Expectations. We all have them.  We expect ourselves to make perfect grades.  We expect others to treat us right.  We expect God to act on our behalf.  Our professors expect things of us.  Our churches expect us to serve.  We expect ourselves to serve.  Our culture expects us to look a certain way.  On and on the list goes.  Now don’t get me wrong, expectations are not a bad thing.  We should have them.  

But what happens when these expectations don’t turn out the way we want them to?  Are our expectations realistic?  Or are we demanding things of ourselves and others that Christ doesn’t expect?

In Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NIV), Moses asks the Israelites,

What does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”  

Even though this was directed at Israel, I don’t believe the command has changed.  Jesus even confirms this in the New Testament.  He sums up the law as, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;’ and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27, NIV)  Yes, we are required to serve, but first we are required to love God with all that we are.  When we do this well, then we will love others well.  When we give our time to expectations¾to things or people that God hasn’t asked us to commit to, we get tired, burnt out, and frustrated.  We are left without energy to do the tasks He has called us to do.  Jesus tells us, “. . . My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30, NIV).  His tasks are not burdensome.  We may get tired, but He is our strength. 

In Luke 10:38-42 (NIV), we read about Martha and Mary.  The Scripture says, “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made . . .” Did these really have to be made?  Was Jesus really concerned about the meal they would have?  I don’t think so.  In fact, He was God, so He could have created an extravagant meal out of nothing.  I think Martha put expectations on herself that Jesus never put on her.  When she complains about her sister, Jesus responds, “Mary has chosen what is better . . .” 

Our sinful tendency is to try and do everything.  At least I do!  Saying no is so hard for me.  But, we must learn to step back, ask the Lord if this is something He wants us to do, and then be willing to say no, if He asks us too.  We can be sure when we say no to something “good” that He will give us all the strength we need to do what is “better.”

Ladies, what expectations have you put on yourselves that Jesus hasn’t required of you? 

Oh, Abba, transform and renew our minds so that we may learn your will for our lives.  Your will is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2, NIV) God, there is no one who needs to heed this message more than me!!  Give us the strength to say no to things that are not your best! 

Happy Spring Break SEBTS!

Whether you are traveling, relaxing at home, or spending your Spring Break catching up on schoolwork, we wish you a happy and blessed Spring Break!  We are taking a blog break this week to prepare for these final few weeks of the semester.  Take a moment to look over some announcements below. 

Biblical Women's Institute Graduation will take place Tuesday, May 7th at 10am at the Award's Chapel in  Binkley Chapel.  If you have completed the required courses to graduate please turn in the Graduation Application by Wednesday, April 24th to Women's Life.

2013-2014 Connecting Point Ministry Team applications are available online at www.sebts.edu/connectingpoint.  If you enjoy planning events and serving women this is the student group for you!  Questions? Contact Women's Life at 919.761.2340 or womenslife@sebts.edu.  Applications are due May 8th to Women's Life.

Our final Connecting Point event will take place Monday, May 6th at 7pm in Jacumin-Simpson.  You will not want to miss this special event. During this event we will be praying for and encouraging our 2+ female students and spouses before they leave for the mission field.  Childcare is available for the event (FREE).  Please RSVP for childcare by Friday, May 3rd to Women's Life. 

If you can't be at the beach, just stare at this picture long enough, and try to pretend. :) 

Praying that you have a restful Spring Break!
For 2 years, 3 months and 9 days I have been an alien.

A legal alien, but an alien none the less.  At least, that's the local word that's used to refer to foreigners here, and, let me tell you, given some of the looks I get, I often feel like I really am from Mars.  Granted, most of those looks are totally deserved.  I'm a blonde haired, blue eyed girl in a sea of Asians.  I DEFINITELY speak with an American accent.  I wear sandals in April.  And I have been known to take my baby out in 75 degree weather without a snow-suit.  Gasp!

I knew before we came here that I was going to have to learn really fast how to laugh at things and let them roll off my shoulders.  And most of the things I look back and laugh about now have to do with my inability to speak.  I sound like a 2 year old, for sure.

