Best of 2014 Blog Posts

What have been the ten most read blog posts on BH Women in 2014? Drumroll, please!

10. “Bobblehead Believers”

9. “Cookies for the Nations” by Molly McGuire

8. “Lessons Learned in Hospitality” by Heather Platt

7. “Women Should Be Silent? Is that Really What Paul is Saying?”

6. “BH Kids Worship CD”

5. “Adoption and God’s Sovereignty” by Jenny Riddle

4. “Community in the Midst of Crisis” by Linda Hall

3. “DP-Day Plus One”

2. “Self or Surrender?” by April Allen

1. “Chat with Priscilla Shirer on 50 Shades of Grey”

Thank you for following and contributing to the BH Women Blog in 2014. We look forward to more posts in 2015!

If you are interested in submitting a blog post and are a Brook Hills member, please contact Ashley Chesnut at achesnut@brookhills.org for more information.

Why Advent?

Advent wasn’t even something on my radar until seminary. I grew up in church – even have a parent in ministry, and while our church would sing Christmas carols and have sermons about the birth of Christ in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, my only frame of reference for Advent was the calendars our local Wal-mart sold that contained a piece of chocolate to eat each day leading up to December 25th.

Simply put, advent refers to the coming of an important person, and the weeks leading up to Christmas present a special opportunity for believers to remember the advent of Jesus Christ. If we’re not careful, we can easily get caught up in the accouterments of the season. Trust me, I’m more on the spectrum of Buddy the Elf when it comes to anything Christmas (the Christmas CDs got pulled out on October 25, I decorated before Thanksgiving, I’m already done with my Christmas shopping – don’t hate!, Hallmark Christmas movies are watched each week…), so I can easily fall into wrapping, shopping, caroling, and baking without remembering. So how can we avoid the trap of Christmas commercialism this season? How can we remember Christ this Christmas?

Whether you are single, married, have children, or don’t have children, included below are ways you can participate in Advent this holiday season.

  • Advent Devotions – This has become a practice for me the past couple of years. In addition to my Bible reading, I read a short devotional in the The Expected Onemorning that points me to the reasons for Christ’s first coming and the anticipation of His second coming. If you want recommendations, Scott James, one of our Elders at Brook Hills, recently published an advent guide – The Expected One – that is available for purchase, and it’s a fantastic resource. Other recommended devotionals include: John Piper’s The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, Gordon Conwell’s Journey to the Manger (you can get this one via daily email updates), and Christ Fellowship Church’s Sing in Exultation (this is our church plant in Homewood).
  • Advent Candles – This involves 5 candles (3 purple, 1 pink or blue, and 1 white) that are lit on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas signifying Christ as the “light of the world” (Isa. 9:2; Jn. 1:1-9; 8:12; 11:9-10). One candle is lit on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday, etc.
    A friend of mine who is a kindergarten teacher at a private school is using the Advent candles and wreath to help her class remember Christ at Christmas.

    A friend of mine who is a kindergarten teacher at a private school is using the Advent candles and wreath to help her class remember Christ at Christmas.

    with the fifth candle (the white one) being lit on Christmas Day. What do these signify? The tradition started in the 19th century when Protestant pastor Johann Hinrich Wichern starting using a wreath and candles during Advent with the children at the mission school in Hamburg, Germany. Lighting a candle doesn’t do much in itself, but you can pair it with Scripture readings, prayers of thanksgiving and praise, singing Christmas hymns, and conversations about the significance of the Scripture readings.

    • Week 1 – Light a purple candle (purple being the color of royalty) and accompany it with verses about the expectation, hope, and prophecy regarding the Messiah’s first coming.
    • Week 2 - Light two purple candles and read Scripture about the preparation of the Messiah’s coming such as the angel appearing to Mary or John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus (Matt. 3:1-12; Mk. 1:1-8; Lk.1) .
    • Week 3 – Light two purple candles and a pink (or blue) candle to express the joy of Jesus’ birth announcement by the angels to the shepherds (Lk. 2:8-20).
    • Week 4 – Light three purple candles and the pink candle to represent the love of God in sending His Son and the peace Christ brings (Isa. 9:8; Jn. 3:16-17; Rom. 5:1).
    • Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – Light all five candles with the white candle symbolizing Christ as the spotless Lamb of God who takes away our sin (Isa. 52:13-53:12; Jn. 1:29).
  • Advent Calendar – This can be a daily, concrete reminder for us. As you anticipate opening each flap on the calendar (and maybe eating the candy there if you get such a calendar…), you can remember the longing Israel felt as it looked for the Messiah’s coming and how we long for Christ’s return. You can incorporate a Scripture verse for each day, a prophecy about Christ’s first or second coming, a verse to memorize, a song to sing – the ideas are endless!

