Women

Living in the Ordinary

By Cindy Goding


Last Friday’s event, Shopping, Sweets & Stories was an AMAZING time! Hearing the information on the refugee women who are artisans at ReNew Project in Glen Ellyn was hard and sad but also so full of joy and hope! 


We were able to spend some time in God’s Word together and reflecting on what it is like to Live in the Ordinary, during Christmas.


Living in the ordinary, during Christmas (the most “magical” time of the year). Christmas is amazing! The smells, the sights, the beauty, the splendor, the fun! The gifts, the special time with friends and family, even the church is decorated so beautifully and special! It all adds up to an amazingly wonderful time. Yet, Christmas can also be so difficult because life doesn’t suddenly “get better” or  “easier” just because it’s Christmas.In fact, the hard or stressful or grief seems to be magnified during Christmas for many. How can we slow down and just live in the ordinary every day? Especially during Christmas?


John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”


Who is the Word? The Word is  Jesus! Living in the ordinary is remembering that Jesus CAME to EARTH to dwell among us! Which means, he lived the ordinary, mundane, day to day life. He did that so he could be our true mediator between us and God the Father. He did so he can truly empathize with us, he actually understands what it means to be fully human and experience fully human emotions. 


We celebrate Christmas because God chose to lovingly send Jesus as a tiny baby born in a manger in the city of Bethlehem so long ago. He didn’t come to earth as this magnificent, glorious deity who descended from the skies with lightning flashing and a sign saying, “HERE I AM TO SAVE THE WORLD!” No! He came as a lowly baby. He had to grow, he had to learn, he had to be cared for, protected, he had to make friends, he had to get along with siblings, he had to be taught not to run into the street without looking for donkeys that would run him over! Why did God send Jesus that way? Why wasn’t it just an “instant fix”?


Isaiah 7:14-15 reads “Therefore the lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.”


Immanuel literally means God WITH US. God sent his son Jesus to dwell WITH us, in everyday life! Jesus learned just like us what is good and what is bad, but the difference is that he chose good and perfect EVERY SINGLE TIME.


I think Jesus came in this manner because it allowed him to experience aspects of life that he knew we would experience. He experienced having to overcome and resist temptations. He experienced the joy of having close friends around him to build him up and edify him. He experienced the loss of close loved ones and grieved over the loss. He experienced betrayal from someone incredibly close, he experienced exhaustion as thousands followed him crying out for healing and prayer. He experienced compassion as he healed the lame and sick. He experienced anguish as he cried out to the father the night of his betrayal. He experienced immense pain as he was nailed to the cross to die for the payment for sins.


Jesus didn’t despise ordinary life, he came to redeem it.


Jesus had a deeply significant and immeasurable reason he was sent, Jesus was sent to save the world! John 3:16 says, “For God so loved THE WORLD. That he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. He was sent so that the payment for sin, for my sin, for your sin, for everyone’s sin would be paid and atoned for. He was sent to bring good news,  the gospel, to the world so that whoever believes in HIM will have eternal life. 


We look at life through a different lens knowing that Jesus paid the price so that our ordinary life has extraordinary meaning and purpose! This is the most perfect and generous gift because truly we don’t deserve it, we didn’t do anything and will never be able to do anything to earn the gift of salvation, and yet God gave it freely so that we can be forgiven and have relationship with God and have everlasting faith and eternal hope.


Jesus came to experience life so that when our ordinary lives become extraordinarily hard- he has the compassion and the empathy to say, “I get it. I REALLY GET IT. I understand. Bring your sorrows, your sadness, your anxiety, your stress, and lay it at my feet. I will take from you because my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. And he takes those burdens and brings them to the Father who cares so deeply for you and is working all for your good. 


