Nobody But You

ChosenReDiscovered Word 14

Never wait for somebody else to do what God has commanded of you. God never dials the wrong number. He never calls the wrong name.

God found Gideon hiding under a tree, trying to save his wheat from the Midianites. Gideon had a serious inferiority complex. His family was unimportant and he was the youngest one in the family. To make matters worse, the local altar to Baal was in his father’s own backyard! Gideon really lacked the right credentials to lead Israel to victory as a representative of Yahweh.

But God called him anyway. “Go in this strength of yours and deliver Israel,” He said to Gideon. Gideon didn’t miss the irony. What “strength”? This was a weak, fearful, insecure man who was charged with an impossible task.

God never dials a wrong number, though, and He never calls the wrong name. He insisted that Gideon was the man. Not because Gideon was actually The Man, but because God was going to empower Gideon for the job he had to do. Perhaps God chose Gideon precisely because He likes to use the weak and fearful and sinful and insecure people of the world to accomplish His purposes.

God hasn’t called you to save Israel. He probably hasn’t even called you to change the world. He’s called you to be faithful where you are. To share the gospel with those around you, to reflect the character of Jesus, to honor Him in your work, to use your resources for his purposes. All of those tasks are simultaneously simple and impossible, but they’re what He’s called you to do.

We look around and hope there’s somebody better to tell our family about Jesus. Maybe there’s somebody smarter to explain the Trinity to our kids. Perhaps there’s another Christian who can influence our co-workers for Christ, some saint who never struggles with pride or anger or lust or anxiety.

But God called you, not somebody better. God called you, right where you are, to be His ambassador. Whether you impact a few people or a few million is completely at His discretion. And whether you’re successful is completely in His power.

He has called you to obey Him, just as He called Gideon. And He promises you His power, just as He promised it to Gideon.

His Spirit is in you, so you don’t need to be afraid. He hasn’t dialed the wrong number. He meant to call you, and He means to give you what you need to do what He’s asked.

He’s called you to follow Him. Will you answer and obey His commission? If so, like Gideon, you’ll find that He stays with you and gives you everything you need. And you don’t need a replacement. You only need Him.

If you haven’t done so, enter your email address to subscribe: 


 

Tags: , , ,

Ordinary Greatness Bible Studies

Yesterday was an exciting day for me and two of my fellow pastors. We received the first hard copies of our new Bible study series. They are available on Amazon now, and they’ll be available for Kindle on October 30th. The author royalties we receive will go back to the ministry of Grace Bible Church, in order to allow us to grow as a church and to be more effective in communicating the Gospel around the world. Although I rarely (i.e. almost never) engage in this sort of promotion on my blog, I am so excited about this that I had to let you know a bit about these studies.

The series is published by NavPress/TH1NK and is titled Ordinary Greatness. Each of the three studies examines the life of a different biblical character: Gideon, Daniel, and Peter. They are generally geared toward youth and college students, and particularly toward young men. However, we’ve done our best to write studies that are broad enough to be useful to anybody.

If you have ever used any of Grace’s Bible study curriculum, you will find the format of these studies familiar. Each lesson is divided into three sections: Look It Over (Observation), Think It Through (Interpretation), and Make It Real (Application). Our goal is to challenge those who study these characters to dig into the biblical text deeply and to wrestle with how it applies to their lives.

Here are some of the endorsements we received for these studies: 

“A good set of character Bible studies is hard to find. THE ORDINARY GREATNESS series is rich in its engagement with the text and directing users to practical reflection. This is a solid tool for spiritual growth.” — Dr. Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

“Change is inevitable, but the right kind of change is special. God is the agent of lasting change in our lives. This series will help identify the changes God wants to make in you by showing you the changes He has made in biblical heroes.” — Gregg Matte, pastor, Houston’s First Baptist Church

“ORDINARY GREATNESS is a series that invites people to know the Word of God thoroughly, interpret it accurately, and apply it passionately. This is a key resource for anyone looking to break new ground in their knowledge of the Bible and their intimacy with the Lord.” — Timothy Ateek, Director, Vertical Ministries, Waco

“Many studies of biblical characters are designed to inspire and encourage, but this one aims at something different: transformation. By continually driving us back to God’s Word and pointing us to the person of Jesus, the ORDINARY GREATNESS series provides the perfect antidote to the boredom and inward focus of our day.” — John Dyer, Th.M., author of From the Garden to the City

It is our desire that God will use these studies, and more importantly His Word, to transform your life and to make you a more effective servant of Jesus. I hope you will consider using one or all of these for yourself or your Bible study group. Thank you for your continued support, not only of this project but of Grace Bible Church and this blog. It’s a privilege to connect with you each week and also to offer you tools and resources like these.

Tags: , , , ,

Writing Like Madmen

Well, hopefully we’re not writing like literal madmen, but it feels a bit crazy at the moment.

Last Fall, two of my coworkers and I signed a contract with TH1NK, an imprint of NavPress, to write three 8-week Bible studies. The elder board and staff at Grace have been extremely generous in allowing us time to work on this project. Because our church calendar is (technically) slow right now, we’ve pulled away this week to work on the third and final study.

We’re excited about these studies and the potential they have to introduce our church’s approach to Bible study to a new group of students and adults. For many years we’ve been writing Bible studies for use within our congregation (and that won’t change anytime soon), but this is a chance to share what we’ve learned with those outside of our walls as well. Most importantly, we believe that studying the Scripture in-depth is one of the surest paths toward spiritual maturity. We’re hopeful that these studies will facilitate that.

TH1NK publishes material geared toward high school and college students. That age group has always been a key focus of Grace Bible Church, so this feels like a good match. The studies are tentatively slated for release this coming Fall. Here’s a brief summary of each one:

Gideon: From Weakling to Warrior – Based primarily on Judges 6-9, this study examines how God can use an ordinary and fearful man to change the course of history. When we meet Gideon, he’s hiding from his enemies, afraid to take a stand. But through God’s power he becomes a strong and capable military leader.

Peter: From Reckless to Rock Solid – This study examines the life of Peter, one of the most prominent of Jesus’ apostles. Peter was also an ambitious man who assumed that by attaching himself to Jesus he would become powerful and famous. He often made foolish decisions that landed him in hot water. But once the Spirit of God took hold of his life, he transformed into one of the greatest leaders in the history of the Church.

Daniel: Standing Strong in a Hostile World – Daniel and three of his friends were exiled from their home because of the sin of their nation. Through no fault of their own they were forced to serve a foreign king in the midst of a culture that was hostile to their beliefs. Yet God provided them with the faith and courage to stand strong in the midst of hardship and persecution.

Each of these studies will look at how our lives can be similarly transformed through the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

Pray for us as we finish up the third study (Daniel) and deliver it in February. If you’re a college pastor, youth pastor or ministry leader and are interested in considering these for your group, let me know. Once we have copies in our hands, we’ll try to get you one to evaluate.

Tags: , , , ,