Molded Clay

May 02

Tower of Babel - Bodie Hodge

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This book is an excellent resource for those who want to learn more about the account of the tower of Babel as well as the events leading up to and occurring after it.  It is broken down into thirty bite-sized chapters that address many common questions, as well as many questions you didn’t know you had until you read the table of contents.  Some of these include:

- Were Noah’s Three Sons Triplets?

- Was the Pentecost a Reversal of What Happened at Babel?

- Was the Tower of Babel Build or Not?

One important thing to note is that this was written with a creationist (non-evolutionary) mindset.  If you agree with the author, or if you disagree but are able to see past this, then I suggest this as a great read.  However, if you prefer not to read something with this overt slant, then I recommend picking up a different resource on the subject.

Furthermore, the author does at times get up on a soapbox on issues dealing with creation vs. evolution that appear to have no relevance to the question at hand.  However, the amount of information that is packed into these pages is well worth the occasional diatribe.  The extensive research that went into producing this book, particularly in regards to the genealogies and subsequent formation of nations, is worth the price of this book.

One particularly interesting and novel concept discussed was the origin of Roman and Greek mythologies.  Hodge describes their history and shows just how they link back to ancestral accounts in the Bible through their similar backgrounds, feats, and nomenclature.  One such account would be the Samson-Hercules connection.  In order to see how that connection is made, you will have to read the book.  :)

However, in understanding how men become projected as being immortal, Hodge explains:  “Consider how people look at their ancestors when a great-great-great grandfather outlives his descendants.  It is not too difficult to see how people would start elevating their ancestors to a status of “immortal.”  They still died; they just outlived everyone else.  But the people elevated them to a god-like status.  Around the time of the judges in Scripture, we start to see more even ages and so the idea of immortals would pass into myths and legends in other cultures.”

Worldview aside, I think that this is an amazing resource depicting the tower of Babel and the subsequent formation of nations.  I would recommend to anyone looking for an easy, but in-depth look into this historical account.


Additional Resources:

Purchase Book:  Here

Watch Video Book Trailer:  Here

Read Other Reviews:  Here

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Master Books, a division of the New Leaf Publishing Group.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, and all excerpts are taken from the book reviewed unless noted otherwise.

Apr 24

Ephesians - Sue Edwards

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As always, this is yet another excellent study by Sue Edwards.  For those unfamiliar with the “Discover Together” series, Edwards designs each of her studies with the ability to be completed at three different depths, which the participant can choose based on her interest or availability during that week.  The great thing is that whatever level you choose in the beginning doesn’t set you up for the rest of the series.  If you have more time available the first four weeks, but then life gets hectic the next five, then you can choose the best depth each week to suit your varying time constraints.

Additionally, this updated series contains links to videos roughly five minutes long within each chapter.  This is wonderful as it allows a small group to have the best of both worlds:  the visual appeal and group learning gained in a video series, as well as the structure and depth achieved with a book study.

I strongly recommend this study, as well as any others in the “Discover Together” series to any small groups looking for an excellent resource.  Sue does a great job digging deep and shedding light on ideas and issues that you may not have discussed or thought above previously.

Additional Resources:

Meet the Author:  Here

Order the Study:  Here

Join the Online Bible Study:  Here

Read Other Reviews:  Here

Disclaimer:  I was given a free copy of this book by the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, and all excerpts are taken from the book reviewed except when noted otherwise.

Apr 01

The Gospel Centered Woman - Wendy Alsup

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"We are called to show compassion, to support, defend and protect those in our care, to deliver from distress and to comfort.  We are called to be conduits of God’s grace in our homes.  We are called to be like Christ."

This book was a very easy read.  Instead of choosing to explore one’s character using the virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman or espousing the value of submission and respect found throughout Christian literature, Alsup approaches it through a difference lens.  She looks at it through the viewfinder of the gospel.  While all of these topics and virtues are discussed in the book, she demonstrates that it all comes back to Christ’s death and resurrection and re-frames our perspective accordingly.

There are so many great takeaways hidden throughout the book and little nuggets to ruminate on throughout the next week.  Nuggets such as: “Godliness with contentment does not mean pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.  The gospel does not obligate you to contentment.  It equips you for contentment.” and, “Worldly sorrow is characterized by feelings of shame, pain, or embarrassment that you got caught in sin.  In contrast, godly sorrow is sorrow that directs you to Christ.”

While this makes for a great read straight through, I recommend doing one chapter each week as a part of a women’s bible study.  This way you will benefit from multiple perspectives on each topic, as well as provide you time to mull over the take home messages rather than rushing past.

Additional Resources:

Learn About the AuthorHere

Purchase Book:  Here

Read Other Reviews:  Here

Disclaimer:  I received a a free copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, and all excerpts are taken from the book reviewed unless noted otherwise.

Mar 23

Galatians for You - Timothy Keller

Tim Keller is an incredible pastor and writer who is very skilled in being able to deliver his message in such a way that it captivates you immediately and quickly draws you in. Galatians for You is written for those with all varying levels of knowledge and is guaranteed everyone will be able to glean a few new tidbits of knowledge from this great study.

This resource is especially great for those who are looking for a great study on Galatians but are maybe new to their faith and the thought of picking up an ordinary commentary intimidates them. Keller does a fantastic job easing these fears by writing in such a clear, unassuming manner without writing as if you were already aware of big theological words such as “substitutionary atonement”. In fact, he goes so far as to mark the first appearance of each theological word in gray and includes its definition in the glossary in the back.

Additionally, Keller does an excellent job of using everyday illustrations and word pictures to make his point, which allows the reader to further identity with the point being made and to increase the likelihood of recall in the future.

I would recommend this book to everyone, especially those less theologically driven who want something more to the point and easily digestible.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book as part of the Cross Focused Reviews program. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, and all excerpts are taken from the book unless noted otherwise.

Mar 17

Your Beautiful Purpose - Susie Larson

Larson’s book isn’t so much telling you what your purpose is, as it is about trusting God’s timing and looking to Him for what your purpose may be.  She provides an excellent road map for navigating your way through uncertain times and how to focus and hone in on exactly God’s calling for your life.  As she states in her book, an un-appointed work is an unanointed work.

Her chapters discussing the four seasons in life (Run, Rest, Stand and Active Waiting) were particularly insightful.  I would assume that many of us are interested in this book not because we find ourselves in the “Run” season - a time of favor and excellence - but rather because we find ourselves feeling stuck in one of the other three.  She walks us through what temptations to expect during each season as well as the accompanying high ground in each.  I found these sections to be very helpful as they not only discuss and provide reasons for why were encounter such seasons but she also shows ways through them and how to best utilize the season we are currently living in.

I especially liked the very thorough study guide and discussion questions that were presented at the conclusion of each chapter.  These would make for excellent material to be done either as a personal study or in a group setting.  The questions were very probing and thought provoking, and provided excellent food for thought for personal reflection.

I would recommend this book to those who are looking for understanding as to why they are currently in their particular “season” of life, as well as those who are looking to make the best of the current circumstances they find themselves in and are looking to understand God’s current purpose for their life.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, and all excerpts are taken from the book reviewed unless noted otherwise.