Monday, November 18, 2013

Books That Will Wreck Your Life

In the best way possible, of course!

Besides the Bible (obviously a life-eternal changer there!) here's 5 books that have wrecked my life for Jesus:

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

  • I was a baby Christian when I read this book, and praise God I did because it radically helped me understand real GRACE.  Grace for myself and grace for others, from God.  It showed me the intimacy Jesus craves with me ("come and sup with me" and the cultural context of Jewish mealtimes) and the need for community with other ragamuffins (aka believers).  Why I picked this random book off the shelves of hundreds one day?  I saw the word "Ragamuffin" and thought of Rich Mullins and his amazing and wise provoking thoughts on following Jesus that seemed so counterculture to what American Christianity was doing; even back in the 90's.  
UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons 
  • I was a beat-up-possibly-burnt-out Christian when I read this book.  It is the end result of research done on young Americans about their views of Christianity and the church.  "The opposite of sin is not virtue, but grace" the authors write.  And this truth writes itself into my heart.  It was the first book that finally put into words all the thoughts and questions I had, including the ones I felt guilty for having.  It is not a "bash the church" kind of book, which I was grateful for (my bitter heart didn't need more fuel) but rather some thoughts on how the church could and should be.  If we are to reach those who are living separated from Christ, we have to understand their doubts, fears and objections...many of which are substantial and have foundation.
Radical by David Platt
  • Which Christ-follower hasn't read this book?  But to be fair, if you haven't...stop reading this right now and go read it.  Oh, but be ready to question your entire life.  Like how you spend your money and time.  Be ready to question how much trust you put in the world.  And how in the world are you really living radically different from it?  Because the truth is, most of us aren't.  We wear the same clothes, watch the same shows, have the same houses, our children run from the same activities to the next with the rest of the pack...but we feel better when we show up to church on Sunday.  What would it look like for Christ followers to really sacrifice in their lives?  To actually pick up their cross and follow Jesus?  Would you live in a smaller house?  Adopt kids?  Feed the homeless at your table?  Provide clean water to prevent early preventable death for children in Africa?  It shouldn't seem as radical as it sounds.  
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • I can't say it better than the book description does:  "God is love.  Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love.  Have you ever wondered if we're missing it?  It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something's wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts—it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything."  I love books that don't just point out the problems, but that actually encourage you to do something about it, and remind you of the power you have inside you!  (Romans 8:9-11)  It's encouraging and not a coincidence that I was being convicted about what following Christ really looked like, how radical it was; that I read this book next in my life!  Because if you try to change the world (or yourself) and forget how radically loved you are, you will burn out fast!!
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

  • A friend gifted this to me when my heart was at it's most caustic, callused, closed and critical state.  Voskamp addresses the age old question of "Why does God allow/make bad things happen to good people?" in a way I'd never heard before.  She writes about ingratitude, the ability of the heart to close itself off after being hurt and therefore being closed off from the only One who can heal it.  She writes about chasing the moon, dirty dishes in the sink and looking for burning bushes everywhere.  Because every moment can be holy.  A friend challenged her to keep track of 1000 things she was grateful for one year, in which Ann wrote down how eucharisteo always proceeded the miracle as Jesus walked this earth.  And the miracle I found at the end of the book was an ability to learn to be content in all situations; the miracle of a healing heart- a heart that can call God good and all the gifts He gives as good.   No matter who you are and where you are in life; please read this book and have it on hand as a resource to gift!!

This is in no way a complete list for me, but I wonder; what books would you add?  What books have wrecked your life for Jesus?

1 comment:

Cassie R said...

Great list. Don't tell anyone, but I'm not much of a reader...however, I'm getting better! "Not a Fan", recommended by YOU, was a great eye-opener for me! Very challenging and had me questioning areas of my life and thinking about things differently.