Friday, August 10, 2007

keep on reading

Bill Crowder in our weekly chapel at RBC Ministries wonderfully reminded us this week of the Apostle Paul's devotion to reading (that being one thought in Bill's working through of Paul's last thoughts in 2 Timothy). We read from a man who knew that his end was near:

When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

Paul was still reading, even with the probable bad eyesight he had, right up to the very end, still working on this or that matter. Bill reminded us of Herb Vanderlugt who right up to the end of his life was working hard on theological matters that thirty years before he had believed were settled. I remember visiting him a number of times in the hospital towards the end of his life. He was rereading N.T. Wright's three large volumes and would spend the first five minutes enthusiastically talking to me about his reading.

There are so many good authors we ought to be reading today as well as those who are gone. Some today: N.T. Wright, Mirolslav Volf, LeRon Shults, Kevin Vanhoozer, Philip Yancey and Scot McKnight readily come to mind. But there are a host of other good books and writers. Of bygone days there are so many: Augustine and Bonhoeffer are great for starters. But many, many others like G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, deserve our ongoing reading.

I like to work on books and writers that are challenging for life, and make me keep at it the rest of my days. As I heard or read once about Bonhoeffer on one of his books, it's like someone taking a straw to drink from a fire hydrant. Naturally more than we can take in, but like Scripture, which is unique this way, we work on such writings so that we can more and more grow into them in the days we have left.

So read. Reading is my favorite pastime I suppose, though many other things are much enjoyable as well. But reading is something I always like to keep near, even though I don't succeed in accomplishing nearly as much in it as I would like to.

Of course reading Scripture must come first and I take that for granted as I type this post, but we certainly can't take that for granted in our lives.

What part does reading have in your life?


Every Square Inch said...

I think one of the most insightful books written today are from John Piper.

I read Pleasures of God about 12 years ago and it was revolutionary in my life. I've also found Future Grace and Let the Nations Be Glad to be very helpful.

Don't know if you've read his stuff but I highly recommend it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI, I highly respect John Piper as one of God's true servants today. And I've read one of his books in the past- I believe, which I have.

He is a bit too Calvinistic for my theological taste, though in that there is much good, and anyone who is a student of Jonathan Edwards is worth reading.

I really ought to read him more, but am pretty strict about what I read (I can't read all the books from the authors I want to always read, or haven't done so yet) since I lack sufficient time to do so. But thanks for the pointer, here.

brad brisco said...

The power of the written word is very interesting indeed - the thought of how/why words on a page speak to us in different ways and different times. The one current author who is "speaking" to me the most is Dallas Willard.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Brad, Dallas Willard is a great one to read. I've read a number of his books and will do well to read the rest of them. He's a gift to the church, no doubt.

Yes, I recall someone (John Wesley would agree, if he was not the person) say that Christians miss out on alot when they don't read good books- not just Scripture, which it should be taken for granted that Christians do read.

preacherman said...

Reading has a played a big role in my life. I read the Word of God every day. Other books by Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, A.W. Tozer, Max Lucado, and countless others have deeply impacted my faith.

I have 3 sons now. Life is very busy. I take time for God. As a minister I really take time for His word aside from sermon prep. and I enjoy reading to my sons before bed. Sometimes I read them Bible stories. Sometimes I read them, "Where The Wild Things Are", "Green Eggs & Ham", & Other Dr. Suess books, "The Giving Tree", I love stories that give my boys a moral point or something to think about. Since reading to my olderest son. He now loves to read. Now in beginning 1st grade. While in Kinder he was top reader and reading on a 2nd grade level.

Ted, I really enjoy reading your blog when I have a chance. I have been sick with GBS and trying to recover. When I have good days I blog. I read God's word, books, blog. I recieve encouragement from your and challenges my faith, get me to think. I like that about your blog. Keep it up brother! & Keep reading God's word first!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman, It's great to hear from you again. And wonderful to hear about the love for reading you're inculcating into or helping develop in your sons.

And as I remember I'll pray for you with reference to GBS. Just looked it up and it's a new one as far as I remember, to me.

And thanks again, for your kind and encouraging words.

Anonymous said...

you have the love of reading in common with another blogger that i check in on...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, Yes, his blog looks very good. I love his quote on it from Howard Hendricks, something like- all true learning occurs only after one is thoroughly confused.


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

So, do you work for RBC Ministries?

I think I missed on your profile - or perhaps it is not there - what it is you do for a living - how you spend your non-reading, non-blogging time - other than with your family - that part is quite clear - I love the pictures of the "fam" - the height difference makes me laugh - and as your wife does, I have a love of horses - although have not owned any these past 14 years - I do miss riding.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, Susan. RBC Ministries is becoming more liberal in my direction, so I'm more and more happy to work there. Just kidding. But it's a great ministry and I love and appreciate Mart DeHaan and others there. I work on the factory end and would like to do something else.

Deb does love horses. Wish we could afford to have one for her.