3 books that have profoundly influenced my life

I have to be honest about two things. First, I should state that I was influenced by the authors, not just the books themselves. I have since read many books by many of these men and enjoy the conversation I have with each one. Second, with the exception of John Piper, the authors on this list are dead. God has used them in a mighty way past the years he has given them on this earth. I am thankful that though they are dead, they still speak.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/george_eastman_house/2677422743/

1. Desiring GodJohn Piper

I first read this book while still in school at the University of Mobile and it opened up a world for me to begin to understand God in a way that I had never understood him before.  I was amazed to discover that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”  I don’t think any other single person (short of my parents) has had the level of impact on my thinking.  I was blessed to hear a sermon by Dr. Piper a little later that year entitled “Doing Missions When Dying is Gain.”  (you can listen to the same sermon for free here.) I have never been the same.

2. Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn Bunyan

I read pilgrims progress when I was a child at a small Christian School in Montana.  I have since read and reread it in several different modern English versions.  It was through John Bunyan that I was introduced to the rich application of the scriptures.  I have never read another book that so completely described the Christian journey.  I think this is the book I have shared most often with others. It was once a theme for a Disciple Now and a Christian Heritage Conference Its an easy read, but spiritually challenging.

3. How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleDale Carnegie

I picked up the 1936 edition of this book and read it when I was 16 years old.  A speech teacher had told me about it and I set out to read it.  It profoundly shaped the way I communicate and made me a different person.  Dale Carnegie taught me to take a genuine interest and really care about people.

What about you?  What books or people have greatly influenced your life?

Short Post: Christian Heritage Conference

heritage-conference-2007 So we are on the verge of another great Disciple Now and I started to think about all of the great events that I have had a privilege to be a part of in the past.  God has really blessed me to be a part of some cool things!  Disciple Now’s, Hunger for the Harvest, Camps, Christian Heritage Conference, etc.

Next to Disciple Now the most amazing events I have ever helped put together were the Christian Heritage Conferences.  We would pray over a theme, set up a team of helpers, develop a registrations strategy, line up a top notch speaker, get the word out, set up a bookstore, and all on a shoe string budget.  It was amazing!

Christian Heritage Conference

Though I cannot speak for the reason others were inspired, my inspiration came from a well spring of two sources.

One: The rappid movement in our day to redefine “church.” In the struggle to go back to Acts 2 many have missed the blessings that the church fathers in the first few centuries have handed to us as a guide to understanding and interpreting the scriptures (mainly the Rule of Faith).  In that many have also completely abandoned church history in order to become a “pure” church like the one in the New Testament.  (Which one? Corinth, Ephesus, Pyrgumum, Colasae?)  I figured that if we were to take our people down such a road that they should not do so with complete ignorance of what God has done through out history with faithful men and women so that we might be able to face the new gnosticism that such a forgetfulness will soon employ.  In short: if we do not learn from the past we are doomed to repeat its error and find ourselves facing the same obstacles that have already once been overcome.

Two: John Piper’s lectures in  Christian Biography.  I had to make a 16 hour ride home to Missouri one year while in college and was blessed to be able to listen to over 16 hours straight of the lives and times of great men that God had used to bring glory to his name throughout history. I understood then why history (for good or for ill) contributes to who we are today.

From these two wells of inspiration and a great friend and partner in ministry (Kyle Claunch).  The Christian Heritage Conference was born to popularize an education of Church history for the benefit of the whole church.

Like all things it morphed and changed over the years.  We covered a variety of historical figures and had a variety of Top notch Speakers.  We learned to advertise outside of our local areas and expand our vision beyond college students.   We contacted home-school associations, history and theology departments at local colleges and history clubs at local high schools.    We also contacted pastors in the surrounding associations.  We began to hold registrations so we could pull more people in earlier in the next years event.