Most Influential Books Part 2

I’ve begun a short series of posts about books which have greatly impacted my life. I mentioned in the first post that sometimes a book doesn’t have to be brilliant to have a major impact on your life. Sometimes it has to simply have the right message (assuming it is a truthful message, of course) at the right time. I’m a firm believer that books change lives and see us through the bright and the dull and the pain.

For the introduction to the series, and more background you can go here and read more.  In the meantime, here (in no particular order) goes installment number two in the series…

  • The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy – These two need to go together because I heard/read them closely together and so their impact came in tandem. These are both children’s’ books and each one is part of a whole series of Narnia books written by C.S. Lewis. They were two of my favorites growing up and their value has held throughout my life. They enlivened my imagination and taught me to love literature at an early age. From a chronological standpoint the Magicians’ Nephew is first, though Lewis wrote them all out of order, and they were published out of order as well (to complicate matters!).  The whole series is worth reading to your children, if not to yourself, for their literary appeal, and their wonderful storyline.  The Horse and His Boy is such a great story that it can hardly be left off of any fiction list from the 20th century (in my opinion), and the Magician’s Nephew is highly enjoyable – though I think its better to have read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and others first.  Only then will you appreciate all the little story clues Lewis drops into the mix (I would point your attention to such things as how the lamppost got into Narnia in the first place…).
  • The Holiness of God – This is a modern classic in the field of Christian books for the layman or average joe. I can’t remember now whether I read this prior to ‘Chosen by God’ or afterward, but it was enjoyable because of the tension that Sproul showed within God’s character between mercy and justice etc. I began to see God not simply as my “celestial bellhop” who comes to me in times of trouble, but rather as the God or all the universe whose majesty is both awesome and awful. In many ways, this book helped dispense of the false god I had mentally built up over the years and replace it with a God whose holiness is beyond what I had ever contemplated. If nothing else, this book will help you worship with a more complete view of who God actually is. And if you’re a newer believer, you’ll grow immensely from this study.
  • The Valley of Vision – Before I taught my first Sunday school lesson at Dublin Baptist Church I was so nervous that I found myself almost shaking. Recently I had come into possession of this book (Christmas present in 2010 from my mom), and I had “coincidently” brought it with me in the car on the way to church.  I have no idea why I brought it – at least I didn’t at the time. Arriving too early for the lesson, I decided to get donuts for the class, and as I sat in the Tim Hortons parking lot in Dublin trying to pull myself together, it was this book that helped me pour my heart out to God and seek His help at that moment. The humility and strength of this prayer book is unparalleled.  It helps me time and again remember how to pray: with all my heart, soul and strength.
  • The Ultimate Sales Machine – I read this Chet Holmes book in 2009/2010 when my business partner and I were learning how to do business and sell etc. When we combined this book with some suggestions and help from a business coach, the book really impacted my approach to sales and ultimately led to the building of a multi-million dollar company. I don’t pretend to be an expert at judging business books, but this one was very helpful to me.
  • Knowing Scripture – This may be one of the most important little books I’ve read prior to much of my teaching. The principles here kept me from making countless errors and committing numerous textual indiscretions!  If you are going to teach a Sunday School, Bible study or just want to get more from the text of Scripture, then this is your book. I don’t think any lay teacher can afford not to read this book.

Stay tuned for my next installment of Most Influential Books…