As I teach through the book of Nehemiah at Awaken, I’m blogging weekly on some of the overflow topics I didn’t have time to dive into in each message.
I was out of town this Sunday (make sure to catch Barnabas Piper’s message), but I had some stuff I didn’t get to share last week.
You can read the other 5 Overflow blog posts HERE.
You can watch or listen to the Unruined series on the Awaken teaching archive.
A wall of single-stacked bricks may go high quickly, but it will be so unstable that it will crumble quickly. If we want to go big, we have to go wide. If we want to go wide, we’ll need a lot of bricks.
In a building, all stones and measurements are based on the cornerstone. 1 Peter says Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone and we are the living stones. We are the bricks in the wall that Jesus is using to build His Church!
Interestingly, the brick making process parallels our lives in many ways. Here are the actual steps to making bricks and the lessons we learn from the process…
Step #1: Mix topsoil and water to create a thick mud.
Things get messy as God turns us into someone He can use. The Bible says we are God’s “workmanship.” We are God’s work in progress. Romans 8:28 says He uses all kinds of unlikely circumstances and obstacles to work together for our good. As followers of Jesus, we are His works of art, and He’s working it all out for our good! The mess will be worth the masterpiece!
Step #2: Knead the mud mixture with your bare feet for four days.
Sometimes life pokes and prods you, often for quite awhile. We are unusable in our raw form, so there has to be poking and prodding to get us into shape. The book of James reminds us to take joy in the trials because they are part of the process of perfecting us.
Step #3: Once it has fermented (after four days of kneading), leave the mixture alone for a few days.
Even when you feel lonely, I promise you are not alone. God knows that like the Israelites leaving Egypt, sometimes the most productive path for us to take is through the wilderness. He hasn’t left you alone in the wilderness or in the valley. He’s right there with you and He’s using those seasons to prepare you for a greater purpose!
Step #4: Pour the mud mixture into molds (the shape of your choosing) and let them solidify in the molds for at least 20 minutes.
We have to be selective with who we allow to mold our lives.
Romans 12:2 – “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (J.B. Phillips)
Remember: the molding process will be uncomfortable because it involves being stretched and squeezed into a new form. Change is good and necessary.
Step #5: Remove from molds and deposit on a drying floor in the sun.
Sometimes God has to turn up the heat to form us into the people He needs us to be. Whether it’s the literal heat of a fiery furnace, or just the fire of our personal trials, God uses them to burn out the impurities in our lives. 1 Peter reminds us that the genuineness of our faith is tested by fire. It hurts, but you’ll be better for it.
Step #6: Let the bricks dry for a week.
All in all, the brick making process is full of pain, time, and heat. It is expensive and exhausting, but you can trust that God is molding you into the person He wants you to be – a vessel of honor, worthy of His use. If you’ll submit to the process, the Master Builder will be able to say, “Hand Me another brick!” and you’ll be put to use for His purpose!