Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Com(passion)

Baltimore and the NEXT conference was amazing for me in so many ways. But, probably in the top two was God granting me, by His mercy, a new compassion for college girls. Ask any of my college girls that I have done ministry with in the past and they will tell you different things. One of them probably is not compassion - and for that, to them, for the gospel - I must apologize.
But, this wknd God granted me that in his compassion for me - for the sake of the gospel.
Before listening to Carolyn McCulley's breakout session on her new book, God had already stirred this. But, after it - it was amazing (even going to HRC afterwards and talking about it with the guys I was with for dinner). As I listened to the woman bartender and many women sitting at the bar in the restaurant, being loud, carrying on, cheering on the pouring of liquor - I couldn't help but hearing them and saying to myself "ladies - there is something BETTER!"
So, here is a short list I jotted down in my journal:
1. BE different in the love of Jesus. When I look at young women, you can usually tell on the outside who they are. Usually. But, I want them to grasp the love of Jesus (the mystery of this grand, crazy thing) that alone can change them. All of us are searching for something, until we come to rest in the love of the one who Created us. "The most heinous sin is ignoring our Creator" was said this wknd. I find that girls do this in so many ways. I do this in so many ways. We are longing for something that will make us whole. We want many worldly things to afford us that satisfaction and completeness. Only Jesus will do that.
2. LOVE differently in the love of Jesus. Relationships are probably the most crucial thing in the lives of young women. They crave and desire to be loved. Many women will do most anything to get it. And I'm just not referring to unbelievers - although they do this too. We, as Christian women, strive for love to by pursuing men who are not our's yet.
3. LIVE differently in the love of Jesus. After we know our BEing is different because of Jesus - our lives will look radically different. We won't want to pursue after the things of this world. We will want to pursue Jesus and the roles for which He designed us. I remember starting seminary and thinking I wanted a MDiv because MDiv in Women's Ministries was way too narrow. Oh, God, please forgive me for not understanding your grand design then. How often I play the part of an egalitarian, wanting man's approval because the approval of women doesn't matter. We will want to live and act differently in the light of this crazy love!
4. DRESS differently in the love of Jesus. This is probably the most visible thing we are women do. And there isn't a list or checklist of ways that women should dress. But, how about dressing conservatively and femininely. There is someway that we can dress that will present something totally different than what the world is offering. Everyone doesn't have to wear floral prints and pink. But, many times we dress like men (polo shirts, jeans or khakis, tennis shoes, no jewelry, short hair) - why do we want to do that. Yes, I have on gray slacks today. But, I am wearing a coral shirt with some black dress shoes and jewelry. All to say, our outward appearance should be noticed by the world by being feminine and modest.
Two passages I love for the above reasons and have studied recently and heart preached recently:
Col 3.1-17:
3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
And Eph 5.1-17
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,and arise from the dead,and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

I don't know what this will look like as I minister with college girls and young women. I pray as I begin doing ministry in a new church, have opportunities to meet new women on behalf of SBTS and CBMW, speak at different events, continue in ministering to the young ladies I already know, and hopefully raise my own daughter in the future - God will shine brightly for the gospel in my life for HIS GLORY.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NEXT Thoughts

