Blogtember: Everyday Christmas

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St. Augustine

Today’s blogtember challenge is all about what is on our wishlist.  Goodness…my mister knows that I always have a running list of things that I want, but that aren’t in the budget.  So, that makes it perfect for him or anyone else just to surprise me with a gift anytime!

So, I’ve separated them into categories:


This clear umbrella for photo shoots.

Any beautiful creations from this NC studio for food photography.

Wooden utensils from this craftsman.

Since these are my favorite, I think I need them in every color.



This journaling Bible.

The new book by Sally Lloyd Jones.

To learn more about food photography – this helpful read.


Gift Cards from the following: Target, Ann Taylor, JCrew, or Fransesca’s

From the online world – anything from the following: Kristin Schmucker, Rifle Paper Co, or 9th Letter Press (you gotta love those Winter Park gals)


Traveling and Conferences:

TGCW registration and travel and babysitters

This food photography workshop in the BVI in January

This creative and business workshop either in Annapolis or Denver

A second honeymoon anywhere with my mister for a week or two.



Multi-Generational Women’s Ministry

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Take a look around your church next time you are there?  What do you see?  Hopefully, if you are in a typical (and healthy church IMHO) you will see women of all ages: you’ll see women with blond hair that includes a pink streak.  You’ll see women who are tired and weary from life walking with a cane but with a big smile on their faces from years of traveling with joy with The Lord.  You’ll see women who are tired from being up all night wondering if their teenage son or daughter is going to make it in by curfew.  You’ll see some with spit up on their shirts because of the babies they are caring for.  Women in our churches come from every walk of life and are from every generation.

I’m writing this post from the voice of a women’s ministries director or someone thinking in terms of conferences for a whole church of women.  If I were writing this from a personal note as an individual then I would say bring it (and I so want to go) – because it would be a blast of a girl’s weekend with some of my best buddies.  But, as far as the church ministry goes – older women in the church are vital for ministry and mentoring!

There have been many women’s conferences I’ve attended over the years, some I’ve spoken at.  One of the needed concepts in planning these conferences is planning for something that appeal to all women.  One aspect that I appreciate about the TGC Women’s Conference that happened in 2012 (and will happen again in 2014) is the wide range of ages who attended.  I loved snapping photos of moms rocking their babies to sleep and gray-haired ladies taking notes in a worn Bible.

What about this trend of appealing to only a set age-range?  Is there value in that? YES!  But, is it IDEAL – No.

Value: Some of these women are going to be going through the same things as you are.  Most of them will be instagramming and tweeting and have a ton of hair products and wear the latest style – and really cool bags and shoes – and plenty of iPhones and iPads. Most will have to find babysitters for older children.  Some will probably locate the coolest coffee shop near the conference.  Most will have families, young families at that, even the speakers – I would love to know how the speakers handle young children and a thriving ministry (because that is honestly where I would love to be). Also, the topics of interest most women will want to know/learn about will be similar.  You can have a variety of breakout sessions and it might even be hard to choose which one to go!  Happy problems!

NOT Ideal: If you are planning on bringing a group of women from your church – you can only bring one set.  This may be a good getaway for a small group of friends from you church, talk about ministry and how it can work better or get a fresh new perspective, but you couldn’t bring your whole team (in most churches). The women’s ministry team at my church couldn’t all go because some of them are older.  And I love the conversations that might happen with older women seeing their wisdom in life that has come from years of doing ministry and family.

Titus 2 does talk a lot about teaching the younger women about how love their husbands and be keepers of the home and knowing how to LOVE the Word (not mis-aligning the Word of God).  And as I get older I realize I tend to look for people my same age (give or take ten years) but for those who are at different spaces in life (older kids, more years married, single, etc).  I think I would actually LOVE to go to a generational conference because I love coffee, ipads, cute clothes (much easier when I’m not pregnant), and relevant messages.  And if I were thinking of it as a getaway with friends from around the country that would be perfect – late night chats, makeup everywhere, interesting conversations over great food/desserts, and phone calls to check up on our kids.  But, if I were to plan a conference for the women of my church to attend, I think I would opt for a multi-generational one.

