Sunday, May 31, 2009

From Jeremiah Burroughs

A great quote from The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (which I'm slowly making my way through!), for when we are struggling for contentment in the circumstances God has put us in:
The difference between what a godly man has and a wicked man, is this: a godly man is as a child in an inn, an inn-keeper has his child in the house, and provides his diet, and lodging, and what is needful for him. Now a stranger comes, and he has dinner and supper provided, and lodging, but the stranger must pay for everything. It may be that the child's fare is meaner than the fare of the stranger; the stranger has boiled and roast and baked, but he must pay for it, there must come a reckoning for it. Just so it is: many of God's people have only mean fare, but God as a Father provides it, and it is free of cost, they need not pay for what they have, it is paid for before; but the wicked in all their pomp, and pride, and finery: they have what they ask for, but there must come a reckoning for everything, they must pay for all at the conclusion, and is it not better to have a little free of cost, than to have to pay for everything? Grace shows a man that what he has, he has free of cost, from God as from a Father, and therefore it must needs be very sweet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 Questions for Pastors' Wives

Today we continue with our series 10 Questions for Pastors' Wives interviewing Alison Hamilton. Alison is married to Scott Hamilton who is senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, a new church plant in Glasgow, Scotland.

1. What do you think is your most important responsibility as a pastor's wife?


To be a good wife - to love and submit to our husbands and therefore to God. Ephesians 5v22-24

2. Is there anything that you think is not part of your role that others may assume is?

Can't think of anything specifically that people have assumed that is part of my role!

3. What boundaries have you established in order to protect your marriage and family life?

I think this has been more relevant for Scott - he tries to make sure that we are in together one evening, he would be fairly clear that people don't think they can just pop in anytime they fancy to our house. I Probably need to make sure I watch my tongue - not to be grumbling and complaining about Scott.... not that I ever would!! - It is not a helpful or Godly example to set.

4. How do you apply Galatians 6:2 ("Carry each other's burdens") when facing difficulties or frustrations in ministry?

In prayer and encouragement from God's word.

5. Where do you and your husband find your own pastoral care?

From other pastors and their wives who are friends.

6. How do you deal with criticism of you or your husband?

We need to exam the criticism for a grain of truth, then hand it over to the Lord recognising that he is control of all things and that he probably wants to grow me in my understanding of his love and forgiveness which he expects me to mirror in return to the source of the criticism even if it is untrue or unfair.

7. What is the greatest blessing and what the greatest burden of being a pastor's wife?

Seeing people grow in their walks with the Lord, especially my husband, and the encouragement that is. Greatest burden - frustration of seeing people make unwise choices and the effects that they can have on others.

8. Are there any books you would recommend that you've found particularly helpful as a pastor’s wife?

I don't think I've ever actually read a book about being a pastors wife - but as I think the most important thing about being a pastors wife is being a good and godly wife - some helpful marriage books are- Love that Lasts by Gary and Betsy Ricucci and When sinners say I do by Dave Harvey.

9. What one piece of advice would you pass on to a new pastor's wife?

Someone said to me and a bunch of pastors and wives recently that we should make sure that our marriages are the best in the church - so invest in your marriage - recognise that you are both sinners but have a great Saviour, that submission, forgiveness and humility are God's way and although difficult at times and certainly not cultural responses - due to the pride in our hearts will bring God's peace. That God is always sovereign and in control - even when things seem like they are spiraling out of control and that God's ways are not being honoured - he has his plans and purposes in all situations which are far more complex than we can ever understand or see.

10. How can the other women in a congregation best support you practically and in prayer?

By being in a healthy discipling, accountable relationships with some of them. That they would encourage me in my walk with the Lord to know love God more to pray 2 Thessalonians 1 v 11-12, also in my marriage - to love and serve my husband and family.

Monday, May 18, 2009

10 Questions for Pastors' Wives

A little while back, Nicki's husband Colin had a series on his blog called "10 Questions for Expositors". We have unashamedly stolen his idea and have sent a set of questions to a number of pastors' wives. The aim of this is to inspire and encourage women who are married to a pastor or to a seminary student. Also we want to give other women an insight into the challenges that pastors' wives face so we can better encourage and pray for those in leadership.

So let's start things off with our first pastor's wife! My dear friend Melissa ministers along side her husband Mike, who is Associate Pastor at Uptown Church, Charlotte, NC. Here are her responses:

1. What do you think is your most important responsibility as a pastor's wife?

Truthfully, my most important responsibility is to abide in Christ, keeping Him always first in my heart.

2. Is there anything that you think is not part of your role that others may assume is?

Hopefully, they don’t want me to sing! : ) The reality is that I can never be all things to all people. Whenever people expect you to fill all their needs (what can only be done in Christ), ultimately you will fail. That has been a tough lesson for me – letting go of what other people think I should be doing and do what Christ has called me to do. Also, learning to value people’s insight, but let go of their opinions.

3. What boundaries have you established in order to protect your marriage and family life?

The first: daily time with the Lord. If this boundary is established, I really believe all the other boundaries will fall into place.

The second boundary: all commitments should be done for God’s glory, not man’s approval. There is always more ministry to be done. We should labor with all diligence, but for God’s glory, not our own.

4. How do you apply Galatians 6:2 ("Carry each other's burdens") when facing difficulties or frustrations in ministry?

My husband is my best friend. When I’m frustrated, he listens. When he’s frustrated, I listen. Also, in the listening trying to speak the truth lovingly. Giving calm advice to one another that encourages peace within the body.

5. Where do you and your husband find your own pastoral care?

This has been difficult for us at times. What I can say with all truthfulness is that God provides the care we need, just when we need it. It has come from people in our church, books we have read, sermons on line… He provides in a variety of ways.

6. How do you deal with criticism of you or your husband?

I attempt to deal with it patiently and lovingly. Many criticisms are misunderstandings, so I try to listen to what they are saying. For other criticisms, it is always good to be open to our need to change, as well as the fact that our husbands are not perfect.

7. What is the greatest blessing and what the greatest burden of being a pastor's wife?

Greatest blessing – getting to spend our lives building Christ’s kingdom. It really is an honor to get to do the work of the gospel full time.

Greatest challenge – loneliness… not from being with people, but from being understood by people. It is a very different life from most of my friends, so at times I feel the loneliness of that.

8. Are there any books you would recommend that you've found particularly helpful as a pastor’s wife?

True Woman, Susan Hunt; When Life & Belief Collide, Carolyn James; Anything by Elisabeth Elliot; Suffering & the Sovereignty of God, Various Authors, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor.

9. What one piece of advice would you pass on to a new pastor's wife?

You can only minister to others what you know to be true yourself. Know the Lord.

10. How can the other women in a congregation best support you practically and in prayer?

Praying for our marriage and children. Praying that the Lord would keep us from temptation and allow us to live lives set apart that bring Him glory. Pray that He would keep us faithful in all things with what He has entrusted to us.