OHCW Conference LIVE AUDIENCE Sneak Preview!

Ladies, did you enjoy last year’s first annual Open Hearts in a Closed World online conference? (If you missed it, you can still catch all of the sessions here.)

Well, the conference is back again this summer, July 12-16, and all of us at OHCW hope you’ll join us! The conference sessions will air each day on the AGTV app, YouTube, IGTV (Instagram), Facebook, and this year, here on the blog.

The conference is totally free and you don’t have to register or sign up. Just tune in each day at your convenience and watch the teaching sessions. You could even gather up some friends and watch together!

The theme of this year’s conference is Reverence in Radical Times, and our focal passage will be Titus 2:3-5:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Titus 2:3-5

2021 Speakers:

2021 Teaching Schedule:

Music by:

For more details on the conference, follow Open Hearts in a Closed World on Instagram, or join the OHCW Facebook group and ask the conference organizers directly.

All teaching sessions for the conference will be pre-recorded, so if you live in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area (or if you can get here!) we’ve got a special “sneak preview” treat for you!

You are cordially invited to be part of the
for the taping of my teaching session:

Teach What Is Good:
Discipling Younger Women
in the 21st Century

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
7:00-8:00 p.m.
Woodlawn Baptist Church
5805 Jones Creek Rd.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
FREE admission ~ Women only
No childcare will be provided

It’s a session relevant to both the “older women” and the “younger women” of Titus 2, so gather up a group of friends and make it a girls’ night out! You might even want to plan to go out to eat afterwards at New York Pizza and Pasta, Outback, City Cafe, or another nearby restaurant. And if your husband wants to drop you off and take the kids for a bite, McDonald’s, Burger King, Cane’s, and Taco Bell are all just down the street.

Masks are not required, though you’re welcome to bring one from home and wear it if you like. We anticipate that there will be plenty of space for those who would like to social distance (also not required).

If you have any specific questions about Woodlawn’s facilities or location, you may contact the church directly.

Come on out and let’s look at what it means to be Titus 2 women!


The Mailbag: Salvation and the Mentally Challenged

I have a question about people who have “simple minds”. Those who have a lack of comprehension or are slow thinkers. My son is trying to understand salvation but he is slower in thinking than others. He has learning disabilities that keep him a few years behind others his age. I’m learning to not fear and to trust Christ with his salvation but I’m wondering how I can know he is saved or what God’s word says of those with simple minds.

I think you’ve answered your own question with some very godly wisdom: don’t fear, and trust Christ with your son’s salvation. Don’t discount that wisdom God has given you, because, ultimately, that is your answer. Once we’ve shared the gospel, that’s really all any of us can do regarding the spiritual state of any friend or loved one regardless of mental capacity: Fear not. Trust Christ.

How can you know he’s saved with 100% certainty? You can’t. Just like none of us can know that another person is saved, because we can’t see that person’s heart. The only person I can know is saved, without a shadow of a doubt, is me.

If you’re married, have you and your husband discussed all of this thoroughly? If he is a Believer, he probably has some helpful insights and perspectives to offer. And, do remember, he is the spiritual leader of your home.

I would encourage you (and your husband, if you’re married) to set up an appointment with your pastor – with or without your son, depending on what your pastor suggests – to talk things out and get his wise counsel on the best ways to keep the gospel in front of your son’s eyes.

In the meantime, keep praying for – and with – your son (and that God will help you entrust your son to Him), keep teaching him the Bible, and keep taking him to church. Remember, you are only responsible for pouring the gospel into your son. It’s God’s responsibility to take what you’ve shared and do something with it in your son’s heart.

The Bible doesn’t, as far as I can recall, speak specifically to the cognitive capacity for faith of people who have “simple minds”. Some readers have probably already called to mind the childlike faith passages in the gospels, but Jesus was speaking to the quality of our faith in these passages, not to childlike cognition.

But do keep your mind on Scripture. When you’re tempted to worry, remember who God is. Remember His nature and character:

This is a God who doesn’t even take pleasure in the death of the wicked. A God who patiently bore with Israel’s sin and idolatry for centuries before executing judgment on them. A God who loved sinners so much that He sacrificed His only Son for us while we were still His enemies. A God who describes Himself as being rich in mercy. A God we see throughout Scripture caring for “the least of these” – Hagar, Mephibosheth, Bartimaeus, widows and orphans, the blind, the deaf, the crippled, the leper, the outcast.

Is this a God who would flippantly or casually damn your son to an eternity in Hell based solely on his cognitive disabilities? Does that seem to be in keeping with His nature and character?

Also remember God as Creator. God specially crafted your son the way he is in His image and for His glory just like everyone else He created. Your son’s disabilities are not a mistake or an oversight on God’s part. They are meant to bring glory to Him. Neither you nor he may fully understand how on this side of Heaven, but God does, and that’s all that matters.