I would not make this a determining factor for attending a conference – just one factor to include when planning!


True Woman Conference: Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Last Session)

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This last session for the Conference is on Deborah:
Judges 4-5
The stage is set; it describes a cycle that is repeated at least 7 times in Judges:
God’s chosen covenant people were being disobedient. God’s is concerned with the homes of His people. The people of Israel do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. This was a period in the life of Israel of spiritual apostasy, “doing what was right in their own eyes”, they abandoned God and his laws, they pursued after Baal and Canaanite gods.
God sold them – he disciplined them. God in his mercy and love, he gave them up to be oppressed by the enemy. The chastening hand of God. God allows people and instruments to come into our lives to show us where we have disobeyed him.
It took intense discipline over prolonged time (20 years of oppression by the Canaanites) for the Lord to get the attention of His people. This is an amazing demonstration of the longsuffering of God, of his patience and mercy. We will be shown the redeeming hand of God.
v. 4 – Deborah comes in as a judge. Deborah was the answer to the cry of the people. She is utilizing her God-given gifts, living her life for other people, and she was content to fulfill the call of God on her life.
She was a prophetess. She was called and gifted by God to declare His Word to His people.
She was a wife. God inspired this little detail. This was her primary human relationship. She didn’t neglect this relationship.
She was a judge. Judges were people God raised up to rescue his people from their oppressors. God, in his sovereignty, raised this woman up. She just said, ‘”Yes, Lord.”
Deborah first heard from the Lord for herself. Then she gave the message. Deborah didn’t know any better other than just believe what God had said – God would win the battle. There is no doubt here – she is only confident in the Word of God. She had wisdom greater than her own. Today – we need women who know the Word of God. Others will seek us out. They will look for the wisdom that flows through us – the very Words of God.
Deborah agreed to go and arose. She went out of her comfort zone, out of her home; she marched into the face of danger. She went because she was a woman of faith and believed the promises of God. She had no choice but to be involved because God had put a call of God on her life. We get a display of a woman who stands and is strong in the power and Word of God.
God uses foot soldiers and women in this story. God chose the weak to confound the strong. Why? So God would get all the glory. God chooses the needy, helpless, and dependent. We go in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
The period of the Judges was not one of strong male leadership. I see Deborah as one who inspires male leadership. Her goal was not to lead but to serve. (5.7) Her heart was a mother. She simply saw herself as a mother – to the troops of Israel. She exuded a nurturing instinct. That is what motivated her, she wasn’t driven by power, position, or prestige – she was driven to be a mother – to sustain and nurture life.
Biblical womanhood looks different in different relationships. Deborah worked to nurture male leadership. She didn’t command Barak to do something – she wasn’t threatening him. She is relaying a message from God. We see Deborah in a responsive, helper role – she went at Barak’s appeal. She is delighted to see men rise up and take leadership. She is delighted to see it happen. When men are inspired to lead, she is happy (5.2). She affirms these men and expresses her gratitude to God. She doesn’t male bash.
Deborah is a woman of faith and courage. The legacy of her life – the men of her day became men. They came forward to fight evil and to defend their wives and children. She wasn’t looking to be the hero of the story. (Heb 11 mentions Barak and not Deborah). We would be totally bent out of shape. Deborah would have been thrilled to see Barak reach that point of faith – a man of great faith. Though she too had faith, in the end, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is Barak’s faith that gets listed.
The battle: v 12 – Barak is in a life-threatening position – but Deborah encourages him to move forward in faith. The power of a woman’s word has great influence on a man. Do your words encourage men to be men in whatever realm they are in? Or do they tear him down and make him timid. This isn’t just for your husband, but also for your pastor, your father, your brother, your friends. Our words can either tear up or tear down. Do your words bring fresh new life into the lives of men who are in your circle of influence?
Deborah is not the hero. Barak is not the hero. GOD is the hero. He won the battle. God is the champion of the story of our lives. God is the victorious warrior. We go into battle with that confidence. The battle is the Lord’s. God used human means but he also used supernatural means to win the battle. Jehovah was over this war – and over the false gods. God reminded both the enemy and His people that He is the God over all.
Don’t ever underestimate the power or the grace of God.

