Many years ago, while visiting China, I was shocked when I learned that hundreds of church congregations in China are without even one copy of the Bible to share among themselves. They are without any kind of Christian books, and still today in many other parts of the world it is impossible to find a Christian bookstore.
When I first came to North America in the 1970s, I was amazed at the thousands of books on every conceivable subject that believers in the US have available to them. One might logically conclude that because there are so many Christian books, most of the people of North America are very spiritual and radical in their commitment to Christ!
Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, even though so many Christian books are available, many of God’s people are truly illiterate when it comes to reading books that could really make a difference in their lives.
The Books We Actually Need Are Unpopular
When you visit the average Christian book store, you’ll find that there are more books on self-help and how to make one feel good, or how to improve one’s situation, than on the radical call of Christ to lay down one’s life and live unselfishly to give others the chance to know the mercy of God.
Many publishing houses will not publish a book with the name “mission” on it, simply because it wouldn’t be a money-maker. There are hundreds of books that are priceless, yet are out of print because the topics are contrary to our self-centered, self-pleasing watered-down Christianity.
In other words, we are looking for anything that makes us feel good.
Early in my Christian life, one of the best things that happened to me was that George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization where I was serving, asked us young people to carry with us the book True Discipleship by William McDonald. We were asked to read it several times a year. Then I was introduced to the many books by A.W. Tozer. Then came the books by Watchman Nee. And, of course, how can one forget Calvary Road by Roy Hession. I’m sad to say that many of these same books are not even available in the most popular bookstores. They have to be special ordered.
Read Books That Help You Live Like Christ
Read the Gospels and see how Jesus called His disciples. He said if any man wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and let him take up his cross and follow Me (see Luke 9:23). If you will not love me more than father, mother, sons and daughters, even your own life, you cannot be my disciple (see Luke 14:26). Of course, Jesus promised a hundredfold more blessings than anything we can ever forsake (see Mathew 19:29). But, He said these blessings would also come with much persecution (see Mark 10:30).
There is a price to pay if we are serious about seeing the multiplied millions of people in this world come to know the love that the Lord Jesus Christ has for them. We are truly in serious spiritual warfare.
Satan is not only serious about what he is doing, but also serious about drugging us with this lukewarm Christianity and plunging us in a fog that blinds us to reality.
I encourage you to get some of these books I mentioned. Read them and meditate on them. Then read the Gospels and let the Lord speak to you in a fresh and new way.
Next, pray. There is no greater test of one’s grasp on reality than seeing how that person is committed to prayer.
View News Headlines As Prayer Requests
How can wehear about dozens dying in the Middle East or other places from terrorist bombings, or about school shootings in the US, or about thousands being displaced or even dying in natural disasters in South Asia, and then take it so casually?
If Christ were to witness these events, how would He react?
I believe His heart would be breaking, and food, sleep, hobbies, and anything else that might be considered important would become secondary. Would Jesus not fall down weeping and praying? Is this not what we ought to be doing? I believe the daily events happening in the world should become prayer requests we can use to intercede for this generation.
As you think about getting some of these excellent books I mentioned, I would also recommend Operation World. It is a must, because it gives the reader information on how to pray for each country of the world.
So may the Lord help us that the things we read and the way we pray would help our hearts to become more like our Lord’s, that we would carry His burden and our lives would become the means for many to experience His grace.
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia has been serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.
Read more posts on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan, or on his blog at kpyohannan.org.
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Very good insight. Thank you Brother K.P. I think it’s quality not quantity of the books we read. Also, books don’t need to be “popular” to be helpful. Thank you for your recommendations.
Amen…thank you for your bold witness….just finished your book Revolution in World Missions. Confirmed in my heart what I am hearing…thank you!
Sometimes I wonder if we read books and pull only out what we want to hear. We can do that with the Bible as well. I have also been encouraged by Francis Chan and Kyle Idleman – they’ve encouraged me while reading to take moment to read the Bible or to reflect on something like the sin in my life. Reading to take it in deeper rather than surface.