June was a good month at Covenant. When our pastors started preaching through Matthew back in December 2010, they explained that since Matthew is so long (28 chapters) and we would probably be working through it for quite some time, they periodically would step out of Matthew for a little bit in order to address a topic they thought was important for the teaching and instruction of our church family. Cool. Sounded like a good plan to me.
What I did not know is that the first time they would take a break from Matthew they would decide to address a topic so near and dear to my heart. The month of June, Covenant heard sermons from two of our pastors, Daniel and Dave, on biblical manhood, biblical womanhood, marriage and divorce. Yeah. Whoa. Heavy stuff. Since I am a pastor’s wife, I sometimes get the inside scoop on what’s coming up, and Tim (my husband) told me about this June sermon series a couple weeks ahead of time. As soon as he did, I was so. stinkin. excited.
You see, hearing my pastors preach on this topic automatically took me back to the first time I heard this topic preached from the pulpit, at our old church in Louisville. It was nearly four years ago, but I remember it so vividly because it rocked my entire world. I had grown up in church my whole life but had NEVER heard anything like what the pastor was preaching. It was a four week sermon series, and I remember walking out of the service each Sunday, absolutely incredulous at what I had just heard. That sermon series started an entire “independent study” for me, in which I devoured countless books, journal articles, blog posts and sermons on the topic of biblical womanhood (and, by extension, biblical manhood, marriage, divorce, parenting, etc.) I just couldn’t get enough. And still today, I love to read, study and discuss that subject. Knowing what God says in His Word about being a woman, and closely related, being a wife and a mother, has completely transformed my life, as I have sought to apply this knowledge with the help of the Holy Spirit and my community.
So, my excitement at knowing this topic would be preached at Covenant was brought about by my own memory of how God had used a similar sermon series to, quite literally, change my life. I immediately began praying for our pastors who were preaching and the people who would hear. I asked God to use the truth from His word that would be preached in this series to stir hearts and change lives, as it had done and continues to do for me. Listening my pastors preach that series made me so thankful. I was so thankful to be part of a church where the pastors are unafraid to speak truth. Biblical masculinity and femininity, biblical marriage and divorce are not popular topics in our culture today. In fact, most of what the Bible has to say about these topics directly contradicts what our culture tells about these topics. As a result, there is confusion even among Christians on what it means to be a man, a woman, married, single, etc. It can also result in a temptation to water down or apologize for what the Bible says is true regarding these things. I was so grateful that our pastors, with great compassion and wisdom, fearlessly proclaimed the Word and taught us well what God says concerning these issues.
This series was also unique in that we stepped out of our normal community group routine to do something different. The week biblical manhood was discussed, the guys went out and girls stayed in. The week biblical womanhood was discussed, the guys and girls switched. The week marriage was discussed, the pastors and wives hosted a “marriage night out” and couples went out to discuss what they learned while their kids were cared for. It was just an awesome way to break up community group and make it tailor to the subjects we were discussing.
Overall, this series was incredibly convicting to me, as God revealed areas of my life as a woman and marriage where I was allowing sin to creep in and sow death. It was eye-opening to see that even though I have studied this topic intensively and therefore ostensibly “know” many of the right answers, it is still possible (and probable, because of my sinful heart) that wicked habits and thoughts can infiltrate my heart and marriage to divide and tear down. I desperately need the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit and the insight and wisdom of my community to help me see these areas and root them out by the power of the gospel. And He continually provides that for me. God is so good.