Freebie Friday :: Book Review by Nancy U.

Nancy is our church librarian (but her awesomeness goes beyond that!) and will be “guest” posting on our blog every now and then with helpful book reviews that you’re sure to put on your “to read” list. Our church library is located at our downtown campus in Wichita Falls in the main hallway. Unfortunately, it is closed for renovations right now, but as soon as it is ready for visitors, we’ll be sure to let you know everything that’s going on! Take it away, Nancy!

As Christian women from all walks of life and in all stages of life, we desire to walk in truth. But in order to walk in truth we must first know the truth. And in order to know the truth we must know Jesus, the author of truth. That’s why it’s so important to study His Word. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

Hopefully most of us can take advantage of the wonderful Bible studies available through our Women’s Ministry. But for all of us there are seasons of life when that is just not possible. What then? We must learn how to study God’s Word for ourselves. That seems totally overwhelming to most of us because we don’t see ourselves as Bible scholars. But the beauty of God’s Word is that He wrote the Bible so the common man and woman can read, study and understand it through His gift of the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to have a pastor, priest or Bible study teacher to interpret God’s Word. Praise God, we can study the Word for ourselves!

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin is written to help Christian women do just that. Jen is a speaker, writer, and teacher of women’s Bible studies. She has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. Jen is a wife and mom to four great kids. She and her family are members of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. She takes knowing the God of the Bible seriously and has a passion for teaching women how to grow in their knowledge of the Scriptures. Written for new and seasoned believers alike, her approach is rigorous, but she is also quick to extend grace to busy women whose season of life may not afford hours of study.

Jen offers a five-step primer for studying Scripture that she calls the “Five Ps”:
          Study with Purpose – Isaiah 40:21-22a
          Study with Perspective – Matthew 13:52
          Study with Patience – Luke 8:15
          Study with Process –Proverbs 24:27
          Study with Prayer – James 1:5

And she warns against several unhelpful habits of Bible study that she calls the:
          Xanax Approach – “treats the Bible as if it exists to make us feel better”
          Pinball Approach – “asks the Holy spirit to speak to me through whatever verse I flip to.”
          Magic 8 Ball Approach – “demands the Bible tell us what to do rather than who to be”
          Personal Shopper Approach – “hand-selects relevant verses from all over the Bible and delivers them to my doorstep to be tried on for size”
          Telephone Game Approach – “happens when we read books about the Bible instead of reading the Bible itself”
          Jack Sprat Approach – “engages in picky eating with the word of God”

When asked if she’s a Bible-worshipper or a God-worshipper Jen responds by saying, “I want to be conformed to the image of God. How can I become conformed to an image that I never behold? Otherwise, I worship an unknown god. A Bible worshipper loves an object. A God-worshipper loves a person. Our study of the Bible is only beneficial insofar as it increases our love for the God it proclaims. Bible study is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. It is a means to love God more.”

The more we know God, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we become like Him. Our culture is becoming darker and darker and is greatly in need of women who know God and can distinguish truth from error. We are called to be salt and light. This is not an option. Take the challenge to dig into God’s Word. Psalm 34:5 says, “Those who look to Him are radiant!” The world is greatly in need of radiant women of God!
Jen’s book will be available for check out in our FBC Library soon!
Jen’s blog is The Beginning of Wisdom (<– That’s a link you can click to go there!)

Link to a short book trailer video that is on the Amazon  (<– That’s a link and it’s pretty funny!) Or check it out on the ChristianBook.com page

And here is a video (<– That’s a link!) on Staying Motivated in Bible Study

The Wise Old Owl…or is it?

What do you think of when you see an owl? What does an owl symbolize to you? I have always associated an owl with wisdom and being wise. I am not sure that I have ever really sat and considered it…it just seems like it is the accepted “truth”.

So I set off to research what Scripture says about the wise old owl and guess what? The Bible says nothing about owls being wise. In fact, whenever the owl in mentioned in Scripture, it is often with a negative connotation. The owl is often referred to as being unclean, solitary, and a symbol of mourning.

So where does this idea of the wise old owl come from? The ancient Greeks depicted the goddess of wisdom, Athena, with an owl. In America, an old nursery rhyme written in the 1800s said:

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

(This nursery rhyme was primarily written to encourage and admonish children to be “seen and not heard”.)

As I began to reflect on the disconnect between what our society said an owl symbolizes and what Scripture describes, I felt convicted. I know this seems odd, since this is not a huge theological issue, but I started to look at all the times I have believed what society or tradition says over what Scripture teaches.