True Woman Chattanooga: James MacDonald

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I’ve long been a fan of James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word on radio. Even though I’ve lived relatively near his church in the Chicago area for almost 3 years now, I’ve yet to be to his church. He preached tonight on trials – to go with his life of the past 5 years and his new book, When Life is Hard.
James 1
1. Consider your trials joy.
Trials are going to come. We are called to be joyful – not happy. If you have been riding the roller coaster of happinesss – you don’t get what James is saying here. Joy: supernatural delight. Joy is from God. You can’t do this for yourself. Joy is:
1. In the person of God. Who He is – in His attributes – we are called to delight in the person of God. Your heart will be restless until you rest.
2. In the purpose of God. God has a purpose. There is a God who rules the universe.
3. In the people of God. You can’t just get “a thing” going on with just anyone – it is found in the body of Christ. There is a joy in relationships.
Trials obliterate happiness, but they enhance joy. Consider it joy when you “fall into” “various” (same word for Joseph’s coat of many colors) – all shapes and sizes, different for each person. Our God is marking our steps. Consider it – count it – you can’t come to the conclusion that trials are a joy if you don’t think about them. Consider is translated “to press your mind into”. Get a pen and paper the reasons why I can think about trial as a joyful thing. A helpful thing to consider is why we are put here on this earth. The reason I get to draw another breath is so we can display the life of God. That is why Christians go through trials – people can see something different.
God’s love isn’t a pampering love – it’s a perfecting love. Your Mom may be like that, but God’s not like that. God is not interested in putting a smile on my face by Friday. God stands outside of time – He sees the end from the beginning.
You can’t come to the joyful conclusion about trials filling your face with food to dull the pain; by filling your mind with entertainment to dull your pain; by filling your heart with anger about the wrong that has been done to you to dull the pain; by filling your body with substance abuse to dull the pain. You can only come to the joyful conclusion of trials by counting it, by considering it. You have to right size your trials. Big God, small trials. Not Big Trials, Small God.
2. Trials produces staying power. 1.3. Ps 27.13. You have to get the part that God is trying to get to you. Most people don’t like tests. But, we must know that the TESTing of your faith produces “hupo mene” – under remain. Testing produces “to remain under”. Here are three questions that we must answer.
a. Do I believe that God is in control?
b. Do I believe that God is good?
c. Am I willing to wait by faith until the darkness becomes light?

The first thing we want to do is get out of our trials. There is no exit ramp. God is trying to grow in you the ability to remain under. Name 4 things we want to do instead of remaining under:
1. We complain.
2. We lash out.
3. We bail.
4. We fold or despair.
Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that he might exalt you at the proper time. You can’t make it through trials without a deep, abiding sense of your partnership with the God of the Universe.
3. Trials produce life transformation. 1.4. “Under remain” leads to transformation. Some of us have been going through the same trial for years because we don’t “under remain” the trials we receive. Let these trials be the avenue of impact to others. “Under remain’ so that you will be perfect, complete, lacking in nothing. Suffering refines and grows us – if we “remain under” the pressure.
4. If you lack wisdom about your trial – verse 5 – ask God for it. He’s not going to answer the existential why, the ultimate why, the ultimatum why, the observation why. He will answer the why this in my now. What are you trying to teach me, God? You have to ask in faith without doubting. God wants to work on my heart. God starts with the blind spots. Make sure you really want to know. You will be complete – lacking nothing.
I can’t honestly say I’ve experienced “heavy” trials in my life; God has been overwhelmingly good to me. But, in the few “little” ones I’ve dealt with in life – my peace remains by holding firm to the Word of God. That is my voice of hope – because it is the voice of my God who loves me. That is my prayer for you: whether your marriage is hard, your children aren’t believers, finances are small and inadequate, your health is under fire – TRUST. Believe. Walk bold in the truths of God’s Word. Obey. Love Him.

