The Blog of Pastor Jude St. John

In The Trenches

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. 

Books I've Read in 2019

    • John Newton by Jonathan Aitken
    • Supernatural Power for Everyday People by Jared Wilson
    • The Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards
    • The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Philips
    • Biblical Theology by Nick Roark and Robert Cline
    • Understanding the Lord's Supper by Bobby Jamieson
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 1 by John Newton
    • Understanding the Congregation's Authority by Jonathan Leeman
    • Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, and Andrew Sach
    • The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Earley
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 2 by John Newton
    • Heart to Heart: Octavius Winslow's Experimental Preaching by Tanner G. Turley
    • The Inquirer Directed to an Experimental and Practical View of the Atonement by Octavius Winslow
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 3 by John Newton
    • Missions by Andy Johnson
    • The Gospel-Driven Church by Jared Wilson
    • Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard
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  • Jan9Mon

    A Year of Reading: 2016

    January 9, 2017 by Jude St. John

    This post is intended to share the books I read this past year. I read a lot by some people’s standards. But then again, I know quite a few people who read more, in some cases considerably more, than I do. Either way, before you see my list of books I thought I would share a few reasons why I intentionally read as much as I do.

    1. I have a big appetite. That is, I really desire to read a lot of books. It doesn’t feel like work when I read and I often find myself thinking about the next book I will open up. I attribute this to God. It seems to me that this is yet another gracious work of his in my life. I didn’t wake up one day and resolve to become a prolific reader; it just happened. I’m thankful for this desire to read and I take no credit for it.
    2. The second reason is aptly summed up with these words from puritan John Flavel, “And even for you that are enlightened in this knowledge [of Jesus], how little do you know of Jesus Christ, in comparison of what you might have known of him.” After many years of minimal reading about all things pertaining to the Christian faith in general, and Jesus in particular, I have a burden (I use that word in a positive sense) to “catch up.” What might I have known about him had I pursued knowledge of Him in a more urgent way since I came to faith in Him?
    3. The last reason (for this post anyways) pertains to one way in which I am very intentional about my sanctification–growth in godliness–and my mortification–putting sin to death; I read to replace other less profitable practices. I quickly found out that if you read a lot of books you don’t have time for hours of surfing channels or websites. I probably still surf the web and Netflix more than I should, but reading theological books keeps my mind and heart occupied with things that Jonathan Edwards says “are of superlative excellency, and are [so] worthy that all should make a business of endeavouring to grow in the knowledge of”.

    I’m hungry to read. I have a lot of catching up to do. I read to fight and to grow. Those are a few important reasons why I read as much as I do. Now, one more brief delay before getting on to the list. It is necessary for me to give a caveat in regards to the number of books I read this year. It is not as much reading as it seems. I read quite a few short books this year. Though the total number of books is more than I have read the past couple of years, the actual word count may well be less than other years. Enough said. Here are the 50 books I read in 2016:

    1. The End for which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards
    2. Philippians: A Mentor Commentary by Matthew Harmon
    3. Sacred Rhetoric by R. L. Dabney
    4. Church in Hard Places by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley
    5. The Things of Earth by Joe Rigney
    6. What's Best Next by Matt Perman
    7. The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
    8. When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
    9. God's Kingdom through God's Covenants by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum
    10. On Being a Pastor by Derek J. Prime and Alistair Begg
    11. Risen by Steven D. Mathewson
    12. Communion with God by John Owen
    13. Sounds from Heaven by Colin and Mary Peckham
    14. To Live is Christ by Matt Chandler and Jared Wilson
    15. The Grand Design by Gavin Peacock and Owen Strachan
    16. Preaching by Timothy Keller
    17. Proclaiming Jesus by Tony Merida
    18. A Peculiar Glory by John Piper
    19. The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson
    20. Discipling by Mark Dever
    21. Theology and Practice of Mission ed. B. R. Ashford
    22. A Camraderie of Confidence by John Piper
    23. Marks of the Messenger by J. Mack Stiles
    24. Understanding the Great Commission by Mark Dever
    25. Understanding Baptism by Bobby Jamieson
    26. The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
    27. Apostolic Church Planting by J. D. Payne
    28. Choose the Life by Bill Hull
    29. Are We Together? by R. C. Sproul
    30. How to Read the Psalms by Tremper Longman III
    31. The Shape and Shaping of the Psalter ed. by J. Clinton McCann
    32. Interpreting the Psalms by Mark D. Futato
    33. Thoughts for Young Men by J. C. Ryle
    34. Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield
    35. The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
    36. The Atonement of Christ by Francis Turrettin
    37. Church Planting Is for Wimps by Mike McKinley
    38. The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever
    39. What Does God Want of Us Anyway? by Mark Dever
    40. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
    41. Do More Better by Tim Challies
    42. Church Elders by Jeramie Rinne
    43. Can I Smoke Pot? by Tom Breeden and Mark Ward
    44. The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis
    45. Making All Things New by Benjamin L. Gladd and Matthew S. Harmon
    46. Understanding Church Discipline by Jonathan Leeman
    47. Glory in the Face by Mike Wilkins
    48. Understanding Church Leadership by Mark Dever
    49. Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray
    50. Faith Alone by Thomas Schreiner

    I would like to call attention to five of the books on this list and one of the authors. The following five books were books that I might label the top books of 2016. I say “might” because there are books, such as Edwards’ The End for which God Created the World or Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied which are not in my “top 5” mainly because they are re-reads. But books like those, and others on the list, are perennial top books. Nevertheless, here are in no particular order my top 5 books of 2016:

    1) Philippians: A Mentor Commentary by Matthew Harmon – an incredibly helpful and accessible commentary which profited me greatly as I preached through Philippians.

    2) Risen by Steven D. Mathewson – the subtitle of this books says it all; “50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changes Everything.”

    3) A Peculiar Glory by John Piper – I will be re-reading this book this year. A very profound and atypical explanation of why the Scriptures can and should be believed.

    4) The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson – this is another book I will re-read this year. It addresses the issue of a believer’s assurance. I need this for pastoral reasons; we all need it for personal reasons.

    5) Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller – a thorough and thoughtful dealing with the subject. This is one I will recommend to unbelievers if they are serious about understanding Christianity’s approach to the topic.

    Finally, one author bears mentioning. I confess to bias in this choice but that can’t be helped because the author is such a fantastic guy. I bestow upon the author of Glory in the Face the label “top author of 2016.” And that prestigious title holder is Pastor Mike Wilkins. The book is a wonderful accomplishment and a helpful and instructive work that I recommend with admiration.

    For any that would like to share their list of books from 2016, I’d love to see them in the comments. Or, alternatively, you could share with me your top books of 2016. What have you been reading?


    On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, Jude St. John said:


    i will read my first book by her this year: None Like Him.


    On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, Barbara Postma said:

    I have loved reading "None Like Him" by Jen Wilkin this year. She is a very easy-to-read writer but not in a shallow "this didn't make me think" kind of way. Her description of ten of God's attributes, and how as humans we try to take on those traits so that we don't need God, and why that is a ridiculous endeavor all adds up to being very helpful in both exalting God and humbling myself. That's a win-win scenario if I do say so myself. Highly recommended.


    On Monday, January 9, 2017, Jude St. John said:


    I'm not sure. I will ask.


    On Monday, January 9, 2017, Kathy Kopac said:

    Great list, thanks! Is the book by Rosaria Butterfeild available in the church library?


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