10 Ways to Change Our Culture

When it comes to making a change in our world, we often feel . . .

  • Who am I to make a difference? I’m only one person.
  • What does it matter what I say? Who listens to me anyway?
  • I don’t have a platform. How would I get my voice heard if I did try to make a change?

Have you had similar thoughts? I did. Twenty years ago, I wasn’t thinking about making a difference in the world’s culture—just in my world. Then during the journey of starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and watching lives changing—one woman at a time—I realized I was making a difference. These mentors and mentees were making a difference. One woman mentoring another woman was having a ripple effect out into the culture.

You too can make a significant change in our culture today. God never forces us to do anything, but He created us with gifts and a purpose, and when we use our God-given talents for His glory, things change—for the good—in our circle of influence, our platform.

In the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-16), Jesus tells us to shout the Good News to everyone who will listen. That means in our jobs, activities, sports, shopping, playing, parenting . . . whatever we do, wherever we do it . . . joyfully let others know that God is at the center of our lives. Someone is noticing. Someone sees a difference in how we live our lives, and that changes things.

Celebrities, Sports Stars, and Politicians

Movies stars and entertainers have changed the culture mostly in a negative way by making it fashionable to have babies with whomever they’re dating, normalizing living together without getting married, wearing revealing clothes, swearing and using vulgar language—both men and women—doing things in movies we would never let them do in our living rooms. They have influenced our culture by lowering the moral and sexual standards for society. And in today’s volatile political culture, the majority of them are liberal progressives, and those who aren’t are blackballed.

Gospel-sharing movies are beginning to get some traction at theaters, many started by grassroots Christians who want to make a difference in today’s culture. We need to support them. It’s upsetting to hear Christians armchair criticize other Christians who are stepping out to make a difference for God, especially when the critics aren’t trying to make a difference themselves!

Sports figures and teams have become idols. We recently watched one football player dishonor our National Anthem and young high school football players followed suit. Time Magazine included him in the most influential people of the year! 2016 Olympic swimmers lied and falsified an assault story in Brazil, and yet one of them ended up on Dancing with the Stars! Instead of being good role models, again we see the culture influenced in worldly, ungodly ways, while sports figures honoring God are ridiculed. Still it was refreshing to hear many Olympians praising God.

People don’t trust politicians. Many will change the culture for good, but others make changes that starkly contradict our Christian beliefs and values. The media blasts and tries to silence politicians who agree with a conservative agenda because the vast majority of culture today is liberal.

We’ve seen the liberal agenda invade the Federal and local government, and we feel helpless watching the sanctity of life and marriage destroyed by laws legalizing sin. We cry out to God and to each other at the atrocities; but we hang our heads thinking we can’t do anything. But that’s when the real work begins. There’s more to changing culture than just voting in our candidates! We still have control of where we spend our money, our time, and how we use our voice and influence.

You Can Change Culture

It’s time for Christians to step up, speak out, and seize opportunities to defend God and change our culture back to one that respects and honors virtue and morals. We need a revival, which doesn’t start in government, it starts in the church with the people sitting in the chairs and pews. That’s you and me!

Christianity has come under attack by the media, the government, and the entertainment world for several generations, so today’s generation has formed prejudices and perceptions based more on the worldly lies of Satan than on the truths of God. We need to proclaim the Good News of Christ because many have only heard the distorted lies of Satan.

10 Ways You Can Help Change Our Culture

  1. Speak Up

Today, society marginalizes, neutralizes, and denies God—forgotten by a culture forsaking him. Wherever and whenever you hear someone speaking disrespectfully of God, kindly let him or her know you’re a believer and explain why and what you believe, and would they please speak respectfully of the most important person in your life.

  1. Mentor—

I receive so many stories from women of all ages desperate for someone spiritually older to share their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. They’re begging for mentors as Titus 2:1-8 instructs spiritually older Christians to help spiritually younger men and women learn how to navigate life and make choices that honor God. If more Christians became mentors, we would see less violence, rage, poverty, divorce, single-parent families, abuse, abortion . . . the list goes on. Titus 2:5 says we mentor so “no one will malign the word of God.”

  1. Use Social Media

As an author and speaker, I have a large social media presence, and I boldly comment from a Christian perspective. A young mom approached me at church and thanked me for my Facebook posts. She said I always wrote something on my timeline just when she needed it or when she needed perspective on a current topic.

Then I received an email from a mom saying she found my tweets, Facebook messages, and blog posts helpful in her life. The list goes on. I have no idea how many lives I may be touching and changing through social media, but I try to always include something about God in today’s culture, and hope it sounds doable to my readers to duplicate.

Pick one form of social media, establish a following, and get a dialogue going for cultural change.

  1. Blogging—

I also write a weekly Monday Morning Blog. Not everyone likes to write, but a blog reaches multitudes. Whatever your passion is—sports, gardening, building, cooking, parenting—write about it and add something in your post to help the reader make positive cultural changes in his/her life or environment.

  1. Parenting

Your children are the future of our country and will define the culture for decades. They look to you for guidance and direction to set their moral compass. Talk about the difficult issues they face. Know what the culture is saying and doing and teach them how to identify twisted doctrine and counter it with the truth. Give them the tools they need to be change agents in the culture. Help them be leaders, not followers.

  1. Teach Sunday School or Help in Youth Ministry

One of the most important roles in the church is teaching and training the next generations. These children and youth are the future who will determine if the church remains true to God’s Word, the Bible, or casts it aside to accommodate the falsehoods of the culture. They must go into the world not only knowing about Jesus, but also knowing Him in a personal relationship they wouldn’t give up or give away for anything.

  1. Support Business that Champions Christian Values—

Businesses are succumbing to the liberal cultural pressure to market and financially support the LGBTQ agenda. We have a choice where we spend our money and our time. If you know a business supports something you don’t agree with, don’t spend money there. It’s that simple. There are plenty of other places to eat and shop—especially those owned by Christians.

If a movie is full of violence, sex, and vulgar language . . . don’t see it. Go to opening weekend of a Christian movie. Businesses, television, the movie and sports industry . . . notice when revenue declines.

  1. Run for a Local Office

We need more Christians and conservatives in government! If you feel called, run for office and be the voice in the wilderness in your community that fights for the sanctity of life, morals, freedom of speech for all, and laws that honor God and the Constitution.

  1. Remember God’s Goodness

When we remember how good God has been in the past, we share it with others. Today’s millennials, and those younger, don’t know a world where you can openly pray, talk about Jesus, and take your Bible to school. When “gay” meant joyful, and the rainbow only stood for God’s blessings. Where marriage was only between a man and a woman, and kids didn’t have two dads or two moms. It’s our job to tell them that the culture we’re living in today is not God’s way, but we can find our way back to His ways.

  1. Prayer—

God hears the prayers of His people: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Jesus changed the culture, and He was only one man, whose fame came after his death, but he left a band of followers to keep up His work of changing the worldly culture.

“As Christians, God calls us to live holy lives: separated to God, separated from the world, and separated for God. Our responsibility is to help a generation that thrives on conforming, want to conform to God’s standards! Don’t think you can’t make a difference. You can. Sure, you can’t transform the whole world, but you can make a difference in your world.”*

*Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten

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8 Reasons to Make 2017 the Year of New Connections

christmas-accident

Happy New Year! I know I promised I would be back with my Monday Morning Blog this morning, but you know how we make our plans but the Lord directs our steps. Well I’m not sure He directed my steps on Christmas Day around 4:00 PM when I stood up to go charge my cell phone and play a game with the grandkids, and the next think I remember was the sound of my head hitting the edge of a wooden chest across the room. To hear the story from my shocked hubby and daughter, I stumbled and literally flew across the room and my head took the full brunt of the fall.

Well with a nice gash in my head, off to ER we went and came home with 5 staples in my head. I’m smiling in the picture above because they put about 10 shots of Novocaine in my head, which always effects my whole bod,y so I was literally feeling no pain until the middle of the night, as my daughter and hubby had to wake me up all night.

Anyway, it seems now I have a concussion and constant high pitched ringing in my ears, so later today I’m having a brain MRI just to be sure I didn’t do any major damage. I could use your prayers for that. But God is so good that I had in my files this wonderful guest blog from Shirley Brosius, who just happens to be talking about the Joy of Connecting and even mentions mentoring as a  New Year’s goal. Shirley and her mentees Kim and Janine tell their story in my book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, releasing with Leafwood Press later this year. So enjoy this wonderful post from Shirley and I hope to be back with you next Monday.

