Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Memories

Tonight dear man and I were having a slice of pie, well I had one and he had one, and in the booth behind us, well behind me actually if we were sitting on opposite sides of the table how could the booth be behind us? Anyway, I digress. In the booth behind me was sitting a lady I know and have known for years. I remember meeting her but I don't remember all the details, so I can't really say I can't remember not knowing her.

"Mary" was sitting with a man I can only assume is her husband. When I stood to leave he said, "I missed the last few of your math problems." I had been grading the girlies math pages from today and for Beanie's I was quizzing dear man on them. He got them all right. Woo hoo!

Anyway, again I digress again. Back to the woman sitting in the next booth. (now why couldn't I have said it that way to begin with?) She said hello and asked how I was. I of course answered and asked about her. The man she was with, the man I assume is her husband, was not at all the type of man I expected to see her with. I knew her first husband (well as long as he is still living I guess I can say I still know him, but can I really say that if I haven't seen or talked to him in 30 years? Ack...I digress yet again...) and the man tonight was so opposite of him I was a little unsettled. It of course didn't stop me from yammering on to dear man about my memories.

The woman's first husband was somewhat of a mystery when we first met his family. He was a missionary pilot and for the longest time I was positive he was just a figment of everyone's imagination. Then I met him and noticed he always wore a blue "cowboy" suit. You know the western type of decorations on the shoulders, yeah that's the kind. Some how and I'm not sure how exactly it all got started but I would rush behind him, sometimes making circles just so I could, and as I rushed past him I would reach out and yank on the bottom of his jacket. He would turn and growl or something, I'm not sure what. I do know I would run off giggling, only to turn around and come back to do it again and again.

Then he brought this girl home and announced he was marrying her. I was heartbroken. I mean I knew I was going to grow up and marry him. I just knew it. I wondered briefly what his new fiancee would think of our game, of my yanking on his jacket. I pondered it and was concerned for...oh at most an hour. Then I realized she liked cats and as I am especially fond of cats myself and therefore we could be friends. And I could still yank on his jacket. So my life was good. And I only wasted a few months wishing she would die so I could in all of my 9 year old grown-up self slide in and take her place. Well I might wait until I was 10 or 12 but I wouldn't waste too much time.

Anyway, now that I have yet again spilled my guts about someone I haven't thought of in years...no decades. I wonder what brings a memory, or a person to mind that you haven't thought of in a coon's age. (which I have no idea how long that is...) I know there are triggers, for me tonight it was the woman in the next booth. But sometimes they seem to come out of the blue. I'm just walking along and BAM! there is something I haven't thought of for about half of my life.

Anyway, that is my brain for today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Warren Wiersbe.

I received Warren Wiersbe's Bible study book on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon from the B & B Media Group to review. I received it a few weeks ago and I have spent the time working my way through the first lesson. It is jam-packed full of information and thought-provoking questions.

This first lesson covers the first two chapters of 1 Timothy. My pastor has been systematically going through this same book on Sunday mornings, I love the chance for review. The chapter (lesson one in the book) is full of information, most of it is taken from Wiersbe's commentary Be Faithful (David C. Cook second edition (c)2009).

I have listened to Warren Wiersbe teach on Back to The Bible years ago. But until recently I had never read anything written by him. I am enjoying the Bible study book...for the most part.

I have had a few frustrations with it. Maybe it's because he is a man and I'm not. I do wish he would ask one question, give you a blank to fill in your answer, and then ask you another question, with another blank spot for your answer. He asks a paragraph of questions and gives you only a small space in which to write your answer.

I blogged another frustration here.

You can look through lesson/chapter one below.


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Wiersbe Bible Study Series – 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon: It's Always Too Soon to Quit!

David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.


Product Details:

List Price: $8.99
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765105
ISBN-13: 978-1434765109

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Introduction to 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon


Too Soon to Quit!


Timothy was not too happy in his church in Ephesus, and Titus was in a difficult situation on the island of Crete. To both of them, Paul wrote, “Be faithful! It’s always too soon to quit!”


Paul used the Greek word pistos (“faithful”) at least seventeen times in these three letters. The theme runs through each chapter: Be faithful to the Word, be faithful to your task, be faithful to the people to whom you minister. God is faithful! But don’t get the idea that the Pastoral Epistles are only for pastors and other “full-time Christian workers.” These three letters are for every Christian, every church member.


I have added a chapter on Philemon because what Paul wrote to him fits right into the theme of this study. Philemon faced a difficult problem with his runaway slave, Onesimus, and Paul’s counsel encouraged Philemon to be faithful to the Lord in solving that problem.


As you study these letters, I want to help you understand the ministry of the local church and also encourage you to stick with it! If you and I are faithful to the tasks God has given us, then His work will prosper and His name will be glorified. Could we ask for more?


A Note about Paul’s Life


Paul was arrested in Jerusalem around AD 57 and was confined to prison in Caesarea for two years (see Acts 21:19—26:32). Paul’s voyage to Rome to be tried before Caesar started sometime around September AD 59. After a shipwreck and a three-month wait on Malta, he arrived in Rome about

February AD 60 (see Acts 27—28). There he had liberty to minister.


Paul was acquitted of the charges and released. During the two years that followed, he ministered in various places and wrote 1 Timothy and Titus.


About AD 65, he was arrested again but this time put into a dungeon. It was then that he wrote 2 Timothy, his last letter.


The other collected letters, including Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, were written during his first Roman captivity. —Warren W. Wiersbe


How to Use This Study


This study is designed for both individual and small-group use. We’ve divided it into eight lessons—each references one or more chapters in Warren W. Wiersbe’s commentary Be Faithful (second edition, David C. Cook, 2009). While reading Be Faithful is not a prerequisite for going through this study, the additional insights and background Wiersbe offers can greatly enhance your study experience.


The Getting Started questions at the beginning of each lesson offer you an opportunity to record your first thoughts and reactions to the study text. This is an important step in the study process as those “first impressions” often include clues about what it is your heart is longing to discover.


The bulk of the study is found in the Going Deeper questions. These dive into the Bible text and, along with helpful excerpts from Wiersbe’s commentary, help you examine not only the original context and meaning of the verses but also modern application.


Looking Inward narrows the focus down to your personal story. These intimate questions can be a bit uncomfortable at times, but don’t shy away from honesty here. This is where you are asked to stand before the mirror of God’s Word and look closely at what you see. It’s the place to take a good look at yourself in light of the lesson and search for ways in which you can grow in faith.


Going Forward is the place where you can commit to paper those things you want or need to do in order to better live out the discoveries you made in the Looking Inward section. Don’t skip or skim through this. Take the time to really consider what practical steps you might take to move closer to Christ. Then share your thoughts with a trusted friend who can act as an encourager and accountability partner.


Finally, there is a brief Seeking Help section to close the lesson. This is a reminder for you to invite God into your spiritual-growth process. If you choose to write out a prayer in this section, come back to it as you work through the lesson and continue to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you discover God’s will for your life.


Tips for Small Groups


A small group is a dynamic thing. One week it might seem like a group of close-knit friends. The next it might seem more like a group of uncomfortable strangers. A small-group leader’s role is to read these subtle changes and adjust the tone of the discussion accordingly.


Small groups need to be safe places for people to talk openly. It is through shared wrestling with difficult life issues that some of the greatest personal growth is discovered. But in order for the group to feel safe, participants need to know it’s okay not to share sometimes. Always invite honest disclosure, but never force someone to speak if he or she isn’t comfortable doing so. (A savvy leader will follow up later with a group member who isn’t comfortable sharing in a group setting to see if a one-on-one discussion is more appropriate.)


