Join us for SHINE – An interchurch conference that explores what it looks like to reflect biblical, Christ-centered faith

Register HERE to join Arise Ministries Collective and women from around Clark County for Shine, an interchurch conference that explores what it looks like to reflect biblical, Christ-centered faith. Participants will enjoy food, fellowship, worship, teaching and interactive workshops from local teachers. In an effort to keep this event small and intimate, please register early as capacity is limited and closes on September 24th. Learn more and see pictures on our IG account. We look forward to seeing you!

 

WHO: Women (13 and older)
WHATSHINE – A two-day women’s conference
WHEN: Friday, October 13 (6-9 pm) & Saturday, October 14 (9 am-3 pm)
WHERE: Vancouver Church
COST: $50 – Includes workshops, main teaching sessions, worship, all materials, light charcuterie and dessert on Friday, full lunch on Saturday, and refreshments throughout the conference

WORKSHOPS

You will be asked to select your top five choices from the following workshops at the time of registration. While we will try to accommodate preferences, allocation will be determined by order of registration and workshop capacity. Participants will attend three workshops at the event:

  • Bible Study Basics: Principles and Practice for Enjoying God’s Word with Eryn Kesler
  • More than Music: What the Bible Says About Worship with Ashley Ainley
  • Give the Gospel: What is the Gospel and How Do I Share It? with Vicky Dillon
  • Praying With Purpose: What the Bible Says About Intercession and What That Means For Me with Kirsten Galanter
  • Healing House: Rebuilding and Redeeming After Separation or Divorce with Amy Oliver
  • Scripture Meditation: Practicing the Discipline of Making Space to Listen and Respond with Sarah Bulkley
  • Intentional Discipleship: Principles and Practices to Help Others Grow in Faith Through Every Season with Angie Forrester and Janell Sorensen
  • Leaning Into Lament: Embracing the Presence of a Trauma-Informed God with Marnee Alfson and Alyssa Zimmerman
  • Created to Connect: Reflecting Christ Through Intentional Communication with Rachel Florip
  • The Sabbath Gift: Principles and Practices to Ensure a Weekly Day of Rest with Abby Conger
  • Total Recall: How to Memorize Scripture and Why It’s Important with Jenae Rodgers
  • Working Women: Principles and Practices to be an Authentic Light in the Places We Work with Meg Byrtek
  • Called to Action: Walking in Obedience to God and Living Boldly in His Calling with Becky Hurley

MAIN SESSION SPEAKERS

Brenna Blain is a wife, mom and contemporary theologian from the PNW. While she speaks to and writes on many topics, Brenna is most passionate about God’s involvement in our pain and personal struggles including mental illness, same sex attraction and abuse. You can connect with her on IG @bunonmyhead.

Lindsey Ponder is a teacher and author passionate about understanding the Bible in its original context so that we can glean its wisdom for our own. A producer at BibleProject, Lindsey manages the organization’s internationally acclaimed podcast. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Hebrew Bible at Multnomah University.

WORSHIP LEADER

Becca Alexander Pickrel is a worship pastor, musician, and a born and raised Portlander. She fell in love with Jesus through singing and believes music has the power to bridge any gap. She is passionate about leading people into the presence of God and drawing them closer to Christ. Becca is a runner, has two children, and loves to lead worship alongside her husband Ryan.

SCHEDULE

Please note that the main sessions will begin promptly at their scheduled times. Plan to arrive early enough to park, check-in, and take advantage of opportunities for fellowship and/or prayer if desired.

Friday, October 13, 2023

  • 5:00 pm    Check-In  | Light charcuterie and refreshments available
  • 6:00 pm    Main Session | Worship & teaching (Lindsey Ponder)
  • 7:30 pm    Workshop Session A
  • 8:40 pm    Closing  | Followed by dessert & fellowship

Saturday, October 14, 2023

  • 8:15 am     Doors Open / Prayer Opportunity | Light refreshments
  • 9:00 am    Welcome / Prayer / Worship
  • 10:00 am  Workshop Session B
  • 11:00 am   Lunch / Fellowship
  • 12:15 pm   Workshop Session C
  • 1:30 pm    Main Session | Worship & teaching (Brenna Blain)
  • 3:00 pm    Closing & Exhortation | Prayer opportunity

IMPORTANT

* While we understand that life happens and plans change, materials and food have been pre-purchased based on your confirmed registration. We cannot process refunds of any kind, for any reason.

* Our team is working hard to accommodate workshop preferences and want you to have the best experience possible at the conference. That said, we cannot guarantee workshops and simply do not have the capacity to reassign participants. Please take this into consideration at the time of registration.

