This is Advent. We celebrate a coming. We celebrate an arrival. The arrival of a baby boy born in a stable. A baby, yet a king. The arrival of new life to a young, bewildered couple. The arrival of new life for you and me. The arrival of a new kingdom.
The Arrival of Grace
Grace is here. Grace came down, in the form of a baby, not only to Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, but to you and me. Today.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Luke 2:40 “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”
Read the rest of this Advent devotional here.
Candace Crabtree, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
"As the Father sent me so send I you" (John 20:21).
Sent is a word straight from the lips of Jesus. He was the model of what being "sent" means. He was sent on a particular mission: "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Then He sent His followers. All of His followers. Not just a select few.
Jesus was willing to incur losses to be sent to a lost and dying world. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:9).
He let go of what was His. He gave away comfort, status and prestige—moved toward obscurity, poverty and even humiliation.
Being sent and being willing to sacrifice and endure losses is normative in both experience and example of Jesus and is also consistent with New Testament narrative.
...We use the term “Send Cities” to describe 32 cities which reflect the greatest spiritual need and most potential influence throughout North America. NAMB's strategy is to intentionally send people to these under-served, under-reached cities.
Recently, I was in one of our Send Cities with planter’s wives. We spent one day together in the Word, getting connected and having ministry conversations. There were only two indigenous wives in the room. The remaining dozen or so had been “sent” there. I asked that group of women “What is the greatest personal cost to you and your family in coming to this city to plant a church?” No one said a word. I waited. Still no one spoke...read more
Kathy lives in Mobile, AL with her husband Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church. Both lost former spouses in car accidents, and God uniquely gave them new love and life together in 2009. Kathy enjoyed 26 years of life and ministry alongside Rick Ferguson. She has 3 children and 9 grandchildren. Presently, Kathy serves at NAMB as National Consultant for Ministry to Pastor’s Wives.
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov. 27: 17).
In reflection on our many years in ministry, I am drawn to the truth of this proverb. I have seen it play out in my own life more times than I can remember.
We usually think of ministry as investing our lives through serving others, as we hopefully "sharpen" them through discipleship, worship and community. However, I have recently given some thought as to how often others have sharpened me in the past, when I didn't even realize it.
What does this proverb mean, exactly? Most commentators see it as a statement of how people affect, or influence, one another. The essential picture is this: two things of the same nature fashion each other in a way that benefits them both. The word "sharpen" is used...read more
Susie lives in Dallas, TX with her husband OS Hawkins. She is the author of From One Ministry Wife to Another: Honest Conversations on Connections in Ministry. She has 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren, keeping her life full of craziness and joy.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
For me, being an aunt has been a lovely surprise. Not the actual day it happened - I had nine months to anticipate the event - but the unexpected joy that's followed.
These little creatures kept springing into the world, crawling into my house, then strutting through the kitchen demanding juice boxes. Suddenly there were five of them! Actual humans. All with distinct personalities, cherubic cheeks and germs.
I remember when my youngest niece Holland was born. Her 6-year-old sister's excitement bubbled over. But her 4-year-old big brother Emmett was not nearly as amused. For him meeting Holland was a real yawner.
Emmett's speech was still developing and he routinely switched "she" and "her" for "hers?" As in, "Mom, will you tell hers to stop." So when Emmett learned the family was visiting his newborn sister in the hospital two days in a row, his response was, "We have to go see hers again?"
After my sister left the hospital, the new family headed straight to collect the older siblings from school. They skipped across the schoolyard, and Emmett punched the button that opens the minivan. It slid open like always, only this time newborn Holland was there. Emmett lamented with utter shock, "You mean HERS is still here?"
"Buddy, get in the car," my brother-in-law said, "Hers is going to be here for the rest of your life."...continue reading
Kelly is an author, musician, Bible study creator and teacher passionate to see women impacted by Jesus and His Word…read her bio here
Where do you go to learn about being a minister's wife?
It is our desire here at Refresh to see that each woman has a positive experience in partnership with their husband in ministry.
Bloom wants to provide guidance, support, connection, and encouragement to wives new to ministry through a connection with a seasoned and trained minister's wife using a Connect group created specifically for you. We'll use books to guide us in our conversations about the challenges, issues, benefits, and rewards of being a minister's wife.
We believe when women are strengthen, our families and churches are strengthened, and the ministry of the gospel is strengthened.
Interested in joining a Bloom Group?
Let us hear from you. Next group starting April 2018.