Posts Tagged ‘church’

All the time I challenge people—and especially God’s daughters—to discover who God made them to be and to live out what He created them to do.

All of us—occasionally or as a way of life–settle for less than God’s best for us.  Sadly, we women are often encouraged to settle for less, or readily choose to, robbing ourselves and the Body of Christ of the best contribution we have to make.

The mission Christ gave us requires what we have to offer.


So click on over to Jenny Rae Armstrong’s blog to read Limping Along: Why We Can’t Let Half Christ’s Body Atrophy.  I’m so grateful to be guesting with Jenny.

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Carolyn Custis James

I have had the great privilege of knowing and working with Carolyn Custis James for more

Chai Ling

than eight years.  We share a passion for seeing women become all God created them to be.  We founded Synergy Women’s Network together (though the vision is hers from God).  And we are close friends.

When I first read Carolyn’s book When Life and Beliefs Collide, I rejoiced.  Someone was saying, articulately and theologically, what I knew was true.  I resonated even more when Lost Women of the Bible came out, followed by The Gospel of Ruth.

Then she wrote what I consider a masterful response to Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn and Nick Kristoff.  Half the Church summarizes much of the message of Carolyn’s earlier books and sounds a call to the church to step up and enter the fray on behalf of the women of the world.  She urges the daughter’s of God to not turn a blind eye to the needs, but to engage on behalf their global sisters.

Not long ago, Synergy sponsored an interview with Carolyn and Chai Ling, Chinese activist, author of A Heart for Freedom and founder of All Girls Allowed.  Chai Ling tells of her work as commander-in-chief of student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989, of being on the Most Wanted list, of her harrowing escape and eventual trek to the U.S.

In recent years she has founded an organization to fight the Chinese one-child policy.  All Girls Allowed has actually seen some recent changes softening the policy.  (News from China)

You can watch this conversation here: http://www.synergytoday.org/ezerwatch_2011_vimeo_chailing.html

What about you?  Where can you make a difference?

c2012 Judy Douglass

Related posts:

Sheryl Wudunn: Our Century’s Greatest Injustice

At Risk:  Girls and Women

Is the Door Locked?

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I’m on the road again, and once again a Redbud Writer has provided a guest post for me.  Margaret Philbrick shares from her journey.

“Can God set a table in the wilderness?”  Psalm 78:19

10 years.  Not really that long when compared to 40 years of Israelites wandering in the wilderness.  But when you’re in your 40’s and 10 years is one quarter of your lifetime, it seems like a long time to be wandering in the wilderness, looking for a home.

Our church, Church of the Resurrection, www.churchrez.org, lost our building when we left the Episcopal Church in 1993.  We met in schools, gyms, even tents.  We became fluid, agile, adaptable to a freedom in the Holy Spirit which can come when we release ourselves from the tangible things of the earth.  Our fellowship grew.  People liked meeting in a school with our money going to ministry and not into a building.

But a few of us longed for a home… so we started driving the suburbs, scouring for empty warehouses or affordable vacant land.  After years of looking, we found the perfect spot, a 22-acre parcel in the midst of a picturesque neighborhood with a large pond, giant trees and an open, flat area to build our church upon.

It seemed like a no-brainer

I was given the task of leading this effort which in the beginning seemed like a “no-brainer.”  Who would not want a beautiful new church in the middle of their well-thought- out cul-de-sacs and country roads?

After 18 months of planning, thousands of dollars of exploration and endless hours of prayer, the County Board voted against our project.  The neighbors didn’t want it and they fought us with a vehemence befitting a mother Saber Tooth Tiger protecting her cubs, even to the point of spitting upon and swearing at members of our church in public hearings.

The end result of our hopeful journey was one of disappointment and pain.  Something I believed in as God’s will for our faithful, loving community vanished in a 30-second vote.  I will never forget how, moments before the vote, as we all sat there holding our breath, one of our pastors turned to me and said, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

“She’s not dead, only sleeping.”

We thought about suing the County and held a tearful meeting in our home, calling upon many church leaders to share what we should do next.  A wise woman shared Luke 8:52 in which Jesus responds to the death of Jairus’ daughter, “She’s not dead, only sleeping.”  We didn’t file a lawsuit and I clung to this verse in the coming years of waiting on God for the next step.

God sets a table in the wilderness by the giving of his word through his faithful people.  As we seek him for His way with our lives, we pray and wait.  In the waiting he comes.  Sometimes in dreams and visions, but so often he comes with the still, small voice of his word.  How many times have you heard just the right verse given to you for a particular challenge you are facing and you say to yourself, “That just can’t be a coincidence?”  It isn’t.  The important step of obedience is our listening and looking for it.

The wise woman was right.  Our church building project was asleep for a time, but the Lord, as only he can do, awakened us to a building that is so much better than the piece of land we thought was “perfect.”  Last night we rode our bikes over to look at it under construction.  Pressing our sweaty faces against the glass we saw steel beams being put in place and staircases ascending.  We hope to move in by the end of this year and we will be inviting people from the neighborhood, who cast us out.

Psalm 23:5  “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.”


Margaret Philpbrick identifies herself as “author, gardener, teacher.”  You can read more about her and from her at www.margaretphilbrick.com and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margaret.philbrick.9.

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Christianity Today magazine is hosting a campaign called “What is your hope for the church?”  I have responded with the following piece about my church, Antioch21 in Orlando.  It is posted on the CTI site, where you can read other contributions, or share your own.

