Five months in and two elder deacon meetings later, I am overdue for an update on my ministry since becoming a deaconess at Pillar Baptist Church. It has been a blessing to serve the church body, particularly the sisters, and meet newcomers while growing in my personal walk with God. In our quarterly elder deacon meetings, the elders plan for future events and give updates about various ministries. The deacons listen and provide feedback to our elders and go around to share updates about the ministries we oversee, which are nursery, children’s ministry, care team, midweek and small groups, worship and sound, and Women’s Group. We also lift up the needs of our members in prayer. It has been encouraging to be a part of the behind-the-scenes ministry work with my elders and fellow deacons and see how God has been faithful to our church!
After three years of leading Women’s Group, praise God for answered prayers in growing the numbers and interest of sisters in Women’s Group this year! In January, we had a dinner hangout with 24 girls and a good time of getting to know each other better and kicking off 2017 together. In February, we started our new book, The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective of Women, Work, and the Home by Carolyn McCulley with Nora Shank. We had our largest turnout yet with 28 girls at our first discussion of the new book. Many girls expressed excitement for the book and were thankful for the age range and diversity of life stages among the sisters in Women’s Group. We will continue to meet once a month for our book discussions!
This past weekend, God answered prayers in bringing Mrs. Marlean Felix and Dr. Paul Felix from Los Angeles Bible Training School to minister to our church! Mrs. Marlean was our first guest speaker at the All Women’s Meeting on Saturday and Dr. Felix preached on the Sunday pulpit, which was followed by a Q & A with the Felixs. I enjoyed getting to know them and was so encouraged and exhorted from their expository preaching of God’s Word and their life testimonies through 40 years of marriage, parenting, and ministry. The Felixs put “busyness” into perspective and have so much life, passion, humor, knowledge of the Bible, and faithfulness.
For our bi-annual All Women’s Meeting, Mrs. Marlean was so encouraging as she spoke on “Walking Worthy to Please God” from her life verse, Colossians 1:10. She covered many topics, including dependence on prayer, discernment of God’s will, marriage and singleness, and practical obedience. Over lunch at our table, Mrs. Marlean shared more about her father who was a pastor and lived to 107 years old and parenting her son and daughter, the Olympian Allyson Felix. Thank God for the special time of encouragement and fellowship for the sisters of PBC and our largest turnout ever with about 70 people!
Mrs. Marlean’s message here: www.pillarbaptist.com/sermons/walking-worthy-to-please-god
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. –Colossians 1:9-14
“Until you walk worthy, God isn’t fully glorified, you aren’t fully blessed, the church can’t fully function, and the world can’t see Jesus Christ.” — John MacArthur
After the All Women’s Meeting, I had the opportunity to spend more time with the Felixs with an hour-long car ride to and back from dinner in the city. Mrs. Marlean and I bonded in the back seat over teaching. She is retiring as a third grade teacher and I am a first grade teacher 6 years in. Both of us had a memorable Kindergarten teacher that made us dream to become teachers. Both of us finished our undergraduate in 3 years and our credential and masters in our 4th year to start our teaching careers at age 21 for her and 22 for me. We talked about witnessing to our coworkers, dealing with misbehaving students, using technology in teaching, and more. In our conversation, I saw her passion for teaching and young children and her strive to be an effective teacher even as she’s about to retire 39 years later. That is how I hope to end my teaching career, never growing complacent or stubborn in my ways, but always challenging myself to grow and be a better teacher for the sake of the children and for the glory of God. She inspired me to dream big for the future of my teaching career, so we shall see where I am when I get to her age!
We enjoyed a delicious dinner with all 3 Pillar pastors at San Tung over dumplings, moo shu pork, fried chicken, black bean noodles, fried rice, and dry sautéed green beans. I think it was my first time there as well as for the Felixs, and the food was so good! Afterwards, we enjoyed the fluffiest cheesecake ever from Zanze’s and hung out with the Felixs at Dave and Angela’s place.
On Sunday, Dr. Felix preached on “The School of God’s Grace” from Titus 2:11-14. I really liked his consistent imagery of the school – we are enrolled in the school of God’s grace, you never graduate until you die, you take 3 classes in the past, present, and future, and the question is how are you doing as a student. It was so clear and easy to follow the structure of his sermon. Like the sermons from my Pillar pastors, I love how his sermon focused on the Gospel as our reason to live godly lives and not because of a to do or don’t list of Christian living. Even though I memorized the book of Titus in small group in college and have forgotten it now, it was refreshing to be taught from another passage that was different from the familiar Titus 2:3-5 and 3:4-7.
Dr. Felix’s sermon here: www.pillarbaptist.com/sermons/the-school-of-gods-grace
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. –Titus 2:11-14
Some of my takeaways of encouragement from this weekend:
- I loved the expository preaching from Mrs. Marlean and Dr. Felix. Much of what stood out to me were explicitly taken from the verses in the Bible. Since I have been reading a few chapters at a time to follow the Pillar Bible reading plan in one year, I often look at the big picture but should pay attention to word choice and sentence structure.
- Prayer is constant. Pray since the beginning of anything. Evaluate the percentage of my prayers spent praying for myself versus others. Create a weekly prayer list.
- Continue to look with anticipation for the second coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Appreciate what Jesus Christ has done for us, that He gave Himself for us.
While I lost my voice on Friday afternoon and did the total opposite of resting it up this weekend to prepare for teaching this week, I am thankful to have had such a blessed weekend with the Felixs and my Pillar family and still have had my raspy, cracky voice to preside the All Women’s Meeting and chat with Mrs. Marlean. Hoping that my students will continue to cooperate and be good to me like they were today and that my voice will recover quickly in the next few days.