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Elders

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

A Little Spark Flies…but read to the end for your husband’s DVD!

Our PTP Spark week was therapy in lots of ways for many people, but I could not exactly say it was a therapeutic week of peace at Serenity. We had a house full of people and three of them were six and down. ‘LIza, who is fifteen months got into the office supplies drawer in my kitchen and scattered thumbtacks all over the floor. I did not get them all up before Colleyanna who is four stepped on one in her bare feet just as it was time to leave for the kick-off at the building on Sunday morning.  ‘Liza also got into my purse and scattered my Spark receipts and my credit cards all over the entire place as I was trying to get out the door. Then I applied shaving cream all over the back of my hair as I complained “Why is this can of dry shampoo not spraying?” A fever virus ran through all the kids and one adult. Eliza Jane picked this week to explore just about every gymnastic skill you can imagine. A pipe leak produced rain on a stack of boxes of new Digging Deep books in our basement. Through this I spoke 7 times, Glenn spoke eight times and we each attended about 25 or so sessions…WITH KIDS! =). Our spiritual cups are full and our physical cups are a bit depleted. God is sovereign and good. 

One quick episode as I think back make weeks like this all the more worthwhile. Ezra and Eliza and I made a quick run to the dollar store in the middle of the frenzy. I don’t know what made this elderly woman in the store delusional, but she said this “Ma’am, I just have to comment on the behavior of this little boy. Is he always this good? He is just quietly helping that baby girl to see the things she is looking at and he is nicely waiting his turn to show you what he is finding. I just love watching him.”  Of course, having probably just refereed a big argument as we got out of the car, I was looking around for whose children she was seeing. But, in the end, I decided I would play along for the benefit of positive reinforcement.

“Well…” I said, “He is a very good boy and he is a good big brother.”

“How do you teach him to be like this?” she asked. 

“Well, it’s really not me. God is so good to us and he tries to be like Jesus.” I was talking in simplicity with volume, so Ezra would take this in.

“Well, I am new in town,: she said, “and I love the Lord, too.” 

Our conversation developed and we invited her to come to West Huntsville and hear Ezra’s grandaddy preach. Turns out she has a background in the church, but it’s been a while since she attended. Ezra told her he would watch for her at Bible class. When he saw her checking out in the front of the store he said “She’s leaving. Let’s go tell her bye and make sure she knows where the Bible class is.” And so we did. In the parking lot, he tried very hard to go and give her a card about our worship times, but she got away too quickly. 

I forgot all about her. Then on Sunday morning, as we sat down on our pew, I saw him searching all over the auditorium. I said “You need to sit down now.”

“But I think I do see her,” he said. He pointed to a lady in a far-away section and said “Isn’t that her?” 

“Isn’t that who?” I responded. 

“The lady from the dollar store. I think she came.”

Now I would have given my last dollar if it HAD been her, but it wasn’t. “Maybe she will come next time,” I said. “But whether she ever comes or not, we are going to keep inviting people because someone will come  and someone will obey His gospel and go to heaven if we keep on inviting.” 

I love that little heart. I love the fact that at PTP Spark, we had ladies from far-away places who are just beginning to learn about the church of our Lord. I love that He has allowed me—even little finite me (and you)—to be a tool in the greatest evacuation mission in history; evacuating souls from the power of sin. 

In other SPARK news, lots of men are asking about a DVD that was mentioned in one of the sessions. During SPARK week, it was out of stock. Glenn wanted me to tell your husbands it’s restocked now. It’s a how-to DVD about grooming your future elders in the church. It’s a tool that’s helped lots of churches prepare men to be godly elders and I really can’t think of a more important work on the planet right now. We have a desperate need. So many churches have failed in recent decades to replace the godly leaders that have passed to the eternal reward of faithful shepherds. There is a void of guidance and the sheep are wandering in so many places. You can find this helpful program here: www.thecolleyhouse.org. 

As I write, I notice my coffee mug is resting on a book called “Disciples of the Empty Tomb” (by Brandon Renfroe).  Those words must be more than just a book/coaster on my bedside table. May that discipleship be the cornerstone of all I think and pray–all my stay, in every way, in every day!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Month Nine Winners!

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:

Lilly Howard

Jeri Oppermann

Kara Spillmann

Here are their thoughts:

#1

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)

#2

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)

#3

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 byhcontest@gmail.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.)

Coming soon:

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.

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Month Nine: Wrapping up!

