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on June 4, 2012
Note To Self , The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn is a refreshingly easy to read and digest little work that is long overdue. Written in short, easy to absorb chapters, this one is a winner and should be on everyone's devotional shelf, after it is read, of course. Author Joe Thorn has written this work in a self-talk style that suggests to the reader that we should all be talking to ourselves in a corrective and positive manner.

Consisting of 48 chapters under three major headings, Note To Self covers a wide range of topics wherein we should be telling, or rather preaching, to ourselves Biblical truth. Ranging from love to risk taking to worship and work, we learn or re-learn Biblical maxims that should be at the core of our thinking. We often fail when we fall back into sinful modes of thought that drag us away from holiness and happiness. But Thorn neatly shows us how to preach to ourselves daily in each of these familiar areas of life. Thorn defines this private preaching as, "Preaching to ourselves is the personal act of applying the law and the gospel to our own lives with the aim of experiencing the transforming grace of God leading to ongoing faith, repentance, and greater godliness." So, we should find that, "...preaching to ourselves puts us into a cycle of law and gospel where we move from our guilt and need to God's grace and provision and then back to the law as joyful and free obedience." The result? "Here the broken find hope and courage, for in Christ we have power and victory to obey, and we will, in the end, be raised in his likeness."

He concludes his introduction this way, "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." So, let me challenge you to obtain, read and preach to yourself in the manner described within the pages of this work for your greater joy in Christ. This little tome is well worth your time and effort to further your spiritual growth and well-being. Don't pass this one up.

Thorn, Joe (2011-04-05). Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself (Re:Lit) (p. 24,31 & 32). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.
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on November 8, 2011
Thorn writes in the Intro.: "Let me begin by saying I think we need to talk a bit more broadly about this kind of private preaching. It is not just the gospel we need to preach to ourselves, but law and gospel." Then Thorn proceeds to show us how, chapter by chapter, that is, one "note to self" followed by another "note to self." These notes are a record of a Christian's humble self-examination (in light of the Law) and self-exhortation (in light of the Gospel).

When I received this book in the mail, I had just finished reading John 4 - the chapter on Jesus' interaction with the woman of Samaria at the well. How timely! This incident recounted by the Apostle John is a good illustration of preaching the Law and the Gospel, straight from the mouth of our Lord Himself. When the woman asks Jesus for the "living water" of which He spoke, He asks her to go call her husband as well, which leads to the revelation of her sin. Thus, He confronts her with the Law, and her transgression of it. Upon her tacit admission, He reveals to her the Gospel, that is, reveals Himself to her as the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior who comes to deliver us from the curse of sin.

This, in a nutshell, is what Thorn wants us to do as we preach to ourselves, preferably through journaling since this is the best record of our spiritual insight and growth. We must hold the Law up as a mirror to ourselves, see ourselves as sinners in need of a Savior, then we must look to the Gospel, the good news of our redemption through His life, death, and resurrection.

Each "note to self" is an illustration of this discipline at work day by day.
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on March 21, 2017
This book worked well for me in that it takes very important parts of becoming and being a Christian and breaks them down in to smaller segments that are easy to digest and also to look back on later.
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on July 10, 2011
Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself

"This personal, devotional work is essential to our own health, but also to our effectiveness in sharing the law and the gospel with others." (p. 24)

This book lends itself to be a practical collection of thoughts. Mind you personal does not mean self-centered or self-serving. The various topics are parted in three ways the Gospel and God, the Gospel and Others and the Gospel and You. The short book is made up of forty-eight short pieces perfect for warming up the morning. He approaches the tensions such as we must speak and listen, yet to highlight one, enhances the other. Though there can be no complete separation of the ideas, Joe Thorn does a great job or seeing both sides of a tension through a lens of scripture. More importantly there is a sense of logic to the realistic illustrations to make clear the subject matter.