Be creative (or go to Pinterest to see what ideas you can copy from others). Use these ideas. Don’t use these ideas. The point is to remember Christ and the mission of the manger.

*For more about remembering Christ in your holiday traditions, I commend to you Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in Our Traditions (for pdf of the book, click here). Also, keep up with A Manger with a Mission, our Advent sermon sermons at Brook Hills, at this site.

Women’s Gathering Recap

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Because JS and KJ couldn’t see everyone via Skype, we took a few pics of the ladies at the gathering to send to them.

This past Thursday, we had our fall women’s gathering, and JJ from our African church-planting team shared about how God led her and her family to work among the Arundo in the Horn of Africa. JS and KJ, the two other girls on this team, woke up at 4am their time to join us via Skype and to share about their calling as well as some stories about how God is working among their people group.

Horn of Africa

Our church commissioned JD and JJ three years ago, and this is their first visit home since moving to the Horn of Africa. They’ll head back to rejoin their team after the first of the year. The Arundo include 10 million people in North Africa and are almost entirely Muslim, although some hold to a mix of Islamic and animistic beliefs. They live by planting crops or tending herds of animals such as camels, goats, or sheep, and the people are divided into clans and sub-clans and are among the top five unreached people groups in the world. About half of the population relies on outside aid for survival, and the Arundo struggle for food and access to clean water and have great need for medical care and veterinary services for their herds.

At the gathering, our ladies also got the opportunity to pray for our African church-planting team, and below are some specific prayer requests regarding JD and JJ, JS and KJ, and the Arundo people.

During the gathering, our ladies got the opportunity to lay hands and pray for JJ.

One specific women’s project that JS and KJ are attempting to get approved involves making and distributing feminine products to the Arundo women. At this point, Arundo girls miss a week of school each week because of a lack of access to products, which disrupts their life and their ability to learn, especially since female mutilation is also prevalent with these women. Pray for access to the supplies needed to make these reusable supplies in country (think bikini bottoms with an insert that can be removed and washed) and for the government to approve this project. This project would provide for a basic physical need, allow the church-planting team access to more of the Arundo people, and be a way that the women on this team could build relationships with the Arundo women and their families.

Prayer Requests for JD and JJ

  • JD and JJ are entering a season of special moments with family but also sad days, mourning the times when we will not be here during those special moments. They are entering a time of many goodbyes as they look at heading back overseas soon.
  • Pray that JJ’s health issues will clear up so that they can receive medical clearance soon to return to the field.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment as they move forward in their adoption process. Pray that they will rest and wait on the Lord each step of the way.
  • Pray for IS and MJ (JD and JJ’s children, 4 and almost 2 years old) with many upcoming transitions. Pray for grace and understanding as once again many things around them are changing. Pray that they feel stable and cared for in these days.
  • Pray that they will not be anxious about tomorrow but will trust in the Father’s perfect timing and care.

Prayer Requests for JS and KJ

  • Pray for JS and KJ in these days as the enemy’s attacks are strong. Praise the Father that they have had amazing time in the community and been able to share lots of truth. As we see the Spirit opening doors, the enemy is working to keep our team down.
  • Pray that they will joyfully surrender their wills to the Father and daily die to themselves.
  • Pray that they will rest and abide in His Word and that they will remain disciplined to meditate on truth and hide it in their hearts so that they do not believe lies of the enemy.
  • Pray that they will have joy in all circumstances and fight against the enemy’s tactics to discourage them.
  • Pray that they will be intentional each day to listen to the Holy Spirit, seek the Father’s guidance, and walk in wisdom and discernment in all their interactions with their people.
  • Pray that they will cast their burdens on the Father daily (i.e., the heaviness of the work, the seeming lack of response of the people, and anxiety about the future).
  • Pray for endurance to press on.

