Monday, March 31, 2008


Yesterday, at church, the pastor preached a sermon on repentance from Jonah 3. It was such a helpful and convicting message for me that I thought I would share it with you! First, he summarized true repentance as being four things:

  1. True repentance involves God’s claim on our life.
  2. True repentance involves an attitude of contrite submission to God.
  3. True repentance involves a turning away from specific sins.
  4. True repentance involves the sure hope of mercy.

Hetold us that it is impossible to repent without first feeling weight and sorrow over our sin. Which caused him to ask us, and this is a question that I have been asking God to answer in me since I heard it—is my sorrow over sin leading me to turn from it? So often I feel guilty about things but do nothing about it. I just let the guilt either eat away at me, or simply ignore it. But God does not ignore it. My sin should make me sorrowful and then rush me to the Cross of Christ for forgiveness. Without his blood I will be judged for my sin.

He then asked three questions that are a sort of heart check with regards to our own repentance. We must always be repenting of our sin, which means we must always be conscious of our sinfulness. He asked:

  • Is there any ongoing sin in my life that I am not repenting of, or actively fighting against?
  • Am I avoiding or inviting temptations? When it comes to sin, every single one of us is holding a bombshell.

What am I doing and why am I doing it? Why do I watch certain television shows? Why do I visit certain sights on the internet? Why do I buy certain things? Why do I say certain things?

He said that as sinners we owe God everything, including repentance. He has created us and we are the created. We have sinned against our creator and owe him repentance, and he owes us judgment. But he does not give us what we deserve. He gives us mercy and hope in the work of Christ on our behalf. “The nature of true repentance, he said, “is saying ‘God, I owe you everything and am so unworthy. You owe me nothing but judgment.” Praise God that he does not give us what we deserve!

I was extremely convicted that my life is not one of active, daily repentance, but rather occasional repentance. But this only reveals my pride, not my lack of sin. The statement that struck me most was “my standing before God is not based on the absence of sin in me, but in the absence of sin in Christ.” This truly is a great salvation!

The messages usually are posted online. So, if you want to listen to it you can visit the website and listen!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Being a Life Giver, Part 5: Life Giving in the Church

If we are followers of Christ, God has called all of us to be involved in the local church. 9Marks Ministries gives a good definition of the local church. They state: “We believe the local church is the focal point of God's plan for displaying his glory to the nations.” God has designed the local church for our good, and his glory. We were not designed to live the Christian life alone. We were created for community and fellowship. In the local church we are able to share life with fellow believers, be held accountable in our spiritual growth, and cultivate the gifts that God has given us. Being a life giver in our church means that we use our God-give gifts and abilities for the glory of God and the good of his people.

The more I thought about this series the more I realized that these three areas (community, home, and church) all intersect on many levels. Our homes can be huge avenues for ministry as we serve people in our community. And often the people in our community are people from our church! As we seek to bring Christ to our community through various means we might bring them to church and invite them into our house. Practically speaking, our lives should not be compartmentalized to one area of ministry, as if the only place we are bringing Christ into people’s lives is at work, or home, or church. If our lives are consumed with the Savior, then this will spill over into every area, making every task Gospel-centered.

It might seem, at first glance, easier to think about life giving in the local church. For many of us that is what we are doing already. But often we have the mentality that bigger is better. We have a hierarchy of giftedness where we elevate the more visible gifts (teaching and leadership), and pass over the ones that are behind the scenes. This is not how God views it. In fact, he expressly condemns it, as the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:21-24. We should not give greater honor to gifts that seem more “presentable” in our eyes. Each of us is gifted by God in some way in order to give life to his people and glory to his name. We must not buy into the world’s idea about power and prestige. We also must not attempt to fit every woman into the same mold. In this same passage Paul tells us that we need all of the gifts. We need the women who love changing diapers just as much as the women who are excellent at leading and making decisions or the women who are discerning about the Spirit’s leading. They all matter, and have a place, in the church.

There are many places for singles to thrive in the local church. Maybe you have an accounting degree and can offer to help your church with their taxes for no charge. Or maybe you can even help other struggling families in the church get their taxes done on time, too. It might mean that you offer to baby sit for the overwhelmed mother in your congregation while she spends an afternoon catching up on errands and grocery shopping. Or organizing your annual church picnic. Or visiting an elderly church member at her home because she is now confined to her house. God does not want us to waste our singleness. We are all called to serve in our local church, whether we are young, old, single or married. The single years are not a time of play and recreation, despite what the world tells us. That is not how Paul viewed singleness. Rather, Paul saw singleness as unhindered ability to serve in capacities that married people could not (and for good reason).