Webster defines wisdom as having three parts…knowledge (accumulated philosophic or scientific learning), insight (ability to discern inner qualities and relationships) and judgment (good sense). This definition provides the idea that wisdom is more than just knowing things but encompasses the application of that knowledge. Scripture explains that wisdom is a gift from God:

“if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without doubting…” –James 1:5-6a (NASB)

I asked myself, “What is the source of my wisdom?” Is it the world or the Word? For example, do I believe in the adage the world says that “God helps those who help themselves” or do I take the time to plumb Scripture to find out what He says about those who help themselves (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5, John 15:13, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Psalm 119:36, Philippians 2:7)? And more importantly, do my actions…the application of my knowledge, give God glory because I am following His ways?

I want to encourage you to reflect on your own beliefs and ask the Lord to expose areas that do not line up with the truth of His Word. He will illuminate these places and give you the wisdom to act on this new knowledge of Him. As we have talked about the last two weeks in Anchored, we must be in God’s Word to know God’s Word.

Don’t know where to start? Begin by reflecting on the truths in James 3:13-18 that describe worldly wisdom and wisdom from God. Weigh your beliefs and actions using His definition of wisdom. Then you will be truly wise!

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Meet Me Monday :: Sam Carmichael

Each Monday, we’re going to be introducing you to a woman that is either on staff at one of our church campuses or is the wife of one of our pastors on our campuses. This week, on Meet Me Monday, we’re introducing you to Samantha Carmichael. Sam is the wife of Caleb, the Campus Student Minister at the Church at Sheppard Campus.

 Carmichael

1. It’s 9 pm, you have the house to yourself. What do you do? Grab my blanket and remote and hit the couch to watch Netflix!

2. Morning person or night owl? I don’t know if I sway one way more than the other, but I guess I’ll say morning person. I value sleep too much to be a night owl, but really hate being woke up. Some call it lazy, I call it getting my beauty sleep.

3. How do you take your coffee? With lots and lots of creamer! I do love Pumpkin Spice Latte’s in the fall from Starbucks!

4. What’s on your nightstand? Lamp, glasses, lotion, chapstick, Bible, journal and devotional

5. What’s your favorite smell? Birds of Paradise Circle E Candle

6. If you could only eat one nationality of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mexican, no questions asked! I can do some work on chips and salsa!

7. Have you always lived in Wichita Falls? If not, where else? Born and raised in Wichita Falls!

8. What did you want to be when you were little? I wanted to be a veterinarian growing up, but then my Mom pointed out that I didn’t like washing them or getting their hair all over me! Yuck!

9. What’s your favorite hobby? Baking and working out- two complete opposites, right?

10. Tell us one funny or weird thing about you: Even though I was born and raised in Texas, I hate red meat, especially steak!

Freebie Friday :: All About The Podcast

Let’s talk podcast, shall we?

First of all, if you need a tutorial on how to use the podcasts, watch the video below. It’s not top notch produced, but it’s the best I could do holding a camera with one hand and navigating the mouse and keyboard with the other! Thanks for your grace! The video will show you how to download iTunes, how to find the podcast, and how to subscribe to it so you can listen! It includes doing it on your computer and on your iPhone or iPad.

If you can’t get the video to work, just click this link – – > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la-9DmYt62g

So, how is this whole podcast thing going to work?

Each week, I will upload the audio from the Tuesday Morning Ephesians Bible Study and the Wednesday night Anchored talk. It will show up in the “feed” of the podcast listing in iTunes or your podcast app. You can pick and choose what you’ll listen to, maybe listen to one twice! (I know I’ve already listened to Kathy’s Anchored talk from last week twice.)

Please let me know if you have ANY questions- I’ve worked many hours to get this up and going and want it to be as user friendly as possible!

(If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to click out to the original post to see the video!)

In The Word Wednesday :: Philippians 1:6

 

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For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6 (NASB)

Many times, Christians use this verse to get them through hard times or encourage perseverance when things are rough. Anyone singing this song? “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient he must be? Cause he’s still working on me.” Give that a Google if you’re interested, but I digress.

Let’s look at that verse closer, though: Paul is saying to the church at Philippi that he is confident. The meaning of this word goes deeper than just a strong hope- it actually is understood as trusting, yielding to or complying with. I remember doing a word study in one of the inductive studies we did at church on the word believe. I understood belief as sort of a passive, one time thing. I believed, and that was sort of it- there wasn’t much else to do. But that’s totally wrong- it actually required action. This word “confident” is much the same way. We aren’t just trusting or believing that the good work will be finished, but we are yielding to it and complying with it and that requires us to do something.