The Joy of Connecting

By

By Shirley Brosius

Women who say they don’t need to connect with other Christian women don’t realize what they’re missing. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

I currently enjoy two mentoring relationships. I meet weekly to discuss Christian books with Kim and Janine, two women young enough to be my daughters.

2016-shirley-with-kim-and-janine

I chat weekly about writing and spirituality with Michelle, a young mother who lives a few hours from my home.

shirley-with-michelle

Here is how these women and I sharpen each other.

  1. We inspire one another. For instance, Kim set a New Year’s goal to control her thought life, and that inspired me to set a goal to not say anything this year that puts someone else in a bad light. Lofty goals, we know, but at least we’re trying.
  1. We pray for one another. If I’ve asked for prayer for something coming up during the week, I’m sure to get a text from Janine at that specific time, telling me she’s praying. I value her prayers.
  1. We accomplish more together than we could individually. When we decided we wanted not just to study together but to serve together, Kim, Janine and I dubbed ourselves Friends of the Heart and developed a website. We have now spoken to more than 10,000 women over the last ten years. Neither one of us could have developed such a ministry on her own.
  1. We know we’re not alone on the journey. We relate to each others challenges and walk each other through tough times holding hands.
  1. We rejoice with each other. I might feel like I’m bragging if I tell a friend that an article was accepted for publication, but Michelle and I know the struggles of writing, so we can genuinely rejoice together when one of our articles finds a home.
  1. We hold each other accountable. At times we set weekly goals and check on each other the following week: Did you make that call? Did you read your Bible today?
  1. We enjoy each other. With Kim and Janine, it’s fun to meet over a cup of tea or coffee, and in between meetings, we keep in touch by phone, e-mail or Facebook. Not a week goes by that we don’t laugh about something—often funny stories about Kim’s classroom antics or a corny joke that Janine can hardly share for laughing. I visited Michelle this past summer, and we plan to get together again this fall. She has become a special friend.
  1. We alert each other to life. I’m way ahead of them journeying down that road, and they watch me relate to adult children and keep in touch with grandchildren. Not that I’m a perfect model; sometimes I serve as a model of what not to do. And I learn about today’s world through their eyes.

Now I realize mentoring relationships may not appeal to everyone. But everyone can plug into some sort of group. I attend a Bible study at my church, and I’ve watched our group knit and share more deeply as the years go by. I also appreciate discussing spiritual direction in Sunday school classes.

If there’s no group that appeals to you, start one—a book discussion group, a young moms group, a teen moms group. You might ask someone to partner with you to pray. It’s always a blessing to hear someone else pray for your needs. Or like the women I’ve mentioned, ask an older woman to mentor you; if you’re an older woman, offer to support a young woman who might benefit from your expertise.

So get connected. You’ll be challenged and blessed. Don’t be afraid of deepening relationships within the body of Christ. After all, God made ministry a group project.

Read more about Friends of the Heart in Janet’s new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness releasing later this year.

Please comment to let us know other ways you’ve made valuable connections with other Christian women.

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www.friendsoftheheart.us

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Choosing a Mentor

Kara Tippetts 1_Jen Lints Photography

I was asked to review Kara Tippett’s book, And It Was Beautiful. I knew a little of Kara’s story that she was a young Christian mom of four and author who had lost her battle to breast cancer, but during her valiant fight she blogged her thoughts. Not just about the cancer but what was happening in her life, her thoughts, her struggles, her joys. Being a three-time breast cancer survivor myself, I wondered if it would be too painful for me to read Kara’s book, but it was just the opposite . . . I couldn’t put it down. Yes, it was sad, but her writing seldom made me sad. Instead, I got a chance to meet a very special woman who loved the Lord, her family, her church, and her friends and she left them and us a treasure in her blogs, which were more like having a chat with her.

When I came to the chapter titled “Choosing a Mentor,” I knew I had to share it with you. I received permission to share her words in this blog and in my new book releasing next year: Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Enjoy!

Choosing a Mentor

By Kara Tippett

Apart from the Holy Spirit, it has been the mentors in my life who have made the longest-lasting, deepest impact on who I am as a person. Some mentors were women I specifically asked to mentor me. Some were women who opened their lives wide open for me to watch. But both nurtured new strength in me. Here are a few things that have served me well in finding a mentor.

First, do they love their family well and speak with love and admiration of their husbands? Can these be areas of tension and struggle in a family? Yes, but I look to see if their overall desire is to move toward a spouse and children, and not away.

Second, do they speak vulnerably about weakness, or are they more concerned about appearances? I have found this area to be critical. I struggle to share openly with someone who wants to appear they have it all figured out. I look to see if they are willing to speak openly about where God is challenging them, and are open about themselves without bashing others.

Third, and most important, do they seek Jesus in their moments throughout the day, especially the mundane? Do they see their neediness and weakness, and are they able to be wrong and be corrected by Scripture?

When Jason [her husband] was a youth director, we had the privilege of seeing kids who truly loved Jesus. From that observation, we often sought out their parents. We wanted to sit at their feet, eat at their table, and watch how they did it. I love to watch someone discipline with kindness. I love to watch someone including their children in the events of the home. I love watching someone loving their spouse creatively. And I really love to see women involved in community building. You can receive a lot of mentoring just by watching.

Common interests help as well. I have had mamas show me a craft, women who love to write as well as read, ladies who love to garden, build a fire, and cook, and women who just cannot get enough of their Bibles. I often try to enter the life of a person who might be a good fit as a mentor in a place of common joy. I want my mentors to be my friends, as I want to befriend the women I mentor.

Things to be wary of? Be careful of people who like to gossip. Be willing to be flexible. Mentoring relationships take on so many different looks. Sitting down across from one another with Bibles open every week? That’s an awesome model, but it’s certainly not the only one. Look for someone who will promote freedom in Christ, not tie you up in a load of legalism.

Finally, as you search for a safe place, be a safe place in return. God loves seeing us seeking Him together.

An excerpt from And It Was Beautiful by Kara Tippetts bolding added.

© 2016 Kara Tippetts. And It Was Beautiful is published by David C Cook. All rights reserved. Shared with permission.

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Kara Tippetts’ life was dramatically changed in 2012 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She shared her journey on her popular blog, www.mundanefaithfulness.com. She was the author of The Hardest Peace and the co-author of Just Show Up. Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, is parenting their four children and leading the church they founded in Colorado Springs, CO.

And it was Beautiful

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Left for College a Christian, Returned an Atheist

 

First RC College Pre Group of High Schoolers

First RC College Prep Group of High Schoolers

My new book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, releases February 9. I have a section on Generation to Generation where I discuss the tragedy of losing the next generation for God, especially college age kids, and what we can do to keep them sold out for Jesus. I also share in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter how I ignored the warning signs when my daughter was taught about Darwinism and evolution in High School.

Then right before Christmas, I received this email from Sheryl Young asking if I would consider mentioning her ministry Ratio Christi. Sheryl didn’t know about my new book and I didn’t know about RC, but after I read her note, I knew why God had put us together. Sheryl wrote:

Ratio Christi has 150 chapters on college campuses teaching Christian apologetics – the history, philosophy and science which supports the Bible and the life, death & resurrection of Christ. This strengthens the students’ faith, helps to stem the tide of “youth flight” from church due to the secularization of our colleges, and makes our young people stronger witnesses. We have also now started doing high school apologetics and have a goal of being on all college campuses.

I knew I needed to hear more and I asked Sheryl to write a post for us to discuss. Sadly, what Sheryl talks about here doesn’t just happen in high school and on college campuses. My granddaughter was only in third grade when she was disciplined by a teacher for defending her Christian faith to two girls who were bullying her at school. My granddaughter was the one  called out, not the other two girls.

Her teacher told her not to talk about Jesus again at school, and I told my granddaughter that teacher was out of line and together we looked at the Scriptures:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” 2 Timothy 1:8

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

As we focus on January as National Mentoring Month, are your children, grandchildren, and mentees ready to defend their faith or will they succumb to teachers or other kids’ taunts? I pray my book encourages parents, grandparents, and mentors to equip their children to stand for their faith when under attack. Are your kids, grandkids, mentees ready? Are you ready?

