Dear FBP Women,
On June 16-18, six of us from FBP were able to attend The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference. Over a period of three days, each of us attended seven keynote teaching sessions where speakers such as John Piper, Jen Wilkin, and others, taught on this year’s theme: Remember Your Joy: Salvation Stories from the Old Testament. We each also attended six breakout sessions that equipped us on various topics, including Bible teaching, priorities, marriage, women’s ministry, etc. It was such a rich, Spirit-filled weekend! Both today’s blog and the next Wednesday Word for Women will focus on our takeaways from this conference. We hope you enjoy the few ‘nuggets’ that we were able to share with you here!
IN HIM~ Alys Grissom, Disciple-Making Director for Women
Session: “Contentment: A Lifestyle” with Lydia Brownback
Written by Janet Hawkins
Can we be content in this fallen world?
Contentment – “a state of happiness or satisfaction”.
Is your life characterized by contentment? Are you satisfied with your life, what you have? If you’re not, what do you do with your dissatisfaction?
Ignoring dissatisfaction in your life can lead to a hardness of heart. When we are discontented, we begin to think that God is not good and will not take care of us.
In Psalm 73 Asaph deals with the discontentment of his heart. He was a Levite and worship leader. He lamented, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”Asaph’s perception of the “good life” was delusional. Asaph’s wrong thinking led to a wrong perception of God.
Lydia Brownback notes, “The fruit of envy is discontentment.” Envy is a cancer. Does social media lift you up or does it feed the envy of the life that others have?
Asaph pondered to understand, until he went into the sanctuary of God. In the presence of God, his thinking changed. “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Asaph’s envy and bitterness melted in the presence of the Lord, and he realized that all he needed was God. Asaph did not receive what he thought he wanted – he received more. He received God Himself.
Here are four biblical ways to live a life of contentment:
1) Beware of the danger of bitterness – Forgive quickly.
2) Do not envy. There is no need to envy if we belong to Jesus Christ.
3) Be in community – In God’s presence, a good church, under good teaching and receiving godly counsel.
4) Be content – God’s will is for us no matter our circumstances (Romans 8:28). Live for one thing – the Lord your God. In Him alone is every desire fulfilled.
Session: “Living Within the Gift of Limits” with Christine Hoover
Written by Nicole Roberts
I recently had the privilege of attending The Gospel Coalition Women’s conference in Indianapolis and was asked to share about a favorite session from the weekend. While choosing a favorite session proved too difficult (there were so many good teachers!), I have decided to share about the session that most practically applies to my life right now: “Living Within the Gift of Limits” by Christine Gordon.
When I signed up for this session, I thought it might provide organizational and practical tips on how to get more done within the limits of a busy schedule. The actual focus of the session, however, was about seeing our limits as gifts from the Creator and trusting Him within those limits, rather than always wishing we had more time, more energy, different skills or different circumstances.
Drawing from the book You’re Only Human by Kelly Capic, Gordon shared two primary ways that our limits are gifts to us. First, our limits remind us of who we really are. We are not all powerful, all knowing or able to be everywhere. This knowledge propels us in dependency towards the One who is. Our limits remind us of our need for the Limitless One.
Second, our limits point out our need for community, namely, the Body of Christ. We need our church family. Our limits are not just gifts to us, but also to others. When we do not have the ability to accomplish something on our own, it provides others in the church an opportunity to serve and be blessed.
Too often, the dialogue in my head sounds something like this: “Once my kids are grown, I’ll be so much more active in this or that ministry.” Or, “If I was a better cook, I would be much more hospitable.” Or even, “If I were more outgoing, I would be more effective in God’s kingdom.” All of these thoughts are really my desires to have my limits removed. But, when I choose to see my limits as gifts, I realize that my children are my biggest ministry opportunity right now. I relax about not being a great cook, order a pizza and open my home to others. I recognize God’s beautiful design within the church; we are not all the same, but each have unique gifting and abilities within the larger body (1 Corinthians 12).
Living within the Gift of Limits is ultimately about the finite creature submitting to the design of the infinite Creator. In the submission, we find rest. What a gift!
SESSION: “Fighting Good Fights” with Jen Wilkin
Written by Alys Grissom
Before we left for TGCW, I proposed to our group that we do this blog series, so I knew that I would be keeping this in mind as we went to our various sessions. As we sat through the first session, “Fighting Good Fights” with one of my favorite Bible teachers, Jen Wilkin, I knew that what she was sharing was what I was going to write here about. Why? Because today, there’s a shortage of Christian charity, or even charity at all. We live our lives through our screens and our screens provide us the opportunity to hide behind our opinions, and oftentimes, unkind words. Jen used Romans 14 to show us that quarreling leads to despising, and despising to pass judgment. So how do we fight good fights? Jen offered these helpful tips:
- Disagree charitably- assume the best of others
- Opt out of cancel culture- We can disagree without despising and passing judgment. “Unity does not equal unanimity; we are allowed to have various opinions on various things.”
- Confess your leaning- Are you a fundamentalist, where everything is a first order issue; or, do you lean towards progressivism, where almost nothing is important? Then, learn to do theological triage by asking yourself, “Is this issue a hangnail, broken arm, or heart attack?”
- Diagnose your role in correcting errors- “Is my voice even needed on this topic? Is it helpful?” One of the questions I (Alys) ask myself is, “Is this person in my circle?” If not, then my voice probably doesn’t matter.
- Diagnose your motive in correcting errors- “If we are rooted fully, then we should walk humbly.”
- Be too busy to be quarrelsome! Be about the kingdom!
- Pray more- It’s difficult to pass judgment on someone for whom you are praying.
We closed this session by singing the hymn, “They’ll Know We are Christians by our Love.”
“Sometimes it’s not truth we love, but being right. Both can look orthodox. But one humbles and one leads to conceit.” -Sam Allberry