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    Fresh Perspectives on Women of the Bible: Tamar by Barbara Haesecke

    One Sunday our pastor challenged us to “be willing to move toward the messy” to become the kind of people Jesus wants us to be. I immediately thought of Tamar. Her Genesis  38 story is tucked away in the middle of Joseph’s compelling tale, and many routinely skip over her to continue his amazing technicolor dreamcoat saga. But more than an interruption, her story teaches us valuable lessons even though it competes for the messiest story in the Bible. She’s the woman who dressed up as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law just so she could have a baby.  But is that all there is to her story?  The more…

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    Fresh Perspectives on Women in the Bible–Phoebe by Lindsay Ann Nickens

    Augustine of Hippo. Martin Luther. Billy Graham. Three giants of the Christian faith, and they each have this in common: God chose to hinge their salvation experiences upon the courage of a woman named Phoebe. This is because each of these men had salvation experiences through reading or hearing the book of Romans, which Phoebe faithfully and courageously delivered from Paul to Rome in the first century AD.         “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”    Phoebe is mentioned in only two verses, Romans 16:1-2, out of the 7,957 verses in the New Testament. However, these two little verses pack a big punch, revealing the…

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    Fresh perspectives on Eve and Priscilla and how their lives intersect by Julie Shannon

    Due to the myriad of (mis)information and (mis)interpretations about Eve in the creation and fall narrative of Genesis, most of my life I existed under the misguided notion that females were a little lower on the creation scale. I’m unsure about the origin of this thinking, but I remember believing she bore all of the responsibility for the fallen world and chaos around us. Until recent years, I never really understood who God created her to be and how the story of Eve, the serpent, and Adam really played out. I also didn’t learn much about Priscilla until much later in life. Now her story fascinates me—I admire her life…

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    A Fresh Perspective on Martha and Mary by Barbara Farris

    The well-known story of Jesus’ relationship with sisters Martha and Mary has a caused a great deal of consternation for worker bee women like me. I have always felt that Martha’s frustration and resulting outburst were completely justified. Who wouldn’t resent being saddled with all the work while their sister hung out with the guys around the Teacher?  Why would Jesus teach about serving others and then rebuke Martha for doing just that, and worse, defend Mary?  I came away from this story feeling like a rejected ‘Martha’ whose gifts weren’t valued or appreciated. But then I heard the story explained in a different light. What if Jesus wasn’t criticizing…

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    Fresh Perspectives on Women in the Bible: Esther By Natalie Edwards

    The sound of water flowing fills the palace. Trickling fountains. Incense burning. The smell of lavender lingers in the air. Shades of fine silk in purple, red and blue are laid out for the choosing. It’s a spa of the most luxurious sort and hundreds of women are preparing for their encounter with the king. Yet only one will be chosen queen of Persia and marry King Ahasuerus. Among the crowd of women to come before the king is Esther, our Bible character in this week’s Fresh Perspective on Women in The Bible. Does God value bold courage as a desired feminine quality too? Let's find out.     Raised…

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    A New Perspective on Bathsheba by Grace Holik

    The popularity of Hallmark Christmas movies confirms–we love when those great love stories end "and they lived happily ever" but we loath when the story ends with breakups and broken hearts. That's why Hallmark movies never do. Authors and commentators seem torn between the idea of David and Bathsheba as an epic forbidden romance or a forced assault of power. I would argue for the latter. This isn't a love story between a sinister temptress who seduces a dashing king as they both consent to a riveting affair. Instead, this story demonstrates the misuse of power and deceit, as sexual lust takes precedence over the value of human life.   …

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    A fresh perspective on Deborah by Barb Haesecke

    Our first-born daughter is a born leader. She came out of the womb with Director of Activities stamped on her forehead! She was smart, analytical, creative and passionate. She loved big projects and The Big Picture. (Still does!)  On many a day, I just shook my head and said, “Lord, I don’t quite know what to do with her!”                                                           But as she headed off to college, I saw her blossom. She joined ROTC and after graduation spent five years serving our country…

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    Fresh perspectives on Biblical Women–The Woman at the Well

     Who do you immediately picture when you think of the   woman at   the well in John 4?  Do you see a sleazy   woman with overdone   makeup, bangles and spangles,   one of those morally loose   floozies with a weakness for   the wrong kind of men? When you   meet her in heaven,   how will you feel if she's actually a woman of   integrity,   courage, insight, and served Jesus as an evangelist? Of   course, she was a sinner just like all of us. But we must   be careful not to disparage anyone's character before we   know the facts. What does John 4, as well as first century social customs, reveal about her character? …

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    Would Jesus turn #MeToo into #UsTwo?

      I came home pumped!! My friend Barb led our mixed Sunday School through a fresh look at the leadership partnership between Deborah and Barak (Judges 4 and 5) as part of an eight week series entitled "Fresh Perspectives on Women of the Bible." The week before, we saw Jesus praise the woman at the well for evangelizing her Samaritan village, a people group the disciples formerly discounted as unworthy of salvation (John 4). For the first time, these two women jumped off the page in living color as role models for other women to emulate. We set aside the over-sexualized interpretations too often imposed on the text and let…

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    Never Underestimate the Price and Prize of Peace and Quiet

         Guest blog by my stellar student Lisa White In childhood we constantly hear, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” At 52, I still ask myself that question. Today, we live under the impression and pressure that the sky’s the limit. We create great expectations for ourselves and for others. Fears of not measuring up or of missing out on the prize often inflate our answers and our egos. One of my favorite novels, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations tells how bigger-than-life ambitions have the power to crush joy. Dickens’ title references a poem by Philip Sidney who nicknames our great expectations “friendly foe.” These expectations…