As you look back over your Christian walk, what books, podcasts, or speakers most changed you? Which would you recommend to others?
When I come across someone that personifies a trait I want to emulate, I want to know their story. How did they get to where they are? How can I copy what they did so I get to where they are, at least in that area?
Occasionally, people ask the same of me. So, let’s talk about the five books that significantly changed me and the six podcasts or speakers I still listen to and learn from today.
The Books that Changed Me
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot, American academic, Harvard President 1869-1909
These are the top five books that most affected who I am and how I view the world around me. They are listed roughly in the order that I would recommend them.
Heart of the Problem: How to Stop Coping and Find the Cure for Your Struggle by Kerry L. Skinner
This is an older book, and I can’t even tell you how it first entered my life. But, it was so impactful that a couple of years after making it through the workbook, I picked up the hardback edition and read it again. The basic premise is simple: Our heart and the sin we hide within causes us far more trouble than most of us acknowledge. If you deal with that, you are well on your way to resolving much of the turmoil in your life.
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Internal issues aside, healthy relationships start by understanding the difference between what you are and are not responsible for. This book not only helped me understand where I was causing my own problems, but it gave me the gracious words to lovingly say no to others for the right reasons!
Yes, this book is primarily written toward spouses, but you can apply the principles broadly to any relationship (or buy the other books focused on other relationships). This helped me to see where I was being unfair to others, thinking they didn’t show me love when they clearly (after reading this) were. It drastically changed my relationships with my husband and children, as well as several close friendships.
Driven by Eternity: Making Your Life Count Today and Forever by John Bevere
One of the easiest ways for me to make significant, long-term changes to my life is to think of the reasons why they are important. This book not only helped me to focus where God wants me to, but it gave me a powerful allegory to help keep my attention there.
For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn
Are men really that different from women? As much as our society would like to put all the attention on how we’re alike, the truth is God made us different. This book helped me to understand my husband and sons, and started some interesting conversations. One Valentine’s Day, I purchased the companion book For Men Only for my husband, reading through it and making notes where the authors best described me (or where it didn’t really apply).
The Podcasts and Speakers I Listen to Regularly
Below I listed three podcasts as well as three pastors who release their sermons as podcasts. If you aren’t into listening in this manner, all of them are authors with a variety of excellent books!
Renewing Your Mind with R.C. Sproul by Ligonier Ministries
RC Sproul passed away in December of 2017, but he was a top-notch theologian. I love his ability to take Scripture and add in the history and culture to make it come alive. I continue to learn from him every week, and he is one of the people I look forward to meeting in heaven.
Joyce Meyer Radio Podcast by Joyce Meyer
I love this podcast! It’s short and quick, usually about fifteen minutes long, and Joyce always brings a lot of humor with her truth-filled talks. She encourages me while making me laugh.
The Dave Ramsey Show by Ramsey Network
I am a Ramsey-girl, as in I believe in Dave’s financial/wealth building steps with my whole being. My husband and I started working through his program a few years ago and now events like a failing air conditioning system (earlier this spring) are just small bumps in the road. I continue to listen to about five podcasts per week just to maintain our focus. Plus, I enjoy Dave’s redneck snarkiness.
An hour never seems so short as it does when I’m listening to Pastor Mark Driscoll. Yes, his sermons are routinely an hour long. And yes, it is one of my favorite hours of the week.
Pastor David Platt clearly loves people. He bravely tackles tough topics, steadfastly following the Bible and Jesus regardless of what the culture surrounding him in Washington DC says.
While I’ve never met Pastor Groeschel, I would say from listening to him that he feels things deeply. His compassion for people oozes from him as he speaks, and his loving heart is as clear as his love for God.
I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher and poet
Best as I can identify them, those are the top eleven books and podcasts that worked on my heart and mind and continue to teach me today.
But now I’m curious. What would make your list? Join me on my Facebook Author Page to share your answer.
If you’d like to print out this list so you can share it with friends or take it with you to the bookstore, click here.