I've never been a devotional reader...but if this is considered a devotional, then I've been converted. This is not your "feel good" book. It is a powerful, hard hitting, soul-searching study...packed into incredibly short yet concise and complete messages. What a great way to start or end a day...or just read and devour the messages as they prompt you to allow the Lord to work on your heart. Tremendous insight into Scripture and into both the ugly and beautiful parts of life and human nature. Powerful.
This book represents some of the best devotional material I have ever read. Joe Thorn writes simply, powerfully and personally and connects with both head and heart. I have finished the book, but am already looking forward to reading it again.
Preaching to yourself is new term to me, but the spiritual discipline of applying Scripture to the specifics of one's life has been around for a long time. The forward by Sam Storms is excellent-- like an exhortative sermon reminding readers of the transformative power of God's Word, how we need to crave it and energetically apply it to our lives. The introduction spells out the crucial balance between law and gospel when preaching to oneself. The "notes"are grouped in three categories: Gospel and God, Gospel and Others, Gospel and You. Each begins with a Scripture passage and, while never more than two pages long, gives readers plenty to consider in applying that Word personally.
A pitfall all of us can fall into is to look at the Bible as a book to conquer, like a Shakespearian novel, and not a book to be lived. We read, study and pray over a particularly hard text with understanding as the only goal when we should do those things so we can learn how to live the life of obedience God desires from us. Joe Thorn in his book Note to Self gives us multitude of examples of how we can put our doctrine into practice.
This books set up is simple; Thorn takes 48 different Biblical topics/doctrines and gives us a one to two page exhortation on how to live each, all from the perspective of his own shortcomings. He starts each chapter with the title "Dear Self" because he is expressing his own struggles with living that doctrine as it should be lived. Each chapter is hard hitting but those that deal with the war against sin are his best (maybe because that is my main struggle and it's yours if you are honest with yourself).
This is a book that I can turn to throughout my life to find help and encouragement and conviction in the myriad of struggles I may and will face. It will do the same for you.
Note to Self: The Disciple of Preaching to Yourself is written by Joe Thorn, the founding and lead Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in Saint Charles, Illinois. There is much good conversation in in the blogosphere today about "preaching the Gospel to oneself". Joe Thorn noticed this conversation but then went beyond just thinking about "preaching the Gospel to himself" but started to ask, "What does preaching the Gospel to oneself mean? and, "How do the people of God preach the Gospel to oneself?"
Note to Self is a very well-written easy-to-read book. Each chapter explores a different topic but the focus of each chapter is personal, biblical, theological and practical as Joe preaches the gospel to himself and the reader gets to see how he practices what he preaches. A good writer engages his reader and draws them into the topic he/she is discussing. Joe Thorn does this in a way that points to the truths of Scripture and draws the reader to discover what it means to implement preaching the Gospel to oneself. Dr. Ray Ortlund rightly describes this book as a "gospel-guided smart bomb scoring a direct hit on our strongholds of emptiness."
The book is divided into three parts: the first part explores the Gospel and God. Part two describes the Gospel and others, and the final part is the Gospel and you. Reading a book like Note to Self is always challenging and convicting. This book in particular will challenge you to implement what you believe into your everyday life. This book will challenge your apathy and confront your stubbornness and pride with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is not often that I read a book that is so well-written but so concise, focused, but yet biblical, deeply theological, and saturated in and by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for the example Joe has given in Note to Self on how to preach the Gospel to myself. I plan on keeping this book on my desk to turn to often.
Note to Self is one of the most important books published this year and perhaps in the last several years in my opinion. I say this because it addresses a topic that is currently undergoing much discussion, and this book will lead that conversation on preaching the Gospel forward in significant ways by causing the discussion to not just be theoretical but now to be aimed primarily on application. Joe Thorn has written the definitive book on "preaching the Gospel to oneself."
Note to Self is a book I encourage every Christian to read. It would be a great gift for any Bible college or seminary student or even one of the elders, deacons or Pastor(s) at your local church. I encourage you to pick up Note to Self and learn how to preach the Gospel to yourself so that you may grow in depth of insight in the glorious truths of the Gospel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."