Memorial Day Weekend 2009 was spent in Baltimore, MD attending and exhibiting (for CBMW) at the NEXT Conference (Sovereign Grace Ministries). It was held at the Baltimore Convention Center just blocks away from the Inner Harbor (water, the Atlantic, I loved it!).
There are plenty of lives blogs on it and those folks do a much better job than me (find it by clicking on the NEXT in the above paragraph), so I am just putting down some thoughts from the weekend.
Funnest part of the weekend - hands down - was the drive to DC on Sunday night for the Memorial Day Concert at the Capitol. Cool time in our Nation's capitol, making me again proud to have men and women fighting for us and to live in a free country. The generations of men, especially from war eras, take this stuff seriously. You could see it when they stood up as their particular branch was mentioned. Very cool. And then on the way back, dying laughing to Brian stinkin funny, then hunting for a place for dinner and ending up at the 7-11. You do what you gotta do!
Random - ok, down to some serious stuff.
I got the chance to exhibit for CBMW, my whole reason for going. I got the chance to speak to many young men and women about God's grand and perfect design for manhood and womanhood, founded in Creation, for the church, home, and family. Amazing stuff. I love this ministry!
I read a verse in my Bible reading on Friday: "Our God is in the heavens, He does all that He pleases. (Ps 115.3). This verse really was in my heart the entire weekend.
My friend Wendy couldn't come at the last minute, but I got to hang out with 3 great guys all weekend. I haven't laughed so much in what, ever? It was a blast. Genuinely great guys. Loved it. Missed Wendy though. And hanging out with other new friends from the seminary was fun too, sitting together at the sessions, texting, laughing, eating together, building community. Life together.
The first session I went to was D. A. Carson. I had never heard him, but was familiar with some of his books. He gave one of the best sermons on the Incarnation that I have ever heard. Here are some random things from his talk:
1. When we read John 3.16 the amazing things shouldnot be the vastness of God's love, but that God loved the world - and we were so evil.
2. Must have an understanding of lostness. The Light came to the darkness and it knew him not (his text was John 1.1-18). We can know little of the saving power of Christ without recognizing our total depravity. If we do not believe in the total depravity of man, then we will hardly grasp the infinitude of the power of Christ. If we weren't totally depraved, then we could have done something to earn our way to God. Not if we are totally lost.
3. Jesus himself is the meeting place between God and us - not be His incarnation but by His death. In His death, we see the glory of God.
CJ Mahaney spoke on the death of Christ. Mark 15-33-39 was his main passage:
1. We can't think on the death of Christ too often - Spurgeon
2. Don't let me become indifferent to the cross of Christ.
3. There was no alternative to the Cross. When Jesus cried out from the Cross to the Father - there was only silence, not a plan B.
***4. Death is God's way of limiting our arrogance.
Carolyn McCulley's breakout session - simple amazing! Breaks my heart for the 1200 young women in there and more so in the world who don't get this stuff. And thankful for all the ones who do. And points a spotlight on my sould where I don't live it. If you don't have her book - Radical Womanhood - get it.
1. Christian young women today may not know the names of the philosophers from the past of feminists, but they are definitely living in the wake of their thoughts.
2. Seed of feminism lies in all of us. Our enemy is not feminism, but spiritual power - Satan.
3. My worldview determines my solution to the problem.
4. Planned Parenthood is - at its core - anti-Jesus, anti-gospel. Justice can be had without having an explicit belief in the gospel of Jesus.
5. 1870 census started saying that the only productivity that mattered was the money brought home from outside the home (men's salaries). What this did to the breakdown of the SAHM worth is on its on - irrevocable.
Sinclair Ferguson - on the Resurrection - cool Scottish dude and no kilt.
1. No resurrection = No Gospel
2. The resurrection is staying with the faithfulness of God - His covenental, eternal, trustworthiness didn't stop and leave Jesus in the tomb - Jesus is alive!
3. We have a liturgist in the Heavens - a great High Priest! Love the song Before the Throne of God Above.
Then in my personal journaling time, many thoughts of which I won't be completely open about on here:
1. God's gracious compassion He has finally poured in to my heart for young women on the issues: being whole and satisfied in Christ, modesty, pursuing femininity, healthy bodies.
2. How my sense of rejection is so acute. When it happens to me - it bothers me so much. Even though I'm not an outwardly emotional person a lot of the time, rejection is the thing that hurts the most to me.
3. Biblical male leadership - how precious and incredible and cravable that is.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Re:Think Recap

I was honored to be at the Re:Think Conference in Raleigh this past weekend. This is the second conference at Providence Baptist Church. Last year I live blogged the main sessions - this year I just sat back and pulled nuggets away that I wanted to share with you.
Blake Hickman was the MC for the day and the Shelly Moore Band led us in the worship for the day.
David Horner - the senior pastor of Providence (and founding pastor) started off the day.
1. 1 Thessalonians - "kindle afresh". Pray that God would renew us to our calling. This is a conference on family ministry and the church - especially how to do youth ministry in light of the family. But, even in general things - God, please renew afresh in me the joy of my salvation!
2. Dt 11.2 - How is the fear of God and the awe of God on display in your life? In your kids' lives? What am I presenting to the world? This will also come out later in one of the songs we sang at the evening session. Good question to always be asking ourselves.

Steve Wright - Student Pastor at Providence and author of ReThink and ApParent Privilege, and husband to Tina (which I know he'll say is his greatest asset!). Privileged to know this man and call him a friend. He has been a great source of wisdom and kindness to me in the past 2 years I've known him.
1. I need to make the Lord my friend - this only comes with the gospel and humility.
2. As a youth pastor - what am I doing that is helping my students treasure Christ above all else? I can say this for a woman ministering to others - either in daily relationships, facebook relationships, phone conversations, speaking engagements, or writing. How do I do this - what am I treasuring above all else and how am I helping women get there too?
3. I need to hold the gospel dear! Not programs, or ways of doing ministry, or churches, etc - but the gospel needs to be the dearest thing to me - the thing I speak mostly of.
4. All the world has to offer is fleeting. I thought about this on the way home. My bag that I was traveling with was given to me by my mom - she got it for free. It ripped wide open when I get off the escalator in RDU. Thankfully, a friend was standing right there to offer assistance (God ordained for him to be waiting for his wife to land at that exact time) - but during my flight I was wondering if my bag would make it. And honestly - all that stuff doesn't matter - but all my makeup was in there, my camera, my toiletries, stuff I had bought over the wknd (great evoo from Southern Season) - I didn't want to lose it. And I was very thankful when it came around the luggage conveyor at SDF!