What a Difference a College Class Makes in a Christian Kid’s Life

By Sheryl Young

“So how was your first semester of college?”

“Mom, dad, I’m an atheist now.”

This dreaded conversation took place in the home of a friend of mine, but it’s happening throughout the United States today. It’s no wonder, with kids from Christian homes hearing the following statements almost as soon as they reach the college campus:

“There is no good reason to believe in Christ.”

“There is no logic or reason to Christianity.”

“You will not mention God in my classroom.”

It should be no secret to any Christian family today that colleges and universities have become a bastion of secularism and atheism. The atheist movement in academia is trying at every turn to move students away from a firm faith in Christ.

God’s Not Dead may be a movie with fictional characters such as a bitter atheist professor and few students with the courage to stand against him, but it is based on real-life events.

Make no mistake. Christian parents and grandparents are doing their children a great disservice by telling them that Christianity is just “because the Bible says so” or “because the pastor says so” or “because I say so.” It’s like sending them straight from grade school to college. It simply doesn’t hold any water in today’s culture.

1 Peter 3:15 says: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV). We don’t show respect for nonbelievers, or ourselves, when we haven’t researched the reasons for our faith. Having “blind faith” may be good inside churched walls, but it won’t be understood by outsiders: it’s foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Josh McDowell, a foremost expert comparing Christian with secular youth, says in The Last Christian Generation: “The majority of our churched young people do not believe Christ is the Son of God, do not believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity, and think ‘doing good’ earns them a place in Heaven.”

What do we expect when they get one hour of Sunday school or youth group, and eight hours in school where they’re taught “there’s no absolute truth” and the Bible isn’t acceptable?

Are We Exaggerating the “youth exodus” from Church?

No. Statistics in various studies show that 50 to 70 percent of American youth drop out of church and leave their Christian beliefs between the ages of 18 and 22. For example, in David Kinnaman’s 2011 book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith, he cites research showing nearly three out of every five young Christians disconnect from their churches after the age of 15. That’s nearly 70 percent.

The increasing number of atheist professors on college campuses is a direct connection to students losing faith. A study at George Mason University revealed that the percentage of professing atheists and agnostics among college professors is 26 percent higher than the general U.S. population. In addition, 51 percent of professors describe the Bible as “an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts,” while only 6 percent of college professors say the Bible is “the actual word of God.”

We’ve all heard the stories of Christmas song censorship, valedictorians forbidden to mention God, and football teams not allowed to have student-led prayer. Many school districts do not understand – or choose to ignore – the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment on school property, especially when it comes to Christianity. Christian students and faculty are having their rights and viewpoints trampled.

“Political correctness” isn’t limited to public education. Many private schools, even some in Christian denominations, now support the “valuing diversity” theme that makes allowances for those who do not hold to biblical principles.

Let’s hear it from the young people – how do they feel?

I [Sheryl Young] work with a ministry called Ratio Christi, and I thank Janet Thompson for letting me write here about this issue. Ratio Christi (“Reason of Christ” in Latin) is a nonprofit international campus ministry with over 150 chapters, which exist to encourage and strengthen the faith of Christian students through the use of intellectual investigation called “Christian apologetics” – learning the historical, scientific and philosophical evidence that gives logic, reason and credibility to our Christian faith when presenting it to others.

Curtis Hrischuk, the chapter director for Ratio Christi at North Carolina State University, says: “Most of the students we get are confused when they arrive at college. They’re realizing that they don’t have a strong basis for their faith, and they’re looking for help.”

Ratio Christi’s chapter leaders often hear from their Christian students that even throughout high school they didn’t receive a strong basis of theology to prepare them to face the secular pressure once they got to college. Many felt their church youth groups were all fun and games to keep them occupied, or automatically supposed that kids who came to church were already grounded in the faith and didn’t need much help. Some felt they could speak about deep Christian issues with their parents, and others didn’t.

Grant, a student from the University of Alabama says, “My youth group studied the Bible but (the teachers) pre-supposed that we accepted it as truth.”

Or Bentley from the University of Mississippi: “I was missing the historical, foundation principles and background of Christianity.  I felt it was extremely important to understand who God is, why I believe what I believe, and understand how to defend my faith against those who might try to disrupt it.”

Going back to McDowell’s The Last Christian Generation, he writes of his surveys:

  • Only 33 percent of churched youth said church would be part of their lives when they leave home.
  • 63 percent of them don’t believe Jesus is the only true way to God.
  • Only 6 percent of publicly schooled children now come away with a true belief in the Bible.

It cannot continue to be a church mantra, or a mantra in Christian homes, that our blind faith is enough. Not if we want our kids to keep their faith intact and be persuasive witnesses for Christianity later in life.

 Ratio Christi Can Help

RC Large Logo.jpg Ratio Christi (RC) students learn to present factual and philosophical evidence for God in classrooms led by atheist professors or to other groups of nonbelievers – and they often end up getting that opportunity. RC students and leaders invite atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and adherents to any religion to attend sessions and investigate the claims of Christianity in friendly discussions.

The nonprofit ministry’s president, Corey Miller, says, “Students who identify themselves as Christians at the beginning of college, with the rest of their lives and careers ahead of them, are under fierce attack and are leaving the Christian faith in alarming numbers.”

A Ratio Christi club member from the University of Virginia, Caitlin says, “If it weren’t for Ratio Christi, I’m not sure I would still be a Christian.” CaitlinBentley adds, “Ratio Christi has taught me how to converse with others about Christianity. It has helped me become more comfortable about being an evangelist of Christ to others.”

Here’s a student named Blake from a Ratio Christi high school-aged group preparing for college:

“Apologetics has given me compelling evidence for the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, and so much more! I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for apologetics, I would not be as effective a witness for Christ.”

Home school groups, school teachers, clergy, church members, parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens are welcome to get involved with RC at all levels, from prayer to becoming RC mentors. Individuals and churches can “adopt a college” to help start a RC chapter if there  isn’t one at their nearest college. Parents might want to learn apologetics along with their kids so that there are no blank stares across the dinner table if a teen comes home excited about what they are discovering.

Learn more about how you can get involved with Ratio Christi, or find a college chapter. If a student can’t find an existing chapter at a college of their choice, or wants to find out how to get involved at the high school level, Contact Us. Young people are our future. Helping them know their Lord is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

Sheryl Young is the Media Outreach Coordinator for Ratio Christi, and interviews many chapter students and leaders for RC’s national newsletter.

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Support National Mentoring Month

Januray Naitonal Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month logo, designed by Milton Glaser

As I prepared to write this week’s blog post, I opened up my new 2016 calendar and there was my reminder that January is National Mentoring Month! I only became aware of this designation recently, even though it has been a nationally endorsed month since President George W. Bush proclaimed it in 2002. While the focus is on mentoring youth, as Christians we know we’re also to mentor those spiritually younger than us. The verses best known to motivate us to pour into someone else are Titus 2: 1-6:

Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. The Message

In my new book releasing February 9, Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I quote the above passage from The Message as a reminder that it is our job as Christians to reach out to the next generation and help them set a moral compass that leads straight to the throne of Christ. I often wonder how many Christians actually take this command from the Lord to heart. How many realize that the fate of our nation depends on the spiritual maturity of the next generation in our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools . . . ? If we’re not mentoring, who will do the job? Answer: the secular world!

As much as we complain about the current administration, and I agree there is much to be concerned about, President Obama has continued to endorse National Mentoring month, as has both chambers of the United States Congress. The campaign’s media partners have included ABC, CBS, Fox News, and NBC; Comcast; the National Association of Broadcasters; Time Warner; and Viacom.

Shouldn’t we, the united body of Christ, also support National Mentoring Month?

Here is an excerpt from this year’s presidential proclamation recognizing January as National Mentoring Month:

At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams. Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.

By sharing their own stories and offering guidance and advice, mentors can instill a sense of infinite possibility in the hearts and minds of their mentees, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, nothing is beyond their potential. Whether simply offering a compassionate ear or actively teaching and inspiring curiosity, mentors can play pivotal roles in young peoples’ lives. When given a chance to use their talents and abilities to engage in their communities and contribute to our world, our Nation’s youth rise to the challenge. They make significant impacts in their communities and shape a brighter future for coming generations.