Life giving in the local church is radical. It means fighting every temptation to go with the culture around us. It also means, as I have said before, a dying to self and following Christ—our exalted head. My sister-in-law went to a conference on the family this weekend, and she told me something that the speaker said that was very helpful even for this discussion. He asked if our homes were places of safe haven for us or places of ministry. As believers our lives should be about doing ministry for Christ’s sake. That is what it all comes down to, really. Jesus Christ is the starting and end point of all ministry opportunities. If we lose sight of him in our quest to serve it will be empty good deeds that send people to hell. We don’t give life because we can do it; we give life because he already gave life perfectly for us. He is our righteousness. He is our hope. Let this be a reminder to us as we seek to represent our Christ in every sphere of our lives.

ps: I learned how to link in the actual posts now. I think I knew how to do it all along, I just never put the pieces together in my head. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Being a Life Giver, Part 4: Life Giving in the Home

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”--Titus 2:3-5

We live in a day where this passage is not very popular, on many levels. The idea that a woman would work at home, and even want to, is repulsive to much of our culture. Our churches are even affected by this mentality in the way that they encourage young women to “get a career and make something of themselves” before they get married. Work is a good thing. And if you are single, work is a necessity if you want to have food on the table! But this passage is applicable to us, even in our singleness. We, too, must be life-givers in our own homes even when there is no husband to greet us at the end of the day.

I know I have talked about this before, but I will say it again briefly. It’s really easy to think that biblical womanhood in the home starts when we actually have a husband in the home. In the same way that we expect men to behave like biblical men long before they say “I do,” we, also, should do the same. We do not know when, or if, God will choose to provide a husband for us. In the mean time we can work at growing into godly women even while we are single.

So, how do we do that?

First, we can start with roommates. A lot of us have roommates. If your roommate has had a hard day at school, or work, ask her if you can make her dinner, or offer to share your dinner with her. If she is sick, going to the store and picking up medicine for her might be the encouragement she needs right then. I had a bad stomach virus earlier this year. A good friend of mine not only came and picked me up at the airport (knowing she could get sick from me), but she also went to the store and loaded me up with Gatorade and chicken broth. The Lord used her to bless and encourage me even when I was sick. Sometimes being a life-giver at home is simply giving of yourself in little ways in order to bless someone else. Sometimes it is in the big ways like driving hours into the night with a friend so she can make it to the emergency room to be with her family during a tragedy. Being a life-giver in the home requires that we give up our lives for the sake of others. And we can start being a life-giver to our roommates by asking God to show us ways that we can be a blessing to them even today.

If you don’t have roommates, and even if you do, your home can be a source of life by bringing people into it. Another very easy thing to do is to get comfortable at home by ourselves. One of my professors encouraged us to talk to someone at church who we normally wouldn’t talk to and then make a point to know more about them. Maybe being a life-giver at home will mean you invite that person over for lunch because you know that your Savior dined with people who were not like him. Or maybe it means that the next time you have a party you include a person who normally wouldn’t hang out with you. One of the things that I so appreciated about my old roommates is that whenever we had people over (which was frequent) they always were so welcoming to new people. No one was an outsider because they loved Christ and the people that he died for. There are no cliques in heaven. We should start preparing for heaven now.

A lot of times we think that if we just learn how to cook, clean, and set a good dinner table we have the womanhood thing down. It most certainly is that—and so much more. Our God is a not a God of lists. Lists are what destroyed the Israelites because they would rather seek to keep the law than love the Lord with all of their heart (They also would rather worship idols then than the one true God, but that’s another blog post.). Women who are life-givers, like my friends, don’t do it because they like to keep lists. They do it because they love Christ. Life-giving in the home, like life-giving in the community is about dying to self and living for Christ, every day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Being a Life Giver, Part 3: Life Giving in the Community

Based on the biblical basis for being a life-giver, there are three areas where we, as women, can, by God’s grace, apply this principle to our everyday life. At a practical level we can be life-givers in our community, home, and church. For each woman, these interactions will be quite varied. But not matter our location, stage of life, or circumstance, we are called to be life-givers in our communities. And whether we are stay-at-home mothers, working mothers, college students, or single, working women, we each have a community to give life to.

