Posts tagged ‘Christian Books’

November 8, 2012

Top 5 Christian Books Ever

This post carries on from last week’s discussion of the best 10 Christian books I have read.  To recap, the second half of my top ten was:

10. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

9.  Inspiration and Incarnation – Peter Enns

8.  Darwin on Trial – Phillip E Johnson

7.  Operation World – Phillip Johnstone and Jason Mandryk

6.  You Can Make A Difference – Tony Campolo

So the top five (again with links to Amazon so you read other people’s reviews) are….

5.  The Making of a Leader – J Robert Clinton

This is a peculiar choice – an obscure leadership book that is dense and filled with the author’s unique terminology which results in an oversized glossary.  Yet this book has given me one of the guiding ideas for how God works.  It’s an idea I have taken hold of and have taught to others as well.  Here it is – your circumstances, history, trials, triumphs and all the life events that you have gone through have been a curriculum that God designed just for you.  They are his training tool to develop you to be the leader, minister, person that he wants you to be.  None of them have happened by accident, and God is sovereign over all of it.  That’s a profound idea.  It’s an idea that I taught at Yarra Plenty Church when we were going through an extremely difficult time during 2011.  It’s an idea that I keep going back to as the years go by.  So for that reason it makes my top ten.

4. The Seven Laws of the Learner – Bruce Wilkinson

Another very obscure choice.  Many people would have a book by Bruce Wilkinson – his little work on the Prayer of Jabez sold a truckload of copies.  But not this one.  However for me this was the book that convinced me that I am called to teach the bible.  If I have ever preached or taught anything that stuck in people’s memories, produced any fruit or did any good then by the grace of God it was with the help of this book that it happened.  Space prohibits me saying what all 7 laws are, but the book taught me to teach what people need, and to apply the lesson at length.

3. A Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards

This is without doubt a brilliant book.  Whilst the 2 previous ones have impacted me because of my particular gifts and calling, this is a book that every Christian should get their hands on and devour.  It is a dramatisation of 2 stories from the Old Testament.  The first half is about how David dealt with Saul’s attempts on his life after Samuel anointed him to be king of Israel.  The second half is about David’s reaction, many decades later, to the rebellion against his leadership by his own son, Absalom.  Gene Edwards did not pick those stories for no reason in particular.  He was writing to people who had been hurt by poor and overbearing leadership which was in vogue in the 1970’s.  But far from saying that they had every right to be upset Edwards powerfully shows that David’s submissive response to Saul is our model for the leaders we have, both on their good days and their bad ones.

2.Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow – C Peter Wagner

I have picked this book both because it is brilliant, and also because of the large impact that Wagner’s many works on church growth have had on me.  I tossed up between putting this book or Understanding Church Growth in – both are excellent.  But this book, which is not an academic book, and can and should be read by every Christian, has brought home to me how one of a Christian’s major tasks on earth is to know what their gifts are and use them in love for the glory of God and the strength of his church.

1. The Pursuit of God – AW Tozer

My all time best ever Christian book is this little masterpiece by AW Tozer, written in 1948.  The book is an urgent call to a deeper, fuller walk with God.  The title is drawn from Psalm 63:1, 8, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You… My soul follows close behind You.”  Tozer says, “To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”  The whole thing is brilliant but for me the chapter on the sacred and the secular is the highlight.  It is some of clearest and most profound teaching I have ever found.  Another quote: “Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.”  This book has inspired me to put absolutely everything into my walk with God – what else can compare?

So over to you…ever read a brilliant Christian book?  What was it?  Maybe you have read one of the ones listed above and vehemently disagree with me!  Tell us about it.

John

October 30, 2012

Best Christian Books Ever

For me, Christian books have played a huge role in my growth as a Christian.  The first time I ever went to a Christian camp they had a bookstall and I spent plenty of time browsing.  I ended up buying a book called “See it God’s Way” which was a collection of articles about ethical issues.  Even at age 13 the intersection of theology and politics was getting my attention – it still does.

So without further ado this post and next week’s are devoted to the 10 best Christian books I have ever read, counting down from 10 to 1.  It is quite an eclectic bunch, a mixture of some academic works and some popular ones.  I’ve included links to Amazon, so you can read other people’s reviews if you want to.

10. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

I blogged about this book last week.

9.  Inspiration and Incarnation – Peter Enns

This is the only book in my top 10 that I read for the first time in the last decade.  In fact I read it just a few months ago.  It’s a book about the theological implications of modern archaeology and ancient history.  Essentially he says that perhaps our ideas about the bible being wholly true and without error are not actually in line with the bible itself.  It’s a brilliant eye opener to how we should think about the bible, and how the bible thinks about the bible.  For the entire 25 years that I have been reading the bible I have never understood how and why the New Testament authors used the Old Testament the way that they did.  After this book I got it.  Even more interesting was that the book was so controversial that it split his seminary in half (Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania) and it ended up costing him his job.

8.  Darwin on Trial – Phillip E Johnson

If you have ever worried about the fact that Genesis is at odds with what the rest of the planet believes about evolution this is the book that will put your mind at ease.  Johnson is a law professor who took a sabbatical from teaching to write this book.  Essentially he shows that rather than being a theory that is based on a whole bunch of evidence as you might think, evolution comes about as a result of a prior commitment to a naturalist philosophy.  In other words, when you decide that there is no God who can do things that interrupt the universe, you then end up with the only theory that exists.  When the naturalist glasses come off, evolution is an emperor with no clothes.  The book is only a critique of evolution – it does not seek to justify the scientific bona fides of Genesis or anything like that.  For my views on Genesis click here.

7.  Operation World – Phillip Johnstone and Jason Mandryk

This is a very strange choice of book.  Operation World is an encyclopaedia that goes country by country through the whole world detailing the state of the church, and in particular the evangelical church, everywhere.

If you simply pose the question, “What is God doing on planet earth today?” then this is the book that answers that question.  It has gone through several versions.  The answer to the question, is that God is pouring out His Spirit in unprecedented way, and is doing it on 3 regions in particular – East Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

I remember when I first bought the 6th edition in 1994 I read the global summary that talked about the massive harvest that is being won across the world at the moment.  Upon reading that I was swept with emotion and teared up!  It was a strange and unexpected reaction – I’m kinda embarrassed to share it here – but that’s how inspired I was at learning the staggering scale of what God is doing around the world.

6.  You Can Make a Difference – Tony Campolo

This is a book written for young people by one of the gurus of youth ministry.  Campolo has written a heap of books, many targeted at young adults.  When I was at high school these books were absolutely inspiring for me.  I had an unconventional start to my Christian life in that I came to faith through the student led Christian group at my high school and they were my church.  I didn’t really have a youth leader, youth pastor or senior pastor.  And if you asked me at age 17 who discipled me the answer would be, “Tony Campolo”.

Books such as ‘You Can Make a Differenc’e taught me that being a Christian should make your life extraordinary.  It should make your life an adventure that nothing else can compare with.  Campolo tells story after story of people he has met and events that God has brought across his path.  He is an inspiration who imparted a spirit of adventure into me.

Next week – 5 through 1.

John

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