* As volunteers trying to create an amazing event at a reasonable price, we must strictly adhere to our registration closing date of Sunday, September 24. We will not process registrations after this date or onsite at the event.

REGISTER HERE

Sowing What We Want Sprouting: A Reflection on Galatians 6:8

“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8

I’m not much of a gardener, but I do know this: If I plant tomatoes in the spring and tend to them well, I’ll have a bounty of tomatoes come summer. If I plant carrot seeds, I’ll grow carrots, and if I bury my favorite tulip bulbs before the first frost, I’ll enjoy their vibrant bursts of color for many years after.

What I sow in the garden is what I’ll reap in the harvest.

This was true for the Galatians, too, but in day-to-day life and with an added caveat: what the church planted revealed their motivation and whom they were trying to please – their own fleshly desires or the Spirit of God. The first, Paul said, would yield destruction. The latter, eternal life.

When we truly know Christ and surrender to His will, we die to our old sin nature and exchange it for righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 6:6, Romans 8:13). Gratifying our own indulgences and selfish desires produce a garden that needs serious attention. It should prompt us to ask ourselves some really hard questions about who we’re trying to please and if we’re truly following after Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I try not to plant things my family and I don’t like eating or seeing. The result simply won’t satisfy and the effort will be wasted. Let’s heed Paul’s warning and take the time to look at what we’re planting and growing. Are they seeds that please the Spirit or those that lead to destruction? Let’s make sure the seeds we sow and nurture are the ones we want sprouting.

For Further Study

Read Galatians 5:13-6:7. Make a list of everything Paul mentions that pleases the Spirit or are results of the Spirit.

Read Galatians 5:13-6:7 again. This time, make a list of fleshly desires and the things that lead to destruction.

Circle anything in the lists that reflect who you are and how you live, then ask yourself the following questions:

    • What does this reveal about the seeds I’m sowing? Are they bearing fruits of the Spirit? A bounty of grace, patience, gentleness? If not, why? What is at the root of this problem and needs to change? What am I watering and fertilizing that should have been, as Galatians 2:20 explains, crucified with Christ? Reading Paul’s entire letter to the Galatians would be helpful. 

Finally, re-read Galatians 6:8 and write a responsive prayer. Feel free to use this one and insert your own reflections.

Father, thank you for the gift of salvation through Christ. Forgive me for the ways I try to please my own flesh. I confess to being (insert appropriate words and phrases from your list here) and long for a deep and true faith that pleases the Spirit. Help me believe that you are my everything – That I am nothing without you, and only righteous in you. May I reap a bountiful and eternal harvest for your glory and purpose.  Amen.

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two young adults, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one.

How to Study the Bible: The Inductive Method

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Confession: I grew up in the church, actively participated in youth group, attended Christian schools from first grade through university, served and led in several ministry capacities, and was virtually Bible illiterate. True story.

I memorized well-known verses and could easily find Scripture to meet a particular need. I wrote topical devotions and sent pretty Bible-based notes to friends for encouragement, but had limited understanding of how they fit together and into the greater gospel story. I loved God desperately and believed I had been called to a life committed to Him, but was struggling and striving in my faith. I didn’t realize how little I knew His Word until I really began studying it several years ago. 

It was at a Women’s Leadership training session at our church when things started to change. We were asked to reflect on a small passage of Scripture – To read it over several times for context and content, explore the cross-references, look for repeated words and phrases, pray through the text, and journal about what we learned. It was the first time I experienced both conviction and grief over the way I had read the Bible in the past and felt a deep longing to know it, understand it, and allow it to change me. I spent the next two years delving into the Word in a way that involved both heart and mind and committed to a method of study that truly revitalized both my understanding of the Bible AND my relationship with Christ.

The Inductive Bible Study Method

The purpose of an Inductive Bible Study Method is to understand the Word of God by first observing the text (discovering what the passage says), interpreting it (figuring out what it means), and applying the message of Bible passages to our lives (determining how it can change us and walking in light of the truth we’ve learned). It seeks to help us understand the Word for ourselves rather than relying solely on another’s assumptions, analysis, or comprehension.  

Below is a summary of how to study the Bible inductively. We’ve created a printable resource page, and a worksheet to help you get started. Personally, I make as many of my observations in the text and margins of my Bible, then write additional thoughts and prayers (application) in a journal if they don’t fit beside the passage. It may take a few months to figure out what works best for you, but that’s OK! It takes practice.

Observe – What does the passage say?

Ask the Five W’s (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) while reading through the text. It may seem redundant, but it will help you remember what you’ve learned and keep the content in context.

  • Who was the author writing to?
  • Why was this particular passage/book/letter written?
  • What is happening in the passage?
  • When and where did this take place?

