2009 at 2:28 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Girltalk Book Club
“Why,” asks a woman, “am I here?” What am I supposed to be doing with my time? How am I to go about my business?” Womanly Dominion seeks to provide answers—answers at a critical hour when misguided voices from both sidelines, and even from inside her own head, are shouting at her all kinds of foolishness.” p. 20
These questions rattle inside the head of every woman; and the answers have immediate and long-lasting consequences. So often, though, the voices in our head and all around us seem louder than the truth of God’s Word.
Womanly Dominion points us back to the simplicity and strength of God’s plan.
Mark Chanski uses the analogy of a soccer team to urge women to “Win it” and “Play your position”— to don the “bracelets of strength and dignity” and do your job with all your might, to live according to the pattern of God’s Word, no matter what the other side is shouting.
You may not always like the “plays” that Mr. Chanski suggests. The illustrations may disrupt a previously settled opinion, or you may think obedience looks different than what he describes.
The more we drill down into application, the more we may disagree. But that doesn’t mean we should avoid getting specific. We must wrestle with truth and seek to understand how God’s Word applies to “every square inch” of our lives, our homes and our relationships.
Randy Stinson, president of CBMW, explains why this is so important:
“Over the years I have been most criticized when I have tried to detail matters of application based on what I believe are the parameters of the complementarian position. Someone always disagrees. Yet if we do not continue to make these attempts, the gender debate will end up merely being fodder for discussions in seminary cafeterias.”
Womanly Dominion brings the debate out of the seminary cafeteria right to the kitchen table. And we think it’s a debate worth having.
(More on chapters 1 and 2 next week…)
2009 at 4:23 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
“Show hospitality.” 1 Peter 4:9
In addition to the what and the who, Scripture tells us how to practice hospitality. First off, we’re to show hospitality intentionally. To “show hospitality” is to make vigorous effort. We are to pursue or strive after hospitality.
This eliminates the, “I’ll do it when I feel like it,” “I’ll do it when it is convenient,” and “I’ll do it when I have to” approaches to hospitality—all of which I’ve tried. No, we’re to go after hospitality like a dog hunting a bone. We’re to sniff out opportunities and seize upon them.
If you’re like me and spontaneity is a mild form of torture, (somewhere just below water-boarding), then scheduling hospitality can help you be intentional. Every month, my husband and I sit down with our calendars and lists of folks we’d like to have over, and plan a few months in advance.
But we can also plan to be spontaneous: one woman in my church has a meal prepared before the Sunday meeting so they can invite someone to join them for lunch. And of course, if you are one of those women who love the last minute, late-staying guest, then invite away!
Second, we’re to practice hospitality wisely. “The wisest of women builds her house,” it says in Proverbs 14:1; and she “looks well to the ways of her household” it echoes in Proverbs 31:27.
Here’s where you come in! We want to glean from your hospitality wisdom. So, please contact us this week and tell us:
1. Your favorite hospitality recipes. Maybe they are easy, make ahead, budget friendly, or good for a crowd. Or maybe you have a special meal or dessert that your guests have really enjoyed. Share your hospitality-tested recipes with all of us!
2. Your favorite hospitality tips. These can be menu ideas, party themes, or game suggestions. We’d love tips for doing hospitality with kids or on a tight budget. And we’d love to know how you schedule and prepare for hospitality. Please pass on what you’ve learned from experience or from other hospitable women.
We’ll compile the best recipes and ideas and post them next week so we can all learn from each other how to practice hospitality more intentionally and wisely.
2009 at 2:31 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
Today’s Friday Funny (and another Wedding Contest winner) is a funny story from Rachel:
I think my in-laws have a pretty funny wedding story. The morning of their wedding, the photographer that had been hired to photograph their wedding had a root canal done. He was so drugged that he went to the wrong wedding and photographed the entire event! This of course meant that my in-laws wedding wasn’t photographed at all. Thankfully enough people brought their cameras that they were able to get plenty of candid shots!
