Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)
My name is Drew Cox. I am grateful for the privilege to be married to my wonderful bride, Tyra. We have been married for three years and four months now. This past July we moved from Louisville, KY where I was attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to Russellville, AR where I now serve as a Pastoral Assistant while also being responsible for teaching youth and college students. My two greatest joys in life come from living life alongside my wife and serving the local church. It has been a joy to see the college students and other visitors, over the past month, come to understand the importance of church membership and then join and serve the church. It an amazing measure of God’s grace that He would grant me Tyra and place us in a healthy, Christ-exalting local church.
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading several books that have been assigned to me for seminary classes. Anthony Hoekema’s Created in God’s Image and Stephen J. Wellum’s God the Son Incarnate are two of my favorite reads for seminary. My wife and I are currently reading through Habits of Grace by David Mathis, a book on spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, and gathering with the local body. We have greatly enjoyed it thus far. A group of guys from the church I meet with for an hour every Thursday are reading through Romans while also reading What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile. In my free time, I am also going through Conversion by Michael Lawrence and Setting Our Affections Upon Glory: Nine Sermons on the Gospel and the Church by Martin Lloyd-Jones.
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
I am about to begin Knowing God by J.I. Packer for the second time. It is one of those books that I just think every Christian ought to read at least once; it is so formative. I refer back to all of the 9Marks Building Healthy Churches series books regularly. Other than the Bible, no other books have shaped my ecclesiology more than these. The Mortification of Sin by John Owen is a phenomenal Puritan Paperback on the importance of killing sin in our own lives. I find myself constantly referring that book to others and going back to it myself. While re-reading books can be very helpful and encouraging, and I do believe that some books need to be re-read, a quote by Spurgeon summarizes my thoughts well, “Visit many good books but live in the Bible.”
What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?
I recently read through George Mueller: Delighted in God by Roger Steer. This was an immensely encouraging look at the life of Mueller and how he is an example to us today of what it looks like to be fervent in prayer and recognize our dependence upon God. I also recently read through A Sad Departure: Why We Could Not Stay in the Church of Scotland by David J. Randall. I’ll speak more on this book in the next question.
Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?
David J. Randall’s autobiographical account A Sad Departure was one of the most formative and crushing, yet encouraging books I have read in recent years. I cannot state its importance or recommend it highly enough. The title, A Sad Departure, serves as a double entendre. It refers to the sad departure of around forty ministers and many other members from Church of Scotland, and it refers to the Kirk’s sad departure from the authority of Scripture which is seen in their decisions on allowing openly homosexual people to serve as clergy in the church. This book serves as a great reminder that Christians are to stand for the Truth, for the authority, infallibility, sufficiency, and inerrancy of God’s Word. Sinclair Ferguson, in the forward of the book, calls A Sad Departure “a heart cry that God would raise up leaders like those from Issachar, ‘men who understand the times, to know what Israel ought to do’” (1 Chron. 12:32).
If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?
- Knowing God by J.I. Packer.
- Living the Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney.
- What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile. Every Christian is called to be a covenanted member of a local church.
- The Pursuit of Holiness By Jerry Bridges.
- The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. A failure to grasp something of God’s holy character will result in a failure to live rightly in a way that honors God as well as a failure to understand the significance of Christ and the cross.
What books have molded how you to serve and lead others in the gospel?
I must say first and foremost that the Bible has molded me infinitely more than any other book. Also, more than books it has been sitting under the right preaching of the Word from men like Bobby Biggers, Marwan Aboul-Zelof, Ricky Massengale, Greg Gilbert, Ben Birkholz (all are elders/pastors of the two churches I have been a member of) and gleanings from conversations with other brothers, older saints, and lay elders of the church that the Lord has used to mold me in ministry. With that said, I offer these books as recommendations:
Discipling by Mark Dever, Lectures to My Students by C.H. Spurgeon, What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile, How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home by Derek Thomas, Evangelism and The Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer, The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes, Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, What is the Gospel? and Who is Jesus? by Greg Gilbert
Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus?
My wife and I recently went through and are still walking through some trying times. Both of us have seen the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, that our God and Father is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, become an immensely encouraging reality. I am a husband striving to lead my wife faithfully in a way that honors Christ and help her flourish in her walk with Him. I am currently working part-time as an educator at a Christian school as 9-12th grade Bible and 7th-8th grade English teacher, I work full-time for the church as Pastoral Assistant, as well as taking online seminary courses. I say all this to say that I am very busy, but that God has been so faithful and has provided me with energy and strength to labor each day. He is steadily teaching me that following Jesus means laying down my life and depending solely on Him. I have been overjoyed by seeing the Lord work in my life, my marriage, and the church over the past few months; and I am learning that as He is glorified in each of these areas, my joy in Him increases.