When I used to edit the church bulletin, certain mischevious staff members took great delight in “planting” mistakes for me to catch. For that reason, I particularly enjoyed the following list of bulletin bloopers. It’s been circulating for a couple of years now, so you may have read these already. And granted, several are a little corny. But really, some of these just have to make you smile.
1. Ushers will eat latecomers.
2. Today the pastor will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth into Joy!”
3. Miss Charlene Mason sang, “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
4. Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
5. Next Sunday is the family hay ride and bonfire at the Fowlers. Bring your own hot dogs and guns. Friends are welcome. Everyone come for a fun time.
6. Easter Sunday, we will have a 9:30 worship service. The 11:00 will be hell as usual.
7. Tonight’s sermon – “What is hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.
8. Thursday night – Potluck supper – prayer & medication to follow.
9. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
10. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
May the gospel, the truth that: “Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6) bring you joy all weekend long. Courtship stories return Monday. Bye for now!
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
We decided to briefly interrupt the courtship stories with some recommended reading. If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you know that one of the things we love to do most is encourage you to read good books. Why? John Piper captures our enthusiasm:
“God has appointed for us to be helped in our understanding and enjoyment of Scripture by human teachers—living and dead….Some of these write down their teachings. This is why we have books.…None of us is so free from sin or bias or blindness that we can see the infallible Scriptures infallibly. We need help. We need correction. We need guidance and encouragement. Oh, the wonders that others have seen in the Bible that we have not seen! What a folly and what a blow to joy if we neglect these books!”
John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 128.
It’s not only a “blow to joy” to neglect good books. We are also missing out on valuable wisdom that godly men and women have gleaned from Scripture. And there are few areas where we find ourselves more desperately in need of guidance and counsel than when it comes to choosing a spouse.
In God’s kindness, there are several books available today that offer biblical principles and wise counsel for anyone considering marriage. Here are several of the books my daughters found most helpful.
No doubt most of you are familiar with them, but the list must start with Joshua Harris’ two books:
I Kissed Dating Goodbye
Boy Meets Girl
Originally taken from an article in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, the booklet entitled Pre-Engagement: 5 Questions to Ask Yourselves by David Powlison and John Yenchko is available from CCEF. Priceless counsel packed into a very short space for under $2.
Discovering God’s Will by Sinclair Ferguson will serve you if you are facing any major life decision. But the chapter on considering marriage is worth the price of the book if you are in a courtship.
So, now you have your weekend reading list! We’ll continue with courtship sagas on Monday. Friday Funnies coming your way before too long.
I met Michael Bradshaw (the handsomest guy ever!!!) when I was a freshman in high school. Mike’s family had recently joined our church and we participated in the same youth small group. Our four years of high school found us as friends, but nothing more. Unbeknownst to either of us, we each began to feel more than friendship during our first year of college. We did not tell one another how we felt, but began watching and noticing one another in a different way. When I communicated my interest in Mike to my mom, she quickly informed me that now was not the time for a relationship (Mike had no means of supporting me). She challenged me to guard my heart and trust the Lord for my future. Growing up, my mom always told my sisters and me that, “until a young man has come and specifically expressed his interest in you, he should be viewed as another woman’s husband.” I had no claim on Mike. He wasn’t mine. And so the battle within my heart began.
A year went by and Mike was asked by our pastor to lead a small group for our singles ministry. I was asked to assist him in caring for the ladies in the group. We were more than happy to be placed in this position. We began to see each other more frequently and our affection for one another only grew. Mike has never been known as the subtle type…he began to show up at my house to watch a baseball game with my dad or go fishing with my little brother. To say the least, my dad’s suspicions were aroused. After a few months of Mike “just stopping by the house to say hi,” my dad gave him a call. Dad got right to the point, injecting his characteristic humor into what could have been an awkward moment for Mike: “You have been coming over to our house quite a bit lately. Now, either you want to move in with us, you like my daughter, or there is something you aren’t telling me!” Mike immediately fessed up that his true feelings were for me and not fishing with my little brother.
To say the least, I was more than a little excited to hear that Mike returned my feelings. I was ready to marry him the next day. I’m so grateful to the Lord for my wise parents and their leadership. My dad did not know Mike very well and he began a series of meetings with Mike to learn more about him and to discern if this was a man with whom he was comfortable with his daughter pursuing a relationship. My dad took Mike through materials on four specific topics: the gospel, the doctrines of grace, biblical manhood and womanhood, and the local church. My Dad also used this time to get to know him better. After a series of weeks my Dad informed me that he was very encouraged by his many conversations with Mike and that he would be comfortable with us beginning a courtship—with the understanding that things would move slowly. Mike and I were far from marriage at this time. Mike had 3 years left in school and was unsure about his future after that.
