally abusive individuals had taken a toll, but when divorce papers were thrown at me just weeks after losing my father, my world came crashing down. I struggled like never before. When the church board chose to cast me off into ecclesial exile the weight of the world nearly crushed me.


It was a time like no other, and I was desperate for answers. Even though I was under the care of an excellent licensed therapist, I was unable to wrap my brain around the details of what I had experienced over the span of a few short months. I was having extreme difficulty erasing the whirlwind of indictments echoing through my mind. The chastisement and judgement spoken over my life by several ministry leaders was extremely destructive.


Finally, in the midst of my struggle, my son recommended Shannon’s book. When I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I re-read the entire book several times in an effort to understand the “why, what and how” of what I’d been dealing with. I found myself highlighting nearly everything on almost every page. This book was crammed full of profound wisdom and insight. I not only highlighted with a vengeance, but I also started listing the names of certain perpetrators next to many of those profound proclamations. The names of certain friends, family, pastors and even bosses were quickly scribbled next to the descriptors of each of the diabolical behaviors shared.


Healing From Hidden Abuse was the key that unlocked the door to my emotional recovery, as well as my spiritual healing. What Shannon shared was earth-shattering. Her insight was paramount in helping me let go of the past and look beyond the pain. She brought definition to the things that I had been battling for years. Here’s a brief synopsis of this amazing guide to healing. “Within every community, toxic people can be found hiding in families, couples, companies, and places of worship. The cryptic nature of psychological abuse involves repetitious mind games played by one individual or a group of people. Psychological abuse leaves no bruises. There are no broken bones. There are no holes in the walls. The bruises, brokenness, and holes are held tightly within the target of abuse.”


Shannon’s book provides clarity and definition to the tactics of those who psychologically abuse others for their own selfish purpose, pleasure and gain. She has been recognized as an expert in dealing with this abusive pandemic. If you’ve ever gone toe to toe with someone hell-bent on controlling and manipulating every situation for their own benefit, you need to pick up a copy today. Make sure you have a good supply of highlighters on hand as well! 

~ Lanny Recommends


The Cardinal Element – A Trust Manifesto for the Church by K. Douglas Brown is an important read for any ministry leader actively involved in the local church. It is a hope-filled biblical call to reflect a trustworthy God in the way we interact with others and lead in Christian ministry. Trust is a cardinal element for a functional church. Too often it's found lacking. Doug offers a practical and passionate call to consider how the church can best reflect the true nature and character of Christ to the world when it promotes trust from within.


Sadly, too many churches operate on the premise that it’s a business rather than a ministry. Too many pastors quantify success through corporate standards rather than the biblical truth of love, grace and trust. One of the points Doug shares that hit a chord in my heart was this: “It’s good to remind ourselves that the people who attend your church are sheep not shareholders, they are called to be servants, not act as owners. The people who lead them are not directors but spiritual leaders who are to equip them for works of service.” Several of the local churches where I actively served over the past thirty years of my life were more closely aligned as a corporate, family enterprise rather than one reflecting the true calling of Christ. This type of church doesn’t build trust within its culture and trust is essential for faith to mature in an individual.


Doug discusses a wide array of leadership styles that aren’t conducive to the truth of the Gospel and those that don't align with the true call of the ministry. But what’s most impressive about this book, is it provides biblical examples of what true leadership in the ministry needs to resemble. Here’s what one of Doug’s contemporaries had to say about The Cardinal Element. “As our culture darkens, and the world is at its worst, the church must be at its best. We can only be at our best as we trust God and intentionally develop trusting relationships with one another.” Doug’s ability to share insight into this daunting topic in a concise, relatable manner, makes this book a valuable resource for anyone in the ministry. I highly recommend it for ministry leaders, volunteers, elders and pastors in every local congregation. 

~ Lanny Recommends

“Shotgun Rider” is an essential read for anyone in the second or third chair of any organization. While serving as an associate pastor, I found Doug's book to be extremely insightful as he provides real-life examples of how to manage the intricacies of playing second fiddle in an organization. His ability to maintain the passion, commitment and devotion necessary to help create a successful ministry is inspirational.


I believe that Doug’s book is applicable to any organization. If you find yourself in the role of the shotgun rider within any business, or within any educational, military or government setting, this book is for you. Thanks Doug for sharing your book. I loved it! Click on the link below to order your own copy of “Shotgun Rider.”     

                                                            ~ Lanny Recommends


When I was researching a dissertation on Israel for my PhD in Biblical Studies, I came across this amazing book by Robert Cornuke. He is a former police investigator and is also the president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (BASE) Institute. “Temple” was a captivating read and contains profound insight into a myriad of archaeological expeditions associated with the history of Israel and specifically, the Temple in Jerusalem.


In his book, Robert provides compelling evidence through archaeological excavations and scriptural corroborations that the temple location is not where modern tradition claims it to be. As a bit of a history buff, this book was captivating. As a believer in the Bible, it struck a chord in my soul. As a student of “End Time” prophecy, this read provides evidence that God is still intimately and intricately involved in the lives of His children. Archaeological evidence coroborates the continued fulfillment of God's plan for the future of humanity.


Temple is a great read for anyone wanting to link together the evidence of biblical history and prophecy. This is one of those books that needs to be read several times over in order to let all the evidence take hold in your mind. "Temple" is comparable to an amazing mystery novel. I loved it and highly recommend it!

                                                               ~Lanny Recommends

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© Lanny Cook