In addition to answering the questions above and reflecting on them each time you read from/study a passage, book, or chapter in the Bible, consider doing the following:

  • Mark key words in your Bible and pay special attention to repeated phrases.
  • If you see a list, make a note of it and write it in a notebook or margins of your Bible.  If you were studying 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, for example, you could write “Love Is” as a heading, and make a list below (patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast…).
  • Look for comparisons and contrasts. These usually begin with but, like, and or.
  • Mark terms and phrases of finality or cause. These often include, therefore, thus, or so.  They summarize the previous verses and give deep meaning to the author’s purpose in writing. Pay particular attention to if-then statements.

Interpret – What does the passage mean?

Interpretation of the text flows naturally from your direct observations. This is where you get to think more deeply about the things you noted and figure out what they mean. I find the following strategies especially helpful:

  • Look up the cross-references in the margins of your Bible. This will help you use Scripture to interpret Scripture and supplement what you already observed by putting it in a more detailed historical or cultural setting.
  • Utilize word studies to discover what words meant in the original Greek or Hebrew. Sometimes this changes what we originally assumed a passage meant and/or provides greater depth to our understanding.  Consider purchasing the Key Word Study Bible (link here). The Blue Letter Bible online is another great place to start: https://www.blueletterbible.org.
  • Ask: What would the original hearers, audience, or readers have thought? How does this passage fit within the greater story of the Bible? Within the gospel?
  • Paraphrase (rewrite the text in your own words) based on your observations and understanding from the previous steps.

Apply How can this passage change me?

We are all a work in progress – Praise God! While it’s essential to both observe and interpret the Truth to understand it fully, studying is futile if we are not changed as a result. God did not give us His Word just so we would KNOW it – He gave it to us so we would LIVE it.

It’s here where we mull over everything we’ve learned and ask God how it applies to our own lives.

Ask yourself the following questions (and more as they come to mind) while you reflect on the things you’ve learned:

  • What does this passage tell me about God?
  • What is God leading me to do differently in response to what I observed and interpreted?
  • What might these truths look like in action today? In my day-to-day life? In my goals and dreams? In my family? In my ministry?
  • Is there a belief I need to re-examine or thinking that needs to change in light of this text?
  • What is the first action I can take in response to what I’ve learned – Forgive? Serve? Go? Stop?  
  • Is the Holy Spirit bringing to mind any specific people, circumstances, conversations or sins to mind for prayer, repentance, and reconciliation? If so, take time to lay them before Him.
  • Use a journal or the margin of your Bible to write out prayers, notes, confessions, or other thoughts on how you can apply the themes and applications to your own life.

What Next?

Get Started: I’m not sure what your past experience or history with Bible Study has been, but I do know this: It’s never too late, and you CAN learn to study inductively! God’s Word is a gracious gift to us – He will help you and give you the wisdom you need (James 1:5).  

Find a Group: While it’s important to study and wrestle through biblical truths on your own, discussing what you’ve learned in a group is ideal for motivation and building community.  

Personally, I have a hard time finishing what I’ve started and truly committing to the text without a deadline or accountability. It’s hard work, and I’m a bit of a slacker without encouragement. Consider choosing a particular book or long passage to study with others. I suggest something from the New Testament if you’re just getting started or are feeling called to lead. Philippians, James, or 1 Peter would be great letters to begin with, but please don’t shy away from the Old Testament. The gospel isn’t the gospel without these rich books of history and prophecy.  They testify to God’s sovereignty and character, and we can’t begin to fully know the New Testament without them.

Believe: True study that engages both heart and mind will change you. Believe it and cling to the truth that His Word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11). Reject the lie that you aren’t committed enough, smart enough, or don’t have the time. Believe that you are disciplined and claim the fact that He gave you an able mind and spirit. Make the time. It will be well worth it.

With great expectation,

 

Download the Inductive Bible Study instruction sheet here.

Download the Inductive Bible Study worksheet here.

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

 

“He Is Love” & Other Resources to Help Celebrate Lent

Christians around the world set aside the six weeks before Easter to prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection. This season of surrender begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Silent Saturday – About forty days of remembering, fasting, and giving. ⁣

This Lent, we want to cultivate a rhythm of Bible-centered meditation, reflection and personal response. Our book, He is Love: Daily Scripture & Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) provides a simple and practical way for us to do just that. Using carefully chosen passages that are foundational to our faith and propel us to live in ways that honor Christ’s sacrifice, author and Arise board member Sarah Bulkley has partnered with her artist mom and designer brother to give us over 40 days of  Scripture and prayer. Each day leads readers through a countdown to Easter, with additional space for crafting our own responses to key passages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A set of six FREE printable Scripture memorization cards by @sheletterstruthco correspond to the book and are available through this link. They’re the perfect size (4×6) to frame, post on a refrigerator, tuck into your Bible, or mail in a note to a friend. Commit to reading them, meditating on them, and memorizing them on your own, with your family, or alongside other women as you move through this season of Lent and the He Is Love resource.

