Esther: It’s Tough Being A Woman

estherJust a couple weeks away, we will be starting a new Beth Moore study on Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman. Can I get an Amen to that? Well, I took a peak at the intro session so that I could share a few topics Beth Moore will be covering. Below are the three I took away and I hope they excite you as much as it did me!

Anonymous
Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not reference the name of God. Many of us can probably relate to Esther in times where we’ve asked, “God, where are you?” Some of us are asking this right now. However, the absence of God’s name in this book and our feelings that God is no where to be found do not make Him M.I.A. We can still study God in this book and in our lives even in His seeming absence. Our God is a God of miracles and the extraordinary. But He is also God with us in the natural and ordinary. Sometimes we need to see with the eyes of faith.

Destiny
It will take courage, perseverance and hope. We will study how Esther fulfilled her destiny and my prayer is that we would also fulfill ours. As we line up by the fence, the way we did during recess at school, some with hearts pounding, palms sweaty, thinking “I’m going to be the last one picked on a team” the difference is, God has already chosen you to be on His team, to be in His family. And now, He is choosing you to do His work, whatever that may be.

Estrogen (sorry guys!)
I’ve heard people say, and I confess I have too, “Whoa! There is just way to much estrogen in this room.” What do we mean by that? Though there’s probably some variation in what we meant, we’re getting at the point that there is something unique about women that exists. There is a lot that comes with being a woman- some of it great, some difficult- and sometimes we don’t know how to deal with it all. As we study the book of Esther, we will be given the opportunity to learn about this female protagonist and how she obeyed the Lord remaining comfortable in her own skin as a woman.

So ladies, I am getting pumped for this study and I hope you will join me along with other women for this study on Esther. Just a reminder, in order to receive your workbook by the first day of class, you need to register by Sunday, February 22nd! Go HERE for more information.

Hope you will join us as we study who our God is, who we are and what we are to do “for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14

For Your Joy

by Justin Pearson

I am teaching our current Christianity 101 class on Monday nights. We just finished week 4 which is entitled “What Does Salvation Mean and Why Do I Need It?” The focus of the lesson is on our need for a Savior.

We walk through the fact that we all have sin in our lives (Romans 3:23) and that because of this sin we are separated from God. God is 100% holy. He is the definition of holy. Because he is 100% holy he cannot be in any type of relationship or fellowship with anything that is unholy. If he did this he would become tainted and, therefore, be unholy. This is impossible for God. It is against his nature.

Many people try many different methods to reconcile with God and to be in relationship with him, but they all fall short. Whether it is good deeds, trying to be a good person, church attendance, baptism, giving money, spirituality, etc, none of them work. Why? Because none of them take away the sin that keeps us separated from God.

The good news is that God is not indifferent and he wants and desires to have a relationship with us, to reconcile us to himself. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to bear the full weight and punishment of our sin and disobedience in order to rescue us and reconcile us. This is not because we are worthy or valuable. It is because through our redemption God receives even more glory. When we are reconciled to God we experience ultimate joy which is found in God alone through Jesus Christ alone.

I shared the following passage with the class:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26 (ESV)

The cross, then, is not solely for us, but is to display God’s righteousness and to make him both just and the justifier. He gets the glory not us. We merely receive the benefit of joy!

I want to challenge you, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, to think about these truths and to meditate on the above mentioned passage. Ask God to help you understand the cross and the gospel more fully so that you too might experience ultimate joy.

I handed out a small red booklet to everyone in class entitled For Your Joy. You can access it for free in PDF format at the following link- http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/books_bfyj/bfyj.pdf

I would encourage you to read this as well.

Drink deeply from Jesus this week.

Justin Pearson is the Director of Adult Ministries @ MBC Loudoun
*Have questions about this? Email justin.pearson@mcleanbible.org or leave a comment on the blog.

Hot Cocoa Social (MBC 10:45, 2nd Grade, Girls)

Wendy (parent):

My daughter is very shy and I thought it would be good for her to get to know the girls in her small group better. I prayed many times for God to be a part of the whole process. Including the parent participation, enthusiasm, what I say to the girls, and what we did. When I asked the teacher, she was very enthusiastic and collected all the e-mails for me. When I sent the e-mail, immediately parents sent responses that they wanted their daughters to come. The girls had a great time learning more about each other in a relaxed setting and having Hot Cocoa too. The parents had a chance to meet and get to know each other also. Many families have signed up to host the next few socials. We plan to meet every couple of months. God not only opened the door but blew it open. The enthusiasm of the parents, teacher and kids reminded me God cares about everything.