So it doesn’t mean that Christmas, the most magical time of the year, will suddenly become easy. You may still have to stand in lines, you may still have family drama, you may miss out on that perfect gift, you may burn your Christmas dinner, and you may still be overwhelmed by sadness or grief. BUT… what Jesus did on the cross DOES MEAN that there is redemption. That Jesus will come again, he will be triumphant and this ordinary life that you’re in will be worth it as you spend eternity with the Savior. 


So as we are heading into Christmas, refocus your gaze on the reason, the true reason why we celebrate.


Jesus was born to make our ordinary, extraordinary. 




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Hope

By Cindy Goding


Did anyone else feel incredibly encouraged and challenged by Mark Barnes’ sermon on Sunday? If you haven’t listened to it, I would highly encourage you to go back and listen.


We have entered the advent season where we take the month to prepare our hearts and minds as we look forward to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ so long ago. The savior that was sent to pay the price for our sin so that we could enter into a relationship with God forever. 


Sunday’s sermon revolved around HOPE. I loved how Mark explained the difference between just hope and BIBLICAL hope. Biblical hope is based on who we place our hope in and not simply what we hope for. WOW! Biblical hope is looking forward to something WITH confidence that our hope is not in vain! And why? Because it all changes when it is GOD in whom we place our hope in! 


Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”


Hope is a concept that can be difficult because often we place our hope in transient things. People, things, moments… people disappoint us, things break or disappear, and moments are fleeting. So when we place our hope in transient things, we often feel ourselves crushed in spirit when they ultimately fail us. 


Biblical hope is where the “rubber hits the road” metaphorically for our faith. Hope is a choice, it’s a determined, and intentional choice. We must CHOOSE to look past the transient and look to the only one who will never fail, never disappoint, never leave, and who always fulfill promises. God is the ONLY fail-safe option to place our hope in. He is the only one who could provide the way to eternal life and glory. He is the author, creator, and sustainer of life and therefore we place our hope in him only- because only God is eternal and all powerful! 


Hope isn’t easy all the time, especially when facing hardships or trials. Hope isn't easy when the outcome isn't what you wanted. But remember, hope IS easy when you place your hope IN God! We grow our hope when we grow in our knowledge of God and how he views us.  We grow in our knowledge when we spend time with him. 


So be full of HOPE! Hope in God and hope for the future because we know that he is sovereign and good and kind and wonderful and compassionate and loving and gracious and all powerful and all knowing and never changing and the protector and provider of all things.


God IS hope



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Praise Him with Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving- Click this LINK to the worship


Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him, all creatures here below

Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

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But first... Lament

By Cindy Goding


As we approach Thanksgiving week, I want us all to take some time to prepare our hearts by first lamenting over sin in the world, in society, and in our lives. 


Lamenting is more than just being sad, it’s more than just sorrow. It’s what we see in the bible when prophets or people tear their clothes and cry out to God, when Jesus weeps over his friend Lazarus’ death. Lament allows us to make room in our hearts as we confess and grieve our sins. Lament renews our mind and allows for God to move in mighty ways. Lamenting connects us together in sadness and grief because of our faith in God and what He is able to do. We don’t have to “go through the same thing” to have an understanding. With lament, we can truly come alongside each other in grief and support and encourage through what God is doing in the midst of any sadness and particular situation. Lament allows empathy to deepen a sense of shouldering each other’s burdens because we care about the spiritual health of each other. We desire sanctification, we desire for ourselves, and for each other to become more like Jesus each day, so we lament together as a united body of Christ. 


Lament allows us to truly acknowledge the brokenness of this world. The evil in the world, the darkness in the world, the “unfairness” in the world. Lamenting allows us to say, “BUT GOD”... Lamenting grants us the opportunity to witness and proclaim the grace, mercy, and love of God. Lament allows us to petition to God and our faith in God promises that our laments ARE heard and will be answered in his timing and by his will. 


In James it says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” -James 4:8-10


There is purpose behind lament. Lamenting allows us to humble ourselves, to right our posture and our hearts before God. So when the week of Thanksgiving comes, we are cleansed and purified and able to truly express gratitude and joy. 


