In the spirit of the Heroes of Faith theme from our winter retreats at Gracepoint Berkeley church, as well throughout our Gracepoint Ministries, I am excited to announce our Spring Reading Challenge!
Starting NOW until May 15th, 2017, all you have to do is…
- Read 5 new books on any Christian heroes of faith
- Write a mini-review (150 words or less) of your favorite one and post it as a comment on this page
- Fill out this simple “Spring Reading Challenge: Heroes of Faith” form
- Win $20 gift certificate to the Gracepoint Bookstore
You can pick up your free bookmark at the bookstore or book table, and start recording your reading!
Need ideas for good books to read? You can check out blurbs on some of the biographies and memoirs from the Bibliopolis U Recommended Reading List. You can also check back here and read people’s reviews and recommendations.
One of my favorite books from the first round of reading for Heroes of Faith was George Mueller. My friend Sarah told me that I would absolutely love it, and she was right…George’s story is inspiring, not just because he was such a straight-up thug before he became Christian, but because of his clear, simple, and straight forward faith. I was surprised how his conversion story wasn’t really dramatic, considering his background and thug-like ways, but that he was simply moved by God’s word. I was encouraged by George’s devotion to the simple but essential practices of prayer and Bible reading, and astonished by how God provided and answered all of his prayer so specifically. George’s story personally encouraged me to pray regularly and with faith that God will actually answer my prayers.
My other favorite from reading the Heroes of Faith was Hudson Taylor. I was surprised how normal and relatable he was…as the leader who helped established CIM, I expected Taylor to be more impressive (despite knowing some of his biography from the Winter Retreat). Hudson was impressive, but not in the way I expected. I was especially challenged by how Hudson Taylor made concrete commitments to become more dependent on God. I was especially shocked by how Hudson continued to wait for his employer to pay him, despite having every opportunity and right to just remind and ask him…but he waited in order to grow his faith in God. Hudson Taylor clearly depended on God and worked hard to prepare himself for the mission field.
I liked Just One More Child. I think it was really good and timely. I was visiting home and trying to start a spiritual conversation w/ my family in Cantonese. Utilizing what I was learning from the GTS class, I asked her if she ever heard the Bible stories before. She responded, “No.”
Right around that time, I was reading about Verent Mills. He wanted to go to China because so many people haven’t heard the gospel. As I read, I saw how he really did everything he could to share the gospel with Chinese people.
Verent Mill’s response personally inspired me to come up with ways to share the gospel to my own family. I know some Chinese that haven’t heard the gospel! I don’t have to even go overseas! Seeing his zeal helped me to increase mine as well.
My favorite book from this challenge was Adoniram Judson: Devoted For Life, written by Vance Christie. I appreciated this biography on America’s first foreign missionary because the book went into detail of many of the trials that Judson had to endure, including deaths to family and close friends, and described how Judson had to deal with all of this, in addition to his response to have utmost faith in the Lord. I was inspired by Judson and his wife, although alone, in the way in which they were able to deal with grief, while going on to preach the gospel unhinderedly while in Burma.
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Oh wow… my favorite is Sundar Singh: Footprints Over the Mountains, this book made me cry, laugh, be challenged, inspired… I think it especially resonated with me as we’ve been doing DT through Acts and following Paul’s missions. Like Paul, Sundar persecuted the Christian faith until one day, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and he became genuinely converted! And he preached the gospel to whoever he encountered as he obeyed God’s calling to Tibet. And like Paul, the persecutions he faced, even from his own Sikh family, are so heart-wrenching, yet nothing was able to shake his passion to reach his fellow Indians and to preach the gospel to the land of Tibet and kept pressing on. I highly highly recommend this book!!
My favorite was God’s Smuggler, by John & Elizabeth Sherrill. (If the names sound familiar, it’s because they’re the same authors who wrote The Hiding Place, which is one of my all time favorites!) The book is the biography of Andrew van der Bijl, who smuggled countless Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, encouraging many Christians and bringing nonbelievers to Christ. I was struck by his complete surrender in serving God as he let go of a relationship with a woman he loved, and would seek ways to smuggle Bibles into communist countries no matter what it took/no matter what it cost him. Despite different setbacks he experienced, he continually said “yes” to God. He realized he had typically responded to God with a “yes, but…” and decided to respond to God without qualification, saying “Whenever, wherever, however You want me, I’ll go.” The book is a fairly quick read, and I highly recommend it!
My favorite Christian Heroes book is Jacob Deshazer because he was stuck in jail for many years and then he told a lot of people about God in China. When he was in jail for many years, he got to read books and one of them was the Bible. He read it 15 times before he gave it to someone else. This is how he became a Christian. I also thought it was cool that he was part of the Doolittle Raiders who first attacked Japan with a B25 bomber.
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