May this season of repentance and beginning again yield sweet communion with Christ. Our sacrifice for His glory.⁣

 

 

 

**Note for readers in the greater PDX/Arise area: Feel free to contact one of us if you want to save on shipping and do a porch pick-up. Suggested donation for local copies is $10, but let us know if this doesn’t fit your budget. As always, our goal is to get Scripture and resources into as many hands as possible. We should have hardcopies available locally by the last week of February. Just send us an email or PM via social media. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop the Hurry: A Day of Rest With the Lord

After a stressful work week I long to spend time with my Heavenly Father. I want to get some of that rest He talks about in His Word. What does He say? 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 ESV)

I feel a gentle nudge in my heart from the Lord inviting me to sit with Him. I know I need to talk with Him about what bothered me during the week or what’s worrying me –  To let Him tend to everything that’s going on in my heart and mind. But resting with the Lord is a discipline. It’s not our natural instinct. Like working out or drinking 8 glasses of water a day, I feel so much better after I do it, but actually doing it is the hardest part. I know I need time with the Lord, but sometimes I reach for the TV remote instead.

It’s not that watching TV is all bad, or whatever the numbing pastime of choice is (busyness, social media scrolling, online shopping, alcohol…). These things may be fine in moderation, but are a problem when we turn to them for rest. After binge watching a show for hours I don’t feel rested. I feel restless, bored and unsatisfied. After spending time with the Lord, I always feel more peace, more joy, more grateful, and more content.

Are there times when you feel weary or worn down and instead of seeking the One that gives true rest you choose to numb, distract or entertain yourself?

I’m inviting you to join me on an adventure this year – To visit a spacious place, a guilt free zone, a place with no to-do list because everything has already been done. A whole day that is set aside to enjoy God and your loved ones. A day to do the things that give you life that you normally put off because you are too tired or too busy or too tired from being too busy. A day to marvel at God, who He is and His goodness in your life. A day where time slows down, you catch your breath and He refreshes you. I’m inviting you to celebrate the Sabbath.

I know what you might be thinking, because I once thought it, too: “The Sabbath is so legalistic” or “I don’t have time to practice the Sabbath” or “What even is the Sabbath?”

I mentioned earlier that resting with the Lord is a discipline, but more specifically, it is a Spiritual discipline. Like prayer, Bible study, worship and service, followers of Jesus practice disciplines to connect to Him, hear from Him, show devotion to Him, and look a little more like Him.

Let’s look at the creation story in Genesis 2: 

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”(Genesis 2:1‭-‬3 ESV)

Here we see God showing us a healthy rhythm for living – Work six days and rest on the seventh. God did not need to rest. He doesn’t get tired, but we do. He made us and He knows what is best for us. In verse 3, it says He made the day holy. Holy means set apart for God. The seventh day was made special and was meant to be different from the other six.

Think for a moment. What would your life look like if you did all your work in six days so you could rest on the seventh? If you have a busy life or busy family schedule I know this may seem impossible, but try to keep an open mind.

Let’s look at a few more examples of Sabbath in the Bible. In Exodus 16, the Israelites are in the wilderness after God delivers them from Egypt and frees them from slavery. God provides manna each day for them to eat, but on the sixth day they are instructed to gather twice as much so that they can rest on the seventh. God is teaching them how to work and rest. As slaves, the idea of rest would have been foreign to the Israelites. They likely worked hard every day without weekends off or vacation time. God was giving them a gift, but sadly, they may not have seen it that way.  Exodus 16:27 reveals that some still went out to gather manna on the seventh day.

In Exodus 20:8-11, we see the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments. God’s people are instructed to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” If we read through all of the other nine commandments there aren’t any that are not still good to follow today. They are all full of wisdom and the Sabbath is included in them.

Let’s recap. So far we have learned that incorporating the Sabbath is a healthy rhythm for living. It’s a beautiful and wise gift from God. We discover even more in the New Testament gospels:

“He [Jesus] went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” (Matthew 12:9-14 ESV)

Jesus points out that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Over and over in the New Testament Jesus heals on the Sabbath. In Luke 13:10-17, He heals a woman that was bent over and could not straighten herself. In Luke 14:1-6, He heals a man with dropsy and in John 5:1-15, we see Jesus heal a man at the pool of Bethesda. 

