What Jesus’ Body Means for Us: Relearning How to Enjoy and Glorify God with Our Bodies

ELIZABETH TURNAGE | CONTRIBUTOR Did Jesus wear diapers? Did Jesus learn to say “Abba”? Did Jesus need to take naps? To all three, if we have a biblical theology of Jesus and the body, we must answer “yes.” Often, we focus on Jesus’ spiritual nature, but we need to reclaim an understanding of Jesus’ body as well. When we pay attention to how Jesus lived in his human body, we better understand how to live in our bodies to enjoy and glorify the Lord. Our Savior Learned and Grew The Bible teaches that Jesus learned and grew. Yes, Jesus was sinless, no doubt, but in his humanity, he had to learn; he had to grow. Luke 2:52 tells us, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (NIV). Jesus didn’t emerge from Mary’s womb potty-trained. Jesus grew from a small baby into an average-sized Hebrew male before he began his earthly ministry. Jesus had to learn how to speak Aramaic and Hebrew, how to read Isaiah, and how to write his alphabet. Just as God designed Jesus to learn and grow, he designed us to learn and grow as well. We can learn new things, like how to play the piano or how to study Scripture. We grow physically, and even when our bodies are fully grown, we can and should continue to increase in “wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man,” by living in our bodies wisely, eating and drinking and exercising and touching and playing to the glory of God.

What Jesus’ Body Means for Us: Relearning How to Enjoy and Glorify God with Our Bodies2022-05-04T00:34:10+00:00

Small Acts of Faithfulness

JESSICA ROAN|GUEST I remember marveling at how small it was, that tiny little coffin. It still wasn’t real. 4 months old. Was he really gone? Was my friend actually mourning her first child? I have never felt so helpless, so unable to do anything to help. As I stood at the cemetery, I heard a familiar voice begin to speak. I couldn’t see him, but I’d recognize that kind voice with a slight lisp anywhere. He spoke of God’s love and hope amidst maybe the worst tragedy a young mother could suffer. As I looked around at my co-workers, most of them unbelievers, my heart breathed a sigh of relief. That familiar voice belonged to a youth pastor I encountered in my teen years. This soft-spoken, kind, humble man was a pastor at a friend’s church when I was in high school. We were never particularly close, but his presence was God’s gift to me (and many others) that day. God was there in this seemingly hopeless situation using this man to bring my friend (and myself) the comfort we both needed. I saw him a few months later, and thanked him for his message on that sad day, but he will never know just how much his presence meant to me in that season of my life. You see, that year was full of tragedy for my family. My father-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and passed within a few months; my mother-in-law’s health was failing; and my son’s nine-year-old classmate had suddenly passed away from complications with the flu. My children were young- five and eight-and while we were trying to help them navigate all of this loss, I was unknowingly mourning these young deaths as if they were my own children. Recently, I reflected on this pastor’s seemingly small role in my life...

Small Acts of Faithfulness2022-05-04T23:25:55+00:00

Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives in the Wake of COVID

KATIE POLSKI|CONTRIBUTOR My husband is a senior pastor, and we’ve served in ministry together for almost twenty-five years. Amidst the numerous joys and challenges of church life through the years, we have not felt before the kind of spiritual and emotional fatigue that has resulted from the effects of the COVID pandemic. Everyone has been burdened in some way by the pandemic, some more so than others, but because of my perspective as a pastor’s wife, I have a tenderness toward the stories I’ve heard from various pastor’s wives during this unique time. Weeds of Discouragement I’ve talked with some who feel defeated after thinking through new and innovative ways to carry on with ministries they’re involved with only to be met with little support. Other pastor’s wives seem to have relented to the seed of bitterness after hearing polarizing views from discontented members who swarmed their opinion through email, phone calls, and texts. And one dear pastor’s wife watched as the effects of the pandemic so permeated the congregation that the doors of the young church plant were closed permanently. It’s easy to surrender to discouragement in light of the challenges in church ministry during the last year, but there are good reasons to push away the frustrated emotions. A bleak attitude can too easily lead to weeds planted in our heart, and these weeds produce buds when watered with our judgmental attitudes toward congregants. And they grow quickly when we blame our burdens on a particular decision or unwelcomed path. Satan loves to see our hearts overgrown with these weeds which cause us to forget that God is working in and through His church...

Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives in the Wake of COVID2022-05-04T23:13:05+00:00

You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

Nora[1] chuckled, but laughing didn’t stop her from crying. Her friend, Allie, had a knack for soothing awkward situations. She knew just what to say to lighten the mood. Nora knew Allie wasn’t uncomfortable; teasing was just her way to ease tension. Nora dabbed at her tears with a napkin and looked for the waitress, “I should go,” she said, “Rob will be home soon and he’ll wonder where I’ve been all afternoon.” The two women had agreed on this lunch date weeks ago. Nora had no idea her husband’s explosive outburst the night before would shadow their pleasant afternoon. His timing to hurl some rather choice insults—laden with words she would never repeat—was impeccable. His disgusting taunts still echoed in Nora’s mind. The shame of it all made her cry. Allie was a friend Nora could lean on. Sometimes she advised her in the worst way… “Nora, if you would just…” and then tell her to do something that implied she had control over Rob’s oppressive behavior. But nonetheless, Allie’s love for Nora was genuine. Women like Nora need friends like Allie. The circumstances of their abusive relationship are isolating. It keeps them at arm’s length from other people. To have a friend who respects them as an image bearer is invaluable. I’ve heard many victims express this need. If oppressed women could share how we can help, this is what they might say: Please, treat me like an adult. One characteristic of an abusive home is that the husband treats his wife like a child. In an oppressive marriage, he calls the shots and determines direction. He’s the king of his castle and his wife is there to serve his every desire. A woman in this kind of relationship loses agency; her God-given right to make her own decisions. Eventually, if she remains in the marriage long enough, she forgets how to make choices on her own. Everyone will stand before the Lord one day...

