Women's Center for Ministry Newsletter
December 2018
In this issue:
-Seeking and Finding Jesus.
  an article by Trish Bussey Jeter 
-What Does it Mean to Celebrate Christmas?
  an article by Poppy Smith
-Tis the Season to Practice Affirmations! 
   Examples from a book called "Practicing Affirmation" by Sam Crabtree
-Women's Transformational Leadership Spring 2019 Classes!
  WL 501// Pastoral Understanding of Women
  WL 507// Develop Life-Changing Bible Study Curriculum
-Save the Date for IGNITE 2019!
  March 2nd, 2019 with keynote Karen Howells!
Seeking and Finding Jesus?
by Trish Bussey Jeter

I fondly recall my niece (we’ll call her Lulu) spending a week with us last spring.  At 4 years old she is slightly mischievous, full of energy, and ready to play! One of her favorite games is hide and seek.  We had so much fun running, seeking and hiding from each other!  We both found great places to hide around our home.  I would always pick different places to hide; in the bathtub, behind the bed, in a closet. But not Lulu! She liked to hide in the same place over and over again. She’d try to hide herself behind one of the bedroom doors.  I loved seeing the twinkle in her eye as she peeked around the corner to see me as I moved closer to her hiding spot.  We would start out taking turns hiding, but the fun for her was not to actually hide from me, but for me to “discover her”.  She would get so excited, scream and laugh when I found her. We’d laugh together, hug and do it all again. For Lulu the real joy came when I found her.  She really wanted to be found by me!  That’s the best part of the game for her, and I loved finding her.


That’s how God is with us; like Lulu God is so excited when we seek and find Him!  I can imagine the joy He feels when we come out of hiding and into His loving arms. God wants us to seek Him and come to Him with child- like faith.  We get to passionately seek our loving Father, ask for what we need, and He delights in being found by us.


The Bible tells us in Matthew 7:7-8:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."


This Christmas season as we shop for our friends and family, we want to pick just the right gift for each person on our list.  Wouldn’t finding that special gift be like that fun game of hide and seek where discovering Jesus can bring the greatest joy?  God is waiting for those who don’t know him to look for Him and be found by Him.  We all know someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus, and we probably don’t have to look too far to find them.  It might be our neighbor, the mail carrier, our hair stylist or that cashier at our favorite store.   And guess what? We can give them a great gift by helping them to find Jesus!  He is waiting to be found by them.  Invite them to church or to your home and tell them your story. Imagine God’s joy in being ‘found’ when they seek Him and gain the greatest gift of all this Christmas!

Trish Bussey Jeter is passionate about teaching, coaching and helping others discover who they are in Christ, and how God has made them to serve. Her desire is to see people grow and thrive in their relationship with God!  Trish is a graduate of Western Seminary with a Master’s in Ministry and Leadership, and has an MBA from Baruch College in NYC. Trish serves as Community Life Pastor for the 11 am gathering at Vancouver Church.  She enjoys teaching as a member of the Women’s Transformational Leadership team at Western Seminary. Trish has been happily married to Pete for five years, and they love to travel, admiring the beauty of God’s creation.
What Does it Mean to Celebrate Christmas?
by Poppy Smith

"God so loved the world that He gave…” John 3:16

When I think of Christmas coming in a few weeks, I don’t know whether to be EXCITED OR EXHAUSTED!    

How about you?

  • Do you feel a time crunch?
  • Are you frantically rushing around looking for bargains?
  • Have you raced home to hide gifts until they can be wrapped?
  • Are you excited by the Christmas lights blinking everywhere, making your street look like a fairyland?
  • Is seasonal music lighting up your heart—or giving you a massive migraine?  


Have you ever wished you could just stay in bed? Eat something way too high in calories? Read a great book? And NOT have to cook, clean up, go somewhere, or have any demands placed on you? Are you sinking into a Scrooge-like attitude and wanting to say “Bah. Humbug” to anyone who wishes you a Merry Christmas? 


I hope not. But I do remember struggling a bit with that attitude several years ago when we lived in Singapore. Let me explain:

My husband and I lived in Singapore for over two years.

 Singapore is hot—very hot—even on Christmas Day.  We had a toaster oven in our miniature kitchen—not even big enough for a baby chicken, let alone a great big turkey and all the trimmings.  Real, live, Christmas trees cost a small fortune. Plus we had no decorations. Hardest of all, we had no children or family to share the day with. And we had few friends (just so you won’t start crying on my behalf, we did eventually get invited to someone’s home—who had an American-sized kitchen, oven, and turkey!)

But as I lay in bed one morning thinking about the sad Christmas that awaited us, a challenging question broke through my gloomy thoughts:

Just what does it mean to celebrate Christmas, Poppy? 

It made me think.  Is it all the extras? The decorations, food, parties, presents? Yes, these are wonderful, but…  If I were to be honest I realized that Christmas can become just that—a mere human, earthly, cultural happy day.

But it’s so much more than that isn’t it?

Christmas is celebrating Jesus

God’s most wonderful, life-changing gift--coming into the world! Coming into your world. Coming into my world. And we will never be the same. What a glorious thought.
He is the reason for music, laughter, joy, and giving gifts that delight (we hope!). It is His love we show in the hours spent getting that big bird (or whatever you prepare) ready and making those delicious treats to share with others.

Yes, my friends. Rejoice! May you celebrate throughout this whole Christmas season as you marvel at the incredible love God expresses in His amazing gift, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

(And if you feel growly and Scrooge-like, look up and smile. God has poured out His best for you and a heart-felt “Thank You” will change your perspective so you can enjoy a MERRY CHRISTMAS!)