The Pharisees added their own rules to the Sabbath. These extra rules made Sabbath legalistic and burdensome to the people. The Pharisees had lost sight of the real purpose of Sabbath and were more interested in appearing religiously perfect. Religion without the love of God and people is empty and not of God at all. They didn’t care about the people they were supposed to be ministering to. True Sabbath must involve the heart. Jesus cared about the people. His example and message in the gospels shows that we too can do good and minister to others when the opportunity presents itself – Regardless of what day it is. Jesus is not saying we no longer need to observe the Sabbath. He is stripping away the extra rules that were added. 

The evil one will always take a good and pure gift from God and twist and pervert it into something it was never meant to be. I find it interesting that to this day so many followers of Jesus still view the Sabbath as legalistic and burdensome. We are missing the heart of Sabbath. The Sabbath is a gift to us to rest and enjoy God. 

If you have never observed the Sabbath before, it may take some time and practice to figure out what works for you. That’s ok. I personally had never seen the Sabbath lived out well by anyone, so it was hard to know where to start. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your Sabbath.

Practical Tips for Getting Started

Pick a day to practice Sabbath – Most people choose Sundays, but another day of the week may work better for you. Sabbath is traditionally observed from sunset to sunset. So if you pick Sundays to Sabbath, it would start on Saturday at sunset and end on Sunday at sunset. 

Plan ahead and prepare in advance – Sabbath will not happen without some planning. Get your groceries, do your chores, maybe get a meal in the crockpot earlier in the day so that when sunset comes you can just eat and relax.

Be intentional – Light a candle and say a prayer to begin your Sabbath. Invite others to your Sabbath meal. Talk about what God is doing in your lives and remember all He has already done. Celebrate Him.

Enjoy God as you spend time with Him – Practice some of the other restful Spiritual disciplines like reading Scripture and meditating on Scripture. Add times of silence, solitude and prayer.

A Few Things to Avoid 

Work – Sounds simple, but figuring out what work is for you can be tricky. For example, some people enjoy spending time tending to their yard and they even feel connected to God while they are outside with their plants, they call it gardening. I call it yard work and it is work for me. Ask yourself: “What is life giving to me?” and “What activities make me feel most connected to Him?”

Buying things – The Sabbath is a day for cultivating gratefulness and contentment by enjoying what you already have. Shopping can feed that little voice in us that constantly wants more, bigger or better.

Avoid distractions – Cell phones are the biggest culprits. They are constantly distracting us. I’m not going to tell you to turn it off, but be aware of how much time you are spending on it and how often you check it. The goal is to be present to God and the people you choose to spend Sabbath with.

I pray that Sabbath would become something you look forward to every week. Since I’ve started practicing Sabbath my thoughts on it have drastically changed. Before, it seemed impossible. I doubted that I could get everything done so that I could celebrate Sabbath, and worried about how I would fill the day. It took some trial and error finding my restful rhythm with the Lord, but was so worth it! Give it a try, ask Him for help and be open to the ideas He brings to your mind. I believe it will be worth it for you, too.

All for His glory,

About the Author, Sarah Bulkley

I’m a wife, dog mom, pediatric dental assistant. I love spending my free time meditating on scripture, listening to old sermons, practicing yoga, and antique shopping.

I fell in love with Jesus at a young age, but my passion for women’s ministries and Bible Study really began when I joined my first Bible Study group in 2010. I love encouraging women to know and love the Bible.

 

 

Poured Out: Reflections on the Alabaster Jar

The symbolism and significance of an alabaster jar is beautiful to me. Luke 7 tells the story of a woman who learns that Jesus is eating at the home of a Pharisee. Specifically called out as a “sinner,” the woman displays a beautiful act of reverence and repentance when she enters the house:

And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:37-38, ESV)

I could go on several rabbit trails and seriously geek out on dissecting this passage: the significance of wetting His feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with oil…SO. MUCH. to unpack.

But for the sake of this article, I want to focus on one thing: the sacrificial offering she made by pouring out the (most likely very valuable) contents of the alabaster jar. 

I love tattoos. I have several; almost all of them are Scripture-based, and most are results of careful, thoughtful planning and consideration. My most recent one from August 2021 (pictured) is a broken alabaster jar. I intentionally placed it on my inner right forearm, with the fractured jar and spilled puddle pointing downward toward my wrist and hand to symbolize the costly, precious ointment poured out as an offering. Nice, right?

Shortly after getting my newest piece, I felt a strong conviction from the Lord:

“It’s not enough to just keep putting pretty tattoos on your body to show how pious you are. How are you actually living out the messages and images you have chosen to brand on your body?”

Ouch.

This forced me to seriously pause and ask myself:

What am I holding onto that God may be asking me to release to Him?                                                           What do I need to let go of and fully surrender to Jesus?                                                                                    

What is in my alabaster jar?

