Friday, January 16, 2009

Books That Changed My Life

You know those books you read that have a profound impact on your thinking or point in life? I thought it would be fun to put a few of those that had significant impact on me for varying reasons and to varying degrees. If you'd like post your list in the comments. These aren't necessarily in order of significance.

1. Romans... I'm not trying to sound pious by putting a Biblical book here and frankly the Bible as a whole is the single most life-altering book. It's what we should build our lives on, but when I was in college I started reallly digging through Paul's magnum opus and my view of God and my salvation have never been the same.

2. Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Eliot... This really gave me a vision for where I wanted to be in my heart and mind. I read it during college (like many of these books) and it really challenged me in the area of sexual purity. When I struggled with temptation this book was a constant reminder of the need to repent and pursue godliness.

3. Desiring God by John Piper... This isn't my favorite Piper book (Pleasures of God) or even the most motivational to me (Don't Waste Your Life), but I read it when I was 21 and it was my first exposure to Piper's ministry. I re-read it some years later so I could really understand what he was saying without jumping to some erroneous conclusions.

4. Divided by Faith by Christian Smith & Michael O. Emerson... Thank you Rodney Woo for obliterating my rose-colored glasses concerning racism and the church by making me read this book. This book makes me mad, frustrated, and zealous for change all at once.

5. Cur Deus Homo? by St. Anselm... As for the really old stuff, Augustine, Calvin, and some of the Puritans have been very impacting to me, but this work by Anselm really helped me flesh out a Biblical understanding of the atonement. It's not quite "penal substitutionary" in this piece but it points down that road.

6. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala... Not without its problems, but it really gave me an upclose vision of the Holy Spirit at work and the limitless potential when we are submitted to Him fully. Great stories in this book!

7. Wild at Heart by John Eldredge... The further I get from this book the more disagreements I have with content, but at 25 years old it really served as an edifying challenge to me toward Biblical manhood.

8. Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever... His book, The Deliberate Church fleshes a lot out practically which I prefer but this book really took my mind away from the shallow ambitions and worldy success often sought in ministry. It gets you to the core elements of a NT church a faithful pastor should pursue- namely, the priority of the WORD.

9. Knowing God by J.I. Packer... Single best book I've ever read on the doctrine of God. It challenged me to read the WORD more thoroughly for understanding the character of God rather than "looking for answers" to my questions or felt needs.

10. Dynamic Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. This is not his classic "Spiritual Leadership" which I've actually never read, but a follow-up which examines the life of Paul. It is essentially a biography of Paul and it blew me away!

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