Because I am not married, I will not attempt to speak to what life giving means as a married woman in her community. I can say though that the Girl Talk blog is an excellent resource in this regard. In fact, being a life-giver as a married woman might manifest itself in different ways, but the principle still stands—married or single. And the Girl Talkers have been a tremendous help to me in this regard! You can visit them at the link on the side of this blog.

As single women, our lives should not be characterized by the endless quest to climb the corporate ladder and secure the corner office and six-figure income. And even if your ultimate goal is to stay home with your children, your time at your job should not be seen as a useless means to a greater end—even though the end goal is great indeed! Every place of life that we are in should not be seen as useless, even if it is filing papers or making Starbucks coffee for the same frustrating customer every day. It is divinely appointed by our God for our good and growth.

There are many practical things that we can do to exhibit the humility and kindness of a life-giver in our workplace. Instead of grumbling over the seemingly meaningless daily tasks required of you, consider that your work is not unto yourself, or even your immediate boss, but unto the Lord. Often work can become a very ordinary task, especially when our ultimate desire is to be married and have children. But this place that God has us in right now is designed to prepare us for that task, even if it is not for another twenty years. Being a life-giver is not a role that we take on the day we say “I do,” rather it is an ongoing sanctification process that begins when we say “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

And when we go home at the end of the day it’s very easy to get out of our cars and walk into the house without ever thinking about the family next door, or the little boy without a father who plays alone in the front yard every day. Maybe instead of eating alone, or eating with the same people every day, we could invite our neighbors over for dinner—and not out of duty but out of a genuine desire to love them and point them to the Savior. Or maybe we could offer to watch our neighbor’s young children for an evening, while she and her husband have a much needed date night.

Being a life giver may mean that you stay up that extra hour with a freshman on your hall just so she can share with you her feelings of homesickness or struggles with her new found freedom. It may mean that you invite the single mother and her three children over for dinner, even though you are exhausted and know that your cultural differences would require the extra effort on your part. It might just mean that you wake up tomorrow morning asking God to give you more grace to enjoy the job that has become so mundane, because ultimately all of your work is done for him.

All of these things are possible because Christ has already done it all for us. We love because he first loved us. We give our lives because he gave his life for us. As you move into this Easter weekend, may you be able to give life to someone in your workplace, or neighborhood, because Jesus has already done it all for you.

p.s. Carolyn McCulley has an excellent blog for women called Radical Womanhood ( She posts often on biblical womanhood for single women. Check her out!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Life GIver: Part 2

In my last post (way too long ago) I talked about how the Gospel must be central in our desire to be a life-giver. The death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God on our behalf is the central truth guiding our lives. It is only when we see ourselves in light of the atoning work of the Savior on our behalf that we can even begin to be life-givers. He was already the life-giver for us, and he did it perfectly. Whenever I am thinking about areas of needed growth in my life the temptation is always to resort to lists. And even when I think about being a life-giver I find myself thinking of a list of behaviors and actions that if I just could get “under control” I would be so much better off spiritually. But, being a life-giver is not about lists, because I will fail every time. Christ is the perfect One, and it is through resting in him and trusting in his righteousness that we are given grace to give life to others. In thinking about what it means to be a life-giver, three things came to mind: a life-giver is humble, a life-giver is kind, and a life-giver is a hard worker. Now, certainly this is not an exhaustive list. But, it is a list that has been helpful to me as I have thought through the implications of life-giving in my own life.

As our lives are transformed by the Gospel we should be growing in humility. A humble woman is able to be a life-giver because she sees herself in light of the Gospel. The Gospel exposes who we really are, fallen sinners deserving of wrath, and then through repentance and faith in Christ changes us and makes us clean. This should make us fall on our faces in worship and humility because we know that we deserve so much more than what we have been so freely given by the Savior. Humility is not a self-deprecating attitude that constantly points out flaws and inadequacies. Rather, humility is seen in a woman who points attention away from herself and towards the risen Lamb.