Have volunteers take turns reading excerpts from Scripture or from the commentary. The more each person is involved even in the mundane tasks, the more they’ll feel comfortable opening up in more meaningful ways.


The leader should watch the clock and keep the discussion moving. Sometimes there may be more Going Deeper questions than your group can cover in your available time. If you’ve had a fruitful discussion, it’s okay to move on without finishing everything. And if you think the group is getting bogged down on a question or has taken off on a tangent, you can simply say, “Let’s go on to question 5.” Be sure to save at least ten to fifteen minutes for the Going Forward questions.


Finally, soak your group meetings in prayer—before you begin, during as needed, and always at the end of your time together.


Lesson 1

An Important Job

(1 TIMOTHY 1—2)


Before you begin …

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read 1 Timothy 1—2. This lesson references chapters 1 and 2 in Be Faithful. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.


Getting Started


From the Commentary


Timothy was born of mixed parentage: His mother was a Jewess, his father a Greek. He was so devoted to Christ that his local church leaders recommended him to Paul, and Paul added him to his “missionary staff” (Acts 16:1–5). Paul often reminded Timothy that he was chosen for this ministry (1 Tim. 1:18; 4:14). Timothy was faithful to the Lord (1 Cor. 4:17) and had a deep concern for God’s people (Phil. 2:20–22).


But in spite of his calling, his close association with Paul, and his spiritual gifts, Timothy was easily discouraged.


Paul wrote the letter we call 1 Timothy to encourage Timothy, to explain how a local church should be managed, and to enforce his own authority as a servant of God.


—Be Faithful, pages 20–21


1. What clues does Paul give in the first two chapters of 1 Timothy about Timothy’s tendency to be discouraged? (See especially 1 Tim. 1:18–19.) Why do you think Paul mentions that he has “handed over to Satan” Hymenaeus and Alexander?


2. Choose one verse or phrase from 1 Timothy 1—2 that stands out to you. This could be something you’re intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.


Going Deeper


From the Commentary


One reason Christian workers must stay on the job is that false teachers are busy trying to capture Christians. There were teachers of false doctrines in Paul’s day just as there are today, and we must take them seriously. These false teachers have no good news for lost sinners. They seek instead to lead Christians astray and capture them for their causes.


Paul used military language to help Timothy and his people see the seriousness of the problem (1 Tim. 1:3). Charge means “to give strict orders from a superior officer.” Paul used this word (sometimes translated “commandment” and “command” in KJV) eight times in his two letters to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:3, 5, 18; 4:11; 5:7; 6:13, 17; 2 Tim. 4:1). He was conveying this idea: “Timothy, you are not only a pastor of the church in a difficult city. You are also a Christian soldier under orders from the King. Now pass these orders along to the soldiers in your church!”


—Be Faithful, pages 21–22


3. How does Paul’s use of military language speak to an urgency in battling the false doctrines in the Ephesian church? What are some similar circumstances in today’s church where a “command” to a church leader might be appropriate? What are the risks of not responding to the false doctrines swiftly and decisively?


More to Consider: Read Galatians 5:1–6. How does this passage speak to the “ false doctrines” of religious legalism that Paul is warning against in 1 Timothy 1:3–11?


From the Commentary


The mention of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11, literal translation) moved Paul to share his own personal testimony. He was “Exhibit A” to prove that the gospel of the grace of God really works. When you read Paul’s testimony (see also Acts 9:1–22; 22:1–21; 26:9–18), you begin to grasp the wonder of God’s grace and His saving power.


—Be Faithful, page 24


4. Review 1 Timothy 1:12–17. What do these verses tell us about Paul’s testimony? What arguments does he put forth to illustrate the gospel of grace in his own story?


From the History Books


The city of Ephesus (in present-day Turkey) was at one time a city of nearly half a million people. Among other things, it was known for the Temple of Artemis (Diana). People came from far away to worship the goddess of fertility. The temple itself, which took more than a hundred years to complete, is often referred to today as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” and is evidence of the strong pagan influence in the city of Ephesus during Paul’s day.


5. What impact would the pagan environment have had on Timothy’s ability to serve the church in Ephesus? What sorts of challenges might he have faced that were unique to a city that was known for its worship of a fertility goddess? How might knowing this about Ephesus have influenced the manner in which Paul addressed Timothy?


From the Commentary


It was not easy to serve God in pagan Ephesus, but Timothy was a man under orders, and he had to obey. The soldier’s task is to “please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4), and not to please himself. Furthermore, Timothy was there by divine appointment: God had chosen him and sent him. It was this fact that could give him assurance in difficult days.


—Be Faithful, page 27


6. How does Paul’s personal story (1 Tim. 1:12–13) speak to the idea of being divinely appointed for the leadership task? How might this have offered encouragement to Timothy? How does this resonate with the way we view church leaders today?


From the Commentary


Timothy must have been greatly helped and encouraged when he read this first section of Paul’s letter. God had called Timothy, equipped him, and put him into his place of ministry. Timothy’s job was not to run all over Ephesus, being involved in a multitude of tasks. His job was to care for the church by winning the lost, teaching the saved, and defending the faith. Any task that did not relate to these ministries would have to be abandoned.


—Be Faithful, page 29


7. Why was it important for Timothy to focus on the local church? What greater value could this focus have had on other efforts to reach the Ephesians? In what ways do the leaders of churches today succeed in staying focused? In what ways does the church fail in this? How can Paul’s words in chapter 1 help redirect a church that has lost focus?


From the Commentary


Often, what we think is the “freedom of the Spirit” are the carnal ideas of some Christian who is not walking in the Spirit. Eventually this “freedom” becomes anarchy, and the Spirit grieves as a church gradually moves away from the standards of God’s Word.


To counteract this tendency, Paul exhorted both the men and the women in the church and reminded them of their spiritual responsibilities.


—Be Faithful, page 33


8. Review 1 Timothy 2:1–8. What were the spiritual responsibilities Paul described specifically for the men of the church? Why do you think he separated the responsibilities of men and women in this and the next section? How much of what Paul described is specific to the culture of the time, and what can we derive from this passage that is universally helpful for all believers, men or women?


More to Consider: Read Matthew 6:5; Luke 18:9–14; James 4:1–10; and 1 John 5:14–15 to see examples of problematic attitudes some people bring to prayer. How does Paul’s exhortation in 1 Timothy 2:1–4 speak to the concerns raised by these passages?


From the Commentary


The word translated “subjection” in 1 Timothy 2:11 is translated “submitting” and “submit” in Ephesians 5:21–22 and Colossians 3:18. It literally means “to rank under.” Anyone who has served in the armed forces knows that “rank” has to do with order and authority, not with value or ability.


Submission is not subjugation. Submission is recognizing God’s order in the home and the church and joyfully obeying it. When a Christian wife joyfully submits to the Lord and to her own husband, it should bring out the best in her.


—Be Faithful, page 40


9. Review 1 Timothy 2:9–15. What are the specific responsibilities Paul outlines for women in these verses? What makes this passage somewhat controversial in today’s church? Again, how much of what Paul writes is specific to the culture of the time, and how much is directly applicable today?


From the Commentary


Paul gave several arguments to back up this admonition that the Christian men in the church should be the spiritual leaders. The first is an argument from creation: Adam was formed first, and then Eve (1 Tim. 2:12–13).


The second argument has to do with man’s fall into sin. Satan deceived the woman into sinning (Gen. 3:1ff.; 2 Cor. 11:3); the man sinned with his eyes wide open. Because Adam rejected the God-given order, he listened to his wife, disobeyed God, and brought sin and death into the world. The submission of wives to their own husbands is a part of the original creation.


