When I gave my life to the Lord 10 years ago, I began to consume the Word of God. I set a goal to read the whole Bible in one year, but I could not put it down. I was finished in three weeks! To this day I make it a practice to spend time in the Word on a daily basis.
Reading the Bible is a fundamental part of growing in our relationship with God, and there is no substitute for this spiritual discipline. But I have found that reading Christian books has been a huge help in my spiritual journey as well. I am constantly reading books that help me to grow in my walk with God and ministry. One of the reasons I decided to write and publish books of my own is because I have been so impacted by reading.
Though I could name many, I want to highlight three books that have changed my life. These are not necessarily the best books I have ever read (though they rank among the best), but the most life-changing. Because of the timing of reading them, the content they presented, and the effect on my outlook, these books have changed my life and impacted my ministry probably more than any others:
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala had a dramatic impact on my life when I first read it several years ago. This book is about the journey of Pastor Cymbala and the church he pastors, The Brooklyn Tabernacle. It highlights the power of prayer, and is a call to the body of Christ to put prayer back in its prominent place.
It is a wake up call to the Western church to stop building the church with formulas, programs, and worldly methods, and get back to calling on the name of the Lord and depending on the power of the Holy Spirit.
The late Derek Prince is one of my favorite Bible teachers and authors. I read his book They Shall Expel Demons when I was in college and it was a big eye-opener. God seemed to be preparing me for this book by giving me dreams in which I found myself casting demons out of people. But I had no idea what these dreams meant, and had never had teaching on deliverance ministry before.
This book laid a foundation for the ministry of deliverance; that is, casting out demons in order to free people from the oppression and torment of the devil. It opened my eyes up to the reality that deliverance ministry is much more needed than I previously thought, and that Christians often need deliverance from evil spirits.
Sometimes you read a book and you find yourself highlighting more of the page than you are leaving blank. This was the case with When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson. This book awakened me to the message of the kingdom of God, and how His kingdom is moving in the earth. It is filled with powerful stories of the kingdom advancing, and many testimonies of miraculous healing.
This book gave me a fresh hunger to see the reality of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:10: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It gave me a desire to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in my life in a greater dimension and a see a greater measure of healings occur in my ministry.