Prodigal God

Our Small Group at church is going through a wonderful study this summer.  Lee and I were able to go through Gospel in Life by Tim Keller the first summer we were here in NC, and we are studying it again because it is so good.  I have the same book that I used that summer (it is a miracle that I haven't lost it) and it has been so neat to see what my answers and thoughts were to the questions back then and what they are now.  To say that they are different would be an understatement.  This study takes you through living the Gospel in your every day life, from your heart, in your community and ultimately in the world.  It is pretty much rocking my heart and convicting the mess out of me.

Adoration of the Golden Calf - Click Image to Close This week we have been studying idolatry.  Growing up, idolatry was not really something that I understood.  I knew the Old Testament stories of idolatry and knew that I wasn't supposed to build up a golden calf or worship gods like different religions did.  But honestly, that was about as far as I understood.  It wasn't until college that I realized that I committed idolatry daily.  I never knew that idols could be everyday things such as anxiety, control, and approval.  (All things that I struggle with.)  Once I was confronted with this sin, I was blown away with how dirty and messed up my heart was. 

One summer in college, I went on a backpacking trip in Europe that really put my idols out in front of me.  On this trip I spent four weeks with four other people.  The trip was meant to help us learn to live out the Gospel in community with others and share the Gospel along to way as we traveled and learned about different cultures.  It was one of the hardest and best summers so far in my life.  Not only was I engaged to Lee, but I was learning that I had a lot of idols.  When you spend lots of time with the same few people, they see you for who you really are - good and bad.  Even though that is not always fun, it is so good at the same time.  On that trip, I read The Prodigal God by Tim Keller, and my mind was blown.  All my life I had been reading the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) incorrectly.  I am definitely the elder brother in every aspect.  I like rules, morality, and rewards.  Rules are easy for me. 

In the Gospel in Life study, Tim Keller touches on the parable again.  He asks the question below in the study.

What emotions and attitudes does the elder brother display? 

In my notes I wrote pridefulness, moralism, dependence on self....after writing these words all I could think was, "That is me.  I am prideful, moralistic, and I depend on myself for most things.  Goodness gracious, I am messed up."  BUT, there is still hope (thank goodness).

Keller points out something in this parable that is going to blow your mind.  Jesus is the True elder brother.  The elder brother in the story should have been happy and rejoiced that his little brother was back, but he wasn't.  He was angry and jealous because he had done everything he was supposed to do (but his heart was never in the right place).   With Jesus as our true elder brother, we can know and trust that he rejoices with us in our repentance and even gives us his own inheritance freely.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.  And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:24

I'm telling you,  if you are looking for a new study to work through, Gospel in Life is a great one, and The Prodigal God is a short but amazing read.

I will leave you with a worthy quote by Tim Keller.

You will only be "under grace" and free from the controlling effects of idols to the degree that you have both 1. repented of your idols and 2. rested and rejoiced in the saving work and love of Christ instead. 

Laura is married to L, and the two have lived in Wake Forest for two years.  L is pursuing a MDiv in ICP. They have a one daughter, HG, who definitely keeps them on their toes and brings so much joy to their lives every day.  Laura and her family attend The Summit , North Raleigh and lead a small group.  Laura works in the Women's Life Office, and is a part of the Connecting Point Team here at SEBTS. 

Megan Roseen shares her story

1 Samuel 7:12
"Afterward, Samuel took a stone and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, explaining, 'The LORD has helped us to this point.'"
Ebenezer means "Stone of Help"

Throughout my life, I have been amazed to see how God has continued to change my heart, to shape my character, and to guide my life even AFTER I gave Him my life.  There are so many moments of growth, and each one becomes an Ebenezer that I can look back on to say, “Thus far has the Lord brought me.”

I became a Christian at a relatively young age.  When I was in the 8th grade, I read the adult version of the “Left Behind” series by Tim Lahae and Jerry B. Jenkins.  I was alone in my room reading when I realized that I didn’t want to go to hell.  (For those of you who have read the books, I have no idea how a series that rarely mentions hell led me to the conclusion that I was bound for such a place.  I’m sure that the Spirit of the Lord used what I was reading as well as what I was hearing in church at the time to show me my need for a savior.)  It was clear to me that the only way to avoid hell was by allowing Jesus’ sacrifice to cover my sins, so I prayed right then and gave God my life.  Almost immediately, I headed down stairs to call a family meeting.  In my most serious tone, I announced to my parents and siblings, “Some things around here are going to be changing.  I just became a Christian!” Thus far had the Lord brought me.

