The Prophecy of Joel

Part 5 of my Series on Women
[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 ]

The prophet Joel predicted that one day the Holy Spirit would be poured out on the church and as a result, “your sons and your daughters will prophesy” (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17-18). This passage clearly indicates that when the New Testament age began, both men and women would be empowered and commissioned to carry the message of the gospel to the world. God’s Holy Spirit would no longer rest simply on isolated individuals as was the case under the Old Covenant. In the Pentecostal age, all believers—regardless of gender, ethnicity, or social status—would have full access to the graces of the Spirit and would speak the utterances of God.

If preaching were to have been limited to men only, Joel would not have mentioned daughters in his prediction. He would have said instead, “In the last days, I will pour out My Spirit, and your sons will prophesy while your daughters serve quietly in the background and pray for the men.” That is not what the Bible says. It clearly states that women will preach. They will lead. They will be on the front lines of ministry. Like Deborah, they will take the church into enemy territory and watch as the Lord gives victory. Like Esther, they will not keep silent. Like Phoebe, they will co-labor with apostles to establish churches in unevangelized regions.

If this is the clear mandate of Joel 2:28, why do churches that pride themselves on faithful adherence to a literal translation of the Bible reject it? There is no biblical basis for the popular notion that prophesying or preaching is a uniquely masculine act. Both genders have been called to minister in the Holy Spirit’s power, and we grieve Him when we restrict the full release of that power by forbidding women to speak God’s Word or use their talents in His service. We will answer to God for limiting His work by restricting the flow of His Spirit through women who have been called to speak for Him.

Some Christian leaders have emphasized that when a woman speaks in public, she can “share” but she can’t preach. The idea was that if women are put in a place of public ministry and are asked to speak, they must do it meekly (or sheepishly) to somehow demonstrate that they are not being forceful in the presence of men. How ridiculous! Perhaps the men are afraid that the women will preach better?

All of this information is gleaned from – Grady, J Lee. Ten Lies The Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage (pp. 52-53). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.

Jesus and Apostolic Women

Part 4 of my Series on Women
[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 ]

Why Were No Women Included With the Twelve Apostles? Many conservative theologians argue that if Jesus really believed in empowering women for leadership, He would have appointed one or more females to serve among His twelve disciples. It is assumed that since all the Twelve were male, only men can occupy the top positions of authority in the church. But again, we must take into consideration the culture of Jesus’ day. Women were not allowed to occupy any positions of authority in first-century Palestine.

It is also important for us to recognize that even though Jesus selected twelve Jewish males to lead the early church, He was in no way signaling that future leaders of the church must be Jewish. To the contrary, the Holy Spirit showed the early disciples that the gospel was also sent to the Gentiles—and within a few years Gentile apostles emerged. So, we must see that just because the first apostles were male, this does not set a precedent for all time. Women, including Priscilla and Junia, were already functioning in missionary and apostolic ministry roles by the time the early church began it’s western expansion.

All of this information is gleaned from – Grady, J Lee. Ten Lies The Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage (p. 51). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.

Women in Biblical History

Part 3 of my Series on Women
[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 ]

The Bible records a rich history of women who were placed in authority by God. It would be wise to consider the way God used women before we attempt to pull an isolated Scripture out of context to build a doctrine that restricts the ministry opportunities of women. Consider the following biblical women and the level of authority they were given:

