Tag Archives: biographies

Common Souls, Uncommon Courage, Predictable Grace


It was Hudson Taylor who famously said, “God is not looking for men of great faith, only some common souls like you or me…willing to trust in His great faithfulness.”

If you want a front-row seat to a modern-day example of that quote, you need to pick up the newly-released autobiography by Dr. Edgar Feghaly, Forward in the Face of Fear: My Life for Christ in the Muslim World.

I first read this during the pre-publication editorial process, but only after two of my coworkers had already read it. They described stories to me that were over-the-top unbelievable. When they told me they had barely scratched the surface in what they had relayed and that the book was full of such stories, I held private doubts. Continue reading

5 Extraordinary Ways God Leads Ordinary People


Over the years, the Lord has used biographies to strengthen my faith and encourage my effort. Thus, biographies always have a place on my upcoming reading list.

Often, when I mention benefits of reading biographies in a teaching setting, someone will ask for recommendations. I’ve never really compiled a list, so I’ll usually just mention one or two that have been a recent blessing to me.

Well, today I have a recommendation: Where Only God Could Lead: the life story of Don Sisk.

This newly-released biography by Cary Schmidt is published by Striving Together, so I got a behind-the-scenes editorial pass to read it before it was published. I knew I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t realize just how encouraging and faith building it would be. Continue reading

5 Ways Biographies Can Change Your Life


Of all the books I’ve read, my hands down favorites have been the biographies of great Christians.

I know that, technically, there is no such person as a “great Christian” in the sense that we’re all made from dust and one person is just as human as the next. But that very fact is what is so encouraging about biographies. It is the record of ordinary Christians who have a great God who has used them in a great way.

Over the years, I’ve read many biographies of great Christians and have been blessed, challenged, and stirred by each of them. What are the benefits of reading Christian biographies? There are many, but here are five I’ve noticed taking place in my own heart as I’ve read: Continue reading

Book Review: Plowed Under by Amy Carmichael


I “read” my first Amy Carmichael biography when I was probably about five years old. My mom read With Daring Faith to my sisters and me at the lunch table—a chapter every day.

I was not only fascinated—I was changed. Although I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, Amy’s walk with the Lord, commitment to pure motives in spiritual work, and passion to reach “the least of these” made a deep impression on me. As a teenager, I read a fuller biography of her life, A Chance to Die.

This summer, I had the opportunity to read a newly republished book Amy wrote in 1935: Plowed Under: A Young Girl’s Obedience. God’s Ever-Present Grace.

This relatively short read (140 pages—I read it during a day of travel) was encouraging on multiple levels. Continue reading

Crossing the Halfway Mark toward the Best Resolution I Ever Made

“I have just finished reading the Bible through, today, for the fortieth time in forty years.”—Hudson Taylor

I remember like it was yesterday when I read that quote (from Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, page 240). I could take you to the exact spot in our basement where I was sitting when those words tugged my heart.

Actually, they didn’t tug. They captured. They resolved.

I was thirteen or fourteen years old, and something inside of me said, “If Hudson Taylor could read the Bible through once a year for forty years, I can too. And in forty years, I want to be able to say the same.”

Yesterday, I reached the halfway mark—twenty times through. Continue reading


…marks 171 years since David Livingstone first sailed for Africa.

I recently had the opportunity to read another biography about Livingstone this summer. I was especially impressed as I learned that, in the minds of many, he didn’t have much “missionary promise” when he sailed for Africa. He wasn’t a bombastic preacher, and he didn’t have a charismatic personality. Not likely to succeed.

Much of what Livingstone did in Africa was tedious and slow-going. He preached the Gospel everywhere he went, but he was navigating unexplored territory, usually sick, often hungry, and sometimes deserted. He persevered and died without seeing the full fruit of his labor. Continue reading

You Are What You Read

There are many gifts from my parents for which I will forever be thankful. One is the gift of reading. And another is the gift of books.

My mom taught me to read, and I actually remember when “the light turned on.” From that moment on, I was a voracious reader. Because we had no television in our home, I read everything I could lay my eyes on—including the ingredients on the cereal box.

But mostly, I read books. Good books. Books that stretched me and challenged me to love God, grow in maturity, and live by faith. And all this was before I was even in third grade.

What kind of books could do this for a grade schooler? Missionary biographies. Continue reading