So lament, take the time. Reflect and sit in the grief and the sorrow of your sin, repent, ask for forgiveness, extend forgiveness, humbling yourself before God. 


Because God is SO good, and so kind and merciful that he allows us to recognize our sin and turn from it. He desires a relationship with us that isn’t marred by sin. He forgives without bitterness, he loves without hidden agendas, he freely blesses those who are faithful, and protects his beloved sons and daughters.


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13



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For Such A Time As This...

By Cindy Goding


This Friday is Story Night for all kingdom women. I invite you to come and hear how God has greatly moved in the lives of the women who are sharing! Story Night goes from 7:00-8:30 up in The Loft.


One thing I love about story nights is the continuous thread of God’s goodness and sovereignty in each story. How each woman who shares has experienced different trials and victories but have seen God move in mighty ways, or are currently still in that season but choosing to praise God. 


One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in the book of Esther and it reads- 


“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

‭‭Esther‬ ‭4‬:‭14‬


I love that thought that God has uniquely and intentionally placed us where we are at in the circumstances we are in for such a time as this. That he has incredibly big plans that have been laid out that will be accomplished through his design and his will. 


So as we sit and hear the stories, we sometimes can get caught in the “I don’t have a story like… or God hasn’t used me in that way… or my story isn’t “interesting” enough… or I have nothing to share”. And I want to tell you, NO!! None of that is true.  For such a time as this God is using you and YOUR unique and divinely inspired story because it has nothing to do with any of us, but all for His glory! 


In the story of Esther, she could’ve walked away, she could’ve said no, she could’ve just kept her head down, but she chose not to. She chose to step into the battle because she knew that God would accomplish his will no matter what, but she CHOSE to be a part of his story, she WANTED to experience the glory of God working, she DESIRED to walk in obedience no matter the cost because she knew, “for such a time as this…”


So kingdom women, FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS you are here! You are chosen, you are holy, and dearly loved by our one true God, the one who sits on the throne


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Are you ALL IN? Or are you going to lose out?

By Cindy Goding


On Tuesday night we studied the story of Caleb and Joshua and how they were sent along with the other spies to check out the promised land and report back to Moses what they had seen. Now God had already promised the Israelites the land and all that was in it, but he was wanting them to see for themselves the goodness that is in store for them. There was also an act of faith because there were already people inhabiting the land that were bigger, meaner, tougher, and far outnumbered the Israelites, and yet they were promised this land. But when the spies came back to report, the majority of them complained about what they had seen. They felt it would be impossible to take the land, to win the war, to do what God himself guaranteed. And because of that, the consequence for lack of faith was devastating. Moses and all those around him would not be allowed to enter the promised land, an entire generation lost out. 


Now, we shake our heads at the Israelites and yet, can’t we all relate at some level? Can’t our physical circumstances in front of us become “too big” to see around? To believe that God can mightily move them? Doesn’t the storm sometimes just seem a little too overcoming to think you’ll make it through? Doesn’t the task of kingdom work just seem slightly overwhelming and so instead of forging on we don’t do anything? We shake our heads at the Israelites but we are all guilty of letting what we can see around us hinder our faith in what God can do. 


I have found this to be especially true when it comes to kingdom work. God commanded us to go and make disciples, Jesus’ very last words here on this earth was to have us go and make disciples, the Holy Spirit empowers us to go and make disciples… and yet, we shy away from the task because it seems too “vague” or “abstract” or “time consuming”. I’ve been guilty of this myself! But the matter of fact is, GOD COMMANDED us. And God requires COMPLETE obedience, or there will be costly consequences. See we can’t acknowledge prayer while ignoring discipleship, we can’t encourage tithing while ignoring discipleship, we cannot “love our neighbors” without doing discipleship! And there is simply no excuse here on earth that we could ever possibly have that would hinder us from this kingdom work.


