Ron Merrell
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The Inner Voice of Love

Henri Nouwen

Written during a personal, incredibly dark season, Nouwen’s own reflections impacted me deeply by giving voice to some pain and grief I’d carried for a long time. This book gave me the language to describe both the ‘lion’ and and ‘lamb’ within me – and to find the space for them to lie down together. This combination of Jesus’ fierce strength and gentle meekness are still foundational to my day-to-day walk with Him.

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The Return of the Prodigal Son

Henri Nouwen

I love Rembrandt, I love the story of the Lost Son in Scripture, and I love Nouwen’s writings. This book combines all three in an insightful biography about Rembrandt’s personal and spiritual journey, how he set about his famous painting “The Return of the Prodigal,” and a beautiful exegesis of the parable. Artsy, historical, and theological, this book hits multiple levels of my heart each time I read through it.

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The Normal Christian Life

Watchman Nee

At a time where I needed some doctrinal strength, I was given this book by a Chinese Christian church leader who spent the last 20 years of his life imprisoned in the mid-1900’s. While it focuses on some of the mechanics of gospel, unpacking some difficult but really important Christ-concepts found mostly in Romans 3-8, I was most impacted by an emphasis on what it really meant to ‘walk by the Spirit’ of God in this book.

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The Complete Disciple

Ron Habermas

My dear professor, second dad, and mentor wrote this book and it was, in many ways, his life’s work. It covers many bases, but spends a great deal of time on the humanity of Jesus. That was its biggest impact on me, showing me the Jesus I never knew!

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The Search for Significance

Robert McGee

In my own search for my real identity, this book helped me overcome the core lies Satan delivers about my performance and approval addiction, shame and blame — all with essential truths about how Jesus combats these lies. It’s a must-read for practical understanding of the gospel as well as anyone wrestling with who they really are. I’ve recommended this book to others maybe more than any other over the years as something so foundational to life, here and now.

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The Imperfect Pastor

Zack Eswine

During a time of great wrestling with modern, American church models, this book put words to a great deal of my soul’s desires and questions. It rescued me from giving up on vocational ministry – and refocused my attention on ministry done in a refreshing, shepherd-filled way.

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Moments with the Savior

Ken Gire

This devotional brings some vivid imagery to some powerful moments in the life of Jesus that move my heart with every read. But, the real impact on me in this book was in how it taught me to look at the Scriptures — especially narrative ones — using all 5 of my senses. This indirectly shaped a lot of my teaching.

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Sheep Tales

Ken Davis

Ken trained me in the art of communication on stage, but it’s this book that unleashed a different level of creativity in me – either on stage or in writing. Ken’s humor shines here telling familiar Bible stories from the perspective of the animals that were there. Deeply funny AND deeply moving, this book shaped both my sense of humor and taste in how to communicate God’s Word.