Archive for March, 2013

Living Passion

Post a Comment » Written on March 30th, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Hispanics are known for their passion for life. Being raised in a culture where family, food and friendship runs deep… it is passion that led me to reconsider more than just a superficial relationship with Jesus Christ. It was a desire for more than mediocrity that caused me to seek a passionate encounter. It was also pain and the need for inner healing that tipped the scale in my life.

I knew about Him through religion but not through the eyes of relationship. Raised in a very patriarchal household…God was more of a taskmaster than a friend. Women were inferior. It was passionate grace that led me to Christ and passionate grace that led me to become the first woman pastor in my family, even though women were non-existent in positions of leadership in my circle of influence. Continue Reading »

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Vantage Point

2 comments Written on March 23rd, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Recently, on a road trip, I observed the road rage of two drivers. One had jumped out in front of another car, while oblivious on the phone. The other one almost hit him. The fight was on. The chase was brief with a few very choice words and crude gestures. (No, I did not hear the whole conversation, but the gestures gave me a vivid picture). Everyone was aware of the ludicrous sideshow except for the two vehicles giving the show and putting the rest of us in harm’s way.

As I reflected on what had just transpired, I thought about how each of those individuals would justify their very dangerous behavior. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Christian symbols on cars that appear to be driven by the insane. It also made me reflect on my own driving skills. Ouch!

We are living in very stressful times. We are all vulnerable to denial and how it affects us and those around us. To add insult to injury we deflect and blame others for our bad or indifferent behavior. Why so much anger? We are living with constant, unrelenting and often unbearable pain. We feel misunderstood. No one seems to want to listen. We are addicted to the feel good, candy-coated experiences. We say yes when we should say…No way! Some of us have created such a thick fortress around us that no one dares tell us the truth. We make decisions without prayer and often without wise counsel. Denial also enables us to be unaccountable. We can create an illusionary world that includes only the things we want to believe. Denial allows us to see what we want to see. We are the heroes in this make-believe universe all our own. We believe our own press that we are always right. There is no room for error. Our way is the only way. We become intolerable, dogmatic, and legalistic. Creativity is crushed under these conditions. Continue Reading »

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The Call – What Have We Learned?

Post a Comment » Written on March 20th, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
This post submitted by Pastor Catherine Gilliard, president of ACCW

I recently read an online article that posted a running list. It got me to thinking about an ongoing conversation I have been having with women clergy about their call. I have spent a great deal of time praying for and with women clergy who are in-between calls, without a call, or in transition, wondering whether they were ever really called. So I thought it would be helpful to start a running list of what it means to be called by God to encourage us to think more clearly about the call.

1) Discernment – With any call from God, there is a period of trying to understand just what the Lord is requiring of you. This is not a one time conversation, but a moment-by-moment unfolding of God’s plan for your life. You should expect resistance, distractions and unsolicited opinions about what God is asking of you. Use the Bible, prayer and trusted companions who demonstrate a committed walk in the Lord to help you discern your call. Listening is difficult during times of discernment, but clarity usually comes as we submit time to having conversations with God and people who model a long, committed walk in Christ. Continue Reading »

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Book review: More Than Enchanting

Post a Comment » Written on March 20th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary

“More than Enchanting” by the British author Jo Saxton celebrates the roles that women have played in leadership since the very beginning – and calls on women to discover (or re-discover) their gifts for leadership and put them into action for God’s kingdom here on earth.

Aimed particularly at women, this book offers a great deal of wisdom and thought about the expectations and challenges of leadership – particularly within the church –  from a woman’s perspective. It manages to present a good mixture of both biblical and contemporary examples of women’s leadership, and includes contributions and reflections from a wide range of women. Challenging the reader to engage with the material, each chapter ends with some questions for reflection – as a group or individually – which invite the reader to consider their situation and the opportunities and questions they might have, as they seek to step out further in leadership in the church.

This is an encouraging and enjoyable book, which would particularly make a great gift for young women and students stepping out in leadership in the church.

Book review by Alice Hague.

More than Enchanting is available from bookstores such as Powell’s Books and Amazon.

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Are Women Leaving Your Church?

1 Comment » Written on March 17th, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
A recent article featured in Relevant Magazine reflects on a 2011 Barna study revealing that women are leaving the church today in greater numbers than men. This article has already generated a number of comments, many endeavoring to get into issues pertaining to Complementarian vs Egalitarian viewpoints, or even some criticizing that no one should ever leave the church due to feeling “under valued” or “under appreciated.” While there could be many reasons why more women than men are leaving the church these days I found the article particularly relevant in speaking to the expressed feelings of one’s giftedness not being valued as compared to a lack of personal appreciation. I found a paragraph near the end of the article particularly compelling in suggesting that church leaders and male pastors would do well to seek out some of the gifts and expertise from those women in their church that could be offering much to the church on this issue in particular.  After all, who better to ask about why women are leaving the church than women?

To read the article, click here.

Are women leaving your church?  Are you a woman contemplating leaving because your giftedness is poorly received or not accepted?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in our comment section below.

Submitted by Jeff Ondrey
Commission Member

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Being Fruitful

1 Comment » Written on March 16th, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
I must admit that the term “green thumb” does not apply to me. It has gotten so bad that I literally tell people not to give me plants of any kind. However, I deeply love and admire gardens. Flowers are my favorite and those I willingly accept. The growing of nature’s beauty is truly an art. My grandmother was an artist when it came to herbs and flowers. My mother could grow things in a jar and then re-pot them only to grow furiously. I also have one of my uncles who even creates different species of plants, vegetables and fruits. Don’t ask me how? I love the time of harvest at the markets. Fruits when in season are delectable to eat. It is the same with our lives. Planting is hard work. Plowing the soil and getting it ready is tedious. Seeds are not all the same. There are good seeds and mediocre ones.

Soil can also be good, rocky, or unhealthy. However, when you get the right seed, at the right season, in the right soil and work it as a good farmer, the results are amazing.

Today we are faced with many challenges in life. We are living in stressful times. Times filled with drastic changes and uncertainty. We need to take the examples of a good farmer. Work hard and keep planting good seeds in the lives of others. Be patient and harvest will come. When your harvest comes you will be able to enjoy the fruit of your labors. What fruits will you enjoy? What seeds will you have sown? Our attitudes are like seeds and the soil are the people who surround us. My desire is to be fruitful in everything I do. The reality is that some seasons are better than others.

However, my work ethics are the same and I try to maintain an attitude of peace, joy, love, patience and kindness. Those are the keys to being fruitful. Now about the weather…that is another story. I cannot control it and neither can you. What am I saying? There are things in life that you and I cannot predict or change or control. We need to accept and move on. The most gifted farmer or gardener can tell you about losses. So where are you today? Don’t let the circumstances of life get the best of you. Harvest will come. Do everything with a spirit of excellence because that in itself will reveal fruit that is truly good to eat.

Blessings always,
Rev. Gricel Medina
Commission Chair 

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