A Love Story

sara teachingIn most of the modern world, romance is thought of as something that happens before marriage. In the Song of Solomon, romance is a lifelong response; an act of each mate faithfully fulfilling the other’s needs. Since God invented the romance of love, marriage and sexual intimacy, let’s hear what He has to say! Today, we will take a more in-depth look at the class Sara Eyster will be teaching on Tuesday Mornings this fall.

But first, here’s a reminder of all the classes.

Tuesday Mornings:

  • MUMs
  • 1&2 Peter
  • Song of Solomon
  • A Woman’s Heart (Beth Moore tabernacle study)—full year class

Wednesday Nights:

  • Colossians

You may register for classes two ways. For online registration, click HERE. If you would rather register in person, look for the Women’s Ministry Spotlight Booth at church this weekend (August 29/30).

And now, here’s my interview with Sara:

sara weddingTell a little about yourself (family, etc.) and how long you’ve been a part of women’s bible studies at Berean?

I am married to Bill who is a Bellevue native.  My son, Matt Meyer, and his
wife, Renee, have 3 active boys.  My daughter, Betsy Rubendall, and husband,
Darren, have two vivacious girls.  I was born in Texas to an air force family and am the
oldest of 3 girls. I have been a member at Berean since 1993 and a teacher in women’s ministries since 2000.

What excites you most about teaching in general?

I love teaching what God has taught me.  I see how it changed my life
and set me free.  I want others to experience that.

What will you be teaching this fall in Equip Her? What drew you to this topic or portion of scripture?

I will be teaching the Song of Solomon which is a love poem about the
romance of married love.  I have taught it several times since 2005 and I
learn something more every time I teach it.  Love, marriage and romance
are timeless topics and still compelling.

How do you expect your class to look in regard to structure? Is there a video? Will there be a lot of discussion? Is there homework?

We will explore the Song verse by verse.  We will have table
discussion around prepared questions and prayer time.  There will be 30
minutes of outside reading each week.

What do you hope women will gain from taking your class?

I want women to learn to have confidence in God,  to have confidence
He has a plan for their marriages, and to have confidence He has
power to change lives and marriages.  I want them to believe that God is
for them, not against them. I want them to learn that the
deepest satisfaction and joy in marriage is possible.

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How Then Shall We Live?

tuesdaysThanks for joining me again today as we take another in-depth look at one of the classes we will be offering this fall in our Equip Her Women’s Bible Studies. If you missed our post last week, here’s a reminder of the class line-up:

Tuesday Mornings:

  • MUMs
  • 1&2 Peter
  • Song of Solomon
  • A Woman’s Heart (Beth Moore tabernacle study)—full year class

Wednesday Nights:

  • Colossians

Again, you may register for classes two ways. For online registration, click HERE. If you would rather register in person, look for the Women’s Ministry spotlight booth at Berean this weekend (August 22/23) and next (August 29/30).

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the class I will be teaching, 1&2 Peter. So sit back and enjoy while I interview myself.

DSCN1450bTell a little about yourself (family, etc.) and how long you’ve been a part of women’s bible studies at Berean?

Most of you know me as editor and occasional writer here on the blog. I am married to Kurt and have two children—Jared, who is a junior in college, and Megan, who is a senior in high school. This fall will mark my 20th year of attending Tuesday Mornings at Berean. I started with MUMs when my son was six months old. Let’s just say, Lincoln Berean Women’s Bible Studies have had a huge impact on my life and growth as a Christian, a wife and a mother.

How many years have you been teaching with Equip Her/Titus Women? What excites you most about teaching in general?

I have been teaching in our Tuesday Morning bible studies since the fall of 2012, but teaching has always been a big part of who I am. I earned my Masters in education and taught high school English for several years before settling into my role as a stay-at-home mom. What I love most about teaching is taking a subject I’m excited about and sharing that excitement with others. I love seeing that “aha” moment when one of my students grasps a new concept.

What will you be teaching this fall in Equip Her? What drew you to this topic or portion of scripture?

