No Expert Builders Listed (Nehemiah 3:8,32)

No Expert Builders Listed (Nehemiah 3:8,32)

Have you ever felt under-qualified for a task? Like maybe somebody has got to do something, but you can’t do it because the task is bigger than you or requires more knowledge or training than you have? I can’t imagine what it would have been like had the disciples known up front how Jesus would transform their lives and send them to the utter most parts of the earth with His gospel. Each one would have probably rejected the idea out of hand. No way they could do that, but they could and they would. A little time with Jesus shapes us not into the person we think we are, but into the person he has always intended us to be. As the old saying goes, “He doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”

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Rebuilding the wall in Nehemiah’s day was no exception. What I love most about Nehemiah chapter three is that while we hear about all the folks who put their hand to rebuilding the wall we don’t hear about any that are qualified. We don’t read word’s like carpenter, stone mason, architect, expert builder, or even handy man. Instead we read things like, priest, perfumer, goldsmiths, and merchants. These are the qualified builders who rebuilt the wall! No expert builders are present! God uses all sorts of people!

You may feel like you are in over your head or are playing in a bigger league than you should. You may think, “I’m just a teenager” or “I just don’t have the gifting. What can I do anyway?” The beauty of taking on a God sized task like reaching your neighborhood, school, or city is that God does all the heavy lifting. He puts us in proximity to others whose hearts are stirred and creates movement. In the end it is His call that qualifies you and no matter how good your resume gets, the call will be the only credentials you ever really needed.

The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, The Surprise of Judgment, The Hope of Holy War (Review)

The Skeleton in God's closet I’m a fan of The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War, Joshua Ryan Butler does a fantastic job of leading the reader on a journey exploring three of the controversial doctrines of the Bible. Butler writes to open up a dialogue with contemporary culture and it’s broadly popular misunderstanding of these key doctrines. His writing style is engaging, witty, humble and personable. He has a way of inviting his readers to investigate their own biases, what the bible really says, and how people have understood or misunderstood these doctrines in the past. This is a well written book that could easily have been turned into a shorter three book series. (You get your money’s worth).

Once you understand Butler aims his book at a postmodern mindset it comes into focus. There were a few moments where I pondered, “Why is he going here?” and “What is he about to say?” because he came seemingly close to a different understanding of a doctrinal issue. Thankfully at each point he clarifies his understanding and leads the reader to a biblical appreciation for the doctrine in question.

Over all I thought this was a great book. The author has a brilliant writing style that at times is very poetic. I purchased my copy from amazon.com who has it on sale right now for $12.84 in paperback.

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Daniel 3

Daniels 3 friends find themselves in a bind when the king builds this giant statue of himself and commands everyone to bow down and worship him.  Daniels friends resist knowing that it may very well cost them their lives.  It’s at this point that I want to ask a question.

What if this were to happen today?  What if you were challenged by a world ruler to bow down to a statue and worship knowing that failure to do so would cost you your life?  Would you do it?  Would you resist?  Be honest.  Your response reveals your heart. To be sure it’s not an easy call.  Would you be tempted to bow?

If you would say, “i’ll bow outwardly but inwardly I would still honor God,” you have just played your “life” as the trump card that holds all the power in making your decisions.  You’re statement, though not said with lips, but said with your life would be, “it is better to live serving a false god than die worshiping the real God.”  Your life then is what you love the most.  But now you see the irony, by attempting to preserve your life you have lost it.  Your cowardice now betrays a pocket of unbelief in your life.

So how do you come to the fire believing that God could spare you, but even if He doesn’t He is still God and He is still good? I tell you, you won’t get there by whipping yourself into a frenzy and trying to work up courage.  True courage comes only from trusting the one who faced the greater fire of Hell for you.  You will never be able to love God deeply until you know how deeply he loves you.

Father,

Thank you for loving me even when I was unlovable. Still I am unable to get over the great debt you have paid on the cross for my sin.  Today I walk in freedom and celebrate your glorious goodness.  give me courage to boldly proclaim you to the nations.  I want everyone to know who you are and how freely you save.

Review: “Using Old Testament Hebrew in Preaching”

Ok to be perfectly clear on this and up front.  I do not enjoy Hebrew, but I enjoyed reading this book.  Using Old Tesament Hebrew in Preaching did challenge me to be dilligent in continuing my Hebrew studies as well as give me hope that I might use my Hebrew skills for years to come.  It is a very down to earth, practical and motivating book.  I applaud author Paul D. Wegner for bringing  such a relavent and timely book to my aid when I was doubting the relavance of Hebrew in my future ministry.

The book is made up of five brief chapters that are full of encouragement and motivation for Hebrew students to press on in learning the language.  All along the way Wegner is sure to provide tools, references, and recomendations to support and encourage the student in his or her pursuits.  Above all else, he challenges the reader to press forward in studying and using a language that can be very confusing and tricky (at least to this student).  He does a great job of taking a very large challenge and stripping it to bite sized chunks.

The retail price is $17.99 (Paperback). It is also available at places like Amazon.com for $7.70 (Which is a great deal). I give it 4 stars.