True Woman Conference Chattanooga – Mary Kassian

posted in: Women | 0

How many of you have messed something up because you were too proud or stubborn to follow the directions? Over the past few decades, we women decided we needed to put out a new definition of womanhood. Men and women are the same and should be treated the same. Being like men became our highest goal. Men should be more like women; and women should be more like men.
Genesis of Gender (God’s original design for male and female – the directions – the theological meat of gender). Genesis 1 reveals male and female are more like God than anything else in the universe:
1.26-27 “Let us make man in our image.” God is talking to God – the Father is talking to the Son. God created male and female in His image. There is something about the us of God – the relationship of the Trinity – that speaks to gender. He created male and female, gender displays God. How we relate is an object lesson, a parable, the story isn’t about us. Scripture saiys God created sons and daughters to display HIS GLORY. Male and female are the focal point of everything God made. When you observe the differences in male and female, all these things tell a story. Gender and sex constantly display truth about God.
Paul says in Romans 1 that people are without excuse because gender screams out two truths about God: His power and his diving nature. He wants us to get it. Eph 5 connects the dots, marriage and sex, male and female, all illustrate the Gospel Story. That is why God created male and female. Before the foundation of the earth, God knew the story of the Gospel – He had this in mind when He made male and female in the garden during the week of Creation.
12 differences in male and female evident in creation (Girls Gone Wise, Chapter 9):
1. Male is uniquely male – he is firstborn. 2.7. God created male first. This is not random. The firstborn son held a special position in the family – responsible to carry out his father’s instruction. Adam was the firstborn of the human race. Romans tells us that in Adam, all die. This points us to Christ – Col 1 – he took Adam’s place. He is the firstborn, the last Adam, the representative for all who place their trust in Him (Hebrews). Paul tells Timothy the reason men are called to be leaders of the church is because Adam was created first. Men need to step up and be responsible for the church family; as well as his earthly family (Eph 5).
2. The male was put in the garden. 2.15. God took the man from where he was created and put him in the garden. God created man out in the wild, from the dust of the dessert, and put him in the Garden of Eden. A garden is a place with specified boundaries.
3. The male was commissioned to work. 2.15. Work is translated for tilling soil. It contains the idea of serving someone else. Man’s life in the garden was not for himself, but he was to provide for his family’s need. The primary responsibility for provision for a family lies with the man; this is in their makeup.
4. The male was commissioned to protect. 2.15. “Keep” translates to be in charge of, oversight, to be attentive, protect what is in one’s charge. He created men to be stronger, more suited for a fight.
5. The male receives spiritual instruction. 2.16-17. Before woman arrived on the scene, God put the instruction to the man. Woman had a personal relationship with the Lord, but as leader of his newly formed family unit – he needed to know God’s command.
6. The male learned to exercise authority. 2.19. This “naming of the animals” was a training exercise for authority. He was mentoring him in how to do that – how to govern well. He wanted him to exercise that authority with gentleness, care, and wisdom.
7. The female was created from the male. 2.22.23. We need to remember where we came from. We are not to regard that which we were created from as lesser than us. It was proper for the woman to have a sense of respect for the male from which she was created.
8. The female was created for the male. 2.22. It was not the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. The Hebrew preposition denotes direction – with reference to, or towards him, his existence led to hers. We have fallen so far from the created order. When brides walk down the aisle, we need to be thinking “I was created for this man.”
9. The female was created to help. 2.20. Help with what? She is a helper “fit” for him – a like opposite – a complement to him. His purpose was to glorify God – woman helps man glorify God more than man could do by himself.
10. The female deferred to the male. 2.23. She didn’t try to have dominion over him.
11. The female was the perfect counterpart. 2.25. The sound of the ish and the isha are similar, but ish comes from the root: strength, and isha comes from the root: soft. Strength and soft. She is able to receive. The biblical meaning for strength: a champion valiantly serving his people, manhood, virility. Woman’s corresponding softness is her ability to give life, directed by inner strength. The bodies of male and female show this. A woman’s body is meant to receive; a man’s body is designed to give. She is the beautiful soft woman. Each is a beautiful counterpart. According to Scripture, it is a woman’s softness, our ability to nurture, that is our greatest strength.
12. The woman was created in the garden. Gen 2.15. Female was created in a place of safety. The place that was designed as a place of authority by her husband. She is the constant beneficiary of the protection God has put in her life.
God’s design for biblical manhood and womanhood is spectacular. The sexes complement each other – both exult to the glory of the Gospel. Ultimately, that is what women and men are supposed to do. God designed creation and gender in this way so we could have a display of the Gospel – the story of His Son and His Bride. It also gave us a picture of longing, desire, and relationship. The visible symbols give picture to the unseen – that is why gender is SO important. Is it any wonder Satan tries to destroy this picture? It is where we hurt the most.
1. God has a spectactular design for your womanhood. He has a pattern for what He wants for you to be as woman. It is very profound and significant.
2. God wants you to say yes to His design. He wants you to recognize the ways you have messed up your life by not wanting to read the directions. It is not a cookie-cutter or a list. True womanhood says yes to God and His right to be God. I am a true woman when I acknowledge that God has the best insight into who I am and how I should live.
3. God will do an amazing work of restoration.

