Friday, August 01, 2008

Life-Changing Books

"Of making many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12).

Several good books have influenced me over the years. Here are a few:

Life Application Study Bible (NIV)
A couple of years ago, I was on sick leave from my job, recovering from surgery, when a co-worker called. Paula explained to me that she wanted to buy a Bible for her mother who had never read more than a few verses from a Bible in her life. She needed a recommendation. I recommended the Life Application Study Bible, because of its excellent introductions to the books of the Bible as well as its study notes. A newcomer to the Bible needs a little direction, because it can be difficult to figure out how a book or passage relates to the overall message. This Bible helps tremendously. Although it's available in many good translations, I recommended the New International Version because it is both very accurate and very readable. It was the first version I read that I could understand.

Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper
This book challenged me to focus on honoring Jesus Christ in every area of my life because of what he has done for me. Its intent is on pulling us away from selfish, petty, and trivial pursuits to pursuing the glory of God.

Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur
This is a novel about an arrogant, dictatorial, and self-righteous pastor who is shaken to his core when his estranged daughter dies suddenly in an accident and his neglected wife dies soon afterward of a broken heart. As the man searches for the granddaughter he has never seen, he starts a journey from legalism to skepticism to real Christianity. Even though it's a novel, Wisdom Hunter is filled with truth and reality.

Rekindling the Romance by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
This book contains great insight into men and women. We bought it at FamilyLife's A Weekend to Remember marriage conference last year. I highly recommend the radio program FamilyLife Today, the marriage conferences, and any book (including this one) by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. You will learn much about your spouse from this book.

Up Close and Personal: Embracing the Poor by Harold Shank, Anthony Wood, and Ron Bergeron
This book inspired me to become involved in urban ministry. It will help any reader in understanding the culture of poverty, the effects of racism, the need for friendship in the midst of poverty, and how to help people come to faith in Jesus Christ. It contains good practical advice about how to help people in need.

Children Mean the World to God by Harold Shank
This book is surprising because of the depth of the theology. I did not expect a book about children to be a book about God and his character. I read Children Mean the World to God in the middle of the adoption process for our son. It gave me the encouragement I needed when the days were dark and I could not see the dawn coming. It will inspire any Christian parent, Bible class teacher, or lover of children to keep making the effort to show love to the children of the world for God's sake.

The Measure of a Man by Gene Getz
This book encourages all Christian men to aspire to the qualities of an elder as described in 1 Timothy and Titus. Whether a man ever becomes an elder is irrelevant; a Christian man needs to make it a goal to grow in the virtues described within this book.

No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps by Paul Coughlin
This is a parenting book like no other. It deals with instilling children with courage, security, and assertiveness. In addition, it helps parents and children deal with predators and bullies. Its goal is not to produce nice and compliant kids, but rather good and brave children.

Do you have any books that have made a positive impact on your life? Please share information about them in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

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