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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  • Jan2Mon

    What’s Your Reading Plan for 2017?

    January 2, 2017 by Jude St. John

    In the very near future I plan to blog about my reading from last year; the books I read, the best of the bunch, some thoughts about the year. But before I do that, on this second day of 2017, I wanted to ask you a question: What are your reading plans for 2017?

    Reading plans? What’s all this about reading plans?

    I’m glad you asked!

    Here are some tips I posted last year, when I reviewed my reading from 2015, in regards to reading more books in a calendar year:

    • Always have a book with you. This is easy in the digital age.
    • Have a specific goal in mind. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
    • Redeem wasted minutes throughout the day. There are many 10-15 minute blocks of usable time throughout the day in which reading would be a great activity.
    • Keep a record of everything that you read. This will encourage you!
    • Limit your entertainment intake. More screens usually equates to less books read.
    • Get recommendations by people you trust. Reading great books is easier than reading lousy ones.
    • Read to glorify God. Because God.
    • Read several books at once or only one at a time. I’ve found that either of these may be helpful.
    • Read a book on why reading is so important. Two birds with one stone.
    • Read books around a theme that interests you. I am in a “books about preaching” phase and my excitement about preaching encourages me to read more.

    The second tip–have a specific goal in mind–is part of a reading plan. As is “read books around a theme that interests you.” These are aspects of what might become, hopefully, your reading plan.

    Let me give you my reading plan for 2017 in the hopes that it clarifies what I mean by “a reading plan.”

    I intend to,

    1. Begin the year with a book by Jonathan Edwards. (This year I have already begun On Knowing Christ.)
    2. Read the 6 volumes which comprise The Works of John Flavel.
    3. Read the 4 volumes which comprise the Collected Writings of John Murray.
    4. Re-read, from 2016, A Peculiar Glory by John Piper and The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson.
    5. Read some of Shakespeare’s plays.
    6. Read a total of 40 books.

    That is my plan. But don’t let it intimidate you if it looks like it is way more than think you’d like to plan for. A reading plan can be very simple: “I want to read 10 books this year” or “I’d like to spend one hour a week reading.”

    But here is the thing I’m encouraging you to do: have a plan. I believe that having a plan, any plan, will help you read this year. And I think that is important. Of course, reading THE book, the Bible, is the mostest important book to read this year. Do that. But additionally, it is important to read corollary books about our faith. Read books about theology, Christian living, apologetics, whatever, because this can be a very helpful action as you walk with Christ this year. I’m not the only one who thinks this. For instance, so does Jonathan Edwards (as I have learned in my first book of 2017).

    In On Knowing Christ, a collection of sermons, Edwards writes, “Every Christian should make a business of endeavouring to grow in knowledge of divinity” because “there can be no spiritual knowledge of that which there is not first a rational knowledge.” Edwards doesn’t leave us alone with this exhortation to “grow in knowledge.” He gives us specific steps, one of which is to “procure, and diligently use, other books which may help you grow in this knowledge.”

    So there you have it. Even Jonathan Edwards thinks you should read. Having a reading plan will help you do that very thing.

    So, what is your reading plan? I’d love to hear it. Maybe you could even post it in the comments section. Either way, have a plan for 2017. And then read.


    On Monday, January 2, 2017, Jannie Ensing said:

    Thank you for your encouraging us to make plan, I do want to read the Bible for sure, 3 times the NT and once the OT. Also like room read books that are easy to follow, love Jonathan Edwards, do you have some suggestions which would help me in knowledge of Jesus more. Is the one you are reading easy to follow or some others. I do like the one you gave me on the psalms by T. Keller. Can you please give me a few Ideas? Thank you so much Jude.


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