Spiritual Development

Written on October 19, 2009 – 5:42 pm | by dave |

I have been blessed with many opportunities to expand my knowledge and deepen my faith. It is my prayer and wish that I will be able to have many more in my lifetime. This list is radioactive and changes frequently so always check back to see new things!

Simply Jesus
N.T. Wright
A very deep and multi-faceted book about the ‘real’ Jesus as derived from historical, scriptural and analytical mechanisms. This book takes a fresh look at who Jesus was, Why that Matters and how it is important to think on it now. This is not for the feint of heart but will provide some deeper understanding of the man we revere for our salvation without separating him from the historical figure he was.
The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story
Greg Garrett
One of my favorite Christian fiction books to date. This was written by a man who loved Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel and truly credits it with changing his life forever. He wrote a fictionalized tales of a Seattle Megachurch Pastor who falls from grace after an affair and loses everything he thought he had. Then, piece by piece, God rebuilds his life into something he would have never imagined. All of this was done with Brennan serving as an editor and story correspondent before he passed away.
The Case for Christ
Lee Strobel
Another seminal work in Christianity in the Post Modern world. This book (later made into a feature length film) shows how a doubting journalist used his own contacts and literary skill to try and debunk Christianity, only to find that it made him believe it completely and caused him to accept Christ as an older adult.
The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He doesn’t exist
Craig Groeschel
Yet another short but informative book from the founder and lead pastor of LifeChurch that addresses our tendency to live life as though we have never been changed by grace and a strong reminder about why God won’t accept this.
All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir
Brennan Manning and John Blase
Perhaps not a standard spiritual growth book, but this is the fitting memoir to one of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning, and his amazing life. It lets me feel close to a man who went to grace forever in 2014. It shows the painful road that led Brennan to change his perspective on God and the “scandal of grace”.
Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity and the things we’ve made up
Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle
In this short but very potent work, the authors decided to bravely delve into what the Bible actually says about Hell versus what history and people have added to the story. This book will absolutely make you uncomfortable but you need to be uncomfortable. On a positive note, the book reminds us of why we should care about Jesus helping us avoid the worst place of all.
Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter the Most
Craig Groeschel
One of the most informative and helpful books available about spiritual warfare in contemporary America. This is actually the combined material from a sermon series by the founder and lead pastor of LifeChurch gave to his church about key spiritual battles.
Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry
Perry Noble
A great book about one of my worst issues/fears… worry. The author talks about how God’s personality as the “Prince of Peace” can reduce those fears that riddle us daily. It takes a unique approach on facing your fears with spiritual tools.
Souvenirs of Solitude
Brennan Manning
A powerful book by the amazing author, Brennan Manning, that covers the journals he wrote during a time he spent literally in a cave (and later a cabin) by himself, to seek God’s plan for his life. He credits it as one of the key turning points in his spiritual walk and reminds us of many questions we ask God about our lives.
Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World
Craig Groschel
Yet another great book by the lead pastor and founder of LifeChurch that focuses on some personal and spiritual ways we can augment behaviors to live a life that is cleaner and better than the world around us so that we can shine the way God needs us to.
Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart
Kyle Idleman
A fantastic book about the modern idols that prevent us from fully participating in God’s plan. Not only is this a great book for helping us see the idols we have built but also a great book about spiritual warfare.
Not A Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Kyle Idleman
A very interesting take on how it’s easy for us to believe that we are doing the right thing as a Christian but how our lukewarm tendencies can negatively impact our ability to fully serve. It reminds us of how to trust God even when times are rough.
Furious Longing for God
Brennan Manning
A short but powerful cry from one of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning, that are drawn from his times of solitude as he was recovering from alcohol abuse and trying to understand why he felt so disconnected from God and how he connected back to the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.
WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working
Craig Groschel
Another great work by the founder and lead pastor of LifeChurch that defines some biblical approaches to making your life different in comparison to those who are not believers and how this impacts our daily walk.
Keys to a Deeper LIfe
A.W. Tozer
A life-changing but short work that from legendary pastor and speaker A.W. Tozer that provides the biblical key disciplines we should seek to include in our lives to maintain the life that God wants for us to have.
Unleash! (Breaking Free from Normalcy)
Perry Noble
A great look at how the error of normalcy can often negatively impact our spirits as Christians and as leaders in the church. It reminds us that when we get too comfortable, life can take you to a place God doesn’t want you to be.
The Screwtape Letters
C.S. Lewis
A slightly off-center but altogether sobering analysis from C.S. Lewis (of the famous Narnia series and Mere Christianity) as he analyzes the way that dark powers can take over well-meaning Christians as a missive of letters exchanged between a demon and his protege battling with God for our human souls.
Abba’s Child
Brennan Manning
A seminal work by one of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning, of the Ragamuffin Gospel Fame. This book was about Brennan’s discovery of seeing the Heavenly Father caring about us in a very real and present way.
Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit
Francis Chan
An eye-opening book about how modern Christianity sometimes focuses more on the old things Jesus did rather than the new things that the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives everyday.
Altar Ego
Craig Groschel
A terrific work by the founder of Lifechurch that talks a great deal about how our own choices and spiritual walk can impact who we are and are forcing ourselves into a Sunday-only Christian.
The Ragamuffin Gospel
Brennan Manning
The timeless classic by one of my favorite spiritual writers, Brennan Manning. In this work, Manning addresses the fact that being a Christian isn’t just for people who are ‘shiny and happy’ but it’s for people who feel the weight of the world bearing down on them and need to be reminded that God wants us to “Come as You Are.”
Mere Christianity
C.S. Lewis
The classic book by born-again Christian author of the Chronicles of Narnia fame. This book takes a broad, refined view of the core of what all Christians believe without mashing along denominational lines. It really is a great way for a thinking man to come to terms with the reality of Christianity.
Acts 1:11 Conference
Jerry Vines Ministries
Two day conference in Atlanta, GA focusing on the pre-millennium, pre-Tribulation view of the Last Things. I studied with Dr. Jerry Vines, Dr. Ergun Caner, Dr. Daniel Akin, Dr. Paige Patterson, and many other talented and godly men and now can Biblically support this view.
The Truth Project
Dr. Del Tackett, Focus on the Family
12-part DVD series created by Del Tackett of Focus on the Family that teaches the Christian world view in a scientific and factual manner. I am in the process of becoming a certified trainer for this program.
Radically Unchurched
Dr. Alvin L. Reid, SEBTS
A deep and edgy look into the world of the radically un-churched, written by Dr. Alvin L. Reid of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary that sheds light on a growing number of Americans who are so far removed from church that reaching them with the Gospel is virtually impossible by normal means. Dr. Reid provides a broad description of these people and then guides us on how to reach out in a real way to draw them to Christ.
Concentric Circles of Concern
W. Oscar Thompson, Jr.
Discipleship training course derived from Oscar Thompson Jr.’s book that teaches the concepts of a Christ-centric mentality and offers a 7-step program for developing disciples and multiplying them to permeate the ministry.
Missional Small Groups
Ed Setzer
One day seminar over the importance of small groups in churches to grow the church. Topics included discipleship, missional mindset and small group growth planning.
Sharing Jesus without Fear
Bill Fay
Famous ‘simple evangelism’ method as taught by William “Bill” Fay focusing on using simple questions to reach others and bring them to Christ without opposition. This seminar focuses on using 5 simple questions to fearlessly share the Gospel with anyone.
Parenting with Love and Logic
Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay
Essential resource guide to using the world famous ‘Love and Logic’ methods for parenting children of all ages. Focuses on teaching responsibility in children using logical consequences and significant learning opportunities (SLO’s).
The 21 Irrefutible Laws of Leadership
John C. Maxwell
World-renowned leadership teacher, John Maxwell, teaches 21 laws to raise effective leaders to grow and empower organizations by focusing on personal growth and using it to grow those around you in church or corporate environments.