And as the One who designed your son’s mind, there is no one who understands how it works, how it comprehends things, better than God does. The Holy Spirit knows how to take that gospel you’ve imparted to your son and explain it to his heart and mind in the absolute best way for your son. A way that’s specially designed uniquely for him by his Creator. Consider these passages as you think about that:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:13-14

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
Exodus 4:10-12

Finally remember that God knows your son’s heart and as the just judge of all the universe – Whom we’ve already established is rich in mercy – the only decision God can make regarding your son’s salvation and eternity is the right decision, whatever that might be. God knows the capabilities of your son’s heart and mind better than anyone. He knows whether your son is believing on Christ in his heart or rebelliously rejecting Christ in his heart.

For the Lord sees not as man sees:
man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.
Jeremiah 17:10

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24

As moms, we often desperately want to find a way to make the “decision” for our children to place their faith in Christ for salvation because we love them and we know that’s what’s best for them. But we can’t. I can’t do it for my child any more than you can do it for your child, disability or no disability. That is between your child and Christ only.

And that brings us full circle to the answer God has already given you:

Don’t fear. Trust Christ with your son’s salvation

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Podcast Appearances

Sharing the Journey Podcast Guest Appearance

Last week I had a wonderful time interviewing with Melissa Morris on the very first episode of her Sharing the Journey podcast. Listen in (and watch!) as we chat about biblical womanhood, Beth Moore, discernment, and how women can and should serve the local church.

We also talked a bit about the women’s conference I’ll be speaking at this fall at Melissa’s church. It’s going to be on the topic of biblical womanhood, and we hope you can make it. Here’s the info (from my Speaking Engagements tab):

October 22-23- Women’s Conference,
Pop-Up Church in Faber, Virginia.
(This conference will be open to women in the surrounding
areas, but you must contact the church directly for details.)

You can subscribe to Pop-Up Church’s YouTube channel to catch future episodes of Sharing the Journey. And be sure to check out the Sharing the Journey website, too.

Articles / resources mentioned or touched on in the interview:

A Word Fitly Spoken Podcast

Bye-Bye Beth: What Beth Moore’s Split with the SBC Means

Living Proof You Should Follow Beth (no) Moore (includes AWFS podcast episode links)

Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own

Has Beth Moore only recently drifted, or has she always been false? by Elizabeth Prata (My apologies to Elizabeth for mangling the title of her article during the interview!)

Let Me Count the Ways: 75 Ways Women Can Biblically Minister to Others

Putting on the “You Can!” of Complementarianism

Unforbidden Fruits: 3 Ways Women MUST Lead and Teach the Church

Got a podcast of your own or have a podcasting friend who needs a guest? Need a speaker for a women’s conference or church event? Click the “Speaking Engagements” tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat!

Men, Parenting

Throwback Thursday ~ Six Ways to Raise a Godly Man

Originally published October 24, 2015

Boys. Aren’t they phenomenal? My husband and I have five boys ranging in age from 12 to 28. They’re loud, they’re gross, they’re physical, and I wouldn’t trade them for girls in a hot minute. While I love my daughter and the precious relationship we have as girls, I genuinely feel like God specially crafted me to be a mom of boys.

But boys will be boys, and girls will be girls, and sometimes, as “girls,” we moms need to think outside the pretty pink box of femininity in order to relate to, and rightly raise, these extraordinary creatures God has blessed us with. Here are six ways I’ve learned through the years to raise a Godly man.

1. Remember you’re raising boys.

Despite what you might hear from the scientific community, boys and girls are not the same except for genitalia. The way God wired them to see and relate to the world, think, react, and solve problems, is completely different from the way God wired girls to do these things. In 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul tells the men of the church at Corinth:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

There’s a certain way that men (and boys) act, and it’s not the same as the way girls act. God made them that way, and we must parent them like they’re boys, not anatomically male girls.

2. Make way for Daddy.

There have been so many times I have been tempted to baby my boys over bumps and bruises or give them a light scolding for disobedience. It took a lot of lip biting to stand out of the way while my husband told them to walk it off or got out the paddle for correction. But husbands know better than we do what it’s like to be a little (or big) boy. Point your boys to your husband as an example, and make sure you’re not getting in the way as they relate to each other “man to man”.

3. Tell them to take a lap.

One thing that moms often don’t realize about boys is that they are wired to need physical activity for their emotional, behavioral, and educational well being. Require them to sit still and be quiet for hours at a time, and you may have a son who gets that need for physicality out of his system by acting out behaviorally. God created boys with a need to run, throw, and hit, so honor His design by letting them.

4. Show them what a godly woman looks like.

They won’t be able to find a godly woman to marry one day if they don’t know what one looks like. Show them. Study your Bible. Pray. Repent and apologize when you sin. Submit to your husband. Manage your home well. Be hospitable. Serve your family and your church. Give them a gold standard to shoot for.

Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. Proverbs 31:29

5. Instruct them, from a woman’s point of view, godly ways to honor women.

Because boys don’t think the way girls do, they need to be taught how women like to be treated by men. Boys tend to have an “every man for himself” mindset, so things like “ladies first,” opening doors for women, keeping bodily functions to themselves, and helping out around the house don’t always occur to them. They have to be proactively taught these things as a way of “serving one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

(Oh, and by the way, they will never learn to keep bodily functions to themselves. Ever. Sorry.)

