Exodus: Week 2 {1:1-2:10}

During a dark time in Israel’s history when they could not make sense of life God was still moving and redeeming.  This week will see the beginning of God’s faithfulness to fulfill his covenant promises and redeem His people.  Watch the video below to see the story of God and His people unfold through:

The oppression of a nation

The unlikely plan of rescue

The deliverance of a deliverer

Read this week’s passage here: Exodus 1:1-2:10

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Exodus: Intro Message

The book of Exodus is all about God’s power.  It’s a book about redemption and God’s faithfulness to fulfill His covenant promises and redeem His people.

It’s a perfect book for me to study and teach as I have wrestled in a season of doubt, discouragement, and disillusionment.  I thought this was over.  I thought I was done.  Until the LORD whispered to me, “Daughter, if you are struggling with unbelief, with doubt, with disillusionment, you don’t quit, you come closer. If you don’t know my power, come here to me and I’ll show you.”

That’s just what He’s been doing the past few weeks.

Watch the Intro Message here: Exodus Intro Message

Watching so many around me run toward or slowly drift, confess or get caught was starting to scare me. None of this was my own relationship with Christ, but it started to affect my relationship with Christ. I give my life to helping others find joy and fulfillment and satisfaction in Jesus, He is the way, the truth, the life. And so when I watched so many around me pursue a different path, when I watched my own professor who taught me so much live a life of hypocrisy, it filled me with doubt and I started to ask:

Is this all real?

Is this all true?

Is this all worth it?

I didn’t realize until I was reading my 10month old a bible story that what I was doubting was: GOD’S POWER. Somewhere along the way, watching believers choose to go their own way, choose sin, live in hypocrisy, led me to a faith crisis.

Does God really have the power to break chains? To set people free? To satisfy? To redeem? To deliver? To renew? To change? To raise the dead?

Is his power real? Is it true?

And I stopped believing it. I stopped believing in God’s power and I started down a path of disillusionment. I started to see myself take subtle steps toward believing, “If this is not true, than what am I doing? Why am I pouring my life out, getting up in the wee hours of the morning to study, meeting with women, leaving my cute baby? I could be watching Netflix, shopping, drinking wine, moving to Italy, living for me and mine. And I started to struggle with wanting to compromise myself, pursuing the false gods of comfort and selfishness.

And I realized, I have to quit. I can’t teach and lead a bible study about God if I don’t believe His power. If I don’t believe this is all real and God can really change people, then I can’t stand up here.

Listen to the rest of the message below.

 

 

Women’s Ministry Internship

Years ago, while I was in seminary I had to find a woman that had my dream job, a woman that was doing what I hoped to be doing once I finished my degree, and ask to shadow her for a semester. I had a desire to write and teach bible studies as well as lead and shepherd other women through a scripture based ministry that crossed generational lines. I needed to find a woman in my church that was leading, teaching, and writing bible studies and I couldn’t find one. Not one.

There was not one woman in my church doing what I believed God has made me to do.

I never want that to happen again as long as I live. I want my generation and the generation behind to be able to find lots of women living out their calling and serving the LORD in these ways. I want the women behind me to see women using their gifts, dreaming, serving, advancing the Kingdom, and spreading the Gospel!

That is why I have created an internship for anyone wanting to be equipped in ministry. This internship is a 2 semester commitment and will be 5-10 hours a week September-November 2018 and January-April 2019. The time will be made up of weekly attendance in women’s bible study both semesters as a leader or coleader, cohort meetings twice a month, reading assignments, podcasts, personal reflections, and meeting with other women in leadership or discipleship relationships. We will meet once in August to get to know each other and go over the expectations and syllabus for the year.

The goal of this internship is to spend the first semester focused on your own spiritual formation and growth, while the second semester will help equip you in specific areas of women’s ministry.

If you are interested in applying for this internship, you can fill out the application here by August 15th.

To apply click here: Women’s Ministry Internship

The tentative dates and topics are listed below:

If you have any other questions or want more information, you can email me melissa@thewellcommunity.org.

I look forward to growing in Christ with you this year!

-Melissa

 

 

Proverbs 30-31: Wisdom Fulfilled {Week 9}

Insecurity plagues women in our generation. We are inundated with images of beauty and perfection like no other generations before us in movies, on TV, on Instagram and Pinterest, and in magazines at the grocery store checkout counter. Everywhere we go, someone wants to show us or tell us the kind of woman we should aspire to be, and our character is hardly ever mentioned.

Without the steady foundation of our identity as a daughter of God, it is easier than ever to stake our identities on something as fleeting as our appearance or what other people think of us. We can consult all the cultural metrics for worthiness and value, but what does God’s Word say about what a godly woman should be like?

We start this week in Proverbs 30, reminding us that we are absolute dust compared to the Maker of all. We are reassured that every word of God is flawless. We can trust God because He is sovereign and eternal. And yet He cares for us tenderly enough to point our eyes to the true womanly standard, as written by the very Creator of all women. Certainly, this is a standard we can embrace.

 

Proverbs 25-29: Wisdom in Friendship {Week 8}

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. – Proverbs 25:11-12

Don’t we all wish to be the deliverers of words fitly spoken and wisdom to listening ears? Yet how will we become that kind of messenger unless we study the very words of wisdom written by the inventor of wisdom in the book of Proverbs?

May we begin this week with the introspection and humility required for heart change. May we continue with the discipline and commitment it takes to live a life that pleases God.

Lord, open our hearts to your words. May they sink in deeply and change us from the inside.

Click the link below to watch this week’s message on our words and friendship.

Proverbs 22-24: The Way of Wisdom Panel {Week 7}

This week we had a panel of women discuss multiple topics we have covered in Proverbs:

Gossip

Friendship

Money & Debt

Marriage

Anger

Work/Life Balance

Sexuality & Purity

While there are certainly more topics we could’ve covered and definitely ran out of time for all of the questions submitted, we hope you are able to glean some wisdom from the panels.

AM Panel (Molly DeFrank, Cori Derksen, Jenny Ratzlaff, Tammy Daily, Valerie Watts)

 

PM Panel (Ashley Ploen, Rose Torres, Melissa Costa, Ashley Berry, Lisa Roberts)

Proverbs 16-21: The Way of Wisdom- Surrender {Week 6}

While traveling through Israel, following behind a Hebrew tour guide who had walked this road many times, we were anxious to see where he was taking us. The road was unfamiliar to us, but he knew it like the back of his hand. We walked with him, followed, and listened to his instruction. As we went, we had to trust where and how he was leading us. Sometimes the walking led us to shade and water, and when you are in the 120-degree Middle East desert, nothing is more refreshing.

Once in a while, he would walk on paths that made us frustrated or nervous. We were confused and were not given much explanation. At other times, the road led us to the most amazing sights or ruins that were being excavated. Occasionally, he led us right up to enemy territory, where we stood inches away from a border, looking out to tanks and military watching our every move.

Solomon is leading and guiding us in a similar way through these chapters of Proverbs. It feels like we are on a walking tour with a guide who knows his way around the back roads, has lived more life than we have, and has learned some lessons the hard way. Though we may be confused by where he is going or think there seems to be no rhyme or reason to his sayings, he is leading us to see God and know wisdom in a new way.

There are parts of these lessons that seem to speak to the simple and mundane parts of life, while others speak to deeper things like death and destruction. Some of these proverbs from the wise, old sage are direct and repetitive, while others are refreshing and encouraging. With others, you may have to dig for meaning and understanding. Either way, stay close, keep your notebook out, and keep a mirror out, too, for self-reflection.