This is the link to listen to “Pruned so we can Bloom” lesson online: http://www.bostonicc.org/sermons/womens-ministry/
Tomorrow’s Midweek Service will be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge at 7:30pm!! I look forward to seeing everyone there tomorrow as we continue our “Secure in Heart” series. If you missed the last Women’s Midweek Service or would like to listen to the lesson please check out our youtube channel at “Boston disciples” The to listen to the last Women’s Service is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDYLivxFBoQ (for part 1 of the lesson)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ESBaRyH5Ac (for part 2 of the lesson)
Notes from the lesson:
Knowing God: The key to a secure heart
Point #1 Deepening relationships
23 This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
Is your relationship with God deep enough for you to be able to say, “I know God?” Are you familiar with Gods kindness, justice, and his righteousness?
Are your relationships with one another deep enough to be able to say I know this sister?
Question: Whom here do you know?
In the bible marriage is an analogy that God uses often to describe his desire to know us.
· In Hosea 2:16 God says, “you will call me ‘my husband’
· Jesus tells multiple parables in which he is the bridegroom waiting for his bride. Matthew 9 & 25
· In Ephesians 5, Paul explains that marriage is parallel to the relationship Christ has with the church.
For those of us who are married or hope to one day marry we know that we want to know our husbands. EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM!!
AM I right Janah? Chelsea?
Not just some information we gather by checking in for 5 minutes in the morning. (Hopefully that’s not what any of our QT’s look like)
There is a beautiful security evident in married couples knowledge of each other.
We can often see this dynamic between more mature married couples. (Karonis, Parlours)
**Perhaps we can use some cues from the marriage relationship to help us better understand knowing God and knowing one another.**
Marriage expert, Gary Smalley, has written many books about how to achieve intimacy in their relationship. In secrets to long-lasting intimacy, Smalley shares the 5 levels of intimacy that couples go through:
1. Speaking in clichés
2. Sharing facts
3. Sharing opinions
4. Sharing feelings
5. Sharing needs
If a couple does not transition into levels 4 and 5 (sharing feelings & needs) by the 5th year of marriage, they will most likely separate.
In our relationships with God and with one another we can limit the depth of our relationship (This includes our friendships and our discipling relationships) by only sharing clichés, or facts with one another.
This is concerning because if our relationship with God and other disciples is surfacy or superficial.. We are in danger of falling away.
Cliché defined: a stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse.
For instance: Your relationship with God may be on the cliché level if your prayers sound like this “Good morning God thank you for the weather, Please be with me and everyone else today. Amen.
Your relationship with other disciples may be on the cliché level if you’re always “Fine” when asked how you’re doing.
Sharing only facts is not much better because Facts are safe:
When sharing only facts there is no room for conflict. Most people don’t argue or disagree with a fact.
There has got to be a point that we go deeper! Deeper then just expressing clichés, facts, and opinions with God and with each other.
**We need to get to the point that our walk with God engages our feelings, our needs, and our passions!!! **
A question you maybe asking yourself “what is the doorway through which I can experience a deeper relationship with God and with other disciples?”
The answer is: Conflict! By communicating on a level that is deeper then clichés and facts. You will experience conflict, trials and struggles.
Conflict or struggles either cause us to run toward God and each other or we run away.
Question: Do financial, marital; school, work, health or work challenges cause you to turn away from God? How about challenges in your ministry? When those around you struggle… how do you respond?
Do you run to God when times are tough?
Only those who run to God will truly experience true blessedness and a deep and fulfilling relationship with God.
Psalms 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
God communicates on a very deep level…we must learn to communicate with him, and with one another the way he does.
· He is accessible: Acts 17:26-28
· He is vulnerable: God reveals himself through hundreds of different names allowing us to learn many facets of his personality. He is also vulnerable by expressing emotions in many passages: Gen 6:6 (grief) Isaiah 62:5 (Joy) His vulnerability is compelling evidence that God wants us to know him.