6. Realize the impact of your role in building godly men. 

Samuel. Jesus. Timothy. Godly men, all. And every one of them had a godly mother – Hannah, Mary, Eunice – who raised them to love and serve God. Don’t ever think of yourself as “just a mom.” God has given mothers the enormous responsibility and privilege of pouring the gospel into little boys and raising them to godly manhood. Thank Him for that and steward your influence well.

Boys are strange and wonderful little beings. There’s nothing like being a mom of boys to drive you crazy, drive you to your knees in prayer, and drive you to rise to the challenge of being a godly mom raising godly men.

This article was originally published at Kaylene Yoder’s blog.

And for all you girl moms, be sure to check out…

Avoiding the Creepers: Six Ways to Raise a Biblically Strong Woman

Sermon on the Mount Bible Study

The Sermon on the Mount ~ Lesson 9

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Matthew 6:1-18

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review the “middle parts” (ex: merciful, poor in spirit) of the Beatitudes, the “salt and light” passage, and the “heart of the law” passage in Matthew 5:1-12, 13-16, 14-20. Now read 6:1-18 in light of those passages.

What is the main theme of 1-4, 5-15, and 16-18? Explain how verse 1 serves as the theme verse for all three sections. Consider what might motivate someone to show off her deeds of righteousness. Would this be someone who genuinely considers herself to be “holier than thou”? Or would it be someone who just wants to fool everyone into thinking she’s holier than they are? Maybe both?

2. In the Beatitudes, Jesus lists the traits that define Christian character. In much of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount He fleshes out what many of these character traits look like when walked out in “real life”. Which of the traits (the “middle parts” – there could be several) listed in the Beatitudes is Jesus expanding on in 1-18?

How does being a prideful show off, especially showing off your righteousness / holiness, bland your saltiness? (5:13-16) How can forsaking self-righteousness and walking in humility make you saltier and brighter?

3. Review from our previous lessons (links above) the idea that the Sermon on the Mount is to the New Testament / new covenant what the Ten Commandments were to the Old Testament / old covenant.

Though pride, self-righteousness, and showing off are not specifically mentioned in the Ten Commandments, which of the Ten Commandments could be connected to showing off your deeds of righteousness? For example: What are you coveting if you’re showing off your righteous deeds to others? How could the praise of man become an idol?

Notice that, for the remainder of the Sermon on the Mount (through the end of chapter 7), Jesus drops the “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” framing of His teaching. Why do you think that is?

Despite dropping this framing, in 1-18 is Jesus still shifting the people’s focus from outward obedience to the letter of the law to zeroing in on the attitude of their hearts and the spirit of the law? Explain how humility and poverty of spirit should be the heart of our obedience to God’s laws.

4. Jesus could have admonished people not to show off their intellect, their wealth, their athleticism, or any number of other things in this passage. Instead, He chooses three practices of holiness: charity, prayer, and fasting. Why? Why is it especially important to God that His people not show off their righteous actions? Read the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Explain how this story connects to 1-18 and demonstrates the value God places on humility / poverty of spirit.

What does Jesus call show offs throughout this passage? Which words and phrases in this passage describe the earthly reward someone showing off her righteousness is working for? Why should God give someone a heavenly reward if she is working for an earthly reward? If you are working for a heavenly reward, will you get an earthly reward?

5. What is the difference between not showing off in 6:1-18 and letting your light shine before others in 5:14-16? Think about what you post on social media, as well as your conversations with others in light of these passages. How do these passages apply to humblebrags and virtue signaling? “Humblebrag” and “virtue signaling” are worldly terms. What would be the biblical terminology for these unbiblical behaviors?

6. Some people think verses 5-6 mean that no one should ever pray in public or anywhere your prayers might be observed by others. For example: no one should lead a congregational prayer in church, you should not pray before a meal at a restaurant, no prayers before ball games, etc. Are these verses prohibiting that? Why or why not? Was Daniel violating verses five through six when he prayed with his windows open? Could verses 7-8 apply to praying in “tongues” as it is commonly practiced today? What about repetitive formulaic prayers like the Catholic rosary?

7. Do 14-15 mean you will lose your salvation if you refuse to forgive? How do these verses show us how important forgiveness is to God?


  • Did Jesus intend for The Lord’s Prayer to be recited or to be an example of how we should pray? Is there a difference between reciting the Lords prayer and praying the Lord‘s Prayer? Could reciting the Lords prayer repetitively turn into “heaping up empty phrases“? Write out the Lord’s Prayer using your own words, and check out my article After this Manner, Therefore Pray.
  • Want to learn more about fasting? I found this article – Is Fasting a Command? – very helpful and thorough. Grace to You has several good articles and sermons on fasting. Just go to GTY.org and put “fasting” in the search bar.

Suggested Memory Verse