True Woman Conference Chattanooga – Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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Titus 3 reminds us that we ourselves were once foolish, slaves, hating one another. Do we ever see ourselves in that light? We will never love the gospel enough until we see ourselves as great sinners. And thankfully there is the next verse – he saved us – not because of our works, but according to his own mercy.
First, the context of Titus. Titus 1: Titus’ culture looked much like ours: Titus 1.10ff. God has a solution: the gospel. How does that gospel get into the culture? How does the light penetrate the darkness? God has raised up the church, the redeemed.
Paul is talking to a young man who was called to lead the local church: be above reproach, teach in accordance with sound doctrine. In Titus 2, Paul calls all believers are to do the same thing. Our lives are to be above reproach, different from the world, transformed from the inside out from the power of the gospel, they are to be distinctive. The gospel is supposed to make a difference in our lives. Sadly, this is often not the case. Paul insists that they way to transform a lost culture is to live out the truths of the Word. This is why Paul tells Titus to preach sound doctrine.
Paul gives declaratives to each demographic in life: what constitutes older women? Every woman is an older woman to someone – and we should all be aspiring to this position. We see the life and the legacy of this woman. Our lives are to be above reproach. We need to be reverent in behavior – exhibit behavior for those who are holy. We are not slanders nor slaves to much wine. This above reproach-ness affects every area of our lives. One area is slaves to much wine: (not only specifically to wine, but also to an indulgent lifestyle). God wants to change every bit about me – that includes not living my life for myself.
Their legacy: to train the young women. We cannot train others what we have not learned ourselves. We will not be effective teaching what others have not seen lived out in our lives. We need to teach out of brokenness. We need to take the younger women into our lives: let them see how the Lord of the Gospel is daily changing our lives. We are to pass on the baton of faith for the glory of Jesus.
This teaching takes place in the context of community. Life on life. Teach what is good and so train the younger women. If you have had truth poured into you, then you are to turn around and pour it out into the lives of younger women. (This role is not reserved for the Kay Arthurs, Beth Moores, and Anne Lotzes.) We have the curriculum spelled out for us in Titus 2.3ff. 7 radical, swimming-against-the- culture-lessons. It is God’s way. This is how life is to work.
What is not on this list: prayer, Bible reading, personal devotional life, evangelism. These are important but they are not on the “must” list. Career and doing ministry are not on this list. We need to focus on this list. We see the importance of the home on this list. The norm for most women is to be wives and mothers – this is the primary sphere where most live out the gospel. We also see the priority of love: the love of Christ. We can’t claim to love God if we don’t love our husbands or our children. It doesn’t matter what the other women in the church see in you – it matters what your family sees in you. If we don’t know how to love our husbands and children – we can learn.
Our lives are supposed to be counter-culture. Culture is characterized by pride, gluttony, rebellion, hatred, impurity, etc. That is what this world is like. Can they see a difference in us?
We need to live above reproach.
We need to be intentional about passing on the faith.
We need to be reverent in behavior.
We speak words that build up.
We are not slaves to much wine. We do not live for our flesh.
We are to love our husbands and value the permanence of marriage.
We are to love our children.
We are to be self-controlled. (a sophron state of mind)
We are to be pure.
We are to love our home – be homemakers.
We are to be kind and other-centered.
We are to have a submissive heart attitude.
How well does your life, does my life, reflect the grace of God – a woman who has been transformed and redeemed by the Blood of Christ. Our culture is so absent of the items in the above list. I want to be defined by the things on this list – even while single. I want to love my home. I want to be kind and gracious to people in my speech. I want to have a submissive spirit to the godly, male authority in my life in the relationships with my pastors, my boss, and my father. I want to be pure in every area of my life. I do not want to indulge.
So that the world will have nothing negative to say about me.
So that that the Word of God will not be misaligned.
So that I might adorn the gospel – that the focus would not be on me.
By the power of the Gospel. (Titus 2.11)

