Archive | April, 2013

Cultivating Meaningful Friendships | Today’s Christian Woman

27 Apr

sower

 

 

 

 

Sowing the seeds for a relationship is easy, cultivating connectedness requires authenticity and intention.

Cultivating Meaningful Friendships

Six small-town secrets that lead to authentic relationships

Jenni Roney

Jesus was all about connecting with real people. What if he would have “Facebooked” the Woman at the Well? She’d have checked her email and found: “Woman at the Well: Jesus has written on your wall.” The email would say, “Heard you were at the well today. If you ask me, I will give you living water.” It kind of loses its meaning. When we read the story in John 4, it’s clear that a big part of Jesus’ impact was the fact that he was sitting in public talking to: (1) a woman, and (2) a Samaritan. He was risking being seen with her, and he was taking time from his busy life to sit and talk with her. Jesus’ life was about people—up close and personal—genuine connection, not counterfeit connection. Technology is a great thing, but overusing it can rob us of real relationships.

The entire article can be read here:Cultivating Meaningful Friendships | Today’s Christian Woman.

Finding Peace When You’re a Chick in Conflict – Mentoring Moments

23 Apr

vent

/vent/
Verb
Give free expression to (a strong emotion).

Do you find yourself venting (murdering with words) when friends disappoint?

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV)

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

“We just need to talk and air out our differences.”

“Let’s just lay our feelings out on the table.”

“I’m an open book. I want people to know exactly how I feel.”

“I needed to vent.”

Step back. Take cover. The outcome of this encounter is not going to be pretty.

All of our friendships are bound to hit a bump in the road. When our feelings are hurt, we feel that we have a right to vent. It feels goods to get it off our chest while sipping a large chocolate latte’ and recounting the whole saga to another friend. But the outcome can be a shattered relationship that will heal with a jagged scar.

Anger, hurt feelings, and disappointments often come from unfulfilled expectations or assumed intentions.

“If my friend truly cared, she would have called me….”

To View the Complete Article:Finding Peace When You’re a Chick in Conflict – Mentoring Moments.

The Gospel Coalition Blog

20 Apr

How do we get acquainted with someone? We do it by getting to know them; by listening genuinely so we can learn how best we can serve them. 

Cultivate Gospel Conversations by Listening

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13

listenWe who have the greatest message in the world—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—ought to be the clearest and most compelling communicators. It’s probably true that we evangelicals generally do well with one-way communication—preaching, lecturing, singing, and writing. It seems, however, that we are not always as strong with dialogue. We don’t always listen carefully. We can be too verbose. We offer unsolicited opinions. We fail to notice. Or we allow ourselves to be distracted by thinking about our response while others are still speaking.

If we struggle in cultivating ordinary conversation, how can we possibly broach difficult faith discussions, which tend to be wrought with deeply held convictions, some of which are antagonistic to Christian faith? The key word here is “cultivating.” Like the farmer who prepares the soil before successfully planting a seed, a number of preparatory measures ought to precede gospel conversation. Such measures grow out of prayer and worship—asking God to stimulate our affections and open doors for connecting with others. This much, I trust, is fairly obvious. It is the subsequent steps that I would like to consider. The first of which is the importance of noticing cues that highlight a person’s openness God.

To continue the remaining article: The Gospel Coalition Blog.

9 Things You Should Know About Female Body Image Issues – The Gospel Coalition Blog

17 Apr

Body image is the mental representation we create of what we think we look like; it may or may not bear a close relation to how others actually see us. Here are nine things you should know about female body image issues:

1. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty hired a criminal sketch artist to draw women as they see themselves and as others see them. The social experiment revealed that women’s perceptions of themselves were very different than how others view them.

2. According to the CDC, for women ages 20 years old and older, the average height for women in America is 5’3″ and weight is 166.2 pounds. For fashion models the average is 5’10” and 120 pounds.

3. By age 6, girls start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life.

4. The best-known contributor to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is body dissatisfaction. The median ages for onset of an eating disorder in adolescents is 12- to 13-years-old. In the United States, 20 million women suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.

5. Only four percent of women globally consider themselves beautiful.*

For the last 4 “things” and to read the rest of the article: 9 Things You Should Know About Female Body Image Issues – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

Loving Strangers | Today’s Christian Woman

16 Apr

As we explore ways to be missional within our community this particular article seemed timely…

welcomeWe serve Christ directly when we show hospitality to those we don’t know.

The word hospitality might evoke images of soft, sweet kindness, tea parties, and bland conversations, but that is only because we have lost God’s vision for loving strangers.

In the original language of the New Testament, hospitality literally means “loving strangers.” Hospitality is offering a space where both we and the stranger can grow closer and share our lives as God intended.

Of course, everyone we meet isn’t meant to become our closest friend, but God calls us to be people who are constantly reaching out to the strangers in our lives—to serve, befriend, and treat them as people dearly loved by God instead of as objects in our paths.

When we offer hospitality, we open our lives to the transformational work of Christ. Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9, and Matthew 25:34-40 show that hospitality is important in authentic biblical community. In the Old Testament, it was the highest priority to offer food and shelter to strangers, partially because God at times appeared in the form of traveling strangers.

To view the remaining article: Loving Strangers | Today’s Christian Woman.

Shut Up and Listen | Today’s Christian Woman

12 Apr

How to encourage someone who’s hurting 

encouragement

“What miserable comforters you are!”

She never actually uttered those words, but her eyes shouted them from behind her tears. She had just laid her soul bare. The silence afterward lasted only a moment before those around her erupted in a chorus of “Trust God—everything will work out,” and immediate quotations of Jeremiah 29:11.

I really wanted to cheer up my brokenhearted friend, but how could I avoid adding to the chorus of trite clichés? I had no idea what to do or say.

Ever been there? When we see someone downcast, we want to encourage them with meaningful, restorative words. True encouragement, though, is a tall order. It requires more than a pithy quip and pat on the back. So what are we to do?

Close your mouth and open your ears

When a hurting friend opens up about a struggle or crisis, we have to stop talking in order to hear them well.

For the remaining article by Meryl Herr: Shut Up and Listen | Today’s Christian Woman.

Who Will Teach the Women Who Want to Be Taught? – The Gospel Coalition Blog

10 Apr

It may be better to sleep on the corner of the rooftop than live with a quarrelsome woman, but friends, educate that woman and there is hardly a limit to what she can do with her mouth and mind—for good or evil.

God created woman as a helper knowing Adam would need help. What that help was exactly will be up for debate for centuries; we only know that the command to both man and woman at that point was to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth. A friend of mine confesses that at times he fears exposing his weaknesses to women in his life for various reasons. To which I replied that a woman was born to see a need, to come and encompass that need, nurture it until the time is right for it to be birthed into something more beautiful than he could imagine. We are built to help in ways men will never be able to help. That is our good design.

Disciplers on the Rise

Another friend and I were talking recently about the droves of women coming out of seminary in the coming years. These women have or will have studied biblical texts, learned Hebrew and Greek proficiently, interacted with scholars, and written theses. They have a deep and true abiding love of God’s Word, and a respect for the inerrancy of it. Women make up more than 51 percent of seminary students, and we can probably expect that number to grow.

to read the rest of the article: Who Will Teach the Women Who Want to Be Taught? – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

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