—Be Faithful, page 43


10. What is your initial reaction to Paul’s arguments about why men should be the spiritual leaders in the church? Why do you think Paul makes this distinction in his letter to Timothy? What can we discern from this that is applicable to today’s church leaders?


Looking Inward


Take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve explored thus far in this study of 1 Timothy 1—2. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.


Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don’t press people to speak if they’re uncomfortable doing so.


11. When have you been discouraged like Timothy? How did you respond to that discouragement? How can Paul’s words of encouragement to Timothy help you?


12. Timothy was battling the false doctrine of legalism. How have you battled that in your church? In your own life? Why is it so easy to fall into legalism? How do Paul’s words to Timothy help you understand the gospel of grace?


13. What is your response to Paul’s exhortations to men and women at the end of 1 Timothy 2? How are Paul’s words applicable to your life? Do you agree with everything he says? Why or why not?


Going Forward

14. Think of one or two things you have learned that you’d like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It’s better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don’t try).


Do you need encouragement? Do you need to fight the temptation to be legalistic? Be specific. Go back through 1 Timothy 1—2 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.


Real-Life Application Ideas: Invite a discussion with other church members about how you can support and encourage the church leadership. Brainstorm specific ways you can encourage the leaders, and then take action on these ideas.


Seeking Help


15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you’ve previously noted. Be honest about your desires and fears.


Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other

group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you’ve read

and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read 1 Timothy 3. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapter 3, “Follow the Leaders,” in Be Faithful.


©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. The Wiersbe Bible Study Series - 1&2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon by Warren Wiersbe. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Applauding

My girlies and I just walked to the mall and home. Yes, I know it's hovering close to frigid out there. If we only left the house when it was warm we wouldn't leave the house for 6 months. Besides the cool air is good for the constitution.

As we were leaving, we saw a little boy pitching a royal fit. His mom took him by the hand to kind of force the issue of leaving and that little booger wiggled free and proceeded to throw himself on the floor in a bigger royal hissy fit. Enter Grandma. "Come on, I'll hold your hand. If you had been nice in the store we would have stopped to play games but you weren't nice." Louder screaming from the child. I swear if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would have thought he was being horse-whipped. The child's mom handed her packages off and picked up the child and off we all went.

I wanted to applaud. I really did. Instead I contented myself with telling my girlies "See you aren't the only ones who get taken out of stores for having a fit."

So yesterday I blogged about watching Julie and Julia and how much I wanted to cook. Well, I still do but I still haven't made it to the grocery store. But I did cook! Well technically it wasn't cooking but baking I did. Today I made bread.

I never thought I would enjoy making bread. I thought it was too hard and time consuming. But that was before I tried it. Now I enjoy it. I have found the perfect flour to use to get the bread to rise nicely. Before it was always a struggle to get it to rise at all, much less nicely. I no longer have that problem.
The dough, just after I've allowed some of it to sponge and before I stir in the remaining flour, salt, butter and honey.
The dough, after the first kneading (I just literally typed "needing"). I kept thinking how easy it is to knead dough, to shape it how I want because it is so very pliable in my hands. It doesn't resist me or my poking and prodding at all. It is very elastic and conforms and reforms to whatever shape I desire. The more I knead it, the more it grows. I found myself praying for a pliable heart in God's hands. That I would be a willing and eager lump of dough in His hands.
Ready for the first rising. I always get so excited at this point. Beanie was more than excited though. She got to take a break from school to butter the bowl. And as you can see she did a marvelous job!
The dough is now in the loaf pans and in the warm oven for the final rising. Now I am beyond excited. I can't wait to smell it's luscious bit of goodness.
Now that is what I call a nicely raised loaf of bread. All ready to go in the oven.
Now that, my friends, is as Alton Brown would say, "Good eats!"


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cooking Schmooking

For Christmas my dearest of dear men gave me the dvd of Julie and Julia. Ahhh bliss. I am just now finding time to sit and watch it. I saw it in the theater with my dear friend and for the weeks after I became a cooking fool.

Yes. Me. A cooking fool. I cooked everything. I experimented. I LOVED it. I dreamed of blogging like Julie Powell. In my crazy state of mind, I thought if Julie could blog her way through Julia Child's cookbook (which the title of escapes me at the moment), I could certainly blog my way through The Joy of Cooking, right?

HA! Have you seen the size of that book? It's enormous! It's huge. It would take me a lifetime and then some to blog my way through all the recipes in it. Okay, true, partly because some of the recipes I wouldn't be able to bring myself to use. Oxtail soup, anyone? I didn't think so.

It seems I can't watch the movie though, without eating something. And let me tell you, my CLIF Builders protein bar is not cutting it. I could make something luscious, because you know after all I have The Joy of Cooking cookbook.

But alas, it's not that easy for me tonight. The family is gone with our one car (that is actually a van if that really matters at all) and I should have (Oh I REALLY like this part in the movie! "Oh are you back? Please be back?" "Whats for dinner?") bought groceries already and because I hate to grocery shop so very much, I've not done it yet, so I have no food in the house.

Well that isn't entirely true. There is food, to be sure, in the house, but not the right sorts of food. Not the kinds of food one needs to have on hand to make real food...real good food.

While on the subject of food, the other day it was so snowy I craved a nice big pot of soup simmering on the stove. I sent my dear man out in the storm for the ingredients to make Minestrone. The recipe, of course, came from The Joy of Cooking. But what do you have to have to go with the soup? A nice big loaf of crusty, crunchy bread. Homemade preferably and still hot.

So I made a batch of french bread. I'll admit I tweaked the recipe a bit. Mainly because I can't seem to pay attention to directions with any sort of regularity anymore. It turned out superb! Well except I managed to follow the directions a little too closely at the end and the bread got a little dark on the bottom but it was still very good.

The bread recipe makes of course two loaves. So what did I do the extra dough? I made a scrumpdiddlyicious dessert bread. I thought of making cinnamon rolls, but I don't care for cinnamon rolls much.

Here's what I did. I melted butter and brushed it on the rolled out dough. To that I added sliced red delicious apple slices, sprinkled cinnamon and drizzled honey over the top. I folded the dough over the apples, pinched edges of the dough together and brushed butter over the top. I baked it just like I baked the bread.

Oh my stars! It was so delicious. It was best served hot, but the next day it was still good cold. I can't only begin to imagine what it would taste like with vanilla ice cream. Yummy I'm sure.

My family is now home and I have bedtime to oversee and leftover Minestrone to put away. And the movie to finish.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I can't think of a funky title for this so I'll go without a title at all.

I'm working my way through a Bible study book by Warren Wiersbe. This covers the books of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. I honestly don't know if my brain just isn't working right or if Mr. Wiersbe is really this heady. I find myself shaking my head and reading the questions over and over trying to grasp just what he is asking of me. It is a very stretching time to be sure.

One question he seems to really like is "How much of what Paul writes is specific to the culture of the time, and how much is directly applicable today?" I'm sorry but I'm a black/white girl. A it-all-applies-or-none-of-it-applies girl. The Bible, though written many centuries ago, applies today. All of it.

I can't pick and choose what to apply and what not to apply. If God is, as He says He is, the same yesterday, today and forever, what gives me the right to determine and say "This is no longer applicable because I live in a different culture."

Humans are humans regardless of the time or place of their birth. It is more acceptable in God's eyes that I teach and exercise authority over a man than it was when He through the Holy Spirit breathed the words through Paul. If it was wrong then, it's wrong today. When I get to heaven, I will not be able to use the excuse, "Well, you see, God, I didn't think that applied to me so I didn't do it."

