2 Books to Challenge and Encourage You


How important are books in your spiritual formation? Do you enjoy reading books that challenge you?

We were watching an episode of the TV reality show “Hoarders” recently that featured a married couple with an unusual “hoard”. They were book hoarders. Only a few years into their marriage the building of a personal “library” took off. Just 7 years into married life, when they made their first move from an apartment into a house, they had accumulated about 5,000 books. At the time of the recording of the Hoarder program, the couple had more than 200,000 books in their home – there was no room to move about, sit at a table, entertain guests, even to sleep together.

I am not bibliophilic, as this couple obviously was, but I do like to read. In fact, I usually have 2 to 4 books going simultaneously. I really can’t see the purpose in owning books if I don’t read them, use them for research, or resell them for profit. I read novels for relaxation, especially detective stories; health-related books that reinforce God’s plan for health; biographies; and books that encourage my spiritual growth. These are my favorite kinds of books.

There are two books which I have recently read for spiritual and personal growth that I would like to recommend to you:

1.  Whatever Happened to Worship? by A. W. Tozer

What an awesome book! This book is a compilation of messages preached by Tozer in a series to his church in Toronto in 1962 . Tozer’s desire was to write a book on worship before he died. Although he did not live to accomplish this, his sermons on worship were edited and put into book form. The book covers such topics as the necessity of the new birth for true worship, what is not true worship, being awed by the presence of God in worship, how feelings fit into worship, entering into worship through observing God’s creation, and the effects of Sunday worship on your life on Monday.

I’d like to share an excerpt from Tozer’s book, page 56:

In Europe many generations ago, the dear old saint of God, Brother Lawrence, was on his deathbed. Rapidly losing his physical strength, he witnessed to those gathered around him: “I am not dying. I am just doing what I have been doing for the past 40 years, and doing what I expect to be doing for all eternity!”

“What is that?” he was asked. He replied quickly, “I am worshipping the God I love!”

Worshipping God – that was primary for Brother Lawrence. He was also dying, but that was secondary. He knew why he had been born into this world – and he knew why he had been born again.

Tozer’s book has been a spirit-stimulator for me for the past couple of weeks.

2.  I Dare You to Change! Discover the Difference Between Dreaming of a Better Life and Living It, written by Bil (yes, the spelling is correct ) Cornelius, pastor of Bay Area Fellowship, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Cornelius’ book gives readers ten steps for achieving success in life through goal-setting. It deals with such things as breaking the cycle of failure, adopting a new attitude, being willing to change directions and plans, learning to face challenges, setting goals, etc.

Using insights from Gideon’s life-story in the Bible, this book is interesting reading. It offers practical application at the end of each chapter through an Action Plan page. On this page, readers are guided through a series of 3 questions relating to the chapter, to help them move ahead on each of the 10-steps. This book would be good to use as the basis for a support group, which could also offer a platform for outreach to un-churched people of almost any age.

Cornelius’ book challenged me as I read it while walking bi-weekly on my treadmill over the past month or so. My daily life is full of details that relate to our church (I’m a pastor’s wife – and as such my husband’s ancillary memory bank, a life-group leader, a worship team member, women’s prayer group facilitator, etc.), to my outside speaking commitments, to my home and marriage responsibilities, and to my writing vocation.

I am attempting to enter into Cornelius’ 10-step plan by completing little jobs that I have procrastinated on finishing for far too long, but which must be done to clear the way for concentrated focus on more important things – like completing at least one of the three books I’ve been writing.

I hope you will find these two recommended books to be helpful to your spiritual walk and encouraging to your personal development. There is also a piece I’ve written on putting-things-off (my personal challenge) which might help you to get moving while you still have time. See my post entitled: That’s the Thing

What are some books that you have read which have challenged and/or changed your life?

©2012, Marcy Alves

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About Marcy

I love my Father-God. Together we are walking through a season of my life where I am standing with him against cancer. He is my strength and trust. As one of his daughters, my passion is to share his love with others in practical, everyday illustrations and insights.

Posted on March 25, 2012, in Christian Growth, Follow Me, My Journey, Reflections, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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