Prayer Requests for the Arundo People

  • There is a recurring theme of people telling the team how much they fear death and have no assurance. Pray that they will see that Jesus Christ is the only answer to their fear and hope in life after death.
  • Some of the people have been questioned concerning their relationships to the team. Pray that the Father would protect their lives and the team’s access to them and not allow them to be persecuted because of the team.
  • Pray specifically for Sherri and Alan. The team has shared truth with both of them, and they have been willing to listen. She is expecting their first child. Pray that as a family they would seek the Father and that they would come to know the Son.
  • Pray that the Father would reveal Himself to the Arundo people in dreams and visions.
  • Sandy is reading the Book with us daily. Pray that the Father’s words would penetrate her heart and that the Holy Spirit would open her eyes to truth.
  • Pray that the team will gain greater access to the Arundo in the months to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Genealogies Are So Boring!

Unless you’re looking for baby names, the genealogies in the Bible aren’t sections we look forward to studying in our quiet times. But here we are today in our Bible reading with nothing but genealogies on the horizon from now until Monday. So why are they important? And what do we do with them, especially when we can’t even pronounce all the names? How do we learn from a genealogy?

Included are a few tips for what to do when you come across a genealogy in Scripture as well as insight into this week’s Bible reading in 1 Chronicles:

  • Is there anything repeated in the genealogy? For example, the genealogy of Genesis 5 gives the lifespan of each individual and his age when he fathered his son. Why give this particular information? It’s tracing the generations from Adam to Noah. Also, Genesis is organized into sections by toledot (toledot is the Hebrew word used in the text and means “these are the generations of”), so it gives the toledot and the genealogy, with the person it ending with being the next person the book discusses. So the genealogy in Genesis 5 ends with Noah, and Genesis 6-9 focuses on Noah.
  • Ask how this genealogy fits into the context of the book it’s in. Knowing the purpose and the audience of the book helps us know why the author would include a genealogy in the first place.
  • Keep in mind that while genealogies may be boring to us, they served as crucial legal records for the original readers. As Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard point out in Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, “They used genealogical records to establish their claims to be king or high priest, to possess certain property, and to marry into certain families.” This is the purpose of Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1, for it establishes Jesus’ relationship to David and His ability to be the Messiah.
  • Commentaries can be helpful resources when deciphering a genealogy, so use them as a resource when you have questions or want additional information about what you are studying. For example, until I read some commentaries on 1 Chronicles, I had no idea why the geneaologies followed the structure of Judah, Simeon, eastern tribes, Levi, other tribes, Benjamin (to find out why, keep reading). If you need assistance in knowing what commentary to use, here’s a helpful site that rates commentaries.

For another helpful blog post regarding genealogies, read Nancy Guthrie’s post on “The Best Things About the Boring Parts of the Bible.”

THIS WEEK’s READINGS

Background of 1 Chronicles: Scholars do not know the identity of “the Chronicler” God used to write 1 and 2 Chronicles, but the content of the book suggests that it was written after the people of Judah returned to the land after the Babylonian captivity (see 2 Chron. 36:21-23), which means that the earliest possible date for these books is 538 B.C. Chronicles follows the reigns of the Davidic kings and provides a theological interpretation of the nation’s history, demonstrating that God’s plans for the nation had not failed. For this reason, it acts as more than a supplement to Samuel and Kings, for it addresses the theological questions of God’s people after returning from exile and provides insight into the character of God, worship that pleases Him, and His covenant with His people.

This Week in 1 Chronicles: 1 Chronicles 1-9 contains two distinct genealogies: Adam to Jacob (1:1-2:2) and the twelve tribes of Israel from their development to their return from exile (2:3-9:34). By starting with these genealogies, the Chronicler reminds the people of Israel of who they are as God’s people and how God formed them for His purpose. Before the creation of 12_Tribes_of_Israel Genealogythe first man, He chose them. He formed Adam, chose Noah, selected Abraham, and ordained the twelve tribes (the descendants of Jacob). Therefore, the genealogies provide a zoomed out view of the nation’s formation and identity.