But God IS moving! He will continue to move and grow his kingdom and don’t we all want to be a part of that? Don’t we all want to leave a “lasting impact” here on this earth, one that lasts way past the physical?


Come to the Business Meeting Sunday and hear just how God is moving through the Kingdom Women here at Meadows and how mighty acts of discipleship have started and the impact that they’re making! Come and hear! 


Lord, I pray your Spirit to start a wave of growth, of learning, of passion, of desire and thirst to dive into your word and get to know more of who you are and your love for us. Lord, I pray that women (myself included) understand the significance and importance behind what your last words were to us while before you ascended into Heaven. Lord, I pray that we began to understand the urgency behind this mission and the realization that you ARE coming back and Lord there is so much work to still be done. Lord, I pray that our hearts begin to absolutely break for those who are lost in our lives and I pray for creative and Holy Spirit inspired ways to reach them. Lord, we know that you are moving and we are praising your name for the movement amongst the women. Let it continue, let it flourish, let no man or enemy stand in the way of the mission that you have put us on. Thank you Lord for your goodness. Thank you Lord for these women, they are all dearly loved, holy, and chosen by you.

Amen


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Common Knowledge

By Sherry Farnsworth


“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive”


A person who deliberately lies to you even one time cannot be trusted. 


“The sin of gossip is hearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart”


Gossip is the opposite of the gospel. We get bored and want to entertain ourselves by listening to shameful stories of other people’s lives. We get proud to know something that others may not know and want to show off our inside scoop. Or we get mad and crave the satisfaction of character assassination from afar snipping at our enemies when they don’t even know they're in danger. 


If you know a person who gossips, stay away from them because the Bible tells us in


1 Timothy 6:11, “But as for you, O man flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”


God’s blessings on you



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The Importance of Our Words

By Sherry Farnsworth


“If any one thinks he/she is religious and does not bridle his/her tongue but deceives his/her heart, that person’s religion is worthless.”

-James 1:26


“For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned”

-Matthew 2:37


“Know this my beloved brothers/sisters; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and be slow to anger.”

-James 1:19


“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him/her keep his/her tongue from evil and lips from speaking deceit”

-1 Peter 3:10


“Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but speak only what is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear it”

-Ephesians 4:29


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Flourish

By Cindy Goding

 

The other day I went outside onto my patio and noticed this little flower growing. I was astounded to see it growing in the tiniest of cracks in the stones. Talk about perseverance right?

 

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

-Romans 5:3-5

 

This flower didn’t just start growing, it has flourished in its environment that it is placed in. I pray that is how we each pursue God’s design of our life. Despite the circumstances, situations, places, or people we interact with, we flourish and grow, vibrant with life. I pray that we recognize the environment we find ourselves in doesn’t define the outcome but rather we acknowledge God’s sovereignty in the situation and follow in obedience to Him. I pray that we be like that flower, understanding that survival depends on growing our roots down deep into the good soil that will nourish us, and the good soil can only be found in God’s word. I pray that we understand the only thing that will get us through is acknowledging that Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross, and was raised to life so that we could pursue a relationship with God and that we won’t squander the chance to build that relationship. I pray that we cling to the hope that is given to us only through Jesus so that when we find ourselves like the flower we are able to ignore circumstances around us and focus on God. I pray that even in hard times, we display God’s beauty and glory to all those around us.

 

Thank you Lord for the example of this flower, I pray we all persevere through the circumstances we find ourselves in, and cling to the hope that Jesus provided through his work on the cross. 

 

Amen


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What A Night

Women's Ministry kicked off the 2022-2023 year with a fabulous start! We recently had our fall event Paint and Pie. It was a fun night of fellowship! Our artist in residence, Melinda Lyons led the women in a fantastic step by step fall painting. Then we enjoyed yummy pie and time spent hearing God’s word. Check out the newsletter for upcoming events!

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