Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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The Video Edition…

Water Pt. 1: If you like dance. then you’ll love this. It is just beautiful.

Water Pt.2: And this follow-up is also beautiful and I paticularily love the song.

Don Carson On The Ground Of Our Assurance: Ever question your salvation? Or worry about how good your faith is? Watch this short clip and be reminded about where our assurance lies. It was a breath of air for me.

Beautifully True: How can we know the Bible is true? God opens our eyes to his unique beauty on the canvas of Scripture.

Bears Den – Above The Clouds Of Pompeii: Here is a lovely and sad song about a mother and son. Its been on repeat lately for me.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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What Is Spiritual Abuse?: Although this is part of a Reformed “Spotlight” conversation I by no means believe this is only a problem in the Reformed church. But it is still a very important conversation given the amount this is happening nowadays. So pay attention.

Evangelicals And Toxic Masculinity: This is SO important! Manhood is much more than a girlfriend on your arm or a letter on a varsity jacket. But it’s also much more than how many Christian conferences one can attend, and how many bookshelves adorn your walls. Before confessional Christians can speak prophetically to toxic masculinity out there, we must first be honest about it in here.

Why I Write Scary Stories For Kids: Should we keep our kids from hearing scary stories? N.D Wilson would say, no. The goal isn’t to steer kids into stories of darkness because those are the stories that grip readers. The goal is to put the darkness in its place.

Prince Of Peace – Hillsong: Admittedly I have a love/hate relationship with Hillsong. Most of the time I find them trite and over-produced. But my snobbery is put in its place when all of a sudden one of their songs hits me again. This is the most recent one.

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Today’s Worries And Today’s Bread…

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I’m not someone who has ever created a 5 year plan. It’s just not how I roll. I’m also not a spontaneous kind of person either. That is also just not in my nature. And I think the reason for both is very clear. Worry.

It’s hard for me to think that far ahead because it’s like throwing anxiety-meat to my brain-lion. I feriously start panicing about my kids. How will they be doing in school? What kind of challenges will they face? Maybe they’ll be bullied! Will they be falling away from the faith? What if their future is just one big nightmare! And where will my husband and I be? Will we be struggling in our marriage? Will we be in a different country? What if we’re in terrible debt!

It’s ridiculous.

But spontaneity is also too risky because details need to be sorted before I can feel secure about virtually anything. My peace of mind in both these area’s hang in the balance.

Last night my life group was pondering about our human need to know the future. And it made me want to think through this desire we have to know what tomorrow or the next 5 years holds for us.

I believe we desperately want some measure of peace, which is why so many of us purchase it by entertaining modern-day Balaam’s, like the prosperity gospel. It itch’s that scratch of desired foreknowledge. If I give this much money to the church, then I will most certainly, without a doubt, get ten fold. Or if I pray this Old Testament prayer every single morning, health will be restored to me.

It’s a sneaky version of fortune-telling without the creepy crystal ball. It’s also faulty.

And it makes us feel good to think we have some control over tomorrow and the next day and beyond. It’s just far more challenging to trust the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34,

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The Israelites had to learn this every single evening in the desert when they watched each one of the left over manna melt away into nothing. They were forced to have faith that tomorrow morning a new crop of fresh manna would be provided by the Lord for their nourishment. But only for that day. Because tomorrow would care for itself.

In fact any attempts at stashing some of the goods away for the night would ensure maggots and a stench unworthy of edibility.

God most certainly was commanding a level of obedience, but not just for the sake of it. He was desperate to make it clear to His people that He loved them enough to provide for their basic needs. You need food? Here it is!

This is why we are taught to pray, give us this day our daily bread, and not this week or month or year. We will worry about tomorrows bread, tomorrow.

And this is the beautiful message of Scripture – Do not turn to other gods for the fulfillment of your needs and desires, seek first His kingdom and righteousness and because of His great love, all that is necessary will be added to you. When we seek His kingdom and righteousness our desires change and our worry disappears.

But the best part about all this, is that though the physical bread for our bellies may run out one day, our greatest needs are still met in Jesus Christ, the bread of life. This beautiful picture is made clear in John 6:30-33,

So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”  Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

So there is no reason to worry, and no cause for fear! Because Jesus shall be our sweet and perfect bread for the day.

Five years from now, who knows where I’ll be. However I can be certain that wherever I am there will be trouble. And there will likely be some form of trouble awaiting me a week from now. But Jesus is my manna. And every morning He is good.

