Sometimes Charlie would add, “and considering who you are now, you better get reading!” Charlie thought reading was so important, he even had a song he would sing…and get everyone else to sing…when he came on stage to speak. The chorus went like this:
Read books for information.
Read books to make you smile.
Read books for inspiration,
to help you go that extra mile!
When you need refreshing,
books can be the key!
Unlock new discoveries
every time you read!
In that spirit—and (being totally transparent) because I was asked—below are some books (other than the Bible) that are favorites of mine, books that have been very influential on me, and books that I am currently reading.
Some of favorite books. These are books I go back to again and again, continue to recommend and give away.
The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett (Banner of Truth). This is a collection of prayers and devotions by various Puritan ministers. These prayers are deep, saturated with Scripture, and are very transparent. It has been an indispensable book for me in my walk with God.
Let Go, Francois Fénelon, (Whitaker House, 1973). This book contains 40 short letters to men and women that Fénelon was a spiritual father for. They are the letters that are posted in my Fénelon Friday posts. I have given away more copies of this book than I can count. In fact, the reason I have a Kindle is because I was continually giving away my personal copy of this book. Now I always have it with me in electronic format. Get this book.
A Treatise on Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards (Yale University Press, 1959). Anything by Edwards is worth reading. This book has never been out of print since its publication in 1746. When a book has that kind of staying power, you know it is worth reading. This is a kind of “spiritual physical” in which you can get a clear picture of what a healthy Christian’s life looks like. Books on spiritual formation and church health are everywhere today, but in my estimation, Edwards has them all beat—and that by a few hundred years.
Desiring God: Mediations of a Christian Hedonist, by John Piper (Multnomah Press). This book was and remains one of my most formative. In summary, his point is that God is most gloried in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Christianity is not about giving up things, it is about gaining the best thing: God. This is an awesome book, and I always have several copies on my shelf.
Lead Like Jesus, by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges (Thomas Nelson). Simply the best book on leadership that I have found. If you want to grow as a leader, you need this book.
Life Is Tremendous, by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones (Tyndale). Charlie remains one of the wisest people I have ever met. Much of his wisdom about life, leadership, and discipleship are shared in this little book. It focuses on 7 laws of leadership that he was learning. It is simple, practical, and humorous, yet is also deep, honest, and challenging.
Some other books that have had a significant impact on me have been:
The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller.
The Five Stones: An Everyday Guide to Following Jesus, by Foye Belyea and Samuel Huggard.
Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us, by Preston Sprinkle.
Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life, by Paul Zahl.
I am currently reading….
Almost everything by Jonathan Edwards, since he is the subject of my PhD thesis. If you want to read more of him, another good book to be had is published as Charity and Its Fruits, a series of 15 sermons on 1 Corinthians 13. Very awesome.
Jesus Outside the Lines, by Scott Sauls.
Law & Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints), by William McDavid, Ethan Richardson, Paul Zahl.
Our Ultimate Refuge: Job and the Problem of Suffering, by Oswald Chambers.