True Woman Conference Chattanooga: Voddie Baucham

posted in: sin, Women | 1

True Woman Conference Sessions 1: Voddie Baucham
Dr. Baucham is a pastor in Spring, Texas and an author, a husband, and a father. The first time I heard him speak live was at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to a packed house – he brought it. Tonight he is speaking to a group of women of all ages – about 2400 of us. Different audience, same Truth. Tonight, the truth is coming from Titus 1-2.
“Set our heart’s affection on you – speak to us clearly and powerfully through your Word.” – Amen
From True Woman Manifesto: God’s Plan for gender is wider than marriage; all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity in their various relationship, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty , responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit. (Lord – make this so in my life.)
Mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith, by discipling younger women in the Word and ways of God and modeling for the next generation lives of fruitful femininity.
God gives us a picture in Titus 1 and 2 of what he has provided for our sanctification – the way he shapes our lives as believers. There are three principle tools here:
a. Godly mature men and women in the church.
b. Godly manly elders and pastors
c. Biblically functioning homes

Titus 2 – Godly mature men and women in the church. This is for our discipleship and growth in Christ. Older men are to be. Older women are to likewise be. Godly, mature, character. This isn’t automatic for people who are older – this is character that is formed over time and is the fruit of sanctification. This is the picture of character forged over time. We, as women, have a unique power in our tongue – to build up and to tear down. The older women are exemplified in the way we use our speech. The picture painted here is the result of the years of walking with God and being transformed by the gospel – she opens her mouth and wisdom comes out (Prov 31, Gal 4, Dt 31), speaking God’s truth. This isn’t a picture of a woman who teaches Bible studies (primarily) – but is speaking of a woman who has poured her life into the lives of women through intentional relationships. The younger women need older women to teach them to love their husbands and children. That the Word of God might not be reviled. When older women are not about the task of teaching younger women – we are not rightly living out the gospel. If we are following the ways of a culture that denies biblical manhood and womanhood, then I am marring the picture of Christ and his Church. His honor is being defamed. These things need to be taught. The older women have such a crucial role in the life of the church. And when we blame our disobedience on our circumstances: we are putting our circumstances above the Word of God.