I will be teaching 1&2 Peter. The truths found in these two short letters first became dear to me three years ago. At that time, my daughter was experiencing some very difficult consequences of standing for truth and living out her faith during her first year of high school. Many of the verses found in 1& 2 Peter became ones we could both cling to for encouragement.

Later when I was doing a more in-depth study of these books in preparation for this class, I discovered 1&2 Peter have never been listed as favorites among the majority of American Christians. However, they are the most popular scriptures to our counterparts around the world in countries where persecution is far more likely. And though they may not have seemed relevant to Western Christians in the past, I believe we will be turning to scriptures such as these more and more in the days to come.

How do you expect your class to look in regard to structure? Is there a video? Will there be a lot of discussion? Is there homework?

We will be doing an inductive study of these two books of the Bible. As with any class, the more you put into it, the more you will gain. Class members will be asked to read through each passage and do their own personal study before we study the material together in class. We will also have time to discuss each passage in small group settings in an effort to apply what we learn to our lives today.

What do you hope women will gain from taking your class?

I truly believe we are living in the last days—have been since Christ returned to the Father. If you find yourself feeling increasingly out of place in your world, you are not alone. Christianity has always been counter-cultural. And though Christians in our nation have historically lived a very comfortable existence, I don’t think that will hold true for long—especially if our nation continues on its current course of driving God out of every public forum.

With that in mind, how are we supposed to live as Christians in a hostile world? The answer to that question is the meat of Peter’s epistles.  My prayer for the women taking this class is that together we can learn what our role is as Christ followers in these final days and to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Time to Register for Fall Classes

mums-christmas-2012-molly-hollyYes, I’ve seen them—all those precious (and sometimes funny) back-to-school pictures popping up all over social media. Next week I’ll get to add my own (and final) one as my youngest starts her senior year. Aaacckkk! Where does the time go?

Though I’m never ready to say good-bye to summer, I’m always ready to embrace routine this time of year. And with that comes one of my favorite things—Tuesday mornings with many of you. Yup. It’s time to register for Equip Her fall classes.  Registration is already open online. You may also register in person at Berean the weekends of August 22/23 and 29/30. The first day of fall classes will be September 15.

For the next five weeks here on the blog, we will be highlighting each of the classes we will offer in the fall. You will have a chance to meet each teacher and hear a little about her class. However, if you already know which class you’d like to take, feel free to head on over to Women’s Ministries and register. [A word to the wise: if you need to register your children for childcare this semester, the policy is always the sooner you register, the better.]

Here’s a look at our lineup for fall:

Tuesday Mornings:

  • MUMs
  • Song of Solomon
  • 1&2 Peter
  • A Woman’s Heart (Beth Moore tabernacle study)—full year class

Wednesday Nights:

  • Colossians

Childcare is available during all sessions. For more information regarding times and classes, please refer to the FALL CLASSES tab on our HOME page or the Women’s Ministries registration page.

Today we’ll take an in-depth look at MUMs. Feel free to listen in while I interview my good friend, Laurie McPherrin Harms, who is the coordinator of our MUMs ministry.

Laurie

Tell a little about yourself (family, etc.) and how long you’ve been a part of women’s bible studies at Berean?

I am married to Steve Harms.  I am the mother of 3 daughters, 5 step children, 17 grandchildren and a mother-in-law to many. One of my favorite hobbies is cooking and then eating what I cook. I have been a part of the bible studies here at Berean for 13+ years.

How many years have you been teaching with Equip Her? What excites you most about teaching in general?

This is the start of my 8th year leading MUMS.  My oldest daughter Courtney helps me with the heartbeat of the young moms. She will tell me “MOM NO” when I come up with something that is totally an OLD LADY IDEA!

What excites me most about teaching? The idea of helping young mothers connect with other mothers in their journey. I also love sharing with them practical tips about marriage and suggestions about teaching the next generation about Jesus.

What will you be teaching this fall in Equip Her? What drew you to this topic or portion of scripture? 

We will be going through the study The Best Yes-Making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands by Lysa Terkeurst.  There are never enough hours in our day, so how do we manage our time and reduce stress? We need to ask God to help establish a pattern of wisdom and avoid the trap of people pleasing.

