...with a few other "literary" works thrown in for posterity
I do most of my reading online, especially on the topic of simplifying, consumerism, & organization. It just seems wrong to purchase books on not purchasing too many things, and though I love the idea of the library, if something really great comes along, I need it longer than 10 days. Plus, some books are worthy of being underlined, circled, & highlighted. These are the ones I've kept on my shelf so I can refer to them without a wifi connection or a power cord.
Books that have changed my life
Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. I devoured this in the weeks after truly giving my life to Christ. It was a total God thing that this was the book I picked up from the local Christian Book store with no guidance from an elder, a pastor, or even the cashier.
Radical by David Platt. Once you are exposed to the truth of God's heart for the nations, you will start to question everything about the American culture. What we consider poverty is considered riches in most of the world. This book shouldn't really be radical Christianity, but in America, it is. Just read it.
Crazy Love by Francis Chan. One of my friends posted this clip of Chan on Facebook. After removing my jaw from the floor, I followed the link to this one. It was well worth the 40 minutes of my time, and I knew I had to read his book. The week after I finished it, my pastor announced he was buying one for every family in the congregation. One of the reasons we love our pastor! He's always reading good stuff and passing it along.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is usually grouped with marriage books, but I think it's a must read for everyone. It changed the way I approach all relationships. It will teach you to listen to the spirit of a person, not just their words. I'm learning that even my children respond to different love languages. I have one that loves to be held and another that eats up words of affirmation.
Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot. Stolen from my grandmother's bookshelf, my copy was printed the year I was born. This is a collection of letters Ms. Elliot (widow of Jim Elliot) wrote to her daughter. I read this while I was engaged, and the chapters on relating to men were eye opening to me. She reminds her daughter that You Marry a Man, You Marry a Sinner, You Marry a Person, and You Marry a Husband. Don't be surprised if he doesn't act like your girlfriends. I wish I had read the parts about enjoying being single while I was still single.
Books that have accompanied me along my Spiritual Journey
Forgotten God by Francis Chan for anyone who doubts the Holy Spirit
Desiring God by John Piper when you are ready to really pay attention to a book. Read it with a notebook handy ~ you're gonna' want to take notes.
The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun (with Paul Hattaway) for a day when you feel like you are being persecuted for your faith and you need a little perspective.
Learning to Soar by Avery Willis. As his admin, I got to read this before it was even bound. Avery was a master at bringing the mysteries of God to a human level with imagery and parallels my little brain could comprehend.
The Present Future by Reggie McNeal
Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal
To Live is Christ by Beth Moore
Simple Obsession by Jamie Zumwalt is currently on my nightstand. I'm taking my time going through it, because it is so much to absorb. I find myself relating to the author in ways I've never experienced in another book. While exposing a broken past and sharing her journey to overcome it, Jamie helps you peel back the layers to reveal your true heart and how you relate to others, namely, Jesus Christ.
The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero is in my bookbag and goes with me where'er I go these days. I'm reading it together with the staff at GPC and can't wait to finish it and move on to Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. A leader is only as good
Books I often return to
Operation World is the Christian's World Almanac. If you want to pray for the nations, this is your go-to-guide. It'll give you prayer challenges, ideas for open doors, and ways the Gospel is going forth. It's even organized alphabetically so you can pray for the globe in a year.. in order!
Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper. I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read this cover to cover yet. It's packed with quoteables such as "Missions exists because worship doesn't." Piper's writing style is a bit more challenging than some of my other favorite authors; he's somewhere between Francis Chan and Ralph Winter.
Secrets of the Koran by Don Richardson will help you find bridges between Christianity and Islam. We believe a lot of the same things but there are some definite twists.
Healing the Broken Family of Abraham by Don McCurry. Abraham had two sons: Isaac and Ishmael. Christianity is to Isaac as Islam is to Ishmael. That's the basics, but McCurry unpacks so much more.
Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses by Ron Rhodes. This book has not only helped me to have meaningful non-confrontational conversations with my weekly visitors, but it has helped me examine the scriptures to see what I truly believe, why I believe it, and then figure out how to articulate it.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. Most kid books get on my nerves, but I could read this one at bedtime every night.
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss. What can I say? I have a thing for a doctor that can rhyme.
Other Books I love
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Packed with adventure, tenderness, cultural differences, and the pinnacle example of how an expat should behave in a foreign land.
Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson. The good "doctor" returns and entire communities are transformed by the education of their young women. I stand in awe of what one passionate person can accomplish when focused on a fulfilling a promise.
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron because when my kids were little all the babyfood on the shelf was watered down junk in a jar. It's also full of recipes for toddlers and preschoolers. Ms. Yaron gives some great ideas of how to make simple yet fun cakes, finger foods, and crafts. Everything from play doh to home-made wipes. A must for moms determined to simplify the daily routine.
Causewired by Tom Watson was recommended in a blogging class by Lela Davidson, even for those not into the non-profit scene. It's a great guide for any entity with an online presence.
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi ~ a native of Iran. Such a powerful and well-written book, I can't do it justice in a short paragraph. Just read it.
The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg. Yes, it's fiction, but it's a good way for someone with next-to-zero interest in politics to grasp the culture behind terrorism. I really do want to understand international politics, but I'm still trying to figure out our POA rules so the rest of the world, while important, feels overwhelming to me.
The Chamber by John Grisham made me want to be a lawyer... one with a southern accent. I don't read "fluff" very often, but when I do, I enjoy Grisham's writing style and subject matter.
The Innocent Man by John Grisham was a true story (or at least based on one) that took place near where I went to college. I think I still secretly want to be a lawyer... and yes, only if I can do it with a southern accent. I read this book in one night.. couldn't put it down.
The On Deck Circle
Living Water by Brother Yun
In This Generation by Todd Ahrend
The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning
Passion for the Heart of God by John Zumwalt
Back to Jerusalem by Paul Hattaway
Live Life on Purpose by Claude Hickman. I gave my copy away before I had a chance to read it. Gotta' get another copy!!
My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers this has been on my list for over a year. Somehow, I missed the note in my initial "Welcome to Christianity" packet that said this was a must read, a daily read. I was going to buy it, but my husband said we had a copy... somewhere.