I love my church!

It is different from any church I have been a part of before—though I have been a part of some good churches.

It is those differences that make me love it—I think they reflect what Jesus really wants His body to look and act like.

And because I see many other churches beginning to embrace such living like Jesus, I have hope for the Church.

Let me just list a few of the ways my church lives out Jesus’ call to His bride:

  • The main stuff happens in gospel communities.  These either gather by neighborhood or by affinity.  Believers and nonbelievers.  They eat together, study together, pray together, serve each other and serve the broader community together.  People meet Jesus in these communities.
  • We eat together as a larger church.  We come together on Sunday evenings (as guests of a long-time church) and share a meal together.
  • We started as a student church, but neighbors and friends came to the gospel communities, and then to our larger gathering.  We didn’t know we would have lots of children, but we do, and the college students are helping to teach and mentor.
  • We study the Word together.  Our pastor introduces our topic and passage, we sit around tables and discuss, he preaches, we talk together again, he wraps it up.  We apply in our lives.
  • We worship with giving and serving and music.  One young woman is the worship leader, but different members lead our worship time each week.
  • We have communion each Sunday, served by different members, young and old, men and women.
  • We are multi-ethnic.
  • We serve the broader community, led by our pastor and his wife, who live out the Jesus life of serving as well as anyone I have ever seen.
  • At the same time, we share the love of Christ boldly and clearly.
  • We love each other—most of the time.

This isn’t all.  And many churches do at least some of these things.   We are not perfect, of course.  And our fallen world keeps inserting itself.  But we are seeking to truly follow Jesus—and that gives me hope.

What about you?  What is your hope for the church?

C2012 Judy Douglas

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Dr. Henrietta Mears

I had the great privilege of writing and editing with Bill Bright for 14 years.  One my favorite articles of his was one about the three people who had influenced him the most in life:  his mother, a single church leader/educator and his wife, Vonette.  I am going to let him tell you about each one over the next few weeks.

The first week I posted some of his perspective on Jesus’ view of women.  Last week we discovered how his mother, Mary Lee Bright, had great impact on him.  This week we meet the remarkable Henrietta Mears.

The second woman to greatly influence my life was Dr. Henrietta Mears, who was director of Christian education and in charge of the college and young adult people at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.

Miss Mears built the largest Sunday school in America at that time.  Some 6,500 were involved in an efficiently run program with highly trained teachers.  Dr. Mears had written most of the curriculum for the Sunday school herself—materials that have since been used by thousands of other churches.  [She also founded Gospel Light, Regal Books and Forest Home Christian Conference Center.]

I have had the privilege of knowing many godly pastors and great Christian leaders, but no one has influenced my life more than Dr. Mears.  Many of the things that I believe and teach today were inculcated into me by watching her life and listening to her teaching.

Bill Bright as young businessman

I had come to Southern California in 1944, where I began my own business.  At First Presbyterian Church, I met several dynamic Christians after attending a number of meetings.  I began to study the Bible for myself.  I was at that time an agnostic, but very open to truth.  Though I was a seeker after truth, I pursued my quest privately for the most part.  When I did go to church, I would usually sit in the back row so I could slip out before anybody had a chance to talk to me.

One evening Dr. Mears was speaking to the college group about Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.  By this time I had become convinced that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and Savior of men.  Dr. Mears quoted Paul’s words::  “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

She challenged us to go home, get on our knees and say, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”  I did exactly that, and I trace my conversion experience to that evening.  Alone on my knees in my home, I prayed a prayer similar to the apostle Paul’s and I chose to dedicate the rest of my life to serving God.

For whatever reason, Dr. Mears felt that I had some potential for the Lord, so she encouraged me to become one of a handful who met with her regularly for prayer and study of the Scripture.  Every Saturday we met at 6 a.m. for most of the morning to read the Bible and pray.  Without my realizing it, I was being introduced to a kind of Christianity that was rare.  I discovered a vital, dynamic, personal walk with the Lord.

Though I can never remember her teaching a class in soul winning, Dr. Mears led many people to Christ in my presence.  When witnessing opportunities did come for me, it was only natural to do it the way I had observed her do it.

Dr. Mears also introduced Vonette to Christ and played an important part in discipling her.  Dr. Mears had a phenomenal impact on Vonette’s and my spiritual growth.

Billy Graham and Bill Bright at Forest Home

During the early years of the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry, Vonette and I had the privilege of sharing her home for 10 years.  Located near the UCLA campus, it was a perfect place for student meetings and all types of Christian gatherings.  The home was so designed that Vonette and I lived in one part of the home, and Dr. Mears in another.  We shared our meals together.  We also shared the costs for operating the home, where many hundreds of students met Christ and were discipled.

Dr. Mears was always attractively attired, and her humor and outgoing personality made her shine.  Many were attracted to her as she challenged them to big things.  She was a master at motivating and inspiring people to do great things for God.

At the time of her death, more than 400 people had gone into Christian service as a result of her influence.  The lives she touched included Billy Graham, Young Life founder Jim Rayburn, Navigators founder Dawson Trotman, U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson and many, many others.

Next week I will post the final article about the third woman who has influenced Bill Bright, his wife, Vonette.

c1987 CCCI

What about you?  Who has influenced you?  Whom have you influenced?

<<  Jesus’ View of Women   <  Bill’s Mother   Vonette Bright  >

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