July 8, 2009 by C.J. Mahaney
Categories: Interviews | Reading
Meet Billy Raies.
Billy has served as the senior pastor of Christian Life Center
in Midland, Texas, for 16 years. Billy and his wife, Jan, have been married for 23 years and have three sons: Will (17), Micah (15), and Joshua (11).
So what did his father teach him about pastoral ministry? And in what ways does he struggle with discouragement as a husband, father, and pastor? Let’s find out.
Hello, Billy! 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?
In the words of that “great” theologian Dennis the Menace, “I love the mornings because the day has not been used yet!”
In order to try to use my day well, I wake up anywhere between 5:15 to 7:00, depending on the day.
My morning devotions currently utilize D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God
as well as Anthony Selvaggio’s A Proverbs Driven Life
. Carson’s book helps me in two ways. It helps me see the bigger picture, or the panorama of God’s character and man’s need for God by reading larger chunks of Scripture each day. In addition, Carson helps me focus and meditate on a more specific point of Scripture through the devotional he provides each day on one of the chapters. Selvaggio’s book is helping me spend more thoughtful time in Proverbs as my heart is feeling the weight of the need for much more wisdom as a husband, a dad, and a pastor.
While reading the chunks of Scripture, I try to make a journal note of recurring themes (for about 20 minutes). When I focus on the one chapter of Scripture, I try to spend about half my time reading and journaling about the passage (10–15 minutes), and the other half of my time praying specifically in response to those Scriptures (10–15 minutes). I take the rest of the time (approx. 30 minutes) to pray for my wife and sons, for our church (both individual people and mission), and for specific folks that I have recently met in our community who do not appear to know the love of Christ.
By the time I start “using the day” I hope to do so with a thankful and compassionate heart.
What book(s) are you currently reading in these three categories: (a) for your soul, (b) for pastoral ministry, or (c) for personal enjoyment?
(A) For my soul: Pleasing People: How Not to Be An ‘Approval Junkie’
by Lou Priolo to help me steer clear from the constant snares of the fear of man.
(B) For pastoral ministry: Finally Alive
by John Piper out of concern for the people that live in our region of the country. There is such a skewed idea of what it means to be a Christian and this book is stirring me to be a better steward of the gospel as well as to pray for what best might be called an “awakening” unto salvation for all those who are presumptively saved rather than biblically saved. In addition I am re-reading The Deliberate Church
by Mark Dever to better grasp and implement a healthy church structure in union with healthy church doctrine. I am also reading How People Change
by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp in accord with an ongoing desire to help the church apply the Scriptures to their lives. We want them to be able to put tennis shoes on sound doctrine so that they can run with it!
(C) For enjoyment: The good ol’ sports page.
Apart from Scripture, what book do you most frequently re-read and why?
There are several that I have re-read: Spiritual Leadership
by J. Oswald Sanders. I come away freshly convicted and inspired to guard the deposit that has been entrusted to me through my reading, prayer, associations, use of time, pursuit of humility, discipleship, etc. It is written in a devotional style, is fast moving and helps me quickly remember the many facets of godly leadership.
A Gospel Primer for Christians
by Milton Vincent. This has been such a wonderful little book to help me preach the gospel to myself every day.
Love That Lasts
by Gary and Betsy Ricucci. Since it was first published, this wonderful book has helped keep me more gospel centered in my marriage and counseling.
by Donald Whitney. We just took the church through this study and it has to be one of the most helpful books to re-read so as to promote enduring intimacy with God.
When you finish a book, what system have you developed in order to remember and reference that book in the future?
I don’t have much of a system. I use the margins to create my own “important points outline” to help me recall what I have learned, points of conviction, places where I need to make application, cross ref. Scriptures, highlight quotes and their themes, etc.
Join me next time for the second part of my interview with my friend, Billy Raies.