Two tribes are omitted from the genealogies– the tribes of Dan and Zebulun, and three tribes receive an inordinate amount of description – Judah, Levi, and Benjamin. In 1 Chronicles 4, the Chronicler begins the genealogies of the twelve tribes with Judah, Jacob’s fourth son, instead of Reuben who was Jacob’s firstborn. As prophesied in Genesis 49, Judah’s descendants would be kings, and the Davidic kings including the Messiah came from the line of Judah, which is why it receives such prioritized attention. The genealogy of the tribe of Levi stands as the longest genealogy given by the Chronicler (6:1-80) and it is included in the middle of the tribal genealogies much as the tribe was also in the physical center of the camp during Israel’s wilderness years, with Levi encamped around the tabernacle and the other tribes encamped around Levi. As Richard Pratt notes in his commentary on 1 and 2 Chronicles, “The worship of the Lord and the servants of that worship were to be the focus of hope for the traveling Israelite community, and the Chronicler reflected this symbolism in his model of the post-exilic community by setting the genealogies of Levi in the center of his description of the sons of Israel.”

In between Judah and Levi, the Chronicler lists the tribe of Simeon then the tribes that existed east of the Jordan River – Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (4:24-5:26; see also Josh. 22), and between Levi and Benjamin, the Chronicler includes six brief sections on Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher (7:1-40). A short record of Benjamin is given in 1 Chronicles 7 with an extended version taking up 1 Chronicles 8, and the additional attention has to do with this being the tribe of Israel’s first king, Saul. Also, the tribe of Benjamin later became absorbed into Judah after the split of Israel and Judah, so the tribes of the Northern Kingdom are sandwiched by the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom in the Chronicler’s descriptions.

Interspersed in the genealogies of the tribes are remarks about covenant fidelity. Manasseh “broke faith” with God by worshipping false gods, which led to the Northern Kingdom’s exile by the Assyrians (5:23-26), and Judah was taken into exile by the Babylonians because of the people’s “breach of faith” (9:1). Even references such as the death of Judah’s son Er because of his wickedness point to God’s judgment of sin (2:3-4), and all of this reminds readers that God punishes the wicked and blesses the faithful (although such blessings are not always in the form of material things).

November Women’s Gathering

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Ladies,

We invite you to our next BH Women’s Gathering on Thursday, November 20, at 7:00pm in the Student Building.

Join us for a night of fellowship and encouragement as we hear stories from JJ about what God is doing among the Arundo in the Horn of Africa and how God led her and her husband to share the gospel overseas. JJ and her husband JD are our church planters in East Africa and are currently on furlough in the States. 

*If you are able, please bring either a dozen cookies or something salty to share with the ladies at your table. We will provide coffee, apple cider, and water.

Check out our Facebook Event Page to invite your friends and to let us know you’re coming!

Contentment Does Not Come Naturally

Why are we discontent? How can we be content despite our circumstances as Paul mentions in Philippians 4? Watch this helpful video from The Gospel Coalition as Nancy Guthrie, Jen Wilkin from The Village Church, and author Melissa Kruger discuss this topic of contentment.

When I Think About The Church at Brook Hills

Today’s post was written by Elisa Coker.

When I think about The Church at Brook Hills, I think about home. Home is a place where you always feel loved and welcomed. Home is a place where growing and learning takes place under the care and guidance of loved ones. Home is where you make mistakes and learn from them, and unrestricted love and teaching is extended without judgment. Home is a place where family gathers to fellowship and encourage one another. Sometimes, home is a place where family consoles one another and carries one another’s burdens. Home is the place where you learn to love and say I’m sorry. Home is always the place that family serves one another in some form or fashion.

Yes, a friend continually shared the gospel with me, but it was my first initial step into The Church at Brook Hills in 2007 that would begin the life and ultimate heart transformation for me. I did not believe I was a good enough person to sit down front, so I would sit in the balcony. It was not until Pastor David preached his series “Lifeblood” addressing the assurance of salvation and asked the final question, “Have the desires of your heart changed?” that, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I finally knew that I was a daughter of the Most High King.

Home is where the challenges of living out my faith began. Even though I found it a little scary submitting to challenges of diving deeper into God’s Word and really getting to know the God we call Abba Father, it’s okay because I accepted these challenges with a multitude of friends. As my faith grew, my challenges grew; I found myself leading 5th grade girls, then leading as children’s director in urban Birmingham, and ultimately an ocean away serving mid-term in West Africa.

