Here are the winners for the Digging Deep, Month 9 summary paragraph contest. There were lots of exceptional entries and, as a group, diggers are talented writers. I was deeply moved by some of your thoughts and encouraged for the future of the church by all of them. I heard from women who are doing all they can to raise their sons to be godly leaders for the future battles of the body. (The devil will make sure there are always adversaries of truth!) I also read about husbands who are struggling as current elders and their wives’ renewal of commitment to be their supporters and provide the peace and balance they need at home. While I made the assignment for the growth of those studying, I am sure I was most blessed by the reading. Your entries made me keenly aware of some ways I can be a better helper to the godly husband who leads our home and works diligently for the kingdom.
The three winners are:
Here are their thoughts:
In Hebrews 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, and 1 Peter 5:4, Jesus is referred to as the Shepherd of His people. He is also called Bishop, or overseer, of our souls. In Acts 20:28, the elders are referred to by these same terms. This leads to an interesting question: how are the elders specifically like Christ? Obviously, they are conformed to his image, as all Christians should be (Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10). But other Christians are not deemed shepherds or overseers. One parallel I would like to point out is this. According to Strong’s, the word “over” in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 means “to stand before.” The preacher at our congregation, Heath Rhodes, explains the word this way: in ranks of soldiers, the ones on the front lines take the hits for the others. They stand out front and take the hits so that the soldiers behind do not have to. Truly, the most amazing thing is that the elders take this position willingly. Now consider. “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23. “All have sinned,” Romans 3:23. Thus, all of accountable age deserve death. Yet, because God loves us, Christ died on the cross, so that we wouldn’t have to. Passages such as Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 3:18 make this clear. Verses such as Hebrews 7:27, Ephesians 5:2, and others make known to us that this sacrifice was willing. As Christ willingly took the punishment for our sins, so the elders willingly stand before us. Christ and our godly elders take the hits so that we don’t have to. And it all is done willingly. One way our elders are like Christ is in their loving, willing, selfless sacrifices for the good of our souls. May we always be thankful both to them and to God for people like that, and even more so, for the perfect example and salvation Christ’s sacrifice has given to us. (Lilly)
12:52 a.m. glares at me as I am awoken by my husband’s tossing and turning. This has been a recurring episode, since he took the role as elder at our congregation. The book “Awake at Night” is not only a book for elders, but also the wife and all Christians in the Lord’s church. It really opens my eyes and heart to all those beautiful men and the issues they must handle. Through my husband’s stress-filled, loving eyes and his sleepless nights, I can see just how much sacrifice and hard work that goes along with the role of an elder. An elder has a huge responsibility overseeing the Lord’s people (1Peter 5:2). Sometimes I used to think that elders aren’t doing much but meeting once a week to discuss the happenings in the building and an occasional problem with members. However, there is so so much more to their role. Meetings and conversations occur so often and with great discretion. Through their Biblical knowledge, conversations must be had, and decisions must be made using sound judgment. These can wear on our elders. This is more than a job; it is a serious commitment that these men have chosen. They will have to give account for every soul. (Hebrews 13:17) As the wife, I must admit there has been some tough and selfish times. There are times he is not physically there while he is out making visits or having meetings. Other times he is not mentally or emotionally there, thinking through and hurting for these individuals. Being supportive can be difficult at times as my heart aches for him because of the many emotional moments and all I can do is be there to pray, especially with circumstances he is unable to share. However, I am so very proud of my husband and honored to be his wife. This role takes much love and diligence as well as a great knowledge and wisdom of the Word. I respect and appreciate our eldership and the love they have for the Lord’s church and for souls. I pray for my husband and all elders as they serve the Lord in shepherding his flock. (Jeri)
About 25 years ago, when I was in a youth group that was
comprised of nearly all girls, I made a vow to God. Frustrated that
there were no Christian boys to date, I promised that if one day He
would give me boys, I would raise them to be faithful Christians. Fast
forward to present day: I am “Mama” to two wonderful young boys.
Even though at the time my promise to God was made for selfish
reasons, I have never forgotten it. My focus, thankfully, has shifted:
from that of a youthful desire to a serious responsibility. I’m doing all
I can to keep my promise, but after reading Awake at Night, I realize
that I must take things a step further. I need to be training them to be
faithful Christian leaders – to one day desire the office of an elder
and to boldly, yet humbly shepherd the flock with wisdom from above. (Kara)
So, congrats to these three sisters. Please send me an email at email@example.com and let me know what three free items you’d like from https://thecolleyhouse.org/store and they will be coming your way! (Be sure to include your address.)
Thoughts about 1 Corinthians 11 and the head-covering of women.
More from Digging Deep Israel
Dig-A-Bits for Digging Deep Month Ten
So much to write, so little time. Let’s be praying about (and registering for) Polishing the Pulpit 2019 (https://polishingthepulpit.com). Only a few weeks till lots of us will be meeting there! Even if you can only come for a part of this rich experience, it will be worth your time/money investment. I hope to see you there.