5 books that have changed my life

Disclaimer #1: Notice that I changed the title of my post from “The Five Books That Have Most Impacted My Life” to (see above). Unfortunately, I don’t have a running list of all the books I’ve ever read (boo). And I’ve read more than a few (thousand) in the past 30 years.

So. These are five books I own. (Three non-fiction, two fiction.) Five books I’ve read more than once. Are there others I’ve read that have impacted me more? Quite possibly. I just can’t remember them at the moment.

Disclaimer #2: And like I said yesterday, the Bible is a given.

Disclaimer #3: And I’m reading Randy Alcorn’s Heaven right now and probably would’ve switched one of the others out for it if 1.) I had already finished it and 2.) I didn’t already have 2 Alcorn books on the list.

Disclaimer #4: Which is actually more like a Claimer. Nobody gave me these books in hopes that I’d blog about them. I owned 4 of the 5 long before I knew what blogging was.

Without my infamous “further ado,” in no particular order…

Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes

Of the five, I’ve read this one the most times. For quite a few years, I’ve read it every December. It’s a fiction account of two very real people–a pregnant teenage girl and her young carpenter fiance. Holmes does an incredible job of bringing the Nativity Story to life. When I’m tempted to think, “Yeah, how sweet, baby Jesus was born in a stable…,” she reminds me how difficult, how unglamorous, how heartbreaking, how amazing the story of his conception and birth really was. Does she “make stuff up” to fill in the gaps from the biblical account? Of course. But a story that makes me so much more grateful for God’s sacrifice and for Joseph’s and Mary’s as well? Awesome.

Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn

The two things I love most about Randy Alcorn’s writing? He backs everything up with Scripture, and I always close the book with more of an eternal perspective, asking myself, “How does what I know about my eternal future affect how I’m going to live today?” Did you know there are 2,350 verses in the Bible about money? I know! The way we handle our money says so much about what’s in our hearts. This book is sooo convicting, yet somehow such a joy to read. So much I’d never thought about before. So practical. So down-to-earth. Fabulous.

Sacred Travels by Christian George

I don’t even know where to start with this book. I’ll tell you this though. The subtitle of the book is Recovering the Ancient Practice of Pilgrimage, and ever since I read it for the first time two years ago, anytime I hear or read the word “pilgrimage,” I feel giddy. Similar to the way I now feel about the word “zoo.” Speaking of zoos, as I’ll talk about in my Zoo Book, I’ve got this itch to see the world God created. Christian George has seen much of it, and his descriptions of these places he’s been (largely destinations that have spiritual significance) are pure poetry (except they’re prose). This dude can flat-out write. I re-read this book as we prepared to embark on the 52-in-52 adventure, and oh my word. I would literally jump up and down and clap my hands each time I put the book down. It’s that inspiring.

The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

I’ll admit, this is a book I need to read again ASAP. The subtitle? Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath. If there’s one thing (oh, that there were only one thing!) I struggle with when it comes to doing something I know is a big part of God’s plan for my life, it’s REST. This guy, too, is a brilliant writer. And I could see myself (not in a good way) on every page. “Sabbath is elixir and antidote. It is a gift… to prolong our lives, to enrich our relationships, to increase our fruitfulness, to make our joy complete. And we’ve neglected it.” For whatever reason, I love books about the Sabbath, and this is my favorite. I don’t really know how to rest. This book is a must-read if you share my dilemma.

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

I’m pretty sure this is the one fiction book that has most impacted my life. It’s a riveting story of a persecuted believer in China, his family, and his cynical American friend (I won’t say much more about the plot–don’t want to give it away). The book is based on real-life stuff that’s happening right this very minute to Christ-followers around the globe. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this book, but I’ve pulled it off the shelf many a time when I’m feeling sorry for myself and BAM! That’s the end of that. I always finish the book with renewed purpose–and this crazy desire to sell all of my possessions and become a missionary. I dare you to read this book and not walk away changed.