In all honesty, I had no idea at that moment what I really meant; I just knew that something was different.  Yet God knew my heart that day so much more than I did.  Over the next two years, outside appearances might have led some to believe that I had not really become a Christian that day.  But I have no doubt in my mind that God took me at my word when I said, “I am yours,” and I became His child with that simple prayer of surrender.  I hung out with a group of kids who were into hard drugs, cut themselves, hated their parents, and hung out at the skating rink every Friday night, but God kept me from becoming too immersed in that culture.  By His grace, I continued to attend church and eventually realized that I didn’t hate my parents and that none of my friends were as happy as we all said we were.  I began to sit with a different crowd at lunch, and the spring of my sophomore year I attended the Georgia Christian Youth Convention in Myrtle Beach, SC.  It had been two years since I became a Christian, but at that conference I realized for the first time that God LOVED me.  Though I had accepted His forgiveness and trusted His power to overcome my sin, I had not understood that He chose to save me out of LOVE.  The revelation of God’s love opened new doors in my relationship with Him as I continued to grow.  Thus far had the Lord brought me. 

Despite the fact that I was operating out of obligation rather than love for the first two years of my walk with Christ, there has never been a separation in my mind between my salvation and my service to the Lord.  From the day I first gave my life to Him (in 8th grade so that I wouldn’t have to go to hell), I knew that it meant that my life would be spent in service to Him.  As I headed for college, I began to sort through what a life of service would look like.  I handed over to God a love of theater and discovered a love for languages.  I became an international business major thinking that it would allow me to learn more languages (it didn’t) and be a wonderful platform for mission work in closed countries.

However, God proved once again that He knows me better than I do when He showed me that my heart for mission work was not nearly as philanthropic as I believed.  Spring semester of my second year at the University of South Carolina, I studied abroad in Spain.  The trip was not quite what I had hoped it would be, and I returned saying, “If God says Spain, I say no!”  I spent the next three years living with fears that I had developed while overseas, including the fear that God would make me go to Spain simply because it was a hard place.  I had once again forgotten that God loved me, and I was certain that He sent His followers to the most difficult places to test and refine them.  Yet He was still at work in my life! 

My three years spent living in fear were one of the most intense times of struggle that I had yet faced. While I trusted God's ability and power, I had again forgotten His mercy and love. As a result, I found myself feeling trapped in my relationship with Him; He was the only one with the power to save, so I HAD to trust Him for salvation, but I had begun to wonder why there was no other option and to be angry that He was my only way to truly have a good/successful/happy life. Sometimes, I found myself enormously frustrated, thinking, “Of course I want to have the best possible life! But You never really gave me a choice about how to go about it!  A real choice would let me have my best life without God!” I was the pot saying to the potter "Why did you make me like this?" (Rom 9:20). "What if I didn't want You? What if I wanted my best life on my own?" I was finally able to vocalize all of this to Him one morning in a discipleship program called GoDisciple that my church hosts, and I realized that this desire was the root of my deepest struggles. Thus far had the Lord brought me.
In His grace, God did not turn me over to the desires of my heart at the moment when I was screaming, “I want something different.”  He has always known my true desires better than I ever could. Instead, through prayer and my time in the Word and with other believers, I realized yet again that I had lost track of the nature of God's love.  I spent time on my face before Him seeking to understand His love more deeply.  I studied God's character and what a life of surrender really meant.  And He showed me mercy and allowed my heart to grow in love for Him.  He restored me to Himself. Thus far had the Lord brought me.

As I had been running from Spain and international missions, I still knew that I would be serving God with my life, so I began to look for a new area of passion.  I had worked with children for as long as I could remember, and I spent some time working in the children’s ministry at my church to see if children’s ministry might be a fit for me.  Through that experience, I ended up in seminary pursuing a degree in Christian education.  It was while in seminary that I participated in GoDisciple and was confronted with my rebellious, prideful heart and God’s good, loving character once again.  Every step in my life has served to bring me closer to Him.  We still have a long way to go together, and even in my current season as an engaged seminary graduate with two part-time jobs that I love, He has continued to refine my heart.  Thus far has the Lord brought me, and I can’t wait to see where else we go.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
Hither by Thine help I’m come.
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home!
Megan is a recent graduate of Southeastern Seminary with a Master of Arts in Christian Education.  She is spending this summer preparing to marry a truly wonderful man and working in the Women’s Life Office and as an assistant editor for Treasuring Christ Curriculum.  She is thrilled that her South Carolina Gamecocks are in the College World Series and hopes that they will win it for the third straight year.


