Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper
I think you will find this book on most of our book lists because yes it is good, but more importantly it is dangerous. Piper calls you to “find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it.” That call transformed my life; it convicted me of pride and self-centeredness, and it set me free from fear and suicidal materialism. Most importantly, it demonstrated that my ultimate purpose and my ultimate joy should be Christ.
Preaching: MacArthur Pastor’s Library, by John MacArthur
Sure, it is a book on preaching, but I cannot think of another book that so radically impacted my personal study and my understanding of how you read the Bible. Every time I prepare a sermon or sit down in the quiet of my home to study God’s Word, the principles I learned from this book continue to guide me and allow God’s Word to speak to my heart.
Seizing Your Divine Moment: Dare to Live a Life of Adventure, by Erwin Raphael McManus
This is another dangerous book; sadly, it is unique in the McManus corpus in that its focus is a specific text, namely I Samuel 14. Standing against the grain of pop Christianity he states, “To follow Jesus is to enter the unknown, to relinquish security, and to exchange certainty for confidence in Him.” Then, in four little sentences he completely shattered my self-centered understanding of God’s purpose and compelled me to risk. “I want to reiterate the fact that the center of God’s will is not a safe place, but the most dangerous place in the world. God fears nothing and no one. God moves with intentionality and power. To live outside God’s will puts us in danger, but to live in His will makes us dangerous.”
The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, by Leonard Verduin
I really love history; the history channel is my favorite TV station, and there were numerous biographies, which I debated putting on this list. This work is a character study/biography/history of the Protestant Reformation’s Second Front. Most histories of the reformation focus on the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Knox) and the Catholics; however, the focus of this work is on the lesser-known Anabaptists, they are lesser-known because most of them were slaughtered and their works burned. While I greatly admire the reformers and have learned much from them, I have more in common with the Anabaptists. While this work focuses on Anabaptist history, it also focuses on their theology and to that aspect, I am in debt as it has sharpened many of my convictions, reshaped other convictions, and provided a fantastic example of what an Apostolic church should look like.
Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From It’s Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcey
This work is part history, part apologetic, part worldview, and every bit of it is fantastic. I will be honest and admit that Pearcey is a challenging read and I would recommend reading He Is There and He Is Not Silent, by Francis A. Schaeffer prior to reading Total Truth. Schaeffer explains his apologetic in a way that is profoundly simple and it is a relatively short read. Pearcey builds off Schaeffer’s apologetics, and understanding him will make her work easier to grasp. Pearcey begins by addressing the current problems with American Christianity via history. She traces the integration of secular philosophy into the Christian worldview, refuting each philosophy along the way, and then she provides the reader with an understanding of what the Biblical worldview is and how it should impact your daily life. This book was a real eye-opener and provides an amazing apologetic that addresses everything from postmodernism to evolution and beyond, that is extremely applicational when she begins to discuss the Biblical worldview.