As a child I thought that a Rolodex was one of the coolest things in the world.
You rarely see them these days, so for anyone unfamiliar with them, I’ll include a definition and a picture.
Wikipedia says “a Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information. Its name is a combination of the words rolling and index.”
My parents worked for Bell Labs & AT&T while I was growing up, so they had one or two hanging around the house. Perhaps in my little mind, I imagined I’d have one too when I grew up.
Thirty years later, the closest physical thing I have to a Rolodex is my LinkedIn account, which I rarely use. Last time I was in my account, I found myself trying to remember who some of my contacts even were.
But if I could have a dream Rolodex that took me back in time, I know who would be in it.
I’d include my real contact list, but there would be a few more names added.
They are the men and women who have encouraged me through their lives and the testimony they left behind. I’ve never met any of them, but their writings have encouraged and challenged me.
I’d like to introduce you to a few of them. We’ll talk about the men today and next week, I’ll share some of the women.
Some of these names will be very familiar. Others, you might never have met before.
I didn’t include Jesus, because He’s the most important man in each of our lives and we can talk to Him all day, every day. If you don’t know Him personally, hit reply. I can’t wait to tell you more about Him.
This list isn’t designed to be exhaustive, as I only chose ten men. Keep in mind, this is my Rolodex. You will have a different one.
The Apostle Paul
You’ve read his letters, but how well do you know the man? Understanding Paul the man reveals new depths when you study the books penned by him in the Bible. There are countless books written about him, but one of my favorites is actually fiction. Check out I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins.
Jim Elliot’s life ended on a beach in Ecuador in 1956, but his life continues to inspire others 62 years later. You can learn more about him in Shadow of the Almighty, penned by his wife Elisabeth.
You might not know him, but if you live in the USA and have ever purchased cheese or milk, you might know his family. He gave up his share of a dairy empire to become a missionary in China. But he died before he even reached the mission field. Read the biography of him called Borden of Yale, written by Mrs. Howard Taylor, who was the daughter-in-law of China Inland Mission’s founder Hudson Taylor.
Oswald Chambers and I have a good chat every morning and I always finish reading My Utmost for His Highest challenged. Most people only know this part of his life, but Abandoned to God by David McCasland reveals his character and legacy.
Everyone above him on my list has passed away, but Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, is still with us. God’s Smuggler is one of my favorites, and lately I’ve been reading his book, Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ.
Michael Phillips is also still alive and writing, and for that I’m very grateful. It’s hard to sum up the impact his books have made on my life, or even to choose one of his 67 books on my bookshelf to recommend. Lately I’ve been recommending people start with The Eleventh Hour or Wild Grows the Heather in Devon.
When you read the The Eleventh Hour’s book series, you’ll get a brief introduction to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Also, you may enjoy Focus on the Family’s audio drama.
This man’s prayer life has challenged me, as I’m learning about having childlike faith. The best place to get to know him is through his own autobiography.
You’ve likely seen Chariots of Fire, but the film barely scratches the surface of Eric Liddell’s life. My favorite biography on Liddell is Pure Gold, also written by David McCasland.
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd isn’t easy reading, but it is necessary reading. I don’t think I’ve read another book that so thoroughly chronicles someone’s spiritual journey, with all the ups and all the downs. This book was edited by none other than the preacher Jonathan Edwards.
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