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Biggest Faith Influencers in my 20's & 30's

These are some picks of books (besides the Bible) and other resources that have shaped and influenced me over the last nearly 20 years I have been following Jesus at different life stages from college, working single professional, married and now parent of two.


Some of these influenced me long ago, some more recently ... may we always be able to be influenced.



College:


The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan

  • This is probably my all time favorite book. As one of the most widely read books in the English language it is one of the great Christian classics (written in the 17th century) and a marvel to read. I find myself returning to this book at every stage of life and faith. If you have not read this book yet, put this at the very top of your list.


How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth - Fee & Stuart

  • I was exposed to the classic Fee & Stuart book earlier on in my Christian walk, and I am so grateful. A bit of an academic work for most, it is well worth the struggle of looking up unfamiliar words such as hermeneutics and exegesis. Their literary hermeneutical approach to the Scriptures is an invaluable one that I think is a must read for anyone who has been a Christian for more than a few years.

  • For more on the subject see my video course: How to Read the Bible


Wild at Heart - John Eldredge

  • I read this when I was a new Christian and it formed the way I view God as a Father, especially in relation to my earthly father (and step-father) and helped me to deal with what Eldredge calls the "father wound".



Single:


Sex and the Supremacy of Christ - John Piper, Justin Taylor

  • An excellent survey of various topics concerning sexuality and Christianity, both pertaining to the single and married person. Also includes a helpful reformed history of Martin Luther and the Puritans influence on our modern understanding of sexuality and marriage in Christ.


Divine Sex - Jonathan Grant

  • One of the best books I read on this subject matter. A timely and needed book for those who struggle with sexuality in their Christian walk, as well as those who try to shepherd and minister to those that do. With amazing clarity, cultural statistical analysis and the lens of Scripture to guide through this at time difficult topic to talk about, Grant hits a home run of conviction and compassion in order to reorient the readers sexuality to God.


Decision Making and the Will of God - Gary Friesen

  • One of my teachers and mentors exposed me to this book earlier in my life of singleness walk as I was facing all kinds of huge life altering decisions like college, career, ministry, and who to marry. I am so grateful this book had the chance to influence me early. This too is likely to be a paradigm shifting book about how you understand God's will and therefore how you make practical decisions in your life; everything from who to marry, where to move and what job to take, and even what clothes God might want you to wear tomorrow.


Net Nanny

  • In an unrivaled age of prolific access to lewdness and pornography, the center of the Christian battle field for so many (including myself) has been on the internet. Net Nanny was a digital comrade for me for many years in my war for sexual purity. While something I didn't use, I know Covenant Eyes to have been effective for many in this regard as well. Another honorable mention in this arena, though not Christian (and therefore perhaps even more powerful), is the secular site Fight the New Drug.

  • For more see #pornography


Blue Letter Bible

  • A free bible study website that I have been using for years with lots of resources that allows beginners to access the original languages (Hebrew and Greek) of Scripture. An invaluable asset for serious bible students.



Marriage:


Love and Respect - Emerson & Sarah Eggerichs

  • My wife and I got to go through this along with the DVD series early in our marriage that has proven to be quite influential and has even shaped how we argue for the better. With great insight in to communication tactics for men and women I found this to be really helpful.


You and Me Forever - Francis & Lisa Chan

  • This is an excellent book for marrieds (especially young marrieds) that helps in having a Godly and eternal focus that brings meaning and satisfaction to the marriage beyond just sitting on the couch watching Netflix every night. The accompanying workbook is a great resource for married groups to go through together.


Parenting


The Tech Wise Family - Andy Crouch

  • An excellent, short and straight forward convicting book about the the proper place of technology in the life of Christians and their families. I would recommend this book to everyone who owns a cell phone!


Good Enough Parenting - John Louis

  • Written for parents to learn how meet what Louis calls "core emotional needs" of the children, this has been a great help to learn how to not exasperate my kids and look for ways to provide them with a safe and healthy emotional environment.




Honorable Mentions:

  • C.S. Lewis - anything he has written. Perhaps the most influential Christian theologian, author, and thinker of the 20th century, not being influenced by Lewis would be a mistake.

  • Graeme Goldsworthy - has written some incredible works in particular on the nature of the gospel as the center of preaching and a hermeneutic for reading the entire Scripture.

  • Surprised by Hope - I wasn't introduced to N.T. Wright until a bit later in my faith, albeit regretfully. Regarded as one of the premier theologians of our generation, one of his more recent books Surprised by Hope is highly accessible and easily understandable and will be a complete paradigm shift for most about heaven, afterlife and the resurrection. If you are someone that wants to "go to heaven", this is a must read.

  • Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard is also a modern theological heavy weight with Divine Conspiracy considered by many to be his most popular and influential work. This book on the beatitudes and the kingdom nature of all that Jesus did and taught is highly valuable work.

  • Can Science Explain Everything - John Lennox, perhaps one of the most poignant and accessible apologetics works I have ever read. In an easy to read 100 pages Lennox's new book released this year (2019) can quickly equip the lay Christian with a framework to understand the modern attack on an ancient faith. (For my full #bookreview see here)

  • YouVersion - You wouldn't think that a free bible app downloaded by nearly 400 million unique devices would be new to me ... but it is. I tried out YouVersion a gazillion years ago and I didn't like it at the time because you had to have a single to use it! But now with the ubiquitous nature of wifi, this thing rocks! You can even do reading plans with groups and comment with each other as you go through it! (not to mention they have recently partnered with The Bible Project).

  • The Bible Project - Dr. Tim Mackie of The Bible Project has had incredible influence on me over the last few years. For everyone who knows me, knows that I am a total unabashed, bonafide, card carrying Bible Project groupie. I simply love everything they do and believe it adds incredible value for learning the Bible, in particular as it pertains to the Bible being a unified story that leads to Jesus.





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