Guys, I have read some amazing books lately. Books that are so good I thought I should share them with you. I am no scholar, but here is a review of three of my favourites:
1. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. When I read this book, it changed my life. I started telling people all about it and everyone I knew had read it. I had never heard of this book until my friend lent it to me. I brought it to Zambia with me on my second summer here, and started reading it shortly after I was asked to go to Kenya for a year. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down! It’s the true story of a Pastor from Pennsylvania who had heard about the ever growing problem of gangs inhabiting the streets of New York City. He left his home, and spent time in New York ministering to the young kids in these gangs by simply telling them about Jesus’ love for them. Many of them came to know Christ and through his work with gang members, David Wilkerson started Teen Challenge.
While reading this book, God was doing a work in my own heart. Reading about the life of David Wilkerson challenged me to do more for God. This guy spent so much time seeking the Lord and giving of himself to make sure those kids knew how much Jesus loved them. I knew that once I had finished that book there was no question I would commit to serving the Lord in Africa for the next year (now two!).
2. Run Baby Run by Nicky Cruz. This book is unreal! Nicky Cruz is one of the former gang members highlighted in The Cross and the Switchblade. He was the leader of New York’s biggest gang, The Mau Mau’s, and spent his days drinking, doing drugs, and killing people. This story is brutally honest and hard to read at times, but it’s real. It’s the real details about Cruz’ daily life on the street. This story is also a story of redemption and grace. How God can transform a life so dirty, hopeless and evil and make all things new. He talks about his encounter with David Wilkerson – how he knew that something was happening in his heart when Wilkerson would tell him over and over again that God loved him. In the foreword of the book, Edward D. O’Connor wrote:
“It is natural to suspect the genuineness of changes that are so radical and abrupt. But there is no theological reason to discount them. God’s grace can take hold of a man in an instant and transform a sinner into a saint. Human effort cannot produce such changes, either in oneself or in others, because nature needs time to develop gradually; but God can do in an instant what takes man years and years.”
After reading that, I was hooked. If you want to read a story about how God can radically change a life, and use that person’s filthy past for His glory, this is the book for you!
3. Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot. Ok, first off…Elisabeth Elliot is the best. This is a book that I use as a devotional because each chapter is short and to the point. The point being that in a busy and crazy world, filled with good times and awful times, it’s only through Jesus that we can keep a quiet, peaceful and calm heart. I love Elisabeth Elliot because she is so direct and doesn’t sugar coat anything. Some of my favourite lines in this book that I refer to over and over again, underline and highlight are:
“Jesus slept on a pillow in the midst of a raging storm. How could He? He could because He slept in the calm assurance that His Father was in control. His was a quiet heart.”
“We’re not naturally inclined to love God and seek His Kingdom. Trouble may help to incline us – that is, it may tip us over, put some pressure on us, lean us in the right direction.”
“But is it our business to pry into what may happen tomorrow? It is a difficult and painful exercise which saps the strength and uses up the time given us today. Our lives are His, our times in His hand, He is Lord over what will happen, never mind what may happen. Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business.”
Now with that said, what are some of your favourites?