Picture from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/457578

But, how could you not make mistakes when words sound so similar.  Like the word for bread and man: just one small difference. Ekmek…. Erkek…. they just sound so similar!  What new language learner wouldn't walk into a bakery and ask for a fresh man, please?  

Or when someone is talking so fast you can't understand them, why not just default to the easy words, like "yes" or "ok."  That's what I do.  And I end up leaving the electronics store with two distinct curly cues in my stick straight hair because I unknowingly agreed to be the guinea pig for the new curling iron they're trying to sell.  Or, with the same "yes" and "ok" responses, end up getting my makeup done at the pharmacy right after working out when all I needed was medicine for the baby.  

Then there's the pazar.  There are people everywhere and all I want to do is navigate my big, foreigner stroller through the sea of people and get home with my fruits and veggies while the boy is still happy.  So, when some sweet lady tells me my son is eating his shoe, I just smile and say, "Thank you" and realize 5 minutes later what she was telling me.

Picture from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/646119

Yep, this is my life.  Maybe one day I'll be able to communicate effectively here.  But until then, at least I get to laugh a lot!

Trusting Jesus {Part Two}

Today we have the blessing of hearing from the Lyon's for {Part Two} of our mini-series for this month, Trusting JesusGo ahead and dive into today's post, we are sure that you will be refreshed and challenged! To see {Part One} of the series click here.

Let's Hear From Stephanie: 

The concept of trusting Christ should never be something that sounds “old hat,” or that we hear and think, “Oh, I’ve heard this a million times.” But if you’re like me, sometimes when you hear that, it sounds as familiar as the good trusty Sunday School answer-of-all-questions, “Jesus.”
Yet, trusting Jesus is literally at the foundation of every single second of the Believers life:
every decision, response, prayer and desire. When I am tempted to worry, is that worry displaying that I am trusting my King in the matter, or myself? When I find myself battling fear in a certain area, am I sincerely trusting Christ over this issue?

If I am, it’s really a game-changer.

Larry eluded to this is his post last week, but one area that God has called us to great trust in Jesus is in the area of growing our family. For many reasons, we desire to a have big family. In God’s kindness, our oldest daughter, Anna Kate, is now eight, and our youngest, Abby, is five. We cherish the calling to be their parents deeply. Yet, in between these precious daughters, I was actually pregnant with a child before Anna Kate, in which we lost to miscarriage. Woah, talk about my trust in Jesus. That was a dark place for me when it came to trusting Christ well, yet He worked mightily in my heart though the power of the Gospel.  When Anna Kate was 18 months old, I got pregnant again, only to experience the searing loss of another miscarriage. My heart and my trust in Christ were spinning. I was battling fear; fear that we would never be able to have another child on our own, fear that even the child I held in my arms (Anna Kate) would be taken away from me, fear that God didn’t really have my best interest at heart.
That was a season of great heat in my life, like Jeremiah 17:7-8 talks about. 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him…it does not fear when heat comes…”
The Lord was asking me,

Am I really your portion? (Psalm 73:26)
Do you really trust me?
That my thoughts and ways are higher than yours? (Isa 55)
That I am good, and my steadfast love really does endure forever? (Psa 118:1)

I have begged Him through many tears, both then and now, to please increase my faith in Him, to help me to resolutely trust in Him, and to help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). For I believe Hebrews 11:6 is true, and that without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God, and by His grace alone, I want to please Him more than anything. 

So help in trusting Him more is what I need. 


Moment by moment.

Little did I know that after that second miscarriage, God would grace us with Abby, but He was also preparing us for two additional miscarriages. It’s been almost nine years since God began growing our family, and while we still greatly desire more children, He has not chosen to give them to us, both naturally or through adoption. So, like every other area of our life, we are daily called to trust Him in this, and trust Him as our Portion.

In Him alone, we stand here today saying He is worthy of our trust, and we WILL trust you, King Jesus. 

