ep. 91 | Unity in the Church with Elizabeth Woodson
On today’s episode of the Journeywomen podcast, I chatted with Elizabeth Woodson about unity in the church. So you’ll know her a little better, Elizabeth is a passionate Bible teacher whose deepest desire is to know Christ and to make Him known! Engaging both the heart and mind, she loves to teach the truth of Scripture, empowering believers to experience abundant life with Jesus! On most days you can find her hanging out at The Village Church, where she has the joy to work as the Institute Associate Minister doing what she loves – writing, teaching, and developing leaders. Elizabeth is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary with a Masters in Christian Education, and formerly served as the Single Life Ministry Coordinator at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Tony Evans.
Can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
What is God’s design for the church? What does the church reflect?
How does sin distort our ability to reflect God’s glory?
How does the gospel redeem our sin and enable us to reflect God’s image more fully?
How does the gospel empower us to love one another deeply from the heart?
How is the gospel put on display as we respond to tensions and conflicts that arise as a result of our differences? On the flip-side, what are some things we might do or say that are not a reflection of the gospel, but instead, a testament to our fallen state?
How can we forgo the passive aggressive route to reconciliation and pursue harmony in the spirit of self-sacrificial love?
What would it look like for us to both receive and speak truth in a way that honors our brothers and sisters of all backgrounds, whether people of various socioeconomic statuses, races, preferences, hobbies, and perspectives?
How does worshipping together with all of our differences bring the Kingdom of God down to earth?
What joy do we experience as we do so? What do we have to look forward to?
THREE QUESTIONS I ASK EVERY GUEST
What 3 resources would you recommend for someone who wants to grow their understanding of God’s glorious design for the church?
What are your 3 simple joys?
Who has had the greatest impact on your own journey with Jesus?
“How do we take what we learn on Sunday and take it out into the community?”
“Be the church in the community. Don’t just talk about what it’s like to be the church. So, that looks like moving into the community. We lived in the community, we worked in the community, and we went to church in the community. Your neighbors would be your co-workers and they would also be members with you at church... To me that’s what it means to walk out the Christian faith.”
“The church in some sense is supposed to be the physical representation of who Christ is and in some sense who God is and what he came for.”
“We are supposed to be physical representations of that new way of being that Christ calls us to and ushering people into Christianity. Ushering people into relationship with Jesus. Our testimony isn’t necessarily in us verbally affirming what we believe. I believe as much as us living out what we believe. The verbal affirmation is important, but when people see us live different lives, that to me is what’s transformative.”
“When we think about sin, as we see it described in Scripture, it’s the idea of us missing the mark. The idea is that what it means to love God and love others the way that God would have for us to. Ultimately, Scripture is this large meta-narrative, this large story about how God desires to dwell with his people. We messed up at the very beginning of time. Throughout history God has been trying to repair that brokenness. Part of why that brokenness exists in sin is that we live for ourselves and not the Lord. Ultimately, it’s a selfish thing. That’s what distorts our ability to reflect God’s glory. We’re more invested in what we want and who we want to be and what we want to run after without any regard of how that affects other people and even the Lord, instead of grounding all of those things in him. We can’t reflect God’s glory because we’re spending too much time reflecting our own. All the things we see in culture and all the things that are messed up and really sad about how we relate to one another is grounded in our own desire to live for self and not for God.”
“The gospel is the good news that Jesus has come to be the Savior that we need, the perfect sacrifice to repair this broken relationship that we have with God. The good news of the gospel is that we get to be in relationship with God himself.”
“Jesus calls us to a new way of being.”
“Repentance is not just turning away… but it’s what you’re turning to. Jesus is calling us to a new way of being. Once this relationship has been repaired we’re able to be in community with our God and we’re able to reflect who he is, and that’s what enables us to reflect God’s image more fully, because we’re invested in becoming more fully who Jesus calls us to be.”
“The gospel calls us to push back on our own desire to protect ourselves.”
“I’m supposed to go to my brother or sister and I’m supposed to communicate with them.”
“Err on the side of love.”
“Sometimes people just get really angry and sometimes they’re just really fearful. To be a person who speaks truth in love, to say, ‘Hey I’m not pushing you away, I’m not rejecting you because of this, I’m saying this for the betterment of the family because I respect you and I love you.’ When we do that it makes it easier for the person to receive and see that you aren’t putting them into a corner and you’re not going to embarrass them. There are so many ways to handle the fears that we’ll have on the other side of receiving. This will help us be able to say, ‘Is what this person is saying true?’ Not everyone has the gift of giving information in a way that is sanctifying for our souls. Let me put that aside and ask if what they are saying is true. If it is true, I want to be a better person and I want to love them well, then this person is basically telling me, ‘This is how you can love me better. This is how you can love the community better.’”
“You model with your own life.”
“There is a depth of connection through suffering together, through struggling together, coming out on the other side and being able to say, ‘I’m not going to give up on you, and you’re not going to give up on me, because Christ didn’t give up on us.’”
“One day [unity] will be perfect and it won’t be a struggle anymore.”
“In the good days and the bad days Christ is making perfect and making new, but one day it will be perfect. And one day we will rejoice together as the church in unity from all different tribes and tongues and different walks of life -- we will worship our God together.”
Horizontal Jesus by Tony Evans
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Friends and family
Good food - Pecan Lodge
CONNECT WITH Elizabeth
What is the big story of the Bible?
What gets in the way of our ability to reflect God’s glory?
How would your life look different if you loved people as God has loved you?
What does the gospel look like on display in the midst of community and conflict?
How has God used community in your own life to draw you closer to himself?
How have you seen God’s image reflected in those around you?
What are you going to do or implement as a result of what you’ve learned this week?
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