Meet my fascinating friend Grady Van Wright.
In the early 1980s Grady served in the United States Marine Corps in the Surveillance Target Acquisitions Platoon (which is today simply referred to as the Scout/Sniper platoon). During this period Grady served as a part of a multinational peacekeeping force that was sent into Beirut, Lebanon, where—by God’s grace—he survived the infamous bombing of the Marine barracks in October 1983. Seven months after the bombing, while in Okinawa, Japan, Grady came to faith in Jesus Christ. And a little over a decade later he became a pastor.
Grady is now 46 years old and serves as the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church
in Houston, Texas. Grady has pastored for 14 years. He and his wife, Sonya, have been married for 19 years and have 6 children.
Grady, 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 start the morning at about 6:00–6:30am. Sonya and I get the kids up before breakfast and we do our family devotion. We read the Bible together using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible program, which involves reading four chapters a day; two in the morning and two in the evening, from various books of the Bible. My family and I spend 30-40 minutes reading the morning passages together, worshiping, and praying. Later, after breakfast, I normally get to the local coffee shop for my personal devotional reading, which is presently on the topic of heaven. I find that this devotional helps me to navigate through the day with an eternal perspective and to cultivate a more heavenly mind.
What book(s) are you currently reading in these three categories: (a) for your soul, (b) for pastoral ministry, or (c) for personal enjoyment?
With regard to my soul currently I’m reading Heaven: A World of Love
by Jonathan Edwards, published by The Banner of Truth Trust as part of their Pocket Puritan series. Again this goes along with my present devotion to comprehend the joys of heaven. Also, I’m re-reading The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
by D.A. Carson, published by Crossway Books.
For pastoral ministry, The Christian Pastor’s Manual: A Selection of Tracts on the Duties, Difficulties, and Encouragements of the Christian Ministry
compiled by John Brown in 1826, edited by Dr. Don Kistler, and published by Soli Deo Gloria. This book has proven to be an invaluable resource to explore multi-faceted duties of a shepherd. The lists of contributors include men like John Newton, Isaac Watts, Philip Doddridge, John Erskine, and others.
For my personal enjoyment I’ve recently acquired the complete volumes of the old Time Life Series Books The Old West
. I find the personal stories of courage, fortitude, and tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds fascinating, as well as the clear and not so clear delineation between the good guys and bad guys. My only disappointment with the series was that there was not a single volume dedicated to the church’s influence on the old west; such an account would have made for interesting reading indeed!
Apart from Scripture, what book do you most frequently re-read and why?
John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied
. The reason is that I am very aware of my sinful nature and its desire to reassert dominion over my heart. In failures and victories this little book has been a constant reminder to me that “the only righteousness conceivable that will meet the requirements of our situation as sinners and meet the requirements of full and irrevocable justification is the righteousness of Christ.”
When you finish a book, what system have you developed in order to remember and reference that book in the future?
Years ago a computer savvy member of the church developed, using Microsoft Access, a database to help me keep track electronically of quotes, references, etc. However, I understand that there are now programs that are specifically made for that purpose. I certainly plan to look into those.
If you could study under any theologian in church history (excluding those men in Scripture), who would it be and why?
Since the question didn’t have a qualifier, like “if they would have you,” I would have to say Tertullian, the North African second-century theologian, whose most notable contribution was his excellent work on the doctrine of Trinity. A couple of reasons why I would choose to study underneath him would be one, his pursuit of sanctification in a Christian culture living in relative peace and normalcy is very compelling. Two, his solid intellectual prowess balanced by fervent emotion!
Join me next time for the second half of my interview with Grady Van Wright.