Sinae (teacher):

I’m so glad the girls had fun–I had a great time too! Each and every one of the girls is so special and I truly love seeing them every Sunday! It’s great that the girls are starting to make Godly friendships. I’m really starting to see them open up and share a little more about themselves which in turn opens the door to talk more about what God is doing and can do in their lives. Please know that I am always available to listen to any concerns or anything you may want to share about your daughter to make the small group more meaningful.

Lexi (age 7)

I had fun too. I liked being the hostess’s daughter. I think the Hot Cocoa social really made a BIG difference in our group.

Be looking forward to more events, like an Ice Cream Social in March!

Being Passionate for the Holiness of God

This past weekend McLean Bible Church held its first annual Leadership Forum. It was a gathering of MBC leaders from all campuses to be challenged and encouraged as they lead in various capacities within the local church. Some of the speakers were live and some were shown via DVD.

One of the most impactful messages that I heard over the weekend was from Pastor John Piper. His message was on our need to become passionate for the holiness of God in our lives. While this is not a leadership talk I believe that it should affect our leadership more than anything else.

Piper’s point is that exalting God’s holiness must be the most important thing in our lives. We must become passionate for God’s holiness.

One of the key lines of his talk was that God’s glory is God’s holiness going public. Our role as redeemed people is to reflect God’s glory to the world. The world should look at each of our lives and see that God is supremely valuable to us.

He also challenged us to realize that the gospel is not about us (as many of us have been taught), but is about the amazing grace and holiness of God. We should feel more loved by God because he gives you the ability, through the sacrifice of his son, to enjoy making much of him forever.

This is only possible if we recognize the gravity and reality of how awesome and amazing and holy God is.

If you are a follower of Christ I challenge you to think about this and then think about how making the exaltation of God your chief goal can radically change the way you live and do ministry.

Feast on Jesus this week.

Justin Pearson is the Director of Adult Ministries @ MBC Loudoun

The Well is Back!

On Wednesday, January 28th The Well started back at MBC Loudoun. For those of you that don’t know, The Well is a midweek community that spends time together in musical worship as well as in-depth teaching of the Bible.

We are currently studying 1 John. This past Wednesday we covered 1 John 3:11-15. I would encourage you to read it.

John communicates the seriousness of loving our brothers and sisters. In fact, John says that if you do not do this then you are still spiritually dead, you are not a true believer. Those are bold and challenging words for all of us.

As followers of Christ we are called to love our brothers and sisters in a way that is more radical and profound than anything the world has ever seen or anything the world has to offer. People should look at the way Christians care for and love each other and see something different. They should see something appealing.

But, is this always the case in the church? It is always the case in your life?

Jesus commands us to do this in John 13:34-35:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Our love for another should communicate to a lost world that the gospel is real: that Jesus really did die on the cross for our sins and that he really did rise from the dead, that Jesus does change our nature and our lives making us new creations.

This past Wednesday I challenged the community to consider the words that they use when it comes to loving or hating their brothers and sisters. Specifically, we looked at James 3:6-10 and talked about how the tongue (our words) can be used to speak death into the lives of others or to speak life into the lives of others.

As followers of Jesus Christ we must be about loving our brothers and sisters proactively by speaking life into their lives. We cannot love from neutral, but must love by going out of our way, above and beyond, and through sacrifice. That is the only way that our love will be different than what the world has to offer.

I encourage you and challenge you to think about how you are doing when it comes to loving your brothers and sisters with your words.

We would love for you to check out The Well. We meet every other Wednesday night at 7:30PM. You can find more information, our schedule, and audio of past messages at www.mcleanbibleloudoun.org/thewell.

