*****I was sitting in church this last Sunday when our Pastor John Ortberg said something that almost brought me to tears. In the middle of his sermon centered in the book of Judges and the cycle of sin and redemption, he said words that touched my heart. I want to share these words today because I sit here and know that a war on women is happening in the church universal. As someone who has been pushed to hide my spiritual gifts because it might make someone uncomfortable, I know the body is being hurt by the diminishing of God's people.
And so I share these words. Words spoken by a pastor. A well respected pastor of a well respected church. A trained theologian who points to Christ with each word he preaches. In the middle of the story of he adds these words:
I'll say a word about this, because people sometimes wonder about God and the Bible and women in leadership. So notice Deborah was the highest leader of Israel. Although she was married, she (not her husband) was chosen by God to be the leader of Israel.
Her husband was part of Israel, so he (her husband) is one of the people she (a woman) is leading. Notice this text does not say God did this because no other man would step up to spiritual leadership because it was supposed to be a man. It doesn't say that. It just says God chose her. Just one little indication. Even way back in the Old Testament, God chooses women. I, for one, am so glad to be a part of a church where woman and men can serve and minister and follow and lead together on the basis of spiritual giftedness and not gender. - John OrtbergYou can watch the entire message at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church's website. (The story of Deborah and Jael and Sisero starts at about the twelve minute mark.) It's a good sermon about the idea that you reap what you sow. That was the point of the sermon. It was not about the role of women in the church. It was about the vicious cycle of sin, pain, redemption, peach and sin again. But in the midst of the message he said these words because Deborah and Jael were there, in the Bible. He didn't avoid the story of these women. He didn't discount the role of Deborah.
He simply taught what the Bible said.
Deborah was a prophet. She was a judge. She was the leader of all of Israel. She was a woman.
I am thankful for my church, for a place where my gender does not determine my place in God's family. God does.
What has your pastor said recently that you needed to hear?