Dave Owen - College Pastor at Providence. On the flight out there from ATL to RDU a guy sat in front of me who was so excited he was going to get to hear Dave Owen on Sunday - he had such a tremendous impact on this young guy's life - he is now serving in Sweden with Campus Crusade.
1. At meals - their kids pray for missionaries and countries all over the globe. How do they remember to do that? Their placemats are maps of the world. They pray for these folks strategically. Teaching his kids - even as young as they are - to have a heartbeat for the world.

David Michael - Children Desiring God - Bethlehem Baptist Church. He spoke with much conviction when he would read the Word. You could tell he treasured the words of God!
1. Ps 19.12-13. I have really been praying this lately. All of my life is clouded with sin right now because I am a sinner (saved by grace), but I live in the flesh until I am set free from this bondage and am in Heaven. All my good works are even as filthy rags. But, God is renewing me and sanctifying me daily! I am so glad of that.
2. Let me know get discouraged and lose heart - don't even let me be tempted to lose heart in ministry. God has called us to something higher - rather than the world's standards of ministry.

Randy Stinson - Dean of the School of Church Ministries at SBTS, and President of CBMW. I have had almost 2 years of working for this man. I enjoy my job. He is a man of integrity.
1. The family can't impede the gospel. I want my life, and hopefully one day my family, to be such a light for the gospel that it will not be harmed because of what I do.
2. Jokes about Dad are not a way to edify the family or the church. Most sitcoms are based on putting down the dads. This is not a way to live. We should be building up, praying for, etc the Dad's - as they seek to be the head of their homes.
3. Do I live in the now or in the light and hope of eternity?

The Shelly Moore Band was great. Here are some random thoughts from the songs:
1. The King of Glory poured out - victorious are we now. The only way I am victorious over the sins that plague me and haunt me daily - is through the blood of Jesus. How precious is that!
2. "Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I do." Let me glory in that alone!
3. May the folks I see and come in contact with see a liberated person in Christ! To See Christ!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekend in NC

What a great weekend! It is amazing how one place can be so used of God in so many areas in my life!
RDU is it. I know its not a city - but many cities. But, this place is so dear to my heart!
Many folks ask me why I'm not there then. Well, God doesn't always give us what we want. I tried for 3 years to find a job that I loved and that paid me above the poverty level - and just didn't happen. And, I'm very happy with the job that God has given me - God is good.
It worked out for me to be there for work (another post later on the Re:Think Conference at Providence), my parents were there for a genealogy conference, and good friends and food are always there.
God used this weekend to show the importance of the extended body of Christ to me. Of friends that will be open and honest with me, good times over food, honesty in relationships, clarity on church matters, joy in friendships, writing materials, hearing the passion of evangelism in people's hearts, incredible worship, fantastic preaching, seeing the fruit of ministry, beautiful weather, rainy weather, great cafes and coffee shops, unhurried moments.
Really - the grace of God was all over this weekend. I am so grateful!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Who God is For Us in Psalm 103

