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!