Preparing to Meet Jesus

SHARON ROCKWELL|GUEST This summer some young women from my Bible study decided to make the long drive to visit our classmate— a woman who had recently moved out of the county to an assisted living home to be by her daughter. Her health had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer take care of her home or herself. She had been with my small group for many years, and she will be sorely missed when we start up in the fall. We were met with a flood of thankful tears when we arrived. Agnes’ new home was small but decorated with the things she cherished most. Family pictures were hung on the walls, as were a large cross and several plaques with Bible verses that were particularly meaningful to her. On her kitchen table was a large print Bible. I noticed a magnifying glass nearby, along with a pad of paper that was labeled “prayer requests.” After our tour of her new place, Agnes told us the details of her health condition, a recent fall, and the need for her walker now. At lunch, and after she was updated on all our personal news, Agnes asked how she could pray for each of us. She commented that she saw prayer as her only remaining purpose in living. Her body was slowing down, but her prayer life was expanding as she met the people in her new home. Still, she told us change was hard. I first met Agnes (name has been changed) when I randomly sat next to her in a fellowship hall more than ten years ago. She was in her 80’s then and told me this was her fourth time through the Bible series. Clearly, she had trouble seeing the text and hearing our lesson, so I asked her why she wanted to repeat the study again. I will never forget her answer. She said she wanted to be well prepared for when she saw Jesus...

Preparing to Meet Jesus2022-05-04T23:28:54+00:00

Three Reasons to Study the Bible with Older Women

CHRISTINA FOX|EDITOR Over the years, I’ve participated in many Bible studies. Some were specifically for women in my age and stage of life, such as college and career, young marrieds, or those in the trenches of motherhood. Other studies included a mixture of women from varying ages. Yet even in those studies, I found myself gravitating toward my peers—women who were pursuing their careers or busy at home with young children or running everywhere with their pre-teens. I wanted to connect with women who knew what I was going through, who shared in a mutual understanding of the challenges of juggling work and home life or who were also wrangling little ones or navigating the challenges of the teen years.   Recent years have found me in a Bible study where the majority of women are not in my age or stage of life; rather, they are older than I. These women are at or near retirement. Their daily concerns are not centered on the logistics of family life with children. Their conversations don’t focus on the daily challenges of work at the office. In fact, many have big concerns about real and frightening health issues. Or heart-breaking relational issues with their adult children and grandchildren. But you know what? Despite the difference in age, experience, and concerns of daily life, we have one key thing in common: our love for Christ. We are sisters in the Lord and these older, wiser sisters have taught me much. As it turns out, in the Kingdom of God, age is not a barrier to understanding. Just because someone is in a different stage of life than I, it doesn’t mean they can’t relate to me; rather, age is a bridge that leads to valued treasure—for the wisdom gained after years of walking with the Lord is a wealth of untold measure, a wealth we can all benefit from. Three Reasons to Study the Bible with Older Women God designed it that way: It may seem elementary—a truth many of us know—but it’s an important one to revisit. The Bible doesn’t say much about women’s ministry. Except in one place: Titus 2. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he instructs Titus in what a gospel centered church looks like. In the second chapter, he gives Titus specific instructions for various groups in the church, including women. That’s where Paul exhorts older women to disciple younger women (vv.3-5). These older women were to be spiritual mentors to the younger women in the church. They were to teach them what it means to love and submit to their husbands, how to glorify God in their mothering, and what it looks like to be a woman of God. These older women were to take what they learned from Titus’ preaching, apply it to their own lives, and then in turn help the younger women apply the gospel to their lives. Whether it is in one-on-one discipleship, a Titus 2 small group, a Bible study, or in an informal relationship, we all need to learn from older women. And what better way to learn than in the context of studying God’s word? As we dig into the Scriptures together, our older sisters in Christ can point us to truth. They can model for us how to live out the gospel in our daily lives....

Three Reasons to Study the Bible with Older Women2022-05-04T23:19:03+00:00

Practice Hospitality

HEATHER MOLENDYK|CONTRIBUTOR PRACTICE is a word worthy of adoration. PRACTICE is a solid, steady friend. The one that shows up day after day to get all the things done. PRACTICE extends a hand of grace and a boost of encouragement. It leaves room for mistakes and allows for another opportunity to do it better. PRACTICE gives the pat on the back and reassuringly says, “You’ll never do it perfectly and that’s okay. Just do your best today!” When PRACTICE made an appearance in the Bible, I admit I was initially surprised. It doesn’t seem like a particularly holy word. I’m used to seeing PRACTICE hang out with friends like PIANO, BASKETBALL, FLASH CARDS, and PARALLEL PARKING. Nonetheless, I happily waved PRACTICE over to sit down and visit for a moment. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 (NIV) Sports are a logical thing to practice. There are rules to memorize, cardiovascular gains to make, and muscles to build in order to succeed. Music makes sense to practice. Success with scales, songs, and styles all require the dedication that only practice time can give. Most of us can envision what steps must be taken and what benchmarks must be reached in order to succeed in a variety of life-skills. But hospitality? How do you practice hospitality? In his letters to Titus and Timothy, Paul gives hints on how to build up spiritual disciplines. He tells Timothy to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). He tells Titus to “be a model of good works” and dedicates a large portion of his letter on how the older generations should train up the younger ones through example (Titus 2:7). I began to think through the examples of hospitality I have witnessed in the lives of gracious women God has placed around me....

Practice Hospitality2022-05-04T23:20:01+00:00
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