While I am on a soapbox on this, let's get the whole modesty issue on the table. I am astounded at what some women wear to church. Modesty seems to have gone out the window.

I fear we have lost all of our reverence for the house of God and with that quite possibly our reverence for God Himself. His house is not treated as some place special, some place to be treated differently than we treat our house or the mall. I know my body is the temple, and I am the church, but something has to be said about building we use to gather to worship.

I am fully aware of the possibility for legalism to crop up in this issue. I am very much aware of it. But we have lost so much in the "God doesn't care what you wear" movement. He does care. He doesn't care so much for our comfort as He does our needs. He doesn't care that we don't always wear dresses or three piece suits or even a tie every Sunday. But He does care for our modesty. The directive in 1 Timothy 1:9-10 still applies. There are so many times I want nothing more than to stand and shout, "Women! Cover it up!"

Beth Moore has said that no woman dresses and leaves the house by accident. We are all fully aware of what we are wearing and it's affect on others. I no longer buy the line that says women don't know the affect they have on men. I don't buy it. We are aware. And since we are aware and still choose to dress immodestly that means we just don't care.

I know I should have some logical conclusion to this but I don't. I have no grand answers. I have no steps to follow. I just have my thoughts and feelings.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cute Shoes

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes

David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Lisa McKay and her husband, Luke, serve at a thriving church in Alabama. Together they are happily – if not always properly—raising three rowdy boys and one dramatic girl. In addition to being a wife and mom, Lisa is also a popular conference speaker.



Visit the author's website.

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes, by Lisa McKay from David C. Cook on Vimeo.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767264
ISBN-13: 978-1434767264

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


My Husband’s Calling is My Calling Too

Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.—Proverbs 19:21 (NASB)


I once had an interesting conversation with a woman whose husband had enrolled in seminary to prepare for ministry. “He can take classes all he wants, but I didn’t sign up for the preacher’s wife thing,” she said. Since she didn’t believe her husband would actually follow through, she went on to tell me she planned on humoring him until the day his calling affected her. And if that day ever came? Well, she’d just cross that bridge when she came to it.


He is still in school. She is still in denial.


Around that same time I attended a pastor’s wife conference that included a panel discussion at the end. Lined across the stage, five women in different seasons of ministry shared the thing they found most difficult about being married to a minister.


I’ll never forget the response of the youngest woman. She was the mom of toddlers and was obviously distressed. “The hardest thing for me is everyone wanting a piece of my husband and not acknowledging me in the least,” she said. “I feel like the person in the background who is only here to take care of the kids so he can be free to take care of everyone else.”


I was grieved by her raw response. All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around that girl and assure her she had it all wrong. That she was an integral part of her husband’s ministry. That her calling in that season was her children. That no amount of public success possibly mattered if her heart and home were in shambles. The sad thing is that I’ve met many more like her in the past fifteen years during my own life as a minister’s wife. If anything, this has intensified my desire to embrace and encourage women whom God has charged with supporting the men He has ordained to proclaim His Word.


The fact that I just typed that last sentence still baffles me. You have no idea how surreal it is for me to be writing this book. There are many of you reading who have been Christians as long as you can remember and always knew you would marry a preacher. Many more of you grew up as the child of a minister and swore you would never marry one yourself, only to find yourself eating your words. Some of you have pursued callings to various vocational ministries and met your mate in college, seminary, etc. Some of you married men who were already serving in the church. However, based on my blog surveys, a lot of your serene lives were turned inside out when your husband experienced God’s call to ministry some point after you were married.


And then on the lunatic fringe are girls like me whose life and marital background weren’t exactly résumé worthy.

A Match Made In Heaven?


My husband, Luke, and I married young. I was a mere eighteen and he a strapping twenty-one. Can I just be honest and tell you there were never two individuals any more needy or any less likely to be serving behind a pulpit?


I always cringe when we run into old high school friends. The question of what we’re doing now always comes up, and there is one response that we can count on when we share that Luke is a pastor—after the laughter dies down, that is.


“Luke, you are a preacher? And Lisa? You are a preacher’s wife?! Okay, joke’s over. Now what are you really doing?”


We would be offended if we weren’t just as baffled.


I forgive our flabbergasted friends because I can’t hold their excellent recall against them. They remember the dangerous combination of the wild boy and the bitter girl whose marriage was tumultuous at best. Surely, the future they envisioned for us was set in a divorce court rather than a sanctuary. They were within days of being absolutely correct.


There is no human reason why Luke and I should still be wed today, much less serving the body of Christ. Even though we were not yet believers, our union started off well enough. But we soon faced the heartbreaking yet all too common reality of many young couples: The stress of working different shifts, having more month than money, and living the separate lives that developed in the midst of it resulted in our parting ways and filing for divorce two short years after the ceremony.


I despised the not-yet-preacher, and the truth is I loathed myself as much as him. We had hurt each other in a million ways, and all I could think of was getting away and starting over. We were within a week of our divorce being final when one night I received a bizarre phone call from him. He told me he had started going to church and wanted us to rethink what we were doing.


I went off the deep end! I spewed, “So you are turning into a religious fanatic—and you think that is going to fix everything?” I was so full of hate and bitterness, and it still makes me blush to think of all the horrible things I said to him about his newfound religion. He continued, very patiently, to call and tell me he was asking God for a miracle as the clock ticked toward the day our marriage would be legally over.


One night during the critical week before the divorce was final, I had gone to bed, still convinced divorce was the only answer. For some reason, I woke up around two a.m. and the tears began to flow. I missed my husband so badly I could barely lay there. I remember thinking, “What is wrong with you? You cannot stand him! It’s almost over, just hang in there.” I realize now that voice was Satan’s, bent on thwarting God’s plan for us. If you ask me how I know prayer works, or how I know God can turn a cold, black heart into one that can feel love, laughter, and joy (Ezek. 11:19), I will point you to that night because it is the one that changed everything.


I called Luke the next day. One conversation led to another, and we called the lawyer to stop the divorce proceedings. I tentatively moved back home with him, and we began visiting churches. I was still not very thrilled about the “God thing,” but I knew for some reason I wanted my husband back and this would play a part. Would it ever!


One night soon afterward, my hubby came to me in our living room and told me he had just prayed for salvation. He’d gone to church his whole life, but it was only at that time he truly accepted Christ as his Savior. I grew up in a totally different denomination, so this Baptist way of doing things was a little traumatic for me. I was glad for him, but I still wasn’t so sure what that meant for me. For personal reasons, organized religion held no real appeal, so I was very afraid of how having my husband become so radically different was going to affect me and our life together. Seemingly out of the blue, I began having feelings of not being good enough for this new man, and shame over my own sin slowly entered my heart.


For me, salvation was not a lightning-bolt experience but rather an intellectual process at first. I needed to understand it. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the Cross is foolishness for those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” I know the Spirit of God enabled me to believe what I was hearing because obviously I could have still walked away a scoffer. We were attending my husband’s childhood church, and the pastor became a dear friend and mentor to us both. He started a small group in his home, and I was able to ask all my questions in a very nonthreatening environment. That man was very patient with me as I asked everything from “What does ‘once saved, always saved’ mean?” to “When do you think the rapture will happen?” Sometime in the midst of those sessions, I realized I had already made a decision. That decision was for life—both for Jesus Christ and until-death-do-us-part with my husband. I asked the Lord to “officially” save me and soon afterward made that public in the body of people who had prayed so faithfully for us both.


If this had been the end of the story I would have been happily-ever-after indeed. Little did I know our tale was only beginning.

