The Blog of Pastor Jude St. John
One of the things I love about football is its applicability to life. So much of what happens on the football field corresponds to our experience of living. And in particular, one can draw many parallels between the game of football and our life of faith in Jesus Christ. Most of my years playing football were played “in the trenches.” That is, I was an offensive lineman who plied my trade on the line of scrimmage. That no-man’s-land of much physical violence between opposing forces which derives its name from the battle situations of the World Wars. That place which seems, as often as not, to be an experience much like our lives. I hope to communicate with you a few things that will hopefully be of some help as you fight the good fight of faith. And since I am in this battle too, you might consider that I write these thoughts as I live my life for God in the trenches.
Jan3ThuJanuary 3, 2019 by Jude St. John
At the beginning of each year for 9 years I have blogged about the reading I did the previous year. You can read those other posts here: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017. And now I am at it again.
My reading this past year was a bit frustrating. I managed to read plenty, but my reading always seemed rushed and haphazard. I need to do a better job of carving out time—quality time—to read and reflect and hopefully respond, reform, and be revived. Busyness doesn’t help, but neither does Netflix or Words with Friends. I intend to be more disciplined in 2019, but more on that in a subsequent post.
If you’re wondering why I write about what I have read, let me be so bold (and lazy) as to quote myself from an earlier “A Year of Reading” post:
"First, it is a means of holding myself accountable. I value reading and intend to make it an integral part of my life. By making my reading life public, I can allow people a glimpse into one of the disciplines of my life.
Second, I hope for my reading history to be an encouragement to others. Though I know many others who read much more than I do, nevertheless, my year-long record of reading often surprises people in terms of what is possible if reading is a priority. I think that if I can share some of my successes with reading, that other busy people will be encouraged to read more. And that, in my estimation, would be a good thing.
Third, to give glory to God. It is by grace that we read, desire to read, learn from our reading. The fact that my life allows me time to read, and that I have the faculties to do so, are nothing more than gifts from God to a person who has done nothing to deserve such favour."
Here is my list of books I have read in the past 12 months:
- ESV Bible by God via various authors
- Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing by Jonathan T. Pennington
- Preach Well by Darryl Dash
- Prayer by John Onwuchekwa
- Defining Deception by Costi Hinn and Anthony Wood
- How to Grow by Darryl Dash
- How to Understand and Apply the New Testament by Andrew Naselli
- Christ from Beginning to End by Trent Hunter
- The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges
- God and Politics by Mark Dever
- When Harry Became Sally by Ryan T. Anderson
- Expository Exultation by John Piper
- Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne
- Spiritual Gifts by Thomas Schreiner
- Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet
- The End of the Law by Jason Meyer
- Four Forty-Four by Mike Wilkins
- Practicing the Power by Sam Storms
- Learning Evangelism from Jesus by Jerram Barrs
- Conscience by Andrew Naselli and J. D. Crowley
- No Quick Fix by Andrew Naselli
- Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage by Jim Newheiser
- Missions by Andy Johnson
- Work and Our Labor in the Lord by Jim Hamilton
- The Cross of Christ by John Stott
- The Death of Christ by James Denney
- True Worshippers by Bob Kauflin
- Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson
- The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor by D. A. Carson and John Piper
- Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley
- Conversion by Michael Lawrence
- God's Glory Alone by David VanDrunen
- Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
- Revitalize by Andrew M. Davis
- The Imperfect Disciple by Jared Wilson
- The Story of Everything by Jared Wilson
- God the Son Incarnate by Stephen J. Wellum
- The Lost Letters of Pergamum by Bruce W. Longnecker
- The Barnabas Factors by J. D. Payne
- On Revival by Jonathan Edwards
As I reflect on my reading, a few things occur to me:
Dead guys – there probably aren’t as many dead authors on this list as there should be. Edwards, Denney, Stott, Bridges, and Lloyd-Jones represent some excellent books that have passed the test of time. A few more classics at the expense of a few less new books would be an improvement.
New authors – this year I read numerous authors I had not read before: Wilson, Davis, VanDrunen, Johnson, Newheiser, Naselli, Barrs, Emlet, Wilbourne, Anderson, Bridges, Hunter, Pennington, Dash, Onwuchekwa, Hinn, and Wood are all authors I read for the first time in 2018.
Newbie necessity – Being relatively new to this pastoring thing, I found myself reading books for the very practical reason of needing to know things about certain topics to perform my job faithfully. I would include in the list of books I chose for very pragmatic reasons related to ministry the following: God and Politics; When Harry Became Sally; Descriptions and Prescriptions; No Quick Fix; Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage; Missions; Revitalize; and The Barnabas Factors.
Small books – I continue to be edified by clear, concise books on various topics. The Building Healthy Churches series from 9marks and published by Crossway are excellent. These include Conversion, Mission, and Prayer. Another outstanding small book was Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet. I recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about psychiatric diagnoses and medications from a biblical perspective. Preach Well by Darryl Dash in another shorty that I found helpful for those interested in preaching.
Sentimental – There is one book by a dead author on the list I didn’t mention earlier: Four Forty-Four by Mike Wilkins. I received a copy of Four Forty-Four from Mike’s family—his wife Deb and children Jessica, Ben, and Joanne—after he went to sleep in the Lord. I treasure this book from my mentor and the man who entrusted his flock to me.
Forsaken Fiction – I am a little embarrassed there are no works of fiction on my list; another misstep I hope to remedy this year. At the very least, a guy can find time to read a Shakespeare play or two!
I intend to follow up this blog post with another on my top books of the year as well as my reading plans for 2019. Until then, I’d love to hear what you read this past year; let me know in the comments.