4.16.2012

theology is [not] boring

Unless you're new around here, you know that Mat and I have the absolute privilege of serving Sunnyside Baptist Church here in Shepherdsville. We love our little country church, and being here the past two years (oh my goodness-- has it been that long?) has taught us so, so much.

I have to tell you that I am, by a good ten years or so, the youngest person in the church (besides a few cute babies-- one of which is my own). Mat is the second youngest. At first, this was not only intimidating, but actually scary to us. However, Mrs. Ruth (who I have written about before here) reminded us frankly once that even though she's 85 years old, she is NOT old, and they knew how old Mat was when they hired him, so "stop talking about how old you are. We are all young out here!" We love her.

I digress. A couple weeks ago, a precious middle-aged lady (Miss JoAnn) asked Mat for a book with some "meat" in it. She wanted something to help her grow in her relationship with Christ, and she wanted something with some sustenance to it. Mat gave her a copy of "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer.

As the weeks went on, we'd ask her how she was liking the book. She raved about it every time. She always said how she would read a paragraph then have to go back and read it again to understand it better. That's Packer for you. "Knowing God" is deep, rich stuff.

The other day, JoAnn approached me and asked me if I'd be willing to lead a Bible/book study on "Knowing God." I agreed, and I thought it would be fun to have a study with Miss JoAnn, her friend Kim (who doesn't attend our church) and myself.

I figured I better announce the study to the entire church just in case there might be one or two other women who wanted to join in the fun. I had Mat buy four more books, knowing that I'd probably have to take two of them back.

A sweet lady, Mrs. Pat, told me she wanted to be in the study, too, and this made me so happy because (a) I love, love, love Mrs. Pat, and (b) this meant I wouldn't have to take all four books back to LifeWay.

Yesterday at church, two more women told me they wanted to come. I was elated! I would only have to take one of the books back, and what fun-- there would be six women in the book study!

Last night at church, I was caught off guard when woman after woman came to me and said they'd like to join the study. I was blown away! I left church with 11 people on my list including myself. I was absolutely blown away. I had Mat buy more books today while he was in Louisville. He bought all LifeWay had in stock at the seminary store.

I walked over to the church tonight at 6:45, and our study was to begin at 7. I walked into the upstairs ladies' Sunday school room to find a room full of women chatting. I couldn't believe my eyes. An entire room full of precious middle-aged to senior adult ladies had come to discuss J.I. Packer's "Knowing God." I was floored.

We ended up having to move to the Fellowship Hall to have more room. I even had to stand at a podium to see everyone (eeek!).

Do you know how many women ended up coming tonight? 15. FIFTEEN! Did you catch that? 15 women gave up their Monday nights away from their families, their housework, their personal time to come and study theology and God's Word. 15. 15 sweet, precious, eager ladies.

And one lady that is coming next week was unable to make it this week. 16!

I'm not writing any of this to brag or throw numbers in the faces of any of you who have tried to start Bible studies that ended up with one or two people in them. I am writing this because it was more than encouraging to me. I am writing this because despite the stalemate that I thought I saw, God is moving in my own life and in the lives of the faithful women at Sunnyside Baptist Church. I am writing this because I have to give praise to God for moving in the hearts of His people, even when I can't see it. I am writing this because I must thank the Lord for being bigger than I could ever imagine.

Finally, I am writing this because I began our study tonight by asking the question, "To you, what is theology?" And sweet, honest Mrs. Pat said, "Sometimes, it's hard to understand, and sometimes, it's boring."

I agree! Sometimes it's hard, and sometimes, it seems boring. Sometimes, we just don't get it. Sometimes, it's over our head. Sometimes, we don't feel like messing with it. Sometimes, I'd just rather think about ME.

But, tonight, we kept going, and we kept thinking about loftier things. We kept thinking about the Lord. We kept thinking about theology. We kept humbling ourselves by expanding our minds with things about HIM. We kept on.

And God was faithful in that.

We had a wonderful time of fellowship and sharing our hearts and seeking answers from God's Word and through His servant, J.I. Packer. There were no (much-feared) awkward silences and no one was put on the spot. I didn't finish at 7:10, which I was so afraid that I would. Everyone opened up and everyone was eager to learn. And everyone was so gracious to me. Little old me. A 25-year-old trying to "teach" women who are more wise than I'll ever be. It was wonderful. I can't wait until next Monday night when we will meet again. We closed our time with a few homemade baked goods brought by one of the ladies.

Right after I prayed to close, Mrs. Pat said, "I really like this book. And you know what? Theology is not boring!"

I agree, Mrs. Pat. I couldn't agree more.

Praise God for that. Praise God.

3 comments:

  1. This is so awesome. I know I was only your youth minister for like a year, but I can't help but be proud of what you are accomplishing. Jesus must be smiling so big. Keep it up.

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  2. Oh, Whitney...I just love that you are doing this. Those ladies are blessed beyond measure to have you being so willing to do this! I love the Packer book too!!

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