The Call


Over the next weeks, I watched Luke transform in front of my eyes. Where once stood a rough-around-the-edges construction worker, I now found a softened gentleman. Where turmoil had churned, peace now reigned. A thirst for the world was replaced by an unquenchable longing to drink up every bit of the Word that he’d neglected for the past years.


I’m in no way suggesting that a called minister is on a plane above any other Christian, but what I will say is that even in my own spiritually immature state, what I saw happening in Luke seemed to be so much more fervent than what I saw in other men. And as for my own walk, Luke’s desire made me long for more. If I can be so biased, Luke was special—an opinion I still hold.


I tell you this because I want you to understand that after Luke finally told me he believed God was calling him to minister, my head was shocked, but my heart wasn’t. Something in me perceived our life had taken a twist that surpassed simply returning to our old lives a renewed version of our previous selves. We both were experiencing intense restlessness in our jobs. I had just left an entire career on a lark. And Luke, who had always loved his trade and coworkers, began dreading the alarm clock every morning.


Have you ever read the book The Return of the King in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy? In the end Frodo the hobbit leaves his home, the Shire, after risking his life to save it. When explaining to his best friend, Sam, why he has to go, he says, “There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same.” In much the same way, the dailiness of our lives had taken on a sense of not-quite-belonging in the place that had always been familiar. Accepting the fact that God was calling us to serve Him in some capacity was like turning a dial to the last number on a combination lock. The “rightness” of it clicked, and suddenly the future was wide open.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign


Luke and I began to pray and seek God for what He wanted us to do—definitely a first in our married lives. I have no biblical basis for what I am going to say next, but I believe God answers the prayers of baby Christians with a shout instead of a whisper. God has taught us how to discern Him more through prayer and His Word now, but in those early days He had to throw out the flashing neon signs before our own lightbulbs lit up.


The first two of those signs were named Al and Doyle. Both of these men mentioned the name of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College within two days of one another. Al had just returned from a Constructors for Christ project, during which they had built new one-bedroom duplexes for married students without children. Doyle was a longtime supporter of the school. These days I call that type of communication from God a double affirmation, but then we were still thinking, “Hmmm.… That’s odd. I wonder if we are supposed to look into this?”


And God was saying, “Ya think?” while restraining Himself from knocking our foolish heads together.


Luke hesitated contacting the school to request information because he had no hopes of getting in. What I’ve not yet told you is that he didn’t graduate high school. What dropout had any kind of chance to go to college? He finally mustered the nerve to call, and we scheduled a visit. We still didn’t know for what. Both of us realized we wouldn’t be able to go right away but thought maybe the school could give some pointers on what Luke could do to become a student someday.


We traveled to the college and were in love at first sight. The campus was set in the mountains and was absolute lush, peaceful perfection. Arriving there felt like coming home, which at the time was heartbreaking because we knew this place couldn’t possibly be in our near future.


The following day we met the director of admissions, Jay. He was and remains one of the most boisterous, joyful, encouraging people we have ever known. Luke explained his full situation—particularly the part about not having a diploma. Luke expected to hear, “Sorry, son, but you don’t belong here. Come back in a year or two when you are good enough.” Instead Jay chuckled and said, “No problem!!”


No problem? How is not having a high school diploma not a problem?!


Brother Jay enthusiastically went on to explain there was a special program in this college for men who did not have a high-school degree. They would take regular college courses and also be tutored for high school in the freshman year. Students had two semesters to pass the GED, at which point they would have official student status and all classes would count toward a fully accredited degree.


And just like that, there was Neon Sign Three, and it blinked wildly, “Road Open!”


One patient, gracious God gave us three signs in an overwhelming answer to our many prayers—and they all pointed toward our new home. (One of the homes Al built, no less!)

Absolutely Certain (I Think)


Well, enough about us—for now anyway! Since I’ve shared a little backstory with you, I’d like to talk about what I believe is one of the foundational principles of our lives as ministry wives: the nature of our own call.


I realize each of our inductions into a life of ministry was met with different levels of enthusiasm. It’s not every woman who looks forward to low salaries and high expectations. Of frequent moves and misunderstood children. Of criticism and conflict. These are just a few stereotypical pitfalls that can understandably cause a woman to put the skids on any plans her man has for serving in vocational ministry.


As Luke was processing the call God placed on his life, I was blessedly ignorant of all the things I just listed. My church experience was limited to a few years of attendance as a child, so I really had no comprehension of the chew-’em-up-and-spit-’em-out reputation of churches where ministers are concerned. Naïveté is not always a bad thing—especially when knowing all the details could result in being too fearful to take the leap into God’s plan for your future.


But what part do you play in what God is asking your husband to do? Has God called you in the same manner as him? My short answer is to state plainly that every wife has the God-given role of being a faithful helpmeet no matter if her husband is a banker, a mechanic, or a schoolteacher. However, there are unique challenges and more assured uncertainties for the wife who has the high charge of supporting a man directed to leave the familiar behind and follow God’s call into the unknown. What are some of those challenges, and how should we who find ourselves in this situation react? Let’s learn from someone who has gone before us—Abraham’s wife, Sarah.

A Woman Out of Control


We meet Sarah in Genesis 11:30 and are told simply, “[She] was barren; she had no children.” In the Middle Eastern culture, Sarah’s dignity was directly tied to her being married and having babies. Since she was childless, she would not have risked staying behind without her husband, no matter how unsure she may have been about Abraham asking her to leave Ur. There was nothing but shame for Sarah in Ur without Abraham.


And conversely, there was nothing in Canaan for Abraham without Sarah. It was out of Sarah’s infertility that God would perform one of His most awesome works—the miraculous birth of a nation consecrated to Himself. Abraham could have found any number of women who weren’t suffering from the heartbreak of barrenness to be his wife. However, the supernatural birth of Isaac was the requirement for properly illustrating God’s glory through human hopelessness.


Long before Abraham met Sarah, God purposed for the two of them to be the human agents through whom He would bless the nations. Neither of them could have participated in God’s plan alone—each needed the other. That concept is no different for those God continues to call today to spread the good news throughout the world.


When I think of all the quirks and hang-ups that Luke and I both have, it is amazing to realize that for the most part we do not have the same ones. Luke is painfully shy; I’m the social extrovert. Luke is compassionate to a fault where I am more critical. Luke doesn’t understand drama, and I am a master of it; therefore, I am able to help him comprehend the underlying issues women have when he has no clue how to proceed. God placed us together as a team to complement one another’s weaknesses and to nurture the spiritual children He has entrusted to our care. I have total and complete faith in Luke’s ability and he in mine, and yet neither of us believes for a second we could have any measure of ministry success without the support of the other.


To the reluctant ministry wife, I understand your fear. I know your need to have some input on how and where you are going to raise your family. Even the wondrous event of God entering into covenant with Abraham on the assurance of an heir was not enough to keep Sarah from trying to control the way in which the promised child would come into the world. And thirteen years later, Sarah laughed when they were told once again she would have a son. Abraham’s seed could only be reckoned through Sarah, and that required a separate faith on her part—a willing participation in what God purposed to accomplish through their son, Isaac. Sarah wasn’t perfect. She could be harsh and unbelieving and manipulative. However, Hebrews 11:11 tells us God gave her strength to participate in the creation and blessing of nations because “she considered Him faithful who had promised” (NASB).


My personal feeling is that we can make the idea of serving in ministry way more complex than God ever intended. In the case of Abraham, God promised children more numerous than the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore, but He didn’t ask him to birth them all! He gave Abraham charge over one piece of that promise—beloved Isaac. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the enormity of what God is asking us to do that we forget the Big Picture is composed of individual frames of obedience. I’m guilty of shutting down physically and mentally when the job seems way too big—and all God has asked of me is to trust Him one day at a time. It’s much easier to walk into the unknown if we can focus on being faithful with what is required of us today, trusting God for His faithfulness in all our tomorrows.

