Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself  -     By: Joe Thorn
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Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself

Crossway / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

We need good preaching-preaching that challenges us by God's Word and brings the comfort that comes from God's promises. Yet many of us rely solely on others to preach to us and are not benefitting from the kind of preaching that should be most consistent and personal-preaching to ourselves.

Note to Self is a practical introduction to this daily discipline. Pastor Joe Thorn delivers fifty brief, devotional chapters that model preaching the gospel to ourselves and its practical implications. Readers will be challenged by the book's direct, personal exhortations to apply the law and the gospel to their own lives. Part of the Re:Lit series.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 128
Vendor: Crossway
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 7.00 X 5.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1433522063
ISBN-13: 9781433522062
Series: RE:LIT

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Publisher's Description

Provides a practical introduction to the discipline of preaching to oneself alongside fifty brief devotionals that will challenge readers to apply the law and the gospel to their own lives.

Author Bio

Joe Thorn (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the founding and lead pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois. He is an active blogger at, a contributor to The Story ESV Bible and The Mission of God Study Bible, and the author of Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself and Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God. He and his wife, Jen, have four children.


Sam Storms (PhD, University of Texas at Dallas) has spent more than four decades in ministry as a pastor, professor, and author. He is currently the senior pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and was previously a visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000 to 2004. He is the founder of Enjoying God Ministries and blogs regularly at


I know of no other book that deals with the issue of preaching to yourself directly, and I can't imagine another book will come along to fill this void better than Note to Self. Pastor Joe Thorn offers a richly pastoral, theological, and practical guide for thinking through the Christian life. After reading Note to Self, you will not only have Joe’s notes on how to preach to yourself on issues related to God, others, and yourself, but also you will have a model for practicing the discipline on your own.
-Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Research

Note to Self is a gospel-guided smart bomb scoring a direct hit on our strongholds of emptiness. But the explosion it detonates is life giving. It clears the way for Christ to enter in with powers of salvation where we really need help.
-Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.,
Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

I am thoroughly engrossed with Joe Thorn's personal meditations on preaching the gospel to oneself. He combines a clear biblical knowledge with an excellent grasp of doctrine from a historical Reformed perspective and is able to press home a rich application of each aspect of truth to the development of personal holiness. These applications are not trite, but arise from knowledge of the church’s best soul doctors. My wife and I have been reading this each evening and have profited greatly. Each chapter can be managed in less than five minutes but provides an evening’s worth of rich reflection.
-Tom Nettles,
Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said that most of your unhappiness is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself. Joe Thorn brings this truth to bear on a new generation in Note to Self. It's filled with pastoral concern and practical advice packaged as brief notes. I've been looking for a book like this my entire Christian life, and it's every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I'm buying a copy for everyone in my church.
-Steve McCoy,
Pastor, Doxa Fellowship; blogger, Reformissionary

Joe Thorn's gift to our spiritual well-being is a contemporary, practical example of what the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter called 'discursive meditation.' At once both convicting and exhilarating, Note to Self is a great resource for cultivating the godly habit of preaching to oneself.
-C. Ben Mitchell,
Graves Chair of Moral Philosophy, Union University

Joe Thorn has not only given us a good piece of writing, he's given us a great idea! Note to Self is a series of brief notes in which Joe preaches the gospel to himself on a wide range of topics. The notes offer memorable insights on our view of God, others, and self. Everyone should write 'notes to self.' Read this book and learn firsthand how to write the gospel into every nook and cranny of your life!
-Jonathan Dodson, Lead Pastor, Austin City Life, Austin, Texas; founding leader, The GCM Collective; author, Gospel-Centered Discipleship

I talk to myself. Joe Thorn wants me to talk to myself more. And I need that. Regardless of one's theological view of Law and gospel, these biblical repasts are a good chew.
-Jim Elliff,
Christian Communicators Worldwide

Joe Thorn is my favorite kind of pastor--a theologian and a shepherd. Even better, he is a serious follower of Jesus Christ. Listen to him 'talk to himself' and you will discover that he is doing more listening than talking. Read Note to Self and it will help you to hear God's Word and discern the gracious moving of his Spirit in your own life.
-John Koessler,
Professor and Chair of Pastoral Studies Department, Moody Bible Institute

Joe Thorn has written a series of devotions that are concise and clear but also profound and penetrating. This is just the sort of resource that frazzled and frayed people (like this pastor!) need to read to come back to center and be refreshed by the wonder of the gospel and the beauty and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Chris Brauns,
author, Unpacking Forgiveness; Pastor, The Red Brick Church, Stillman Valley, Illinois

Note to Self teaches you a skill that will permanently change your life: the skill of preaching to yourself. This is a forgotten habit in our day, and Joe Thorn winsomely models how to resurrect this lost art. Note to Self models what I want to see more of in my life and in the lives of the people I pastor. Practice what this book preaches and your life will be different.
-Justin Buzzard,
Lead Pastor, Garden City Church, San Jose, California; blogger, BuzzardBlog

It's not enough to simply call people to the gospel. We must help them make the connections between the gospel and their everyday living. Joe Thorn's Note to Self is gospel proclamation and application at its best. I will put this in the hands of my people.
-Daniel Montgomery, Lead Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, Kentucky

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
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4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
4.9 out Of 5
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Meets Expectations:
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 9
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  1. Seattle, WA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Powerful and life changing
    April 20, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    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.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    I'll be reading this again
    February 28, 2012
    Walter Walkowski
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    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.
  3. Colorado
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    February 3, 2012
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    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.
  4. Shawnee, OK
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    December 29, 2011
    David Shaw
    Shawnee, OK
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    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.
  5. Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Gospel-Guided Smart Bomb
    June 1, 2011
    Dave Jenkins
    Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    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."
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