"You must learn, relearn, and remember your Savior's love and sacrifice for the wicked, the rebellious, the black-hearted--for people like you. And when you see the Holy One's sacrificial love for you, you not only see what love looks like, but also you find strength and power to love like him." (p. 36) Joe writes as a personal conversation between a loving father and yourself that cares for your core convictions. The dialogue desires to stem from or lead to knowing God's story in a beneficial way to encourage and convict one who loves God. "God not only commands you to do this but empowers you to do it, as well. Wherever you are, today you should be the first to move. Initiate for the glory of God and the good of those around you." (p. 80) There is a reason and a hope for the many statements of faith throughout the writing, and this book can be and should be read multiple times to find all it's assets.

Thorn, Joe. Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself. Good News Publishers/Crossway Books, 2011.
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on March 30, 2017
Mercifully short chapters that have a punch and will fill you with conviction. For the intimidated and perhaps self-identified non-reader Christian this book is for you! Get it and prayerfully be challenged to follow the Lord Jesus Christ!
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on May 16, 2011
I will never forget the first time I read the maxim, "Preach the gospel to yourself" in a Jerry Bridges book. What originally appeared counter-intuitive turned out to be an important exercise in humility and a constant reminder of the grace that saved me and enables me to live the Christian life each day - all to the glory of God.

Pastor Joe Thorn writes forty-eight short notes to himself, all designed as a reminder of the ongoing influence and efficacy of the gospel in his life in his new book, Note to Self. What may appear self-serving at first glance, is in the final analysis a gracious gift the church. For Thorn's "notes" are meant to serve all Christ-followers and point them to supremacy and sufficiency of the Savior which culminate in the cross-work of Jesus.

The author draws the boundaries at the outset: "Preaching to ourselves is the personal act of applying the law and the gospel to our own lives with the aim of experiencing the transforming grace of God leading to ongoing faith, repentance, and greater godliness" (p. 23). Well stated and superbly executed throughout the book.

This short work is divided into three parts:

Part One: The Gospel and God

Part Two: The Gospel and Others

Part Three: The Gospel and You

Thorn has left no stone unturned. He relentlessly reminds sinners of their desperate need for grace, forgiveness, and mercy. This work is practical, devotional, thought-provoking, and soul-searching. But most important, this work is cross-centered, Christ-centered, and gospel-centered. While readers are privileged to get an inside look at the author's heart in this biographical devotional, they are at the same time confronted with their need for the gospel in every arena of life. And students of Reformed theology will appreciate the "backdoor emphasis" on the doctrines of grace throughout. New comers to Reformed thought will receive a breathtaking introduction to the doctrinal framework that is finally getting the attention it deserves in our day!

Three cheers for Joe Thorn's, Note to Self. He has delivered the goods in a fresh, creative, and biblically authentic way. This good idea that likely found its genesis on the back of a napkin may well become a best seller in a matter of weeks!

5 stars
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on October 26, 2011
This book exceeded my expectations in every way. The introduction sets things up nicely and each devotional style note brings the reader back to the Gospel for relief. This is great as a personal devotional, couples devotional or as a dinner time conversation starter with family. I find myself going back and looking at particular issues as they come up and our church has recently used it to focus our Sunday night prayer service at different times. Despite the fact that it is somewhat simple (that's the point), I found it to be one of the most refreshing books I've read in the last year.
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on May 29, 2015
I love this book and keep coming back to it again and again as a sort of template for applying the Gospel to my own life. This book is definitely not an end in itself but a great beginning to creating a habit of allowing the Gospel to penetrate my heart and then sharing that impact with those around me. A must read for everyone!
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on August 20, 2015
Need a reminder? This book is good at providing it. It sure opened up some blind spots I wasn't thinking about. If you need to get some spiritual 20-20 vision, this is a good place to start.
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on May 14, 2015
It is so easy as a believer to forget the glorious truth of the Gospel. This book does an excellent job of providing brief, daily reminders of what God has done for us and what He calls us to do. Reading a chapter from this book is a helpful way of starting the day rooted in the truth of God's Word.
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