Many of you have become acquainted with my good friend, Ron from The Old Geezer Blog site. Like many of you I look forward to each of his new posts in order to see what he is "stirring up" now. Ron has a unique knack in supplying us with a humorous "set-up" to the questions he wants to ask or the opinions he wants to elicit. Sometimes these questions are very important and dead serious. Many times they are very, very funny! From time to time I have wanted to teach certain points, other bloggers have asked me specific questions, and some comments have made me want to share more or go deeper. I asked Ron if he would "interview" me as a different means of teaching some important things. He was gracious to do so and has emailed me some questions, he has asked, some others have asked, and some I have found on another site (C. J. McHaney's View From the Cheap Seats.) Here goes our "mock" interview. I hope and pray it gives you some more insight into the dude behind The Gospel-driven Disciples. I also pray it challenges and inspires you to greater heights in your devotion life.
Pastor Gregg, If you don't mind? I have a few questions I would like to ask you.
Please describe your morning devotions? What time do you wake up in the morning? How much time do you spend reading, meditating, praying, etc.? What are you presently reading?
I normally get up about 4:30 AM each morning, including the weekend. I spend approximately 90 minutes in my morning devotional routine. I begin by greeting the Lord (verbally) and thanking him for meeting with me.
I then remind both the Lord and myself that I do not approach him on the basis of any authority or righteousness that I might possess, but I approach him and enter into his presence on the basis of the righteousness of his dear Son and my Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 10:19-25) This page has literally become "dirty" and worn from my use of it each day.
I then spend some time expressing my utmost dependence upon God for every aspect and dimension of my life. I also spend some time expressing thankfulness for every aspect or dimension of my life, i.e. spiritual life, physical life, family life, vocational life, financial life, etc.
I then spend some time reflecting on the wonder of the cross of Christ. I rarely meditate on the physical aspect of Christ's death (in no way do I intend to demean it) I spend time reflecting on the spiritual ramifications of Christ becoming sin, God imputing his righteousness to me and imputing my sin to him. At this time I also preach the gospel to myself. I preach the truths and ramifications of the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be reminded of my acceptance by God in Christ, that I have been fully forgiven and absolved of all guilt, and of all the benefits of the gospel to me spiritually. (I use Milton Vincents, A Gospel Primer, as a guide.
I then read and meditate on the daily devotion contained in Jerry Bridge's Holiness Day by Day. I meditate on this devotion until I can write out in my journal both the theme and application of that day's devotion. (Beginning Jan 1, 2011 I will use John MacArthur's Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol 1.)
I then read the daily reading as I have chosen to read through the New Testament in one year. I mediate on this reading until I can write out the theme and the application in order to integrate it into my life.
I then write out in my journal in the form of a prayer request the information, instruction, and principles I found in reflecting on the wonders of the cross, in Holiness Day By Day, and my daily reading. I now spend time in prayer, confessing my sin, and asking God to implement the theme and application from each above mentioned portion of my devotion into my life.
I then spend some time in worship, usually by reading a Psalm and by either singing or reciting a hymn from the Trinity Hymnal, Baptist Edition.
I then spend time in scripture memorization memorizing the "Fighter Verse" of the week.
I then journal my thoughts, feelings, fears, prayers, and impressions in my journal.
What book(s) are you currently reading in these three categories: (a) for your soul, (b) for pastoral ministry, or (c) for personal enjoyment?
For my soul I am reading Brian Hedges, Christ Formed in You, John MacArthur's Slave, and John Piper's A Hunger for God.
For pastoral ministry I am reading John MacArthur's The Book on Leadership.
For personal enjoyment - I am not reading anything at the moment in this category. For personal enjoyment and a step back from ministerial and devotional reading I am watching the BBC Mini-series called I, Claudius. I love this series dealing with the history of the Roman Emperors from Augustus through Nero from the book by Robert Graves.
Apart from Scripture, what book do you most frequently re-read and why?
Knowing God by J. I. Packer, Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch, and The Valley of Vision, ed. by Arthur Bennett. The first, to just remind myself how important it is to truly know God and not just have knowledge about God, the second because I want to be an effective pastor who honors God and loves his people, and the third because the prayers contained in this book alone are as powerful as scripture to break my pride and illuminate the sin in my heart.
If you could study under any theologian in church history (excluding those men in Scripture), who would it be and why?
Wow! Hmmm it would be between John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, or A. W. Pink. Calvin because of his studious exposition and love for the word, Edwards because of his insights into the character and nature of God, and Pink because of his insignts into God's sovereignty.
What single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?
Pray, Prepare, Plan, and Preach! Be myself and don't try to imitate anyone else. It is the Holy Spirit using the Word that will convict and change someone and not me, my delivery, or methods.
What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your effective use of time?
"What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." (James 4:14) "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time... (Ephesians 5:15) "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, wether good or evil." (II Corinthians 5:10)
Where in ministry are you most regularly tempted to discouragement?
When I see God's precious children fail to appropriate the fullness of the spiritual wealth that is theirs in Christ even in this life time. C. S. Lewis summarized my "area of discouragement" when he wrote, “our desires are not too strong, but too weak. we are half-hearted creatures, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. we are far too easily pleased.” We live lives that are too easily pleased. too often, we rely on possessions and money to satisfy our heart’s desires. advertisers have made a living out of convincing us that the secret to a fulfilled life is the possession of more stuff. But while we are settling for the pleasure of material possessions, is it possible that we are missing out on something better? is it possible that we are missing things that would bring even more satisfaction and more pleasure to our lives? are our lives destined for something greater than material acquisitions? are we settling for something less than the very best?
Currently, what sport do you like to play and/or watch?
I use to play golf, arthritis in both knees has stopped that, so I don't play sports. I am however a die-hard fan of the NFL. I love football! I watch it every week every season as often as I can. I love my Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers win or loose.
What do you do for leisure?
I love to people watch, read, and watch good movies.
If you were not in ministry, what occupational path would you have chosen?
College professor, a Medical Examiner, or an Attorney
Do you consider blogging to be an important part of your life?
I do. It is an avenue of utilizing my spiritual gift of teaching. It is a wonderful release for me.
Would you rather listen to the radio or watch television?
Watch TV. When I want to relax I want to be entertained either with a good book or a good movie. We don't watch many programs actually, my favorite you probably know is Burn Notice. I love a good movie when I want to relax.
What is the most difficult part about growing older?
That I only have one life to give to the service of Jesus Christ and it is an extremely short life. My life is almost over. If I am permitted to live to the "70" mark of Psalm 90, I only have 15 years or so left to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How I lament the wasted time of the last 55 years.