Before I continue, I want to make this disclaimer: anything that is written in this article is as much directed at me as it is to the reader. This topic is a result of my own convictions, and the questions that I am posing are ones that I have been wrestling with and continue to wrestle with. 

What each of us considers precious may widely vary. If you are a wife, mother, or working professional, you may include your spouse, child(ren), or your career in your jar. Perhaps certain friendships, memories, or healthy routines and habits are in there too. These are all sound answers, especially since you cannot put a price tag on most of them. The absence of these things from your life would undoubtedly be detrimental (or devastating) to some degree. All these things require surrender, trust, and faith. Letting go of our children as they grow, make mistakes, and mature; trusting the Lord with our marriages and careers; and faithfully stewarding our time, treasure and talent are all easier said than done. 

Are there things in your life that you are holding onto (maybe even subconsciously) that are holding you back? Keeping you up at night? Causing you great anxiety, fear, or anger? What barriers are you putting up around your heart that you need to allow Jesus to break through and tear down? Things that you wouldn’t typically consider “precious,” but are taking up a huge amount of space in your life?

Sometimes, the costliest things we need to pour out at the feet of Jesus require our humility, confession, and repentance.

Do you harbor resentment toward someone you love? Is there unresolved conflict with someone in your life? Who do you need to ask Jesus for help with forgiving? Have you grieved something or someone at length? Do you need to humbly acknowledge an addiction or destructive behavior or pattern and courageously ask for help? Are there idols that need to be removed?

The sinful woman in Luke 7 certainly didn’t think twice about the cost of the fragrant perfume in her alabaster flask; she willingly shattered the jar and emptied the valuable contents at Jesus’ feet. As fellow sinners, what’s holding us back from doing the same?

Proverbs 28:13 tells us that “whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (ESV). I have a feeling the author wasn’t referring to prosperity in the typical sense here (i.e., confess your sins and you’ll be wealthy and happy). But what if the trade-off for not humbly confessing the dark corners of our hearts and minds is being robbed of our ability to prosper in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV). 

If I’m being totally honest, there is not one fruit of the Spirit that I feel like I embrace. Not one. Why? Because if I’m being real with myself, my alabaster jar is overflowing with feelings of bitterness, resentment, anxiety, and fear. I think the root of all of these is the feeling of inadequacy. I never feel (and don’t know that I have ever felt) like I am ENOUGH. Just as I am. I have always tried to do more, be more, buy more. Stretched myself to maximum capacity, once nearly to the point of death. I have never actually fully stepped into my identity as a beloved and treasured child of the Most High King, choosing rather to focus on the things that limit me rather than my professed faith in a limitless God.

So…what then? What am I doing about it? How am I answering the Lord’s call to live out the art I’ve forever chosen to put on my body for the world to see?

It’s a daily choice. A choice to commune and converse with Jesus, not just to check a box and not out of obligation. A choice to read and study His Word and seek first His wisdom and perfect promises. Most of the time I’m terrible at it, and because of His lovingkindness He gently continues to nudge and pursue me as if to say: “Keep choosing me.” It’s a choice to be completely honest and transparent about my feelings and struggles because He’s not afraid of my anger, my imperfections, and my shortcomings. 

There is something so liberating about confession. Brutal honesty and transparency can cut like a knife, but it can also break chains and lift heavy yokes of burden from our shoulders. The beautiful relief is nothing is going to catch Jesus by surprise. He already knows everything. He’s just waiting for us to realize these things for ourselves and come to Him with hands open. 

So bring your jar full of your marriage, your children, your possessions, your career, your body, your health, your mental health, your treasured memories. Bring your flask full of anger, bitterness, resentment, apathy, unforgiveness, selfishness, fear, uncertainty, and addiction. It doesn’t matter what you’re carrying, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. 

 

About Ali Gadbaugh: Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ali is a homebody who counts coffee, her husband and daughter, and Jesus as a few of her favorite things. She likes to add a little sarcasm and humor to life, and is passionate about growing and deepening her relationship with her Savior.

 

 

 

Summer Psalms to Help Us Praise ( & Printable Scripture Cards)

Too many followers of Christ feel bad for displaying any emotion besides peace, gratitude and contentment. Fear, anger, resentment, and even grief are hidden and remain unexpressed. But the psalmists exhibit a completely different approach. They lay their hearts on the line. They experience (and share) a full range of uninhibited emotion and pour it out to God. They question, beg, wonder, protest and mourn. They celebrate, exalt and praise. They proclaim the power, greatness and worth of God. They come to Him honestly and with humility.