Signing off for the weekend,
Nicole for the girltalkers
2009 at 11:22 am | by Nicole Whitacre
At our church’s women’s meeting on hospitality a young woman shared a powerful testimony of her mom’s example of hospitality. It is a perfect illustration of John Piper’s quote from yesterday: “Never underestimate the power of your living room as a launching pad for new life and hope and ministry and mission.” May we all be inspired by this woman’s example:
For as long as I can remember, my parents have made hospitality an integral part of our family life. Though my mom has used her home countless times to serve, bless, and welcome relatives and church members, God has recently used her hospitality in evangelism.
Last year, my mom started to befriend my neighbor, (I’ll call her Sue) meeting her for coffee and starting to build a relationship. When my neighbor tragically lost her husband, my parents invited her over for dinner every Wednesday night as a way to offer comfort and support. In order to make our home a place where Sue felt loved and accepted, my mom purposely did nothing out of the ordinary. She didn’t scrub the kitchen floor or prepare a five-course meal or even dress up. She just invited Sue into our family. In order to make Sue feel accepted, my mom incorporated her into our everyday traditions. In our family, everyone has their own napkin ring so that we all know exactly where to sit at the table; so, on Sue’s first night over, my mom got out a new napkin ring and handed it to her, telling her that it was her napkin ring now and that we would look forward to her coming every week. A couple of months later, Sue shared with us how much that simple gesture had meant to her, and that she truly felt part of our family.
Using hospitality in evangelism not only makes your friend part of your family, it also, by God’s grace, demonstrates the gospel in action. From the way my mom cheerfully greets my dad when he walks in the door, to the way my dad gently corrects us, to the way we do our chores without being asked, our everyday actions prove the power of the gospel. When Sue wonders how my mom and dad became such wonderful parents, or how they have such a healthy relationship, my mom has the opportunity to tell her why. Three-fourths of the time their conversations aren’t about the gospel at all; they just talk about life. But while my parents don’t avoid the gospel, they certainly don’t force it either. Rather, they feel that God has more room to work with a firm basis of friendship and trust.
Personally, I really appreciate the way my mom has incorporated our entire family in hospitality. Wednesday nights aren’t a one-woman-show; she’s purposefully includes all of us. Actually, she began integrating us years ago when she trained us to help around the house, to have meaningful conversations with adults, and to welcome others into our family. When my mom first started teaching me to wash the dishes and make my bed, I could never have imagined that God would one day use my chores as a witness to the gospel. But Sue finds it amazing that my brother and I cheerfully start clearing the table without being asked. Evangelism has brought an eternal perspective to my everyday life reminding me that, when the gospel starts working, ordinary life becomes amazing.
When I look at my mom’s life and the way God is using her to reach the lost, I’m struck by her faithfulness to obey God’s commands, even when it didn’t seem so important. The way my mom uses her hospitality to evangelize began over twenty years ago, as she learned to cook, trained us to do our chores, and began practicing hospitality within the church. Now God is using those gifts, not just to bless Sue, but also her accountant. ‘Her accountant?’ You ask? The Wednesday before Christmas, Sue brought us a tin of peanuts from her accountant, explaining that once she had mentioned our Wednesday dinners to him and that now he always asks about us and our time together and wanted to give us a gift. I think it’s a reminder from God that the effects of our hospitality aren’t confined to our home. All of the little things you’re doing today: changing diapers, correcting math tests, cooking dinner after dinner; they all have an eternal effect.
We no longer see Sue every Wednesday, but dinners with her have become normal: last week we ate diet chicken as we sorted out our schedule for the week. But these dinners, they mean a lot to Sue because they show her that someone cares about her. Our entire family is looking forward to the day when Sue understands that God is the One who cares for her and who makes our care for her possible.
If my mom were here tonight, she’d want you to know that none of this is her doing. It’s all because of God, and it’s all for his glory. He brought Sue into our lives, He led us to extend hospitality to her, and He is using it all to show His love for her.
2009 at 1:29 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Hospitality is not only for the church. We should extend hospitality to those outside the church community as well—people who do not yet know Christ, and also to the poor and needy around us and throughout the world.