How do you expect your class to look in regard to structure? Is there a video? Will there be a lot of discussion? Is there homework? 

We will watch a short video every other week. We will also have a workbook for homework to be completed. We will divide the women in groups of 6-7 for discussing the homework and sharing pray requests.

What do you hope women will gain from taking your class? 

As I reflect back on all my years of women’s Bible studies as a young mother and all that I learned, I really could never put a price tag how much it helped me be the wife and mother that I have become. So my prayer is that this study will be a small puzzle piece for walking closer to God and building a BEST YES LEGACY.

Persistent Prayer

Today marks the end of our class on prayer. I’m so glad you took the time to join Shereen and me as we walked through the Lord’s Prayer with you these past 10 weeks. I’m also grateful to those of you who participated throughout the class by joining in our discussion. As promised, I will be drawing from among all the participants for a winner of our grand prize. I’ll announce that name in next week’s blog.

doorprayerLESSON 10

In Luke 11, Jesus finishes his instruction on prayer with the following parable:

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11: 5-13  (NLT)

We delight in giving our children what they need and what they want. Yet as good parents we don’t always give our children exactly what they ask for. Sometimes, in our greater wisdom, we know what they want could hurt them, so we say, “No.” Sometimes they aren’t mature enough for what they’ve asked to have—i.e. to drive a car, to own a cell phone. So we say, “Wait.”

Have you ever noticed how much waiting there is in the Bible?

  • Abraham and Sarah
  • Moses
  • the children of Israel waiting for deliverance from Babylon and entrance into Promised Land
  • Jacob for Rachel
  • Hannah for Samuel
  • David for his kingdom
  • Joseph in jail.

Why do you think that is? Could it be waiting is God’s way of growing our faith? Helping us mature?

So what can we learn about prayer from this story? Jesus invites us to be persistent—to come boldly with our requests. He also reminds us once again who it is that listens to our prayers. The one hearing our requests is not some Genie in a Bottle obligated to grant our every wish. Nor is he a cranky neighbor who may or may not choose to answer based solely on his own comfort. Our God is a loving, all-knowing Father who delights in giving His children good gifts.

Trust in that.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

 

GOING DEEPER  (for personal study) 

Before you leave this study take a moment to review. Watch the following video: . Then jot down each section of the Lord’s Prayer and summarize what you learned about prayer next to each one.

“Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

And lead us not into temptation.”

DISCUSSION  (please share your answer with all of us by leaving a reply we all can read)    

What is your greatest “take-away” about prayer after having taken this class?

Deliver Us

One final request hangs ominously in the last verse of Matthew’s record of  the Lord’s Prayer, “deliver us from the evil one.” For if we need deliverance, that means we have been caught by an enemy.

Yes, we have an enemy – the devil. He is the Father of Lies, a disrupter of peace, a twister of truth, a roaring, prowling lion who seeks to devour you. AND he is utterly defeated.

Battling against this Enemy, also referred to as Spiritual Warfare, is the kind of lesson I would prefer to teach from the standpoint of a documentary. I would gladly recount victories . . .  look back at points of conquest . . . pick apart the strategies of success.

But all I have to offer is a report from the front lines. I’ve been engaged in a battle with the enemy in almost every area of my life for nearly 5 years.

The only victory I can claim: I am still standing. There have been no miracles in my circumstances that I can see, but my spirit is thriving in the presence of Jesus. I should be beaten down, but I am strong in His strength. And the enemy is so very angry about that!

I’m sure I’m not the only person who could speak from the front lines of the spiritual battlefield. Many of you have your own war stories – each significant to your journey with Jesus.

Mary DeMuth gives us this encouragement in her book The Beautiful Battle:

“As women warriors we can resist, believe truth, live in righteousness, walk in peace, wield our faith, believe and quote God’s word, pray for ourselves and others, and live a persistent, dedicated life. There’s no magic formula, no shortcut – just simple, dedicated obedience in a victorious, enabling God.” (pg. 66)

An often quoted scripture that Paul wrote to encourage us in our spiritual skirmishes is Ephesians 6:13-18

13 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. 14 Truth, righteousness, 15 peace, 16 faith, 17 and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. 18 In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (The Message paraphrase)

Rather than elaborate on the finer points of battle gear, I want to take a broad view of these verses to notice these are weapons we already possess.  As salvation gifts we’ll need throughout our Christian lives, we need to be disciplined in using them.

