Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #34–Ladies’ Day Participation

10930887_10152530654641384_8560838046804738628_nAs you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 34  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids (today our girls, particularly) to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Perhaps this service suggestion is more to the women-at-large in our congregations than to individual moms. I want to implore you to keep having ladies’ days, women’s conferences, sisters’ seminars, ladies retreats and women’s sessions at lectureships and I want to tell you that I have personally seen the lasting benefits of involving our young girls in the execution of these events. I have traveled to speak at both kinds of events—those events in which there were no young women on the program and those where fresh young faces were before us leading us in songs and prayers and reading scripture. After having participated in these programs for over thirty years now, I can tell you that typically the congregations whose teen members (and even younger girls) were included in the ladies events are the ones which are, still today, enjoying a more vibrant, working local sisterhood. I have watched teen girls who gave short devotionals at women’s events or ladies’-nights-out develop into excellent ladies day speakers, who are now holding the line in sound teaching for women and faithful women’s service areas—the ones we read about in Titus 2.

I’m very excited that, this past weekend, I sang with a large group of women led by two teen girls. Young women lead the prayers and introduced me to the audience. I’m even more excited that, in a couple of weeks, I’ll attend our own West Huntsville ladies retreat where about a fifth of the women in attendance will be high school and college girls. I’ve watched them grow up. I love them, in some ways like they are my own. I’m thankful they are plugged into the work of the West Huntsville family. But that kind of zeal and that sense of inclusion doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of offered opportunities and encouragement following successful participation. But you want it in your congregation. It makes for great mothers and wives and zealous workers in the kingdom. It makes for great people raising our future elders and preachers! So use those girls in your ladies’ activities and when they finish the job, give them big hugs, write them notes of encouragement and then look for ways to use them again.

Just yesterday I planned a fall ladies’ weekend with ladies in the coastal area of Virginia. They have elderly ladies who are comfortable driving to activities in the daytime only, so they entitled the Friday night session  “Planning your Happy Home,” a “prevent-disaster” type of lesson for women who are not yet married or are young wives and mothers. This kind of planning is wise on the part of the older ladies who are “teachers of good things” as Titus 2 instructs. The younger women who are able to come will not only benefit from leading women in worship, but they will get a full dose of practical home-making tips from the Scriptures. And when I say home-making tips, I mean the wisdom from the Father that makes homes strong enough to get to the golden shore intact, with all family members in the spiritual boat.  I know there are no guarantees, sisters, but there are spiritual life preservers and inflatable life boats if we plan ahead and know how to use them.

Getting to heaven is a family affair… in your little unit and in the family of God. We need each other. I’m glad God bought the church. It was expensive to purchase the worldwide family unit I needed so much (Acts 20:28). I’m glad for the security of that large purchase.

Got Boys? Make a New Year’s Resolution.

images-10Satan is trying so hard to turn your teen boy’s head and heart from the purposes you’ve diligently cultivated in him. He’s a teenager now. You don’t cuddle with him in your lap, read him stories or play Candy Land with him anymore. In fact, it seems there’s more “device-time” now than there is real parental communication going on in his world. So, what’s a mom to do? Do we really raise them for the first twelve years just to watch our relationships and influence slowly erode, making us virtual strangers in the same houses?

No!! You and your husband can foster a close bond with your teenage son. I see it happening all around me. It’s challenging because of what the devil is doing in your son’s world of school, peers, and media. But it is possible and it is eternally rewarding! I hope to include snippets throughout the coming year in this blog about ways we, as moms, can enable our sons on the path to holy living and godly leadership. For today, let me tell you about an upcoming day in Tennessee that’s worth your drive for a great and intentional beginning of a better 2015 for your son (or in the case of my correspondence this morning, your whole boys youth group!)…

Just this morning I got a text from a friend who works with youth in a small congregation…a group of kids who want to be active, have good hearts, but just cannot afford the large hotel-housed youth events that are doing much good these days.  I am going to suggest an event for your boys that will cost you nothing but gas to get there and may possibly even exceed (in individual hearts) the great good done at a mega-youth event. I say this because of the subject material and because I’m a little biased regarding the speaker.