I just got back to my hotel room from a day that I’ll not soon forget. I walked in the dry bed of the brook of Elah where David killed Goliath (I Samuel 17)  and I walked in the very wet tunnel that Hezekiah constructed underneath the city of Jerusalem (2 Kings 20:20). I cannot wait to write about the blockbuster lessons that just naturally come to mind when viewing some of the amazing sights we’re seeing. I’m forever changed already. I can’t wait to get to heaven, because seeing what you’ve loved reading about is a powerful faith phenomena! 

I know, however, that first I should complete the study for May. On the podcast (…Did I mention this transmitted from the shore of the Sea of Galilee?), I promised this list of verses  from the epistles which use the word “doctrine” and, in context, show that doctrinal matters have already been settled or decided. Here’s my list, though yours may vary a bit. 

Romans 6:17

Romans 16:17

I Cor. 14:6

I Cor. 14:26

Eph. 4:14

1 Tim. 1:3

1 Tim. 1:10

1 Tim. 4:6

1 Tim. 4:13

1 Tim. 4:16

1 Tim. 5:17

1 Tim. 6:1

1 Tim. 6:3

2 Tim. 3:10

2 Tim. 3:16

2 Tim. 4:2

2 Tim. 4:3

Tit. 1:9

Tit. 2:1

Tit. 2:7

2 Jn 1:9

2 Jn. 1:10

The point, of course, is that, since all doctrinal matters have been settled by the Holy Spirit, the ONLY authority of elders is in areas of judgment. Therefore, it is only natural that all of us will not agree with the judgment of our elders on every matter. That’s the nature of opinions. Authority for action in realms of judgment, biblically then, belongs to the elders. May we strive to hold up the hands of godly elders who are unafraid to lead God’s people in righteous choices. May we raise our sons to be qualified to do take on this daunting and honorable vocation in the body. 

Also, we will be choosing winners of the prize package from Month 9 at the close of this month’s study, so don’t forget to enter your paragraph. Directions are in the study. 

Diggers are some of the best people in the world! The Word makes good-hearted women great! 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

DIggers’ DIscount Starts Today!

Time for the Diggers’ discount on the book “Awake at Night”. This book, is one of two choices for reading in month nine (question number ten) of this year’s Authority study. One of the options includes reading that is found online and is free of charge. (I always want to include options that are available without cost.) The other is the book “Awake at Night.” This book consists of 100 actual case scenarios from real congregations in which elders have faced challenges in leading God’s people. These problem scenarios include moral issues, doctrinal errors, and challenges to delegated authority. They were composed by Glenn Colley and scriptural ideas for solving problems in churches are offered in this volume. All case studies are anonymous.

Either option for reading will suffice. What we are hoping to cultivate though this assignment is a deeper appreciation for the system of authority that God has instituted for the body of the saved on earth today, as well as a determination to search the Word for the answers to each church problem. From the reading, I am hoping we, as women of the church, will sanctify our hearts in submission to the elders of our local churches as they direct us in His Will, even if/when we may think the decisions of those leaders are scriptural, but not the ones we might have personally made.  I believe either reading will help us to do this.

I’m also hoping that those of us who are mothers and grandmothers will renew our passion for bringing up godly leaders for our churches. I believe we are experiencing a famine, in most places, of strong and godly leaders. I believe the number of men who are the right age to be starting to serve as great elders today, was diminished about thirty years ago by a movement of change and a rejection of authority in many of our congregations. Sadly, many men, who were then in their twenties and thirties, left faithful adherence to the doctrine of the New Testament and now, congregations are lacking in strong men who are in their fifties and sixties. It’s imperative that we be raising our boys to be the elders who will restore churches to the model of great leadership that God intended. 

If you do order the book and, after reading, are able to pass along to someone who is serving as an elder or some younger man who is a potential future elder, I hope you’ll do that. The goal, for this book, of course, is to help promote strong and Biblical leadership in as many churches as it can reach. 

The book will be discounted (for Diggers only) from $12.95 to $9.00 during the months of April and May at https://www.thecolleyhouse.org/store.  You can see a video about the book there as well. Discount begins at 8 am CST on April 2nd! Keep digging! You’re an encouragement in lots of ways to lots of people as you do!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Annual Holiday Contest…Win $50 in gifts of your choice at TCH!