Three spiritual disciplines have served me well in this battle. (They should come as no surprise to those familiar with Equip Her studies.)

  • God’s Word
  • Worship
  • Prayer

God’s Word is our offensive weapon to engage the enemy. The epic movies in The Lord of the Rings series gave flesh to the warrior princess in the character Eowyn, daughter of a king. As the men prepare for battle, she fights for the opportunity to take up a sword. Her reasoning with future king Aragorn:

(Eowyn) “Women of this country learned long ago that those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.”

(Aragorn) “What do you fear, my lady?”

(Eowyn) “A cage. To stay behind bars until youths and old age accept them and all chance of valor had gone beyond recall or desire.”

(Aragorn) “You’re a daughter of kings … I do not think that will be your fate.”

This daughter of kings boldly proclaims that she wants a chance to fight the enemy, to be engaged in noble pursuits, to use her sword!

In a spiritual sense, do you have that kind of desire, or are you content to let others carry a sword while you wait to die? Not to be overly dramatic, but it’s very true that you are responsible for learning to use the Sword of Truth, God’s Word, to fight your enemy.

Are you good with the Sword?

Do you know how to study this living Word of God for yourself and understand what God is saying to you through His Word? Do you trust that the Spirit of God speaks to YOU . . . the same way He speaks to your pastor, commentary writers, teachers or other Bible authorities?

Sure, there is commitment and discipline involved in becoming skillful with the Sword, but you can understand God’s Word.

I began very simply with 2 key practices:

  • Writing down verses that impacted my life on 3×5 cards.
  • Praying repeatedly for a passion to know God’s Word.

In reflecting on your spiritual life, what ways have you developed to internalize scripture?

Worship is another weapon that I’ve made part of my battle plan. I noticed its impact in my life when I was recovering from surgery a few years ago.  Because of the pain meds and anesthesia, I just couldn’t concentrate enough to read anything. (So very frustrating for a Wordy!) But I could listen to music and worship from the heart.  I’ve continued to make music and worship part of my daily time with God even though reading has returned (Praise Him!).

Ps. 42:8 became precious during that time:

Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.

Oh yes, God brings a song in the night!

The 3rd weapon God’s equipped me with is prayer . . . knees to the earth prayer! Here are some specific expressions of prayer I value:

~Breathing prayer … moment-by-moment dependence on Jesus.  This comes when you can’t put thoughts into words but rely on Jesus as your hope, your security, your identity.

~Lament prayer … telling God how much it hurts, then relinquishing that pain to Him.

~Rebuke prayer … when we just need to shout at the devil to flee, we can always call on God to rebuke Satan. We don’t rebuke the enemy in our own name, but only in the strong name of Jesus.

~Filling Prayer … asking to be filled with all that God supplies for all that I lack. “Jesus step into the middle of this situation with me.”

~Scripture prayer  … involves reading a portion of scripture, praising God for what He promises there, then asking Him to make my life reflect those qualities of His character.

Mind if I pray for us in closing? ….

Righteous King ~ in our bowing before You today, we acknowledge our utter dependence on You in this Spiritual Battle. Our Enemy seems fierce in this world, proclaiming his authority and power … in vain. Remind us often that his threats are empty, his power useless to stand against the TRUTH of Your gospel. May we live to make You known through Your Word, engaged in real worship and intent in our praying. Oh yes!

GOING DEEPER (for personal study)

1. Read Ephesians 6:13-18 in a couple different translations. What words and phrases catch your attention? What images come to mind in this explanation of our spiritual battle?

2. Matthew 6:13 says,

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

What is the relationship between temptation and the evil one? How does that relationship play out in your experiences?

DISCUSSION  (please share your answer with all of us by leaving a reply we all can read.)

How might you incorporate the 3 spiritual disciplines mentioned in the lesson to better fight the battle you’re engaged in?