If you have boys in your home or youth group, please consider the following. I can personally attest to the fact that, if your boys take to heart the material presented  from the Word on January 17th at Fairview and if they make the practical applications in their lives (applications that will be clearly taught in this short seminar), they will live the rest of their teen years in purity and become leaders in godly homes.

I’d pay a lot of money and drive a long way for that kind of training. But you don’t have to pay a lot! Free admission, free housing for out-of-town guests in Christian homes, free breakfast and lunch, and a free t-shirt?!  It’s like getting all the best things about an EU or a EYC or a CYC (or some other letters) without the cost that might be prohibitive. It’s also a great event for dads and sons to attend together. (Makes for some great family Bible time discussions later on.)

Your guys will hear about dating behavior, leadership skills, how to combat the temptations pornography presents in our world, and how to make spiritually healthy media choices. They will hear about the way real men choose women of faith and then how they treat those godly women.

So here’s the lowdown. Be sure and make your reservation within the next few days. The t shirt will be the least valuable thing your guys come away with, but still, they will want one!

Boys to Men:  Doing it God’s Way 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Time:  9 am to 2pm

Speaker: Glenn Colley

@ Fairview church of Christ, Pulaski, TN

1765 Industrial Loop Road, Pulaski, 38478

**Breakfast and Lunch provided

**Out of town housing available on a first come first serve basis.  We will do our very best to make sure everyone has a place to stay.

Also find us on FB.

Free T-shirts available if you pre-register by January 7, 2015

Link to register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TbcIZOd_1T1jmYLnqGlf8z0IXsNe31iTsgh040v5JA0/viewform

 

Boys to Men: Doing it God’s Way 2015 – Registration Form

docs.google.com

Sister to Sister: For Teens Today – Be Picky!

CraneYou probably remember from somewhere back in 2nd grade a paperback English workbook that had .all those fill-in-the-blank sentences in which you were to write homographs….No?…You don’t remember?

Well, for those who are rusty, a homograph is a word that’s spelled and pronounced exactly like another word, but it means something totally different. Here’s an example:

We can store the extra food in the freezer.
Let’s go to the tire store and look at a new set of Michelins.

There are lots of these words of course, but I recently wrote a children’s book that had a lot to do with one particular set of homographs. It’s about the word pick. Now you may not be interested in a children’s book, but the concept of picking is pretty important all the way through high school and even college.

One kind of pick is “to choose,” as in “Did you pick study hall, yearbook or track-and-field for seventh period this year?” Another kind of pick means “to pluck,” as in “Eve picked the fruit from the tree and shared it with Adam.” (Another kind of pick is like picking your nose and yet another is like a dental pick or an ice pick, but we’ll save those for another day.)

Picking is very important when it comes to dating and marriage. You can pick (as in choose) who you think you might marry a bunch of times. I picked a red-headed boy named Robert when I was in the seventh grade. I just knew that one day we would live together in a little white cottage with a white picket fence and we’d have a little girl named Roberta. Unfortunately, Robert was in the ninth grade and he probably never even knew I got a flutter in my insides if he ever looked at me. Sad, but true.

In another sense, though, it’s not really all that sad. Robert “got over” me (I’m sure that was stressful for him…) and I moved on to a few more dream picks.

But pluck-picking is altogether different. See, once you plck an apple from a tree, you can never put it back, and once you’ve picked a husband or wife and plucked him or her from that world of single people, you can never put him/her back. He/she is yours forever!

Jesus said it this way:

And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

The picking is very important. You can choose and re-choose in your mind (and you should do it very carefully as you honor God’s laws of purity) until you slip on the golden band of wedlock. But, regardless of what the world thinks about the ease of slipping from one marriage relationship to another…regardless of how effortless it seems for the celebrities to “move on” from one partner to another, once you’ve plucked a marriage partner, your committed in the eyes of your Father for the rest of your life.

Be choosy when you pick (choose), but be as sure as you can be when you pick (pluck)! You can’t put the apple back!