It’s Simple, Really


Are we called alongside our husbands? Absolutely. Is the life we are called to complex? You bet. But, based on my personal experience and the example of Sarah, I believe we are asked to do three things that will simplify our thinking and therefore help us to not only accept but look forward to a certain future.

We are called to trust.


1 Peter 3:6 says, “Just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, … you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear” (NASB).


This verse is found in a passage describing how a woman’s beauty is to be found internally instead of externally (verses 1–5). Among other things, Peter describes how a woman should be in willing subjection to her husband, even if he is not a believer. Dread shouldn’t motivate her in yielding to him, but rather a healthy fear of God’s mandate to honor her husband. Sarah’s singular obedience was dually blessed. She wanted to obey God by following Abraham. God’s laws are not arbitrary and are not given without benefit attached. Sarah’s reward was the gift of inclusion into the blessing of the nations that God had intended through Abraham. If we seek to surrender our lives to God’s will through His call on our husbands, we will be given the blessed distinction of being a daughter of Sarah.


So what does this type of obedience look like in a minister’s wife? Certainly the amount of reluctance you are feeling towards this role will dictate the type of faith it will take to accompany your husband into the unknown. Hear me well when I say that no matter how much initial trepidation I feel when God asks something of our family, He has yet to call Luke to a task without also piercing my own heart. It is always heartbreaking for me to talk to ministry wives who do not express any sense of calling toward their husband’s work. The reasons are endless, but most often the wife incorrectly believes that his ministry is just another vocation and has nothing to do with her, or she absolutely wants nothing to do with a life with trappings holding no obvious appeal.


You may ask, “Is it wrong if I don’t want my husband to be a preacher? Can anyone blame me if I don’t want to leave what is comfortable and predictable? What if I don’t want to move away from my extended family?” And bigger still, “What if I don’t trust my husband to discern God’s voice?”


If you find yourself feeling this way, then it is time to look past your wants and even those of your husband and straight to the face of God. Ask Him what He requires of you. Are you willing to trust Him with your unknown? Are you willing to obey even if you believe your man has some static in his radio? I wish I had an easy answer here, but in reality these questions can only be hashed out in some sincere facedown time with the Father. Because I continually remember the comfort and reassurance He has offered me with these same fears, I can promise you He’ll invade your heart with a much-needed peace in the midst of the pain that often goes along with hard-fought obedience.


Luke and I had no idea in the beginning what our exact ministry would look like. Would we be missionaries? Would he be behind a pulpit? Would we work in a parachurch organization? We had no clue. In the same way, be assured you won’t always know every detail of what God is asking of you. However, though the what may be unclear, we can always trust the motivation of the Who. Our faith in His promises and the assurance of His continual blessing upon the nations through our obedience in spreading His Word is enough to follow our man wherever God leads.

We are called to participate.


Hebrews 11:11–12 says, “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (NASB).


I can identify with Sarah on so many levels. Though she is heralded as a model of faithfulness, we know she behaved badly in her doubt. Just think about her side for a bit. God made these covenant promises to Abraham but never mentioned Sarah’s name once until she was ninety years old—some twenty-five years after God first appeared to her husband. She knew God promised Abraham an heir, and when the plan she hatched to speed that along resulted in Hagar’s pregnancy, Sarah may have felt left out by God entirely.


Are you like the girl in the beginning of this chapter who felt no one needed her? Do you ever feel left behind to cook, clean, and take care of babies while your husband spends the better part of his days ministering to everyone but you? Are you convinced he is having a blast crusading for the kingdom while you are stuck at home in the castle—as Cinderella no less?


Obviously the season of life you are in dictates to what degree you are able to participate in the work of the church. Listen closely, young mothers! Your ministry in this stage of life is to those precious babies in your care. If you have your own desires to serve in things such as women’s ministry, Bible study, administration, etc., your day will come. Some of you are able to soldier on and do these things in addition to caring for your toddlers, but many are just not able to do it all. And you know what? You aren’t supposed to. If you find your home is suffering and your kids are begging for your attention, then they—not church ministry—take absolute precedence. Never, ever apologize for making your family first!


My children are no longer babies, but I am just as busy with them in other ways. Diaper changing and bottle feeding have given way to homework and taxi service to whatever sport they are playing at the moment. Though I consider myself active in ministry, there are many things I don’t do. For example, I don’t always make it to the funeral home every time someone passes, due to the simple fact that I would have to bring my kids and I don’t particularly think they enjoy going any more than I enjoy having to get them dressed and wrangling them once there. I do have a tradeoff, however—I help with the meal if we are hosting one for the grieving family. The kids can hang out in a back room, and the stress is greatly relieved for them and for me. Not to mention our darling church ladies always fix the kids a plate from the leftovers. This is my way of letting the family know I love them, I care, and I am taking part to the best of my current ability without making myself crazy.


No matter if you are a seasoned ministry wife or a relative newbie, there is always one thing your congregation will pick up on loud and clear—your willingness to serve despite your inability. Do you work outside the home but do your best to participate in the body when possible? The church knows this and for the most part will understand. (Oh, there will always be exceptions!)


However, what they will not easily forgive is when you take a seat in the back and refuse to play a part—able or not. There are many women who are embittered by the demands the church has placed on their family’s life and time, therefore they refuse to support their husband’s ministry or the church body in any way, shape, or form. We’ll discuss in a later chapter the delicate balance between home and church life, but let’s just say for now that this attitude is extremely unhealthy and can be a huge detriment to your husband’s relationship with the church. The support the congregation perceives your husband receiving from you and your willingness to care for them even if you aren’t able to do all that you’d like is a bridge between their hearts and your man’s. Just like Sarah, your participation in his call is not only nice but necessary for him to effectively live out what God will do through him, whether you realize it now or not.

We are called to hope.


A life in ministry ultimately calls us to one thing: a hope for a greater glory than current circumstances reveal. I can’t think of a higher charge than the invitation to participate in God’s good intentions toward His creation. Sarah considered God faithful in His promises towards her, and because of that, she was able to look past the difficult years of childlessness and hold the manifestation of God’s blessing in her own arms.


Many years ago I watched a mafia movie (I don’t have any idea what it is called) where a gangster was teaching his young son about trust. The boy was on a ladder, and the father repeatedly told him to fall backward into his arms: “Don’t worry! I’m your father. Do you really think I’d let you be hurt?” The boy was more frightened of his dad than the fall, so he let go of the ladder. As he fell the dad stepped to the side and let him crash to the ground. His son stared up in surprised pain as the father said, “Never trust anyone.”


I think many of us have the mindset that God is the father who is setting us up for a huge fall and that we can’t trust Him to keep something painful from happening to us. The difference is He is standing in your unknown saying, “You can ALWAYS trust me!”


He never promises our lives won’t hurt, but you know what? He will always cushion us. Certainly there are hard days but in the midst of them you will find laughter, just like Abraham and Sarah. Sometimes those giggles you share will be born out of pure joy and at other times from incredulous unbelief. The thing to always remember is that you and your husband are in this thing together. There is no part of what God intends to do through either of you that isn’t intimately intertwined with the love and support of the other. God has appointed your husband according to his gifts, and your first priority as his wife is to affirm him in this role. However, many of you have desires for ministry that will involve taking off in your own direction. That doesn’t mean you supplant your hubby, but in the appropriate season, there will be many ways in which your own talents will broaden the scope of what he is able to do alongside you versus going it alone.

