I wrote Note to Self (2011, Crossway/ReLit) to help others develop a theological understanding and real-life practice of the discipline of preaching to ourselves. It's a short read that includes an excellent foreword by Sam Storms on the functional authority of God's word. Believe me, his contribution alone is worth the price of the book. In the Introduction I spell out what it means to preach to ourselves and note the difference between law and gospel, emphasizing the need to preach both. What follows are 48 chapters which are designed to be daily readings that encourage and model the discipline of preaching to yourself. If you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
You can order Note to Self just about anywhere online, but I would encourage you to check out Amazon or Westminster Bookstore. And, of course digital versions of the book are available as well: Kindle, iBook, etc.
Endorsements for Note to Self
“I am thoroughly engrossed with Joe Thorn’s personal meditations on preaching the gospel to oneself. He combines a clear biblical knowledge with an excellent grasp of doctrine from a historical Reformed perspective and is able to press home a rich application of each aspect of truth to the development of personal holiness. These applications are not trite, but arise from knowledge of the church’s best soul doctors. My wife and I have been reading this each evening and have profited greatly. Each chapter can be managed in less than five minutes but provides an evening’s worth of rich reflection.”
-Tom J. Nettles, Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“I know of no other books that deal with the issue of preaching to yourself directly, and I can’t imagine another book will come along to fill the void better than Note to Self. Pastor Joe Thorn offers a richly pastoral, theological, and practical guide for thinking through the Christian life. After reading Note to Self you will not only have Joe’s notes on how to preach to yourself on issues related to God, others, and yourself, but you will also have a model for practicing the discipline on your own.”
-Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Research, edstetzer.com
“Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said that most of your unhappiness is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself. Joe Thorn brings this truth to bear on a new generation in Note to Self. It’s filled with pastoral concern and practical advice, packaged as brief notes. I’ve been looking for a book like this my entire Christian life, and it’s every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I’m buying a copy for everyone in my church.”
-Steve McCoy, Pastor, Doxa Fellowship; blogger, Reformissionary
“Joe Thorn’s gift to our spiritual well-being is a contemporary, practical example of what the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter called ‘discursive meditation.’ At once both convicting and exhilarating, Note to Self is a great resource for cultivating the godly habit of preaching to oneself.”
-C. Ben Mitchell, Graves Chair of Moral Philosophy, Union University.
“Joe Thorn is my favorite kind of pastor—a theologian and a shepherd. Even better, he is a serious follower of Jesus Christ. Listen to him ‘talk to himself’ and you will discover that he is doing more listening than talking. Read Note to Self and it will help you to hear God’s word and discern the gracious moving of his Spirit in your own life.”
-John Koessler, Professor & Chair of Pastoral Studies Department, Moody Bible Institute
"Note To Self is a gospel-guided smart bomb scoring a direct hit on our strongholds of emptiness. But the explosion it detonates is life-giving. It clears the way for Christ to enter in with powers of salvation where we really need help."
-Ray Ortlund, Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, TN.
It’s not enough to simply call people to the Gospel. We must help them make the connections between the Gospel and their everyday living. Joe Thorn’s Note to Self is Gospel proclamation and application at its best. I will put this in the hands of my people.
-Daniel Montgomery, Lead Pastor, Sojourn Community Church
“Note to Self teaches you a skill that will permanently change your life: the skill of preaching to yourself. This is a forgotten habit in our day, and Joe Thorn winsomely models how to resurrect this lost art. Note to Self models what I want to see more of in my life and in the lives of the people I pastor. Practice what this book preaches and your life will be different.”
-Justin Buzzard, Lead Pastor, Garden City Church, San Jose, CA.; author, BuzzardBlog.com
“Joe Thorn has not only given us a good piece of writing, he’s given us a great idea! Note to Self is a series of brief notes in which ‘Joe’ preaches the gospel to himself on a wide range of topics. The notes offer memorable insights on our view of God, others, and self. Everyone should write ‘notes to self.’ Read this book and learn firsthand how to write the gospel into every nook and cranny of your life!”
-Jonathan Dodson, Lead Pastor, Austin City Life, Austin, Texas; author, Gospel-Centered Discipleship
“I talk to myself. Joe Thorn wants me to talk to myself more. But bad grass makes the cow sick, so Joe improves my cud by turning me to the Bible itself. I need that. Regardless of one’s theological view of Law and gospel, these biblical repasts are a good chew.”
-Jim Elliff, Christian Communicators Worldwide
“Joe Thorn has written a series of devotions that are concise and clear but also profound and penetrating. This is just the sort of resource that frazzled and frayed people (like this pastor!) need to read to come back to center and be refreshed by the wonder of the gospel and the beauty and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
-Chris Brauns, author, Unpacking Forgiveness; Pastor, The Red Brick Church, Stillman Valley, Illinois