Over months and years, my faith continued to grow deeper, and the challenges become bigger and bigger. I adamantly remember stating as a young adult, “you could pay me a million dollars a day, and I would never be a teacher. It is the most underappreciated profession from all angles, by administration, (state and federal), by students, parents, and everybody and anybody.” After several days (weeks) of rebellion and trying my best to convince God that He was not calling me to teach, He revealed Proverbs 16:9: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” It was then I realized my reluctance to trust His will for my life, so with a remorseful and repentant heart, I immediately began to seek out how to become an educator (in what, I had no idea). However, once submission was reached everything became crystal clear, from subject matter, to finances. (Amazing… huh? You reckon He has this whole thing rigged?)

Now, I’m approaching the finish line and yet another challenge, but this time it’s not from David Platt. It’s the voice of God telling me to pick up and move away from everything and everyone I feel comfortable with. It’s one thing to go mid-term and be gone for a couple of months, but it’s completely different to pick up and move away from home. The Church at Brook Hills is:

…where I learned who God is.

…where I learned to pray and worship.

…where I healed from divorce.

…where I learned to forgive and love unconditionally.

…where I learned grief can be somewhat tolerable.

…where I learned to serve and to lead.

Why would He want me to leave this place? Like all children, we grow up and leave home, and IMG_3858 (2)it’s time. Resting in the knowledge that God is with me, I’m going to be strong and courageous as I head to the University of North Alabama in Florence to finish my last year and half of school. If I push through hard, I will have my undergrad in Secondary Education/English Language Arts and a masters in ESL to be used for His Glory.

Only by God’s grace, I have achieved 96 credit hours towards a 120 hour degree and maintained a 3.8 GPA and been accepted in Pi Theta Kappa and Who’s Who among American College Students for academic success. My daily prayer is that God would use this degree to bring glory to Himself. This degree is completely for His name, and I pray that He will send me somewhere – anywhere – to share and show His great love just as others have shared and shown me His sacrificial love. (Isaiah 6:8 – “Here am I! Send me!”)

However, near or far, east or west, The Church at Brook Hills will always be my home. My launching pad to the nations. Thank you for challenging me to answer the call.

I will never be able to express my gratitude to the body of believers who embraced and encouraged me over the past seven years. I was a new believer and had never been a member of a church before. However, I do know that I would not be where I am today without your answering the call to share, show, serve, and teach new members in the body of Christ. Thanks to your obedience I have a solid foundation to love and serve others because you first loved and served me. (tears…). Thank you, Church, thank you!

Prayer Requests:

  • My uncle whom I will be living with is not a believer in Christ. He does not believe in heaven or hell. He thinks God has just left us here to take care of ourselves. I pray that God will use this time to reveal Himself to my uncle and that God would give me words and boldness to confess His truths. I am intimidated by my uncle’s intellect.
  • Pray for a connection to a local body of believers investing in the community and a desire to take the gospel to the nations.
  • Being a non-traditional student, pray for connection with the student body at UNA to be involved in student activities and boldness to share.
  • Pray for continual academic achievement and the potential to participate in the study abroad program.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”   (Luke 1:37)

 

Feminism, Wal-mart, & Women in Ministry

Wal-mart. For some of you, that word causes a cold chill. For others, repressed memories of children throwing a tantrum in the buggy because you’re being a good parent and not letting them have the candy that is, oh so conveniently, placed in the check-out line begin to arise. Some of you, like my father, avoid this place like the plague. But I grew up with a mom who loves this store (and who goes, no joke, several times a week) and who can talk to anyone about anything, especially Jesus.

I had one of those moments yesterday where I felt like I was turning into my mother. I was at Wal-mart, began talking to this lady in the check-out line (it can happen if we only put down our smart phones), and the conversation turned to God (gulp!). But the convo took a direction I did not expect when the lady told me she’s a feminist and disagrees with Paul’s statements about women (especially in 1 Corinthians). In the moment, I chose not to follow up on that part her statement and try to keep focused on the gospel, for I did not see a way for it to end well if I pursued the feminism and women in ministry topic, especially in the limited amount of time it takes to scan, bag, and pay for my stuff. But our reading for this week in 1 Timothy actually addresses this subject, so for those of you who have questions about the reading (or about what the Bible says about women in ministry), here’s some commentary to assist you.

