Twenty-five years ago, I was a new mother questioning every decision I was making for the itty-bitty human in my charge. Searching for a women who lived nearby, I longed to sit and chat with someone a little older and wiser. The expectation in my mind was small–coffee, talking about marriage and babies, and other God conversations. One Sunday morning in the church building hallway, I confidently asked an older friend if she might be interested in getting together. I explained I thought I could benefit from her ideas and wisdom. Twenty-something years my senior, she had warm dark eyes and a soft voice.
In the past, I had always left our conversations calmer than before, lulled by her attention and gentle touch. She had known Jesus since she was a girl, and I could see the love for Him in her face and the way she cherished His word. So, I was astounded by her response to my invitation. "I don't think I have much to offer." A humble reply, I thought until I discovered she was dead serious. Stunned by her response, I scrambled to convince her otherwise. What on earth would make her feel so useless? I was not asking her to teach a weekly Bible study, only make a tiny investment of time in a young mom needing encouragement and reassurance.
How could she not understand who she is to her Father? A priceless treasure, equipped for every good work. Instead, she caved to the self-condemning thoughts, walked away, missing an opportunity. I walked away with hurt feelings and disappointment.
Throughout the years, I discovered many women within the body of Christ often feel the same: Ill-equipped, uncomfortable, mediocre, or "less than". So many of us have bought the lie that God cannot possibly use us to advance His purposes. But that thought simply doesn't align with scripture or Abba Father's heart for us. We are significant to Him. God used numerous women throughout the old testament as His representatives, despite their insecurities.
Esther had no guarantee that she would not lose her head when she approached the king's throne without summoning. I have to wonder how she felt walking down the long corridor leading to King Ahasuerus' inner chamber–equipped, comfortable, brave? Scripture seems to indicate that young Esther knew where to find her help and strength. "Go, gather all the Jews... and hold a fast on my behalf... I and my young women will do the same" (Esther 4:15-16). Likely her heart was pounding as she willingly risked her life for her friends and nation.
The unnamed Shunammite women offers the godly traveling man, Elisha, and his companion a place to stay within her family's home while in the region. She even convinces her husband to build an extra room for the travelers, complete with amenities. Did she compare herself to other formidable women like Esther because she was not saving lives or preserving nations? Did either women understand Yahweh doesn't desire a good performance but a relationship and a dependent heart? Both women's stories on the pages of God-breathed Holy Scripture are reminders of His desire to fulfill His purpose through women who belong to Him.
Within the new testament, the apostle Paul held great respect for women and depended on them to help promote the gospel. Did they also like my friend, like me, ever think they had nothing to offer? We also see devoted women serving and supporting the ministry of Jesus. And Jesus crushing societal norms, defending and bringing women close to Himself. The most poignant picture we have of Jesus' love and compassion for women is when He is dying. During His last agonizing moments on the cross, He entrusts the care of His mother to His beloved disciple. Offering salvation, compassion, purpose, and friendship to the marginalized, the love He displays for women is evident.
What we believe about the nature of God and our worth as women in Christ dramatically impacts how we live our lives. Like Phoebe, Lydia, the Marys, and the women taken in adultery, we are fully known beloved daughters–the apple of His eye. We have filling of His spirit, His love, and life. And we have been given gifts to offer the world and Church.
Because of Christ's indwelling, we are included in His grand plan. But it's not Christian service He is after. It's Us. Now the pressure is off. We as women can relax and rest confidently in the One who can serve and love perfectly through us. Never again do we need to succumb to the message from God's enemy, "I have nothing to offer," because the trust is as women with Jesus in us, we have everything to offer.
You are Loved and of great worth,
(Trista Larkin and Sharon Dix, two women who love encouraging the body of Christ.)
(Tessa Northcutt and Emily Green hug like they mean it. Both women are a huge blessing to us at The Hill.)
(Ireland Jones is one of many young women who attend our Summer Youth Leadership Camps.)
New Residents at The Hill
Trent Bugg, Hannah Dubois, Liam Hereford, and John Myers are the newest residents joining us on The Hill. Together, they bring a desire to walk with (and a love for) Jesus, an enormous amount of energy, and contagious enthusiasm. Whether singing, writing, playing ultimate frisbee, or engaging others in great conversation, each of them has already become a valued part of The Hill family. We are amazed by the goodness God shows in bringing such incredible, fun, beautiful people.
