Sunday, August 29, 2010

Women Discipling Women

After growing up in a church and floundering through what it meant to follow Christ in high school, mostly by seeking moralism and religion, the Lord changed my heart to see Him as glorious and wonderful, and to convict me of the sin of chasing after my own worldly interests. This is just a summary of my long process toward truly following Christ, and eventually, he used the life of older women in my church to push me to Himself.

In college, I had the joy and opportunity to be discipled by a wise God-fearing woman who taught me so much about the Word, demonstrated how to live a holy life before me, and showed me how a godly woman should live in our culture. In looking back, the single most important thing she taught me was the absolute necessity of Jesus and the Gospel. Prior to that, the role of Christ in faith seemed more of a good story to me and not the key to my justification, redemption and hope.
Her friendship and counsel over the course of my college years was invaluable to me; her prayers and wisdom helped me through struggles in relationships, theological issues, challenges as a varsity athlete, career decisions and most significantly, my relationship with Christ. Sometimes it was merely the simple act of getting off the college campus for a hot meal and some good conversation that made an incredible difference in my week. Being able to vulnerably share the concerns and struggles in my life and to be pointed to Christ and holiness in a loving way was an immense blessing. Post-college, my mentor is still one of my closest friends and I know the Lord used her in a mighty way to call me to Him at a time of great turmoil and confusion in my life. Praise be to God!

She also demonstrated the Titus 2 mandate given to us women to care for the women who are younger than us. After experiencing this, I am all the more encouraged to share my life with younger women so that they may learn how to live for the Lord where they are in life. Here's a great article describing this challenge written by Susan Hunt:

I had spoken on the topic of biblical womanhood and a college-age woman asked me a thoughtful question: How can I think biblically about my womanhood when I am constantly told that independence is power and that I should seek my own fulfillment and determine my own destiny?

My answer: “Go to godly women in your church and ask them to speak the truth of biblical womanhood into your life. Ask them to show you how to live for God’s glory as a woman.” But then I wondered, “Is this young woman’s church preparing its women to answer her question?” Someone is teaching women and girls what it means to be a woman. Is it the church or the world?

Older women discipling younger women is not just a nifty idea someone concocted, and it is not optional. It’s a gospel imperative. The apostle Paul writes,

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

In light of this passage, let’s consider some questions that will help the church sound the call for women to invest themselves in younger women. I pray that this brief article would challenge women to respond to this high and holy calling.


The mandate of Titus 2:3-5 is that older women are to disciple younger women, teaching them how to grow in godliness in their distinct relationships and calling.

Some of the principles of discipleship embedded in this amazing chapter will help us to understand the specific directive to women in verses 3 to 5.

Principle #1: The church is responsible to encourage and equip women to disciple each other

In verse 1 Paul addresses his instructions on discipleship to Titus, the pastor. Since women training women is an integral part of the church’s ministry, Titus must equip the women in his church to do so. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every church leader to see that women are equipped for this calling.

Principle #2: The church should teach sound doctrine

In verse 1 Paul tells Titus to teach sound doctrine, doctrine that is healthy or whole. This shows us that women discipling women should flow out of and be consistent with the regular preaching ministry of the church. This discipleship should help women apply sound doctrine to daily life and relationships.

Principle #3: The communion of the saints

Yet verses 3 through 5 also tell us that discipleship is not just the responsibility of church leaders (see also Ephesians 4:11-16). As the Westminster Confession of Faith states: “All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head… and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.”

Biblical discipleship is relational. The content of the gospel should be taught in the context of relationships that validate the gospel. Our relationship with God is personal, but that relationship also brings us into community with his other adopted children.

Older men and women have the generational responsibility to share their gifts and graces with younger men and women. They are to tell the stories of their victories as well as their failures and show how their stories are part of God’s grand story of redemption.

The Titus 2 mandate is life-on-life discipleship that guides and nurtures to mature Christian womanhood. It is a mothering ministry. This mothering spirit is evident in Paul’s description of his own ministry to the Thessalonians:

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thess. 2:7-8)

Principle #4: The gospel is our motivation

There are costly challenges in this chapter. Investing in the lives of others costs energy and time. It means taking relational risks. Why should we live so sacrificially?

