Worth a Read

First the details. I love to read. I regularly have at least four books on the go so that I have something to read no matter what mood I’m in. About four or five years ago I pretty much phased out reading novels because I realised I had too much to learn and not enough time to do it in. Of the many books I’ve read, these are the few that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Next the disclaimer. This is my list so it’s going to be a subjective opinion. Not every book listed is an actual Christian book, but is on this list because it helped in some way with my walk with The Lord, or it helped in some way with ministry. I’m not going to give a long description on each book, just why it made a difference to me, or how it helped. I have, however, linked each book to its Amazon page so you will find a full description there. Books are listed alphabetically by title.

And so, on to the list.


A Praying Life

Author: Paul E. Miller

If you feel stuck in your prayer life this book is for you. After reading it I understood why praying was hard, how it could be easy, and how to relate to God. It totally chucks out “religion” and “legalism” and approaches prayer in a very natural way. The principals are biblically based, easy to understand, build upon each other and have real life examples that compliment the teaching so that you understand the concepts really easily. There are also some great practical tools to use in developing your prayer life. I wish I had read this years ago.


Declarations

Author: Steve Backlund

This book taught me the power of declaring positive, scripture-based promises over yourself. As a new Christian this got me through some tough times when I needed to rely on The Lord’s promises, but I still use it today. Your words have power and the declarations in this book can lead to positive life change.


Do What Jesus Did

Author: Robby Dawkins

This book is superb motivation to walk like Jesus did. If you’re looking for something on practical evangelism then look no further. As a bonus you’ll also get teachings on prophesy, healing and walking in authority to name a few. Expect great testimonies, wonderful insight and chapters ending with practical advice and tips. A great all-round ministry tool.


Dragons and Dirt

Author: Dalene Reyburn

This book is real and honest. It focuses on the things that trip us up in life and tangle our hearts and gives superb biblical and practical advice on how to overcome them. At times your heart will be wrenched, while at others you’ll be challenged to make good on dealing with the clutter that fills up your heart. This is a definite must-read for anyone dealing with the pressures of life and who feels like their heart and self-confidence could use a spring clean.


ESV Solo: An Uncommon Devotional

Author: Crossway Inc.

This is not just another devotional where you read something relating to scripture and you’re done as quickly as you can finish. The ESV Solo has daily devotions that follow the lectio divina (divine reading) method of reading scripture. Each day has a scripture which you read, but then re-read. Each day’s devotional helps you to focus on key parts of the scripture you’ve read, think on them deeply and then apply them to your life. Instead of just quickly reading a daily entry you are engaging with scripture and interacting with The Lord. It makes quiet time more constructive and helps the scripture stick with you throughput the day. Learning to do this has definitely deepened my understanding of scripture and made me more attentive to what The Lord is saying through His Word.


I am n

Author: Voice of the Martyrs

Just when you think your life is tough you read a book like this. The 48 stories of Christian people/families who were oppressed/killed by radical Muslim extremists is challenging on two fronts. Firstly, how hard is it to serve in my church really? Is it life threatening? Secondly, how hard is it to forgive and even love the person at work who offended you really? I was so deeply move by the stories in this book. God’s love shines through so clearly in they way these Christians treat their oppressors. Every time I need a reality check I read one or two chapters.


Invitation to Solitude and Silence

Author: Ruth Haley Barton

I found this book to be incredibly useful in two main areas of my life. Firstly, in structuring quiet time and learning to slow down and rest from a busy world. This was increasingly important as I was given more responsibility as a leader both in my job and at church. Secondly, in connecting with God in those quiet times. This was important so that I could also receive from The Lord and be filled myself, so that I could continue to give to others. The book is really practical and offers advice on how to carve out Sabbath time so that you can rest just as The Lord suggested…no wait, instructed.


Parenting

Author: Paul David Tripp

The gist of it is that we have no power to effect any change in our children whatsoever. Only God can do that. What we are called to do as parents is help our children realize how much they need God. In other words, recognise that your children are as broken as you are/were and need exactly the kind of grace that you yourself need. A big realisation for me was that parenting should be viewed as a process whereby parents are blessed with opportunities (yes, sometimes they’re tough, but they’re opportunities nonetheless) to point their children to God. It’s quiet a paradigm shift to change from trying to control your kids to trying to work with God and even though I still get it wrong, I am definitely seeing the fruit of this approach. My boys are more chilled, I am more chilled and my wife is more chilled…sigh.


The Coaching Habit

Author: Michael Bungay Stanier

Reduce the time you need to coach the people you lead/manage by asking seven key questions to side-step the chit chat and drill down to the core of an issue. This has been an amazing resource for me at work and at church. It has helped in coaching and in meetings of various sorts (weekly small groups included) to really see what’s on a person’s heart/mind. NOTE: I am not suggesting that we chuck out relationships and community. I have just found the questions extremely useful in situations where coaching time is limited or where conversations/discussions seem to get long-winded, repetitive and stuck because we struggle to articulate what’s actually on our minds.


Translating God

Author: Shawn Bolz

Shawn has an amazing gift for prophesy and he shares that in a very practical and humble way. This book is an amazing teaching tool and will help clear up any confusion about prophesy, words of knowledge and words of wisdom. There are stacks of great activation exercises which I felt helped me develop my ability to hear God a great deal. That in turn has been invaluable in sharing God’s heart with others.


So, there you go, a list of awesome books for you to go and check out.

Let me know what you think. I would also love to hear about the books that have made an impact on your life. Leave your thoughts in a comment.

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