You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Helping Victims of Domestic Violence2022-05-05T00:06:23+00:00

Practical Preparation for One Another Care

Editor’s Note: This is the third post in a series of posts on one another care in the church. To read the other posts, click here. Most mornings you can find me curled up in the corner of my couch reading Scripture. Now, I’d love for you to think that makes me super virtuous; however, I must confess I read the news and social media first. I’m still working on my priorities. I digress. Daily “demotions” (as I like to call them) are one of my favorite times of the day. God speaks to me through His word and I discover something new about Him and His world just about every time. I can’t tell you how often God then uses those quiet moments with Him to equip me to minister to others. Frequently I find that the very words He applied to my soul in the morning help in a conversation with a friend or counselee later in the day. He does that. His words are our daily nourishment; however, they are also meant for us to use to sustain one another (Col. 3:16). This is just one of several ways we can prepare in advance of sharing the word with someone who is struggling. This means we need to pay attention to how God meets us with His word. Another way is to build a counseling toolkit. A toolkit can be made up of sermons, devotionals, and/or Bible Study materials adapted for use in counsel. For instance, what was the last sermon you heard? What were your pastor’s three main points? How did he apply them? What was the main take away from your last Bible study? Create a journal with these messages and record the insights you’ve gleaned...

Practical Preparation for One Another Care2022-05-05T00:35:58+00:00

The Word and One Another Care

emember one of the first times I helped someone journey through the pain, suffering, and shame that is associated with abuse. What happened to my sweet, young friend was awful—but as common as abuse is, her experience was unique to her. So, I did everything I could think of to prepare in order to help her. I read books. I looked up articles. I sought the wisdom of those who had spent way more time counseling the victims of this dreadful sin than I. And yet, when it came time to actually speak with her, the Lord ever so gently redirected me back to His all sufficient word. The passages the Holy Spirit brought to my mind did not deal directly with abuse, however God’s words did not go out to my friend and come back void. His word did all He intended it to do (Isa. 55:11). Recently, I heard Nancy Guthrie speak at a conference. She said she was on a mission to bring the Bible back to Bible Study. Similarly, I am on a mission to bring Scripture back to one another care. Suffering originated in the Fall, so all of life’s problems from that point forward are, at their root, matters which highlight our broken relationship with God.[1] Scripture Shapes One Another Care Caregiving in the context of the local church is the personal ministry of the word. It is bringing God’s truth, God’s promises, and God’s commands to bear on life’s problems (2 Pet. 1:3). It is God’s word that compels the Christian walk. It is knowing Him and His ways that propels us on the path that He ordains. But what exactly does that look like for a caregiver? Well, the responsibilities of a woman in the church who helps women in crisis can be found in the passages Paul wrote to Timothy regarding the office of elder. I just made a bunch of you itchy by associating women helpers in the church with the office gifts, didn’t I? Bear with me a moment... There are numerous commands in the New Testament for both men and women in the church to “imitate their leaders” (2 Thess. 3:7, 9; Phil. 3:17, 4:9; 1 Cor. 4:16; Heb. 13:7; 1 Peter 5:3).

The Word and One Another Care2022-05-05T00:43:52+00:00

Ministry Leader: Replace Yourself!

I came into the Bible study exhausted, un-showered, wearing a baseball hat, and clutching not a Bible, but a Tupperware container that held my cold, left-over dinner. All around me swirled comments and scripture readings, but on that night, the best I could do was show up and absorb it. And it was amazing. You see, until that fall, I had been the leader of that very Bible study. For years I arrived dressed and prepared, sparkling and engaged, mentally ready and willing to share and teach God’s word. I poured hours into the group; I mentored and encouraged the women and rarely needed a week off. God gave me the gift of teaching and the time to prepare. But then my schedule changed, and I couldn’t keep all the balls in the air. In fact, the balls were falling everywhere. I knew I had to step down from leading the Bible study. I still worked at the church by day, but God made it increasingly clear that my evenings would require a different focus and a reshuffling of priorities. It was time to replace myself. Often in ministry we face this transition with fear. Our roles, whether paid or volunteer, handle the very word of God. What if all the work we’ve done is swiftly undone? What if years of relationship building are lost in the face of change? What if the person who comes after us is not gifted in the same way we are? Here’s the answer: Relax, it was never about you...

Ministry Leader: Replace Yourself!2022-05-05T00:44:40+00:00

The Delight of Teaching Boys

Every church has at least one. Usually they like to run in packs. They are often heard before they are seen – their animated laughter carrying faster than their goofy jokes. Personal grooming has yet to become a priority in large part because their mamas can hardly keep the wardrobe up to speed with their voracious appetites and growing bodies. This group is often feared in Sunday school classes or midweek Bible studies. They don’t seem to show an interest in anything related to books, they have trouble sitting still, and their fascination with fart jokes makes most ladies squirm. What are we to do with this strange group of humans that can seem so difficult to engage and manage? If you’ve ever worked in Children’s ministry or a classroom setting, you will immediately recognize these individuals as tweenage boys (ages 9-12). They are beyond the cuddly tikes that adored snuggle time, yet not the full grown men ready to conquer the world with a warrior’s heart. These tweens are caught in the middle of those that still collect stickers and the ones who now shave their whiskers. In spite of the differences to their often gentler and quieter female counterparts, I have come to adore working with these unabashedly boisterous individuals. If you know a few tricks, they can be a true delight to teach and disciple...

The Delight of Teaching Boys2022-05-07T22:33:02+00:00
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