Justin Pearson is the Director of Adult Ministries @ MBC Loudoun

MBC Loudoun – One Year Anniversary

Campus Pastor, Jim Supp, reflects on the one year anniversary of MBC Loudoun:

It is getting late and I really should be in bed. The house is quiet and I am just sitting here pondering the enormity of the day and the God who made it all possible. It is hard to believe MBC Loudoun has been in existence for a year now. And what a wonderful time we had today celebrating that reality. I am humbled to see all God has done this year, and even more humbled to have been able to be a part of it. I could not ask for a more committed and engaged body of believers to journey with in this awesome endeavor. — I thank God for the 8 people who were baptized today, reminding us of the simple yet profound truth that Jesus died for each of us. When we receive him we are buried with Him in His death and raised with Him to a brand new life. — I thank God for the many who came forward to write on the ‘Ebenezer Stones’ we have in the front of the auditorium. After our team had cleaned everything up for the day I sat in front of the stone and read some of the things written there. So many simple but profound words or phrases. “Saved me,” “Recommitted,” “accountability,” all describing different journeys this past year. One gentleman wrote “biblical Fatherhood” – what a blessing to hear that. One person described Loudoun as the place God used to Bring “the family closer.” I could go on. A sense of peace and contentment rests on me tonight knowing that God is doing a mighty work among us here. It reminds of a phrase my dad use to always say – “it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Junior High Winter Camp

This weekend we were blessed with wonderful weekend of ministry to our Junior High Students. We had almost 300 people with us, with a great outpouring of support from leaders allowing us to average 1 leader for every two students! The staff led the students through John 17 “Jesus last wish for his children.” We discussed unity and biblical forgiveness and had a real out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

A couple quick highlights:

  • A student who came to RHG for several weeks before camp made a first time decision for Christ this weekend.
  • A High School student leader led a new junior high student to Christ during free time
  • A student called his mom immediately following the sermon on forgiveness and in tears apologized!
  • One of our leaders at this camp had come to Christ at this same camp in Junior High with us nine years earlier! Now she was with us leading other girls to follow Christ
  • 0 % of kids who attended camp said that they had made some spiritual decision this weekend.
  • 10 students gave their hearts to Christ for the first time

At the end of one of the last sessions kids wrote down responses to three prayers – Read through a few of the things they wrote down…

  • God help me to forgive…..
  • Help me to forgive all that have and will wrong me
  • So many people in my life especially my friends because I know they talk behind my back.
  • My stepdad for hurting me. I give this to you lord.
  • My mother and help us to get along
  • Forgive my dad for doing everything he has done and for hurting me and my family and himself
  • Help me to be nice to my mom and forgive her
  • Help me to forgive the guy that did things thank you know about that has scared me.
  • Forgive me for being mean to my parents
  • Help me to forgive and love my brother
  • Forgive my father for all the things he did. Help me to forget about all the stuff he did.
  • God please forgive me for….
  • Help me to worship more fully and forgive me when I haven’t
  • Spreading gossip
  • Not trusting you
  • Not being strong in my Christianity like I could and living my life without thinking of you at all.
  • I’m sorry for my sins. I covet, cursed, and didn’t put you as the center of my life.
  • For not honoring my parents and not being fully devoted to you, and not sharing your word when you gave me chances to do that.
  • Being unthankful and impatient with other.
  • Being disrespectful to my parents
  • From being angry for trying to settle it with violence.
  • Forgive me when I gossip when I hurt others when I forget you
  • For not praying
  • For cussing, lying, yelling
  • Not reading your word enough
  • My inability to stay in your word and for my disrespect for my peers
  • Yelling at my grandma
  • Judging others
  • Being selfish
  • Jesus, Thanks you for…
  • Everything in my life, my house, my family,
  • All of the friends have made here at camp
  • Winter camp
  • Thank you for this spiritual weekend where I could grow closer to you
  • All you’ve given me, my friends, family and a new life
  • This awesome opportunity here at camp

Praise God for His work in the lives of these kids!

Mike Reed is the Director of Student Ministries @ MBC Loudoun

Keep Moving Forward


I’ve been reading in Deuteronomy recently and meditating on God’s deep desire for us to be so in love with Him, but I jumped back to Exodus and was challenged by this passage to keep moving forward and fighting for our love for Him each day.

As the Israelites stood in front of the red sea in Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

So Moses brings the whole nation of Israel to a dead end in the desert while the only thing between Israel and Pharaoh’s army was the Red Sea. The Israelites had seen God work in tremendous ways and were delivered from Pharaoh and thought they were “home free,” but God directs Moses to take a route that led to the Red Sea, instead of the northern route around the Red Sea. The Israelites cried out and were defenseless and scared yet the Lord responded powerfully to them by saying “move on, keep moving forward.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the “Red Sea” in our life, and sometimes if you are like me it’s that sick feeling of not feeling passionate love for God, or there are other stresses in life, roadblocks that seem to drain you from your spiritual fervor. But no matter what we are feeling God tells us one thing: “Keep moving. Push through. Rely on me and I will do the dramatic. I will receive the glory.” As the Israelites stood panicked in front of the red sea it angered God and he responded by saying “keep moving.”

