The Losers Club: Lessons from the Least Likely Heroes of the Bible (invert)

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9780310262626: The Losers Club: Lessons from the Least Likely Heroes of the Bible (invert)
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We usually think of Bible characters as dressed with their Sunday best―lookin’ good, smelling of accomplishment, and holding the posture of unshakeable faith. We marvel at these “flawless saints” while thinking, “Wow! I’m not worthy!” Hey, not so fast. Believe it or not, the most celebrated people in the Bible were plagued by doubt, bad decisions, and less than perfect reputations. In a word, most were losers! And yet, God had plans that would take them beyond their humble, imperfect lives and dub them proud members of the “losers” club. Losers Club is a real-life look at famous Bible figures such as Moses, Solomon, David, Thomas, Rahab, and others. Each vignette reveals people who struggle with weak faith, confusion, and frustration―people very much like you and me! These stories will help you connect with these flawed heroes, find encouragement in their stories, and get inspired by God’s love and care for “losers.”

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About the Author:

Jeff Kinley is the president of Main Thing Ministries, an organization whose mission is to deepen teenagers, strengthening them to become life-long people of spiritual influence. He lives in Little Rock , Arkansas, with his wife, Beverly, and three sons.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Losers Club: Lessons for the Least Likely Heroes of the Bible CAN GOD USE ME? October 13, 1990, was a red-letter day for the Glascock County High School football team. On that crisp, fall Friday night, the Panthers soundly defeated Long County High 14-0. It was the second time Glascock had beaten Long County that season. But that Friday the 13th proved to be an unlucky day for the team from tiny Gibson, Georgia, as it marked the last time they'd win a game all year. In fact, the Panthers wouldn't win a game the following year...or any in '92, '93, '94, '95, '96, '97, or '98. Thus began the longest losing streak in the history of Georgia high school football. Season after season the Panthers struggled, only to lose game after game. With fewer than 100 boys in the entire high school, the 'pickins,' as they say, were slim. Nevertheless, each Friday night, all 15 players kept giving it all they had. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough. With most boys playing both offense and defense, there just wasn't enough energy in their adolescent bodies to outlast their opponents. They simply couldn't produce a win. The streak swelled to 87 straight losses. Now, imagine if through some miracle of time travel, Moses could step out of the Bible and walk into the Panther locker room after one of those heartbreaking losses. Moses might take a knee, look each one of those teenagers in the eyes, and say: 'Boys, I know exactly how you feel.' Now, you remember Moses. He's the guy who delivered Israel from Pharaoh, received the Ten Commandments, wrote the first five books in the Bible, and courageously led an entire nation for 40 years, ultimately taking them to the Promised Land. If that's the Moses you recall, then your memory serves you correctly. But that was the 'public Moses,' the image his agent might sell to a prospective nation needing immediate redemption. That's the official portrait. You know, the 8 x 10 glossy. There's another Moses. Same guy, just a different season of his life. We know his famous exploits, successes, and accomplishments, but what about his foul-ups, failures, and disappointments? Is it really possible that Israel's redeemer could identify with a group of high school boys? Is it really possible that Moses could identify with us, in our own times of struggle, doubt, and failure? Did Moses ever have a losing streak? Let's take a closer look at this larger-than-life Bible character. BACKGROUND CHECK Moses was born during a difficult time in his nation's history, a time when more than a million Hebrew slaves lived in Egypt. With so many slaves living in his country, Egypt's ruler, Pharaoh (possibly Thutmoses I, or 'King Tut' to us), became very nervous. Concerned about a possible slave revolution, he devised a sinister plan to kill all male newborn babies. (Nice guy, huh?). 'Just throw 'em into the river,' he declared. However, his master plan had one glitch. Jewish midwives assisting in the birthing process feared God more than any human leader, and they were protecting the newborn infants. It was the world's first Right to Life movement. God blessed these women for honoring him in this way, and the Jewish population kept growing. One of those babies was born to a woman named Jochebed. After keeping her boy's birth a secret for three months, she could hide him no longer. So this mother made a difficult decision. She wove a 'boat-basket,' laid her baby inside, and placed the basket along the bank of the Nile River, hoping someone would find her son. And someone did. By 'chance,' while bathing in the river, Pharaoh's daughter found the basket. Feeling compassion for the child, she adopted him and began raising him as an Egyptian. Little is known about Moses' next 40 years, but the Book of Acts tells us, 'Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and he was powerful in speech and action' (Acts 7:22). In other words, Moses received the best education money could buy. An Egyptian education included studying hieroglyphics, mathematics, science, medicine, astrology, the doctrines of Egyptian religion, and interpretation of dreams. Moses probably spoke several languages and was destined for an influential government job in the mightiest nation on earth. He really was the 'Prince of Egypt.' MID-LIFE MURDERER However, later on something began stirring within this Hebrew hunk. Maybe it was a midlife crisis, but Moses wanted to know about his Jewish heritage and identity. Feeling a strong kinship with his people, he decided he'd rather live as a peasant Jew than as an heir to Egypt's treasures. Pharaoh must have thought Moses was crazy. How could he possibly do this, considering all Egypt had done for him? There was only one way. By faith. Moses took a huge gamble on God, choosing to go with his gut feeling instead of Pharaoh's fortune. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26) 'Greater value than the treasures of Egypt?' Hello? Moses, do you realize what you're giving up? Think of all the good you could do for your people as an influential Egyptian politician. But you're throwing it all away for life as a slave! Where's the logic in that? So Moses traded his cool, clean, comfortable bedroom in Pharaoh's fortress for the sweaty heat of a dirty mud hut. Lavish meals, servants, perks, popularity, and pleasure were all yesterday's news. Past tense. History. No more hobnobbing with heads of state. No more luxury, entertainment, or 'easy street.' The tenement tents of Hebrew-town would now replace his bird's-eye view of the pyramids. And to think, he traded it all away for a faint, faded promise that God made to Moses' forefather Abraham hundreds of years before. 'Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.' (Genesis 22:18) Moses had it all, but he gave it up because he believed God would bring salvation through the Jews some day. Some might label him a loser for taking a gamble like that. Later, Moses saw a fellow Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian, and something snapped inside. Pouncing on the man like a desert scorpion, Moses murdered him in rage and then quickly buried the body in the sizzling sand. Unfortunately, news of the murder reached Pharaoh, and a posse was formed. If caught, Moses would surely face a tortuous death...such as being buried alive with thousands of flesh-eating beetles. But let's not go there, okay? Now with a price on his head, Moses fled to Midian, a few hundred miles away. Following his long journey, the 40-year-old fugitive quenched his thirst at a desert well (Exodus 2:15).

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