This article by Cindy Colley first appeared in Kaio e-zine, Kaio Publishing

Sister to Sister: Q and A – Secondary Virginity?

womanquestionQuestion: I went to a youth rally recently and there was a girls’ class and the question was asked about sex before marriage. A lady on the panel said that you can regain your virginity by “second time virginity.” Some of my girls from the youth group came to me to ask if “… it’s ok to have sex before marriage because based on what she said you can have sex and repent and you can regain your virginity?”

Response: While some may believe that virginity is a commodity that can be restored once surrendered, I do not believe that to be the case any more than a peeled apple can be restored to the state of fresh and uncut. I believe the restoration of virginity is a physical impossibility.

Someone might argue that, since God has promised to purify sinners upon their repentance of sins and the meeting of His conditions of purity, that such purification restores them, as women who have engaged in premarital sex, to the same state of guiltlessness as the girl who has never had sex, thus reclaiming that status of virginity.

It is true that purity of soul can mercifully be restored after the child of God sins. How thankful am I every day that this is true. It is true that the young unmarried girl who has given in to sexual temptation and lost her virginity can be forgiven. She can be as white and pure before God as the one who has guarded her virginity. Should they both die in a covenant relationship with the Father, both will reach the safety of the arms of Jesus.

But it is simply not the case that both of these young women are virgins, because of the definition of the word and because of its use in the Scriptures.

Genesis 24:16 aptly defines the word for us:

And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

Leviticus 21:13-14, in describing whom the high priest was to marry, would make little sense if a virgin could have been one who had previously been sexually active. It is clearly instructing the priest to marry a woman who has never been sexually active:

And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.

The first part of Deuteronomy 22 is a section of scripture that would be futile in inclusion in the law and in application if a virgin damsel was anything other than a sexually untouched female. In this passage, virginity was clearly a physical state that hinged on abstinence from sexual activity rather than a state of purity of heart before God.

Perhaps the strongest passages about the true meaning of virginity have to do with the immaculate conception of our Savior. If a virgin could possibly be someone who has known a man sexually, then Mary could have, at the time of the birth of Jesus, been a penitent fornicator!

But, just as the prophet Isaiah foretold, the Lord was born of a virgin…a woman who had not known a man:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Is. 7:14).

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:23).

Mary, herself, defined the state of virginity for us when she asked of the angel, “How shall this thing be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

For the truly penitent fornicator, perhaps there is comfort in calling the purified state a sort of “second virginity.” I do not want to subtract from the comfort found in forgiveness. Every sinner should claim the release and peace that comes when we begin again in purity and holiness before a merciful God. His forgiveness is certain. His cleansing is thorough. But this blessing, as wonderful as it is, does not make a woman who has “known a man” become a virgin again.

One more illustration: Suppose I am entering a second marriage after my first husband left me for another woman. Perhaps I feel much sorrow and experience deep regret as I contemplate my earlier decision to marry my first husband. Perhaps I truly wish this could be my first marriage and that the previous marriage could simply be “erased.” I can enter a God-approved marriage. I can please God in this new relationship. I can have a wonderful second marriage. But I will still be a woman who has been previously married. It is an experience that is simply part of my history.

Premarital sex is kind of like that first marriage. One can, after having sexual relations and later meeting God’s terms of pardon, be as pure in the eyes of God as any virgin. She can be as dedicated to Him as any virgin may be. She can be as holy in her present relationships as any virgin may be. But she will still be a woman who surrendered her virginity. That surrender is an experience that is simply a part of her history. When and if someone to whom she is contemplating giving her life in marriage asks the question, “Are you a virgin?”, the answer she must give is “No.”

Fornication can be forgiven. But it, like other sins, will still bring regret and unpleasant consequences in the present life. (I Corinthians 6:18).

