Recommended Books & Movies

We’re all shaped and influenced by the books, films, movies, art and music we enjoy.  This is a sampling of books and films which have shaped my life.  I pass them on here as recommendations to inspire and challenge.  Please keep in mind that the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to test everything.   Each of these recommendations, so far as I know, contain a mixture of truth.   Some will have more purity than others.  Our job is to sift through the messages, swallow the meat, and spit out the bones.


  • Baxter Kruger: The Great Dance delighted my soul with the joy of the Trinity.
  • Dallas Willard: The Divine Conspiracy opened to me a revelation of true discipleship and the Kingdom of God
  • John Eldridge: Wild at Heart challenged me to live by passion rather than rules.
  • E. Stanley Jones: The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Man refined my vision of the Kingdom of God.
  • Francis Schaeffer:  How Then Shall we Live? gave me Biblical eyes to see the world.
  • Andrew Murray:  Humility I try to read this every few years just to keep my perspective right.
  • A.W. Tozer: The Pursuit of God taught me to follow hard after God for His own sake.
  • Skye Jethani: Futureville is a wonderful, imaginative presentation of God’s plan to redeem all things.
  • Skye Jethani: With is a brilliant challenge to cast off religious “transactional” models of relating to God, and learning to simply walk WITH Him.
  • Brother Lawrence & Frank Laubach, Practicing the Presence is one of the best books I know for bringing me back to the simplicity of  walking with Jesus.
  • Victor Hugo: Les Miserables fed my soul with the beauty of grace.
  • Bob George: Classic Christianity taught me the beauty of grace.
  • Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People equipped me to move beyond my shyness.
  • Major Ian Thomas: The Saving Life of Christ taught me about the fullness of Christ and what He accomplished in His death and resurrection.
  • John Eldridge & Brent Curtis: The Sacred Romance.  This book changed the way I think about life, suffering, beauty, pain,  and eternity.
  • C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity equipped me to rationally defend my faith.
  • Annie Dillard: A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek opened a window to God’s wonder in my soul.
  • Charles Colson: How Now Shall we Live? taught me to engage my mind as a Christian.
  • Gene Edwards: A Tale of Three Kings was a delightful revelation of how to guard against pride and bitterness.
  • Peter Kreeft:  The Journey taught me to ask questions and to seek for the Truth.
  • Steve McVey: 52 Lies Told in Church Every Sunday encouraged me to ask questions about my presuppositions.
  • Brennan Manning: Abba’s Child lit a flame of God’s passionate love in my soul.
  • Henri Nouwen: Out of Solitude gave me perspective on the truly important things in life.
  • William P. Young: The Shack freed me to think of the Incarnation in fresh and exciting ways.

Movies & Films:

Far more than any other influence, more than school, more even than home – my attitudes, dreams, preconceptions and preconditions for life had been irreversibly shaped five and a half thousand miles away in a place called Hollywood.”   David Puttnam, producer of Chariots of Fire.

  • Superman Returns:   An amazing pictures of the “God-man” entering into the human race to redeem it.  Look for images of Jesus, sin, sacrifice, and resurrection.
  • Radio: “God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: “The blood of a righteous “pirate” redeemed the whole company of dead pirates.”  Will Turner is a Christ figure standing between the “law” (Admiral Norrington) and the sinner (Jack Sparrow)
  • The Lord of the Rings:  “Even the smallest person can change the course of history.”
  • The Two Towers:  “It takes faithful men and unified armies to defeat the powers of darkness.”
  • The Return of the King:  “Every little hobbit, elf, dwarf, and man has a part to play in the cosmic battle for the Kingdom.
  • A Knight’s Tale:  Possessing our identity by faith.
  • Grand Torino:  Laying down our lives for others.  Making a difference.  Look for the image of Jesus at the end.
  • The Gladiator: “Our actions in this life will echo through eternity.”
  • The Count of Monte Cristo:  Loss of hope and redemption.  “God still believes in you.”
  • The Truman Show:  “The truth will set you free.”
  • The Mission:  The beauty and humility of the Kingdom versus the destruction of greed and power.
  • Dead Poet’s Society “Seize the day. Live every moment with passion.”
  • Simon Birch: “Every life has meaning and purpose.”
  • Patch Adams: “Care is more important than cure.”
  • Schindler’s List: “One person can make a difference.”
  • Braveheart: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
  • The War:  Everything matters.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • The Man Without a Face: “The measure of a man is his heart. Suffering produces wisdom.”
  • It’s A Wonderful Life: “The sacredness of life.  Every life makes a difference”
  • Chariots of Fire  Everything matters.  “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”  God takes delight in our gifts!
  • Cool Runnings:  The power of faith and teamwork.
  • City of Joy: “All that’s not give in lost”.  True joy is found in sacrificing our lives for others.
  • Remember the Titans: The beauty of reconciliation and the strength of teamwork.
  • The Princess Bride: A parable of Christ (Wesley) and his church (Buttercup).
  • Saving Mr Banks: How our stories are beautifully rewritten when we put them into the hands of the Great Storyteller.

Other Great Books

“Read, or get out of the ministry” – John Wesley to early Methodist Ministers
  • Shows About Nothing: Thomas Hibbs
  • Rediscovering the Kingdom: Miles Monroe
  • This Beautiful Mess: Rick McKinley
  • The Secret Message of Jesus: Brian McLaren
  • Simply Christian: N.T. Wright
  • Irresistible Revolution: Shane Claiborne
  • Searching for God Knows What: Donald Miller
  • Windows of the Soul:  Ken Gire
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization:   Thomas Cahill
  • Making Sense out of Suffering:  Peter Kreeft
  • The Reflective Life:  Ken Gire
  • The Journey of Desire:  John Eldridge
  • Teaching a Stone to Talk:  Annie Dillard
  • Seven Men Who rule the World from the Grave – David Breese
  • The Celtic Way of Evangelism – George G. Hunter
  • Messy Spirituality – Michael Yacanelli

4 thoughts on “Recommended Books & Movies”

  1. Hi Don, it’s been awhile since listening to you teach at YWAM Charlotte. Bob and I are in a study of the Divine Conspiracy and I just love it. Thanks for giving us a list of your important books…it’s good to know the Kingdom is here.
    Cathy Hill


  2. I am rereading Mere Christianity while doing an online Bible study about C. S. Lewis, in preparation for our church Bible study group to study this great Christian apologist. Our pastor is currently teaching our congregation to pray for at least one person we know who doesn’t know Jesus, have a conversation with them, and listen, so you have a starting point. The methods and ideas are from Scripture, preachers like John Wesley, contemporary Christian writers, as well as the tried and true writers of the past and understanding what we believe (the Apostles Creed), I’ve learned to listen more, not to “preach”, and to tell them who Jesus is to me and what He had meant and done in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sharon! Lewis never gets old, does he? It sounds like you’re getting some great training at your church. May the Lord direct both your encounters and your conversations with those who are searching.


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Hopeful glimpses of the Kingdom of God

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