Author: Renee Santich

Me Marriage

Renee has been blogging about the recent Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference.

The worst thing about a conference of 3,800 women (apart from the noise of us talking after a session) is the queue for coffee. No, worse than the queue, was the coffee. Oh, how I longed for my husband’s early morning latté, anyway I digress.

One of the strengths of this first Women’s Gospel Coalition Conference was the faithful Bible teachers gathered. The Gospel Coalition is a fellowship of evangelical churches in North America deeply committed to renewing their faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures (see http://thegospelcoalition.org/about/who for more info).

Balding and tall, Tim Keller and short, straight talking wife Kathy did a tag team teaching effort on marriage. In the US the current divorce rate is at 50% and the norm of ‘living together’ before marriage is at 50% too. The trend is against marriage. No news there. Continue reading

Defining your ministry

Renee is blogging from the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference.

Gathered with many other excessively ‘qualified’ Jesus’ loving women, you feel pretty small. Everyone seems to have written a book (or three), or they have a popular blog on holiness and prayer, or a masters degree in something spiritual. Common conversations about where exactly is New Zealand and is it hot there too (as we are in mid winter), don’t make one feel significant in the big USA.

However, Nancy Guthrie challenged us long and hard about ‘what is the distinctive thing that’s going to define our ministry?’ Is a sense of fun and laughter going to define my family or marriage? Am I seeking to fulfill my needs in all that I do? Will my ‘needs’ define my family? Or does telling stories about my journey define my one to one ministry meetings with girls?

These are good aspects we can include in our ‘ministry’, but Nancy challenged us that God’s Word should set the agenda for our ministries. God’s word should be the distinctive, not other things. Continue reading

Bigger than Texas

Renee is blogging from the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference.

As we walked to the Starbucks coffee queue, my new friend shared of her struggles with feeling alone in her love of the gospel. Her husband wasn’t at a particularly Bible-based church, and she was attending a gospel teaching church. She felt broken by that.

She lives in Texas, a massive state in the USA. We expect Texans to never be lonely. We expect Americans to be supported by other Christians in their love of Jesus. After all they even say ‘In God we trust’ on their money!

I was moved. I had expected that the women I would meet here at the National Women’s Conference (in Florida with the Gospel Coalition) would have fellowship with other gospel-minded women all the time. Continue reading

Driving out fear

I could feel three sets of eyes watching me as I walked into the warm room for my meeting. I felt uncomfortable. What should I say? What were they thinking? Did I look ridiculous? As each successive person entered that room, we all turned and watched them enter too. Did they feel the same as I had?

It’s a common occurrence feeling uncomfortable joining a group of people, on the sideline at sport or in church. It’s common for the ‘outsider’ and also the ‘regular’. We often struggle trying to work out where do I fit in? Will anybody like me? Continue reading

A mum’s New Years prayers

This morning I was walking our golden retriever in the cool nor-east wind that’s so prevalent this time of year. I was praying and reflecting on the coming year, particularly our family and university ministry. I was prompted to repent of some of my natural inclinations: wanting my kids to perform well academically, behaviourally, sportingly. I again recognised some of the idols lurking in my prayer concerns for my kids.

So here are some of my prayer-thoughts, in no particular order, from a ‘school’ mum of four.

I’m praying I would NOT be like the mums I’ve been reading about in Kings and Chronicles this summer. Like Athaliah, who encouraged her son Ahaziah, ‘in doing wrong… doing evil in the eyes of the LORD’ (2 Chron 22:3, 4), happily walking in idolatry with no heed or care for God’s word. I pray I would continue to develop the kids individual Bible reading habits, and use those new Christmas Bible reading notes that are already at risk of getting lost.

I’m asking God that I would have right priorities with my kids school efforts. I’m asking God for godly character in them: faithfulness (stickability), diligence (as opposed to laziness), love of God and others, a servant heart; caring for the lost and difficult kids around them; and humility and kindness rather than just great results. I’m praying God would provide good friends who would not lead my kids in foolishness and wickedness.

I’m thankful to God for the freedom we have in New Zealand to meet with others and share the gospel. I’m asking God for energy and boldness and to meet the new (and old) people He wants me to share the gospel and our lives with this year.

I’m praying I would love my husband and willingly serve him, putting his needs before my own. I’m asking God that I would be a godly example, faithful and thankful in prayer for my great husband, our family and our ministries at university and church.

What are you praying for your family this year?