If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I love books. My friends on campus here are at times bewildered at the amount of books I’ve collected over the past one year here at PBC. Books have a special place within my heart. Maybe it has something with do with my writing, but I love to read books. Instead of hearing a message I’d rather read a book from cover to cover. The funny thing is that I have so many books right now, that I haven’t even gotten around to reading all of them.

There are some books that just capture your attention, while others leave a bland taste in your mouth. My favorite author is Brennan Manning, and I’ve read a few of his books including Ragamuffin Gospel, Abba’s Child, The Importance of Being Foolish, and right now I’m reading his The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. His books have worked in me on the deepest level. He has such a way of reaching into the core of an individual and make you ask questions that deal with self-worth, identity, and personal destiny. I got to see him in person a few weeks ago, and I was blown away by the genuineness and straightforwardness of the man.

I also love books that shape my intellect. Francis Schaeffer has done this in my life. His books are so intellectually meaty that at times, you can but barely read a chapter before stopping and processing. I’ve read his monumental work How Then Shall We Live?, and I was left with a solid understanding of the intellectual, reasoning side of my faith, where I was able to ask hard questions. Another great book is by Rob Bell, called Velvet Elvis. This book titles itself as, ‘repainting the Christian faith.’ I’m currently reading this book and I can’t get enough of it. It has a way of bringing your intellect and your heart into alignment with what faith and following Christ means to you. I love it.

I love books that bring me closer to the heart of God. I’ve read portions of Prayer, a series of books by E.M. Bounds, and it has left me with a real and clear understanding of God and how close He is to us in our prayers. Every few lines and you just want to stop and pray yourself. It’s a monumental work because the author actually wrote the book on his knees. Another great book is The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and this book will challenge you to live worthy of the upward call of being Christ’s disciples. This is another book that was written by a man who went through the fire as a German pastor during the time of the Nazis. A book that really shaped me last year is Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill. This book is probably one of the most edifying, uplifting, challenging, and stimulating books you will ever read with regards to the power of God and how we must be enthused with it as Christian ministers.

This is a small collection of books that have encouraged me over that last year. I would recommend these books, as they have helped me grow spiritually and mentally in my faith. There’s much you can get through Bible School, and there’s a lot you can get with hands on ministry in the local church, but books have that special place with me. I breathe books. If I go to a Barnes and Noble, I love the smell of new books. Anyway, just wanted to give you a glimpse into what I’ve been reading and what I’ve been getting out of the books I’ve been reading.