So all that we have is today.

And I pray that this day will be spent feasting on the abundant bread of life, seeking first His kingdom, and leaving all worry for the maggots.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Flower Mound Women’s Bible Study: This is a Bible Study led by Jen Wilkin and all of her studies are here on podcast. I have been doing the Joshua study at home and it is great! So here is a wonderful resource for women!

Porch Preaching: This may well come off as totally offensive. But it was interesting and challenging to read. It made me ask myself the all important question of, “how do I respond when false-gospel evangelists knock on my door?” Food for thought.

Six Questions About Physician-Assisted Death: This is big news right now, and this might be a helpful read for those of us with questions. I encourage everyone to research this topic to understand it better.

Joshua: Here is a helpful little video giving a brief explanation of this often controversial book. And I’m studying this book, so it is particularly interesting to me right now.

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A Response To – 7 Reasons Men Should Not Be Pastors…

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Those of us with a Facebook account know the inner battle of the Facebook Newsweek. We scroll through it and see everything from fitness quotes to friends starting business’s…tasty recipes to pictures of cute children…memes for LGBTQ advocates to passionate Donald Trump supporters rallying for votes.

At least that’s what mine looks like.

We all find ourselves sifting through the good and bad, making decisions on what silly stuff to engage and what things to quietly ignore. Most of the time if I disagree, I usually stay pretty quiet. I’ve never found Facebook to be a good place for civil dialogue.

However yesterday I saw a friend post a video entitled, “7 Reasons Men Should Not Be Pastors”, and my interest was peaked.

The video is flipping the common question “Can women really lead in the church” and asking the same question of men. This is of course funny because men don’t have this question asked of them, but women do. The very premise is making a clear point.

For those of us with convictions one way or another in regards to women in ministry leadership, we know this conversation can get heated. But I have zero desire for that, as I’ve always maintained that it is a secondary issue that does not change the gospel. And the gospel is what ultimately unifies us.

However I’ve been around the block long enough to know that this topic is extremely important. The culture around us has been shifting for decades and the church ought to have thoughtful, bible-based answers for these kinds of questions regarding gender roles and gender identity. Never has it been more important to scour the Scripture for guidance on these matters. And all of it begins with our general understanding of male and female roles in the church and home. This is not a discussion about what women are permitted to do out in the world, as their seem to be no role’s off-limits scripturally in that context (aside from anything sinful – obviously).

For that reason I think it is important enough to engage with this video, as it is clearly trying to make a very big point about the church.

This topic is both enormous and nuanced, so bear with me as I’m not tackling the whole thing here. But just the points the video brings up.

At the very heart of the video there seems to be a great frustration for women to hear the word “no”. But never once is scripture spoken about in the video. These ladies are talking about the church, but devoid of any reasonable engagement with what the scripture says to inform the church on these matters. Which for me, makes the video pack much less punch.

However with that said, if women are actually being told these excuses for their exclusions from certain kinds of ministry then I understand their irritation. Most of the reasons spoken about are just silly and do not represent the complementarian’s theological stance.

If women are being told they can’t lead because they are too pretty and may be a distraction, or because they are too emotional, or because they get cranky once a month or because their children will keep them from effective work, then these are theologically lacking men speaking from personal chauvinistic preferences devoid of scriptural conviction. And let me encourage all women to ignore such men. Scripture does not disqualify women for any of these reasons, and so, neither should men.

Now let me deal with the only three points of the video I believe are worth looking closer at. Starting with these two statements:

“Men can still be involved in the church – they just don’t need to be ordained” and “Jesus was betrayed by a man, how can a man be trusted to lead?”

Summed up, the first statement is asking the question, why can’t women be ordained? And the second statement is saying women should not be punished for Eve’s sin in the same way that men are not punished for Judas’ sin.

So why don’t we look at a piece of Scripture that deals with both statements. 1 Timothy 2:12-14 says,

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

This text is a controversial one and is often explained away by asserting that at the time there were some particularly loud-mouthed women in the church who were being disruptive. Therefore, Paul is just addressing them. But this assertion has not been historically proven. It is more likely that Paul is differentiating roles for men and women in the church. This text seems to be speaking about how the governance and teaching of the church is the role of a man. And these two functions are the distinguishing factors between elders and deacons. This is not Paul telling women to shut up. Let’s get that straight. In the context of this entire letter to Timothy, Paul is helping his young mentoree Timothy with the difficult task of church governance. For this reason ordination for women would not be permitted in scripture, as the role of Elder is one of governance and teaching. Two things that is not included in the role of women in the church.