I smiled when I read this proclamation, both for the championing of mentoring and that the President of the United States used the word “mentee.” When I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and wrote Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry, many people told me mentee was not a word. I think Woman to Woman Mentoring put mentee in the dictionary!

Thank Your Mentor Day

Thank you mentor women

As part of National Mentoring Month, a day is set aside to celebrate Thank Your Mentor Day. This year, it’s January 21, 2016. A day to thank and honor mentors who have encouraged and guided you, and had a lasting, positive impact on your life.

In Forsaken God?, I encourage readers to remember spiritual mentors and the way God used these men and women to shape their lives and then to imitate those mentors by mentoring whoever God puts in their path:

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

Here are some ways the National Mentoring Month Campaign suggests for honoring your mentors:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Express your gratitude on social media.
  3. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  4. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
  5. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.

To add a spiritual component to National Mentoring Month, consider:

  1. Start a Mentoring Ministry in your church.
  2. Become a spiritual mentor to someone spiritually younger, not necessarily chronologically younger.
  3. If your church has a mentoring ministry, serve in the ministry.
  4. My next book is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Honor your mentor or mentee by sending me a story about your mentoring relationship to include in the book. info@womantowomanmentoring.com.
  5. Pray for God to send you a mentor.
  6. Every month in About His Work Ministries’ Newsletter, we feature a Church Mentoring Ministry. Send me something you would like to share about your mentoring ministry to help other churches. info@womantowomanmentoring.com
  7. Start 2016 being a spiritual mentor, or finding a mentor.
  8. Remember that mentoring is part of parenting.

I’m looking forward to what God will have me share with you and perhaps mentor you in 2016. My “job” in About His Work Ministries isn’t to have a following, but to point others to Jesus.

Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year

Another post you might enjoy reading is How to Mentor in a World Forsaking God.

Mentoring month men

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Overcoming the Naysayers in Your Life

Live Love LaughRustic Blooms*

Hubby and I just returned home from a month in sunny Southern California. We had a great time visiting with friends and family and worshipping in Idyllwild Bible Church and Saddleback Church. Both of these churches hold dear spots in our hearts and as do the godly pastors gifted in leading their congregations to a closer relationship with God. Last week, I shared a message we heard at IBC from John Holesclaw. Many of you commented on how God has been calling you to Go Beyond the comfort and calm of your daily life as God calls you to follow a new vision.

Today, I want to share with you some thoughts from Pastor Rick Warren’s message of Ignoring the Naysayers that might come out of the woodwork when you start following that vision.

As I listened to Pastor Rick preach, I was nodding my head the entire time because I had experienced every one of his naysayer points when I started Woman to Woman Mentoring. In fact, when I train churches on starting Woman to Woman Mentoring, I always warn them to beware of the naysayers and then I tell them how God helped me overcome them to push through and start a ministry that God has taken around the world for the past twenty years.

If you have a vision that’s bigger than you . . . that only God could bring to fruition . . . you’re going to experience naysayers. Here are a few points from Pastor Rick’s sermon with an example from my own experience. I would love to hear about some of your experiences.

Naysayer: “A person who says something won’t work or isn’t possible; a cynic who habitually expresses pessimistic views.”

How I Defeated the Naysayers in Starting Woman to Woman Mentoring and You Can Do the Same in Your Life.

  1. Remember That They Are Not God!

The fear of human opinion disables; but trusting in God protects you from that. Pr. 29:25, The Message

“The bigger God’s opinion in your mind, the smaller the opinions of others.”—Rick Warren

Naysayers don’t know what God has said to you so they don’t understand your dream or vision from God. It’s not their “call,” it’s yours! They are not God.

We can’t seek the approval of men over the approval of God. It doesn’t matter if others don’t agree with us. Don’t worry what other people will think; worry what God thinks.

When I was starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, I heard things like:

  • Somebody tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work.

Me: Might have been wrong person or wrong time. I’ll find out what they did that didn’t work and do the opposite. I’ll also try to locate the women who were interested in mentoring at that time. God definitely wants a mentoring ministry at Saddleback now, and he’s told me I’m the one to start it.

  • Twenty years ago, Saddleback was a seeker church and the average age range was 25-45, so people said I wouldn’t find women old enough or spiritually mature enough to be mentors.

Me: Well someone who accepted the Lord six month’s ago is spiritually older than someone who is seeking and who better to relate to a seekers questions and hesitations. We wouldn’t look at Titus 2:3-5 as chronological age, but spiritual age. We might not have large age or maturity ranges, but we would have women who had walked longer with the Lord than someone else.

  • I’d never been involved in women’s ministry before so who was I to start a ministry?

Me: I won’t be influenced by how things “have always been done.” I’ll be open to listening to the Lord and taking my direction directly from Him. My personal writing and speaking ministry became About His Work Ministries.

Ask yourself: Who am I allowing to play God in my life?

  1. Don’t Get Distracted by Negativity

So I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply.—Nehemiah 6:3-4 NLT

“Every opportunity comes with opposition.”—Rick Warren

Billy Graham quoted Neh. 6:3-4 when he was doing crusades in London and the journalists were harassing him. He was too busy saving lives to take the time to go down and answer the journalists’ taunts.

Rick said that naysayers’ distractions come in the form of: ridicule, rumors, threats, and endless discussion to slow you down.

I experienced all four of those attacks when starting Woman to Woman Mentoring, I even had a mutiny on my original team, which later became the imputes to write The Team That Jesus Built and Face to Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community:

  • You should have teas not coffees.
  • “Mentee” is not a word.
  • Who are you to start this ministry?
  • You’re only writing about this to make money.
  • Woman to Woman Mentoring is only for our church not others, so you shouldn’t be writing resources for other churches to start the ministry.
  • You could never match M&M’s simply by prayer.
  • Women won’t come.
  • You can’t match two strangers
  • How are you going to find two women to match in such a large church?
  • And so it went . . .

Ask Yourself: How is negativity distracting you from accomplishing your goal?

  1. Never Attack Back—Leave It in God’s Hands

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.—1 Peter 2:23 NIV

“I’m most like Jesus when I stay silent under attack. Bless them instead.”—Rick Warren

The best way I found to deal with naysayers was to not engage them. Don’t waste your time and emotion trying to convince them they’re wrong, or getting into endless discussions. This is hard to do because we want to defend our position and get them to agree with us, but I learned to simply ignore them and not give fuel or energy to the negativity. A ministry was being birthed that was clearly God’s will and that’s the only opinion I valued. A successful ministry blessing the women would prove the naysayers wrong.

Ask Yourself: How am I wasting time and energy trying to defend my goal and vision?

  1. Stay Focused on God and His Promises

The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?—Psalm 118:6 (NLT)

“The size of your God determines the size of your goals.Rick Warren

To do a mighty work for God, we need to remember that we don’t need the approval of others to be happy or successful; we’re only seeking a “well done” from God. I knew that I had received a Feed my Sheep call from the Lord who had revealed that the feeding meant mentoring and the sheep were women. I had said yes to that call and that was the only thing that mattered.

Somehow, someway, my Great God was going to use me to start a ministry that would change the lives of women for years to come. My role was to not be distracted or dissuaded by naysayers, listen closely to the voice of God and do what He said to do, and give Him all the glory for doing something only God could do.

Ask Yourself: What “call” has God given me that He promises to fulfill, if I let Him?

I would love to hear how God speaks to you about overcoming the naysayers in your life.

You can leave a comment below, or if you receive this by email click here.

Portions of this blog are from Pastor Rick Warren’s message “Ignoring the Naysayers” at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, November 1, 2015.

*Rustic Blooms is a new sign making venture of my daughter Kim Mancini. I’m sure she had a few naysayers along the way (not me), but she’s making beautiful creative artistic signs as the orders pour in and I’m so proud of her.

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How to Mentor in a World Forsaking God

Thelma Wells take 2See note at end of blog for Thelma Wells comment about this picture*

You might want to grab a cup of coffee or tea before you start reading because today’s post is a little longer than usual. Once I start talking about mentoring …it’s hard to stop.

Since Adam and Eve, every generation has lived in a fallen world, but I think you would agree that our culture is falling away from God faster than any time in history. What one generation did in moderation, the next generation does in excess.

Just as the apostle Paul saw the need for mentors in his day, as he wrote to the young pastor Titus, we desperately need mentors today. And yet, many who should be stepping up to mentor and teach the next generation are falling away just as quickly as our world is falling away from God. Do you see the same correlation that I do?