A Personal Story from Lindsey Amick

Today I am sharing a personal story.  A journey of faith, hurt, and confusion. To understand this journey you have to know a few things about me. First, I am a perfectionist to the core. I feel the need to do everything above and beyond and to the best of my ability. I see doing things with excellence as a virtue. The problem for me is my view of perfection is unattainable and becomes a crippling force in my life. Second, I have the inability to say “no.” I love people, and I love serving people and although I serve with the best of intentions I can quickly become the “Yes person” in everyone’s life. I stretch myself thin and strive to be perfect in all these areas. All this leads to a tired and stressed out girl, but this pace of life has been a main stay in my life for as long as I remember. I don’t rest well. I don’t relax well. I don’t have any hobbies. 

I don’t give that introduction to say poor me, I give it so you can know where I am coming from when I say this year the Lord turned my life upside down in a way I never expected or was prepared for. After months of being physically sick from different illnesses my body, mind, and spirit had reached its threshold. I had pushed myself past the brink of return.

2012 was welcomed in by a girl who no longer had it all together, put on the smile, and said yes to everyone. Instead New Years Day gave way to a frightened woman who was timid in her choices and hesitated to leave the comforts of her own home. A woman who before had craved social interaction now became anxious in large crowds. A woman who before loved fine dining like she was a food critic now had a panic attack at the moment she entered a restaurant. 

It is hard to explain when anxiety takes control in your life. For me, it came on like a strong wind out of the stillest night. Without warning and without invitation my thoughts and emotions became overtaken by the strong hand of fear and panic. There were days that were so dark it took my breath away. After stumbling for weeks to even find my footing I sought help from doctors, counselors, and friends. That first step towards asking for help was so scary. I had convinced myself that these feeling I was having were wrong and that I was the only person who had this problem. The shame was an inherent response.

Please hear me dear friend, if I had not taken that first step out of shame I would still be wallowing in it. That was the hardest first step but it was also the most beneficial. Through months of tearing down the walls of misconception in my own heart I found power in sharing my burdens and in the amazing help that was given to me. The Lord provided in abundance of people who loved me in my darkness but didn’t allow me to stay there.  I am grateful for those individuals who spoke truth into my despair. And although the anxiety is not gone, I am able to carry it with me instead of being crushed under its power. 

A passage of scripture that was so comforting to me during this time was Romans 4:18-25 where Abraham’s faith is being described. It says:

In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE."  Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb;  yet, with respect to the promised of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able to perform.  Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

I felt like Abraham, hoping against hope. Here my body was going against me and creating turmoil like it had a life of its own. It was hard to believe the promises of God when everything I was feeling and experiencing seemed contradictory. But then that phrase rang true in my heart “being fully assured that what God has promised, He was able also to perform.” Thank you Lord that when hope seems hopeless you are able to perform what you have promised. This verse gave me the strength to start clinging to the promises of God from His Word and believing that they could be so; not by my own might but by Him who is in me. 

I write this to share my story. I write this to give the ultimate Comforter praise and glory. I write this to tell you dear sister that you are not alone and you are not crazy. I write this to break the silence in the Christian community. I write this to dispel the shame. I write this to open a dialogue. I write this to tell you there is hope. 

The Lord has opened my eyes and my heart in these last few months to His grace that is sufficient for every day and to a better understanding of submitting to His will in His timing. I am not anxiety free, and I may never be, but I am learning to pray… God EVEN IF You chose to never remove this thorn in my flesh, my heart will still praise you and my hands and feet will still serve you. 

What about you friend? Are you living in a darkness that takes your breath away?

Look up. Reach out. Believe God. Don’t walk this darkness alone.

 Lindsey Amick is a youth pastor’s wife and a staff member of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Originally from South Carolina she loves all things southern. Lindsey has a heart for teenagers and ministering to families. In her spare time she tries to be a crafty and energetic housewife, however in ministry spare time is an anomaly. She is learning right now the art of being still, trusting, and enjoying the joy of the journey. You can follow her blog

Our Single Purpose Blog

Ladies, have you checked out the blog Our Single Purpose?  This is a blog that is written by women for women, and some of the writers are graduates of Southeastern! 


What is Our Single Purpose?

Our Single Purpose is to glorify God through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 


            As single ladies, it is so easy to get caught up in our daily lives and forget what God’s purpose is for us. We desire that this blog help us strive to live in obedience to the Lord and His Word!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31


Our Single Purpose is to focus no longer on ourselves, but on the One who died for us! 