“The gospel was preached and propagated” in hospitable households of the New Testament church says Christin Pohl, and it should be the same for us today.
“A home from a biblical perspective” explains Lisa Tatlock, “is to be a place of refuge and a center for evangelism.”
How can you make your home a center for evangelism?
Simply invite someone in. Maybe ask a neighbor or a fellow student or coworker over for dinner or dessert. Throw a party with friends from church and invite some non-Christian friends as well. Have a family to your home for a cookout or include neighborhood kids in a birthday party.
When we invite non-Christians into our home we invite them into our lives. We give them a chance to see us up-close and personal; to observe our family, our marriage, our parenting. Our hope is not that they would be impressed with us, but that they would see God’s grace at work in our homes.
In this way, hospitality can present the gospel as attractive to those who do not yet know Christ.
And let me also add, that while our home-life can be a witness to the gospel, we should not hold back from hospitality simply because our kids aren’t fully trained, or our house isn’t perfectly organized or clean. God will use even our weaknesses and shortcomings; and our humility to allow others to see us as we are is an evidence of His grace.
John Piper gives us this biblical charge: “Don’t ever underestimate the power of your living room as a launching pad for new life and hope and ministry and mission!”
2009 at 2:48 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:8-10
Before vacation we were talking about hospitality—what it is (a love of strangers) and who is to show it (all Christians). Today we pick up where we left off and consider who we are to show hospitality to.
First and foremost, we are to show hospitality to “one another.” The members of our local church should top our guest list.
You see, hospitality “builds up unity and helps meet practical needs” of those in our church (Dict. of Later NT). It strengthens bonds of friendship. It supplies food and shelter in time of need.
In the early church hospitality “was an expression of respect and recognition, a physical symbol of the destruction of those status boundaries irrelevant in the community” of believers (New Dict. of Biblical Theology).
What an amazing statement hospitality makes. It says to fellow church members: “Your background or ethnicity, your education or accomplishments, hobbies or interests—none of that matters. What matters is that we are both undeserving recipients of the grace of God. That is what unites us in friendship.”
It’s almost impossible to maintain evil prejudices or hold on to arrogant, superior attitudes or persist in sinful judgments and still show hospitality. By the act of inviting others to our home, giving of our resources, serving them, taking an interest in their lives, we show the world that “love covers a multitude of sins.”
And hospitality says something to our children as well. It speaks of our affectionate love for the people of God: “the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Ps. 16:3). Hospitality, as one author put it, “is a way of bringing the household into the church and the church into the household” (Dict. of Later NT)
If we are wise parents, we will make hospitality a priority. In this way we can impart to our children a love for the people of God, teach them to follow godly examples, and encourage a passion for service in God’s kingdom.
What a powerful word hospitality speaks to our church, our children, and the world!
2009 at 1:54 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
We’re busy unpacking from vacation today so we thought we’d give you another wedding story to enjoy. This is a funny one from Sara:
It is somewhat of a tradition in my family to kidnap the bride at some point during the reception and have the groom collect the “ransom” in his shoe. This is done in lieu of the “dollar dance” that you find at many weddings. My husband had decided to assign his groomsmen the task of being my bodyguards during the reception to prevent this from happening to me, but nonetheless my Uncle Curt managed to throw me over his shoulder and kidnap me while a family member had cleverly distracted my husband and his groomsmen to take a picture. What we didn’t count on was the effect it would have on my 5 year old cousin, Elissa. I returned 15 minutes later and could still see evidence that she had been crying. She was so relieved to see me!
While we were on our honeymoon, the rest of the family went on a camping trip together in the mountains. Elissa went to the bathrooms one day and on her way back she made a wrong turn and couldn’t find the family campsites. A kind family found her and guided her to the closest park ranger’s station. Meanwhile, the family had noticed her absence and had spread out to look for her. And who, of course, found her first? Uncle Curt. Poor Elissa was sitting there crying in the ranger’s station. She was so relieved to see a familiar face when Uncle Curt walked in, she yelled out, “The kidnapper!”. Needless to say, the park rangers did not allow Elissa to leave with Uncle Curt after that!