To the moms whose kids are grown…

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“Older women … are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:3-5, NIV)

I feel it acutely. There’s my mom, of course. She is an amazing, godly woman who is filled with the kind of wisdom that can only come from the years behind her. I’m lucky to have her. But other than that? There isn’t too much interaction between generations, much of the time.

Sometimes, I wonder if the lack of older mentors is the reason my generation—the generation of young parents—seems so lost. There are parenting books, of course. Online home management courses. Sermons and podcasts.

But few pour into us on a personal level.

We discuss it amongst each other—how to love our husbands, raise our children and manage our homes.

How to be self-controlled.

Pure.

Kind.

But there is something to be said for the wisdom that comes from long-life experience. Yes, we glean from those alongside us in the trenches, but we also desperately need those who have already fought our same battles and won.

(Or even lost. Because every scar tells a story.)

Last night, I drove 30 minutes down dark country roads to a complete stranger’s house. A friend had invited me. I parked on the street and stumbled up the driveway in the inky blackness, towards windows spilling warm light.

The woman who owned the house welcomed me graciously. Although her children are grown, she opens her home on a regular basis to younger homeschooling moms. Her heart—her beautiful heart—is to pour into the next generation.

Women from all over came—some drove longer distances than I did. She put out carafes of coffee, tea and dainty, floral cups. We packed into her living room to pray and learn together.

And she explained to each new, shy face how the Lord has called her to provide support, encouragement, and to live out Titus 2:3-5.

The Church needs people like this.

Older women, we need you.

We don’t always know how to say it, but we need you to open your lives to us. To open your homes to us. To offer advice. To come alongside us and tell us that we’ll make it through the hard days. To smile with us on the joy-filled days. To teach us what it means to be good wives and mothers.

You see, there’s a lot at stake.

Our families, yes. But according to Titus 2:5, how we manage our families and homes also affects people’s perception of the Word of God.

According to Titus 2:5, the gospel is at stake.

You, who are on the other side, have so much to offer.

And we, who are in the trenches, want to learn.

 

I’ve Failed!

I’ve mentioned before that my small group handed out Bibles at an event downtown. Many of the people who were there are from different religious backgrounds. Some have never opened a Bible before, let alone heard about Jesus. Well, we are going to be meeting on Sunday with those that requested follow-up. We’ll be dividing into small groups to talk about Jesus.

The truth is, last time I was involved with leading a small group, it sank faster than the Titanic. And I know better than anyone all of the ways that I mess up every single day. I keep asking myself, Am I good enough to be a part of this? Then I have to remind myself that no one is good enough. We’re all just a bunch of sinners saved by grace.

That’s the beauty of the gospel.

I’m not saying that as a way of excusing the sin in my life. No way! As Paul said, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2).

Grace is not an excuse to sin! But the fact of the matter is, we are going to mess up. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). All means all. We all sin. We all fall short. We all fail.

I am a failure. A big, huge failure. Hear me out. When I say that, I’m not feeling sorry for myself or speaking negative things over my life. It says right in the Bible that I’ve failed.

And, well, so have you.

But it doesn’t end there! The apostle Paul failed too. He says, “What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? I give thanks to God. He will do it through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).

You see, when it comes to failure, there are two aspects to God’s grace: Grace is there to cover our failures and grace is there to help us overcome our failures. We don’t need to continue to walk in failure because Jesus provided everything we need to live a life of success!

I wasn’t leaning on grace when I did this the last time. I was puffed up, full of my own importance. When my small group closed down, I blamed it on everybody else and swore up and down that I would never be involved in discipling people again. I didn’t think that I had what it takes.

I was right. I don’t have what it takes. But that’s why, as Sunday approaches, I find myself leaning heavily on God’s grace. That grace is the only thing I have to offer to others.

Do you see the difference? Before, I was trying to do things in my own strength. In other words, I was trying offer myself. This time, I realize that all I have to give to anyone is Jesus.

One last verse. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

That, right there, is the key.

We can move forward confidently, the past behind us, armed with the knowledge that His grace is all we need. It’s all that the people around us need too.

God does not Call the Qualified…

Matthew 28:16-20 (MSG):

16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

Today, I’ll be brief. I just want to share something in Matthew 11:16-20 that jumped out at me the other night. It’s this: Some of the disciples held back from Jesus because they weren’t sure about risking themselves completely, but the Bible says that Jesus was undeterred.

He called those who were willing …

… and those who were not.

Jesus did not say, “John, James, and Peter – You three can go and make disciples because you seem to have it together. The rest of you – forget it. Your lives are write-offs.”

The call was the same for each one of the disciples. Despite the fact that some of them held back. Despite the fact that some of them didn’t want to risk themselves. Despite the fact that some of them weren’t completely sure about Him.

Have you ever heard the saying, “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called”? God calls us despite our flaws. Our issues and sin will definitely hinder us from fulfilling the call of God on our lives, but they do not determine whether or not we are called in the first place.

I used to question whether God wanted to use me. I don’t question this anymore. I am called to share Jesus; to train people; to baptize them; and to see them, in turn, disciple others. It says so in the Bible. The call is there without question.

On me. On you. On everyone.

The question is not whether we are called; the question is: Am I willing to “risk myself totally”? Only those who pick up their cross and follow will ever walk in the fullness of the call of God on their lives.

Obedience equals destiny.