Tomorrow night my local church is looking forward to our second Family Room meeting. The Family Room is a time for couples and single parents young and old to come and enjoy a wonderful time of fun, fellowship, teaching and entertainment. Grant Layman (my mom’s little brother) used the first night to call us as Christians to prioritize the roles God has given us. Uncle Grant exhorted us to get the “big rocks” of our lives in the jar first. In short, he appealed to us to live intentionally. Over the past few weeks this message has made a practical difference in my every day world. So listen and enjoy applying it to your life.
I have a small confession: I have already started listening to Christmas music. I know, I should at least wait until after Thanksgiving. But it was just one song. Christmas music is some of my favorite and I find it hard to limit myself to the month of December.
So I am very happy and excited to announce the arrival of the very first Sovereign Grace Music Christmas CD. With the title, Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man, this CD is packed full of gospel truth and the real reason we celebrate.
You won’t find any “marshmallows roasting on an open fire” in these songs. The webpage features an interview with the songwriters, a free download (so you too can begin listening to at least one Christmas song!), and a chance to preview sample songs from the project.
Consider with me our culture’s physical beauty yardstick—for women then and women now as explained by author David Powlison:
A hundred years ago women might have compared themselves with the other ten girls in the village. Today, women compare themselves with pictures of the cream of the worldwide fashion industry.
And what ideal image does the worldwide fashion industry put forth as the standard for beauty by which today’s woman is to measure herself?
Well, take a look at what a group of professional hair stylists, make-up artists, and photographers in cahoots with computer graphics were able to create:
To think that women are striving to look like someone who doesn’t even look like herself. It’s absurd!
The Dove Campaign got it partially right—the fashion industry has certainly contributed to a distorted perception of beauty. And yet, their solution—“every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is”—is well-meaning and yet fundamentally unbiblical.
You see, women believe that physical beauty will make them happy, successful, popular among the women, desirable to the men – so they pursue it with a fury!
Physical beauty, however, does not deliver as advertised. Proverbs 31:30 reveals the falsehood and the futility of this quest for beauty: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain.
Even if every girl did “feel beautiful just the way she is,” it wouldn’t bring her true joy or lasting happiness or solve even one of her problems.
Truth be told, what we all deserve is not to feel beautiful but rather to be condemned to hell for sinfully seeking to attract the worship of our fellow creatures instead of living to bring glory to God.
God did not send Jesus to this earth to die so that women could get over their self-esteem problem and feel better about themselves. No, He sent his Son to die to rescue us from our sinful, futile quest for physical beauty and to reveal to us the satisfaction that comes from knowing God—whether we are beautiful or not!
What freedom and hope is found in Christ! We don’t need to feel beautiful about ourselves to find happiness! In fact, we’re better off not even thinking about ourselves. Rather, God has offered us in Jesus Christ forgiveness, hope, freedom from sin and a joy that never ends.
So while this little video effectively exposes the false front of beauty presented by our culture, let’s not look to Dove’s advertising executives for the solution to the beauty crisis. Rather, let’s join the campaign to tell others of the true freedom that is found in Christ!
We stood with the Yee family on Saturday as they buried their mother at the bottom of a sloping hill, surrounded by enormous swaying trees. Katherine Hubner was not only Kathy’s mother, Andre’s mother-in-law, Kirsten, Stephen and Michael’s Owa—she was our friend too.
Some called her Kate, or Katherine, or Mrs. Hubner. But each one received the same tender hug and exuberant smile every time they saw this eight-two year young woman.
And young at heart she certainly was. By the graveside, Kathy shared stories of riding roller coasters at Disney World, boogie boarding at the Outer Banks, and helmet diving in Bermuda with her aged, yet fun-loving mother.
Katherine grew up in a poor family from Manhattan. Married and had three children. Divorced. It wasn’t until she was sixty-nine years of age that God shined His light into her darkness. “Hers was a simple faith,” remembered Kathy. And yet, as I heard our pastor, Mark, quietly respond, “That is all you need.”
This simple faith expressed itself in every aspect of Katherine’s life. Most clearly it was seen in her love for her family. Her son Louis remembered how hard it was to tear her away from holiday gatherings. “Enjoy your children for the years you have them,” she would encourage her daughter, Kathy—who took her mother’s advice, by the way.