If we don't teach our children

Such a sad, but true reality … and because spiritually older men and women are not reaching out teaching and training the next generations, young people are left to figure things out on their own while listening to the liberal barrage of worldly advice derailing them from every direction—media, schools, friends, the community…. They’re not hearing the truths of God; they’re bombarded with the lies of Satan. And yet, God set in place a way to prevent this. Yes, we could have avoided much of the evil happening in the world today if Christians and the church had been willing to invest in mentoring the next generation.

Praise God there are still many Sunday school teachers sharing the Gospel with the precious little ones who manage to find their way to church. And many churches have a youth ministry, but then as young people mature and start making their own decisions, the church often backs away when needed the most.

Instead of helping young people confront the difficult issues they’re dealing with today, the church becomes shy and reserved about discussing real world issues. Instead of ensuring these young people have mature Christians involved in their lives, like Paul was to Titus and Timothy and Elizabeth was to Mary, the church pulls away and so do the young people. Abandoned when they need guidance and counsel the most! Here is just one example of what our young people and parents are dealing with today:

The witness of God on the human heart will be silenced by a culture that approves of what we naturally know is wicked and damaging. To isolate just one issue, as transgender identity spreads and is accepted, little boys and girls who years ago would have received sound counsel to inhabit their God-given bodies will instead be encouraged to undergo drastic surgery. They will experience profound confusion as a result and will be –by some estimates—twenty times more likely to commit suicide than their peers. This is just one illustration of the baleful effects of the forces that now bully our body politic into conformity to anti-wisdom and anti-truth.” Owen Strachan “What the Future Holds” Tabletalk August 2015

What Can We Do?

So how do we everyday ordinary Christian women make a difference in today’s confused and fallen world? We speak, teach, and train the Truth straight from the Bible. In “In Touch” devotional, Dr. Charles Stanley defines wisdom: “Wisdom is the capacity to see things from God’s perspective and to respond to them according to scriptural principles.” We need to help spiritually younger women learn spiritual wisdom from the Bible to help them navigate the moral decline of our country.

For example, there are Christians and even pastors and churches today who say that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality, but no matter how many credentials these pastors and churches have behind their names, they’re only revealing how unwise and unfamiliar they are with the entire Bible. They forget that Jesus and God are One and God clearly delineates throughout the Bible the roles of men and women in marriage and sexual relationships, and that marriage is an earthly replication of Christ with His church. All you have to do is go to a concordance or Biblegateway.com to see verses like:

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5

From the beginning to the end of the Bible, you clearly see God’s plan for marriage between a man and a woman and the delineation and roles of each gender. The people of Jesus’ day knew the Old Testament teaching about sin, they didn’t need it spelled out for them by Jesus. Jesus didn’t specifically say don’t snort cocaine, don’t engage in sex trafficking, don’t murder unborn babies and sell their body parts either, so does that make them all ok? Of course not! The people of Jesus’ day knew it was a sin to degrade their bodies, engage in sexual immorality, or murder and these are still sins today. So we need to help the next generation understand how to apply the entire Bible to living a moral upright and righteous life instead of trying to use the Bible to justify a sinful immoral unrighteous life.

How Does Titus 2 Apply Today?

The verses in Titus 2:1-8 describe God’s plan for mentoring men and women and those verses are just as applicable today as they were when Paul wrote them. I’ve said many times that these verses are the job description for every Christian man and woman. I like the J.B. Phillips translation for this discussion. Let’s look at each verse starting with the men. And by the way, I want you to think of “older” and younger in terms of “spiritually older” and “spiritually younger.” Remember this is the apostle Paul telling young pastor Titus how mentoring works:

Now you must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching. The old [older] men should be temperate, serious, wise—spiritually healthy through their faith and love and patience.

So Paul tells Titus to provide sound teaching to the spiritually older men so they will be spiritually mature, wise, patient, and full of love as they lead their homes and teach the younger men (verses 6-8). Then likewise, these same things apply to the women along with areas specific to women:

Similarly, the old [older] women should be reverent in their behaviour, should not make unfounded complaints and should not be over-fond of wine.

Synonyms for reverent are worshipful, respectful, and humble. Many translations refer to unfounded complaints as not gossiping and slandering others. And interestingly Paul warns women against drinking and some translations even use the word addicted to wine. I’ve written many times on why drinking is a bad role model and Paul thought so too.

They should be examples of the good life,

This doesn’t mean the good life in terms of material possessions and a pain-free life, but the amazing joy and peace we experience as followers of Jesus and receive God’s goodness.

Those verses describe mentors who are positive godly role models—not telling, but showing mentees how to live as Christian women. I inserted “older” because you don’t have to be old in chronological years to mentor … just spiritually older than the person God asks you to mentor.

so that the younger women may learn to love their husbands and their children, to be sensible and chaste, home-lovers, kind-hearted and willing to adapt themselves to their husbands

The result of spiritual mentoring is mentees learning how to be loving wives and mothers who aren’t persuaded or influenced by the world’s ways. I love the way this translation describes keeping house as home-lovers who have kind and gentle hearts toward their husbands. How many marriages might have been saved if young wives had a mentor!

a good advertisement for the Christian faith.

The NIV reads, “so that no one will malign the world of God.” When we live the way God wants us to live, we’re a walking Christian testimony. But people today are maligning the Word of God and trying to trash the Bible. But we can help women be a shining example of all the Bible stands for by how we live our personal lives, raise our families, and help others find the peace that only God can provide in a world quickly turning its back on God. We can make a difference one woman at a time.

And here are Paul’s final words in this passage to the young men:

The young men, too, you should urge to take life seriously, letting your own life stand as a pattern of good living. In all your teaching show the strictest regard for truth, and show that you appreciate the seriousness of the matters you are dealing with. Your speech should be unaffected and logical, so that your opponent may feel ashamed at finding nothing in which to pick holes.

Does this sound overwhelming to you? It shouldn’t, because this is how God wants every Christian to live for Him, and we’re just sharing that life with another woman: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness—my tagline. Someone helped us learn how to live as mature Christians and now God wants us to pass on what we learned to a confused and vulnerable generation. The God of the Bible is still the God of the 21st Century.

A Survey of Women’s Ministry Directors

Dr. Gail Hayes daughter Gabrielle was 10 yrs old when her mom brought her to an Advanced Writer's and Speakers Conference and other Christian authors mentored her. Today Gabrielle is 17 and just signed a two book contract!

Dr. Gail Hayes’ daughter Gabrielle was 10 yrs old when her mom brought her to an Advanced Writer’s and Speakers Conference and Christian authors mentored her. Today Gabrielle is 17 and just signed a two book contract!

God gave me a call into ministry and a passion for spiritual mentoring. He has imprinted on my heart the urgency of every Christian passing God’s truths on to the next generation so they will embrace His ways for themselves. Not telling them what we believe, but helping spiritually younger men and women have a personal relationship with Jesus. Then we take the next step nurturing them to develop the knowledge, wisdom, and conviction to live for Christ, even in a world quickly turning to the ways of Satan.

This means we need to care about the next generation more than we care about ourselves. Our hearts need to break for confused young women who don’t value their worth and virtue as they look for sexual thrills, escape reality through drugs and alcohol, become dissatisfied with their appearance, or even their gender. We need to reach them quickly with the message that they are daughters of the King before they let the world make them slaves of Satan.

