One of the mistakes that I have made over the years is that I have not read a lot of biographies. I’ve written before about the importance of reading and listen to the testimonies and stories of older saints, but this year I’m going to actually do it! Here are the first two I’ve read. One about a man I’d heard a little of before and one of a woman that I had never heard of. These two books are different, but both good. One will help you understand a man who touched so many lives with his ministry and service and the other is a story of a woman who left behind all she knew to go and tell people about Jesus. I highly recommend you get at least one of these and you start to read it right away!

A Burning in My Bones by Winn Collier

A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of the Message

Eugene Peterson is a name that many people in the Christian world will know, probably most famously for his paraphrase of the Bible ‘The Message’. I’ll confess, I haven’t read anything from Peterson. I’ve read ‘the message’ but that’s it. However, I have heard of Peterson’s influence on the life of so many people. Not only from his writings that are based on the Bible but also his other stuff on pastoral ministry. This book shows more of Peterson tan I gather his own works do.

Winn Collier has written this great biography which gives you an insight into the family life, the thoughts and the wishes of Eugene Peterson. This biography is probably the most detailed I’ve ever read because it was written after Collier spent time interviewing the Peterson family. This biography includes quotes from interviews, snippets from letters and memories that only Peterson could have of his own life. It tells the story of Peterson’s life, but I like that there are no pretences. There is no attempt to gloss over flaws and faults. No desire to airbrush Eugene. This book is a genuine, honest look at the life of a man who served the Lord.

Because I knew nothing of Eugene Peterson’s life before picking up this book I was sent into a whole new world. I now plan to go and read more of Peterson’s work and try to get to know the man in his absence. Apparently writing was a huge joy for Peterson, something he saw as a kind of devotion to God. If, like me, you know nothing about Peterson, this book will give you the insight you need. Collier has written just over 350 pages, but it doesn’t feel like it.


A London Sparrow by Phyllis Thompson

Hardback

This book is great! Not only is the life of Gladys Aylward a story that will set you ablaze for God’s Kingdom, but the amount of work and effort that Phyllis Thompson put in to make this book possible is outstanding. Thompson conducted interviews and looked through lots of personal letters to build a full picture of Gladys’s life and ministry.

The story begins back in the early 1900’s, Gladys was raised in a Christian home but walked away until her teens. She heard a preacher speaking into her very should and needed to know more, she spoke with the ministers wife and became a Christian. Her heart from then, or soon after, was to go to the people of China. However, due to her lack of academic ability and ‘skill’ she was not accepted to train and be sent to China by an organisation. But the Lord made a way. This story tells the wonderful tale of how the Lord can use those who seem unfit and unable to serve for the upbuilding of His Kingdom. The Lord used Gladys in ways that I’m sure she couldn’t begin to imagine. From England to China and ultimately to Taiwan, this story is all about how Gladys serves the Saviour she loved.

This story is packed full of danger and gospel opportunities, war zones and saved lives, prison and the sharing of the gospel. Buy the book, you will not be disappointed. A warning must be issued with books like these, it could be that you read this story and you find yourself being called to do what Gladys did; forsake all that you know to go and serve a people so that they can hear about Jesus and live forever in His presence.