BOOK REVIEW-Emboldened by Rev. Tara Beth Leach

A woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first to proclaim the risen Savior on Easter over 2,000 years ago. So I thought it would be fitting to discuss a book all about women in ministry & pastoral leadership this Easter Sunday, 2018.

The book Emboldened by Rev. Tara Beth Leach is one of my favorite books! She writes in a conversational, very inviting, non-judgmental tone which is so nice to read. She speaks with both love & truth! I would like to note that although it is taking about women in ministry, it is written for both men and women and I would recommend anyone in ministry or considering ministry to read it.

The foreword of Emboldened is written by Scot McKnight and he says a profound statement, “How can young, gifted women know there is a place for them on the platform if they don’t hear stories about women ministering?” Well Rev. Tara Beth does just that. She saw what was missing and wrote this outstanding book.

One thing I love about this book is right at the beginning she brings up how Jesus sees, affirms, & emboldens women. She says, “Jesus boldly affirmed the value & worth of women, & appointed them to be colaborers in the mission.” She emboldens women by reminding them that women are among the priesthood of ALL believers as stated in Galatians 3:28.

All throughout the book you can tell that Pastor Tara Beth finds her confidence in the Lord and that is very encouraging and creates a great perspective.

She talks about how God doesn’t just work within our human made stereotypes, but that God works everywhere! Something that she wrote that really resonated with me and blessed me while reading was this paragraph:

“You see, our femininity is not rooted in ideology or cultural norms but in our humanity, which is firmly rooted in the humanity of Christ. The life, death, resurrection, and ascension of King Jesus informs our identities. We sometimes bear children & sometimes we don’t, but childbearing isn’t our identity; instead, our identities are ordered in the saving and transforming activity of the triune God”

In many church settings, a woman’s worth is centered around being a wife and mom, which are both amazing things, but that excludes so many women and is not a woman’s greatest/only calling. I’m so thankful Pastor Tara Beth stated that in her book!

In chapter 4, she discusses what to do when people don’t affirm you or are opposed to your calling. She has a very positive outlook on this and focuses on not being bitter, which is what many people fall into. “However, the moment I decide to let anger and bitterness deep into the very depths of my being is the moment I lose sight of what I was called to do in the first place” She mentions that there will be people who are against you and that it is good and important to know your theology but that it is also equally importantly trust the Holy Spirit.

Our culture is very self-minded, we are competitive and often hurt others to boost ourselves. However, Rev. Leach has a whole chapter dedicated to women encouraging and emboldening one another-not something we often hear, but something we NEED to hear.

Although I love every chapter, my favorite one is probably chapter 6. It is all about singleness, family, and marriage. She talks about how God uses and emboldens single people whether or not they ever get married in the future, Christ sees value and uses them to further His kingdom. Pastor Leach talks about marriage and especially mutuality and mutual submission. She discusses the mom guilt and difficulties you may face as a mother and a pastor. It was so refreshing! These are things I have worried about and thought a lot about and it encouraged me so much to read. She also has a section in that chapter written to Pastor’s husbands, in which she encourages them, and discusses the difficulties but also amazing things they will see and be a part of. Reading her words to Pastor’s husbands literally brought tears to my eyes!

In our self-focused society, we often forget about the mission of God, but Rev. Tara Beth does not. She reminds us that God’s kingdom is one of inclusivity and acceptance. She has this quote which floored me when I read it,

She didn’t keep on so she could prove to the world that women belonged in the pulpit, but she kept on because the mission of God needed to continue.”

We often get caught up in the craziness of life, but our focus should be on God’s mission.

Pastor Tara Beth has a whole chapter dedicated to men and how they can embolden and come along side women together to better further the kingdom of God. If you are a man in any ministry, please read this book but especially that chapter!

I could go on and on about this book, but I will finish with a final quote from the book Emboldened,

“Now is the time, dear church. Not tomorrow, but now. Now is the time for women to claim their full callings and be freed from gender-based restrictions. Now is the time for women to rise up and use their God-given gifts with boldness. Now is the time for the church to no longer be lopsided, but to move forward in it’s full potential, with men & women serving alongside one another-unhindered. Now is the time to be the church we were meant to be-a sign & wonder.”

Rev. Tara Beth Leach links:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

BUY EMBOLDENED HERE

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The Conversation in the Library

Story time.

This past Monday I was at the local community college where I take some dual credit classes. I was in a group of people talking in the library. One of the men asked me what my major will be when I attend university in the fall. I replied, “Theology & Pastoral Ministry” and proceeded to tell him I was called to be a pastor. I wasn’t sure how he would react because it’s a sensitive topic. He began speaking about how he is trying out different churches and how it seems like there are so many denominations. I agreed. We discussed some of the differences and somehow got onto the topic of Complementarianism vs Egalitarianism (one of my favorite topics to discuss) and we had similar views on this (both egalitarian).

