A young friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he did not want any books for his birthday, even the very best. He already had more books stacked up to read than what he would be able to finish in the next 2 years.
I can identify with his problem. I just am not as disciplined as he is in telling people not to give me books! My problem is not as visible, since almost everything I read is in digital format. But my digital collection continues to grow and so is my list of books that I really want to read. I have recently started using Goodreads.com to keep track of my books and it tells me that currently I am reading 5 books and there are 12 books on my top priority To-Read list. Now some of those “currently reading” have not been touched for a while. But regardless, my to-read list is growing faster than my have-read list.
Even this week, I found myself purchasing another book — Peter Scazzero’s The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World since it is on sale for $3.99 for a limited time and has been highly recommended. Then I just found out my friend Dr. Ken Harder has recently published a new book on mission leaders, Help Your Missionaries Thrive: Leadership Practices That Make a Difference. I am sure that will be an important book for me to digest as I continue to learn more about training mission team leaders. When will I ever have time to read all these books? But it is not just finding the time. I also need to make sure I stay awake while reading. As Jesus said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
So I am thankful that I have recently discovered another way of learning from great authors – by listening to the books, rather than reading them. In the past few months, I have begun listening regularly to audio books (MP3 format) on my runs and walks. I try to make it a regular practice to get at least an hour a day of physical exercise, generally as a run or a long walk. I am finding those runs and walks even more enjoyable by using them to digest some great books. These days, I am listening to “The God Ask: A Fresh, Biblical Approach to Personal Support Raising” by Steve Shadrach. This book was on my 2016 Individual Growth Plan, because I realized that I need to refresh my understanding of partner development. I highly recommend it.
Where do you get good quality audio books when you are not living in North America and don’t have access to English books from church or public libraries? You can search for them on Audible.com (an Amazon company) or on Amazon directly. “The God Ask” was only $1.99 since I had already purchased the Kindle version. Otherwise, it would have been $19.95. “The Emotionally Healthy Leader” audio book is also more than $10 cheaper for me now that I have already purchased the Kindle version. With Amazon’s Whispersync, you can switch back and forth between the Kindle and audio versions and never lose your place.
But one source for great audio books that you do not want to ignore is Christian Audio. Christian Audio offers a free audio book every month to everyone who creates an account (free) on their website. This month’s free book is “Taking God at His Word” by Kevin DeYoung. In February, it was “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. In November and December, books by Matt Chandler and Paul Tripp were offered for free download. These are highly-rated Christian books, often by well-known authors. Create an account on their website and get on their mailing list for all their free offerings.
Do you have other suggestions for where a person can find audio books when you are not living in your home country?