Tuesday Nights at The Hill
Along with a new crew of student residents, August brought the return of Tuesday night Bible Study. David Gibson has done a tremendous job leading our class; Becoming LIFERS learning to experience the life Jesus gives. Adults of all ages, including several new college students, have been faithful to attend weekly sessions. It has been a joy to see familiar faces and many new ones as well. The last night of study for the fall semester will be Tuesday, November 23rd. But, class will resume for spring on January 18, 2022. Mark your calendar and watch Facebook for changes and updates.
Advancing in Romans
When I gave my life to Christ (when I exercised personal repentance and faith while depraved), God, seated in heaven behind His huge gold desk, took His huge gold gavel (no desk or gavel are mentioned in Scripture—this is for illustration), stood up behind His desk, raised up on His tip-toes, and with all the force that He could muster through that right arm of power, struck that huge, gold, glistening desk. As a result of this powerful act, all heaven shook—even the angels took notice—and every eye in the heavenly places gazed at the Creator. As He prepared to speak, they could not help but notice the love and compassion that characterized His stature. As they gazed more intently, they could see tears of joy rushing down those cheeks from which the glory of His Majesty was manifested. Then, when everything in heaven settled, the Creator pointed at me. (Here is where our illustration ends and Scriptural reality kicks in, although some of what is stated previously may very well have occurred.) With great boldness and authority, and yet with great joy, my God said the following: “You are holy, perfect, redeemed, complete, blameless, accepted, glorified, a brother of Christ, not condemned, a saint, a son, forgiven, and I take you as my very own!”
Wow! Can you believe that the Father did all of that (and more) in an instant of time? This entire transformation occurred at the point of justification, subsequent to our exercising repentance and faith while depraved. God did it all through His grace!
Let’s observe a few New Testament verses that confirm what has been stated regarding justification. What God says about us in each verse is listed first, followed by the Scripture reference. Keep in mind that everything addressed here happened in an instant, at the point of justification. Bask in the greatness of what you find. These verses describe who you are at this moment in time if you are a believer. You most definitely are not required to experience physical death before the truths recorded in these passages apply.
New creation, 2Cor. 5:17; Crucified with Christ/He lives in me, Gal. 2:20; Righteousness of God, 2Cor. 5:21; Never Condemned, Rom. 8:1; Sealed in Him, Eph. 1:13; Holy and blameless, Eph. 1:4/Col. 1:22; Seated in heavenly places, Eph. 2:6; Raised up with Christ, Col. 3:1; My life is hidden with Christ in God, Col. 3:3; Forgiven, Eph. 4:32/Col. 2:13/ Col. 3:13/Heb. 9:28; Justified, glorified, Rom. 8:30; Old self eradicated, Rom. 6:6; Sanctified, Heb. 10:10; Perfected, Heb. 10:14; Member of Christ’s body, Eph. 5:30; Complete, Col. 2:10; In Christ, righteous, sanctified, redeemed, 1Cor. 1:30; Saint, 1Cor. 1:2; Confirmed to the end, 1Cor. 1:8; Washed, sanctified, 1Cor. 6:11; Member of God’s household, Eph. 2:19; Citizen of heaven, Phil. 3:20; Holy and beloved, Col. 3:12; In Christ, 1John 5:20; Kept for Christ, Jude 1.
Everything listed (click below to open) in the previous twenty-nine verses pertains to the New Testament believer who, while depraved, repented and exercised personal faith.
Can you see why the gospel is called The Good News? This truth is not “positional” truth, as some theologians have incorrectly assumed. It is much more. It is reality! “Positional Truth,” which is taught in many Christian circles, is misleading. It carries with it the idea that God somehow sees us in the manner that these verses describe us— but in actuality we are just lowly sinners saved by grace, who will someday (in heaven) become all of these things.
Scripture presents a totally different view, for we are now (present tense) everything these twenty-nine verses say about us—and more. The evidence is in the tenses of the verbs used in these passages. The action is past tense action that occurred when we met Jesus. Therefore, we are now holy, perfect, righteous, complete, and all of the rest— not lowly sinners saved by grace. In fact, we are saints who sometimes sin! Can you see the difference in these two perspectives? Pray that God will enlighten your spiritual eyes so you might perceive yourself as He sees you.
The Father’s view of the New Testament believer means that He isn’t required to look at us through Jesus to “stomach” what He sees. The Father loves us because of who we are—because of what He has made us into. Jesus alone is the reason the Father could make us new, subsequent to our repenting and believing while depraved. But our identity (who we are as the Father’s children—new creations) allows Him to view us as the apples of His eye. He isn’t required, therefore, as I supposed as a new believer, to view us through His peripheral vision due to a lowliness we possess as His sons. He can look at us straight on because of what He made us into at the point of justification, for He totally accepts us as His holy and eternal possession. As a result, He is accessible, ready to listen to our every concern—and ready to defend us to the very end.