God has placed that extreme responsibility on men as part of their role. Does this mean God loves men more than women? Ask yourself the same question. Do you love your first child more than the rest, just because they were born first? Nope. Probably not. They just happened to be born in that order.

You may be wondering then why Paul brings Eve’s sin into the picture. Paul refers to the creation account to remind the church of what happened in the beginning. Adam ignored his role of protector and leader, then Eve stepped in the leadership role. We all know how that turned out. And comparing it to Judas’ sin is like apples and oranges. The first sin was the cause of all sin for the rest of history. Including Judas’ betrayal, which would have never happened if our first parents hadn’t sinned in the garden.

Paul brings up the garden because this is where God created gender roles. And when God made it, it was good. It was perfect and beautiful. And as soon as those roles switched, everything became unbalanced. It is of huge importance that we return to Eden when seeking to understand the way God created us.

Now lets move on to the last statement…

The children’s ministry is always in need of male leadership

Side note: Yes, it most certainly does!!! But that’s not the point trying to be made in the video.

I understand that women who feel the call to leadership are tired of being told to exercise those gifts in children’s ministry. But my question for them is…why? Let me be clear that complementarians do not believe that children’s ministry is the only place women can participate. In fact there are endless opportunities for women to do ministry. And true complementarians desire greatly to train and encourage women to do extremely important ministry. As John Piper said “Nobody (male or female) should be sitting at home watching soaps or ball games, while the world burns.” Women need to engage themselves in all kinds of ministry. We are desperately needed in a world that is burning.

But that isn’t the point, is it. Because it’s not really about the opportunities available to us. It’s actually more about the glory the ministry grants us. What glory is given to a woman in the children’s wing? Not as much as the guy standing on stage. Right?

And, I believe, that is the rub.

So often our frustrations with our role is the apparent lack of lime-light that comes with it. And I am boldly willing to suggest that our pride is the root of our frustration.

Along side cultural sway, of course. Because as the video says, “Its 2016! Support women in the church.”

To which I say…Yes! Support women in the church! Equip and encourage them. Utilize their God-given gifts and abilities! But let’s do all of that with fear and trembling at the Word of God. And not take our que’s from the culture of 2016.

Every Word of the Bible is Spirit-inspired, God-breathed, infallible and profitable for teaching…even the Words that we really don’t like. But when the church acts as it should within the beautiful roles that our good Father ordained in the garden – when we see it not abused, but embraced in all its goodness; we honor God. And we show our humility to His Word.

And my prayer is that women will lead the way in this kind of love and reverence to our Lord.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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I’m A Christian And I Hate Christian Movies: …since Christians believe in God’s very aliveness — since our theology suggests that people don’t save others’ souls, God does — and since we don’t have anything to lose, we shouldn’t think we have to swoop in and answer the question before the credits roll.

Andy Stanley’s Problem With The Bible: I’ve always been uncomfortable with the way Stanley speaks about Scripture as well as his views on Church ministry, long before his recent ‘small church’ drama came out to play. It troubles me that so many pastors look to him regularly for ministry inspiration. If you want a better look at him, take a read.

5 Ways To Protect Your Kids At Church: We all think of church as a safe place, but the reality is abusers prey on the vulnerability of such environments. Abuse can happen anytime and anywhere. This is so important and more church’s need to wake up to this reality and start protecting our little ones better.

Josh Garrels – At The Table: Here’s a great song to start your week!

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Happy Easter! I hope today is spent celebrating the risen Saviour and His victory over sin and death! Unfortunately my morning has so far been spent catching puke. However I am still celebrating internally. For all of it, good and bad, in this life is a gift from God. And I rejoice over the hope of a sinless, tearless and pukeless Heaven! Have a wonderful Easter!

The Triumph Of Joy: This is such great news, give it read! Death and sorrow will not have the last word. Easter announces, in the voice of the risen Christ, “Your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20).

Man Of Sorrows – Hillsong: I sure love this song.

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father’s will
He took a crown of thorns

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Sent of heaven God’s own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed

See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah God be praised
He’s risen from the grave

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