Good, Solid Christian Books That Just Might Change Your Life

Good, Solid Christian Books That Just Might Change Your Life

Last week I walked into one of the few remaining big box bookstores in North America and after eyeing the stacks of beautiful covers and interesting categories, I decided to peruse the Christian Living shelves.

I wish I could say I was shocked, but sadly, what I found was in keeping with the way I’ve watched Christian retailing and marketing transform over the past three decades (my first real job was as a cashier in a Christian bookstore when I was 16, and also sadly, that was three decades ago).

Christian retailing and marketing looks very much like all the other retail and marketing, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We want what we have to share to catch the eye of regular people and to draw them in, and we want what we’re producing to be of high quality.

But there’s a catch to all of that chasing marketability: What tends to sell in stacks at Costco isn’t deeply Biblical, unless it’s a stack of Bibles.

It’s not a secret that I’ve been struggling for some time with the idea that Christians in ministry must now be marketable; I wrote a piece last year called I Daresay Elisabeth Elliot Would Not Get a Book Deal in 2017 that speaks to the reality of platforms and au courant marketing techniques.

Just a few days after my impromptu trip to the bookstore, my 17-year-old daughter and I had a discussion about Christian books, and she told me that she is increasingly turned off by what she described as the “Rah! Rah! You are strong! You can do this! Dream big!” authors with big platforms who don’t ever seem to get to the core of anything other than what turns out to be really pretty Instagramable cheerleading. I sympathized, and then I turned to women (and one particular guy for a particular reason) in my life who pursue Jesus passionately and asked them,

“Which books, other than the Bible, changed your life?”

The responses were spectacular, and I especially appreciated how each one seems to be a reflection of how each of these believers lives their own lives.

affiliate links below

Good, Solid Christian Books That Just Might Change Your Life

Autobiographies and Biographies

A Chance to Die: The Life & Legacy of Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth Elliot

A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken

Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs

Chasing God, Roger Huang

China Cry, Nora Lam

Evidence Not Seen, Darlene Deibler Rose

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, Noel Piper

The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

I Dared to Call Him Father, Bilquis Sheikh, Richard H. Schneider

Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosario Butterfield

Seven Women, Eric Metaxas

Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot

Tramp for the Lord, Corrie ten Boom


Christian Living and Spirituality

All of Grace, Charles Spurgeon

Because He Loves Me, Elyse Fitzpatrick

The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes

The Calvary Road, Roy Hession

The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel

Desiring God, John Piper

Discipline: The Glad Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot

Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper

Drumbeat of Love, Lloyd John Ogilvie

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero

God Has a Name, John Mark Comer

God is the Gospel, John Piper

Godspeed, Britt Merrick

The Great Commandment Principle, David Ferguson

Habits of Grace, David Mathis 

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character, Jen Wilkin

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Paul Tripp

The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne

The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey

Keep a Quiet Heart, Elisabeth Elliot

Knowing God, J.I. Packer

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

New Morning Mercies, Paul Tripp

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing), Jen Wilkin

Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl, ND Wilson

One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp

Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot

Permission Evangelism, Michael L. Simpson

A Praying Life, Paul E. Miller

The Prodigal God, Timothy Keller

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning

Sacred Pathways, Gary L. Thomas

A Scandalous Freedom, Steve Brown

Secure in the Everlasting Arms, Elisabeth Elliot

Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman

These Strange Ashes, Elisabeth Elliot

Three Free Sins, Steve Brown

Unoffendable, Brant Hansen

What’s So Amazing About Grace?, Philip Yancey

When People Are Big and God is Small, Edward T. Welch


Particularly On the Subject of Women

Eve in Exhile, Rebekah Merkle

Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision For Women, Carolyn Custis James

Learning Contentment, Nancy Wilson

Lies Women Believe, Nancy Leigh Demoss Wolgemuth

Lost Women of the Bible: The Women We Thought We Knew, Carolyn Custis James

Popes & Feminists, Elise Crapuchettes


Phew! That should keep us reading for awhile. Is there a book that has changed your life but isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

March Journal for a Late Winter Day

Back in the early days of blogging, we writers just wrote to please our readers and our own hearts. There was limited ad revenue and we hadn't yet heard of SEO. And while there were powerhouse bloggers who saw the whole thing as a business opportunity from the beginning, many of us just wrote because we loved to write and give generously, and we valued the growing community of readers who commented on our posts, not on social media.

