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Books that Have Shaped Me

I have always had a love of reading.  Whether it was listening to literary classics such as “The Great Cookie Thief” as a child, devouring The Chronicles of Narnia as a fifth-grader, reading every Hardy Boys mystery (even the cheesy new ones) during my early teen years, or viewing my Kindle as a priceless treasure today books have always been a huge part of my life.

While I enjoy reading many books there are certain ones that shape me.  They teach a lesson that transforms my life, points out a sin that I had tried to hide, challenged me to leave my place of comfort, focused the mind on Christ and our purpose to Glorify Him.

Some of these books I read a long time ago, others I am reading today, but each one of them have been used by God to have an impact on my life.  Its my prayer that the Lord would allow these books, and the lessons learned from them to continue changing lives.

1.  When God Writes Your Love Story (Eric and Leslie Ludy):  I began reading this book on the way home from a Biblical Counseling Conference in Indiana while riding in the back of a rental van.  That week the Lord had convicted me about the loneliness in my heart and frustration about being single at the age of thirty.  Part of the problem was I had basically given up on having a relationship but realized during the conference that was sin.

My first attempt to read it only lasted two pages because it hurt too much.  Reading the pages of that book, and many other relationship books after it, was a heartbreaking experience because I couldn’t help but think I should have done this during my teen years.  But the lessons learned, and heartbreak experienced have prepared me for the relationship I am in now.

2.  Instruments in the Redeemers Hands (Paul David Tripp):  A fascinating book on the subject of counseling, or helping those around us who are struggling with issues of life.  I love Tripp’s writing because he goes deeper than just dealing with the immediate problem and focuses on the heart instead of the person’s responses to circumstances.  A must read for anyone who has a friend or loved one in need of encouragement and help.

3.  When People are Big and God is Small (Dr. Ed Welch):  This book has been used more than any other except the Bible to change my life.  As an adult growing up low self-esteem Welch’s book helped me realize the first time I read it almost nine years ago my problem wasn’t a low view of myself but addiction to the approval of others.

In my opinion everyone in the world should have a copy of this book since each one of us at one time or another have dealt with approval addiction (it has many forms).  Anyone interested in doing more research on the subject of approval addiction can also read “Pleasing People:  How not to be an Approval Junkie” by Lou Priolo

4.  The Principle of the Path (Andy Stanley):  When the US economic crisis began to affect the Australian dollar in late 2010 it mad me radically rethink the way I dealt with my finances.  Interestingly this book by Andy Stanley has been used more than any other by the Lord to change the way I view money.  His simple idea that “every choice takes us in a direction” caused me to start questioning what path I wanted to travel down (financial security) and whether each expenditure took me in that direction.  Great for leaders or those who have problems with organization.

5.  In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day (Mark Batterson):  Read this book in late 2011 and found it incredibly convicting since Batterson in his work challenges us to leave our comfort zones.  One truth that really stuck was the idea of there being two different kinds of regret.  The first is regret over things we attempted to do but failed, the second is regret over things that we haven’t attempted at all.

He points out in the book that while most of us fear the first regret (failure, looking foolish) it’s the second regret experienced at the end of our lives that should be feared.  That idea has helped me move out of my comfort and show courage in the Lord.

6.  The Anxious Christian (Rhett Butler):  I only began reading this book a few weeks ago but find its main idea fascinating.  Butler takes it upon himself to explain that anxiety is something God can use for His Glory, which means our normal response to anxiety (covering it up) or viewing someone struggling with fear as sinning is Unbiblical.

I particularly enjoyed his personal testimony in the introduction, which in my opinion is worth the price of the book itself.  Anyone who struggles with fear or worry should definitely read this.

Honorable Mention:

31 days to find your blogging mojo (Bryan Allain):  When I decided to change my blog earlier in the year this book is where the majority of my ideas came from. Short chapters, lots of info, and absolutely hilarious

Running Scared:  Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest (Dr. Ed Welch):  Love this book because it asks “why are we scared of things?” and then gives an in depth answer.

Not a Fan:  Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus (Kyle Idleman):  Very convicting book that points out how Christ took fans (people who were halfheartedly committed to Him) and challenged them to become true followers.

Published by

John Wilburn

Missionary Living, Explaining, and Proclaiming the Gospel in the Suburbs of Melbourne Australia

One thought on “Books that Have Shaped Me”

  1. ‘When people are big and God is small’ is such a good book that I purchased my own copy! It was equally as life changing the second time around. Honestly, only the Bible has shaped me to a greater extent. But, the Bible is God’s word so that kind of goes without saying ;-) Another honourable mention goes to ‘DNA of relationships’ by Gary Smalley. I really think this book, along with ‘When people are big and God is small’, should be read and studied by everyone because they explain a) where our insecurities come from and b) why our insecurities cause us to lash out at others.

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