Praying Hyde, Apostle of Prayer: The Life Story of John Hyde by E.G. Carre – I had heard about the legend of John Hyde recently and new that he was a great intercessor. I knew that he put his body under such stress while interceding for others that his heart literally moved from one side of his chest to the other. I knew he had died at age 44 because of this condition. What this book was to put those highlights in the context of this great man’s life. A missionary to India, John Hyde repeatedly did everything he felt God asked him to do to bring souls into the Kingdom. First he asked boldly for 1 soul a day for a year. The next year he asked for 2 souls a day. Then finally 4 souls a day. Most of us are lucky to say we’ve led 4 souls to Christ in the last 4 years. This man was allowing himself to be used to bring 4 souls A DAY to Christ.
He also gave and gave and gave of himself, thinking of it as no cost if it would eventually lead to the glory of God. People knew of his generous open door to his house and would steal from him; Hyde would say nothing as he would see other men in his clothes. Time and again fellow missionaries and Christians spoke against him and his ways; Hyde smiled and said they didn’t understand him. Nor would he take up his pen to defend himself. Even when wronged, he would discourage friends from talking ill of God’s called people; Saying they didn’t mean unkindness. Often going days without rest, food, or comforts while interceding, John Hyde always put others above himself. Great book on a Godly man, I recommend it to anyone looking to know more of the heroes of the faith, learn more about intercession and/or prayer, or just wanting to be encouraged by a man after God’s heart.
Radical by David Platt – This is one of those simple books that completely challenges your Americanized version of Christianity and holds a mirror for you to face the facts. Of course I expect that kind of thing while going through the lives of Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd, George Muller, and John Hyde because they are men from a different time; simpler times with less busy-ness. But Platt’s book, written in 2010, doesn’t let you off the hook so easily. He doesn’t let you say “That was for them then, now is different.” No, he challenges you, American Christian, as someone so wrapped up in money, career, comfort, and 401(k) plans that your Christianity is impotent. Oh we like to say we’re not, but as Platt says, we are largely spiritually blind to our own levels of materialism and consumerism. He talks about how he visits countries where it’s illegal to study the Bible and how those in the underground church treasure the Bible so much more than Americans. How they don’t care about projectors and comfortable chairs; they just care about Jesus. He even spends some time talking about how a lot of us are Universalists in either thought or practice as we claim to be Christians but find no need to share the Gospel with anyone else.
One story that hit home was the pastor that threatened his congregation when they had a missionary from Japan visiting. This pastor told the church, “You’d better give to this missionary or God’s going to send your children to Japan.” Platt talked of the shock of this statement and even at it’s effectiveness in getting a lot of money for the missionary. Like people don’t want to take the Gospel anywhere, so they want to give money so they don’t have to. I wouldn’t say this book is perfect, but Platt’s take on the whole American Dream and the American Church was intriguing, refreshing, and surprisingly closer to views that have been hitting me lately than I would’ve expected. If you’re a Christian or a ministry lead, I don’t know how you can get by without at least reading this book. Get it today.