I did a survey recently on Facebook asking how many in Women’s Ministry would invite, welcome, or allow young women starting around age 15 to their events. Here’s a sampling of replies. I would encourage you to prayerfully read them all and see what God says to you about your personal role in mentoring and what your church is doing to mentor the next generation:

  • Yes, it is a way to mentor them. I think it’s fine if they’re come with their mother, aunt or someone else who is older.
  • No better place for her to be than with godly role models and those with a genuine walk with Christ.
  • We are their example!
  • I think it depends on subject matter. We’ve put age limits on women’s retreats because we’re trying to make a safe place for women to share personally about difficulties that may be too intimate to come out in casual conversation at coffee after a Sunday service. These deeply private issues are not likely to be shared within a group that has younger girls in attendance. (And probably shouldn’t be)
  • It would depend on the occasion. Special events, yes! An overnight retreat where confidentialities are shared…not.
  • Specific events, yes, but not across the board. I do think that we (the organized church) have placed too much emphasis on “youth group” being kids. They really are young adults and if we trained up our children biblically, there doesn’t seem to be a time for running around with peers and treating college life as if it’s a kids club, i.e., “college kids.” I’m more open to bringing those young women along right from their pre-adulthood … more so than I used to be.
  • I agree. There was a time that 14/15 was seen as grown and people of that age were treated as such.
  • If the topic/focus is intimacy in marriage, I think 15 and up is the perfect age for girls to acclimate into women’s events. They are being inundated and influenced by the most godless culture like no other time in history. There’s something powerful about women of like faith gathering together to worship and bask in His presence. Our girls need to be in that environment as much as possible. Feeling free and safe to share and be vulnerable are best and most appropriate in smaller group settings.
  • For retreat … 14 and up with a pre-interview required with each girl 18 and under. In other words, I would suggest that the mother or adult woman could not simply register them. This approach works well at our Christian school, placing responsibility for success on the student, rather than the student being enrolled by their parent(s). What is the purpose of the retreat? Will the young teens hinder the purpose? OR … make sure that your adult women attendees understand that when they register, they are agreeing to be part of the mentoring team at the retreat … training for both young and old. This means 24/7… when they lie down, when they wake up, and when they walk by the way….
  • I agree that the youth groups can cause what I can only describe as a ‘segregated’ body. One way to get the younger women 13-16 involved is in areas of service, such as a funeral dinners, VBS, nursery helpers etc. this way they will make a connection with the women who are involved in serving in women’s ministry and true relationships are formed then they have women to look at as examples. They then have an adult they can trust and to go to when they need advice or help.
  • I spoke at a retreat where teens 15 and older were invited. It changed the way the women 20 and older interacted with each other – everyone was more careful. Moms with daughters present didn’t open up. I know the difference because I’d spoken at this retreat previously. Laughter, tears, and authentic sharing were subdued. However, when I spoke at a daylong conference and 15 year olds were included, it was great.
  • I think every woman should be a woman’s minister and 14 and 15 year olds should be invited. Our girls are so vulnerable these days that we should be training them as their maturity allows.
  • Great question! I love taking my daughter to the retreats I help with (she 1st attended at age 7)…sometimes if I know the speakers story is a bit too much for her, she just comes to help set up, but she’s still involved. This year (she’s now 10) she is the co-decorator for ReNEWed Life Women’s Event! I would love to see teens attend our events as well…simply living out Titus 2!!
  • General events, like women’s Bible classes, conferences etc. are an awesome way to start the process of developing interest and thus passion for God’s Word and ministry for teen girls. I’m not certain however it’s best to include them in small group mentoring with adult women. Many women have expressed their discomfort with being authentic and sharing adult issues and needs with children in the group. Retreats can be a good place for teens if there are appropriately centered issues for their age group. I believe however this needs to be an individual decision by the retreat leaders for an event because there are some adults who would consider a teen, a child, and be uncomfortable to share her space, time and personal story with one or more there.
  • I would let them at twelve years old.
  • I’ve done retreats where there were girls in jr high through 80. I loved it! I lead the small group discussions for the tweens and teens. In the general session talks, the girls mostly sit together. At times, I speak directly to the women and then to the teens. Lots of giggles and learning.
  • Tried to offer both wide range of 14-90 age, and also stage/ age specific events.
  • ..NO QUESTION! With young women (this means girls) facing more “in your face” issues than ever before, I would definitely open it up to them. I work in schools and girls are HUNGRY and looking for reasons to remain pure. They are searching for boundaries and hoping that women will lead them. Handle your business and God’s business Girl!
  • It is what the Bible teaches us to do….”older women teach the younger women.” Sadly, in many cases that is not what is happening to our world today…. Young women are not being taught the values of godly living but instead Silly Women are leading them right on into worldly thinking while promoting things that will cause them much sorrows and unhappiness.
  • Without a doubt. Even if you are addressing issues that married women face. The girls today are savvy and if not, this bold world warrants that they be aware. Women’s events are fine for the Titus 2 connection of older teaching younger women, but the more intimate setting of home and hospitality really shouts interest, trust, and caring. We can all take part in mentoring someone to love Jesus more and more, and then they will quite naturally love and befriend the least to the greatest as opportunities arise because Jesus-living becomes their nature, not their second nature.
  • If breakout sessions are part of the event, you want the discussions to be age appropriate. Depending upon the intimacy of breakout topics, separate groups for the teens might be appropriate. Women who need help with abuse or other issues might be reluctant to speak if young women were present. An event encourages and promotes safety and privacy that difficult revealing and conversations will go no further than the event.
  • Yes, I highly recommend that ladies bring their daughters, granddaughters, and neighbors ages 12-13 and up to our monthly Sister 2 Sister events. We offer worship, meal, speaker who covers everyday issues backed by biblical truth, and we have table talk time. I encourage ladies to bring their daughters to our overnight retreats. We still have some moms who use the retreats as respite from daily life and they choose not to bring their girls. Others do bring girls, mostly 15 years and up.
  • Yes!! We are commanded in Scripture to teach!
  • Our experience…The best thing… at age 15 she can see into her future by listening to choices and consequences of others. Everyone else at the event loved the youth factor …for their wisdom and fresh perspective. It is breathtaking to watch God work through all of the women of age. My heart too, feels that God is creating a movement to LIFT women to flow THROUGH the generations, and as a result? We will IMPACT our families, businesses, and entire cultures- straight from the HEART of the home. (aka: a woman’s heart).
  • I would like to add, in our case, we had a very deep filled, release of fear in our class- and subjects of abuse, murder etc. All of the women were set free- including the younger generation … no one felt like they needed to hold back. However, MAYBE it depends on the type of group you have.
  • You could add to that: “How many of you are careful to invite OLD women who feel very left out?
  • We need every generation in our groups. Only then do we have the body life Paul speaks of in Corinthians. We need their wisdom!

I didn’t edit these, and as you can see the majority of these women’s ministry leaders championed including the younger generation. These young women today face worldly choices and temptations at very young ages, and we need to reach them BEFORE they make unhealthy choices that they will live with for the rest of their lives. And for those women who have already made some regrettable choices, we need to introduce them to our gracious, loving, and forgiving heavenly Father.

Mary (mother of Jesus) was probably only 15ish when the angel Gabrielle told her to go to her relative Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother) who was in her 80’s, and what a beautiful mentoring story. I wrote about that mentoring relationship in Face-to-Face with Elizabeth and Mary. Surely, this is still God’s will for one generation to teach and train the next!

My 9 yr-old granddaughter and I are studying together Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha

My 9 yr-old granddaughter and I are studying together Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha

Special Offer

If you’re starting a fall women’s Bible study, I’m offering a face-to-face chat on Google Hangout with every group that orders their Face-to-Face Bible studies from our website for the remainder of August and September. Order your studies, and I’ll contact you about when we can chat.

If you receive this blog by email, leave a comment here.

*Thelma Wells Facebook Note about Opening Picture

The God of the Universe has called me to speak to the nations about His mercy, grace, love and glory and has freed my daughter Vikki and her daughter Marsaille to travel with me to the Women of Faith Conferences throughout America to spread His good news. I give thanks to God in the name of Jesus for this blessing. Marsaille is 10 years old and God has called her to proclaim His name in song, poetry, dance, acting and worship. She is mentored by the best, her mother and other family members, The Women of Faith speakers and performers and gets to learn from Sadie of Duck Dynasty and entertainers like Building 429, and watch the dynamic Sandi Patty. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Dedicate your children to God, lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because you do not know what doors will be opened for them by God!
A grateful Grandmother, Thelma Wells, Core Speaker for Women of Faith

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Is the Light On In Your House?

candle

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Jesus said to every Christian in Matthew 5:14-16

Have you ever noticed that the Holy Spirit shining through you can either light up a room or clear it? I’ve often told my husband that I wonder if we’re not invited to certain events because of our conservative Christian beliefs. We don’t drink, swear, tell dirty jokes or laugh at them … but we’re a lot of fun, kind to people, and remember everything we said or did the night before!

Proud to be a “Right-Winger”

Recently, I had a conversation that shed some light [pun intended] on why some people might be uncomfortable around us. I was talking with a repairman who had recently done some work in a new neighbor’s house. He described them as: “They’re really nice people, but very right wing! I couldn’t get the h*** out of there fast enough.”

