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Wrestling with our calling in life is a fundamental struggle for just about everyone. Who are we supposed to be? How are we supposed to live? What are we supposed to do? These are all questions many of us grapple with.
Surprisingly, the Samson narrative is one of the most instructive stories for helping us answer these questions. Often touted as a story about muscles, testosterone, and seduction, there is so much more to this ancient account. Employing all the best tools for interpreting the Bible today, Brad Gray unpacks the Samson story anew, giving us fresh insights into the universal callings of those desiring to live out God's fullest design for life.
Number of Pages: 208
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 8 X 5.25 (inches)|
The Top 10 Most Outrageous Couples of the Bible: And How Their Stories Can Revolutionize Your MarriageDavid ClarkeBarbour Publishing / 2014 / Trade Paperback$6.99 Retail:
$12.99Save 46% ($6.00)
Never Beyond Hope: How God Touches & Uses Imperfect PeopleJ.I. Packer, Carolyn NystromInterVarsity Press / 2005 / Trade Paperback$11.99 Retail:
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Bringing Down the House: How Young Men Who Mess Up Their Lives Can Make a ComebackDaniel Whyte IVTorch Legacy Publications / 2011 / Trade Paperback$6.49 Retail:
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Surprisingly, the Samson narrative is one of the most instructive stories for helping us answer these questions. Often touted as a story about muscles, testosterone, and seduction, there is so much more to this ancient account. Employing all the best tools for interpreting the Bible today, Brad Gray unpacks the Samson story anew, giving us fresh insights into the universal callings of those desiring to live out God's fullest design for life. Perfect for personal and small group study, MAKE YOUR MARK will reignite your sense of purpose and stretch your faith so you can find the next step on the journey towards your calling.
"Samson is the perfect archetype for the conflicted superheroes we find in movies today. Despite his supreme strength, he's often hardly heroic in how he fulfills God's calling. What can we learn from his weaknesses? By digging into Samson's life in its ancient context, Brad Gray has excavated much fresh insight for today. I was delighted and convicted by Brad's thoughtful heart, his humor and his passion for studying God's Word in its original time and place."Lois Tverberg, author of Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus and Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus
"Brad Gray provides a rare combination of cultural understanding, geographical context, historical perspective, and biblical insight, making this book a powerful read. The life lessons from Samson's story are clear and highly relevant for today's culture."Kirk Cousins, NFL Quarterback and author of Game Changer
"MAKE YOUR MARK brings three dimensional insights to a mysterious story. The image of Samson has long been that of a muscular one man wrecking crew. By guiding us through the geography, customs, and language, Brad Gray provides a refreshing look at an enigmatic character. In the process, he motivates us to become better stewards of our own calling, gifts, and opportunity."Jeff Manion, Sr. Teaching Pastor, Ada Bible Church and author of The Land Between and Satisfied
"Brad Gray's mighty fine book MAKE YOUR MARK probably should be titled "It Will Leave a Mark" because it will! Over the years, I have had the unspeakable pleasure of teaching preaching to literally hundreds of young men and women all eager to take their place in the long line of preachers who have gone before them. I keep in my mind a list of the "best of the best" I have ever taught, and Brad Gray is on that list. He may actually be at the very top of that list in this particular regard; he is the most relentless studier of the text I have ever taught. He tirelessly turns over every stone in sight to see what is just beneath the surface! What a wonderful gift to once be a teacher of a person who then becomes your teacher! If you read MAKE YOUR MARK like I did, it will leave a mark on you, and you will be better for it!"Dr. Timothy Brown, president and Henry Bast Professor of Preaching, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan
"Brad Gray has a remarkable gift for merging the best tools we use to interpret the Bible today. Here he employs historical geography, the culture of ancient Israel, Hebrew language insights, and a wide knowledge of the Bible to bring to life the stories of Samson that are frequently neglected in the church. His aim is not mere exposition, however. His heartfelt desire is to see these ancient inspired stories find new life for believers and he does it with enthusiasm, humor, and skill. MAKE YOUR MARK is as fascinating as it is inspiring. And particularly for those Christians who may think they've heard it all in the Bible, Brad Gray proves that there are fantastic surprises still to be discovered."Gary M. Burge, Ph.D., professor of New Testament at Wheaton College & Graduate School
Eva P. Scott5 Stars Out Of 5Maybe Your Understanding of Samson's Life is WrongAugust 29, 2017Eva P. ScottQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I remember thinking while reading Judges that God was using Samson's strength to conquer the Philistines. Brad Gray tells us we may be looking at Samson's story wrong.
The stories of people in the Old Testament often showed how people's lives were without endorsing all of the things they did.
Mr. Gray reminds the readers (if they forgot) or tells them (if they don't know) that Samson was a Nazarite from birth. He tells the significance of this:
"Numbers 6 lists three restrictions a Nazarite must adhere to. First, a Nazarite must not consume anything from the grapevine, including wine, or any other alcoholic drink. Therefore, no grapes and definitely no wine. Second, a Nazarite must not cut their hair. Their long hair is a visible identifier of the vow taken before God. And third, a Nazarite is not allowed to be in the vicinity of a dead body. (Page 6 in paperback edition)"
If you have read the story of Samson's life, it seemed that Samson was killing people - a lot. And the Bible mentions God's Spirit coming over Samson a couple of times before he did it. So, I assumed it was God's intention that he conquer the Philistines. Mr. Gray says he believes that because of Samson's calling, he feels the Spirit was doing something else there instead.
The entire story of Samson in Judges tells one after another things that Samson does that breaks his Nazarite calling. The book, though it focuses on Samson's miserable failures, uses them as a jumping off point to teach how our lives should be instead. He talks about humility, what it is is and isn't, and about revenge, as well as forgiveness.
The book gives background information of word meanings in the original language, fascinating facts about the layout of the land, and the paperback version includes maps throughout the book (That is the version that I read). He uses these to show why some of the things Samson did were outrageous.
The author also explains the significance of letting the hair grow long in Nazarites, background history of the culture. It is a very researched book.
This book would be helpful for teaching Samson for a class as a starting off point for lots of discussion, for you to gain more understanding of the culture of the time, understanding the layout of the land in that area, as well as word studies.
Mr. Gray points out that with all of the failures that Samson had in his life, he appears in a list of people who are used as an illustration of faith and why that is important for us today. We can learn a lot from Samson's life, and I learned a lot from Brad Gray.
busyOhioAge: Over 65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5a permanent personal library bookNovember 22, 2014busyOhioAge: Over 65Gender: femaleThis is a very provocative diagram of Samson's life which requires deep thought and introspection.