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (vv. 11-13).

Christ came and he is coming back. He appeared in grace as a babe and he will come in glory as the King. While we wait for that glorious appearing we are to make disciples. Unless we are motivated by the gospel we will become discouraged and weary.

Principle #5: The gospel is powerful

Paul concludes with an electrifying reminder of the power of the gospel.

[Jesus] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himselfa peoplethat are his very own, eager to do what is good (v. 14).

Some discipleship is age and gender specific but all discipleship is to be gospel-focused. It is Jesus who redeems and purifies us. For a fallen sinner to become eager to do what is good is the radical work of the gospel. The result of our investment in the lives of others is not dependent upon our own power or experience. It is only the power of the gospel that can transform self-centered sinners into Christ-centered disciples. And one of the wonders of gospel-driven discipleship is that even if we do not see this transformation take place in the disciple, it will take place in us as we disciple others.

See more of the article here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back to the books

I've been getting back into some serious leisure reading (is that an oxymoron?) and its been pretty great for my soul. The non-stop action of work and grad school has had me on a pretty long hiatus from consistent reading, so cracking open a good book over the past week has been extremely enjoyable. Its amazing the significant effect of what I put into my mind on my daily life and outlook.
I've almost chewed my way through Collin Hansen's Young, Restless, Reformed. The book is a journalists attempt to uncover the progress of the Reformed Christian movement by traveling across America and interviewing some of the key leaders who have influenced and shaped Reformed Christianity today. John Piper, C.J. Mahaney and Mark Driscoll are some of the big names the author gets to pick the brain of, but he also stops in at university campuses, theological seminaries and conferences to engage some of the twenty-somethings about why Calvinism has changed their hearts toward the Lord and thus, changed the way they live their lives evangelically and morally. I loved the way that, although there are differing perspectives held by a lot of these leaders on secondary theological issues such as the charismatic gifts, covenant theology versus dispensationalism, baptism, eschatology and the degree of cultural engagement a church should take, many of the leader's humility and love for the gospel creates a point of convergence that trumps all these disagreements. A love for the sovereignty of God, a knowledge of the fallen sinfulness of man and the enormous grace given through Christ's life and death and resurrection, a commitment to display and share His glory, an urgent call to evangelize to a fallen world...these leaders are like-minded about what matters most.
Charles Spurgeon sums this up well, as he often (always?) does:
The doctrine of election, like the great act of election itself, is intended to divide, not between Israel and Israel, but between Israel and the Egyptians- not between saint and saint, but between saints and the children of the world. A man may be evidently of God's chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe in the doctrine of election. I hold there are many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who persevere to the end, who do not believe the doctrine of final perseverance. We do hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads. We do not set their fallacies down to any willful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to correct. We hope that if they think us mistaken too, they will reciprocate the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus.
Amen, Spurg, amen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A bit of positive affirmation

This video made me laugh. When I showed it to my mom, her response was "you did that type of thing when you were that age".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

This is such an absolute, all-encompassing promise that it almost seems to great to be true. All our needs are met in the riches of the person of Christ Jesus. To an aching conscience, the person of Christ offers redemption. To the unloved, he offers the comfort of his perfect love. To the lonely, he offers his constant presence. To the hard pressed, his testimony of suffering and victory goes before us. To the weak, his strength. To the fearful, the promise that he is already the victor over this world and the next. What an amazing promise that God's victory through Christ is an absolute defeat over anything that dare stand against us in this world.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I have a lot to anticipate in the near future. The end of summer is bringing some exciting and fun things my way and I can't help but be thankful for the simple joys of relationships, changes that are happening in other's lives as well as my own and the opportunity to spend time with people I love. The Lord is so good at giving blessings out.