He then asked me a question I wasn’t expecting, “So how do you think racism affects the church?” I gave him my answer which went into how it creates injustice, hurt, and turns people away from the true love of Christ. He proceeded to ask me another question, “How are these people in churches justifying their racist beliefs and actions?!” I could tell he was speaking from experience and wanted to know how I, a white Christian, felt about it. We discussed many things but ultimately our main answer was that people twist scripture to fit their lifestyle, motives, or personal agenda instead of taking Jesus and scripture and letting that shape your actions and lifestyle.

It was a great conversation about gender and racial equality in the church. How it is right and more often, how it goes wrong. I’m writing this to let you know that people deal with racism and gender inequality all the time in church. It hurts & confuses people, and definitely doesn’t draw people close to Jesus. If you have never discussed problems within the church, now is a great time to start asking those tough questions. We NEED to have these conversations more and actually change our actions to combat injustice. We NEED to be showing the love and the actions of Christ in church, and the world around us. Our God is a just God, so maybe we should try to be a just people as well.

-Madison💛

Be Still

Hey Everyone! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I have been finishing up school and things have been crazy. Since things have been so hectic in my life recently I had to really be intentional with my time and being intentional about spending time reading the Bible and with God. The Bible uses the phrase “Be Still” many times throughout scripture. Here are a few verses:

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” -Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”‭‭ -Psalms‬ ‭37:7‬ ‭

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” -Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ 

Many people think the phrase “Be Still” means to just sit back and not do anything and let God do it all. That’s not necessarily true. The phrase “Be Still” is a reminder to take time to just be in God’s presence and worship Him. In Psalm 46:10 mentioned above, it says “Be still, and know that I am God.” So often (especially if you’ve grown up in church) we lose our wonder and awe of God. It’s a normal thing that we have accepted since infants. But we shouldn’t just be going through the motions of Christianity. I challenge you to really take time and BE STILL. Think about how marvelous, amazing, and awe inspiring the Lord is. He created the universe! He created you! He saved the world through Jesus! Don’t let the craziness of your life distract you from residing in Christ and being in awe of His wonder. Be still, and KNOW that He is God

Modern Day Idolatry 

If you’ve grown up in the church or have been a Christian for a while, you have certainly heard the verse (its one of the 10 Commandments), Exodus 20:4, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind of an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.”  Idolatry was a huge issue in the Old Testament, you can basically pick any story and it will have some form of idolatry mentioned in it. 

Idols are still just as big of an issue in today’s society as it was thousands of years ago. 

Now, most of us don’t deal with idols of false gods and goddesses and having statues of them that we pray to, but we definitely still have idols. Some idols we have today are: 

•money

•fame

•sex

•boyfriends/girlfriends

•outward beauty/praise

•OURSELVES

•religion

•marriage/family

You might be confused at the last two points. However people can put so much focus on the tradition or the proper way to do things in religion that their focus is no longer on Christ. That’s what idolatry really is! Taking our focus off of God & putting it somewhere else. 

Now for marriage and family. So many people (especially women) place their value and focus their entire life for the purpose of being married and having children. And being a wife (or husband) and having kids isn’t a bad thing (it’s wonderful & great!) however, ITS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING! Our life goal should be to serve and honor God. So in a sense, people do make an idol of marriage and family. 

These modern day idols are very tempting, I know! Francis Chan said, “I have one good reason why you should walk away from temptation right now. One reason: GOD. IS. BETTER.” 

Everything in that list above isn’t bad under the right circumstances. It’s when we place our focus and dedicate our lives to those things instead of God that it becomes a problem. 

I challenge you to pray and ask God to reveal any idols you may have in your life. Ask Him to help you overcome them and put your life focus back on Jesus Christ. 

We need to stop placing our focus on meaningless and/or less important things & truly, wholeheartedly focus on Jesus Christ.

Micah 4:5 says, “Though the nations around us follow their idols, we will follow the Lord our God forever & ever.” 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this post! -Maddie💛

There is No Greater Call

There is no greater call than giving you my all” 

This was a line in a song I recently sang at Extravaganza at Southern Nazarene University. During worship one evening, “Have It All” by Bethel Music (Brian Johnson) played and I had never heard it before. I was singing along, enjoying the song then that line was sung. Man it hit me hard. 
Think about it, what calling could be greater than serving the everlasting God?! What could be more fulfilling than giving Jesus Christ your life? We often don’t think about how amazing God is and the privilege it is to glorify Him.

 “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.”‭‭ {Philippians‬ ‭1:21-22‬}

In this verse, Paul is saying that if he lives it will be worth it only to serve and work for Christ. 

But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being.” {Galatians‬ ‭1:15-16‬}

Paul is saying that God called him and it PLEASED him. We should be pleased when God calls us to serve him. I’m not saying it will be easy, but we should be pleased and willing. 

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” {Acts 20:24‬}

Luke says that his life is worth NOTHING if it’s not used for serving Christ. 

Guys! Surrendering it all the Christ is the greatest call ever imaginable! Don’t take that lightly! Look at this quote from Brian Houston: 

I encourage you to think about what it means to serve Jesus and what it means to you. Do you believe the statement, “There is no greater call than giving You my all.”? 

I have one desire now: to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy & strength into it.” -Elisabeth Elliot

*I hope you enjoyed! Check in on Saturday for a new post😄*-Madison