Friday, June 15, 2007

Well Done.

A model of models for women, Ruth Bell Graham dies at 87. Here is a link to a good article about an incredible lady: Ruth Graham, beloved wife of Billy Graham was real, gutsy, and godly. Another great article that sheds some light on this beautiful Christian lady is found at:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Already Excited

The Autumn Women’s Retreat is still over three months away…but I am already excited. There is just something about getting a glimpse of what is in the heart of God for us that fills me with anticipation.

In a phenomenal short passage in Exodus 33, we find the Lord speaking with Moses “face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.” After some discussion about the waywardness of the people and some pleading on the part of Moses, the Lord tells him “my presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses asks for something else: “I pray You, show me Your glory!” The Lord explained that no one could see His face and live, but that He would pass by Moses, hiding him in a cleft of a rock, and keeping His hand over him until He passed by…then He will take his hand away and Moses could see His back… a glimpse of His glory.

It is so much the heart of God to desire that His people draw close to Him and just spend time in praise, in worship, and just getting to know and understand Him better. And when we make it our desire to focus on Him and seek Him, His very presence can melt away so much of what troubles or concerns us in our lives. It is written in Psalm 73:16-17a, “When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God…” “Sanctuary” is a synonym for “retreat”. It is in the putting aside of our daily cares and focusing on God that changes our perspective. Just getting a glimpse of God’s heart for us…I can’t wait.

There are other facets to the retreat – great food, some time of lighthearted fun…but all of that is built around the anticipation of seeking Him. I am so looking forward to this time at TLC, September 28th – 30th. I hope you will be able to join us. Specific sign up information will be coming out shortly. The theme of the retreat is “A Costly Pearl: Seeking Jesus as our Finest Treasure.” I hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Stay Focused Bible Studies

This past Spring we offered some great Bible studies taught by some ladies who have a passion to help other women grow in their knowledge of the Bible. Each Bible study offered not only an opportunity to learn great Biblical truths, but also to put those powerful words into everyday language and application for down-to-earth real life.

Janet Harward taught a Bible Study focusing on Marriage. The frame of reference for this study was the excellent book Dr. Gil Stieglitz and his wife, Dana, wrote on marriage: How to Be a Godly Wife: God’s Radical Plan for Marriage. This study offered an excellent time for women to cultivate relationships that spanned generational borders. God’s Word has much to say about our role as wives. We also heard a lot of laughter as women discovered our common bonds and humorous situations that sometimes come with marriage. This was a timely and significant study.

Val Childs not only taught a study – she wrote this study. A seminary student, Val Childs has a passion to study and teach the Bible. A group of ladies eagerly studied Old Testament Prophets: Living Life Radically for God. Each week these women learned incredible things the Old Testament Prophets did out of obedience, to demonstrate God’s heart to a watching world. Soap operas have nothing on the Bible! The Bible is the most fascinating book in the world. This study was not only Bible history. This study showed the reality of God’s heart toward us today.

Becca Henry led a group that had a great study on the life of Sarah on the subject of Contentment. After the Easter service at the River Lodge, we started offering Spring Bible study sign-ups and had a variety of subjects available at the Women’s Ministry table. It was readily apparent that contentment was a subject that hit a nerve. In our busy culture of more, more, more, contentment doesn’t come naturally. Becca and her group studied Sarah’s life and how contentment can be a part of our life today. They had opportunities to practically apply what they learned in every day life decisions.

Trudy Wilson taught a “coffee study.” It was called Mocha on the Mount and the study was centered on Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount. Not only did they “do” a “coffee study” – they decided to meet at Hot Brew and study the Bible in a comfortable and public place. I loved Trudy’s idea. This worked well since the curriculum had all the Bible verses printed right in the book, so they didn’t have a need to bring along the library! Trudy loves digging into God’s Word and sharing her enthusiasm with her students.

Ruth Davis taught an ongoing Bible study on Friday afternoons on the book of John. Some of our great Senior adults attended and enjoyed this study. Ruth has taught Bible studies in our church for many years and we appreciate her wisdom, insight and practical experience of walking many years with the Lord. She always has great things to share with others.

We are taking a planned rest from the usual busy women’s ministry program so that women may focus on their husbands, families and friends. Typically rainy for many months, our North Coast weather gives us a beautiful break in the summer and many families travel. Enjoy your summer and rest up – because when Fall hits, women’s ministry will be on the move!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

R.I.S.E. Women's Ministry

The acrostic “R.I.S.E.” encapsulates some anchor points of Women’s Ministry. R is for “REACHING”. Our focus as a church and in women’s ministry is to reach out to others in the community so that more may come to know Christ. I is for “INSPIRNG.” Synonyms for inspire include motivate, move, stir and encourage. Hebrews 10:25 urges us to use creativity in ministry…”Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big day approaching.” (The Message). S is for “SERVING” – we are called to serve one another. A great aide in growing in our capacities to serve is to help identify our giftings and put them to use in the body of Christ. E is for “EQUIPPING” – I dream of having a strong emphasis on the teaching and training of ministry leaders. One of our wonderful seasoned saints said is so simply, but profoundly: “If people read the Bible more, they wouldn’t have so many problems in life.” Truly, the Bible is the book of hope and it is my sincere prayer that I can help other women fall in love with God’s Word.

The Scriptures make it absolutely clear that as we grow in Christ we have a significant responsibility to pass on, mentor and teach the faith to those who have recently come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In the Apostle Paul’s book to Titus he speaks specifically to women: “But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching…Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” NLT

What a considerable responsibility the Lord entrusts to us – especially in this day, in this age and in this geographic locale! Does our culture offer us a lot of help in this area? The answer is increasingly less and less. Whereas once families were more connected and the faith and life skills were more “naturally” transmitted (family members tended to live closer to each other) it is now common to live hundreds of miles away from the rest of our family members. Our culture – especially in the Pacific Northwest (that promotes rugged individualism and self sufficiency ) can distance us from the mentoring relationships that help us grow in the faith and in the concept of community. And beyond this, because of our pioneer beginnings, the Pacific Northwest is a highly unchurched region when compared to other locales in the United States. When we minister and teach, and when the Pastors preach, they cannot assume a Bible literacy that many sections of the country takes for granted. But this is where the church – God’s family – has a wonderful opportunity to speak light into a dark place, be creative and do whatever it takes to reach the lost with the love and message of Jesus Christ.