One cannot help but laugh at the absurdity found in the Presbyterian Church (USA) over the last week. As has been the case for 10 years, they have shown another decline in membership and the number of churches. Since 2005, their membership has dropped by 36%.
Sam Storms has an excellent piece on what he wished he had known 40 years ago when he entered the ministry. How many of us love this idea? To know… To know… O how wonderful it would have been to know before the crisis arrived, before the disappointment, before the heart ache.
But … we are not omniscient. Most of us struggle to be partially scient. Even when we do know, often act like we don’t.
She was like that sweet aunt that everyone in the family looks forward to seeing. Georgia Settle, the quiet side of Paul Settle, was always a joy to be around and always had a smile for those she knew.
This quite, gentle saint went home to be with the Lord this past Sunday and I only found out late yesterday. Her death was not a surprise. We knew that the sinfulness of Alzheimer’s was slowly taking over her body. The ravages of the fallen world claimed this lovely and dear sister in the Lord, and our Savior freed her from the death we all still face.
Who could not help but miss Georgia. She was a model of gentleness in a world that is fixated on violence. How we need more women and Christians like Georgia.
I got to know her through her husband Paul, a man that helped start the PCA back in 1973 out of his garage. Paul and Georgia were a perfect couple for the PCA and for guys like me. He is one of the reasons that I am Reformed Presbyterian in my convictions and in the PCA. It was through Paul’s teaching and guidance, along with Georgia’s cooking that I learned about the Reformed Faith, Calvinism, the Doctrines of Grace and the PCA. I am just one of many that have been touch through the ministry of Paul and Georgia.
I think at one point I was able to count up almost 10 men that came through Dallas Theological Seminary and graduated with Reformed convictions because of Paul and Georgia’s ministry to us. Any of you who know DTS, will know this to be an oddity. While we agree on some of the fundamentals of the faith, we differ on many more. Paul was an assistant pastor at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, was was only a few miles away from DTS. Because of the size of the church and solid reputation of some of the speakers that PCPC drew, we couldn’t help but be curious. Plus, for some of us, the arguments of Dispensationalism do not hold water. Given that, we were looking for answers that were more in line with what we were finding in the Bible. Paul was more than glad to help. It never hurt matters that Georgia was willing to cook breakfast for us as we asked Paul our questions. Truth be told, the strongest argument Paul ever made for the Reformed faith was his gentle and biblical response to my bold assertions. If ever there was a man gifted as a peacemaker and teacher, it is Paul.
And Georgia was his perfect match. Gentle, kind, sweet, and a great cook. Like I said, it was through their ministry to guys like me that helped me grow in my understanding of God’s word. They had a ministry to those young men who wanted to know more about what it meant to be Reformed. Georgia would cook, Paul would teach. I didn’t think it could get better than that. I was single at the time and the idea of having a breakfast with big biscuits, eggs, jams, jellies, bacon, sausage, coffee, tea, juice, etc, everything that made a great breakfast a great breakfast. As a single man, I couldn’t pass it up.
On top of that, some of the other men that were attending the breakfast were all guys I really looked up to. Mike Bowen, who is now an associate pastor in Tyler, Texas, Jeff Hatton, pastor in Waco, TX, his brother Pete Hatton, in Edmond, OK., and Marc Corbett, who had the audacity to start up an RUF chapter at Liberty University, and so many others who I know I should mention, but their names slip my mind right now. They are all a testimony to both Paul’s gentle instructions and Georgia’s great egg and sausage casseroles.
That ministry slowly came to an end as the sickness slowly to over Georgia’s mind. Anyone who has gone through that know that it is harder on those who have to help the sick than those who are sick. Paul slowly moved out of ministry so he could take care of his lovely bride of 54 years. What man wouldn’t? Especially given her sweet nature. I haven’t spoken with Paul in years. I knew his life was fully involved with his loving care to his bride, so I left him alone. I have prayed and am praying for him today as he says goodbye to Georgia.
The memorial services are being held in Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, where Paul and Georgia served for years. It is only fitting that Paul and the rest of the body of Christ say goodbye to her there. They made their initial mark in the PCA out of Greenville. I wish I could go. But I can’t. So I write this memorial to her. May the Lord raise up many more great women like Georgia, and may He comfort our dear brother Paul as he grieves the loss of his wife. What a testimony both have for the Lord. May He use Georgia’s memorial for His glory.
Here is the link to her obituary.
Taken from the Peace Maker Ministries newsletter:
Six of Satan’s Favorite Conflict Phrases
“Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Satan promotes conflict in many ways. Among other things, he tempts us so we give in to greed and dishonesty (Acts 5:3), he deceives us and misleads us (2 Tim. 2:25-26), and he takes advantage of unresolved anger (Eph. 4:26-27). Worst of all, he uses false teachers to propagate values and philosophies that encourage selfishness and stimulate controversy (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Here are some of the expressions that often reflect the devil’s lies and influence:
“Look out for Number One.”
“God helps those who help themselves.”
“Surely God doesn’t expect me to stay in an unhappy situation.”
“I’ll forgive you, but I won’t forget.”
“Don’t get mad, get even.”
“I deserve better than this.”
Satan prefers that we do not recognize his role in our conflicts. As long as we see other people as our only adversaries and focus our attacks on them, we will give no thought to guarding against our most dangerous enemy.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 50-51
Food for Thought
Read Jesus’ responses to Satan’s temptations in Matthew 4:1-11. Note that in contrast to Satan’s favorite expressions noted above, none of Jesus’ responses contain the word, “I”. What’s more, none of Jesus’ responses to Satan even contain the word, “you”–usually our second favorite word in conflict! How do we prevent Satan from getting a foothold in our conflicts? We keep our conflict responses (and our words) God-centered, remembering that if God is not at the center of our thoughts during a conflict, Satan will be altogether too happy to quietly take God’s place.
Look at their website here.