I’m a reader.

And I’m not nearly the reader I used to be. When I was in my early 20’s and going through one of the biggest times of personal and spiritual development, I found myself coming back time after time towards the same handful of books. I don’t know how many times I read each of them, but as I grow older I realize how each of them played a serious role in who I am in my late 30’s, In many ways, these books are responsible for me. They formed me, forced me to grow and expand, and taught me so much. In many ways, they made me who I am now. They helped me understand my own scripture and prayer life and helped me learn what it looked like to live as a Christian in the world.

5 Books (That Are Responsible For Me)

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
There was a time in which I pretty much duct taped my first copy of “Pursuit” to my Bible. It was making the rounds at my college at the first part of an intentional discipleship relationship with a campus pastor and the word got out. Many of the folks I was around back then could trace their own path of following Jesus off this book. I recommend it constantly. I’ve ended up keeping around 5 copies around my office to give to people. In fact, I’ll give any of my copies away with the exception of that first copy. It’s downright sacred.

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
This is the first of Richard Foster books on my list. We used it in college ministry and I had a fantastic co-leader that outlined the entire book for everyone. I thought the outline was so awesome I went out and bought a copy of the whole book. Celebration taught me about a HUGE amount of Christian  Practices outside of my own personal experience.

Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster
After I read Celebration of Discipline, I started hunting down every Richard Foster book I could find. It was a little tough in the pre-Amazon era, but my part-time job at bookstore helped. If I have to think about one of the biggest pivotal shifts in my life, it was discovering and interacting with the larger, historic Christian faith. And I read about it for the first time in Streams of Living Water.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Richard Foster started me down a trail of reading and working through other Christian traditions. The Practice of the Presence of God is a 17th-century Catholic monk. I read and reread it for an entire summer. It helped me learn to not be so forceful in my own devotion and how rest factors into our own life with God.

Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas
Resident Aliens was a pretty big personal shift for me. It made me fall back in love with the church and dream of the possibilities it as. Before this point, my spiritual development had primarily been personal, and in some ways had decently given up on any sort of gathered expression of faith.

All of these books have been important for me. If you are wanting to dive deeper into your own relationship with Jesus, or just learn new things, you won’t go wrong with any of them.