The Books You Read and the People You Meet?


            I was fortunate to hear a speaker more than two-decades ago tell of his unusual meeting with a motivational speaker named Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. Apparently to Charlie everything was tremendous, he had a huge heart and took great joy in telling everyone he met how he loved them.

This guy who met him, a self-confessed non-reader at the time, was for some reason singled out and asked up on the stage with Charlie. It was a funny, unusual and embarrassing moment for the guy—but Charlie told him something that he was famous for saying; “You’ll be the same person five years from now as today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

What really struck this guy who was embarrassed in that moment, was that a couple of weeks later a large box arrived at his doorstep, with the return address name of “Jones” on it. Curious, this guy opened the rather sizeable box and found it full of books.

Even though he wasn’t much of a reader, he selected one and started reading. He read, from what I recall of the talk, all of them after a time.

He became a publisher of books and a big promoter of the phrase Charlie was famous for: “You’ll be the same person five-years from now as today except for the people you meet and the books your read.” After all, meeting Charlie changed who he was, and reading changed him even more.

I Objected to the Saying, Sort Of…

When I first heard the saying about people and books, I had some strong reservations. I was already an avid reader, and I love meeting and getting to know people—but still, it’s more complicated than that, right? What about spiritual discipline, prayer, and determination?

Over the years I have come to see that Mr. Tremendous spoke truth, or at least a “truism.” As I continued this long journey of spiritual formation, I came to realize something about how God accomplishes what he does.

He just about does it all. Most of the good that happens to us in spiritual formation, growth, happiness, contentment, and everything else good is a gift from his hand worked out through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So really dig deep on that.

We come to know and recognize the hand of God in our life through copious amounts of time in Scripture, prayerfully begging to know God, his truth, and his ways. A book, that takes us in the direction of powerful change.

And then there are the words in that book of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah in John 15, which just scream to the truth of the “people you meet” portion of Mr. Jones’ saying:

Abide in me, and I in you. as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:4, 5)

Emphatic, right? If we want to avoid being the same person five-years from now as we are today (and I hope you do), Jesus himself says the key is the person you know. Since he is speaking of abiding inside of you and you abiding in him—this is the ultimate knowing. He, being the very son of God himself, does have the power to work in you with “the immeasurable greatness of his power…according to the working of his great might that  he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 1:19, 20)

Did you get that? If you do meet and truly come to know (abide in and have him abide in you) the lover and savior of your soul, he will work in and through you with the same power that was used to raise him from the dead!

It would be, think about, completely impossible to be the same person five years from now as you are today (stagnant, dead, and not growing) if you deeply read the Bible and the person you meet and come to walk with is Yeshua the Christ himself.

            That is absolutely thrilling. I hereby pronounce Charlie “Tremendous” Jones’ saying to be veritable wisdom—don’t let this truism go to waste.

But How Does God Come to Abide in Me and I In Him?

I’m out of space in this post, but do tune in for future talks on this topic.

But I do recommend my books as an deep source of the process of growing in this way, and here are what each will do for your process of spiritual formation (with clickable links to grab the books):

First-Person Messiah: Transforming Your Life Through Amazing Encounters With Jesus will empower you to read the Bible as you never have before. This will transform your reading from mere interpretation of the words into sound into a vibrant movie in your head every time you read. In this book, you see Jesus as he appeared to those people who encountered him, and you will experience the impact he had on those who needed him.

Superhero: Being Who God Says You Are is nearly a complete introductory guide to overcoming the limitations Satan and society straddle us with and becoming a person who abides in Christ and impacts the society around you. It also has a digital-detox guide to liberate you from your slavery to electronic devices and media.

Satan’s Wager: What the Devil and Job Got Wrong About God is the book everyone needs to change your life with God from one of duty to love. Satan’s Wager takes you into the conversation with Job, his friends, and with God to discover the one essential element of faith that we all need to change our attitude from “I should” to being compelled to do great acts of faith in God.

Get your copies today, and start your path of spiritual formation, read good books and meet the ultimate life-changing person!

(Image by Billion Photos/Shutterstock)

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