Let's Hear From Larry:

Often I attempt to communicate my trust of Christ and His work in my life by dialogue directed inwardly to myself, or to others, a sort of talking it out type of thing. I also have the tendency to “prove” my trust by going about my tasks everyday in ways I believe will honor the Lord. What I often fail to do is slow down, pray, listen, and think. It is evident that we lack trust when, in the business of life, we fail to commune with Christ. Paying lip service or deed service to trusting Christ reveals the opposite of what we hope to show; reliance on our own is a lack of trust in Christ.

So, the question must be asked, “how does one show that we trust Christ?” We reveal our deep and abiding trust in Christ when we spend time with him. As Martin Luther is cited as saying, “I am too busy not to pray!” This captures what a trusting heart in Jesus looks like. Do we pray? Do we read our Bibles? Do we enjoy the fellowship with other believers? Do we evangelize? See, it is in these normal Christian behaviors that we show how much reliance we place in Jesus. Being busy, even in good, godly endeavors does not escape us from the necessary attachment to the Lord that we must have.

The last verses of Matthew 9 help make this clear for us as we read about Christ’s plan to bring in His harvest. After the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) and various healing and teachings (Matt 8-9), Jesus continues to go throughout all the cities and villages teaching and healing. His compassion is evident and He is making himself known as the true Shepherd. He provides clear instruction to His followers, “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” Our first response to this passage is usually to see that laborers are needed and say, “I will be a laborer.” And, yes there is labor to be done and yes, we should be the laborers. But notice what Jesus sets before His followers as of first responsibility: prayer. Don’t work yet, don’t labor yet, rather pray. The foundation for the ministry and work of God’s people is to be built on the foundation of prayer. My pastor recently highlighted that this is how Jesus will enact His work; it first be through the “work” of prayer. The answer to the prayer is laborers.

So, do you begin working and then pray as you go? Or do you work and pray later? It seems that Jesus loves those prayers, but shows us that the more strategic and fruitful order of events will be to first pray, then let Him work in and through us to bring His harvest for His glory. May we be encouraged that Jesus first finds our faith in in our time with Him, and then sends us out to spend time in His harvest field.  Trust in faith first, and then work.

Larry and Stephanie have been married 11 years and have 2 beautiful girls: Anna Kate - 8 and Abby - 5. Larry worked in both education and business for eight years prior to entering his doctoral studies and working full-time for SEBTS as Director of Admissions. Stephanie is a former employee of the North American Mission Board and Hebron Baptist Church and has a passion for teaching and discipling younger women. Stephanie currently devotes herself to serving her family, her community, and the Body of Christ.

This week is Global Missions Week here at SEBTS, and we wanted to focus on global missions on the blog as well!  Today you have the privilege to hear from Lesley Hildreth.  Lesley has much experience overseas, and uses her experience and wisdom to teach and encourage the ladies here at SEBTS.  Read her post below to learn a little more about what wives go through while serving overseas, and take a moment to pray for our families serving overseas.

After leaving the mission field over six years ago one of my greatest desires has been to equip other women who are preparing to go. As a guest lecturer for Southeastern's Biblical Women's Institute's degree program I have taught a course called Preparing For Missions for the past five years. It has been both an honor and privilege to encourage, equip, and pray for these women. Once the students are overseas they are required to meet in a central location in order to take two classes to fulfill their International Church Planting Degree. While the students are in class Southeastern provides a program for their wives and childcare is provided by volunteers from local churches in the states. I have been fortunate to be able to travel and spend time with these women and always walk away with new insights and ways to pray more specifically for their needs. After my most recent trip to Taiwan this past January I thought that it would be helpful to others to know how to pray more effectively and specifically for these wives serving overseas. If one has not personally spent time overseas it can be difficult to not only understand the needs of those serving the nations but to know what to pray.

Here are some common issues these wives are facing daily and a little bit of insight into what that could mean for some of them. I hope you will find this both informative and helpful as you encourage and bless these women and others serving the nations.


