Three books every Jesus follower must read

booksMaybe you’re like me. I used to fly through books when I was younger but now, (given the crazy busy schedule of adulthood) I’m super picky about what I invest my time in.

For you, it may be the juggling act between career and family – for me, it’s the balancing act of parenting and work and all the in between.

The book has to be good to get (eh, hold) my attention. Because finding time to read is like trying to climb Mount Everest with a baby strapped to my back – all while feeding a group of hungry toddlers and negotiating a peace treaty between foreign leaders who despise each other.

DOESN’T HAPPEN.

My moments of trying to sneak away to read usually look like this:

NO, I can’t make you a separate dinner – I JUST SPENT 2 HOURS MAKING THIS ONE.

Or the moment my work is done and I think it will be quiet so I sit down to read.  The door flies open and two children barge in demanding some toy that EVERYONE has at school and IF THEY DON’T GET IT RIGHT THIS SECOND THEY WILL DIE.

And, I’m like, hellooo??? MOMMY NEEDS SOME PRIVATE TIME! (Tears. Lots and lots of tears).

*Sigh*

This is my life.

Thank you for that venting moment.

I actually feel quite better now.

But, you get the picture.

My reading time is L-I-M-I-T-E-D.

SO, if I’m going to carve out time to engage in a book, it has to be well worth the fight for that time. The book must have grit. It has to challenge and push me to dig into the depths of my being and climb out changed on the other side.

It has to cause me to think differently, love differently – BE DIFFERENT.

It’s a tall order.

But, over the last 10 years, three books hit this mark for me.

They were so provoking that reading them once wasn’t enough; I had to go back and read them again. (Coming from a mom of 4 this says A LOT)

They softened my heart, healed broken parts, challenged me in leadership – but most importantly they pulled me outside the familiar Christian box.

THEY HIT THE BAR.

It might surprise you that they weren’t written by some progressive new thinkers….all were written a while ago.

I’ve always been an old soul – maybe that’s the connection for me – who knows.

It is argued that some of these authors were merely “ahead of their time”. I don’t think so. I believe they were spot on in their time. Their books speak to generations before us and generations after us; the thoughts and ideas are timeless.

This is why they are a must for me.

So, without any further gushing, here they are:

  1. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis. First of all, I’m obsessed with CS Lewis. I swear, if he was alive, I’d be one of those crazy groupies who followed him around everywhere. LOVE ME SOME C.S. LEWIS. He’s a brilliant mind. But, in this book he captures the essence of being a Christ follower. He deconstructs theology into a bare bones picture that really gets to the meat of what it is to be a “Christian”. Can’t praise this book enough.
  2. A Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards. EVERY LEADER SHOULD READ THIS. First of all, it’s a super fast read. I flew threw it in a few days, so there’s no excuse. Second of all, if you’ve been hurt by church leadership, this book offers a lot of comfort. He tells the story of three kings: David, Saul, and Absalom unlike any way I’ve heard or thought of their stories before. If you’re a leader, want to be a leader, been hurt by a leader or work with leaders, you can’t pass this book up.
  3. Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace, Robert Farrar Capon. Years ago, a friend of mine said to me, When you’re ready to have your theology and Christian box completely undone, go read this book. Apparently I wasn’t ready until this past year when I finally ordered a copy. The first few chapters made me super uncomfortable. It rattled so much of what I “thought I knew”. But, I stuck with it and by the middle of the book tears were streaming down my face. Endless tears. Couldn’t stop crying. And the rest of the book I literally was taking pictures of the pages and texting them to my friends because IT WAS SO GOOD. I can honestly say, I didn’t fully understand the depth of grace until I read this book. BUT, like my friend said to me, don’t read it until you’re ready to have your Christian box completely wrecked.

So, there you have it. I’m sure there are other deserving books that should be on this list. But, for my journey, these are my top three.

Happy reading.

Anna

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7 thoughts on “Three books every Jesus follower must read

  1. I screamed when i saw mere Christianity. That was a fave read for me. And a reference point too. Not familiar with the others but going to search for them on my kobo reading app

  2. I’m reading on right now that my therapist recommended called “The Gift of Being Yourself” by David G. Benner and let me tell you… shivers. It’s one of those that punches you in the gut but at the same time makes you feel like you have a friend that understands. HIGHLY recommend.

  3. I would like to add…
    Hinds Feet in High Places, by Hannah Hurnard
    Ten Things Jesus Never Said, by Will Davis Jr.
    Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer

    I once started Mere Christianity and haven’t gotten back to it. I figure after 35 years, I might get back to it. I am not a very disciplined reader, but I do get around to some good books, from time to time.

  4. I have very little time to read myself. I am going to start at #1 and read them all. Thanks! May take me until Christmas but I’ve been wanting something new. Thanks!

  5. I’m an old soul also, so I recommend to you anything by Vance Havner. Also Philip Keller, like “A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23.” I, too, have been changed by “A Tale of Three Kings.” Thanks for the post!

  6. I’ve not read any of these three, I have been meaning to read some more cs Lewis for a while, after seeing the stage play of the screw tape letters. At the moment I am really enjoying biographies.

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