Titus 1: Godly manly elders and pastors. The list in Titus 1 is primarily for pastors and elders, but Titus 1 is for all men – here is why:
There is no list in Titus 2.
Pastors are called in 1 Peter 5.3 to be examples to the flock. If he has a list of qualifications that aren’t applicable to the rest of the flock – then how can he be an example.
There isn’t anything in this list that we would give up for our sons – that we would not want our sons to be. Above reproach. Godly kids. Not arrogant. But hospitable. Hold firm to
the Truth (not a heretic). (Just to name a few.)
Titus 1: Biblically functioning homes. Titus 1.10 – “for” – there are many who are upsetting whole families.”
The primary discipling unit is the home. Eph 6.1-4. Children, parents, fathers – Dt 6, Ps 78, Proverbs – the home is the place of instruction for our children. Child is born. Child is born into a home with a mother and father who know and love God. They understand biblical womanhood and manhood, understand marriage as a picture of the gospel, and they give sound doctrine throughout the life of that child, they take that child to a healthy church where he hears thundering gospel from the pulpit. The pastor echoes what this child has heard in his home, the gray-haired folks in the church echo what this child has learned in his home. That is the picture.
On a personal note: I do not live in the ideal. I am not ideal: I sin. I fall short of the glory of God. I do have great older women, pastors, and families who model Titus 1 and 2 for me. I pray that as I grow older, the Lord continues to put younger women in my life that I can pour into – that I can speak grace and truth to. Lord – make my speech a display of your glorious Gospel.
When we don’t have all the pieces of this puzzle – be grateful before you get mad at the Lord. Be grateful for the grace in your life of what you do have. Repent of the sin that is in our lives that keep us from having the ideal. We live in a fallen world – always affected by either our sin or someone else’s sin. Repent of the anger, the bitterness, the lies, the unforgiveness. Be God’s, live and walk in the Truth of the Word and the light of the Gospel.

D6 Conference Coming Soon!

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If you are in ministry with youth, children, families: you don’t want to miss this coming conference.

Some of the speakers:
Rob Rienow: Family Pastor at Wheaton Bible Church in Wheaton, IL
Steve Wright: Rethink and ApParent Privilege author, Student Pastor at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC
Randy Stinson: Dean, School of Church Ministries at SBTS, President for Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Redeeming Relationships: God, Marriage, and Family: Randy Stinson