1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:1-13

One question that usually comes up in relation to these two passages has to do with the role of women in ministry. Can women serve as deacons or elders? Both 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 strictly refer to men as the ones who fulfill the role of elder/overseer/pastor, and there are no loopholes for this to be interpreted differently in the Greek text. With regards to deacons, 1 Timothy 3:11 is debated as to whether or not the word refers to a deacon’s wife or to a deaconess since the Greek word used here can refer to either a woman or a wife and since the word “their” is not included in the Greek.

The whole discussion of women in ministry can easily lead to frustration and to arguments among believers, especially when considering how 1 Timothy 2:8-15 fits into the discussion. A key factor to remember is that God is not sidelining women. He gives men and women different roles, but they are equal in their value to Him. The Spirit gives gifts – including the gift of teaching and of leadership – to men and to women, but that does not necessarily mean that they utilize such gifts in the same roles. However, both men and women are called to participate in the Great Commission, which involves among other things “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19). In his sermon “What About Women, Paul?”, David Platt states:

“With submission to elders, women are free to lead in a variety of different positions. Women are intended by God to thrive in ministry across the church. You look throughout the New Testament, and you see women prophesying, praying, helping, serving, equipping, teaching, and spreading the gospel. One writer said, ‘The fields of opportunity are endless for the entire church to be mobilized in ministry, male and female.’ Nobody is to be at home watching soaps and reruns while the world burns.”

When coming to passages in Scripture such as 1 Timothy 2:8-15, it is vital to read them in light of the surrounding context, the entire book, and the entire Bible in order to grasp what the Bible teaches on the subject. We also have to recognize our own bias about an issue – such as the issue of women in ministry – and submit our own feelings, opinions, and bias to the Word and its Author. With this in mind, we know that the church in Ephesus faced false teachers and false doctrine at the time because it is part of why Paul wrote this epistle (1:3-7), and since prohibitions in Scripture always have an accompanying purpose, we can learn about what was likely occurring in the church by what commands Paul includes in this letter. For example, his instructions regarding the women’s wardrobe and hair informs us that the church women were likely being ostentatious in a way that flaunted their wealth as well as focusing more time on their external appearance than on the cultivation of a godly character (2:8-9). Paul is not saying that a girl can’t wear her pearls.

Paul desires that women learn the truth. In fact, “learn” is the only command in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, and the fact that Paul advocated the religious education of women was a huge deal culturally. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 contains an inclusio or bookends with the words “quiet” and “quietly”:

“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man;
rather, she is to remain quiet.”

By doing this, Paul emphasizes what is in the middle of the bookends, which is how he is defining quietness: not teaching or exercising authority over a man. Paul is not stating that women must refrain from speaking, for women can pray, prophesy, and speak in tongues in church (see 1 Cor. 11-14). His point is that women cannot teach or exercise authority over men, and these are the two qualities that distinguish elders from all other roles in the church. In his commentary Pastoral Epistles, William Mounce also states, “Whatever…’quietness,’ means, it must be understood against the backdrop of the situation of the Ephesian women…Some of the women are characterized as learning to be idlers, gadding about from house to house, gossiping (or talking foolishly), and in general being busybodies (1 Tim. 5:13). They were anything but quiet. Evidently the lack of constraint…was a problem at Ephesus.”

Paul’s reasons for these commands are rooted in creation order and the fact that God created Adam first (2:13). This is important because of the role of primogeniture that was understood culturally by the people in Bible times. This meant that the firstborn son ranked highest in the family after the father and served as a representative of all other family members. As the firstborn of all creation (see Rom. 5), Adam was held responsible even though Eve sinned first (Gen. 3:1-7). When God created Adam and Eve, He made the servant leader first then the woman, the helpmeet, and God desires for the order of creation to be reflected in the order or design of the church’s leadership.