When Katherine moved in with the Yee family four years ago, she brought life and exuberance to their already loving home. She played army men with the boys on the floor, complete with army noises. She talked and laughed with granddaughter Kirsten. She even entered her grandson’s Pine Car Derby. Appropriately her bright-red car was dubbed “Grandma Dynamite.”
Katherine’s love for others extended to our church family. Her pastor Dave Hinders doesn’t remember anyone more excited to become a member than Katherine Hubner. Until recently, Katherine served in our Alpha program on the kitchen crew, alongside other senior citizens and teenage boys. She loved them all. A few weeks ago, after learning of her cancer, one of these fifteen-year-old boys sent her an encouragement note—a small gesture of his appreciation for this elderly woman.
“I only wish,” she told Kathy, soon before she passed “I had more time to serve the Savior. I’m only sorry that I got started so late.”
I thought neighbor and dear friend Eric Jensen summed up Katherine’s life best. “Kate was not a coaster,” he said. “She was cresting to the very end.”
By the grace of God, may this be true of us all.
“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” Psalm 71:18
Recently, the staff here at Sovereign Grace Church needed to clear out some storage space. Consequently, several long-unused office chairs were on their way to the dump. Rather than simply throw them away, our pastors decided to have some fun with them first. The result: “The Great Office Chair Race.” Click here to enjoy, courtesy of the five15 blog. Oh, and make sure to watch the second ending!
(BTW-My husband is the handsome guy sitting in the chair second from the left.)
Sarah Greenslade is this week’s book club winner. Actually, Janelle thinks Sarah deserves two copies of the book, because she’s read it—not once—but twice! The rest of us agree. So, Sarah, you’ll receive one copy for yourself and one to give away! Here’s how Sarah’s life was influenced by Twelve Extraordinary Women:
When the notice was first put up on girltalk blog about the book club group, I immediately purchased the book and proceeded to read the entire thing in three days. Granted, I am newly married, I have no children and I am a voracious reader, but still, I couldn’t put the book down. As I began to read through the chapters again, more slowly, along with the group, the impact of what I was reading began to sink in. [Keep Reading]
For our final question, please tell us—In what way did Lydia’s life inspire you?
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
I went to one of my favorite places for lunch today: the Lancaster County Dutch Market. Every Thursday through Saturday a group of Amish from Lancaster, Pennsylvania make the trek to Germantown, Maryland where they make and sell the most delicious food. My customary hang out spot is the soft-pretzel stand where you can watch the Amish girls twist the dough for my favorite cinnamon-sugar pretzels.
This afternoon, as I was placing my usual order, the man who owns the stand engaged me in conversation (yes, he knows me). He informed me that the sister of one of the young women who works for him was one of the little girls shot in the tragic Amish school shooting two weeks ago.
“Did she survive?” I asked him. He told me her life was mercifully spared. She is hopefully leaving the hospital today! I told him we were praying, before he moved to help the next customer in line.
My heart broke for this little girl and the horror of her experience, and all those affected by this tragedy. Initially, I felt helpless, wishing there was something I could do to comfort them and ease their pain.
However, it was a fresh reminder to me of the truth of Ephesians 5:15-16. The days are indeed evil. Therefore, I am to strive to live every day with wisdom, “making the best use of my time.” And my heart can rest in the certainty of God’s sovereignty over the evil found in this world and the hope of the gospel for all mankind.
Our dear friend Carolyn McCulley over at SoloFemininity has written an exceptional article/personal testimony—“Liberated From Feminism”—which has been published online by The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I had the privilege of reading this article several months ago and have been eagerly waiting for its publication, so we could share it with you. “Liberated From Feminism” is an inspiring testimony of God’s transforming grace, an insightful critique of the failures of feminism, and a practical example of biblical womanhood for single and married women to follow. It’s a must read for every woman!
“Growing up in the rebellious ‘70s, I did not foresee these consequences [of feminisim]. Even as a child, my femininity was a source of confusion for me. The oldest of three daughters, I felt I always had to prove something to the boys - that I could be faster, smarter, and more aggressive than they were. I did not want any limits, and I looked for every opportunity to show my independence. How I gloated and swaggered when Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in a well-publicized “battle of the sexes” tennis match! As a teenager, I was also headstrong and not submitted to my father. I did not respect his decisions, and I sought to wear him down through constant arguing. Though my mother faithfully took my sisters and me to mass each week, I lacked any real personal spiritual compass, and so I pursued whatever philosophies were currently popular.” [Read More]