“Great Exposition and Application”
My familiarity with the book of Nehemiah mainly stems from my childhood church's building campaign, and I read "Nehemiah For You" with one of the "Let us rise up and build" fundraising bookmarks my dad made in the late nineties. However, even though I felt like I knew the story well, it had been years since I had actually read it, and this book inspired me to go back and revisit Nehemiah, reading chapters before reading the associated sections in this book. I appreciated Eric Mason's clear explanations of some of the more complex historical and cultural elements of this Bible book, and he draws out great applications for how Christians can apply core themes from Nehemiah in their churches and communities.
Mason writes with a realistic, boots-on-the-ground perspective about church ministry and community renewal projects, sharing some examples from his pastoral ministry in an urban church. He emphasizes both the internal and external changes that were necessary for repentance and healing in Nehemiah's context, and he shows how these core themes apply to current issues today. I appreciate how well he balanced writing about both personal holiness and social justice, addressing both as essential without emphasizing one over the other.
"Nehemiah For You" is a great resource for pastors who are planning to preach through Nehemiah, especially if they feel uncertain about how to handle the social justice themes without watering them down or overly politicizing them in today's cultural context. This book would also be a great selection for Bible studies, personal reading, and family devotions with older children, especially when people are going through phases of vision-casting, project management, and communal renewal.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.