While we were on our most recent trip, I actually had time to read some books, a rare occurrence when we are Stateside and life is nonstop. Just thought I'd share a few of the good ones...
Author: Mark Andrew Richie
For those of us who have been raised in "modern" civilization, it's difficult for us to wrap our minds around the truth found in Ephesians 6.12 where Paul writes, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." But in parts of the world where the name of Jesus has never been mentioned and satan rules and reigns as the "prince of the power of the air", there are a lot of spiritual things that go on that are very difficult for us to believe or understand.
We have God in a pretty box and say things like, "God doesn't work that way. We have the full Scriptures now so He doesn't do that anymore..."
Surpise! He's God and He can do whatever He wants!
What I liked most about this book is that it is told from a Shaman (or Witchdoctor) and opens your eyes to the reality of the spiritual battles that go on, especially in these uncontacted tribes.
If you're interested in getting a better understanding of the spiritual warfare that goes on in the Jungle, read this book.
(Disclaimer: We do NOT recommend this book for young readers. It is very graphic and detailed in ways that are not appropriate for some. Use discretion and feel free to ask us if you have questions in regards who should not read it.)
Author: Bruce Olson
Have you ever thought to yourself, "I have no idea how to do what God is calling me to do!" or "I am not educated or equipped to do that!" Well, Bruce Olson was no doubt less "qualified" and less "educated" than anyone reading this right now but God used him in ways that I literally still have trouble believing until I realize, "Oh yeah... we do serve the God of the impossible!"
If you want to hear an incredible story of how God used a nobody to accomplish something amazing, read this book.
I read it in a day. It's that good.
Authors: Frank Viola and George Barna
As you were putting on your suit and tie or struggling to fit in that dress after the holidays as you headed out to church this past Sunday morning, did it cross your mind, "Why in the world do we have to get dressed up for church?" Or maybe you've wondered why we make people "bow their heads and close their eyes" or why we have a "sinners prayer" that can't seem to be located in the Scriptures. Why do we build massive buildings? Why do we tithe? Why is there always a certain structure to the service and why is it always the same? Why do we sit on pews and fill out decision cards and spend money on massive steeples and..... lots of questions!
I had/have a lot of questions about why we Christians do the "Christian" things that we do, especially since I can't seem to find almost any of them in the Bible. If you find yourself in that same position, here's a great book for you to read. Admittedly I haven't finished it yet, but the bulk of what I have read has been very eye-opening and backed up by facts and history.
A little warning: Unless you're ready/willing to have the practices and traditions that you've likely known all your life questioned, don't read this book. It will no doubt step on a toe or two, but as Richard would say, "Sometimes you have to step on toes so people will get out of the way!"
Title: The Shack
Author: William P. Young
When I first started reading this book, I thought it was just another fiction book about a Christian family that goes through a hard time and then turns to God and viola! a happy family surfaces.
For me, it helped me understand a little better the unconditional love and forgiveness of God and His desire to know us intimately.
Just a little disclaimer, there is a controversy over this book. I personally found it refreshing, but I didn't look to it for doctrinal reference. I wouldn't recommend it to an unsaved person for a clearer understanding of salvation as it doesn't present that plainly. Obviously you should go to the Scriptures for that. I took it at face value and for me it was encouraging.
I do like what Mark Strauss said about it, "Employ spiritual discernment, as with anything in life."
(The above suggestions do not imply that we agree with everything that is written in all of these books. Obviously we are told to search the Scriptures for what is true and right. These are just some books that we have enjoyed and that have challenged us to dig deeper in the Word. Please use spiritual discernment and go to the Scriptures for any questions or doubts.)