Archive | February, 2014

How To Be The Friend You’d Want To Have | Reach Out in Love

22 Feb

sisters_opt

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” John 15:12

We are designed to live in community within the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) ; as daughters of the King (2 Corinthians 6:18), bonded together by our common belief and faith in Christ we are drawn to others made new in Him.

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow” – William Shakespeare

As relational beings we need other women who encourage, comfort, guide, and listen in times of contentment and distress. Many of us have long established a circle of friends creating sisters of the heart, surrounded by deep love, intimacy, transparency.  This coterie may function so well it may inhibit inclusion others when instead of reaching out we dig in. Invite others in who may appear confident in their solitude, learn their story, see Christ in them, love them where they are.

How To Be The Friend You’d Want To Have by Laurie Wallin

C. S. Lewis, in his book, The Four Loves, said friendship begins when one person says to another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one!”

Problem is, for that to happen,

We have to be around people—to allow space in our busy lives for real conversation and interaction with friends.

We have to be around people—to stay in the moment, instead of letting 1001 other thoughts boss our brains around and distract us from the person we’re with.

How can we be a good friend, and invite friendship in return?

Read on to find out: How To Be The Friend You’d Want To Have.

Related content:

A Friend in Need

10 Ways to Meet Women Where They Are

Disposable Friends

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Valentine’s Day | Be Mine

14 Feb

valentine_opt“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:16-19

“…we were made to crave — long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for — God. Only God” (Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave).

We long to be romanced (courted, wooed, pursued, chased). Enemy distractions may tempt us into believing the wordly idea that somehow the perfect poetic verse or love note, pounds of chocolate, a fancy restaurant, dozens of flowers and/or some other token of love will leave us satiated this Valentine’s Day. Our misplaced hopes may leave us restless and mired in dissatisfaction craving more; searching for more. 

“Trying to boost our self-esteem by trying to live up to our own standards or someone else’s is a trap. It is not an answer” (Tim Keller, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness).

These intense yearnings emanate from a soul tuned to God; crying out for Him (Psalm 84:2); already in possession of THE ultimate gift freely given; our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ through whom the Holy Spirit was poured out upon us; streaming with God’s love (Romans 5:5, Titus 3:6), drawn in (John 6:44).

“Look at God and understand who He is and what He’s done and when you’ve forgotten about yourself and it’s all about Him, it is then that you have great pleasure; the greatest joy…the glory of God” (Pastor Burris, “The World at War Against Your Soul).

God pursues us, revealing His presence is a thousand little ways like love notes to us His children beckoning us to the cross. If only we would take notice! We need Him, only Him…desperately (Philippians 4:19)!

“Do not underestimate the power of desperation to do good for your soul” (Jon Bloom, The Merciful Gift of Desperation). 

A Prayer on Valentine’s Day (Excerpt) by Scotty Smith

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Valentine’s Day—the day in our culture in which red hearts, overpriced cards, dark chocolates, and cut flowers abound. For some, it’s a day of incredible kindness, sweetness, and gratitude. For others, it’s a day in which brokenness, loneliness, and emptiness are magnified. For all of us, it should be a day in which our deepest longings for intimacy and connection find their way home to you…

My heart is fickle and fragile—still capable of being sucker-punched by sin within, and susceptible to whisperings without. Most of the time I believe you greatly love, desire, and delight in me; but then I also have moments when I can be blindsided by unbelief, temptation and discontent.

Those are the times when I place unrealistic demands on other relationships, including marriage. Instead of living as a grateful servant, I can act like a grace-less orphan—over-expecting from others and under-believing of you. Forgive me and free me from all such nonsense…

Read in entirety here: A Prayer on Valentine’s Day – Heavenward by Scotty Smith.

Multi-Generational Life Together | United in the Body of the Christ

8 Feb

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“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Monday evening Women’s Ministries hosted a Table Talk Event* focusing on Titus 2 as, “…a call for us to live differently, do relationships with others differently and speak and act differently because of God’s grace that saves us and instructs us to live in a new way” (Marcia Lichte). This multi-generational gathering focused on God’s transforming grace and the yearning to live in a way that is pleasing to Him and, “The realization that [our] daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of on [our] own performance…” (Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace).

The Gospel provides the gravity (Christ’s blood) that pulls us to our knees at the cross where we can mercifully cling; grounded, changed. The unifying force of the Holy Spirit creates an accordance with the Lord that transcends and overrides any propensity towards divisiveness as we are drawn to other believers (Ephesians 4:3). Knowing God gives us a desire deep inside to love one another as Christ first loved us, sincerely and deeply from the heart (1 John 4:19, 1 Peter 1:22).  Christ’s presence binds us into an intergenerational body enabling accessible, familial relationships, mentorships, and friendships to grow.

Titus 2 outlines the mutual benefit and blessing derived from life together where we support, serve, encourage, and learn from each other bound by the mercy and grace of our Lord (Titus 3:5-7). It is through these examples that we reflect the light of Christ as “God’s people not good people” providing an opportunity for those who do not know Him to see the unique way our shared joy in His presence unites us in community (1 Peter 2:12) and reflects His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

“Spirit filled, multi-generational unity is a powerful witness to God’s work in our churches” (Daniel Renstrom, Multi-Generational Worship). As foreigners and exiles living in the world let’s endeavor to present a genuine closeness that defies logic outside of the unifying work of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 2:11-12, Titus 2:12)! 

*For those of you who were unable to attend the above mentioned event, click here for the evening’s Bible study: Titus 2 Study Handout.

Multi-Generational Worship by Daniel Renstrom

This is pure speculation, but it seems to me that when the modern worship movement came into town, churches became more and more age segregated.  There is probably a doctoral student somewhere in America working on this topic right now, so I’ll wait for that book to come out to tell me more about it.  But as a general observation, I do not remember churches in my youth having such radical age divides as they do now…

Continue reading here: Multi-Generational Worship – TGC Worship.

What Young Christians Can Learn From the Elderly | Life is Better in Community

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