Jared Bolstridge is not a blogger, nor does he play one on TV, but he is the Youth Pastor at our church. Jared wanted to help out during my break by submitting the following thoughts. As you may gather, Jared is an avid reader and loves Jesus. And to think, this young scholar is not as old as some of the clothes in my closet! – Anthony Baker
The Bible is a book that has changed my life. It remains at the center of it and guides my everyday life. I love the Scriptures, and tell anyone who will listen that the answers to life and godliness are clearly given within.
Besides the Bible, however, there are other books that have had a deep impact on my Spiritual walk. While commentaries, theology texts, books on the Christian walk, dating books and other Christian books have been well worth the time, another category continually rises above these.
Is this wrong? Should we reject these and say only Scripture should be read?
Never! For the truth is that in the lives of these faithful believers we see the Scriptures lived out again and again. We see God work in ways never expected and superhuman perseverance by the power of the Holy Spirit. In them we see the gospel played out!
I cannot emphasize enough the role these stories play in the lives of a 21st century believer! If you have never read them before, read them and watch your world transform. If the names I have mentioned are as familiar as old friends, read them again, I certainly do. If you are a parent, pay careful attention, at all cost get these stories into the hands of your children and teenagers. Watch as their lives are transformed and rejoice as you see them dream big dreams for God!
The books that have had the most influence have been the stories of Jesus-followers who have come before me. Simple stories. Missionary stories, stories about the persecuted, stories of the great preachers of days gone by and stories about sinners being dramatically saved by the grace of God. These stories have changed my life.
What is it about a story? While one can never go wrong reading Tozer, Lewis, Swindoll or Bridges, the truths found in these fine theologians have never stuck with me the way stories have. I learned more about forgiveness from Corrie Ten Boom’s experiences than I ever did reading a book entitled “10 Truths About Forgiveness.”
I learned courage from the likes of Gladys Alyward and Richard Wurmbrand. I learned sacrifice from Hudson Taylor and Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, perseverance from William Carey, stubborn conviction from D.L. Moody and compassion from Amy Carmichael. These were my teachers and mentors among so many others. It was their stories that have inspired me and continue to do so today.
The gospel has been played out millions of times in the lives of those before us, it never gets old, worn or tired. It is new every time. Read, be inspired, go and do likewise!
A list of suggested works:
- Tortured for Christ- Richard Wurmbrand (Free at http://torturedforchrist.com/)
- God’s Smuggler- Brother Andrew
- The Hiding Place- Corrie Ten Boom
- Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman- Autobiography
- A Chance to Die- by Elizabeth Elliot about Amy Carmichael
- Jesus Freaks v1 and v2- A modern Foxes Book of Martyrs, great for teenagers
- Christian Heroes Then and Now Series- Great starting point for kids.
and so many more…