            As single ladies, don’t we tend to focus on ourselves a lot? This is a tendency for every human being, especially in this “me-centered” society we live in. We desire that this blog help us to get our focus fixed upon Jesus!

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Our Single Purpose is to encourage one another!

             As single ladies, we need each other!! We need to know that we all share the same thoughts, joys and struggles. We desire that this blog be an encouragement to all of us!

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”
Hebrews 3:13

We desire for this to be a place where single ladies can come and know that they are not alone in their singleness! We want this to be a place where we can laugh, learn, and be encouraged along the way through Scripture and from ladies who have wisdom and experience in this crazy single life!

Check out the blog today at! 

Stay Fit for Summer!

Hey ladies! If you are interested in staying active over the summer, SEBTS Student Life will be offering exercise classes through the break. The classes will also be a great opportunity to connect with other SEBTS ladies. You may even meet your next walking buddy! 
Check them out!

2012 Craft & Bake Sale

Who doesn't love homemade salsa, or a beautiful handmade necklace?  It's getting close to that time of the year again...yes, the Craft & Bake Sale is a few months away, and we can hardly wait!  The 2012 Craft & Bake Sale (CBS) will take place Saturday, November 3rd.  To find out more information about CBS please visit the CBS blog at

Visit the blog to stay up-to-date with the latest news on CBS!

Saved to Serve

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

My favorite siblings in Scripture are Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. These three single adults lived in Bethany and often opened their home to Jesus and His disciples. Jesus loved them dearly (John 11:5). Whenever He went through Bethany He was sure to stay with them. He must have enjoyed their company and hospitality.

Martha, Mary and I are good friends. I relate to both of them in different ways on various and often occasions. I love to study the way in which Jesus related to each of the sisters according to what they needed. With Martha He was more straightforward and assertive. He met this strong woman with Strength and helped her to have more faith in Him. Jesus lovingly reminded her of the right priorities when she complained to him of Mary’s “laziness” (Luke 10:40-42). And He stirred up her faith when He met her after Lazarus’ death. He even drew the words “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” from this faith-filled woman (John 11:20-27). But with docile Mary, He was gentle and tender, teaching her as she sat attentively at His feet (Luke 10:38), weeping with her (John 11:33-35), and allowing her to anoint His feet with expensive perfume (John 12:3).

I completely relate to Martha as she griped to Jesus (much like I would have) that Mary was just sitting around while she’s trying to serve Jesus and His many hungry men (Luke 10:38-42). But He had said to her that only “one thing is necessary…” and it wasn’t the food or the presentation…it was Jesus and her need to have her humbled heart sitting at His feet. And then, in that demeanor of humility and adoration, she would be able to serve others with joy and love. She needed a new perspective on what was happening in her house.  Wisdom Himself was teaching in her living room; her kitchen duties were not the main attraction.

It seems that Martha learned her lesson well. We know this because, just a few days after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, we find her serving her dear guests again. This time apparently with deep gratitude and no complaints:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:1-3

Mary’s perfume was not the only lovely fragrance in the house. Martha was giving off a pleasing aroma to the Lord as well (2 Cor 2:14-16).

We are called to be servants. Jesus said that the least shall be greatest (Mark 9:35) and showed us an example to follow by becoming the Suffering Servant Himself (Isa 52:13-53:12). But I’ve found that you really don’t know how well you have assumed the role of a servant until you are treated like one. You can think you’re being servant-hearted as long as you’re voluntarily serving with joy and self-congratulations in your heart…until someone expects you to serve them. And then, at least in my sinful heart, pride and defensiveness reveals itself with a vengeance.

I have in my life one particular person who regularly causes me to have to check my heart. This person does not ask me to do things, he/she tells me to do things… and sometimes without words. I am simply handed something to do and expected to hop to it. It is so contrary to what I am used to that it throws me for a loop…though I am getting better at my initial response to it. I’ve been spoiled by the many people whom I joyfully serve that make requests without presuming that I will do it (and I love them for it). But when we are called to serve someone who is difficult, it is then that we are given a greater opportunity to really be a servant like Christ. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples…even Judas’, knowing that he was about to betray Him. And He served us all by allowing His own creation to nail Him to a tree. Surely we can be servants to those who are a little less grateful for our service… It was for ungrateful people such as these (us) that His blood was spilled (Rom 5:10).

 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

Carrie Pickelsimer has a BA in music and an MA in Biblical Counseling. She loves to see people grow in their faith and in their love for God. She works as a faculty secretary at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  She enjoys using her gifts to help these godly men and to serve in her local church.
You can visit her blog at