Sister to Sister: Seminar with a Guarantee

unmadebedA father who wears the name “Christian” reveals to his recently divorced wife and to his teenage children that he is a practicing homosexual. A young minister’s wife leaves her husband for another man. A young married couple walk down the aisle to ask for the prayers of their church family as they struggle to hold a marriage together in the wake of revelations of adultery on the parts of both spouses. A young woman, raised in the body, lashes out at Christians who try to convince her to stop living in fornication with her boyfriend. A young woman stops just short of fornication after inviting a friend into her apartment when he drops by to return something she had left in his car. She’s not sure if he is a married man or not.

These scenarios have a few things in common. First, they are all real scenarios–situations about which Glenn or I have been contacted within the last two weeks. Second, and sadly, they all involve people who were once faithful New Testament Christians. Third, they all involve sexual sin.

The devil loves to attack the people of God with sexual temptation. He did it to one of the families in the church of Christ at Corinth (I Corinthians 5). He did it to the church in Thyatira through that wicked woman, Jezebel, in Revelation 2:20. We should never let our guards down in our homes and congregations when it comes to sexual purity. If the devil can get us to succumb to fornication, he has succeeded in defiling our temples (I Cor. 6:19), inflicting injury to our bodies (I Cor. 6:18), grasping glory from our Lord (I Cor. 6:20) and endangering our congregations (I Cor, 5: 6). It’s a big win for the devil.

Through our society, which is saturated with pornography, sexual content in entertainment venues and so-called “tolerance of sexual choices”, our children are often targeted by Satan at very early ages. In fact, I would venture to say that if your children enter God-approved marriages having maintained sexual purity throughout the dating years, it will not be accidental. It will result from intentional parenting and early decision-making that happens primarily in the home.

But intentional parents will also take advantage of resources that help enable kids to make early choices for purity. Let me illustrate it this way:

Suppose I told you that a seminar was occurring in a couple of weeks about ACT test preparation. Suppose I told you that tips would be given at this seminar and that I could guarantee that, if you diligently applied all of these tips, your child would be able to score a 33 or above on the ACT during her senior year of high school. You, being the smart mom you are, would have made your plans in the first thirty seconds of a New York minute to be at that seminar.

Suppose I told you that a seminar was occurring in a couple of weeks about preparation for sexual purity. Suppose I told you that tips would be given at this seminar and that I could guarantee that, if you diligently applied all of these tips, your child would be able to navigate the single years in sexual purity. Would you make plans to be at that seminar?

The difference between the two scenarios may be more than singular. But one difference is this: No one can guarantee your child a 30 on the ACT. But I really can guarantee that tips will be given at any purity seminar at which I speak that, if diligently applied, will take your child through the single years in purity. This, of course, is true, not because I’m giving the advice, but because it emanates from the Creator Who knows what’s good for your child and Who made a way of escape from every temptation (I Cor. 10:13).

I understand that you can get this advice without coming to a seminar (We all read the same book.) I know it may not be possible for you to come. I know your child can navigate the teen years in purity even if she doesn’t come to a seminar. Many have successfully done it. All the same, though, using every tool available is a great idea in this sex-saturated climate.

So here is just one upcoming seminar. If you live within driving distance of Pulaski, Tennessee, I hope to see you there. It’s just one stop on a long journey we’re making together to a place where impurity will be a thing of the past. Can’t wait for that! Register Here!

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Questions and Answers – Very Personally Speaking

Question:

My husband and I have been married for a little over 2 years. My problem is that I just am not very much “into” sex. I need to be romanced and my husband just isn’t great at romance anymore. He was very romantic while we were dating, but somehow it has just sort of slowly disappeared from his personality.

Anyway, my problem is, I never want to (except maybe once or twice a month)  have sex with him. It’s surely nothing he can help. I just don’t particularly enjoy it. It’s not that I’m not attracted to him because I am. It’s like I can’t get my mind to think sexually. I want to be one of those wives who is all about it and willing and actually really wants sex, but I’m not. I try to give it to him anyway, but I want to want it. Is there something wrong with me?

