I’ve always struggled with Job.

While I consider God’s admonition in the last chapters of the book my second-favorite Scripture passage, I am never quite sure what to do with the rest of the lengthy chapters.

If you’re not familiar with the biblical Book of Job, the short version is that Satan asks God for permission to afflict Job with many painful situations after God cites that Job is His most faithful servant on earth. So God allows it. Job’s children are all killed, all his riches taken away, and his body inflicted with boils from head to toe. Wearily, he sits on his doorstep and scrapes at his boils with broken pottery.

That’s when his three buddies come to visit. Over the course of many chapters, they try to convince him of all kinds of crazyness. Then in the end God swoops in, reprimands Job and his dumb friends, and then restores everything to Job. Of the friends, God says, “I am angry with you … you have not spoken the truth about Me, as My servant Job has” (42:7).

So here’s what I’ve always battled with: is there any merit in the words of Job’s friends throughout the Book of Job? Can we quote those passages out of context as Truth?

It seems to me that they do say some insightful things:

“See how happy the man is God corrects; so do not reject the discipline of the Almighty” (5:17).

“We were born only yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are but a shadow” (8:9).

“It is impossible for God to do wrong and for the Almighty to act unjustly” (34:10).

Working in the world of Bible studies, I know we HAVE done exactly this, taken the friends’ words for the wisdom they seem to be. But God Himself said the friends were fools? It’s a strange dichotomy.

I believe that everything in Scripture is there for a reason. Certainly there are many truths that can be scraped from the falsehoods in this text. It’s a life lesson not to let even your most trusted friends draw you away from what you know to be true. A perfect example of standing up for what you believe in and remaining pure in heart.

But still, I wonder. Can we quote the words of fools as good, as Truth?

What do you think?

sometimes, you have to wait

sometimes, you have to wait

I used to think I had a boring testimony. I grew up with wonderful, Christian parents. I walked the aisle when I was about 10 after having a strong call to missions. Unlike many of the people I knew from youth group, I never really wavered from my faith. I had doubts, sure, who doesn’t? But there’s never been a time I did not believe there was a God who cared about me. I didn’t rebel. I have often asked my parents what they DID to me to make me not want to be bad? They don’t know. I wish they did!

While Mr. V and I have never had tons of money, we’ve always had enough. We never went through a period where we had to eat ramen noodles. We’ve never argued significantly. While we went through a short period of infertility, it was not too awful. We’ve had a very happy five years and have a beautiful, healthy daughter.

At Thanksgiving, when Mr. V still had no job interviews lined up for January, I remember thinking, “Well, we’ve not had any hard times in our marriage so far. Maybe this is it.”

And it is.

Not that our marriage is not wonderful, but situationally it has just been a difficult nine months.

Mr. V applied for many college teaching positions–many much closer to our parents–and got not one interview. We felt so desperate. He then applied to many private high schools in Nashville. He had one interview. They hired someone else the next day.

But God had something better planned for us. Through the Southern Teachers Agency, a very prestigious school pursued him and hired him almost immediately (one MUCH better than the one he interviewed at here).

We had always assumed we would be moving after five years. And then we thought, hey, maybe we won’t have to! And then, ooh, yep, we do. So our house didn’t go on the market until the second week of June and Mr. V needed to be in Chattanooga middle of August.

Needless to say, it hasn’t sold. We’ve had a small handful of showings and nothing to show for it except a pretty clean house containing a lonely mother and her ten-month-old baby.

I want so, so badly for our house to sell so I can quit my job, go be a stay-at-home mom and freelancer, and be with Mr. V in Chattanooga. I let that get to me. A LOT! It’s a daily struggle to not whine continuously and wonder why on earth God would be “doing this to me.”

I can’t tell you how many Sunday School lessons and sermons I’ve heard on patience in the last few months. (This morning, visiting a church in Chattanooga, included.) And Mr. V and I believe it when God promises He will work all things for good. That He has a plan for us. That to Him, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.

We’re convinced that God will move me and Libbie to Chattanooga at the exact right time for His plan. Maybe there is a reason I need to be here. Maybe there is a reason I need to move there at some particular time. Either way, we are 100% sure God will allow it to happen in His time if we listen to His Word and obey. Bemoaning all the time I have to be apart from Mr. V does no good. I need to relish God’s plan and delight myself in Him.

Perhaps it’s all a big lesson in patience, faith, and God’s timing. Something I need to learn. And if this is the way for God to knock it into my thick head, I’m OK with that. Because I believe He loves me. Just like sometimes I need to tell Libbie “no” for her own good, sometimes He needs to say, “Not now, dear one. Wait.”

Originally published at Vanderbilt Wife

Most church plants have no option… they’ll be doing small groups. They don’t have the space to have any other kinds of adult classes on Sunday morning and even if they did, they need every person who makes up the church to set-up, tear-down, be sound technicians, musicians, greeters, etc… In most church plants the only ministries a church can offer adults will be worship and small groups. 

If the church is going to flourish it’s vital that these first small groups have the right DNA, the DNA that will be passed on from one generation of small groups to the next. 

There are some aspects of that DNA that must be in place and must be kept in place. These are principles from Acts 2:42 – 47. When these are working together God will do amazing things. A quick list… 

  • The Bible being recognized and studied as words coming from God
  • Friendships that are built on the principles of biblical Christian community which means those in the group are one body. When one person suffers everyone else feels their pain (and responds to comfort the one who is suffering) and when another has something to celebrate everyone senses their joy and celebrates with them.
  • Recognizing Jesus as the centerpiece of group life and helping one another grow to become more and more like Him.
  • Potent prayer, group prayer that anticipates God is going to respond to our requests.
  • Meeting one another’s needs no matter what the cost is to those who make up a particular group.

 It doesn’t matter what kind of small group system the church planter has determined to propagate. It doesn’t matter if the church is doing open or closed groups, using curriculum or discussing the Sunday sermon, is involved in a 40 day campaign or simply meeting at the coffee shop with a few other believers for spiritual conversations, if these components are not part of group life, the groups will not reach optimal effectiveness.

 If you would like to know more about church planting and small groups come join us at the Exponential Conference in April.

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