The first year or two on the field is spent learning another language. Most of our wives are not only full time language students learning very difficult languages but are also mothers seeking to balance their many roles without feeling like they are failing at one or more in order to succeed at another. Without language a person can not function in society or engage with people. This will eventually lead to discontentment and more importantly the missionary is unable to accomplish the very thing they went for: to share the gospel message to those who have not heard.
*Some verses to consider praying for them: Phil. 4:11, Eph. 5:21-6:4, and Psalm 23)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil. 4:11


Health issues are sometimes brought on by stress, caused by the new environment (food or new germs), or illnesses that are not related to anything new but are simply a normal part of life. In each case these issues create anxiety and fear as missionaries seek to just feel well/normal again. For moms with young children who experience a lot of sickness in the first year or two or develop a new health issue while on the field can bring a tremendous amount of stress on a family. In some areas that the wives are serving going to a doctor who speaks and/or understands English is not an option. In some areas the medical care available is not adequate and families may need to travel long distances for care or even consider relocating for prolonged care. This can be a very scary time for some and many battle with fear and the unknown.
(Some verses to consider praying for them: Phil. 4:6, Matthew 6:25-34, Heb. 4:16, Psalm 34:19)

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16


Most Americans do not recognize and/or do not experience spiritual warfare. Many families find themselves dealing with spiritual warfare issues and have no idea how to deal with or handle them when they occur. Many of our families have shared that their children have experienced reoccurring nightmares since moving overseas.
(Some verses to consider when praying for them: Eph 6;10-20, Rom. 8:28, 2 Thes. 3:1-2)

Finally, brothers,pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 2 Thes. 3:1-2

These are just a few areas that you can pray for these women. Even though these women are dealing with issues you may not be able to relate to or fully understand we can ALL relate to the need to have a sister in Christ take our needs before the Lord in prayer.

Lesley Hildreth has been married to Scott for the past 20 years and has two children: Rachel, 18 and Jacob, 16. Their family served overseas in Berlin, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey with the IMB for eight years. Currently Scott is the Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies at Southeastern and Lesley is a guest lecturer for the Biblical Women's Institute as well as the Community Service Coordinator for Broughton High School. Lesley currently serves as The President for Southeastern's Women's Club and Faculty Advisor for the Connecting Point Team as well as serving as a mentor for female students or student wives on campus.


Fun Friday: International Flavors

Happy Friday to all!  Global Missions Week at SEBTS is next week (April 16-18).  The week is full of mission-focused activities that you will not want to miss.  A few of the fun highlights include: the awesome chapel speakers Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10am in Binkley; free lunches; and plenty of opportunities all week to talk with missionaries and learn how SEBTS is reaching the nations.  

We will also be featuring special blog posts next week
that focus on

We will hear from Lesley Hildreth, who spent many years on the field and is now back serving our school and community by preparing ladies to go overseas.  We will also hear from a current missionary to Central Asia.  Check back next week for these posts!

To get your palate ready for next week, today's {Fun Friday} post gives you some international recipes for food that's easy enough to make at home, but complex enough to fool your family and friends into thinking that you are a chef!  

Have you ever heard of Butter Chicken?  Butter Chicken, or Murgh Makhani, is a well know Indian dish (and it is delicious!).  Hop over to the blog eCurry to salivate over some beautiful pictures of this dish and make it tonight!   
 Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani
Photo courtesy of eCurry.

For those of you with a sweet tooth, check out these Cappuccino Muffins. Or maybe Mango Gingerbread is more up your alley.  Both of these recipes come from IMB's Flavors of Africa website.  

Photo courtesy of IMB Flavors of Africa.

Get cooking, and let us know what you think!  

Do you have any good international recipes to share? 
Today's guest post comes from our own Larry and Stephanie Lyon. We just celebrated that Christ was raised from the dead. Now we will ask,
"What does it mean to trust Him each day?"

Enjoy a wonderful post from an incredible couple!

Let's Hear From Stephanie:

“It is the genius of God to keep us trusting in Him.”