(This short excerpt is from Bob Warren’s Advancing in Romans commentary on Romans 5:1.)
Advancing in Romans Online
Our new online teaching series will be Advancing in Romans, Bob Warren’s expanded version of the original Romans course. From fall of 2011 through the spring of 2013, he taught Romans 1-8 as never before—60 sessions worth! On January 31st, 2022, we will begin posting the audio and notes from those sessions each Monday. Please consider joining us at lifeonthehill.org for this in depth study of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. The audio lessons, study notes, and discussion questions for Ephesians will remain available until we start the new series.
Featured Resident: Aaron Davis
Aaron Davis came to Murray State University in 2017 to pursue a math degree. In two of the four years in college, he lived on The Hill and participated in the residential discipleship program. Desiring to know God's heart in a richer, more intimate way, Aaron challenged us all with his insightful thoughts and questions. We miss him greatly but are thankful for the time together. He is now at the University of Kentucky pursuing a doctorate in mathematics. His career goal is to become an applied mathematician (we only sort of know what that means). We just know he will be good at it. Aaron continues to visit and participate in ministry from The Hill.
Aaron added, "At a Hill college retreat, I had a conversation where I was asked point-blank if I trusted God. And I couldn't say yes. I had been afraid to talk to God because I feared what He might ask me to do. I was challenged to read Luke or John and see if Jesus was worth trusting. This has changed my life. I lived at the Hill for two years. At the cabin, Jesus was the most prevalent topic of conversation. Each of my roommates knew me well, and I knew them well. I got to see the principle of the cross in action so often. I ate so much food I didn't cook. Once, they spent four hours looking for a key I had lost in a field. I was living with people not much older than I was, who allowed Jesus to live through them consistently. It was just where I needed to be at that point in my life. And I was able to pour into others what was poured into me. Brent Armstrong provided so much grace while I lived there. I would just walk over to his office, and he would be ready to talk about whatever I needed to talk about. I needed a lot of wisdom, and Brent was always available. Everyone at The Hill showed me so much kindness. And I got to see Jesus expressed uniquely in all of their lives."
Summer Camp at The Hill
Three youth leadership camps made for an exciting summer. Leaders took us on a Journey of The Soul, navigating us through Zombie Land, the "Mind" Field, the Forest of Forgiveness, and the Highlands of Hope.
(Camper Avery Joyner designed the "Journey of A Soul" map that we used during all three camps.)
(Summer Campers Naomi Cunningham and Kylee McKenzie.)
(Sumer Campers Brady Miller and Will Lynch.)
(Frank Friedman led us through the book of Galatians at our Fall Retreat. It was so fun!)
(Tony & Karen Schauberger rarely miss any opportunity to be at The Hill.)
(Aaron & Emily Wells and their sons, Roman & Soloman (in front) joined us for the Fall Retreat. Hopefully, their daughter Faith can make it the next time.)
Rooted & Grounded
January 7-9, 2022
An annual gathering of young adults (post high school/18-25) that are hungry for truth, a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, and fellowship with others in a similar pursuit. They come to spend time with the Lord, to be encouraged, to expend themselves in worship, and to be a part of blessing others.
Winter Youth Retreat
January 14-16, 2022
Our annual winter retreat for middle and high school students–39 hours filled with the Word, laughter, friendship, worship, fun, and a little bit of sleep. Students must be at least 13 years old to attend.
Awakened to Grace Conference (AKA Romans Retreat)
February 25-26, 2022
Andrew Farley and Tim Chalas will be the main speakers. This conference has been postponed twice now, but we believe it will happen this time. Registration is required.
April 22-24, 2022
This is our annual gathering of men at The Hill.
Summer Youth Leadership Camps
June 5-11 & June 26-July 2, 2022
Our annual summer camps for 13-18 year old.
Senior Leadership Weekend
July 22-24, 2022
A special weekend for seniors who just graduated high school.
Did You Know?
Did you know you can own the entire library of published teaching audios by Bob Warren on one USB at a fraction of the cost of CDs? Over 460 individual teaching sessions are included in MP3 format. Those files can be loaded onto your computer, your phone, iPad, etc. or even played directly from the USB on any compatible device or vehicle. Visit our website or call us for more information on how to get one!
Thank you for the way you love and support us. Whether you invest your time, money, or prayers to further God’s work here, we are appreciative. God sustains the ministry, and you have been a faithful part of His plan.
Your Friends at The Hill