Yesterday's reading (which I did today) was Psalm 103 (and Judges and Proverbs). I have been trying to make a list of who God is in these Psalms as I read them. Today is chocked full of descriptives of God's character. Then, we have our part:
1. God forgives all my iniquities (even my binging last night)
2. God heals all my diseases (even in light of the Swine Flu - or colds, or cancer, or whatever).
3. God redeems my life from the pit (when I'm down, discouraged, hurt, wrecked, exhausted, spent, lost, clueless, worrisome, burdened for others, questioning, etc)
4. God crowns me with steadfast love and mercy (I love the word steadfast - it is a picture of His covenant grace and character - it can't change). I need mercy every day in my life.
5. God satisfies me with good (man, I need to claim that even when I don't get what I want when I want it).
6. God works righteousness (in a world that is full of so much wrong, we can REST in knowing that whatever God does is right).
7. God is justice for the oppressed (when we get dished out something we don't deserve, don't turn away - rest in his justice).
8. God reveals Himself to us (thankful for the Word, the Spirit, creation, music, and any other avenue God chooses).
9. God is merciful (see number 4).
10. God is gracious (the story of the gospel).
11. God is slow to anger (even experienced this last night, He is so patient with me).
12. God is abounding in steadfast love (see #4)
13. God will not always chide (see #10).
14. God will not keep his anger forever (His wrath, through Jesus, has been turned away from us).
15. God does not deal with us according to our sins (Christ' righteousness has been imputed - given, put on - us).
16. God does not repay us according to our iniquities (see #15).
17. God shows great steadfast love to those who fear in Him.
18. God removes our sin (study the uniqueness and gloriousness of the cross).
19. God shows fatherly compassion on his children (He knows what we are going through)
20. God shows compassion to those who fear Him.
21. God knows our frame, that we are dust (He created us)
22. God shows everlasting love to those who fear him (see #4)
23. God's righteousness is to generations (part of his eternal unchanging nature).
24. God established (forever) his throne in the heavens (above all earthly powers).
25. God's kingdom rules (see #24).

Our job:
1. Bless the Lord
2. Fear Him
3. Keep His covenant
4. Remember His commands
5. Forget not all His benefits

So, when you are feeling "blue" or down or wondering what in the world life holds or what is coming next or you can't find your way out of a paper bag - know that God is unchanging. All these things He was to the Psalmist - He is for us.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Prayer of Exhaustion

Father -
Today has been a day of complete exhaustion. People all day. Failure some of the day. Body tiredness. Muscle soreness. People pleasing. Receiving. Giving. Breathing heavy sighs of relief. You are the God who gives Grace to explore all of that and make it through. But, God just not make it through - but succeed in bringing you glory through all of that.
God, I want to please you more and more in my life. I want you more than ever. You are the only one who will not leave me. You are the one who has everything I want in life. You are my sustainer. You sanctify yet you love me exactly like I am. You accept my imperfections and all and yet want me to live in accordance with your Holy Word.
God, may the Words of SCripture be so clustered within me that I just say them and mean them and live by them, receive my rebuke and my correction from them, use them to mold me and break me of my sin. May what is in me come out - may my heart be purfied by your living and active word.
God - let me live pleasing to you in these areas:
1. In being diligent - not just busy, but using my time wisely and being productive for your glory.
2. In getting up on time. Not pressing the snooze alarm. By even using my morning hours for your glory and the benefit of my home that you have given me.
3. In kindness and grace coming out of my mouth - at all times. Even when I am upset - I want to spout grace and breathe grace and being a gentle and quiet spirit.
4. In my body and how I take care of it - not how i eat because I'm exhausted just to eat - but that I continue to eat for fuel for living - not living to eat or eating a ton just because. Help me to be mindful that you are in control of what I put in my mouth - that I may even eat to your glory.
5. That I may be obedient to the relationships that you have called me to. That I would exhort those who need exhorting, learning from those who i need to learn from, and dispense grace. May I grow in selflessness - and patience, and learning that you are in control of all my relationships. You will allow some to grow, some to fade. Do not let me live in Gen 3 land. Be in control - don't let me take control.
6. Help me to live in 1 Peter 3 land - of the gentle and quiet spirit and not the braiding of hair. You are the giver of all good things when it comes to my outside life and I want to live it in accordance with your word.
God - I do want to be a gentle and quiet Spirit. I want to breathe grace. I want to live in your spirit and by your Spirit and not live or walk by my flesh which I do so often. Help me to shut my mouth more and breathe in more of your grace. Speak more of your grace. but not just speaking your grace - but being grace-filled - so it is just who I am - because you have so much control over me.
God - I can't do this in and of myself. You are so much higher than me. I am often like the Israelites who do well for a bit and then turns and please other gods. those other gods have nothing on you. The gods of people pleasing, gods of perfect self, the gods of knowing everything and not taking correction or critique - you are the ONE TRUE GOD!
God - may I be your daughter - learn from you, draw close to you. Love you - live you - breathe you.
Jesus - you are the one who lives to intercede for me - I thank you.

Friday, May 01, 2009

One Night Celebrity

I was just tipped to this "service" by facebook. Thank you. Now, I can go be a celebrity for one night. None of this dealing with the tabloids for years because you put on a little weight, or go out without your makeup on. Everyone can be a celebrity for one night!
Really. This only goes to show that the world is not run by the Word.

Pride. Vanity. Perishing. Death.

Ecc 1.14: "I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind."
Psalm 10.4: "In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
Prov 16.18: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

And for women, this is EXACT opposite of what God told us to do:

1 Peter 3.3-4: Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.