The work in a believer is an ongoing process, what we call sanctification, the continuous, grace receiving process in our lifetime. We can take great comfort in the fact that “God’s still workin’ on me.” This work is good because it is making us more like Christ. We are all in it together- the playing field is leveled because we all start out the worst, dead in our sin, and God had to come in and save us. The playing field is also leveled because none of us have arrived yet.

Today, be certain that God’s in the process of making us like Him. Take part in it by actively seeking Him through whatever today or the rest of this week brings. He is in it, no matter how important or mundane it may seem.

Meet Me Monday :: Vicky Payne

Each Monday, we’re going to be introducing you to a woman that is either on staff at one of our church campuses or is the wife of one of our pastors on our campuses. For your second installment of Meet Me Monday, we’re introducing you to Vicky Payne. Vicky is the wife of Rod Payne, our Pastor of Missions and Media.

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1. It’s 9 pm, the kids are in bed, you have the house to yourself. What do you do? Unwind

2. Morning person or night owl? A little of both!

3. How do you take your coffee? With Dr. Pepper and Lemon in an empty coffee cup!

4. What’s on your nightstand? Books

5. What’s your favorite smell? My husband when he’s clean!

6. If you could only eat one nationality of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? American

7. Have you always lived in Wichita Falls? If not, where else? I’ve lived in Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming and Oklahoma.

8. What did you want to be when you were little? I wanted to be a mom and grandmother

9. What’s your favorite hobby? I would like to finish private pilot training, but for now I enjoy photography, family time and cycling.

10. Tell us one funny or weird thing about you: It can take several trips to the car before I manage to get everything I need to go somewhere!

Freebie Friday

You’ve officially made it to Friday! Woohoo! We’ve got a fun freebie for you today!

Ann Voskamp  (author of One Thousand Gifts) says that “What a heart knows by heart, the heart knows.” Friends, scripture memorization is vital in our relationship with the Lord. The children across our campuses learned this summer that we should always be ready to give a defense for the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) at Vacation Bible School. We also need the truth inside of us to combat the enemy when he tries to slip doubts, lies, or other stumbling blocks in our way.

Thanks to Pinterest, we found these chalkboard printables that are free for downloading and printing! Then, you can put them on your fridge, in your car or planner, wherever! Just let the truth of God’s Word minister to you throughout the day! To get the printables, click here!

Chalkboard Printables

PS: Did you know that the Women’s Ministry is on Pinterest? You should follow us!

In The Word Wednesday :: John 1:1-5

Fall is always more of a new start for me, even more than the New Year. Families are moving out of the summertime of less scheduled busyness and into the the more rigid days of school. And even if you don’t have littles in school, maybe you have grandkids that are heading back or some are sending their “kids” back to college for the semester. Maybe the only new season coming up for you is actually Fall. I want to take a minute to challenge you to be a woman of the Word in this new season.

Each Wednesday, right here on the blog, we’re going to have a short “In the Word Wednesday” post. Our hope is that it will be short, challenging, and encouraging as you take on the last half of your week.

So, why don’t we start our year off with a verse about the Word? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

The “Word” here in Greek is logos, and it has some rich history. Jewish rabbis used logos when referring to God in a more personal way, his communication to them of his law and standard of holiness. Greek philosophers saw logos as the thing that put sense into the world, taking the chaos away. John here, is saying, “you know about this word- you’ve been thinking and talking and writing about it. Now, let me tell you WHO it is!” It’s Jesus!

Jesus is the Son of God who fully conveys and communicates God to us. Jesus has been at the Father’s side since before the beginning. Everything was created through him, and ultimately depends on him. He is the light that gives us life, both physically and more importantly, spiritually. As his light shines, the darkness is invaded.

Jesus is the foundation of our being, he is the power of our being, and his Father’s glory is the purpose of our being. He is the source of our light to shine in the darkness of our world. And maybe you’re thinking that your light isn’t very bright. Start fresh today and make the commitment to be IN the Word so you can be a light for Jesus. No matter how dark the darkness, even the smallest light can brighten it. Get to know God through the Bible, through prayer, through solitude, through Jesus. Nothing operates independent of Christ. G o out, fully dependent on who Christ is, and take on the day.

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