Genesis: Part 2 {Week 1} The Call of Abraham

Go
Risk
Trust

These words encapsulate the life of Abraham (whose name God changed from Abram), the patriarch of our faith, the father of the nation of Israel.

The Lord called him to GO to a land that He would reveal as Abraham was going.

He asked him to risk all that he had—comfort, shelter, relationships—all that was known for the unknown. Yahweh asked him to trust that He had a plan, a place, a purpose, and a blessing for him.

Abraham responded with faith and obedience, struggle and confusion, courage and hope. Abraham did not wait for God to reveal every detail of the promise. Abraham did not wait to see before he would move. He did not wait to know before he would believe; he responded to the call by going.

Faith and action
Courage and confusion
Trust and obedience

God called him to “go,” and he went.

It was from Abraham’s first steps that we see the path to Christ today. His obedience was the beginning of a nation that would be set apart by God as something different, something holy, and something we as the church would be grafted into.

Abraham walked into the unknown by trusting God at His word. Let’s watch this week as we see the tension of both faith and fear play out in Abraham’s life.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/154122773″>Women's Midsize Week 2 – 02.02.2016</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/twcc”>The Well Community Church</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer {Week 2}

In this week’s panel, we’ll discuss prayer. Make sure you’ve completed p.20-26 in the study prior to the video.

Which type of prayer from our study was new to you? Have you tried praying differently this week? Comment below!

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/119399613″>2015 02 10 – Women's Bible Study Week 3</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/twcc”>The Well Community Church</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Spiritual Disciplines: Bible Study {Week 1}

This week on the panel, we’ll hear from a variety of women, in different seasons of life share how they study the Bible. Prior to watching the video, complete Week 1 in the study (p.7-18). This will be the longest week of homework we have since bible study is the foundation for most of the other disciplines!

After you’ve watched the video, leave a comment below with one new insight you had from this week’s homework or the panel.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/118777229″>2015 02 03 – Women’s Bible Study Week 2</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/twcc”>The Well Community Church</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

What Is the Gospel?

“A test”
“A road map for how to live your life”
“The books about Jesus”
“The Cross and Jesus dying for our sins”

All of these are responses I’ve received when I’ve asked the question, “what is the Gospel?”

How would you answer that? What is the Gospel?

 

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Image Credit: Harold Lloyd, Creative Commons

I can remember people telling me all of my life that I was a sinner, telling me Jesus died for me, and if I wanted to go to Heaven I needed to believe in Him. And none of that ever made sense to me. First of all, I wasn’t a sinner, I was a good person. Sure I did some “bad stuff,” but a sinner?? That’s a little harsh. Secondly, Jesus died for me? What does that even mean?

All I really knew of Christianity was some of my “Christian” friends telling my very best Jewish friend she was going to Hell because she didn’t believe in Jesus, and I personally didn’t want any part in that. So I sided with my Jewish friend and went to synagogue with her in 7th & 8th grade. That’s right you guys, I was practically Jewish for 2 years.

Then I started going to Christian church with my high school boyfriend’s family, and I think became a Christian then? I don’t really know because once I was introduced to cigarettes and booze, I left all that behind and ran to the party scene. And that was where I lived, a little bit Jewish, a little bit Christian, believed in God, was a good person (during the week), and sort of knew about Jesus. Until my father passed away suddenly and I realized this little made-up belief, and idea of being a good person and in control of my own life came crashing down in front of me.

Shortly after my father passed away, I was confronted with all of this God stuff once again. I knew deep within my heart I wasn’t in control of my life, my time on Earth, and neither was anyone else. But how can I know God? How can I know there is just one God? And what about Jesus? Why is everyone always telling me about Jesus? And in complete humility and honesty, I looked at my now-husband and asked him about God. I asked him about why people called me a sinner, why people told me about Jesus and asked:

“What does His death have to do with my life?”

I needed to make sense of this life, my life, and Jesus’s life. Because if what people were telling me was true, then His life and death have implication on my life.

So what is the Gospel?

Gospel literally means good news. The good news that Jesus lived the life we couldn’t live, and died the death we should have died.

In one word, the Gospel is . . . Jesus.

God created the world and everything in it (Gen. 1:1).
He set man on the earth, as His prize creation, and gave him a choice (Gen. 2:15-17).
Sin entered the world through the Deceiver, by tempting mankind to choose between trusting God at His word or eating the fruit of disobedience (Gen. 3:1-7).

Sin is simply trying to find satisfaction outside of God. It’s selfishness. It’s choosing our own way over God and His kind of life.

Adam and Eve ate the fruit of disobedience, and we do the same to this very day (Rom. 3:10-18, 23). When we sin, we break relationship with God. Something must be done in order to be brought back into right standing with God (righteousness) and inherit eternal life. A perfect sacrifice, a satisfactory payment, a fulfillment to the Law (Rom. 3:22-24, Matt. 5:17) must be made to inherit eternal life.

Religion and humanistic thinking tells us we can do enough good so that God will be pleased with us.
God tells us there is one way He is pleased with us . . .
Believing in His son (Acts 16:31).

In order to be brought into right relationship with God, a perfect sacrifice, a sufficient payment, must be made for our ransom. Jesus Christ paid for our sins with His perfect life by dying on the Cross.

His death was the satisfactory payment for our sin (1 John 2:1).

But it doesn’t just stop there. His death and His resurrection bring us new life (2 Cor. 5:17). The Gospel is what Jesus did for us on the cross, but it’s also the promise of new life. The Gospel is walking in the power of the Resurrection and living out our new life (Gal. 2:20).

The Gospel is Jesus.
The Gospel is hope.
The Gospel is grace and mercy new every day.