  1. Miriam. There is no question that Moses’ sister was considered a leader in ancient Israel. This is confirmed in Micah 6:4: “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” She represented the authority of God to the people in the same way Moses did. She spoke for God. That’s why she is described in Exodus 15:20 as a prophetess.
  2. Deborah. Among the judges of Israel, Deborah was the only one who held the respected position of prophet other than Samuel. She is referred to as a prophetess in Judges 4:4, and her attentiveness to God’s purpose and strategy resulted in an impressive military victory for Israel that secured peace for forty years. (Judges 5:31.) She was married, but her husband, Lappidoth, did not share her position of spiritual authority, and we know little about him. Deborah functioned as a civil ruler and was so respected for her anointing and spiritual insights that Barak, Israel’s military commander, refused to go into battle without her.
  3. Huldah. After fifty years of paganism and spiritual adultery in Israel, King Josiah assumed the throne and rediscovered the Book of the Law, which had been hidden in the temple. When it was read aloud, he immediately repented and turned to the Lord, then sent his high priest to seek out a faithful follower of God who could speak for Him. To whom did they turn? To Huldah, a prophetess who obviously had remained faithful to the Lord during one of the darkest periods in Israel’s history. (2 Kings 22:14.) The fact that Israel’s high priest, Hilkiah, and his associates sought her out to make their inquiry of the Lord shows that she had earned a reputation for hearing from God.
  4. Esther. Although she did not function in a place of ecclesiastical authority, Esther’s life proves that God can and does use women in strategic positions of influence to further His purposes. Indeed, he singled out this young Jewish woman and thrust her into the place of an intercessor and deliverer, not unlike Moses, and her prayers and courageous actions literally saved her people from genocide.
  5. Phoebe. Paul commended this woman to the church at Rome and asked them to “receive her in the Lord” when she arrived from Cenchreae to work among them (Romans 16:1–2). Although he refers to her as a diakonon, the Greek word for deacon, the word is translated servant in many Bible versions. But it is more accurate to place her in the category of deacon with men such as Stephen and Philip, for the same Greek word is used to describe them.
  6. Priscilla. Along with her husband, Aquila, this woman was a noted laborer in the early church, and it was this couple’s influence that helped launch the apostolic ministry of Apollos (Acts 18:24–26). It would be safe to say that they also functioned as apostles, since Paul refers to them in Romans 16:3 as “fellow workers in Christ Jesus.”
  7. Philip’s daughters. We are told in Acts 21:9 that Philip the evangelist had four daughters who were “prophetesses.” We know nothing about them, but we can assume that their influence was significant enough to be mentioned in the biblical record. Obviously they were engaged in public speaking, and their words carried the same level of authority as the words of Agabus—a male prophet who is described in the same passage.
  8. Lois and Eunice. The apostle Paul commends these two women—Timothy’s mother and grandmother—for shaping the young man’s ministry through their instruction and example. Although it is an obscure passage, it is a crucial one because so many churches today use Paul’s letters to Timothy to justify misguided policies that limit the scope of women’s ministry.
  9. Junia the apostle. What? An apostle? Paul’s reference to this woman in Romans 16:7 has created quite a controversy because she is referred to as an apostle, Bible scholars and translators have assumed that she could not have been a woman—since females can’t possibly function in an apostolic role. But Junia was a common Latin name for a woman.

All of this information is gleaned from – Grady, J Lee. Ten Lies The Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage (pp. 46-48). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.

Shepherding God’s People

King’s Grant Discipleship Ministry
Teacher Training Series
This is an overview of the 7 types of sheep we find in Ezekiel 34 and Zechariah 11

Shepherding God’s People Series:

  1. Shepherding God’s People – Overview
  2. Shepherding Weak Sheep
  3. Shepherding Sick Sheep
  4. Shepherding Broken Sheep
  5. Shepherding Lost Sheep
  6. Shepherding Scattered Sheep
  7. Shepherding Young Sheep
  8. Shepherding Standing Sheep

Here is the transcript of this video lesson…

Shepherding God’s People

A good Shepherd provides personalized care based upon the sheep’s spiritual condition. The prophets Ezekiel and Zechariah bring “woes” against the Shepherds of Israel that are described as “faithless,” “foolish” and “worthless.” The Shepherds of Israel that didn’t provide individualized care were accused of taking a position of leadership in order to just feed themselves rather than the flock of God’s people entrusted to them. God was not ambiguous about what He thought of these men – “I am against the Shepherds” (Ezekiel 34:10).

Ezekiel 34:1-16 and Zechariah 11:15-17 break the flock of God down into seven kinds of sheep that need specialized care. Each believer under your care, these people in your class, will move from one category to another depending upon their spiritual journey and life circumstances.

Let’s look at these two passages of Scripture:

Ezekiel 34:1-16 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Shepherds of Israel

34 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? 3 You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. 4 You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. 5 So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. 6 They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them.

7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. 9 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey.

The Good Shepherd

11 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. 12 I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. 13 I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. 14 Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice!

Zechariah 11:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again and play the part of a worthless shepherd. 16 This illustrates how I will give this nation a shepherd who will not care for those who are dying, nor look after the young, nor heal the injured, nor feed the healthy. Instead, this shepherd will eat the meat of the fattest sheep and tear off their hooves.

17 “What sorrow awaits this worthless shepherd who abandons the flock! The sword will cut his arm and pierce his right eye. His arm will become useless, and his right eye completely blind.”

As we study these passages, you will see that God desires shepherds to:

  1. Strengthen the weak
  2. Heal the sick
  3. Bind up the broken
  4. Bring back the scattered
  5. Seek the lost (perishing)
  6. Seek the young
  7. Feed the standing (healthy)

Today I want to present an overview to look at these sheep, and some scripture to help us know and minister to these people who are in our care.

