Saturday, November 29, 2014

With months of preparation the invitation went out on the internet. 

Antioch Community Church was excited to host their fourth national conference, September 12-14, 2014

"Healthy Church, Healthy Family" 

It was exciting as the registrations came in from across the United States. 
With hope in our hearts visitors we all came to learn and be inspired in our walk with Christ. Antioch families happily opened their homes for traveling pilgrims.

The topics covered were 
Leadership, Fellowship, Discipleship, Preaching, Finances, Missions, Prayer, Conflict Management, Worship, Giving, Hospitality and Marriage. 
We the members of Antioch and our visitors were not disappointed. The teaching was fantastic. 

The particular women's session was given by Cindy Fox and Amy Jo Akin. 
Embracing our Capacity in Christ  
Here are some excerpts from Cindy's notes 

"Embracing our Biblical Role as Women
So, how do we embrace our Biblical role as women? God has put on the hearts of men an inclination to lead, initiate, provide and protect. He is happiest when he is fulfilling this role. God has put on the hearts of women to come alongside such a man and affirm him and receive and support this kind of leadership. He also calls us both to (as Piper says) "advance the kingdom of God with the full range of our gifts in the paths laid out in Scripture.”

Ephesians 5:22-32: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

In this passage, it’s obvious that the husband takes his cues from his head, Christ, and the woman takes her cues from her head, her husband, just as the church would do the will of Christ. "The husband’s leadership is not about power and rights, but about responsibility and sacrifice. There is no abuse or arrogance or authoritarianism here. It says that men are to nourish and cherish their wives, just as Christ does the Church. Submission on the part of the wives is a "divine calling to honor and affirm our husbands’ leadership and help carry it through according to our gifts. We are each “a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18). 

It is important to realize that God has given each of us unique gifts and callings that equip us to come alongside our own husbands, with his own unique set of gifts and callings, and help him succeed. What God calls me to do will not look exactly like what He has called you to do. My husband’s calling is not like your husband’s calling. The opportunities to minister and serve and work alongside your husband in the home and in church and in the world are endless! I firmly believe that if you are serving using the divine gifts that God has given you, you will find great joy in it, because God has made you to delight in what He’s given you! 

 ... different women of the Bible and how they used their gifts, but you know that they were each different, too. We're told that Deborah was a prophet, the Proverbs 31 woman seemed to be a business woman, the women who followed Jesus served Him with practical helps, as well as financially. Our differences should be respected and affirmed and valued between us as women and between women and men. “We are fellow heirs of the grace of life.” 1 Peter 3:7

3. My Unique Role and Capacity
So, how can I know what my unique role and capacity is? I believe that knowing my role takes going before the Lord and asking Him how I can best serve Him. As a wife and mother, God tells me that he wants me to submit to and respect my husband, and to teach and train my children, and to take care of my home. Those are the "big rocks", and if I'm not doing those, then I'm being disobedient. And then I want to go to my husband and ask him to pray with me and share what his thoughts are on how I can serve best with my unique gifts. I think we can be confident that God will give us understanding of who we are in Him, including our own gifts (what we have a passion for, what we derive the most pleasure from as we serve). It's also good to acknowledge where He has placed us. "Where has God put me right now?" What is in front of me to do? Have I said "yes" to something that is keeping me from taking care of these important things?

A reminder: If we are loving God and our families, and doing good works as God brings them to us to do, then we are going to be busy, overwhelmed at times, frazzled at times, exhausted. But that's because we are working hard, we are loving God with our minds and bodies, and we are taking care of people and bearing their burdens. It's not a sin to be busy or tired. What we have to guard against is not listening to the Lord (and our husbands), and therefore doing what we’ve not been called to do, or trying to do it in our own strength. Remind yourself that it's not all up to you. You don't have to feel guilty when you take a step back and leave things with the Lord. "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28

God may have called you to help your husband be hospitable (a requirement for a leader in the church, and a priority in my role to serve Mark), to help him manage your children and your own household well (another requirement from 1 Tim. 3), to homeschool, to farm and help provide nutritious food for your family, to run a business, to be your husband's bookkeeper or administrative assistant, to be a musician and edify the Body with your gifts, to speak, to make your surroundings beautiful...there are unending possibilities! I think in times past, women understood better how important their role was in helping their husbands to succeed in his God-given calling and in being well-respected in the community (church and civic). Now it is more “fashionable” to belittle our husbands in public, but there was a time when that was not so. 

I want to say that I have to revisit this principle of my capacity as a woman several times each year. I’m still learning. My natural tendency is to commit to more than is healthy for my marriage and family, out of feeling obligated and wanting to please people. Honestly, with being a pastor’s wife comes responsibility and stressful situations that are ongoing. Over the past couple of years, I’ve done a lot of praying about this because I see that my children are growing up and leaving home, and I’ve asked the Lord what my role will look like when it’s just Mark and I at home. I wondered if it would be time to pursue my own interests now, or should I look for ways to help Mark more. I’ve been torn at times thinking that maybe now I can use my gifts in different ways than I have before. I don’t have all the answers, but I feel pretty clearly from the Lord that I am still Mark’s helpmeet, and I should look there first to see if there is anything I can do for him. This is a life calling, as long as we both shall live. 
I believe there is a healthy balance for each of us, and I believe that God gives us rest and refreshes us and gives us pleasure as we pursue Him and use the gifts He’s given us to use in our own unique role. I believe that He has equipped us for every good thing, and that I need to rely on Him and His wisdom, instead of my own. Though we will get tired and overwhelmed, it's a good reminder that we cannot serve in our own strength. 

In closing, let’s celebrate our differences as women. They reflect God’s creativity and love for mankind. Let’s embrace our Biblical role as women of God in the home and in the church. And let’s pray that God will reveal to us our unique role in serving our husbands, children, church, and those outside the church, as the Lord wills." 

Sermon audio of their talk

Cindy Fox is one of my favorite ladies; these notes are a sampling of what we are blessed with by her teaching on a regular basis. The knowledge she shares is steeped in prayer and God's Word.  
Thank you, Cindy for sharing with us, we love you! 

Here are a few pictures from our weekend. 

Welcome to the conference.  

Our own Jamie, our resident chef, organized and cooked the delicious food. 

But true to Antioch fasion, she had a lot of help. Thank you, ladies  :) 

Laura made a quiet room for mothers or people in need of prayer time. 

Or maybe just a kiss .. a chocolate kiss  

Thank you Jordan and Sarah for managing the book table. 

Awesome men 

Mark and Hope 

Caleb and Celia 

This is what Jamie calls a simple breakfast. WOW! It was beautiful. 

Chrissy organized games and fellowship for the children. She was able to accomplish her plan because of our sweet teens that jumped right in to help. 

Fall color 

A short clip from the conference of our absolute favorite band. 
To hear more from them click Here

This is a picture of dinner. I did not get to the serving table soon enough. The food was so good the containers were emptying quickly. 

These two ladies, Hannah and Elisa were on the scene to help. 
Hannah Fox, who stepped in since dad was ill, is an accomplished young woman capable and smart, she did a FANTASTIC job keeping an eye on details and delegating as needed. (Thanks for being there Judah)  

Here is the link for the conference if you would like to look up the speakers

Here is the sermon audio link to rehear a selection of speakers.

Finally, sisters 

Ephesians 5:1-22 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.

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