Here's a highlight reel of the things I'm excited about:

-Chelsa (my older, wiser sister) is coming to visit Columbus!
-first trip to Cedar Point with Mark & Chels (gonna be craaazy!)
-Hannah & Kevin are getting hitched! Yayyy! Mark & I both get to stand up with them on their day :)
-Mallory Peckels returns to Columbus, Ohio. Cause for celebration in itself. I wonder if we can get her to stay here....forever...!?
-A visit to the great northern country of Canada to be with my fam for a week
-My little bro is making the venture south and east to start college in Boston! ROADTRIPS!
-I'm starting a new internship at Westerville North High school (coincidentally (sovereignly?- yes), Mark's alma mater)
-Autumn. The best season in Columbus.
-Football season. Go bucks! (Holding onto the student status one more year gets me a pair of season tickets one last time!)
-Time with some far-away relatives- Mike, Annie & their precious baby Leila

There is undoubtedly more to be excited about, but that's all that comes to mind at the moment. I'm trying to get better at taking pictures these days, so hopefully some of these moments will be visually documented on here in the future.

Friday, August 13, 2010

the Hope set before us

Romans 15:4
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by the endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

This morning I am reminded of words of assurance that point us to Jesus and eternity, offering a hope in Christ and God's promises that is a firm foundation for every struggle in life. These truths fix my eyes on a coming Savior and an eternal inheritance that does not spoil, rust or fade. Is there any struggle or frustration or hardship or evil in life that cannot be combatted with the Word of God? I am convinced that there is nothing.
No, not the ups and downs of relationships and the pain of being distanced from those we love. Nor the pain of disappointment or failure in the plans we set for ourselves. Not even the turmoil of emotion or the lethargy that life's routine can bring. There is hope for all these things in Christ and truth to fight is given us in God's Word.

What encouragement we can find in the lives of those who have struggled and hoped in Truth before us.

Henry Martyn was a young missionary to India and Arabia and Persia in the early 1800's. He had left his fiancĂ© Lydia Grenfell behind in England in 1806 and would never see her again—he died at 31.

On the boat he fought back self-pity and discouragement with the promises of God's Word. He arrived in Calcutta in May and two months later had a devastating experience. One of the veteran missionaries preached a sermon directed against Henry Martyn and his doctrines. He called his teaching inconsistent, extravagant, and absurd. He accused him of seeking only to "gratify self-sufficiency, pride and uncharitableness."

How could this lonely young man endure such a crushing experience, and not only endure but during the next six years have the perseverance to translate the New Testament into Hindustani, Persian, and Arabic?

We can hear the answer in his own journal:

In the multitude of my troubled thoughts I still saw that there is a strong consolation in the hope set before us. Let men do their worst, let me be torn to pieces, and my dear Lydia torn from me; or let me labour for fifty years amidst scorn, and never seeing one soul converted; still it shall not be worse for my soul in eternity, nor worse for it in time. Though the heathen rage and the English people imagine a vain thing, the Lord Jesus, who controls all events, is my friend, my master, my God, my all.

Henry Martyn fought the battle against discouragement and hopelessness with the truths of God's Word: "Jesus is my friend, my master, my God, my all!" And that is the way we must fight every day, and never stop until the war is over and the Commander puts the wreath of victory on our heads.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:2-4

Friday, August 6, 2010

the things i make mark do

Here are just a few of the finer moments in my life created by my funny husband (and perhaps egged on by me at times!)

Yes, this is the first time he has ever worn an apron! (Note that this is a rare time Mark isn't loving the camera on him.)

This pictured was taken from the car window while stopped at a red light. He just couldn't resist running out to grab a bite of that hot juicy burger.

A closer look would reveal a few trickles of sweat running down his brow. Mark has quickly learned that preeminence in the Heywood family comes only after you learn to stop on skates.

And this? I had nothing to do with this. Jordan and I were just helpless bystanders.

I am thankful :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

70's Spiritual Weight Loss

I couldn't resist posting this article from Tim Challie's blog that reviews a classic 70's spoof of a book. It made me laugh many times.

Help Lord--The Devil Wants Me Fat!

Last year I posted a few pictures from the old 70’s classic Soul Winning Made Easy by C.S. Lovett. Recently I came across another of his books, one titled Help Lord—The Devil Wants Me Fat! The book teaches how the devil is able to influence your eating, how to deal with your appetite and how to deprogram yourself from bad eating habits. It is an odd mixture of good and bad, useful information and outright legalism (not to mention poor medical advice).

I enjoy these books as a bit of a guilty pleasure, I’m sure. They’re old, they’re retro and somehow quite amusing.

Here’s how this one starts:

Lovett largely blames overeating and obesity on Satanic activity.