This short little sentence, whose author is unknown, is one of the only statements that’s ever been so bold as to merit a place within the cover of my Bible.

Just stop and think about those words for a second. Actually, think on the Truth that they speak of our Great God. Rich Truth. They’re not Scripture itself, but we all know that the whole counsel of God’s Word makes this cry to Trust God; Trust Jesus; Trust in His Word, from cover to cover.

Just because Proverbs 3:5-6 has been on coffee cups, bookmarks, and cute little stationary sets for as long as one can remember, let’s not overlook the profound command within the words, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (ESV)

This verse hit me square between the eyes again this very week, as it has many times over my nearly eighteen year journey with Christ. Wow, that sounds like I’m old! I’m only 33! Here I sit, all poised and ready for this huge adventure and really exciting calling from the Lord, to go with my husband and some of our very best friends to plant a church in North Raleigh. We’ve been praying, preparing, and seeking Christ for nearly a year and a half in this whole process, and we’re so moved at the evidence of His work among us. I can see his hand all over it. Yet, everyday, and I mean every single day, He quickly, and mercifully,  traces back any given worry, or wondering, or questioning that I have in my heart to the stone cold reality that I am not trusting in Him for the said topic at hand.


His Spirit whispers something along these lines to me, “Stephanie, YOU want control of this area, my love. You want your will in this matter. But you know this is not about you.  And you know this is not really so much about this issue itself, as it is about your heart.  Where is your faith? Are you genuinely trusting me in this matter? You know that it is impossible to please me without faith, and I know that’s really what you want. So, repent. Repent of not trusting in ME with ALL of your heart. Repent for trying so tirelessly to lean on your own understanding instead of mine. Acknowledge me in the littlest of details in all of these areas. And now OBEY these commands: Trust me. Don’t even try to lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge me.”

So, into His grace I willingly fall, full of thankfulness and praise that He would pursue my wavering heart again. And I smile at the thought that in His genius, He’s orchestrated yet another set of circumstances that are perfectly tailored by Him to keep me trusting in Him.

Let's Hear From Larry:

One of the most cited stories for trusting God is the story of Abraham and God’s call for him to sacrifice Isaac. The question seems to be, “How could Abraham follow the command of the Lord like that?” While this question is most fitting, I believe that it is not quite the right one to ask. Here’s why: Abraham already could and would follow because of previous experience with the leading and command of God in his life and the life of others. The very first interaction we encounter in Genesis 16 between Abraham (Abram) and God is the command to leave Ur and his home to go to a land he had never seen. When Abraham obeyed; God was faithful. When God promised a kingdom to Abraham and his descendants, and Abraham responded by not confessing Sarah as his wife before kings; God was faithful. When land was divided with Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and Abraham had to ultimately plead to have Lot saved from a city’s destruction; God was faithful. When promised a heritage of children in old age and followed the word of his wife rather than God; God was faithful.

So when the time came to overcome his potential fear of not seeing the promise of God fulfilled through Isaac, he was faithful. And this is trusting the Lord. I need not fear that God will come through and be faithful to what he has commanded and called me to, I have a bank of evidences that prove that faithfulness. Even when I fail to be faithful; God is faithful.

But this is difficult. When Stephanie and I faced some difficult times with having children, a close friend would spend time with me and ask me a simple, straightforward, and hard question: 

“Where is your faith?”

Simple because this is the Christian life; faith and trust in Christ’s work alone. Straightforward because it really boils down to, “Do I trust God at His Word and deed?” Hard because, well, it’s hard to trust sometimes. Perhaps all the time.

Trusting Jesus is just the same as Abraham trusting God. It requires that we stake our obedience and faith, in things present and future, on the wealth of evidences provided by Christ, namely His death and resurrection. And we can have trust and faith, even when we fail, because, as a friend of mine recently said, “Death and resurrection do not provide me with a string of successes, rather it keeps me from collapsing under my string of failures.” This is our hope and faith, that Christ is trustworthy for He has proved Himself time and time again