Paul also points out that creation order was violated in the Fall (1 Tim. 2:14; Gen. 3). Paul is not saying that women are easily duped or that a lack of street smarts in the Garden prevents a woman from leading in the church. In his commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, R. Kent Hughes explains:

“We miss the point of verse 14 entirely if we think that Eve was more gullible than Adam, and that is why she ‘was deceived and became a sinner.’ Eve’s sin was not naiveté but a willful attempt to overthrow the creation order. She hoped, in eating from the tree, that her eyes would be opened and she would be like God (cf. Genesis 3:5).

Here is the irony: God had given Adam and Eve awesome authority…But due to her rebellion, a creature (part of creation), a snake, began to rule her because she obeyed it. Then Eve exercised woeful authority over her husband by leading him to do the same thing. And Adam? It appears from Genesis 3:6 that Adam was with Eve when she partook but did nothing, then ‘listened to [his] wife and ate from the tree’ (cf. Genesis 3:17). As Phillip Jensen explains: ‘Eve’s sin involved overturning the order of creation and teaching her husband. Similarly, Adam’s sin came from ‘listening’ to his wife, in the sense of heeding and following her instruction. He was taught by her, thereby putting himself under her authority and reversing God’s good ordering of creation.’”

Because it will likely come up, scholars disagree about the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15’s reference about women being saved through childbearing. What it does not mean is that our salvation relates to our ability to give birth. Procreation does not give a woman eternal salvation. It also does not mean that women will be kept physically safe when bearing children. Likely, the reference has something either to do with women being saved from their sin through the offspring of a woman (Jesus) or with emphasizing an important role that only women are capable of doing – bearing children. Whatever the meaning of this phrase, Paul’s focus in this passage is to instruct women on how to conduct themselves as members of the body, as witnesses in society, and as daughters of the King (2:8-12).

Fickle Feelings You Have Failed Us

Today’s post was written by Brook Hills member and Small Group Leader, Kristi Kirkland.

I feel tired. I feel hungry. I feel irritated. I feel hurt. I feel frustrated. I feel happy. I feel fine. I feel loved.

Feel, feel, feel. We all feel something. In fact, we probably feel multiple things at the same time. And who among us hasn’t given into our feelings at times and allowed them to overtake every area of life?

If we are going to get anywhere with our feelings, we have to accept what feelings are: a gauge for where we are at with people or situations. Right or wrong. I am mad at my coworker, spouse, parent, friend. I am frustrated at myself for not following through on a commitment. I am happy that I finally completed a big project at work. Feelings reveal our emotional state in regards to life’s circumstances.

Accept that feelings are what they are…a little acknowledgement in this area can go a long way.

And remember that feelings can change in an instant. They are not reliable because life is constantly changing, and as it changes, our feelings about situations and circumstances will naturally change. Feelings are fickle.

But we have to examine our feelings and understand why we are feeling what we are feeling. We cannot move forward until we acknowledge where we are emotionally. We need to process it and accept that we are hurt, frustrated, angry, etc.

But then we have to realize that feelings are not a compass or a road map for life. They certainly let us know where we are, but they cannot guide us to where we want to be. What emotional messes we would be if we allowed feelings to dictate our choices in life.

Society will tell us the opposite. Every romantic movie and love song on the radio revolves around people listening to and following the impulse of their feelings, and of course, it always turns out perfectly. Our self-centered culture constantly screams at us: “Go with your gut!” or “Listen to your heart!” or “Let love be your guide!” Hmmm…what if my heart is in pain, and really wants to hurt someone who has inflicted deep emotional pain in my life? Should I listen to my heart then? And what if my gut tells me to take what is not mine because, in that moment, I really want it and need it and, after all, I deserve it? What if “love” tells me to compromise because after all “we are in love”?

Guts, hearts, and feelings – they are real, they are powerful, and they have an opinion. But they are not trustworthy.  

The reality is that every day we do things we don’t feel like doing. And this is a really good thing. Every morning I feel like staying in bed. But every morning I get up because I know that though I may feel like staying in bed, I have a job to do and people who are depending on me to follow through. So I ignore those feelings, and I get out of bed. I don’t “listen to my heart” or “go with my gut.”

This is certainly one of those “easier-said-than-done” things. We are barraged with feelings all the time, and they can easily influence our thoughts and our choices. The point is not to will away our feelings-we will never succeed at that. Feelings are unpredictable. But their effect on us doesn’t have to be unpredictable. Regardless of how we feel about something, we have the ability to do what’s right and counteract those feelings.