Here’s a great picture of a very Caucasian Adam and Eve. Adam is totally ripped.

One of the best parts of Lovett’s books is that he always has lots of photographs of himself performing the programs he’s come up with (again, see Soul Winning Made Easy). Here he is meditating upon Jesus to see if it’s God’s will for him to undertake a fast.

The heart of the book is a fast. And this isn’t a fast for wimps—it’s 10 days of nothing but water (and heespecially recommends it for pregnant women and says it will cure morning sickness). The purpose of this fast is to take complete control of the flesh. Lovett suggests that for two days you will be hungry but after that your hunger will fade and you’ll be just fine. In fact, you’ll have an increase in energy and certainly an increase in relationship with the Lord.

One strange thing about this fast is that he tells you to spend meal times away from your family. While your family is eating dinner, you are to spend time in prayer and Bible reading.

Here he is enjoying breakfast (or dinner or lunch).

And here he is demonstrating how to tell Satan to go away:

After the conclusion of the fast he introduces a whole section about New Age-style visualization. He says that in order to become thin you have to project an image of yourself at your desired weight into order to develop the faith to actually make it happen.

And then he closes out the diet portion of the book with a section about nutrition, stating that you’ll have to learn to always say “no” to fats and oils, sugars and refined carbohydrates.

The final section of the book talks about evangelism because your fabulous new body, he says, can be a fabulous provoker of conversation. As people declare how good you look, you are to take the opportunity of that conversation to share the gospel. And I guess that takes us full-circle, back to Soul Winning Made Easy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

blog musings

So I've been reflecting on whether I should further extend my hiatus from the blog-o-sphere which has been steadily occurring over the past few months or if I should try to get back into sharing my heart, thoughts and convictions with renewed vigor. The problem I continue to face in consistently writing on here boils down to a greater struggle that currently encompasses most areas of my life- living with holy passion that moves me to action. I initially started blogging to share my life with friends and family while I was abroad in Australia but then picked it up again as a form of recording and sharing what the Lord has been teaching me. It began to serve as a tool to post theological resources or posts that I've come across in my reading, to meditate on scripture and life applications of scripture and to hopefully encourage others to grow and deepen their knowledge and intimacy with Christ. Additionally, it has been a helpful source of personal narrative for me to look back on and recall what the Lord has done in my heart and life at certain points. Blogging has definitely been a beneficial practice for me and besides all that, I enjoy writing and sharing!

As I stated above, my current inconsistency has a lot to do with my lack of zeal in life over the past few months. It's been a struggle to remain in the Word and prayer everyday and to choose to do these things out of obedience alone when I am not emotionally desiring to do them. I know this is the greatest obstacle to my spiritual growth and zeal right now and it needs to be submitted under the authority of the Lord. I've been seeing more and more how rebellious my heart is- marriage can display that pretty quickly! All in all, regardless of my circumstantial struggles with questioning my career path, time consuming work/studies and learning what life looks like post-college and newly married, my source has to be Christ and I know this. Our pastor gave a good illustration at church last week. He asked who of us believes that we need to exercise and eat right in order to be healthy. Most everyone put up their hands. Then he asked us who really does these things- many hands dropped. He maintained that if we say we believe something but we don't actually follow through on that belief by action, then we don't really believe it. In the context of what it looks like to follow Christ, I know that I must seek Him and find Him through prayer and reading the Word. And to neglect these things is to believe that I really don't need them in order to live my life. The state of my heart and lack of zeal for the Lord I am currently battling is direct evidence that I need these things in my life everyday. And not in a legalistic, salvation-earning type of way, but in the way that shows that I believe what the Bible tells me and it moves me to live according to it, regardless of my feelings and comfort.

This is a long way of saying that its time for Jody to get back into the game, to live out my convictions, to follow the Lord by simply seeking Him, to look to Christ for a renewed mind, heart and spirit. He promises that if we seek Him we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13) and that He has the power to restore to us the joy of our salvation and grant a willing spirit within us (Psalm 52).

As for blogging, I'm hoping to pick it up again as I pursue the disciplines of following Christ and find greater inspiration than I can muster up in and of myself. We'll see how quickly that will happen but for now, returning to the joy that I once found in Christ is the thing of most importance.