Looking for some new reading material? Here are ten books that have helped shape my spiritual life.
1. Fresh Wind Fresh Fire
Summary: The Times Are Urgent God Is on the Move Now Is the Moment to … ask God to ignite his fire in your soul! Pastor Jim Cymbala believes that Jesus wants to renew his people―to call us back from spiritual dead ends, apathy, and lukewarm religion. Cymbala knows the difference firsthand. Thirty-five years ago his own church, the Brooklyn Tabernacle, was a struggling congregation of twenty. Then they began to pray … God began to move … street-hardened lives by the hundreds were changed by the love of Christ … and today they are more than ten thousand strong. The story of what happened to this broken-down church in one of America’s toughest neighborhoods points the way to new spiritual vitality in the church and in your own life. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire shows what the Holy Spirit can do when believers get serious about prayer and the gospel. As this compelling book reveals, God moves in life-changing ways when we set aside our own agendas, take him at his word, and listen for his voice.
2. A Tale of Three Kings
Summary: This best-selling tale is based on the biblical figures of David, Saul, and Absalom. For the many Christians who have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing, and hope. Christian leaders and directors of religious movements throughout the world have recommended this simple, powerful, and beautiful story to their members and staff. You will want to join the thousands who have been profoundly touched by this incomparable story.
3. Crazy Love
Summary: Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love. Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it? It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not, we all know something’s wrong.
Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and dont’s—it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.
4. Running With Horses
Summary: In Jeremiah 12:5
God says to the prophet, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” We all long to live life at its best―to fuse freedom and spontaneity with purpose and meaning. Why then do we often find our lives so humdrum, so un-adventuresome, so routine? Or else so frantic, so full of activity, but still devoid of fulfillment? How do we learn to risk, to trust, to pursue wholeness and excellence―to run with the horses in the jungle of life? In a series of profound reflections on the life of Jeremiah the prophet, Eugene Peterson explores the heart of what it means to be fully and genuinely human. His writing is filled with humor and self-reflection, insight and wisdom, helping to set a course for others in the quest for life at its best.
5. Accidental Pharisees
Summary: Zealous faith can have a dangerous, dark side. While recent calls for radical Christians have challenged many to be more passionate about their faith, the downside can be a budding arrogance and self-righteousness that “accidentally” sneaks into our outlook. In Accidental Pharisees, bestselling author Larry Osborne diagnoses nine of the most common traps that can ensnare Christians on the road to a deeper life of faith. Rejecting attempts to turn the call to follow Christ into a new form of legalism, he shows readers how to avoid the temptations of pride, exclusivity, legalism, and hypocrisy,
6. Purpose Driven Life
Summary: On your journey, you’ll find the answers to three of life’s most important questions: The Question of Existence: Why am I alive?, The Question of Significance: Does my life matter?, The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for? Living out the purpose you were created for moves you beyond mere survival and success to a life of significance—the life you were meant to live.
6. The High Definition Leader
Summary: The High-Definition Leader is an invitation of grace for churches and their leaders to grasp the ancient call of the early New Testament Church that crossed ethnic and socioeconomic barriers to create heavenly colonies of love, reconciliation, and unity on earth. In it, you will learn the theology and practices that will help you build a mission-shaped, multi-ethnic church.
7. The Pursuit of God
Summary: The Pursuit of God is an inspirational book that aims to guide those who wish to follow Christ. It includes biblical teachings that emphasize the concept of pursuing God. The concept of seeking God should be evident in the context of obtaining a genuine relationship between the Creator and the creature. Man must consider God as not only a creator, but the one who sustains life; hence, all creatures must depend solely on Him.
8. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Spy
Summary: As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer—a pastor and author. In this New York Times best-selling biography, Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer’s life—the theologian and the spy—and draws them together to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer’s heart-wrenching decision to leave the safe haven of America to return to Hitler’s Germany, and sheds new light on Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in “Operation 7,” the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland. In a deeply moving narrative, Metaxas uses previously unavailable documents?including personal letters, detailed journal entries, and firsthand personal accounts?to reveal dimensions of Bonhoeffer’s life and theology never before seen.
9. The Cost of Discipleship
Summary: One of the most important theologians of the twentieth century illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” “Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “is the grace we bestow on ourselves…grace without discipleship….Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know….It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”
10. Discipline: The Glad Surrender
Summary: In our age of instant gratification and if-it-feels-good-do-it attitudes, self-discipline is hardly a popular notion. Former missionary and beloved author Elisabeth Elliot offers her understanding of discipline and its value for modern people. Now repackaged for the next generation of Christians, Discipline: The Glad Surrender shows readers how to – discipline the mind, body, possessions, time, and feelings-overcome anxiety-change poor habits and attitudes-trust God in times of trial and hardship-let Christ have control in all areas of life Elliot masterfully and gently takes readers through Scripture, personal stories, and lovely observations of the world around her in order to help them discover the understanding that our fulfillment as human beings depends on our answer to God’s call to obedience.