We began hanging out with each other in a structured way. Mike would come over to my house once a week and we would talk on the phone a few times weekly. We also saw each other in lots of church contexts. We were having fun, but a certain unrest began to grow in my heart. I began to question whether or not I was “sure” that I wanted to continue in this relationship. Fear about the future began to creep in. I was confused. My affections were only growing towards Mike, but the unrest seemed to be growing at the same rate. I will never be able to thank my parents enough for the way that they led me through this challenging time. They continually listened to my thoughts and fears and directed me to the truth of God’s Word. After much praying and counsel from my parents, I decided to end my relationship with Mike. It was the hardest thing I have ever walked through, but the Lord had much work that He wanted to do in both our hearts.
The next nine months were full of much seeking the Lord and many conversations with my parents. With the pressure of the relationship removed, I began to see more clearly all that was taking place in my heart. I saw that there was a fear of marriage and a fear of leaving all that I had ever known. I saw how my unbelief towards the Lord and His faithfulness bore bad fruit in my life. As I began to see the issues more clearly, I was able to repent and receive the Lord’s abundant grace in the form of forgiveness and help to change. As I gained clarity, my feelings for Mike only continued to grow despite the status of our relationship. I knew that if Mike ever came back to my dad again, I would give a decided YES.
He came back! Mike had been waiting for me those nine months and he wanted to try again. He went to my dad and received permission. One cold night in January of 2003, Chad yelled at me from upstairs to come quick as there was some kind of strange noise in my bedroom. That strange noise was Mike throwing skittles at my bedroom window (yes, people throw food—not rocks—to get my attention.) I opened my window and Mike asked again, if I would court him. Things moved quickly after this. We were engaged in April and very happily married in June (both stories for future posts).
What a process! Mike and I look back often and marvel at the grace and sovereignty of the Lord. He led us each and every step of the way. He used our courtship to strengthen our relationship with Him.
This post also gives me a fresh opportunity to thank three people…
Dad and Mom, does this bring back memories? Thank you for the countless hours you spent caring for my soul and seeking to lead me in the ways of the Lord. You never once complained even in the midst of my many tears. You showed me true love and patience (more tears are coming as I write this). As my own parenting adventure soon approaches, I only hope that I can emulate your example in some small way. I love you both so much.
Mike, thanks for waiting for me. After my salvation, you are the greatest gift that I have been given. Thank you for pressing into the Lord even when it wasn’t your desire to end our relationship. Your demonstration of faith and humble submission to God’s will has never ceased to provoke me. Your patient love for me won my heart and it is yours forever. Love you tons!
One of our readers wrote Nicole to ask:
“I’d love to hear how your parents counseled you all through your various relationships and into engagement. Specifically, how did they guide you in guarding your hearts? What did they tell you to look for in a husband? And how—with three different men and three varying courtships did they counsel each of you differently about the actual process of those courtships?”
Over the next several days, each of the girls will recount her personal journey of falling in love with the man who is now her husband. In the process they hope to answer some of these questions. But first we thought it would be helpful to talk briefly about courtship; specifically, I want to answer the question of what we taught our daughters to look for in a husband and then elaborate on that a little bit.
To consider this topic, I want to draw from the chapter entitled “When It Comes To Courtship” from our book, Girl Talk. Now, by no means will this post contain a thorough study of God’s Word on the subject. I will merely attempt to offer a few points of biblical guidance that I hope will be helpful.
C.J. and I sought to provide our daughters with a “list” from Scripture of essential qualities that should characterize any man desirous of pursuing them. These qualities included:
“1. Genuine passion for God. The greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ (Matt. 22:37). A mere profession of faith is insufficient. A godly man will consistently display love, obedience, and increasing passion for the Savior.
2. Authentic humility. ‘This is the one to whom I will look,’ says the Lord, ‘he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word’ (Isa. 66:2). Your daughter will marry a sinner—that is certain. But if he is a humble and teachable sinner who is quick to repent, then he will be sure to grow in godliness. This humility will also be evident in his love for and submission to God’s Word.