God
Man
Sin
Jesus
New Life

THAT is the Gospel.

Reading & Reflection

1. Read Romans 8. What words or phrases do you see repeated in the first 16 verses?

2. What is the difference between living in the flesh and living in the Spirit?

3. Do you struggle to believe Romans 8:1? Do you truly believe you’ve been forgiven of sin and God sees you as righteous? Spend some time reading the last few verses of chapter 8 and reminding yourself of God’s love.

 

I’m so excited to announce that we will begin a study of the book of Philippians beginning on Monday! Will you consider joining us??
Sign up here if you want to read along with us the month of August.

A Love Like This

As I’m reflecting on Jesus’ last week on this earth, I am reminded of his love.

A love I don’t understand and a love I don’t know how to live.

I’m reading John 13 and realizing before the “Last Supper” Jesus did something so crazy, so upside-down to demonstrate one final lesson to His disciples about His character.

Jesus had spent three years with these disciples. Day in and day out, walking with them, teaching them, breaking bread with them, loving them. He knew them. All of them, their hearts, their thoughts, every part of them, every one of them.

Even Judas.

Jesus walked side by side with Judas. He was in Jesus’ inner circle. And Jesus fully knew him. Jesus knew Judas was a fake, a phony, a hypocrite, and a betrayer. He knew Judas was going to sell him out and hand him over. And look at what Jesus does the night before it happens:

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:1-5)

Jesus, fully knowing that Judas was going to betray him, gets up from the table, takes the posture of humility, maybe even humiliation, bends his knee, and washes Judas’ feet.

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (John 13:12-20)

He does this to show us what is at His core, humility and submission to the will of the Father. So that we might believe He is the Christ.

Jesus doesn’t try to confront Judas, kick him out of the group, call out his sin, prove his point, etc. He knows his heart, tells him to his face “do what you came here to do”, exposing him, and yet trusts God’s plan to let him. Jesus shows Judas love even in the midst of his betrayal.

Jesus invites his betrayer to the table, feeds him, looks him in the eye, and bends down to wash his feet. He serves the one who would hand Him over to death.

 I don’t know how to love like this. I don’t know how to humbly submit like this. I don’t know how to forgive like this.

I will never be able to love and forgive like this apart from being filled with His spirit and remembering the love God has for me.

This kind of love, the love of Christ, is beyond my understanding.

feet

Complementarian Feminist?

Gosh dang it.  There’s that verse again.  It keeps haunting me!  I tried to ignore it, but it came up again last week in bible study and I felt like a deer in the headlights.

Because what does a barren, complementarian woman, gifted to teach and lead do with 1 Timothy 2:8-15?

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Not because I was bored one day, but because I wanted to know what the bible really says about “women in ministry”, I set out to do some learning.  And I wish I could go back to a simpler time.

I’m one of those thinkers, black & white thinkers, who needs to know what’s “right” and live accordingly.  So I terrorize myself into studies like this that are, well, gray.

I bought a bunch of books on the topic.

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I read a lot of blogs.

I asked a lot of questions.

I cried.

I prayed.

I studied.

I talked.

I processed.

And I napped.

And you know what? I landed right back where I started.  That’s right.  I am still asking what the heck does 1 Timothy 2 mean?  1 Corinthians 14?  Genesis 3? Proverbs 31?  1 Peter 3?  Ephesians 5?

Because women’s discipleship has to be more than just being modest and quiet.  And what is modesty anyway?  Not wearing a low cut shirt and fancy jewelry or a position of the heart to be humble?

It has to be more than being mom.  Saved through childbearing 1 Timothy 2?  So where does that leave me, a barren woman who loves Jesus and wants others to do the same?

Yet it can’t just be “well all of those passages were for the olden days.  None of it applies today.”  Because then what purpose does ANY of scripture have in our life?

I tried so hard to be a feminist during this little excursion.  But I couldn’t get past all of the places in scripture that talk about “headship” and “submission” and “order”.

I see women all over my church, my city, the world gifted to teach and lead.  And doing great things for the Kingdom.  Are they really supposed to just “be quiet”?

The thing is, deep down, I want to do what’s right, I want to obey God’s word, every part of it, even parts I don’t like or don’t agree with.  I told my pastor “I really would wear a head covering TODAY if that’s what I thought this text meant!”  I truly want to honor God with my words, my actions, and my life.

But I also see women all over scripture who led, taught, discipled, encouraged, and equipped others (men and women).  So I know these verses can’t just mean, “women don’t ever speak.”

So the best answer I could come up with after reading these scriptures, books, commentaries, etc. is:

I.DON’T.KNOW.

If I HAD to put myself in a box of where I stand for “women in ministry” it would be . . .

A complementarian feminist.   Is that a thing?!  I have no idea?

Maybe I’ll find out when I finish some of these books.

I do know this:

Even if my theology isn’t clean cut, or 100% with a tribe, God loves women and uses them in His mission on earth.  He has gifted women and called them to serve in unique ways.  I long to see women break free from stereotypes, oppression, and insecurity and walk in the good works God has prepared for them beforehand (Ephesians 2:10).

I also long for them to know and delight in scripture, submit (yes, I said it, submit) to it even when it’s stuff that we don’t like.  I want women to view the world through a biblical lens, a Jesus lens, and live accordingly.

Either way, I know that woman or not, I am a disciple of Christ.  And in that, He calls me to love Him, and love others.  To be a minister of the gospel of grace, regardless of my gender, and proclaim the excellencies of Him (1 Peter 2:9) to anyone that would hear.

“Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1-3)

The Woman of The Well:  “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of his word.”  (John 4:39-41)

“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” (Acts 16:13-14)