Blessings from Him Who gave Himself for us!

Poppy Smith is a former Bible Study Fellowship Teacher, has a Masters in Spiritual Formation and Direction, and loves to teach the Word. Her passion is helping women thrive spiritually, emotionally, and personally through her ministry of speaking wherever God leads, writing spiritually motivating books, and spending time supporting women as a spiritual director. She currently writes a twice-monthly blog, THRIVE, that is regularly read by 1,000 women across the globe. Her website can be found at:

A Season to Practice Affirmations
Taken from a book called Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree

During all the activities this Christmas season, here at the WCM we thought it would be valuable to share some ways to practice being present in the moment and to acknowledge and affirm all of the wonderful people in your lives! 

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."  Hebrews 10:24-25

Below is a list of ways to practice affirming the people around you. Words of encouragement have the power to transform someone's world! So we challenge you this Christmas season to try a few of these out! 

Here they are:

  1. Take time to affirm someone you know who is doing something risky yet right (like a missionary going to hostile country).
  2. Next time you send someone a birthday card, add a few words of affirmation highlighting a Christ-like quality you see in that person.
  3. Positively compare someone you know to a Bible hero.
  4. Following a worship service, write a note or leave a voice mail for someone who excelled in reverential musicality, hospitable ushering, enthusiastic reading, or faithful preaching.
  5. Commend a parent you know that is sacrificing for their children in a godly way.
  6. At family gatherings, invite everyone to mention something they particularly admire about another family member.
  7. If you know someone who is chronically ill, take time to affirm their endurance, patience, and determination.
  8. When a staff member at your church has invested extra time at work, send a note to their spouse, perhaps with flowers or a gift card, expressing appreciation for them sharing their husband or wife.
  9. Affirm people you know who solve problems without waiting to be asked, commending their initiative.
  10. Rather than give your spouse an anniversary card written by someone who works for Hallmark, spend some time studying the phrasing in the cards in the anniversary card section, and then take time to deliberately compose your own card.
  11. Next time an error of yours is brought to your attention, not only own it, but affirm the person who brought it to you for their alertness and thoroughness in catching it.
  12. Take time to commend the people in your life who have been especially reliable, as well as those who have the habit of being punctual. Both people are imaging Christ through their actions and should be recognized.
  13. This may seem obvious (but worth mentioning anyway), take time to pray that God would enable you to be more affirming of others.
  14. When someone passes along a good idea, or helps you change your mind about an issue, affirm their persuasiveness and communication skills.
  15. Think of the most humble person you know. Praise that person’s humility to a mutual friend.
  16. When children (such as your own) bring up something they heard in a sermon or in class, praise their attentiveness.
  17. Affirm the flexibility you see in others when they readily adjust plans to accommodate a need.
  18. In your small group or Sunday school at church, ask people to tell you about the nicest compliments they ever received. See if you can learn from their experiences and implement ideas on your own.
  19. When presented with an overlooked solution to a problem you may be having, commend the other person’s resourcefulness and/or creativity.
  20. Look for someone who is making do in the midst of disappointing circumstances and affirm their contentment and its beauty.
(these are taken from a book called Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree)

We pray you are blessed this Christmas season and more importantly, you are a blessing to others!
Women's Transformational Leadership Spring 2019 Classes:
Joining us this Spring for our Women’s Transformational Leadership classes!
WL 501 // Pastoral Understanding of Women
This course offers a comprehensive look at what it means to effectively shepherd and care for women. Students will learn how cultural and spiritual aspects of womanhood not only shape pastoral care, but also contribute to a woman’s role in the Kingdom of God. We will discuss gender and cultural stereotypes as well as a woman’s evolving place in society. In understanding a woman’s season of life as well as her emotional and spiritual needs, students will grow in mentoring, developing friendships, offering group support, and caring for women pastorally.  2 credits
Instructor:  Bethany Allen
Location:  Western Seminary Portland Campus
                      5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
                      Portland, OR 97215
Dates:   Jan. 11-12 and Mar. 15-16, 2019
              9:00am - 4:30pm
WL 507 // Develop Life-Changing Bible Study Curriculum
Learn how to write, select and adapt Bible study curriculum that is biblically sound, relevant, and applicable to all arenas of life. Grow in confidence in training discussion leaders to shepherd biblically stimulating and relationally healthy small groups.  Glean an overview for training curriculum-writing teams that can create materials appropriate for neighborhood and/or church-based Bible studies. 1 credit
Instructor:  Phyllis Bennett
Location:  Western Seminary Portland Campus
                      5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
                      Portland, OR 97215
Dates:   Feb. 1-2, 2019
             9:00am - 4:30pm
Save the Date: IGNITE the Wonder!
Ladies! Save the Date for our Spring 2019 Ignite event! 

Keynote: Karen Howells
March 2nd, 2019 /// 8:15am-4:15pm
Greater Portland Bible Church, 2374 SW Vermont Street, Portland, OR 97219
Contact us! We'd love to hear from you!

Women's Center for Ministry at Western Seminary

Phyllis Bennett, Director
Amanda Zentz, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 503.517.1931
Fax: 503.517.1889

5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215

The opinions expressed by the various authors in this newsletter do not necessarily represent those of Western Seminary. We provide information on an as-is basis. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog, nor will we be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
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Women's Center for Ministry - Western Seminary · 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd · Portland, Oregon 97215 · USA

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