3. Love for the local church. At the center of God’s plan on earth is His church. A young man must be pursuing fellowship and serving faithfully in a local church if he is to make a good candidate for a husband.
4. Biblical convictions about manhood and womanhood. A successful marriage is due in large part to a couple’s grasp of their respective roles and responsibilities. A potential husband must be committed to complementary roles found in Scripture. He must be ready to embrace his responsibility to love and lead his wife. (Eph. 5:22-25).
In addition to comparing the young man to this list of essentials, we also helped our daughters evaluate God’s commands to wives. From Scripture we asked our daughters the following questions regarding the young man each was considering:
-Do you fully respect this man the way a wife is called to respect her husband?
-Can you eagerly submit to him as the church submits to Christ?
-Do you have faith to follow this man no matter where he may lead?
-Can you love this man with a tender, affectionate love?
(1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22, 33; Col. 3:8; Titus 2:4-5)
Again, this list of qualities and questions is not exhaustive. However, it provided clear, objective, and biblical criteria to assist our daughters in determining God’s will—whether or not they were meant to join their lives with a certain young man.
The conclusion to this chapter appropriately sets up the courtship stories to follow: “Each courtship, whether or not it ends in marriage, is its own unique journey. But God has provided all the wisdom that we need in His Word.”
We Girl Talkers don’t know what to say.
It’s been some time since we’ve received an award—and never one as prestigious as the “Warnie Award.” Sure, there was Mom’s triumph in the fifth grade spelling bee. Janelle did us all proud when she was named Grand Champion of the junior photography competition at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. Kristin received the highest grade in Bible class out of twenty fellow sophomores, but she didn’t even show up for the award ceremony. And I blush to mention my only distinction—the first winner of the “Golden Mop Award.” I got twenty dollars in the sixth grade for cleaning more surfaces in my elementary school than any other student, but only when I was sure the teachers were watching. Remember when Anne Shirley won the “Rollings Reliable Baking Powder Company” contest? Then you know how I feel about my “Golden Mop Award.”
So as you can see, Dad and Mom have never had a cluttered mantle. You could put all our combined awards in a box and they would not equal half the value of a “Warnie Award.” So this is a big day for us. Really big.
What? You don’t know what a “Warnie Award” is? Let me explain.
Across the great Atlantic Ocean in the United Kingdom, but only next door on the blogosphere is a respected evangelical blogger named Adrian Warnock (Check him out at www.adrian.warnock.info). Sometime ago, he inaugurated the “Warnie Awards” (Get it—Warnock/Warnie?) to recognize fellow bloggers whose sites he deemed worthy enough to share with his readers. And yesterday, for reasons we still don’t understand, and in spite of our graphically challenged site (new design coming soon, by the way) we were presented with a “Warnie Award.” We might even print and frame it so we can fill out the family mantle. You can view it by clicking here.
We’re not very good at giving acceptance speeches here at the Girl Talk blog. As you are now aware, we don’t have much experience with this. But in all seriousness, Mr. Warnock, we want to sincerely thank you for the “Warnie Award.” We have such respect for you and your ministry, and many of the distinguished company of “Warnie Award” recipients. We only hope to emulate you in serving and edifying the body of Christ. And we are truly indebted to you for this award. Thank you so very much.
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle (aka The Girl Talkers)
Being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a homemaker, a homeschooling teacher, a church member, a friend…I can identify with Nicole’s “busy season” (or probably more accurately, “busy life”) as described in her post earlier today. No doubt you can too. And if you are like me, you are ever on the lookout for ways to streamline and simplify your life.
Well, I have found a quick and easy way to stay abreast of current issues (something I didn’t even think possible in this season) by reading Albert Mohler’s blog. Dr. Mohler has a unique ability to apply theology to culture. As my husband likes to say about him: “He has world-class discernment.” I have found his blog extremely helpful as a one-stop briefing, if you will, on the happenings in the world around us. I would encourage you to read his blog and commentary regularly to benefit from his unique insights and perspective.
CJ is returning today from Louisville, having spent the last two days with Al and two other very good friends, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan. They were planning a conference that they will be hosting for pastors next year called “Together for the Gospel.” Here is a link to the site if you want to check it out.
Dr. Mohler also has a daily radio show (which I highly recommend). Yesterday, he conducted an interview with Mark, Ligon, and C.J. that you also might enjoy. It’s 38 minutes long so you will have to plan accordingly.