So, tell me–which one of these books do you think you’d most like to read? Or maybe you’ve read one or more already? I’d love to hear about your Top 5 Books too!

15 thoughts on “5 books that have changed my life

  1. whimzie

    I haven’t read Two From Galilee in years! I need to read it again this year. So good.

    Haven’t read either of those Randy Alcorn books although I have Safely Home on my shelf! I’ll read that over Christmas, I think.

    I’ve heard several friends talk about the Mark Buchannan book but I’ve never even heard of Christian George.

    I’m terrible at making declaritive, definitive lists because I’m so afraid I’m going to leave out a book. A few months ago I wrote about books I wish my friends would read, mainly so we could talk about them.

  2. Shari Risoff

    I don’t know that I can come up with a “top 5” but after the Bible as #1, these are certainly at the top:
    * Seven Habits of Highly Successful People – Steven Covey
    * Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
    * Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren
    * 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell
    * Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

    Each of these books has impacted my life in different ways and for different reasons, but every one of them has in some way changed me.

    I’m adding your 5 to my wish list and have already ordered one of them for a Christmas gift for my mom-in-law!

  3. Teresa Henry

    I haven’t read any of these yet. But I can’t wait to read Two From Galilee and Money, Possessions, and Eternity.

    One of my favorite books is Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers are three of my favorites. I have many more….but these three are in my memory right now as my favs!

    Love books…love words…Love God’s word!

  4. Courtney

    Safely Home impacted me so much I could barely function for a month after finishing it!
    pretty much all of Alcorn’s books are amazing!
    Of course, I’m addicted to Ted Dekker!
    Heavenly Man was another good one.
    Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns were horribly wonderful!

  5. Bethy

    I’m reading Two From Galilee for the first time and I love it! I’m almost done and I would like to read it every year in December like you–thanks for the idea!

    I have Randy Alcorn’s “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” and it is FABULOUS! I think I’ve only read a fourth of it (and I think you’re the one who told me about it). I want to read it all sometime soon.

    Some other books that have really impacted me: Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life (keeps my focus of what my priorities are as a homemaker, wife, and mom and encourages me in the mundane daily tasks),
    Organizing Magic has helped me get my house under control.
    Beautiful in God’s Eyes (Proverbs 31)
    From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife (I always choose an excerpt to read at our church’s bridal showers and I am always challenged and encouraged to be a better wife!)
    I am also in the middle of reading Prayer: The Great Adventure.

    Nancy Drew mystery novels and The Teashop Girls are also young fictional faves!

  6. Elizabeth

    I’m sorry to say that I’ve never read any of these books either. I’m adding them to my list for the next year. I love keeping a list of all the books i read, but i’ve been negligent in doing it the last couple of years. Let’s do it! I love looking over my reading list from years ago. It’s fun to remember and re-read loved books.

    The Guernsey book and Same Kind of Different as Me are definitely on my top ten. The Mitford books are too!

  7. Molly Piper

    Can you believe I’ve never read any of these? It’s true, my friend. My list of “should reads” grows longer by the day…

    If nothing else, I LOVE that Scrabble-letter framed picture. Abraham would love that. Where’d you get it?

  8. Kaye

    Thanks for sharing these as they sound like GREAT ones!
    Loved “Same king of different as me” and I have yet to read their next bok, “What difference do it make?” Hopefully it will be as good as the first one!! Reading ‘Riven’ now, which is good and LOVED THe Shack!
    Blessings to you and yours today and always,
    Matthew 21:22

  9. Lisa Bergren

    Ooo, I’m a fan of Randy’s too. And I’m glad to know about George’s Pilgrimage–hubby and I go to Israel in May! And I’ve read another of Buchanan’s that I loved…title escaping me now. My latest book to make my Top 10 (Top 5? Eegads, woman, that’s tough!): Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Unique, creative, fabbo characters, history–LIFE. Not a Christian novel, but quite clean. Thanks for sharing!

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