A lot of times I make excuses of “but God” and God always responds “Keep moving.” When we live by sight, we act on what we see. God is into the remarkable. There is no way out without God here. That is just the way He wants it. No one will get glory except God. So God must give us this love for him, he must give us strength to endure the difficulties of life, so that we praise Him! Maybe you are starring at the Red Sea right now in your life, God’s answer will always be the same, “rely on me, don’t grow weary, and move forward.” Prayerfully some great encouragement for you all!

Mike Reed is the Direct of Student Ministries @ MBC Loudoun

Meet Ruth Deal, Pt. 2

Ruth Deal is the Campus Administrator of MBC Loudoun

Read Part 1

Favorite scripture and quote:
My favorite scripture passage would have to be Psalm 139. I love how detailed the Lord is in expressing his love and care for us.

My favorite quote would have to be from Robert Frost’s poem:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. This quote reminds me that God is a big God and he calls me to big tasks – and it’s a wonderful adventure to go against the flow and impact the world. I only have one life to live and I want it to make a difference for Christ!

What are some new traditions you and your husband are beginning to incorporate as newlyweds?
This past Thanksgiving, Matthew and I decided to do something a little new to us. At our place settings we placed 5 kernels of corn. The corn represented the “starving ration” which was all the food the pilgrims had during the winter of their second year in the America’s. After dinner, we each took a kernel of corn and explained something we were thankful for this past year, and we alternated back and forth sharing until all 5 of our kernels were accounted for. We have kept these kernels of corn and will keep them in a jar and add to each year. This will serve as a great reminder to be thankful for what we have and to keep things in perspective.

How did you meet your spouse?
Matthew and I met at Ruby Tuesday. We both showed up where our friend groups from Frontline were hanging out for dinner and then we all went to the bowling alley for the rest of the evening. After meeting we kept seeing each other at different events and found out that both of our sister’s lived in the same town. We carpooled to visit our sister’s and the rest is history :o)

What are some of your favorite things about your spouse?
Oh my – I would never have time to tell you all the wonderful things about my husband. But I’ll tell you the first things that pop in my mind: I love hearing his heart and love for the Lord when we pray together before going to sleep. Matthew has such a servant’s heart and he is always helping me before I even have a chance to ask for help. He is the funniest man I know – his sense of humor always has me rolling with laughter. Matthew is a hard worker and he perseveres even when obstacles get in his way – he finds a path and keeps on trekking. He truly is a gift from God!

Meet Ruth Deal, Pt. 1

Ruth Deal is the Campus Administrator of MBC Loudoun

What has God been teaching you recently?
The verse that has been resonating with me is “Be still and know that I am God.” from Psalms 46:10. What a wonderful picture of how small and finite I am and how almighty and powerful the Lord is in my life. God has really been reminding me to rest in him and trust His perfect timing and His perfect plan. When I stop and quiet all the sounds of this world, I hear the Lord whisper to my heart “Just keep being faithful and obeying me … I’ll work out all the details”.

What are your spiritual gifts?
I’m an encourager. I love to come along side a person and by simply sharing a thought or even a word they are uplifted and filled with hope and joy! Paired with the encouragement gift is the exhortation gift. I like to lift a person up – but I’ll also give them a little kick in the pants to get them going or keep them accountable to something they have shared with me. The third gift that is pretty prominent is the gift of hospitality. I love to have people over for a visit. I enjoy serving them and helping them feel cherished, cared for, and welcome.

What did you do before MBC?
I’m the daughter of a Baptist minister and grew up mostly in Michigan. I attended Liberty University for my undergraduate degree in Business/Marketing. After graduation, I worked at a Marketing Specialist for the National Rifle Association. God then directed me to work in the church and opened the door. I’m now attending Capital Bible Seminary and pursuing a master’s degree in Professional youth & family counseling.

What do you do when you are not working?
I enjoy spending time with my amazing hubbie, Matthew, and friends & family. I also enjoy many activities like rock climbing, jewelry making, painting, cooking, horseback riding, working out, exploring, hiking, traveling, skiing (when I’m not crashing :o), biking, basketball, jet skiing, and the list goes on and on and on!

Stay tuned for Part 2