I will confess that these books lived on my bookcase for a while because I was actually afraid to read them. I was comfortable. I was doing all right. Average. Why shake things up? What happens if I read one of these books and it messes me up so badly that I can’t live the same way? These were the fears running through my mind. And I think they were rational fears. Relatable even. I was reminded however that God does not give us a spirit of fear and the thoughts racing through my brain were surely not from Him. If they were not from Him then I decided I didn’t want anything to do with those thoughts. So with a little faith and a lot of prayers I released my fears and God took me on a little journey in 2013. He used the books below to help me get there.
Who wants to stay the same, really? I know I don’t. I want less of my sinful nature and more of Jesus. I want to care less about myself and more about His Kingdom. I want to see needs and meet them. I want to live with less so I can give more. I want to know the Bible, what it actually says and live that out. I want to be the type of sheep that we find in Matthew 25. I do not want to be mistaken for a goat! This is what God has grown in me this past year. He, through His Word, prayer, good friends, wise authors, and the Holy Spirit is changing me. And I am not afraid any more. I welcome the change. I want more of it. More of Him.
So, if you are longing for more and desire for God to shake you up, break you, challenge you, and ultimately change you to be more like Jesus then I highly recommend these books.
Rather than give you a description of each book I thought I’d share briefly what I took away from each one. If you want to go grab some coffee and chat about them and what God is doing in me I would love that too, and could talk for hours. But for now, here is a quick thought on each one.
“Crazy Love” by Francis Chan (http://crazylovebook NULL.com/) was very challenging, but in a good way. This book has stirred up in me the desire to look at what the Bible says about certain issues rather than relying soling on tradition or what the church says. I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Mr. Chan speak at a church in Tokyo which just increased my respect for this man and his honesty and his call for authenticity in our faith.
“Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis (http://kissesfromkatie NULL.blogspot NULL.jp/) surprised me. I was blown away by this girl’s faith. She is so young, but living out her life completely dependent on the King. I want a faith like hers. To hear what God is calling me to do and GO DO IT. No matter the cost. No matter how extreme or different it may be. This is a beautiful book and very well written. And my passion and heart for adoption has only increased after turning these pages.
“Love Does” by Bob Goff (http://bobgoff NULL.com/lovedoes/)is a quick read. And the entire time I read it I just kept thinking to myself “this guy is so cool.” I would totally hang out with him if I could. I’d love to go to his home for dinner and just listen to what he has to say. This book challenged me to see needs and meet them. See people hurting and be their help, their answer. I also love how he encourages his children to dream big and how he helps them achieve those dreams. Oh please read this book!
“Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker (http://jenhatmaker NULL.com/) is the book I started reading blindly. I had no idea what the book was really even about, but I immediately fell in love with the way this women was speaking directly to me as I read each page. I was encouraged by her. Inspired and challenged by her. The book left me saying, “well what do I do now?” Thankfully Jen gives the answer and offers a guide called “Staging Your Own Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”. AND coincidentally, PWOC and the chapel on base will be starting this study on January 22nd. You better believe I will be there ready to challenge myself and encourage others to do the same.
If you live on Yokota AB and want more details about this study/accountability group please let me know. We would love for you to join us!
So WHY did I write this post? Why share this personal information with you. First off, for accountability. If 2013 was the year God put these desires for growth and change in my heart then I know 2014 is the year I will be required to put them to action. And that is proving to already be the tough part. My fleshes rises up everyday and challenges me to live comfortably, to go ahead and buy that rug you don’t really need, or to ignore that small voice that encouraged me to invite my neighbor over for dinner. I need you to know that I want to live differently so when you see me not doing so you can call me out. Lovingly of course. I need your prayers and encouragement because I believe it is in community that we truly thrive.
And the second reason I am sharing this is because I believe that God wants to grab your heart too. He wants to meet you right where you are and take you to greater places. God wants to show you things and give you more joy than you can contain. And if you want to go on this journey with Him but don’t know how to begin perhaps this post is a great place to start. Pray. Seek His face. Get in the Word. Talk to friends. And perhaps, be brave enough to read one of these books. It’s a good place to start. And know that its not my words, or the authors words that will change your heart. That my friends, can only be done by the Holy Spirit Himself. Once you encounter Him and allow Him to work in you, you will never want to remain the same again.
Have you read some of these books? How has God used them to grab ahold of your heart? Do you recommend any other God inspired books to spur us on? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below.
And I’d love to know how you are doing in your walk with Jesus and what He is calling you to. Feel free to comment and share what God is doing in your life for “we will over come by the blood of the Lamb and the power of our testimony.” Help us be over-comers by sharing.
Thanks for listening. Know that I am praying for you!