Emojis & More: The First Time I Preached at Grace

Emojis & More: The First Time I Preached at Grace

Posted on April 02, 2016

We all know the feeling that sneaks up and whispers, What in the world am I doing? and, I think I’d rather play it safe. 
Not too long ago, it happened to me when the following invitation popped up on my calendar. 
From: Dave Rod    Subject:   Preaching at Grace.
Wait.  What? I’m not sure which emoji would best express my emotions at this point.

I kept telling myself Dave was just interested in a little perspective for one of his upcoming messages. Sure, Grace had made a decision to remove any limitations of leadership based on gender and had elected two women to the Elder Board.

But one question kept popping up.  “When would a woman teach during a weekend service?”    

Although I came from a background where women were allowed to preach, I had never seen it happen. As a young girl, I’d heard of woman named Lillie McCutcheon who preached and pastored a church in Ohio. Someday I thought, I’ll get to hear her speak.
It was around that same time I first knew God had planted a passion for the spiritual growth of others deep inside me. He even provided ways for me to live this out. From a teenage Sunday school teacher for rowdy kindergarteners to a leader of youth and adults to an Associate Pastor of the Women of Grace. Each opportunity to pour my heart and soul into others has been an honor.   

Ephesians 2:10 says this:  “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us.”
I can tell you I feel a lot more like a work in progress most days. 

As the news circulated, questions came my way. Are you nervous? Of course! How does it feel to be the first woman? I’m trying not to think of it that way.  

But each time my legs felt weak, God would gently remind me that He had given me a heart for the people of Grace and this was just another opportunity to help encourage their spiritual growth. 
That day finally came and I preached a message about growing up centered on this passage: 
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.
But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”  1 Corinthians 13:11
Since then, I am grateful for the men and women, young and old, who took the time to share how God used this message to positively impact their lives. Some were urged to step toward an estranged family relationship. Others took a step back toward God after a long separation. While others are finding the strength to stop enabling destructive behaviors. 

Some have even called it an historic event. Perhaps, but what matters most is that God uses Lillie McCutcheon, the women and men before her, and us to water the seeds He has planted deep inside our souls. They start as tiny seeds that if rooted and nurtured over the years, will provide each of us opportunities to share God’s message from a pulpit, sofa or even coffee table somewhere in our world.

That’s how history worksGod’s story being lived out in and through us.


So meaningful to me today. I'm taking over our Wednesday women's Bible study. I'm preparing for today's lesson now. I'm nervous, prayers appreciated đź’•

Posted by Janis Gabbard on April 6, 2016 @ 7:42 am

Celebrating you from the East, and I'm sure it was amazing. I am preaching here at the International Church in New Delhi where I am on staff...May 1.

Posted by Pam Sardar on April 3, 2016 @ 12:35 pm