· He is personal: Jeremiah 29:11-14 designed a personal and special plan for you. John 17:3,26 desires to be known.
· He is relatable: Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Open with his weaknesses.
**Jesus can relate to every struggle we go through: He was tempted in all the same ways that we are. His desire is for us to be confident as we approach the throne of grace, He also desires that we find mercy and receive grace to help us in our time of need. (We must communicate what we need)
…. We need to communicate well…
Lets look at a couple examples:
HANNAH: 1 Samuel 1:10 in her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled, I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
· Hannah was barren year after year. God is the one who closed her womb. Conflict.
· Even though she experienced great anguish and grief she turned to God: She wept bitterly. Shed her tears in prayer.
· Hannah had levels 4 & 5 communication with God. That is she communicated her feelings and needs.
· We see the benefits of this in Vs. 18 “Her face was no longer downcast.” She was comforted
JESUS: Matthew 26:
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
· We see that Jesus’s desire conflicted with Gods plan for his life.
· Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
· By being open with God & turning to him multiple times in prayer he was strengthened. God can give us great strength!
· Shared his needs and feelings with his friends. The disciples.
· God helped him reach the point that he was able to say, “Rise let us go.”
Something I also really appreciate about Jesus in this passage is that when people fell short he discipled them.
This leads me to my second point.
#2 Help each other know and, submit to God.
In this passage we see that disciples fell short of Jesus’s expectation of them.
His expectation of them in this passage was that they would deny themselves (Luke 9) and keep watch for 1 hour.
When they felt short of his expectation of them he did not just not address it.
He went to them and asked…”could you not keep watch with me for one hour?”
We see a great example of discipling in this passage. God has given us an incredible sisterhood here in Boston though I believe God has made it clear that one of the greatest needs in our ministry is the need to disciple one another.
Jesus communicated a clear and reasonable expectation and when the expectation wasn’t met he followed up.
Question: Is this how your discipling relationships look?
Is there good communication?
Our discipling relationships should be friendships:
The goal is to fulfill all of the one another passages we find in the bible:
Hebrews 3:12-13 Daily encouragement of one another.
· Daily contact
· Both people call/reach out
· Even if only a few minutes a day
James 5:16 Confess sin to one another (Do you obey this passage?)
James 5:16-18 Pray for one another (Communicating needs and feelings will allow others to know what to pray for you for)
· I was very encouraged to pray with Jenelle this week.
· I love to pray with Coltin
· We pray at staff/Leaders
Galatians 6:1-2 Gently restore one another and bear one another’s burdens
Lets look at Colossians 1:28-29
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
· Overall as a ministry I believe we do a pretty good job fulfilling one another passages in our discipling relationships.
· However there is a great need for growth in the area of admonishing one another.
Definition of admonishes: to caution, advise, or counsel against something.
This last week there were several situations where sisters saw sin, or knew of sisters in a situation that could potentially hurt them spiritually and sadly said nothing.
We need to value the truth and God’s expectation of us even more then we value our relationships.
Some of our discipling relationships are too comfortable.
It is important to prioritize conviction over comfort…. This is love as the ultimate goal is to present everyone fully mature in Christ.
If you see a sister in a concerning situation….say something.
Ezekiel 33:7-9 “… I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.
· God clearly expresses an expectation that we dissuade one another from sinful ways.
· See something, say something?
· Incredible that God enables us to dissuade one another from choices that could harm us spiritually.
· Have a heart to love disciplingJ
John 13:34-35 Lastly and very importantly let us love one another. Love one another (Pursue relationship and help one another deepen our relationships with God)
· Admonishment should always be done in love.
· Tone: Kind, sincere, compassionate
In closing: Let us be women who deeply desire to know and be known by God, and let us make sure we strive to help one another fully know God by fulfilling ALL of the one another passages.
*Parts of the lesson taken from or inspired by Robin Weidner’s Book: “Secure in Heart”
Questions for our d-groups:
Do you have concerns about how another sister is doing spiritually?
Have you counseled them with the word of God? Or ignored the need?