Book Of The Term: ‘Note To Self’

We try to always have great books on the bookstall all year round.  But each term we single out one book which we’d encourage everyone to check out.

The book of the term for Spring 2013 is Note To Self by Joe Thorn.

This is a fantastic little book.  Really encouraging.  Really helpful and practical in the everydayness of being a Christian.

It’s very easy to come to church on Sundays and go to Connect Group midweek and hear lots of great and true things.  But sometimes I wonder about myself, how deeply has that truth sunk in?

We need to take the truth of the gospel and apply it into every nook and cranny of our lives.

We try to do that through sermons which try to hit on big life issues.  Through Connect Groups where we can challenge and encourage one another through conversation over an open Bible.

But wouldn’t it be great if we also took those things we’re learning and preached them to ourselves?

Here’s how Joe Thorn puts it in the introduction (p32):

“Preaching to yourself demands asking a lot of questions, both of God’s Word and especially of yourself.  You will have to ask and be honest about your motives, struggles, and needs.

You will need to clarify to yourself what God’s law means in principle, but also what it requires specifically of you.  You will need to ask how the gospel meets your needs and heals your brokenness.

To preach to yourself is to challenge yourself, push yourself, and point yourself to the truth.

It is not so much uncovering new truth as much as it is reminding yourself of the truth you tend to forget.”

I have found this book to do just that.

Being a full-time minister, I spend a lot of my time looking at the Bible, thinking about the gospel, and even how the gospel applies to us!  But still this book convicted me of things, reminded me of things, and challenged me to rest more deeply in what Jesus has done for me.

Perhaps you struggle to see how the gospel is relevant to normal life.  Maybe you just really want to grow in godliness and want more help working that out.  Note To Self is just the book to help you.

Perhaps you don’t think you’re much of a reader.  One of the best things about Note To Self is just how readable it is.  There are 48 chapters and each of them is just 2 pages long.  It’s a really easy read!  Perfect for a little bit every day.  Something small to chew on.

The book is split into 3 parts: the gospel and God, the gospel and others, and the gospel and you.  Under each section there are a load of these bite-sized chapters on different issues.  Chapters include:

Jesus is big,
Jesus is enough,
Seek God,
Stop judging,
Love your wife,
Love your husband,
Honour your parents,
You can’t make it alone,
Suffer well,
Take risks,

In all these things, we get a Bible verse or two, then a wonderful encouragement to live in light of the gospel.

Each chapter is written as a ‘note to self’, as if it’s you saying these things to yourself.  This gives the whole thing a refreshingly different feel to a lot of books, and makes what it says even more striking.

Having said it’s an easy read, Note To Self is also a very challenging book.

The chapter called ‘Wait For Jesus’ starts like this (p60):

“Dear self,

What is your greatest hope?  Your deepest longing?  Is it for Christ to return?  Be honest.”

It’s those kinds of things which I know I need to hear.  “Be honest.”

This isn’t a book which bashes you with loads of stuff you need to do.  Far from it!  It bangs on and on about what Jesus has done for us.  And shows how this wonderful news should apply to us day by day.

One of the great things about this book isn’t just the great stuff it says, but the way it helps you get into the mindset of deeply applying the gospel to yourself long after you have finished the book.

I really strongly recommend it.

‘Note To Self’ by Joe Thorn is Emmanuel’s book of the term for Spring 2013, and can be purchased at a special discounted price of £5 from the church bookstall.