Do you have any suggestions for me? This is affecting our marriage because, when we have sex infrequently, we seem to argue more. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know what is wrong with me.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Response:                                           

Well, let me first of all say that I am 99 percent sure that there is nothing wrong with you. However, it may still be a good idea to discuss this with your OB-GYN and be sure. Having said that, let me add that this is very commonly expressed by Christian women and I remember when we were in our early years….Kids were keeping me up all hours and the money was tight, so we did not go out for many meals. Our work was demanding and we lived far from parents, so I sometimes felt like sex was the last thing I needed on top of everything else that was going on. Of course, it is very different for men. We must, and I know you do, realize that sex is a very real need for husbands. It is something like hunger, itself. It builds and builds to the point of really physically gnawing at him if he is deprived. He is far more likely to be tempted to lust and to view pornography if he is deprived for long at a time. It is not a choice that he feels this way. It is the way God made him. It is a really good thing, because, for God’s men, it draws them to be intimate and to depend on their wives for fulfillment, just as the wife should depend on him for physical sustenance. It makes the relationship cohesive as well as intimate. God knew what he was doing. While, at our best, we enjoy and look forward to sex, I doubt that any of us NEED it in the same way our men do. It’s really important, too, for you and me to realize that the affirmation of our WANTING to be with our guys sexually is a huge part of their manliness. It is a really big part of what makes them feel like the men of their homes…that they are needed, wanted and on their game. It affects their performance in their jobs, their church work and their parenting. I know you know this, too, but, of course, Biblically, your body does not belong to you. It is his and the frequency of your sex should be whenever either of you want it (I Cor. 7:3-5).

Only when you are in happy compliance with this biblical principle will you even start to find the joy God wants you to have in the marriage bed. So you start there and then you work on growing to love sex. Get a good book to read together. You (the woman) should choose it since some of the books in the “better sex” section are pornographic. Some good ones are “Sheet Music”  (Leman) or “The Gift of Sex” (Penner) (although this is not a blanket endorsement of either).  Then you try to be the initiator at least once a month. Try to be happy when he is the initiator. If there is a time when you really are just too tired or ill, let him know that if he can wait till __________, then you can make it worth his wait! Just make yourself happy doing this for now because you know God wants you to grow in the appreciation of this part of His wonderful gift of marriage. Soon there will be more times when you really will look forward to it. Try to work toward a point when you can tell him which touches specifically are pleasurable to you. Try to do funky things (like making up code language for sexual messages so you can say them to him in public, in Song of Solomon fashion –or sending a message about “later tonight” in his fb message box.)

Now, having said that, I must say this also. Just as the sexual part of intimacy may not be so easily appreciated by you, the romantic part of intimacy seems a little more awkward for the man, so be patient with him. He thinks that, since he is bringing home the bacon, and attending the welfare of the family, that you should obviously know that he is attracted to you, loves you like crazy, and that all the romance is wrapped up in the service to you and family. Of course, if he only knew that a little (okay, a lot) of… let’s say…less practical romance on all the days (not just the ones when he is thinking sex is going to happen) could do so much to enhance your view of him and his advances, then he would make the effort to be more creative, more thoughtful and, in general, more romantic. Remember, though…your happily wanting sex cannot be dependent on his romance. He must remember that his thoughtfulness and kindness to you (romance) cannot be dependent on your excitement about sex. You both do it because you want to please God and each other. You make an EFFORT to do the right thing because you want to please the other. And then, reciprocally, YOU will get the reward for making his sexual pleasure your priority. I can almost guarantee you will come to enjoy it. HE will be rewarded for being romantic…and he will come to like being romantic. Now, if you haven’t already done so, try to read “You’re Singing My Song” together and, if at all possible, try to attend one of our seminars together. The seminars have a very practical session to teach men how to be romantic.

One more thing. Treat your husband the way you would want your little boy to be treated one day by his wife. Be the kind of wife you would want his wife to one day be. I love my son so much. I want his needs to all be filled and I want her to do it with joy, because I want my grandchildren to grow up in a household of peace. You are so right. You keep sex to a minimum for a while and you will keep arguments to their max. By your simply seeking the answers to these issues in your marriage, you have led me to believe the problems will find resolution. You WANT to fix this and that’s the most important element in the fix. Also, you should pray separately and together about this. God can do anything. You know that!