• Mark Alan Williams

8 Great Books I Read on Our Recent Vacation

Plus a Wonderful Bonus Book


Carolyn and I recently went on a vacation that afforded me time to do some extra

reading. I was able to finish reading 8 books during the vacation, and one more right

afterwards. And in case you’re wondering, yes, we had a fantastic time on the

vacation—you can ask Carolyn.


Discipleship is not only about face-to-face interactions. We can be discipled by books

and the Bible is an excellent example! If you would like to grow in your relationship with

Christ, I highly recommend reading books, reading blogs (like this one) and listening to

Christian radio, television, podcasts and videos.

Photo credit: Adrienne Andersen

Of course, there are benefits to each of these delivery systems. I like books because I can

read them at my own pace, I can mark them up, I can easily refer back to them, I can use

quotes from them, and more.


Furthermore, and I know people have strong opinions on this, I love to read books on

Kindle Reader (usually on my computer). Some of the advantages I find:

  • The books take up no extra space in my suitcase, briefcase or office. (I have some 250 books in my Kindle Reader!)

  • I can make the font as large as I want.

  • I can easily hold the electronic device and flip pages quickly.

  • I don’t have to retype what I want to copy and save elsewhere.

  • The books download instantly, anywhere I have internet.

  • Often they are very inexpensive. I highly recommend subscribing to BookBub and getting their daily deals emails on inexpensive eBooks chosen to fit your reading preferences.

Here are the 8 books I finished on our vacation:

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

  2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

  3. Life without Lack by Dallas Willard

  4. God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions by Rick Warren

  5. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

  6. Hearing God by Mark & Patti Virkler

  7. Everybody Always by Bob Goff

  8. Not Forgotten by Kenneth Bae

Here are some notes about what I found helpful in these books:


1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

If you want to break some bad habits or establish some good habits, this is a wonderful

resource. This particular book is not written from a Christian or devotional perspective. It

is more a research-based book with great stories to illustrate the points.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2xgkATZ


2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

This was the biggest “wow” book I read on this trip. It is the autobiography of a Pakistani

whose family moved to the USA and after trying to convert Christians who challenged

his statements about Islam and Christianity, the author became a follower of Jesus. This

happened despite tremendous social consequences of leaving Islam. While it is his

conversion story, the book contains a lot of explanation of Islam, how it sees Christianity

and the Bible, and how he was converted through studying the facts.


Carolyn also read this book and found it fascinating.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2XeeFyc


3. Life without Lack by Dallas Willard

This is another wonderful book by Dallas Willard, who wrote deeply and thoughtfully

about the Christian life. I found the book encouraging and spiritually stimulating.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2Xat7lR


4. God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions by Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren, also author of The Purpose Driven Life, has a great gift for making

Biblical living easy to understand and practice. He covers topics like:

Each chapter is based on a passage of Scripture and can bring real hope in difficult

situations.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2IVw99M


5. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath


This is a book on sharing your message in a way that others will pay attention to and

listen to. This father and son writing team shares that messages which stick are:

  • Simple

  • Unexpected

  • Concrete

  • Credible

  • Emotional

  • Stories

You might think this would be a boring read, however the stories which illustrate the

points are fascinating. If you have a story to tell or a ministry or business to promote, I

would strongly recommend this book.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2X8WCo9


6. Hearing God by Mark & Patti Virkler

This book is more a workbook on hearing God. If you’re interested in that topic, I would

recommend this one. It even has a section on dream interpretation, which was of

particular interest to me after reading how a key component in Nabeel Qureshi’s

conversion (and many other Muslims) is dreams about Jesus.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2LtK3Bu


7. Everybody Always by Bob Goff

Bob Goff is one fascinating guy. I really enjoyed reading his first book Love Does. Both

books contain a lot of remarkable stories from his life and experiences. He then seeks to

apply the stories to Christian living. I found the stories a lot more meaningful than the

applications. However, many people are loving both of these books and they are certainly

inspiring.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2FDmHFJ


8. Not Forgotten by Kenneth Bae

Kenneth Bae has the distinction of being the longest held prisoner of the North Korean

regime since the Korean War. While trying to reach into North Korea with the Gospel,

Kenneth got himself arrested due to a big mistake, and was eventually sentenced to 15

years of hard labor. After about two years he was released, due to much political

negotiation by the Obama administration.


Reading this book will give people a better understanding of the Korean dictatorship,

where their God is their Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un. Reading about how Kenneth was

able to endure the extreme mental pressure and very difficult physical challenges through

his faith in Jesus was truly inspiring.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2XdXY0K


That’s the eight books. However, here’s a bonus read which I finished just after our vacation:


9. Do More Better by Tim Challies

The subtitle of this book is “A Practical Guide to Productivity.” Indeed, it is an awesome

book on productivity with a modern slant that covers the wonderful electronic tools

available in our day. If followed, it will definitely help people to stay organized and

productive.


Tim Challies is a very effective and popular Christian blogger and pastor. He is super

productive based on the tools he shares in this book. Over the years I’ve read several

books on time management and productivity. This one is probably the best.


Buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2xifwhP


A FINAL NOTE:

I can’t remember a vacation in which I read more. However, please understand that for 6

of these 8 books, I had started them before the trip and finished them because I had some

additional time for reading. I’m really grateful for the extra reading time and all the help

and discipling from these books.


If you are not sure that you have received God’s gift of salvation through Jesus, learn

about how to be positive HERE.


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