If You Say So


One of the coolest things about this book is the fact that these are not just my own observations! I mentioned in the introduction that I have a blog called The Preacher’s Wife (www.apreacherswife.com). Blogs are explained in greater detail in Appendix A of this book.


As part of the research for this project I asked a series of survey questions to the ministry wives who hang out with me online. (I’m excited to tell you there are a lot of them!) These Round Table discussions provide advice and encouragement from women who are serving in the trenches just like you. More than anything, I pray this book confirms the fact you are not alone in your circumstances, your joys, your struggles, or your opinions. I am so thrilled to introduce you to an online community of women who absolutely understand where you are coming from. I’ve also gathered comments from laypeople. I think it is imperative that we hear from both perspectives in order to understand one another’s hearts and hopefully build stronger relationships.


Now let me be clear: I am in no way saying that “virtual” friends should replace your flesh and blood ones. What I can tell you is that I have met many women in person that I’ve first made contact with online through my blog and they’ve become my dearest confidants. Blogs are but one fresh and relevant way to establish connections with women who will support you in your role as a ministry wife. We’ll discuss those various avenues in a later chapter centered on friendships.


For ease of identification (and to show off my excessive-texting-abbreviation skills), my blog friends will be known as the M2M Girls (as in, Married to Ministry Girls). Make sense? Let’s see what they had to share about their perspectives on calling.

Round Table

“I never wanted to be a pastor’s wife. When my husband felt called (before we got engaged) I had doubts. But, what God wanted and had planned was far greater than I knew at the time. He eventually convinced my heart to follow Him.”—Sarah @ Life in the Parsonage
“I feel like my highest calling is to be my husband’s supporter, his encourager, his helpmate. I believe that my service in the home, especially at this season in our lives with small children, is the biggest call in that ministry. He could not focus on doing the greatest part of his calling—preaching the gospel—if I didn’t do mine.”—Crystal @ Life Is Nothing Without Him
“As a layperson, I think it is obvious when a wife doesn’t share her husband’s passion for ministry. I don’t believe a pastor’s wife has to be everyone’s friend or attend every church event. But I do think you can tell by her general demeanor if she is ministry-minded. And, rightly or wrongly, the vibe I get from her reflects on her husband.”—Lori (layperson)
“I felt a call to ministry years before I met my husband, and deep down I hoped that call meant I would marry a minister. My challenge came several years later when he started thinking about leaving the ministry and I thought, ‘Wait a minute. I married you as a minister, so you have to stay one!’ I came to realize that I was married to him—a person, not his title—and I would love him no matter what.”—Kecia @ Kecia’s Journey
“I don’t know of any other occupation that my husband could have that would require me to be a part of the ‘package deal’ (for free) except the ministry. That took some getting used to!”—Sherry @ Life at the Parsonage
“It’s easy to spot a woman who’s happy for and proud of her husband’s life/accomplishments/calling. It may not be easy for her to ‘follow’ when she is in the background with young children (early on), but she is proud of her man’s walk and character. That is a beautiful thing to see.”—Darnelle (layperson) @ All Things Work Together


Now That You Know:


How are you responding to God’s call on your husband? Seek out a seasoned pastor’s wife and ask her to share her experience with you for reassurance.
Take the power away from the vague fears Satan will give you about the uncertainties you face by writing down what scares you. Search out the truth of God’s Word to apply to each. Afraid of moving away from family? Claim Matthew 19:29. Worried your family will not be provided for? Pray Psalm 37:25.
Laypeople: Has a man in your congregation announced a call to ministry? He is often congratulated and much is made over his decision, but his wife may be struggling in his shadow. Take the time to encourage her by pointing out the gifts she has that will be an asset to him. If there isn’t a new minister in your midst, consider writing a note of encouragement to your existing pastor’s wife to let her know what a vital part she plays in her husband’s work.


You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes is a good book and is written very well. I am not a pastor's wife, but my husband does work for our church and for another ministry organization. All I read in this book, I have learned from my own pastor's wife. I am sure the book is needed, as the prevalent culture still looks to the children and wives of pastors to be perfect. I wonder, though, if it isn't just common sense. Those in ministry (and really who isn't?) are not perfect, but we do need to realize that we are held to a higher standard (James 3:1 comes to mind) and people are watching.

In the same vein, lay people need to lay off. People in the ministry are no more perfect than they are and cutting them a little slack is never a bad thing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

So long, Insecurity.

I'm still reading this book. It's GREAT!!! Personal review coming soon!


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


So Long Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 2, 2010)

***Special thanks to Vicky Lynch of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Over the past decade, Beth Moore has become an internationally known and respected Bible teacher, teaching over 250,000 women annually in Living Proof Live Conferences and regularly sharing God’s Word with an interdenominational community at her church in Houston; teaching the Bible on the nationally syndicated Life Today with James Robison; and through her best-selling books and Living Proof radio program.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414334729
ISBN-13: 978-1414334721

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Mad Enough to Change

I’m seriously ticked. And I need to do something about it. Some people eat when they’re about to rupture with emotion. Others throw up. Or jog. Or go to bed. Some have a holy fit. Others stuff it and try to forget it. I can do all those things in sequential order, but I still don’t find relief.

When my soul is inflating until my skin feels like a balloon about to pop, I write. Never longhand, if I can help it. The more emotion I feel, the more I appreciate banging on the keys of a computer. I type by faith and not by sight. My keyboard can attest to the fact that I am a passionate person with an obsession for words: most of the vowels are worn off. The word ticked really should have more vowels. Maybe what I am is peeved. That’s a good one. How about irrationally irritated to oblivion? Let that one wear the vowels off a keyboard.

The thing is, I’m not even sure exactly who I’m ticked at. I’m hoping to find that out as I hack away at these chapters. One thing is for certain. Once I figure it out, I probably won’t keep it to myself. After all, you know how the saying goes: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And I’m feeling scorned.

But not just for myself. I’m feeling ticked for the whole mess of us born with a pair of X chromosomes. My whole ministry life is lived out in the blessed chaos of a female cornucopia. I’ve been looking at our gender through the lens of Scripture for twenty-five solid years, and I have pondered over us, taken up for us, laid into us, deliberated over us, prayed about us, lost sleep because of us, cried for us, laughed my head off at us, and gotten offended for us—and by us—more times than I can count. And after a quarter of a century surrounded by girls ranging all the way from kindergarteners to those resting on pale pink liners inside caskets, I’ve come to this loving conclusion: we need help. I need help. Something more than what we’re getting.

The woman I passed a few days ago on the freeway who was bawling her eyes out at the steering wheel of her Nissan needs help. The girl lying about her age in order to get a job in a topless bar needs help. The divorcée who has loathed herself into fifty extra pounds needs help. For crying out loud, that female rock star I’ve disdained for years needs help. When I read something demeaning her ex said about her recently—something I know would cut any female to the quick—I jumped to her defense like a jackal on a field mouse and seriously wondered how I could contact her agent and offer to mentor her in Bible study.

Several days ago I sat in a tearoom across the table from a gorgeous woman I love dearly. She has been married for three months, and they did all the right things leading up to that sacred ceremony, heightening the anticipation considerably. After an hour or so of musing over marriage, she said to me, “Last weekend he seemed disinterested in me. I’ll be honest with you. It kind of shook me up. I wanted to ask him, ‘So, are you over me now? That quick? That’s it?’”

I’m pretty certain her husband will perk back up, but what a tragedy that she feels like she possesses the shelf life of a video game.

I flashed back to another recent communication with a magazine-cover-beautiful thirty-year-old woman who mentioned—almost in passing—that she has to dress up in costumes in order for her husband to want to make love to her. I’m not knocking her pink-feathered heels, but I wonder if she is paying too much for them. I’m just sad that she can’t feel desirable as herself.

