Now that I have "waxed eloquent" about what books people should not be reading, let me talk about what books people should be reading. I don't like dwelling on the negatives very much. If you know me and/or have read this blog for awhile, you know that I love books. I've loved books ever since I was a child. One of my earliest memories in school (of the very few years I wasn't homeschooled) was in 1st grade. The teacher gave the class our first chapter books and told us to read the first chapter during that hour... I finished the whole book. Not surprisingly, as I grew up, my favorite times were going to the library. At home, my mom knew that if she couldn't hear me--playing the piano--I most likely 'had my nose stuck in a book.' Only a raucous, lively family and intensely passionate church kept me from being a totally unsocial bookworm. :)
Through the years, I have compiled my 'short list' of All-Time Favorite Books. These are the books that continue to inspire, convict and challenge me spiritually whenever I re-read them. And I do reread them often...
Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill
I refer to this author "the poetic prophet." His writing is like a jewelled dagger; beautiful to look at and yet, sharp enough to pierce the soul. Alliterations and descriptive phrasing make this book a joy to read... and yet a painful experience. It's a call to revival!! Revival = a reviving of that which was dead. Revival is admitting that I was wrong, I fell away and I was not doing the things of God. Say it with me, "OUCH."
The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
You like adventure? You like stories of faraway lands and exotic peoples? You should read this book. It is the story of Brother Yun, a Chinese preacher who stands for Christ even in the face of persecution. It's quite the journey from the miracles of him receiving a Bible (in Communist China) to surviving a 74-day fast to walking out of prison supernaturally, as if he were invisible. Simply amazing. Brother Yun writes with humility and you will feel the depth of devotion in this spiritual giant's words.
No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green by Melody Green
The controversial life of a young musical genius who loved God desperately and followed Him completely until his untimely death at the age of 28. Keith Green's radical life stands a righteous rebuke and heartfelt challenge to me personally. Can I write songs from the heart of God, like he did? Can I preach truth and live holy and seek God passionately, like he did?
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Living a life of discipline is hard for us carnal humans. This book gives practical insight on spiritual disciplines that we should establish as habits in our lives. Things like prayer, meditation, simplicity, fasting, confession, service, etc. Simple and deep reading, if applied. A word of warning (just as my pastor told me, when recommending the book), the author is Quaker and sometimes he gets a little mystical. Just chew the hay and spit out the sticks. :)
Rees Howells: Intercessor by Norman Grubb
The newest addition to my Favorites list. This book reveals how God can use any willing vessel, how surrender is the key to powerful prayer and how the prayers of one person can shake nations. After reading this book, I am inspired to get on my knees and intercede for souls.
In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
The only fiction book in my Favorites list. Even the fact that I have a fiction book in my list will tell you a little about the calibre of this story. Charles Sheldon spins a tale about a minister gives a challenge to church-goers, to ask themselves the question "What Would Jesus Do?" and then honestly live out the answer. The results dramatically affect people's lives, careers, business practice, passions--and even a whole town. Truly life-changing.
Other awesome books... Azusa Street by Frank Bartleman - Read and weep. That's what I did. Christ the Healer by F.F. Bosworth - It will rock your healing theology. Tozer on Worship and Entertainment by A.W. Tozer - Okay, this will just rock your world. In general. You will never think of entertainment the same again. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence - I read this as a teenager and was astounded by the concept of continual prayer. Not Even a Hint by Joshua Harris - Great Biblical book for anyone who deals with lust. The Autobiography of Charles Finney. I could go on and on and on... but since I am writing this blog entry while on vacation, and not staring at my library, you are saved from the endless lists of books.
Be a reader. Read the Word most and love it best. But also read good books. Read books that will feed your spirit, challenge your faith and mature your character.