Seeing the shocked look on my face, he quickly interjected, “But they’re really, really, really nice people!”

I thought to myself, Of course they’re really nice … they’re Christians.

A friend recently wrote a blog about her missionary work in Brazil where their group went into homes sharing the Gospel, and experienced the same reaction as this repairman. She wrote:

“The aroma of Christ – Wow! Now I get it! Those whose hearts were open to the leading of the Holy Spirit said “Yes” to Jesus. Those who closed themselves off from the Holy Spirit could not wait for us to leave their house. Either way, God was pleased as we continued to share the awesome gift of salvation.”

Two verses come to mind:

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Ephesians 4:18

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

Then I wondered how many workers or guests had come into our Christian home and couldn’t wait to get out? Probably a few. Our prayer is that they would be attracted to our light and not repelled.

tealights

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10.

My Walk on the Dark Side

For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. Psalm 56:13

I remember clearly what it was like when I was walking in spiritual darkness during my backsliding days, and so I have insight into people blinded to the light of Jesus. Maybe God allowed me to experience those dark days so I would know how to reach people stumbling in the dark, who think their sin is actually fun and become defensive when someone tries to shine the Light into their evil dark world.

During my dark days, I wasn’t ready to listen to anyone, even though God tried many ways to reach me. I can remember making frequent business trips from Orange County to Bakersfield and the only radio station that would come in was a Christian station. Often, the same thing would happen at home.

I also had a Christian girlfriend who was single like me and our children were friends. She would often talk to me about the things I was doing, but I wrote her off as just a really nice friend; but I didn’t let her words penetrate my hardened heart.

Another time, I hired a Christian as an insurance agent to work in my division and he brought several others on board. I remember looking out of the high-rise office-building window and seeing them huddled together in prayer in the parking lot. I was appalled at their open display of faith. I wonder now if maybe they were praying for me. Later, after I rededicated my life to the Lord, I found myself out of a job for professing my faith!

God protected me during the many dark days when I made foolish choices, even as I would sit in church on Sunday morning and know I was going to sin that night. Only by the grace of God did my daughter and I survive my role modeling to her the dark side of a seemingly successful life. I write openly about those days in my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I was a prodigal raising a prodigal.

Children role model

We’ve All Experienced the Dark

I get so frustrated with those who are intentionally living a sinful life today … stumbling around in the dark, especially those who know better … Christians, who like me, walked out of the light back into the darkness. Satan makes sin seem alluring, just like he did with Eve. He even makes it seem fun. After all, if sin wasn’t fun, why would anyone do it? When the Light shines on that “fun,” we all look back and think how could I have thought that was fun … it was sick and depraved.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. Psalm 89:15

Those of us who now live in the Light all came out of some kind of spiritual darkness, blinded to the truth of the Gospel. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would choose to go deeper into the dark when they’ve experienced the light, but sadly many do and many are sitting in our churches today. They show up on Sunday, maybe attend a Bible study, and even could serve in a ministry, but they’re living a lie. There’s blatant sin somewhere in their life and the Light is convicting them…but not enough to change their ways.

You know what I’m talking about, the couple that looks so perfect sitting together and smiling through a Sunday morning service and the shock the church feels when they find out the husband has been having an affair for years or is addicted to porn. Maybe that husband was your pastor. No one is above the wiles of Satan! That’s why I am such a proponent of mentoring and accountability. We all have potential to fall away … we need someone shining the light into our life and asking us hard questions.

Our world is falling into darkness at a faster speed than ever in history. Who would have imagined 20 years ago that:

  • The Supreme Court would change the definition of marriage to accommodate same-sex marriage, when homosexuality is abominable to our God and marriage is the sacred replication of Christ and His church?
  • A once God-fearing nation would now try to take God out of every aspect of public life?
  • Planned Parenthood would not only be murdering babies in their mother’s womb, but also be selling precious unborn baby body parts? Barbaric is the word we would have used! Detestable unbelievable!
  • Or that our government would sign a treaty with our enemy and put our ally Israel in direct danger?

And yet, every day, there’s another shocking headline that our world is submerging deeper into the depths of darkness, a mire from which we may never recover.

Where is our Hope?

How do we keep our light shining when the world wants to snuff it out?

How do we stay strong and keep the aroma of a Christ-centered home?

woman-reading-bibleNo other way, but through abiding in Jesus and the Word of God. No other way! Do you believe that? Are you in His Word EVERY day? Are you praying every day for a revival of the Light? Don’t lose hope and don’t lose courage.

If you’ve let the darkness slip back into your life, repent, ask Jesus for forgiveness, and turn from your wicked ways now. Find a mentor or a pastor to help you make the necessary changes and then walk in the Light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Flashlight-BFL-206-If you understand what I’m talking about when I say “live in the Light” then shine your spiritual flashlight into the lives of those you know who need Jesus. None of us knows when He’s coming back, but we do know that He is coming and those still in the dark will be in darkness forever. I hope that’s a sobering thought for you as you think of that relative, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who needs salvation and needs it now.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

Many liberals on the left side are angry, defensive, and lashing out calling us things like “righteous” as if that’s a dirty word. “Christian” is spit out as vial. “Right wing” someone they need to avoid. They’re so angry and mean … because they’re living in a world of Satan’s darkness with no hope beyond this life. This is all they have and they have no hope for any kind of life after death … which could be right around the corner for any of them. Christians say death where is it’s sting, and they cry don’t let me get stung by death.

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Corinthians 15:55-57

I don’t have all the answers as to how God will let you shine your light, but God does, so ask Him. What does He want you to do? How does He want you to do it? Then listen for that still small voice and look for that bright spotlight He’s going to shine on the opportunity. You have nothing to lose, but you just might be the flashlight He will use to wake someone up to the Truth that will set them free from the grip of Satan.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

Revelation 21:23-25

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Losing My Job for Living Out My Faith Was the Best Thing That Could Have Happened to Me!

Why call me LordDaily we hear of people fired or sued for standing up for their Christian beliefs in a culture that is no longer Christian-friendly or God-honoring. As I read about the case of the Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, fired for publishing a men’s devotional book for a Baptist church group on his own time, God reminded me of how He changed the course of my life in a similar way.

In Cochran’s book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” he addressed issues of homosexuality, gay marriage and premarital sex from a biblical perspective.

Cochran has been a firefighter since 1981 and was appointed Atlanta’s fire chief in 2008. In 2009, President Obama appointed him as U.S. fire administrator for the United States Fire Administration in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he returned to serve as Atlanta’s fire chief.

The controversy with his book began in late 2014, when gay activist groups caught wind of the literature and demanded that Cochran be dismissed. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed then acted to suspend Cochran and ordered him to undergo “sensitivity training.”

In the United States of America, Americans should not have to choose between keeping your job and living out your faith,” Cochran told The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview. “And that’s the position the city of Atlanta actually has taken—that I have to have a choice to live out my faith or to keep my job.”

Cochran’s story took me back to December 14, 1995, when something very similar happened to me.

My Unjust Demotion Was A Divine Moment

Many of you know that the Lord called me into ministry when He told me to “Feed my Sheep.” You can read more of my story on my website. At the time, I was running a successful branch of a national insurance company and had been attending Fuller Theological Seminary at night and on the weekends for a year.

I joined the insurance company in 1987, while still in my worldly, backsliding, single days, and worked my way up from an insurance agent to a Division Manager. In the summer of 1992, I rededicated my life to the Lord at a Harvest Crusade with Pastor Greg Laurie, and that December I married my godly husband Dave. My life took a radical change and I no longer participated in many of the “social” activities of the business, and I was open about my faith and my rededication to Christ.

My boss heard about me attending seminary and on December 14, 1995, he called me into his office. For some reason, I sensed I might need a witness, so I asked one of my District Managers who worked for me if he would accompany me. This gentleman and his wife were fellow Christians and we had become friends as couples.

Neither of us could have imagined what would happen next. To this day, my friend says he witnessed a “divine moment” and he has told the story many times as a testimony

My boss started the conversation by saying he’d noticed a difference in me. Something to the effect that I wasn’t “all-about-the business anymore.”

I told him my priorities had shifted to putting God first, then my family, and my job in that order, but I was still maintaining all my sales numbers and fulfilling my management responsibilities. I had a great team working for me and our sales remained high.