Then yesterday I learned that a darling fifteen-year-old I keep in touch with slept with her boyfriend in a last-ditch effort to hold on to him. He broke up with her anyway. Then he told. It’s all over her high school now.

I’ve got a loved one going through her third divorce. She wants to find a good man in the worst way, and goodness knows they’re out there. The problem is, she keeps marrying the same kind of man.

I’m so ticked.

If these examples were exceptions to the rule, I wouldn’t bother writing, but you and I both know better than that. I hear echoes of fear and desperation from women day in and day out—even if they’re doing their best to muffle the sound with their Coach bags. Oh, who am I kidding? I hear reverberations from my own heart more times than I want to admit. I keep trying to stifle it, but it won’t shut up. Something’s wrong with us for us to value ourselves so little. Our culture has thrown us under the bus. We have a fissure down the spine of our souls and, boy, does it need fixing.

This morning while I was getting ready for church, my cell phone nearly vibrated off the bathroom counter with six incoming texts from a single friend who was having a crisis of heart. I answered her with what little I had to give, even as I grappled with my own issues. I decided that what I needed was a good sermon to keep me from crying off my eyeliner, so I flipped on the television to a terrific local preacher. Lo and behold, the sermon was about what a woman needs from a man.

Deep sigh.

Actually, it was a great message if anyone had a mind to do what he was recommending, but knowing human nature and feeling uncharacteristically cynical, I could feel my frustration mounting. The preacher had done his homework. He offered half a dozen Scripture-based PowerPoint slides with state-of-the-art graphics describing what men should do for women. “Women want to be told that they are captivating. That they’re beautiful. Desirable.”

I won’t deny that. What woman wouldn’t thrive under that kind of steady affirmation?

But here’s my question: What if no one tells us that? Can we still find a way to be okay? Or what if he says it because he’s supposed to, but to be honest, he’s not feeling it? Are we hopeless? What if a man is not captivated by us? What if he doesn’t think we’re particularly beautiful? Or, understandably, maybe just not every day? Are we only secure on his “on” days? What if he loves us but is not quite as captivated by us as he used to be? What if his computer is full of images of what he finds attractive, and we’re light-years from it? What if we’re seventy-five, and every ounce of desirability is long behind us? Can we still feel adequate in our media-driven society?



Adapted from So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. Copyright © 2010 by Beth Moore. Used with permission from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sing a song, any song...

but make sure it is a Song of Deliverance.

Okay I just made that little ditty up, but it fits today. I read a book by my friend, Marilynn Griffith. She is such a good author.

I was excited when this book came in the mail, so excited I hurriedly finished all the books I had to read so I dive right in.

This book is very different from the other books by Marilynn that I have read. I was a little taken aback. I believe this book follows Rhythms of Grace. A book I very much want to read.

Songs of Deliverance is about Zeely, a girl with a big heart and a big secret, Ron, Zeely's college boyfriend, Grace, Zeely's friend and Brian or Doc as he is called. These four characters grew up together and were all called back to their home town and the school they attended to help their former principal with the school.

Ron and Brian still love Zeely and Grace but the girls aren't sure they can or should give their hearts away. Will love win out? Will they both realize how much they are loved not only by Ron and Brian but God?

The books by Marilynn I have read previously were a light quick read. This book, while not being difficult to read was not at all like the other books. This book made me think. It made me see myself in a new light.

If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it. In fact, while you're at it, why not start with Rhythms of Grace and move right in to Song Of Deliverance. You will not be disappointed. So go to your local Christian book store or click on the above links and order them through Amazon.com. You will be blessed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad boys, bad boys



I know the theme song for COPS is about those who make their living on the wrong side of the law. I get that, but sometimes things get changed around a little. This morning, I saw a car blow through a red light. Now fortunately the intersection was for once, quiet. Not so normally.

No, normally that intersection is a mass of humanity driving to work, to school, to knock off a couple of the banks that litter that corner of my world. But today, it was quiet. Which worked well for the numbskull...err genius who ran the light.

How do I know he ran the light while it was red? Because you see, I happen to be a law abiding citizen. Oh yes. I stopped at the red light and the police cruiser coming straight at me had nothing to do it.

Well okay. Maybe a little. But more than the policeman, it was the two children in back seat. I don't know about your children, but mine...oh they will nail you every time you even think about breaking the law.

But we're not here to talk about me. Oh no. We're here to talk about the yay-whoo...errr brilliant person who ran the red light.

He not only ran the light on red, he did it with the aforementioned police car in the same half block. So there was no wishy-washy feeling on my part that the policeman saw the idiot....errr....smart person run the light.

And just what did this man in blue do?

Not a blooming thing. Oh well I mean HE stopped at the light, came to a complete stop, looked both ways a few million times and then promptly turned right while the light was still red. And then I'm sure he moseyed on his way. I thought he might have been headed to the donut shop, but in fact he had probably just come from there. As the bakery was behind him. Maybe it was a sugar-induced, feel good, love everyone type of reaction to all the sugar coursing through his system. I don't know.

But he still did nothing. And it makes me so happy to know these paragons of virtue, these select few are really willing to lay their life on the line for my safety.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Daybook!!


FOR TODAY...
February 1 ,2010



Outside my window...the sun is brightly shining.

I am thinking...I have GOT to get OVER this grump!! Help me, Father!

I am thankful for... a God who knows me intimately and loves me unconditionally!

I am wearing...green Merry Grinchmas jammmie bottoms and a fleece jacket.

I am remembering...things I'd rather forget.

I am going... to clean this house, if it's the last thing I do.

I am currently reading...So Long Insecurity, you've been a bad friend to us, by Beth Moore.

I am hoping... God grips me.

On my mind...all I have to do.

Noticing that...I really enjoy facebook, sometimes too much.

Pondering these words... "Insecurity among women is epidemic, but it is not incurable"

From the kitchen... Enchiladas!

Around the house...the girlies worked on their school work and laundry. Now they are safely tucked in bed.

One of my favorite things~ hearing the laughter of my girlies.

From my picture journal...My red Ropers. I seriously think I could live in them.


Visit Peggy's blog to learn more about The Daybook!

Romance is NOT a bad word.

Not that I ever really thought it was, but I grew up hearing about "those Harlequin romances" as if they were written by the devil himself and who knows maybe they were. For a time I rebelled and read romance books. Having lived a somewhat sheltered life, they astounded me. I had no idea life happened like that.

Now that I'm an adult, at least most of the time, I find myself no longer gravitating to romance books at all. I find them to be, in general, fake. No one really acts like that. I also find myself struggling with contentment in my own life, marriage and romance department.

I recently was chatting with an author about her latest book and before I knew I had volunteered to read it and review it. I've done that before, so that part wasn't shocking. The book is a Steeple Hill, Love Inspired, Heartwarming, inspirational ROMANCE.

What was I thinking?

The book came and I opened it and thought I'd just read the first page. Twelve chapters later, I put the book down. The book is A Valentine's Wish by Betsy St. Amant. The book is available on amazon.com, just click the above link and order it!! I just checked, the book is only $5.50 and qualifies for free shipping.

Betsy weaves a wonderful story about chocolate, Lori and Andy. Andy is a youth pastor and Lori is his long time best friend, but not girlfriend. When Andy is told by his senior pastor to find a wife and find one quickly, he turns to Lori. He is convinced though, that she doesn't like him that way but instead of just asking her, he becomes a secret admirer.

I'm not giving away any more of the books delicious secrets, you'll have to get it for yourself and read it!