Women Who Minister

Yesterday I attended the #SheLeads Conference held at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena (or PazNaz). Two of my Theology teachers were attending who have had a tremendous influence on me so I decided to go.

One professor is Dr. Kara Lyons-Pardue. She is in her mid-30s and reads Greek as a first language. She received her PhD from Princeton and I have to say she is nothing short of kind, welcoming and the most non-judgmental person I have ever met. I remember my first day of class as a Master of Ministry student scared to death to be a woman learning with men (some of them pastors). My fundamental church background taught me well about a woman’s place and this step of attending school challenged me greatly. On the first day of class, I was shocked when female Professor Lyons-Pardue walks into the classroom with her belly beautifully 8 months pregnant. Not only was her belly adorable but her confidence and intelligence seemed to lift me right above my fears of advanced learning with religious men. I still remember many of her sentences and she still remembers me crying in class as I described a horrific, painful experience from a pastor in North San Diego County.

In time, I then met Dr. Rebecca Laird. She was the first woman I had met who was an ordained minister in addition to a Theology Professor. Rebecca changed my life by her counsel, her confidence and her experience. She looked at me and said something to the effect of, “The church world is like a big ocean. You need to learn where you fit in the ocean. You are a woman evangelist and you’re presently trying to swim in cement.”

Through the years of learning at Point Loma Nazarene University and now at Nazarene Theological Seminary, I have lost the chip on my shoulder. I don’t need to defend the gifts and callings God has given me. The education has allowed me and my female peers to grow and thrive without apologizing.

Well, I say all that to talk about yesterday’s #SheLeads Conference. It was the first time I sat in a room with female senior pastors, a female president of a Theology School and so many young female college students pursuing a career in ministry. Amazing! Could it be that we are entering a time of androgyny—a world without gender limits? Could it be that the Pentecost Anointing to both men and women is now being released? Could it be that God who pours out His Spirit on both young men and women is now opening up the flood gates to bring women into true leadership and ministerial roles? I kept thinking of Acts 10 with Cornelius’ family being anointed in the Holy Spirit by Peter. It took time for the Jewish-Christians to accept Gentiles becoming Christians but in God’s timing and in His way, the Church embraced the goodness of God to extend salvation to all.

As a woman who ministers  (Daily Disciples) and as a woman chaplain ministering, I can say there are a few things about women ministers that we all have in common:

  1. We have no doubt that we are called by God and we have a firm conviction to be faithful to Him.
  2. Our first desire is to please God, despite the words and opinions of others.
  3. We do not want to be men. God made us as women and we are happily female.
  4. We are being obedient to God, not rebellious to the church culture.
  5. If we have children, we love and care deeply for them. God did not have us choose between our children and His will. It was His will for us to have children within His calling. As a result, God works with us and through us to mother our children.
  6. Pastors are shepherds. There are both male and female shepherds in the Bible. The body of Christ is not complete without having both male and female pastors.
  7. We needed to learn how to wrestle the demons back to hell while living in the wilderness to fulfill our calling with grace and peace. We know that Christianity is the only religion that places women upon an equal platform with men, as initiated by Jesus Christ.

Yesterday’s #SheLeads Conference is summed up best by a testimony I read in Phoebe Palmer’s book, “Promise of the Father” written in 1859:

“Soon after this another preacher came to…desire I would give over speaking and praying in public, to which I replied, ‘I will, if you will answer for me at the day of judgment for the one talent God hath given me;’ but he went away saying, ‘That I cannot do.” And she responded, “I counted the cost, but concluded to obey God rather than man. I valued the having my name among God’s people, but I thought more highly of its being enrolled in the book of life.”

For women who minister and women ministers, we stand before God alone someday and we will give an account for the gifts and calling He placed upon us on this earth. Isn’t it time to stop asking God why He called you and to start asking God how to fulfill His call for you? Let’s step out together and turn the world upside down for Jesus Christ. Let’s continue to bear fruit for His glory. Let’s continue to pray that someday we may hear from Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

And pray for me…Bobbye has asked me frequently to teach women how to teach the Bible and how to be leaders and speakers. I believe it’s time to start organizing a conference to embolden and encourage my sisters to be about our Father’s business! If interested, let me know.img_0958

–TL Adamson

 

 

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An email from a fellow believer….

We recently received an email from one of our devotional readers and wanted to post a conversation he had with his friend who had a question about the phrase “The Lord took a person home” that we talked about in the  devotional of 12/3/2010, “Our Perspective Matters”…..

….A friend of mine, who’s name is Ray, inquired about the meaning of the phrase “The Lord took a person home.” The following email conversation ensued:

Ray – “I have often wondered where the saying, “The Lord took a person home” came from. God wanted life for Adam the first man before he made his decision, and us the receivers of God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. The saying does NOT stand true to what the Word says about God and his desires for us.”

Me- “God’s throne is in His Home, heaven and our Lord Jesus is there at His right hand. God first intended for man, Adam, to live life everlasting here on earth. Until Adam sinned, death did not exist. Death came to be as the punishment for sin. While we walk in darkness in this world, we walk in the flesh and we are of this world. However, when we accept Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior and are baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we become new creatures in Him and are no longer of this world. The old saying: “home is where the heart is” comes to mind. When we earnestly begin to live in loving obedience to God, our hearts are with and centered on Him. Therefore, our home is with God, the Father. As we are no longer of this world, but of God’s Family, we naturally then, refer to heaven as our “home”.

Ray – “Your second/third/fourth sentences confirm what I said. We are to be “the salt of the earth.” That is why I don’t understand the earlier statement.”

Me – “Ray, my brother in Christ Jesus, your questions is very valid. However, I now see what you may be missing.

What most people fail to understand is that when we are born into this world, we experience a physical birth into our earthly family, but our spirit remains dead. Our physical body is of this world and will always remain to be of this world. However, when we become Christians through our acceptance of our Lord, Jesus, and are baptized, our spirit begins to live and is born into God’s family. This is the “new creature” in Christ Jesus that we speak of and this is what it means to be “born again”. Therefore, because our spiritual being is a part of God’s family it is not of this world. As our spiritual being grows and matures through the reading, understanding and application of God’s Word, His Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside out and we take on the personality and outward actions like that of Jesus. The phrase “salt of the earth” was simply an analogy used to describe the Christian’s purpose while our physical body walks on earth. Just as salt is used as a seasoning to remove the bitterness of food, Christians are called to be the “salt and light” of the earth to remove the bitterness of the world through the spreading of the good news of God’s Word and to serve as a light for those yet lost, guiding others to Christ and helping them to grow spiritually. Our physical existence here on earth, in this world, is only temporary, but our spiritual existence is eternal.

Because of Adam’s decision which brought death and worldly bitterness into existence, the design of our physical being changed to that of a temporary creature. But the design of our spiritual being remains to be an eternal creature. Once we become spiritually alive through Christ Jesus, we will receive eternal life in heaven, our spiritual home with God the Father. Whe a person dies a physical death, their spirt returns home to heaven to be with God the Father.

Does this help your understanding?

Ray – “This is a bit different from what I learned. I will give it some serious prayer and thought.”

The dichotomy of life and death is a continual reminder that earth is not our home. We are just passing through. The goal of each Christian should be that our walk with Him doesn’t change from here to there. The place changes but not the relationship.

Thanks Chuck…..for sharing and being prepared to help another. We appreciate all the “Chuck’s” out there who continue to share our vision at Daily Disciples….to reach the world for Christ by teaching others how to be daily disciples for Christ!