Okay, this is going to be fun! Maybe you’ve noticed that this year’s holiday special at the Colley House  is for shepherds in the body. All five items in the bundle are designed to help men grow into becoming  great elders in the Lord’s church or to help existing shepherds to grow in wisdom that comes from the scriptures. The bundle is a very nice gift for any elder in the body or a very useful addition to your church library. Each item in the package is a great individual gift for any Christian man, young or old, as well (so it’s really five gifts in one). You can read about this 40%-off special here: https://thecolleyhouse.org/christmas-shepherds-special-christmas-save-40-for-a-limited-time

This year’s contest is in the same vein. I know you have some good stories here. Send us your favorite funny story about a leader in the church. It can be about one of your elders, one of your ministers, or one of your Bible class teachers. It can be one of those “this-should-never-happen-in-a-worship service”  moments or it can be the one about “my husband.the minister who forgot…” I know the cogs are already turning.  Please be sure it’s something we can publish on the blog. If you need to change or omit names (to protect the blundering), be sure to do that. No one is exempted from entering (unless you are actually an admin on our website!). 

Send us your entries by December 15th at noon to byhcontest@gmail.com. The winning entry will receive a $50.00 gift certificate good for any Colley House products. The best entries will be published.

So let us hear from you. Share some holiday cheer. Here’s my story:

When I was a child, we had an elder in the congregation who just had a hard time talking in front of a large audience. Our congregation changed the order of exactly what was done prior to eating the Lord’s supper. It was decided that we would stand while the scripture was being read that preceded the supper and then remain standing while the prayer was offered in thanksgiving for the bread. (Prior to this particular Sunday we had been standing while reading  and then we all sat down for the prayer.) So this flustered elder, as he presided at the table said this, following the Bible reading:

“Cease be pleated…uh…er…I..I mean restain manding.” 

Or, I could tell the one about the Sunday school teacher (also the minister), who, during the auditorium class, turned around to write on the dry-erase board, revealing that his wife was needing to get to the store to get those BOUNCE sheets for the dryer.  Red panties were stuck on the back of his shirt. 

Or, I could mention the time my husband was preaching and using an illustration about family reunions. He said this: “I love family reunions. I especially love to see all the new babies and the young children running around. It gives me such a feeling of immorality.” (He actually meant to say “immortality”.) 

I could go on. But so could you! So send us the submissions. Have a great Monday!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Christmas Shepherd’s Special…Save 40% for a limited time!

Shepherds. The Colley House Christmas Special this year is for your elders. Have they blessed your life this year? Have you ever taken the time to communicate thankfulness to those men of God? These five items are perfect, not only for saying “thank-you”, but also for helping them grow to be more and more like Christ, the Good Shepherd. Your whole congregation might be blessed by this gift. Get one for each elder or split the bundle up between the leaders in your congregation. Put the five items in your church library.  Each one is also the perfect gift for putting spiritual leadership in any man. You may be helping your congregation for decades to come. You may be helping your sons to grow into those leaders who can help lead the church through perilous times. You could be blessing your own home with godly leadership! Save 40%, for a limited time, when you purchase these together. Happy Holidays!

  1. Headed to the Office—This book is an easy-to-understand Biblical resource for preparing young men to be elders in the Lord’s church. It’s perfect for classes or individual study for ages 11 and up. The best way to use this in a class is to have a wise older man (maybe an elder) teach this material to the young men in the local church. 
  2. Grooming Your Next Elders—This DVD details a program your shepherds may want to implement to insure that there are men ready to step up to the plate in future years to boldly and soundly lead your congregation to greater service and influence. Our own congregation used this “training” idea and we think it might be useful to yours, too. There’s a bonus DVD with helpful tools and tips for transitioning between preachers in the local church. 
  3. Awake at Night—This best-selling Colley House book is a compilation of 100 real-life scenarios that elders have faced. Collected though the years by Glenn for elder training classes, this book brings elders and future-elders head-to-head with the kinds of problems that are very real (and often very difficult) in 21st century churches. The book offers Biblical and practical advice for navigating difficult paths when problems arise. This one’s tried and true. 
  4. The Qualifications of Elders—This DVD series is a candid discussion full of relevant truth about the Biblical qualifications of elders in the local church. It’s helpful in congregations where elders are needed, but it’s also a great way to encourage those sacrificial shepherds who are daily working and praying to be the best leaders they can be for the flock for which they serve. 
  5. Premarital Counseling DVD—The devil is trying hard to get our families and often elderships have few area resources for family counseling. Now, elders can offer premarital counseling via DVD to those couples who are seeking to establish godly homes. This dvd is also very practical in equipping shepherds to offer godly advice to married couples when problems arise .  

Here’s hoping these gifts find their way into hands and hearts that make for brave, gentle, godly shepherds who will lead flocks around the country to be the God-honoring sheep-on-the-right (Matthew 25:33)! Here’s the link to purchase: https://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Christmas-Shepherds-Special/p/123864997/category=0