God’s Gift to Women by Eric Ludy – First, I’ll let you know right off the bat that this book isn’t about me (ha ha!). Second, I’d have to say that so far this is the best book on true Christian masculinity I have read. It delves into what culture teaches us being a man is and how much of that the Church has adopted much of that. Mr. Ludy speaks to this whole thing from experiences of his own life. Examples of trying to fit into the burp-the-alphabet, talk about your conquests club that we think is just “boys being boys”, fill this book as he talks about Christ turning his heart towards something more. He also goes to great lengths to detail how the way most “men” think being a “man” really is, is what sabotages the thing they think they are missing from their spouse (sex). Anyway, I think this coupled with “The Bravehearted Gospel” may be the best resources out there for a Christ-centered manliness. I’m sure others would point you to “Wild at Heart” or similar books, but although many of those books hit some of the problems on the head, their conclusions and solutions are paper thin and mostly man-made with Christ sprinkled on top. One of my favorite quotes towards the end of this book is:
“Today’s young men don’t need another sermon. We don’t need another word of advice. We don’t need another book telling us what we, as men, should be. We need the Life of our King. And we His Life to consume our own. We need Him to possess our souls and own our bodies. Manhood will never change through grit and hard work. It won’t better itself through reading and study. It will only become the triumph that God designed it to be by coming under the rulership of its Creator and walking in the footsteps of the heroic Lamb of God. Manhood doesn’t need a key; it needs its King.” (pgs 259-260)
***EDIT: I forgot to mention the book “Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” by Stu Weber. That book was very influential for me, even confirming my call to preach! Great book on being a Christian man.
Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom – This book is the follow-up to the book “The Hiding Place” which detailed the ten Boom family’s acts in hiding Jews from Nazi’s in Holland and then being sent to concentration camps for their crimes. I only mention that because it was more well known and gives a back story to this book. This book starts off by Corrie telling some of her last days in the concentration camps before being released. It sets the starting point of where Corrie would then start living out of her suitcase telling her story and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her stories of flying all over the world, in different conditions, and her own dealings with faith and Christ maturing her in her walk were great! Most chapters were 3-5 pages and would tell short stories of her and how God moved in her life. It is an amazing testimony and even after the age of 80 she traveled around to speak about the faithfulness of God. Sometimes humorous and always exciting, her recounting of this part of her life is well worth the read. I am going to read “The Hiding Place” next, even though that is the backwards way, because I have heard that it is that much better and impactful. Regardless, this book is a great read for men and women interested in her life after the concentration camp and just interested in another’s journey in Christ.
Being What You’ve Become by Stephen Manley – This book is the cornerstone upon which Dr. Manley has built the idea of Cross Style ministry upon. This is simply the idea of “Being” instead of “Doing”. If you have become a Christian, then be one. This small but powerful book comes out swinging by defining the two theories of Christianity. One theory is giving. It’s demonstrated in ideas like “God GIVE me the strength” or “God GIVE me love” and views God as our personal marketplace or tool box. The other theory is being. It has to do with Christ living in us and that allows us to be vessels for Christ to live through us. He sources the Christians life and so it isn’t that God has taught me to love but that God is loving through me. It isn’t that I’m imitating Christ, it’s that Christ acts like himself through me – because that’s his nature. The same way an apple tree doesn’t try hard to produce apples, it is in its nature to bear that fruit, we don’t strive or attempt behavior modification to produce the fruit that Christ will naturally bear when He lives in us. This book comes with study guides and would make an easy but powerful sunday school or short small group study. Highly recommended for an intro into the world of seeing Christianity not as something you “do” or “work hard at” but as a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus where He sources you and we just call you what you’ve become – a Christian.