A Little Background

Written over a number of centuries (probably between 1440 BC and 586 BC), the book of Psalms is composed of 150 sacred songs. Created by numerous authors, they became an integral part of Hebrew rituals and worship. Although many of these songs are cries of disdain and pleas for help, the traditional Hebrew title of the collection is tehillim, meaning “praises.” 

In their raw emotion, the psalmists remember God’s character. They recall his generosity, forgiveness and faithfulness. They ask Him for grace and vengeance. And as they do, their awe and fear of God grows and brings Him praise.

Our Response

We want to model the psalmist’s praise and come to our great God with anything and everything on our minds and in our hearts. We want to trust that He is listening, that He sees, and that He will guide us to His truth. We want to grow in our love for Him and be reminded of His goodness.

Our very own Nancy Tauzer has created printable Summer Psalms Scripture cards to help. Commit to reading and meditating on an entire Psalm, then use these poignant passages to remind you of what you’ve learned. Memorize them, frame them, or send them to friends. Tape them to a refrigerator, bedside table, bedroom mirror, or anywhere else you’ll see them every day. However you use them, remember this: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). He already knows what you’re feeling and can handle your honesty. Trusting that He’s good enough to handle your emotions brings Him great praise.

With great expectation, 

Links I Love
  • Understand more about the history of the Psalms at The Bible Project and by clicking here
  • Pam Forster has a few simple studies that help unpack Psalm 37 and Psalm 103 using the inductive method. The title says they’re for “busy moms,” but I think they’re great for everyone and have learned a lot from them both.
  • I’m a huge fan of reading plans. They keep me organized, motivated, and are a great resource for studying alongside others. Try this 28 day plan. It doesn’t cover every Psalm, but I love the direct links to passages for easy access through the Summer. 
  • Psalm 34 is another great Psalm to Study! Use this resource to help, and read about my own experience with the Inductive Bible Study Method here. You can also download and print these GORGEOUS Psalm 34 Scripture cards from artist Anna deRoos.

 

About the Contributors

Lisa Da Silva – Author

I’m a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.

A teacher by trade and passion, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, I enjoy thrift store shopping and often have to convince people I’m an introvert. Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is my everything.

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy Tauzer – Scripture Card Creator

I am fond of trying new recipes and projects. I am a giver. Good listener. Softhearted. Loyal.

I’m a wife and momma of two boys who is probably drinking coffee and waiting for the laundry to fold itself. I enjoy hiking, dancing and organizing all things.

Growing up, I thought being a follower of Christ was only going to church on Sundays. Fast forward to today and I have an intimate relationship with God; continuing to grow in awe of his love for us.

 

 

Podcast 036 – “Trust, Passion & Perseverance” With 18-Year-Old Adventurer Lucy Westlake

 

 

Lucy Westlake has been climbing mountains since she could walk. With a deep love for the outdoors and a
the ability to push physical and mental limits to new heights, this 18-year-old adventurer has her sight set on breaking records for God’s glory. Join Lisa as she chats with Lucy about her quest to become the youngest female to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, her passion for making safe drinking water accessible to all, and how her faith in Christ is at the root of all her goals and accomplishments.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see how you can support Lucy as she heads to Everest this month. This is a story you won’t want to miss!

Noteworthy Quotes

“During my travels, I’ve seen first-hand how many people don’t have access to safe drinking water. My goal is to become the youngest female to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. And with that I hope to gather the support needed to make safe water more accessible to those who need it. Raising awareness is key.”

“As I watched the daily procession of my pen pal and other women and young girls in the community walk
two miles to a hole in the ground, wait among hundreds of people and animals for their turn to draw water, and then carry the heavy jerry can filled with contaminated water back to their village on their heads, my heart was burdened. I heard a cry from millions of thirsty mouths and dying children that resonated deeply in my heart. This cry echoed across many lands, many cultures, and many beliefs, and I knew right then that this was my calling: to help solve our world’s water and sanitation crisis.”

“I knew God had given me this gift, but I didn’t understand why… When I let go of the resentment of Denali’s failure and truly learned how to trust God in every aspect of my life, my longing for the mountains returned, but this time, not for the summit or breaking records, but for pushing my limits and relying on God. So now when I climb mountains, I continually remind myself, “Your ability is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to God.” So when the moments get really hard and I get really weak, God grabs my hand and keeps me climbing.”

“When I reach what I perceive as the limits to my physical, mental, and spiritual being, I can feel God take control and fill me with His strength and power. My flesh is weak, but He is strong. Alone, I could never accomplish what I have, but with God anything is possible.”

 “It’s not about breaking records. It’s about pushing limits.”

“Don’t look at the whole mountain. Just look at one step at a time, and trust God for the next.”

