Below you will find a very short list of books that have rocked me. I have deliberatly distilled them down to these because I I want you to know how important they are. These are Heb 11 type people. True champions. The world was not worthy of them. In the absence of living role models, follow their examples. They paid deep costs for their faith, and through many fires they came forth as gold.
George Muller of Bristol- By A. T. Pierson George Muller ventured out on God’s promises and demonstrated the miraculous power of God’s provision by the power of prayer every day. He took care of 3000 Orphans at a time feeding, clothing and educating them. Not once did God fail, not once did they go hungry, Not once did George ever appeal to anyone but God himself for those tremendous knees. God used this book to destroy my support-raising stategies and find that God more than sufficient for every need. He is sufficient for you too.
The Heavenly Man-by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway. Picking up this book was like picking up the book of Acts. You may think that’s exaggeration. Believe me, it is not. Yun is a Chinese pastor from the underground church. Here he recounts his testimony of the works of God through hardship, jail, miracles of deliverance, and mobilizing a radical missions movement within China. He was one of China’s most wanted. After a miraculously escape from a maximum security prison in China he now resides in Germany.
There are only two ways you can read a book like this:
A. Compartmentalize the awesome works of God for some other people in a far off land, or..
B. Ask the stark and scary question of yourself: “What the heck is wrong with me?!! Are these believers “special” or is it that they are completely normal christians and I have settled for “a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.” Am I vastly bankrupt in the Spirit? Good questions. Don’t shy away from them. Don’t be too proud to face them.
You’ll either despise this book or love it. You’ll either decry its claims or humbly admit..that when Jesus said “you will do even greater things than these”(Jn 14)…He actually meant it. This book deserves to be read slowly and thoughtfully. It “wrecked” me. It fundamentally shifted my understanding about what normal christians are to look like and how abnormal I was(even as a full time missionary!).
Rees Howells Intercessor- by Norman Grubb
Undoubtedly one of the greatest biographies of this century. If God could use a poor welsh coal miner to impact the world, why not me? As Leonard Ravenhill once said, “We’re still paddling along the edges of the ocean of the possibilities of God’s grace.” Rees Howells was one who took his Bible, believed it, did what it said and as a result put us all to shame! This biography of a little known giant of faith impacted me deeply. Rees Howells was touched by the Welsh revival and was used to ignited revival flames wherever he went including as a missionary in Africa. Without a doubt I have never heard of a man outside the bible who’s exploits in intercession and prayer literally turned world events even in WWII. In his early ministry he would work 8-9 hours mining coal in horrid conditions every day. Then, he would leave work and go directly to homeless missions and the destitute. He had no claim on this world. The world was not worthy of him. Many of the things he did and the relationship he had with God were more akin to Moses when he would speak with “God face to face as with a friend.” When God spoke a word to him he believed it. Even if the very opposite happened he would not release God from his word. His entire reputation would be called into question and criticized, but God was pleased with this servant of his and always vindicated the faith of this man of God. If you don’t feel like an abnormal christian after this one…your either a Rees Howells yourself or your stone cold. This is, in my opinion, is one of the greatest biographies of this century. It is the one book that I gift most to hungering thirsting souls.
Sadhou Sundar Singh Un Temoin de Christ- by Alice Van Berchem
The story of this remarkable follower of Christ seems to have become a forgotten one. I came upon this old biography in a guest house library in Benin, West Africa. A missionary colleague of mine recommended it to me. Sundar Singh grew up as a devout Sikh in northern India before a miraculous conversion only minutes before he determined to commit suicide if he could not know the truth about God. His life following this was marked with great suffering and astounding miracles. He was a very unassuming and humble man. Many remarked how Christ-like he seemed. Outside the book of Acts in the Bible I have read of very few accounts so closely resembling the same anointing and power of the Holy Spirit upon a man. I would describe him as a new testament Enoch . He walked with God. His death was never confirmed, his body never found. It is assumed he died in the Himalayas on his final solo trek across the mountains into Tibet. Although I read a french version of his biography, there are several good english works on his life. Some of the biographies of Sundar(like this one) are now out of print. You can find a well rounded online database on his writing and biographies in pdf format here. It is a french site but there is an excellent english section with downloadable books under “Livres en Anglais.”