posted in: Uncategorized | 2

I had the privilege of hearing my boss speak at Gilead Baptist Church this past Sunday night. Gilead is starting a Gilead U on marriage (in the spring) and parenting (in the fall). It is to help their church see the importance of these two relationships, how they influence the church (and vice versa) and how the gospel has to be applied to both.
Dr. Stinson, who is the Dean of the School of Church Ministries for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, spoke on this topic to kickoff the semester. It is always a pleasure for me to hear him speak because I know what he is saying is practiced in his own home, and I laugh the whole time. Also, I am convicted by what he says and can apply it to my life now – even though I am neither married or a parent.
(Italics are his, regular type is mine).
He started at the beginning – Gen 3.14-15. A Declaration of War! Cursing and enmity. Right there – from the very beginning, Satan has plans to attack the marriage. This war centers on the home. Through the family (conception, children), Satan’s destroyer will come. (Jesus is born of a virgin Mary. You can trace his lineage by reading the first chapter of the gospel of Matthew)
You can see this all around. Divorce rate (even within the church, among Christians), in the tabloids at the check out counter, marriages failing, unfaithfulness on the rise, cohabitation so rampant among young adults, delay in marriage.
Satan wants us to get comfortable and not realize that we are at war in our homes. If we let things slide, tempers flare, complacency dominate, Scriptures and family worship fade away – then we are setting ourselves and our marriages up for defeat.
Malachi 4.6 talks about the work of Elijah the prophet in “turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” Stinson remarked that one of the ways Satan wages war on families and the home is that the father’s hearts on not turned toward home, their children. They are turned toward work, business, succeeding, and other personal interests.
Ephesians 5. This passage is central to the cosmic interaction. It is not primarily about submission and authority. It is about the gospel. Because of the fall, there will be no more harmonious marriages and argument free families. Dave Harvey wrote a book entitled When Sinners Say I Do if you need to read up on this topic – great book. Ephesians 5 paints a picture of Christ and the church. Marriage is just the picture. Since Satan hates the gospel more than anything, he wants desperately to destroy marriages. You and your marriage are targets.
If you care deeply about the picture Ephesians 5 paints, its not about who mows the lawn or pays the bills, it is about the gospel.
If you love the gospel more than everything else, all else will pale. How will you portray the gospel authentically in your marriage and in your home?
Several times a day we are reminded of our dependence upon God. When we eat, we are reminded that we have to eat – God doesn’t. When we get thirsty, we are reminded that God never gets thirsty, but send us the Living Water.
Paul says no one hates his own flesh (Eph 5.29). Yet, why don’t we treat out spouse that way? We are so often consumed with ourselves, when we should be consumed with others…namely, our spouse. You wake up every day loving yourself. Love the gospel so this (other’s focused, loving your spouse) becomes second nature. Many decisions we make are for ourselves. We are self-centered, not gospel-centered.
What if God’s greatest goal in your marriage was not to make you happy? What if the bigger picture is your sanctification and portraying the gospel? I think quite a lot about this, even though I’m not married. I think about my pickiness in a future mate, even those whom I will accept dates from? I want the gospel to be revealed daily in my marriage. If that can’t happen, I don’t want to be married. I do want someone I’m attracted to, because God did create sex and didn’t intend for it to be a chore, but more than anything else, I want a God-glorifying marriage. Embrace this function for your marriage, namely sanctification, instead of praying and longing for a way out.
You don’t need to question the will of God for your marriage. If you are in a marriage, that’s it. Don’t worry about if you are married to the wrong person, or made a mistake. God means for your marriage to stay pure and strong. And to the same extent that God loves the Gospel (He sent His Son) and loves your marriage (He created the institution of marriage), Satan hates it. How can you go home – right now – and bless your wife (or husband)? We care more about ourselves than we do about the gospel and our spouse? What needs to change in your life so you care more about your marriage and the gospel then yourself?
The Harris brothers wrote a book for (mostly) teenagers entitled Do Hard Things a few years ago. It was calling teenagers to not take the easy road, but to pursue hard things, excel at what they do, press on. Dr. Stinson said another great title for a book would be “Do Little Things”. So often we fail in doing the little things in life. This is a biblical concept – be faithful in the little things (Luke 16.10).
Sanctification: I don’t know what God’s will for your life is – but I know it is sanctification. Since He loves His Son preeminently, you can bet you becoming like His Son is a first priority.
Many will say “my wife (husband, job, traffic, kids) make me impatience (angry, selfish). No, these things don’t make you ________, it just reveals that you are _______. So, if you get impatient with your husband because he fails to take the garbage out when you ask him to, then its not him that makes you that way, the situation reveals that your heart is full of impatience and full of self. Matthew 15 says this very thing: “what comes out of the mouth defiles a person.” What comes out of the mouth reveals the state of the heart. You do the right thing – don’t be concerned with the response of your spouse. You do right. Start with correcting your heart and yourself. A saying my Mom always says is you can never control what others will do, just your response to the situation.
Forgiveness is key element of a healthy marriage:
1. Ask for it.
2. Create a climate for it.
3. Remember, you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, not your own.
4. This is a lifestyle, not an emergency valve.
5. Reconciliation is key – not separation, subversion, or undermining.

The question I left asking myself is this: What would help me picture the gospel the best? Would it be to get married? Would it be to stay single? What it be
to be faithful in the things that God has called me to: to love people, disciple girls, write, be a homemaker, take care of myself, be a good steward? I think I’ll choose to be faithful where He has me, and have faith that He will take me where He wants me.