Weak Sheep [Ezekiel 34:4]

Shepherd’s Responsibility: Strengthen the Weak

Description: Weak sheep are not necessarily “unruly” or “fainthearted,” they simply don’t have the strength to stand on their own without support (Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica, “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Sometimes, Extra Grace is Required (EGR), so these types need to be shepherded with patience. It’s also important that these individuals don’t become dependent on the shepherd, but learn to ultimately stand on their own. These sheep need to be able to one day feed themselves. It’s important to remember the principle “Weakness prolonged becomes willfulness.”

Hebrews 11:33-34 – who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 – We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 – And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

Romans 7:15, 19, 22-23 – For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate… For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want…. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Acts 20:35 – In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Broken Sheep [Ezekiel 34:4,16; Zechariah 11:16, Psalm 147:3; Matthew 12:20]

Shepherd’s Responsibility: Bind Up the Broken

Description: Broken sheep are those who have been injured or wounded in some way. Sometimes the wound is a broken heart from the loss of a loved one in death. They need to be bandaged up and given a lot of TLC (tender loving care). Others have had their will broken through the discipline of the Lord and need to be carried after their dislocated or broken legs are bound up. Others have broken relationships that, apart from a third party (like a shepherd’s intervention), are unlikely to be restored.

Psalm 147:2-3 – The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

Matthew 12:17-21 – This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

18 “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen;
My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased;
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 “He will not quarrel, nor cry out;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 “A battered reed He will not break off,
And a smoldering wick He will not put out,
Until He leads justice to victory.
21 “And in His name the Gentiles will hope.”

Lost (Perishing) Sheep [Ezekiel 34:4,16; Zechariah 11:16, Luke 15:1-7]

Shepherd’s Responsibility: Seek the Lost. These people need to hear the plan of salvation

Description: Every flock is just one generation away from extinction. Every shepherd is one generation away from unemployment. As shepherds, we must not rely on “transfer growth” (sheep stealing from another flock) to increase our flock size but must be actively and intentionally seeking out lost people who are perishing. This includes finding new and innovative ways to introduce church life to those who feel “cut off.” These folks feel there are no points of re-entry into the congregation.

Ezekiel 34:4 – … the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.

Ezekiel 34:16 – “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; …

Luke 15:1-7 – Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Scattered/Driven Away Sheep [Ezekiel 34:4,5,6,8,16, Matthew 9:36-38]

Shepherd’s Responsibility: Bring Back the Scattered

Description: The longer you wait to retrieve scattered sheep, the less likely they are to return. Some have strayed on their own for a variety of reasons, but others have been “driven away.” It’s the shepherd’s responsibility to make a sincere and conscientious attempt to bring them back.

Matthew 9:36-38 – Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Ezekiel 34:6 – My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.

Ezekiel 34:8 – …My shepherds did not search for My flock,…

Ezekiel 34:16 – I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; …

Sick Sheep [Ezekiel 34:4,16]

Shepherd’s Responsibility: Heal the Sick (physically)

Description: Some sheep that are sick have physical health problems while others are spiritually sick. Sin-sick sheep often need to be reminded that the words “by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24-25) are just as applicable to a believer who has sinned as they are to an unbeliever. Physically sick sheep often need a shepherd to provide care while they are sickly. It’s also important to help sick sheep to discern the kind of sickness they are experiencing. Is it a sickness unto death, a sickness unto chastisement, a sickness to manifest the work of God and to glorify Him, or to teach contentment with the sufficiency of God’s Grace in the midst of sickness?

1 Peter 2:24-25 – and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

John 11:14 – But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

1 John 5:16 – If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

1 Corinthians 11:32 – But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

Hebrews 12:4-6 – You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation, which is addressed to you as sons,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

Young Sheep [Zechariah 11:16]

Shepherd’s Responsibility: Seek the Young

Description: Young sheep are very vulnerable and impressionable. The pattern that is set for them in those early years of their newly found faith is usually characteristic of the rest of their Christian lives. Getting off to a good start is so important. A newborn baby in the natural world needs lots of attention; parents who don’t provide specialized care are often accused by civil authorities of child neglect or abuses.

It’s no different in the spiritual world. It is so important to pour into the lives of young sheep!

There is plenty we can do to raise up these young sheep to make a significant difference in the lives of other around them. The goal is to move them from infancy to adolescence, to adulthood, and eventually into parenthood (making disciples of others). This is all about the Discipleship Pathway and our Small Group Strategy.