“Maybe you can’t, but He can. You aren’t alone. I could never accomplish what I have through my own strength alone. Many times at the beginning of a day with a long hike ahead of me, I look down at my backpack and I feel so hopeless. It looks bigger than me and I think “how in the world am I going to lift this, let alone carry it on my back for 7-8 hours.” But don’t let those types of doubts and fears creep in – those are the devil’s attacks in your mind. Even when it seems impossible, I lift my backpack onto my back and start hiking, and each step He gives me the strength for another.”

Ways to Follow and Support Lucy

To read more about Lucy’s failure on her first attempt on Denali, read Katie Arnold’s article in Outside Online, “Lucy Westlake Is the Grittiest 13-Year-Old Mountain Climber We Know.”

To learn more about Lucy and follow her adventures, visit her website and Instagram (@Lucy.westlake.22)  

By purchasing a sweatshirt on Lucy’s Etsy shop, 100% of profits go directly towards safe water projects she is personally connected to in Uganda and Kenya.

To help Lucy fund her upcoming Everest trip, consider making a donation on her GoFundMe page. She committed to this trip on faith that God would provide the funds to cover it. 

 

Podcast 035 – “Book Talk, Biblical Justice and Togetherness” With Tracy Daugherty – Part 2

Join Lisa DaSilva and director of The Freedom Challenge, Tracy Daugherty, as they talk about their new Bible study and what it was like to join forces and write it TOGETHER. This is the second episode in a two part series.


Get your copy of What the Lord Requires: A Six Week Study of Micah 6:8 and find tips and printable Bible Study Discussion Questions for leading your own small group here. Proceeds from the sale of this book will support The Freedom Challenge in its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom. Download your study calendar and join us live @ariseministriescollective beginning April 20th for weekly study sessions with Tracy and Lisa. Stay tuned for more resources and updates coming soon!


                                                                                                                          Scripture References

Ephesians 4:3-6 – “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” 

Psalm 133: 1 – “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

 


About the Hosts

Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

Tracy Daugherty, the director of The Freedom Challenge, has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry and church planting with her husband, Dan. Working for The Freedom Challenge combines the two biggest passions God has placed on her heart: to affirm the significance of women and to expand the biblical worldview of the church. Based in San Diego County, California, she holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker. She readily admits that her most fulfilling ministry has been as a mom and seeing her three children (and one son-in-love) grounded in their confidence and calling. Before being appointed director of The Freedom Challenge in 2017, she was friends with its founder Cathey Anderson (now in heaven) and a self-proclaimed “girly-girl,” but she traded in her high heels for hiking boots because she was drawn to the cause of championing women. Now, after hiking and flying countless miles around the world with The Freedom Challenge, she’s witnessed the power of women as environment changers, as culture setters and as forces of good in the world. Seeing the impact that she and her fellow Freedom Sisters have made has only further fueled her commitment to leading The Freedom Challenge to its goal: setting 1 million women and children on the path to freedom by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast 034 – “Book Talk, Biblical Justice and Togetherness” With Tracy Daugherty – Part 1

 

Join Lisa DaSilva and director of The Freedom Challenge, Tracy Daugherty, as they reveal their new Bible study and talk about what it was like to work TOGETHER. This is the first episode in a two part series.
Co-authors Tracy and Lisa model togetherness and taking risks. Tracy applies ointment to Lisa’s inflamed bug bite at the end of a two-week mosquito infested mission trip.


Get your copy of What the Lord Requires: A Six Week Study of Micah 6:8 knowing that all proceeds from the sale of this book will support The Freedom Challenge in its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom. Download your study calendar here and join us live @ariseministriescollective beginning April 20th for weekly study sessions. Stay tuned for more resources and updates coming soon!

 


About the Hosts:

Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

Tracy Daugherty, the director of The Freedom Challenge, has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry and church planting with her husband, Dan. Working for The Freedom Challenge combines the two biggest passions God has placed on her heart: to affirm the significance of women and to expand the biblical worldview of the church. Based in San Diego County, California, she holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker. She readily admits that her most fulfilling ministry has been as a mom and seeing her three children (and one son-in-love) grounded in their confidence and calling. Before being appointed director of The Freedom Challenge in 2017, she was friends with its founder Cathey Anderson (now in heaven) and a self-proclaimed “girly-girl,” but she traded in her high heels for hiking boots because she was drawn to the cause of championing women. Now, after hiking and flying countless miles around the world with The Freedom Challenge, she’s witnessed the power of women as environment changers, as culture setters and as forces of good in the world. Seeing the impact that she and her fellow Freedom Sisters have made has only further fueled her commitment to leading The Freedom Challenge to its goal: setting 1 million women and children on the path to freedom by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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