Been Writing

In the past month you may wonder where I have been. In addition to an amazing week in Colorado with my family, I've been writing. Just not here. Not here yet anyhow.

I started my Doctor of Ministry degree and the second class, Integrating Christian Faith & Practice, assigned me the task of writing about the role of women in ministry. Not an easy issue.

So began three months of reading, thinking, and writing in the evenings and weekends and freetime. Four complete books on the issue. Dozens of Bible commentaries. Countless websites and blogs. The volume of information and opinion on the issue is astounding. 

Emailed it in today. 72 pages, 56 sources, 214 footnotes. Not that anyone is counting. Not Herculean. Not anything anyone else hasn't done much more for much longer. A worthy, lengthy pursuit none-the-less.

Let me know if you'd like a copy. I'd be interested in your feedback.

Oh, and it's not over. I'll go to class in a week. Learn some more. Come back to edit part one. Then add 20+ more pages for a few more chapters in part two. It'll be a mini-dissertation. 

Thank God for His Word to guide and a great family to support me along the way.

Sisterhood of the Great Commandment

I am who I am as a Christ-follower and pastor due to the Sisterhood of the Great Commandment. This Great Commandment love humbles and honors all who consider how much they have received. Meet a few Sisters whose love has influenced this pastor.

As a scrawny seven-year-old, I remember sitting on the white bench in our narrow Sunday School room, listening to Miss Nita explain the “gos-pill.” If only I could take the gos-pill, then I would go to Heaven when I died. Church seemed longer that Sunday waiting to talk to my parents. After worship, I raced to the car rather than racing around the church.  When my parents asked the standard Sunday question, “What did you learn in Sunday School today?” I had a burning question for them: “Do you have a gos-pill so I can take it and go to Heaven when I die?”

Soon my parents discerned what we know as adults: The Gospel can be accepted as simply as a pill can be taken. Miss Nita’s gos-pill opened my heart. My parents explained the Gospel that day and I trusted Christ.  

I wonder how many of you teach antsy-pants little boys? Do you wonder if you are making a difference? Do you picture their future with Christ?

Thank you, Miss Nita, and each Sister of the Great Commandment serving in Sunday School and nursery.

As a bed-headed, grumbly-tummy teenager I would often make my way to the kitchen to break the fast well before the breakfast hour. Each of these mornings, there in the living room, quiet hearted, Bible opened, and head bowed in prayer or study was my Momma. Morning after morning. Year after year. 

I heard about a “quiet time” at my first youth camp, but had already seen it in action for years through my Momma’s example. I knew its effect too as my Momma stood by me through the sometimes stormy teenage years. Always patient. Always willing to listen.  A disciple of Jesus, not only in her disciplined study, but more so in her loving application.

Sisters, I know you may be tired. Being a mother is tough. Single moms have the toughest job on earth. Yet, if it were not for you Moms, the world would stop spinning.  We can not make it without your loving sacrifice. Can you make it without daily recounting the sacrificial the love of Christ?

Thank you, Momma, and every Sister following Jesus as examples to others within the Great Commandment.

Crusty was Howard. Elegant was Maxie. He was a hard-working, thick-handed farmer with a dirty pick-up. She was a classy, artist who drove a spotless luxury car whose home was straight out of a decorator’s magazine. More than aesthetic beauty, however, was the welcoming hospitality within. 

They took in this collegiate preacher boy as needed. Their hospitality included a room so fancy I was near afraid to sleep, and a breakfast so big I’d need to put in a hard day’s work. 

One day I noticed a package slip as I peeked into my PO box. Cookies from home?  No, a mail order package. Nice pants and a handsome shirt. And a simple note, “Just because. Maxie.”

Don’t you just love to give the perfect gift? The unexpected? Does your giving mirror that of the Heavenly Father?

Thank you, Maxie, and each Sister who gives from a Great Commandment heart. 

A busy missions fair. A busy missionary nurse. Busy because she was taking blood pressures or because she was so charming? I said to my buddy, “I am going to get my blood pressure checked too.” Moments later her hands were on arm and my heart was aflutter. Months later she was my wife. 

Nearly fourteen years, three churches and three children later I can tell you story after story of the amazing, sacrificial love of my bride, Melanie. Tears welling now as some memories are too precious to share. Influenced by godly women herself, she has poured out her life for our family, our church family and friends. I am amazed by her.

Do you know that kind of motherly love? I pray you do. Have you experienced that kind of sacrifice? Maybe you have lived that love?

Thank you, Melanie, and every Sister who is a sacrificially loving Great Commandment wife. 

Further members of the Sisterhood who have served God by loving me as family, friends or within our church are Gran, Vicki, Cheryl, Dorothy, Karen, Barbara, Modena, Kay, Vi, Bea, Sarah, Kimberly, Sylvana, Cammy, Avis, Anita, Nancy, and Mary. God has used these dear Sisters have shaped the pastor’s heart within me.

Matthew 22:37-39 holds the motto of the Sisterhood of the Great Commandment. Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

It means love God and others with all you’ve got. You Sisters do this so well. Agape love is self-sacrificing love that puts others first. It is the amazing love God has uses to woo us and shape us.

And, Sisters, we would not be who we are without you. Your influence is immeasurable. Thank you for your loving service 

Long live the Sisterhood of the Great Commandment!

Note: Sisterhood of the Great Commandment was written on contract for the May 2011 HomeLife Magazine. Unfortuantely, it was never published there returning rights to me 90 days later. This is its first publication. I share it on Mother's Day 2013 as a thank you to those mentioned and all our dear sisters in Christ. Photo: Love this one of M, JM & me; October 2012; by the talented Myra McCracken.

If you'd like to share a word of praise of thanks for a member of the Sisterhood who influenceed you, then please leave a comment and share this post too.