He responded: “In a perfect world, that might work; but in this world [he named the insurance company] must be your god and the company must come first in your life! So I’m demoting you from Division Manager and you’ll now work as an agent again out in the field under …” and he named a person leading a division an hour away from my home.

Division Manager had been a high-paying, high-profile job with lots of prestige, independence, and success. But now, it was as if Jesus was standing behind my boss’s chair asking me who I was going to serve: the company or Jesus?

Easy decision. I prayerfully resigned and launched the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, completed my Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary, and started About His Work Ministries, my writing and speaking ministry.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.—Matthew 6:24

I Could Have Sued

With today’s anti-God culture, I’m not sure I would have a legal case against my boss and the company, but 20 years ago I might have had one, and I had a witness who was more then ready to take an oath to all that he had witnessed.

This wasn’t the first time I’d been harassed by this same boss. While supposedly interviewing me for a training video, he first started asking questions about my sex life in front of the camera crew. When I quit the company, the camera crew came forward and said they would gladly testify to what they had witnessed.

I prayed about both situations and realized that I should thank this boss for helping me make a hard decision. When you’re comfortable and making a good living, even though you know it’s not where God wants youit often takes something like this to plummet you into doing the right thing.

The Lord reminded me that vengeance was His and that I was not to waste my time, energy, or money on a lawsuit. God would take care of it…and He did. I later heard that this boss was fired from the company over similar misuses of his position.

Using My Talents and Gifts for God

As a Division Manager in the insurance agency, I gave daily presentations to recruit new sales agents. I was often one of the top recruiters in the company, and I had been a successful agent too. I found that sales came easy to me. Over the years, I had given the same recruiting presentation so many times, I could think about other things simultaneously. So one day as I gave the rote presentation, I heard God’s voice saying to me, “What if you were as good at winning souls for me and doing something you believe in, as you are at winning recruits for a business you don’t believe in as much?”

God planted the seed, but I wasn’t ready to take such a huge risk and quit my job even though I knew I no longer belonged there. My husband and I were blending a family, we had a mortgage, car payments, lived in expensive Southern California… couldn’t I just go to seminary and then wait to see how God wanted to use me when I finished?

That would have been the safe, comfortable, easy way, but that day in my boss’s office, God was asking me pointedly, “Who will you follow … right this moment? Man or Me?”

Jesus“I Envy You!”

As I was packing up my office after I resigned, one of the other Division Managers who had recently become a Christian came over to take some of my supplies. He had a large family, lived an expensive lifestyle, and knew about our boss’s misuse of his position, but he felt trapped. He said, “I envy you. You’re getting out.”

My happy ending didn’t tie up neatly in a bow. I continued going to seminary and started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry in my home in January 1997, but in March of that year, my husband was laid off from the job that was supporting us. Still God whispered, “Where I guide, I will provide.” And He did … our lifestyle changed drastically, but the mentoring ministry was spiritually maturing and winning women for Christ. You can’t put a dollar value on that!

And today, God has taken Woman to Woman Mentoring around the world and thousands of women have experienced the blessings of growing together in Christ through resources I wrote to help churches start their own mentoring ministries.

On my website, I tell the story of how this was the time where About His Work Ministries got its name.

Choose Today Who You Will Follow—Man or The Messiah

It’s not popular today to take a stand for God in a world turning away from God’s Words and His ways. You’ll be rebuked, unfriended, called names, maybe even spit on …just like Jesus was. It would be easier to remain silent or not voice the Truth that you know in your heart. The risk might be too high you say. What if I lose my job? My friends? My standing in the community?

But what is anything worth without your integrity and the peace of knowing that you did not deny Christ in your heart, your words, or your actions. God will honor your loyalty to Him … He guarantees it.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.—Matthew 16:25-27

What if I hadn’t quit that insurance agency? What if I had fought for my just rights in the company and in court? Woman to Woman Mentoring might never have been birthed.

God had a plan, and while I didn’t know what it was at the time, I knew it would be big because He was giving me a big testimony to share. My husband and I have never looked back from that defining moment in our lives, when God so clearly asked me, “Who will you follow: man or Me?”

  • Where do you need to take a risk for God today?
  • When have you been silent and you know you need to speak up?
  • Who is watching how you live out your faith?
  • What changes do you need to make to live out your faith more boldly?

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The “Call” That Changed My Life

Feed-My-Sheep-390x250Site of Peter’s Primacy Church at Tabgha, near Capernum – the area of Seven Springs

When you saw the title of this blog, you probably thought I received a life-changing phone call, but I’m not talking about that kind of a call. I’m talking about “The Call” from the Lord. Yes, that “Call.”

Twenty years ago, April 25, 1995, I was at a Women in Ministry Conference in Portland, OR trying to figure out how God was going to use me when I finished seminary. I had told Him I would work anywhere except in women’s ministry. Why? Because when I was a divorced, single, working mom, I felt unwelcome in women’s church activities. There were definite clicks and I wasn’t part of the “in group.” As the manager of an insurance team, I had watched some women’s ruthless ways in business, cattiness, nonprofessional, and whining and I didn’t want any part of it. Surely, the Lord knew that and would use me in the business world.

The second night of the conference, I was sitting at a round table, sipping coffee and listening to piano music while awaiting the evening’s speaker, Jill Briscoe. Suddenly, without warning, I heard the words “Feed my sheep.” I looked around the table to see who was talking about sheep, but everyone was engaged in their own conversations. So I said, “What sheep? Where? And what would I feed them if I found them?” Again, I heard, “Feed my sheep.”

I Agreed to Feed His Sheep! Now What?

As I realized it was the Lord talking, I said, “Ok.”

That night, I called my husband and excitedly told him about my encounter with the Lord. Dave calmly said, “Well honey, let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what this means.” So we prayed.

God answered the next morning when the speaker told us she was going to teach from John 21:15-17 where Jesus is telling Peter if you love me, “Feed my sheep.” I looked at the handout to see what her topic was and she was going to talk on “Shepherding Women in Your Church.” I let out an audible, “Oh, no!” This can’t be possible; surely God has the wrong woman.

When I arrived home, God began to reveal that the sheep were women and the feeding was mentoring, and I’ve been feeding His sheep now for twenty years. First, I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, which continues blessing women in churches around the world. Then God asked me, a non-writer at the time, to write a resource to help churches start their own mentoring ministries. Next, He sent me on the road to share the Titus 2:3-5 message and glued me to my computer writing books about “Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.”

Celebrating 20 Years in Ministry

Speaking @ Circle Drive Baptist churchCircle Drive Baptist Church, Colorado Springs, CO April 25, 2015

On April 25, 2015, in commemoration of my 20-year anniversary of feeding His sheep, God had me speak at Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs on the topic they chose, “Reigniting the Titus 2 Woman.” The next day, I trained in Parachute, CO at Grace Bible Churches Woman to Woman Mentoring ministry first Kickoff Night. I hadn’t taught at a Kickoff Night training in many years, but it was such a sweet way to reminisce and be back in the heart of where it all began—watching women walk side-by-side with Christ at the center of their relationship.

Kickoff NIght @ Grace Baptist Church, Parachute, CO

Kickoff Night @ Grace Baptist Church, Parachute, CO

 

Do I think God planned for me to have those mentoring speaking engagements on the exact 20-year anniversary of hearing “Feed my sheep”? Absolutely! That was all God. No coincidence, no serendipity—100% God celebrating with me the amazing ministry that can take place when we simply say “Ok” to His call.

How is God Calling You?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.—Romans 8:28

God calls all of us. Every Christian has a purpose and a call. But the key to knowing your call is to listen…have ears that hear God when He speaks whether it’s through reading your Bible, hearing a sermon, listening to worship music…. He’s talking all the time, but we have to listen.

When we hear His Call, we have a choice, “Yes Lord I hear ou and I will do what ou ask, and go where ou lead.” Or “Not now Lord, I’m too busy … too tired … too unsure of myself … just not ready to make such a commitment.”

Where has God been calling you? What has He asked you to do? We’re living in times where every committed Christian needs to know God’s purpose for our life and follow the “Call” that will not only change our life, but the lives of others, the culture, the world.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.—Proverbs 19:21

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I would love to hear your mentoring story to share in my next book. If you’ve been a mentor or mentee, please contact me.

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