Standing (Healthy) Sheep [Zechariah 11:16]

Shepherd’s Responsibility: Feed the Standing

Description: Sheep that are “healthy” have the greatest potential for spiritual growth. They also represent the pool of individuals from which workers and future leaders will come, those who can move the church’s mission forward. Unfortunately, these individuals are often neglected because we are in crisis mode dealing with other kinds of sheep. The old saying is often true, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It is important to set up a “growth plan” and work with them so that they can progress further rather than becoming complacent or stagnant. This is intentional discipleship that has the end goal in mind from the very beginning. We can easily see of the disciple is making progress toward the biblical image of Christ himself.


Credit for the original teaching goes to my mentor, teacher, and friend, Rick Leineweber.

Jesus and Women in Ministry

Part 2 of my Series on Women
[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 ]

It appears that Jesus came into the culture and broke from traditional roles for women, here are a couple examples…

  1. Leadership.
  2. Reliable witnesses.
  3. Heralds of the gospel message.

More from Lee Grady’s book, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, and some personal observations.

Did Jesus Believe Women Could Lead?

This strong church bias against women in leadership is peculiar when we examine Jesus’ own inclusive attitudes toward the women who followed Him. Jesus affirmed the equality of women in the midst of a culture that denied them basic human rights. He called them to be His disciples during a time when religious leaders taught that it was disgraceful even to teach a woman.

So, what is the point of teaching a woman if the knowledge or training cannot be passed on? Perhaps she CAN teach, but only to her children, in the home or in VBS, or even Sunday School (certainly before the boys get into the youth department) but that does not seem right.

The Same Holy Spirit

When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the church, as recorded in the Book of Acts, many of these same women were in the upper room and received empowerment on the Day of Pentecost. Those who were Christ’s disciples had been commissioned to go into all the earth as witnesses, but they had been instructed to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them to empower them to fulfill this commission (See Acts 1:4–5). When the Holy Spirit came to fulfill this promise of empowerment for ministry, both men and women (including His own mother) received Him. This was noted by Peter, who then recited the verse from Joel’s prophecy: “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17). If Christ commissioned solely men to the ministry of the gospel, why did He send the power for that mission upon both men and women?

The Samaritan Woman

In the story of His visit with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7–42), we read that after He revealed His true identity to her (and she received forgiveness of her troubled past) she began telling others about Him (John 4:28–29). Here we see perhaps one of the clearest pictures in the Bible of Christ as an ordainer of women. The gospel account tells us that after her encounter with the Jesus, “from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman” (John 4:39). Why would the Messiah send this woman into her village to tell others about His power if He was opposed to the concept of women in ministry?

Certainly you agree that every follower of Jesus has the opportunity and responsibility to share the good news of Jesus by telling what Jesus has done for them, and women are no exception. But there are many in the church who somehow draw the line when they do this in a leadership role, certainly never in a professional capacity in the role of a lead pastor.

Unreliable Witnesses

Grady reminds us that we must remember the cultural context of John 4. In the land of Israel at the time of Christ and, indeed, in all of the Roman world, women were not considered reliable witnesses. Men were taught that the testimony of a woman was not to be trusted because women were considered ignorant and easily deceived. Yet, to whom did Jesus choose first to reveal His resurrection on Easter morning (Luke 24:1-12)? And whom did He commission first to tell others that He had triumphed over the grave (Matthew 28:5-7)? Was it not His brave women disciples who were willing to identify with His death while His male followers hid from their persecutors?

After His resurrection, Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Go to My brethren, and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’” (John 20:17). Was He not affirming her as a witness of the gospel? Was she not commissioned by Jesus Himself both to go and to speak for Him? Why then do we deny women the opportunity to carry the same message in a professional capacity?

Living Life in a Submissive Role

In conservative Christian circles women are expected to live contentedly in the background (presumably to focus on domestic duties) because this is their humble, God-ordained “place” in life. It’s a place of invisible service and of godly but quiet influence over children and the home, or perhaps over the church nursery, Sunday school class, or women’s Bible study. Women, of course, are told it is an honor to live in the shadow of their husbands or other male authorities and a disgrace for them to assume a place of significant spiritual authority. But we need to ask: Where did we get this warped idea when it was not the perspective of Jesus Christ, nor is it promoted anywhere in the Scriptures?

All of this information is gleaned from – Grady, J Lee. Ten Lies The Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage. Charisma House. Kindle Edition.