In addition to humility, as we grow in sanctification, we should be growing in kindness towards people. A life-giver sees people as created in the image of God, and in the spirit of her Savior seeks to treat them in light of that reality. Compassion is a characteristic of the redeemed woman. We are compassionate and kind because the Creator of the universe has bestowed his kindness on us. So often I find myself answering people with frustration and annoyance forgetting that a gentle answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). Not to mention the fact that if I was living in the knowledge of the Gospel I would remember that God does not answer me anywhere close to the measure of wrath that I deserve. In Titus 2 we are shown that the older women are to teach many things to the younger women in their congregations, and one of these things is kindness. The more we grow in Christ-likeness the more we should become like him in kindness. (For more on kindness, I would recommend Carolyn Mahaney’s message on being kind from her Titus 2 Series:

The Proverbs 31 is the famous “go-to” passage on biblical womanhood. Often the Proverbs 31 woman is seen only in specific characteristics, and therefore we are left with a prototype for the godly woman that sometimes is missing important truths. Not only is the Proverbs 31 woman (and Titus 2 woman for that matter) kind and gentle, but she is also a diligent worker. Part of being a life-giver is working hard in whatever circumstance God has placed you in, because ultimately we are working for the Lord. If you are single it might mean that your life-giving is seen primarily within the local church and your work place. If you are a mother with small children your life-giving will look very different. In whatever circumstance, the godly woman is not lazy. She works hard to give life to those around her.

I started with humility because only when we recognize our fallen state will we be able to be kind and hard working. All of these actions, or works, are an outpouring of the grace that has been poured out on us because of the atoning work of Christ on our behalf. Each of these characteristics have practical implications for our lives and in my next post I will share how these can be played out in our everyday lives.

PS: I don’t even know if there are any readers out there, but for those of you reading, I am going to work really hard to follow-up more expediently with my next post!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Life-Giver: Part 1

I know that I have talked about Susan Hunt’s concept of being a life-giver before, but it has really been on my mind lately. I have been so convicted that even though I don’t realize it, by default I am a life-taker, not a life-giver. If I am not intentionally working towards that end, then I will always lean towards life-taking. Which is why I have decided to do a small series on being a life-giver. Doing a series on this blog may seem like a stretch for me, considering the lack of frequency in my posting. But, Lord willing, I hope to fulfill this desire, primarily for my own spiritual benefit. First, I will talk about what a life-giver is, and then I will touch on practical ways we can be life-givers in our every day lives.

In her book, The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood, Susan Hunt says that “Genesis 3:20 predicts the redeemed woman’s mission to leave the legacy [of biblical womanhood] by being a life-giver: ‘the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she is the mother of all living.’”

She calls this redemption a “battle” and says: “this battle for biblical womanhood is nothing new. It is simply the reclaiming of what has been and always will be. But reclaim we must—for the glory of our sovereign king and the advancement of his Kingdom.”

And so the battle rages.

Being a life-giver in today’s society is not easy. The argument for womanhood that we are given is one of life-taking. But it’s not just the society around us that makes life-giving a challenge. Our own hearts are, by their very nature, drawn to life-taking. Which is why we need the Gospel.

Becoming a life-giver begins with the Gospel because our example is Christ, who made himself nothing and gave his life for us (Philippians 2). He is the ultimate life-giver that we look to. It is also must begin with the Gospel because we need renewed minds. Romans 12:1 tells us this, and we know this to be true because of Romans 1 and 2. We are fallen and marred by sin and cannot think in terms of life-giving apart from Christ’s saving work in our lives.

Once we have been redeemed, how do we live? We must go to the source of our living, the Word. Jesus is the Word made flesh, and we know more about him by studying the Bible. If we are not daily fighting our sinful tendency to be a life-taker, we will naturally be inclined towards life-taking. Bible memory and daily Bible reading are very practical, beginning steps towards knowing our Savior. You can memorize Philippians 2, which is a great passage about the incarnation of our Savior. Read through a yearly Bible plan and learn about God’s purposes of redemption and how he redeems people to be life-givers. Listen to good sermons that will spur you on to holiness and challenge you in your walk. Get involved in a local church body where you will have opportunities to serve and give life to the members. All of these things are a start at fighting our own tendency to be selfish, life-takers.

My hope with this series is that we would first love our Christ more, that we would see our desperate need to be daily pleading before the throne of grace from the perfect life giver, Himself. This is not empty moralism. It is a heart issue, really, which is why the Gospel must be central. If we simply do this without trusting Christ, without trusting in his righteousness, we will fail and God will not be pleased. Any amount of life-giving in us is empty without the Savior. It must come be born out of a heart that loves Christ and desires to do his will. In part two, I hope to talk about qualities of a life-giver. May our great God give you grace to give life to others and glory to himself.