Of all the books I’ve read, these have made the biggest impact in my life. Some have even saved it.
For my non-Christian readers, this list is all faith-based books. Even so, the information in them resonates far beyond religion, so don't blow them off. And not to worry, I have other lists planned which include non-faith-based ones, so stay tuned.
These are books every Christian (and every person) should read.
Total Forgiveness by RT Kendall
No one gets out of this life unscathed. You WILL be hurt. Deeply. Profoundly. What you do with that pain determines the quality, and even quantity, of your days on this planet. Totally forgiving people is the hardest thing Christians are commanded to do, but also the most freeing. Kendall not only gives the why but most importantly, the how. Based on a thorough study of scripture inspired by his own painful experience, this book is a must read, and must do, for anyone who claims to follow Christ.
Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge
“Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is like watching television with the sound turned off.” I’ve read several of Eldredge’s books and would recommend all of them, but this one had the greatest impact on me. Christians claim to love Jesus, but we can’t really love someone we don’t really know. Eldredge shows us “Jesus with skin on” – His playfulness, fierceness, extravagance. My favorite part is when he talks about turning the water into wine. Completely eye- and heart-opening. If you read no other book on this list (except the last one), read this.
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
We spend more time learning about our vacation destinations than about where we will spend The Vacation to End All Vacations, eternity. Forget harps, clouds, and never-ending church services. This is beyond all we can ask or imagine. I heard Alcorn interviewed about this book and picked it up. I didn’t realize it was 473 pages (small print, not including two appendices and footnotes). Seriously, how can anyone find enough information about heaven in the Bible to write 473 pages? Alcorn does, and boy howdy, it’s well worth the time. My favorite section is entitled Will We Drink Coffee in Heaven? (I know, you’re not surprised)
Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge and
Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere
Why were women created? To be “helpmeets?” To bear children? To be second-fiddle, second-rate men? Two books full of truth and encouragement with differing styles. Captivating gently fills your heart with identity and healing. Lioness Arising pumps your blood with purpose. Read them both, and I recommend Captivating first.
Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey
After infertility and severe depression, my faith came this close to flatlining. I hadn’t turned my back, but I was definitely and defiantly keeping my distance. I felt more than disappointed with God. I felt betrayed. Everyone will experience God not behaving the way we want Him to. This book saved my faith. Yancey answers “three questions no one asks aloud: Is God unfair? Is God silent? Is God hidden?” Outside of the Bible itself, this is the most important book I’ve read, and largely responsible for the person I am today. Read it. You’ll thank me.
In A Class All By Itself: The Bible
If you know me at all, you knew this would be number one. The thing no one tells you is that it’s best to read it cover to cover, like a novel, not picked apart like an Encyclopedia (remember those?). When read like a book you realize themes, important chronology, context, and especially the heart-rending full-on character development of God, Mankind, and our complicated roller-coaster ride from In the Beginning to the New Heaven and Earth. This is YOUR story. YOU are in this book. If you do nothing else in your entire life, read the Bible, through in a year if you can at all (and you definitely can). This is the very best thing I do. Nothing has made, or can make, such a difference, right down to your DNA.
So there you go. Which have you read? Which should I have left off? Which should I add? I’d love to hear from you.
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