We have to accept that we feel what we feel. If we pretend like we don’t feel anything, that will only make us disillusioned and miserable people. Instead we can take the high road, acknowledge what we feel and why, and then press on to do what we know is right, even if we don’t feel like it. Feelings will fail us every time we depend on them to provide guidance they cannot give.

For more about how to address and change how we feel, read these two posts:
“The War Within” and “Shepherding Women in Crisis (Part 2)”

The Story of a WRAPed Foster Mom

Today’s post was written by Brook Hills member Jenny Clark. Jenny is mom to Aidan (10), Ella Mae (7), and Jojo (15 months), as well as a foster mom. She leads a single moms small group here at Brook Hills. You can learn more about Jenny on one of her blogs: momsyndrome.com and jennymo.com.

The journey that led me to adopt my son, Jojo, in June of 2013 actually began with foster care. Not long after I brought Jojo home from Texas, I felt the Lord nudging me to finish my foster care licensing….just in case.

Almost exactly a year after Jojo was born, I felt like the time was right to get my license and be ready just in case a baby like Jojo ever needed a family. Jojo has Down syndrome, and babies with special needs are often abandoned at the hospital, and it is hard to find foster families who are able take them. I wanted to be available to take the hard-to-place kids with special needs…..but not to be a “normal foster parent” and take in “typical kids.”

I turned in the final piece of paperwork on a Friday in July, assuming that I would sit back and wait until I was needed. I sat back and waited …..until Monday when I got the call for Baby Zee!

A statewide email had gone out (meaning the county the baby came from could find no one to take him) about a six month old baby who was born with Down syndrome but who also had a “whole host of other medical issues.” My social worker immediately thought of me. The list of his needs was overwhelming as I talked to her on the phone and tried to scribble down as many of his diagnosis as I could (on a trach, floppy airway, hearing issues, problem with his spleen, complicated heart defect, terrible diaper rash – those are the ones I can pronounce), so I could figure out what they actually meant later. But I knew then that the sick child she was describing over the phone was very different from the real child in real life. I said I needed to meet him.

As I held him for the first time, he was no longer a list of medical conditions. He was no longer a diagnosis. He was a beautiful child of God in need of someone who could care for him when his family could not. I told the room full of social workers, doctors, and nurses that I was in. I was on board to do whatever necessary to bond with this sweet boy and do the training required to bring him home.

In the meantime, I got a call from DHR about two other kids, ages 5 and 9 who needed a safe place to stay just for a week. Knowing that Baby Zee wouldn’t be able to come home that soon, I said yes. Of course. I can do anything for a week! That was over two months ago, and they are still with us!

About a month after meeting “Baby Zee,” I got a phone call that he wasn’t doing well and had actually coded. I rushed to the hospital to find out that he would need heart surgery within the next couple of weeks in order to survive.

In order for me to be able to be at the hospital with Baby Zee for a couple of days, I had to have a whole army of people to step in and take care of my 3 kids plus our 2 foster friends. This was no small task. That is where I was introduced to the Brook Hill’s WRAP ministry! Hallelujah!

WRAP 2Multiple people called and prayed with me. I received encouragement from people I had never met. Not to mention….FOOD! A sweet lady came to my house with 5 freezer meals, 1 ready to eat meal, cupcakes, AND breakfast stuff! You just can’t even fathom how much pressure that took off of me to be able to focus on the baby and his surgery without having to be home at a certain time to make sure dinner was ready.

God doesn’t call us all to adopt or foster, but He does command us all to care for the orphan. This is a wonderful ministry and an amazing way to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people who so desperately need your support!

Our first Substitute Caregiver Training will be Saturday, October 25, from 8:30am-noon at the Brook Hills in Modulars 1, 14, 15, 16, & 17. Click here for more information and to register.

If you would like to find out more about WRAP please contact one of the following WRAP Team members:
Team Leader – Jeannette Thompson thompsonlaw08@yahoo.com
W and P Coordinator – Kathy Bley
kabley7@gmail.com
R Coordinator – Susan Nolin susangnolin@gmail.com
A Coordinator – Caroline Campbell ccampbellau@gmail.com