Those days are gone, for the most part, and there is much talk amongst my writing and blogging friends about the loss of those halcyon blogging days, when you could arrive at a blog post and not be assaulted by pop-up subscription boxes and ads in between every paragraph. 

In that lovely vein, today's post hearkens back to the old-school blogging style. A simple post about life, my people, and your input. Comment below, please! It means the world to every blogger still honing our craft in 2018.


We hatched butterflies last month. Letting them go was difficult for one kiddo in particular.

What I'm Reading:

Blessed Are the Misfits, Brant Hansen

The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place, Alan Bradley

Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson - 3rd time reading this one aloud to kids. Oh, homeschooling!


What I'm Listening To

I'm a podcast junkie who listens attentively to the recommendations of others. Which podcasts are your favorites?

Building a Storybrand

Key Life

Steve Brown Etc.

Travel With Rick Steves

This Week I Learned


Duolingo Spanish

Redeemer Sermons

Reality Sermons

The Brant and Sherri Oddcast

The Tennis Podcast

Beyond the Baseline


What I'm Watching

Currently in season 3 of Grantchester. Oh, Sydney. (If you know, you know.)

Still chilly enough for a daytime fire here. Anyone know my mug reference?

Still chilly enough for a daytime fire here. Anyone know my mug reference?

What They're Reading

Husband Fletch: The Sacred Enneagram, Christopher L. Heuertz

16-year-old daughter: Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton

14-year-old daughter: The Bible

11-year-old son: Jedi Academy: The Force Oversleeps, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle

9-year-old son (1st grade reading level): The Peppa Pig Storybook Collection


What We're Eating

A Ketogenic diet. If this appeals to you, check out Fletch's posts on how all of his health "numbers" went from extremely unhealthy to normal range and better.

Also, this Easy Cheesecake from King Arthur Flour, which we served, sugar and all, for the 11-year-old's birthday last weekend.


What I'm Doing

Writing the new book! Slowly, but surely. I would be absolutely delighted to have your prayers over this project.


Where We're Going

Fellow tennis fanatics (all two of you), check this out! Tonight Fletch and I are going to see Fed play Jack Sock in the Match 4 Africa event. The rest of you, pay attention! Even if you think tennis is boring — oh, my heart — Roger Federer is considered to be the best athlete of all time. That's noteworthy trivia even if you're not a sports person. Knowledge is power! Also, he's known all around as a genuinely good guy. Also, he and his wife Mirka have two sets of twins. 

Our pomegranate tree has started to bud. We're pretty pleased about that! 

Our pomegranate tree has started to bud. We're pretty pleased about that! 

And that's it for this beautiful early spring day! Remember, I'd love to hear what you're reading, doing, thinking. Comment below like it's 2005.

All those books I mentioned? You can get them from Amazon, and yes, these are affiliate links:

This Week's Read Should Be on Your Summer List: My Man Jeeves

Hi again! I'm back with another good read to put on your list in case you need to add to your already toppling-over stack next to your bed. My pile is currently seven books high, and that of course doesn't include what's in my Kindle and Audible queues. So many books . . .

If you're looking for summer books that are enjoyable but not extremely dumbed-down and you've never picked up a book by P.G. Wodehouse, then OH! I have the book for you! 

P.G. Wodehouse

P.G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse wrote the classic 1920's comic novels about a young dandy and his butler, Jeeves. The language is intelligent and compelling (Wodehouse was quite a wordsmith), the plots slightly ridiculous and quintessentially British upper crust, and the comedy so often funny, I actually laugh out loud when I read them. 

And if you love words, language, and turns of phrase, you will really love the genius of P.G. Wodehouse. Start with My Man Jeeves. This Kindle version is just .99 (and that's my affiliate link).