And may God bless you with wisdom, discernment, and strength today in the midst of the responsibilities that make up your busy life!
It’s been a very busy season for me. I keep saying, “Next week things will slow down.” Rrrrrrrright. I’ve been saying that for about fifteen years now. Currently we’re in the middle of renovations to our house (they are knocking down a wall today and I hope the upstairs doesn’t fall with it!), it’s past time for my son to be potty trained, and I’m teaching a writing class for my little brother and his friends and I have thirteen essays on the “Sea Wasp” to read.
In the midst of this, I was asked to edit a book that’s coming out in a couple of months. It’s a book by my dad, and it’s entitled: Living the Cross Centered Life. I hope some of my comments were helpful to Dad, but I think the real benefit was to my soul. Even though I’ve heard my dad preach countless sermons on this topic, and even though I’ve read his other books on the cross over and over, I still desperately needed to hear this message again.
I often tell my son to “look at mommy’s eyes” when I want to get his attention to tell him something important. By reading this book, I felt as if my heavenly Father was saying to me, “Look in Jesus’ eyes. Take your eyes off the busyness, off your ‘trials,’ and even off your sin (I’ve paid for that), and be captured once again by the cross. For only one thing is needful. Only one thing matters. And it’s my cross.”
As Dad writes:
“In the midst of our various responsibilities and many possible areas of service in the kingdom of God, one overarching truth should motivate all our work and affect every part of who we are: Christ died for our sins. This…is the main thing. Nothing else—not even things that are biblical and honorable—are of equal or greater importance than this: God sent His Son to the cross to bear His wrath for sinners like you and me. If there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life.”
So how about you? What are you passionate about—-is it thinking, reflecting, and rejoicing in the gospel? Does the truth of Christ’s sacrifice for sins on our behalf truly color the way you look at all of life?
To color our worldview with the gospel, we must meditate on the cross. Here’s just one verse that helps me to do that: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Life is full. But I can’t afford to wait until next week when things slow down to meditate on the gospel. I need the truths of the cross to brilliantly color my world right now, today!
Hey all. Nicole would never tell you this so I’m taking care of it myself. Crosswalk is featuring an article taken from chapter three in Girl Talk by Nicole. I thought that you might enjoy checking it out. Just click here
The Mahaney clan is back from vacation and we’re all adjusting to getting up early, eating cereal for breakfast (instead of Belgian waffles), and living without two trips to the candy store per day.
This vacation was unique among all our family vacations. It began a year ago this month at the Milestone Weekend when my husband handed off his senior pastor responsibilities to Joshua Harris.
The Milestone Weekend represented the fulfillment of more than twenty years of my husband’s prayers—that God would provide someone to lead the next generation of Covenant Life Church. It was a profound illustration of the undeniable, unshakeable truth of Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
In the ensuing year, we’ve seen God’s faithfulness in a thousand different ways, as we’ve watched Covenant Life thrive and grow under Josh’s wise leadership. Our God is lavish in His expressions of kindness. For He answered my husband’s prayer beyond what C.J. could have imagined. It fills our hearts with joy.
At the Milestone Weekend, the church presented C.J. with a generous financial gift as a way to thank him for his service. Over a meal with our family following the weekend, C.J. informed our children that we intended to use this gift to bless them in some way; for it was their obedience to God that, in part, made the Milestone Weekend possible.
They responded with immense gratitude, and immediately communicated their desire to return to Chatham (Cape Cod, Mass). We weren’t surprised by their response. It was in keeping with a long-running commitment in our family to making memories.
Early in our parenting, my husband determined to lead our children to value family memories more than the latest toy. Not that we didn’t buy Christmas or birthday gifts for our kids, but we strategically sought to invest our funds toward making memories first. Thus we took short trips at Thanksgiving and Christmas, took day trips throughout the year, and centered yearly vacations on collecting memories that would last a lifetime.
Today, our kids are “hooked” on making memories. Which is why they didn’t hesitate in asking to go back to Chatham—a place that already keeps so many family memories safe for us.
And God in His kindness allowed us to make yet another memory this past week—full of laughter, lively discussions, good food, and the sweetness of simply being together. We’ll enjoy and relive these days for many years to come.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and feed on faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4
We are heading home today and I am preparing myself for vacation detox. Here is a picture of us near the beach. Q&A and Friday Funnies will return next week. See ya then!