Category Archives: Conferences

She Speaks Conference Equips Over 700 Women in Charlotte, NC…

Friends!  Any of y’all interested in writing or speaking?  Pray about attending next year’s She Speaks Conference, hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries (www.proverbs31.org). I had so much fun at the most recent one on July 21st and 22nd, in Charlotte, NC, I just have to share some tidbits with you…

Whether you’ve written a book or are contemplating writing one, or have been speaking various places and think God is calling you to do more speaking, She Speaks is the conference to attend. (7/26-28 are the dates for 2018.)

Due to some perfecto peer pressure a/k/a strong suggestions from my friend, Liz, I signed up for this year’s conference. Not knowing a soul except for Liz Curtis Higgs who would be teaching two workshops and speaking for one of the Main Sessions, I prayed I’d meet some fun friends.  God was gracious.

The morning of registration, I immediately met two gals, one from Wheaton, IL and one from Naples, FL.  We were all three newbies. We had crazy fun connections and promptly agreed to meet up for every meal, sharing tidbits from our workshops.

My new friend, Dawn, and I posed by the She Speaks sign near Registration.  This was a popular photo opp, all of us dumping our book bags which amazingly no one tripped over.

The challenge of the conference was which workshop to sign up for as each one sounded better than the next. Just as an example, here are the ones I took:

“Creating Biblical Content to Engage Your Reader”

“Storytelling on the Page and the Stage”

“Creating a Message That is Powerful, Memorable, and Life Changing”

“How a Small-Time Blogger Can Actually Get a Book Contract”

“60 Things You Can Do to Become a Better Speaker”

“Study Strategies for Teaching Scripture”

The above are a glimpse of the many, many, many workshops offered, plus each attendee had the opportunity to attend Four Main Sessions over the two days with these top-notch speakers:

Pastor Chris Hodges

Chris kicked off the conference Friday morning with a powerful message from Exodus 28 and 29, called “Dress for Success.”  His connection with the Proverbs 31 gals is a sweet one:  One of his children is married to one of Lysa TerKeurst’s children.

Chrystal Evans Hurst is a  fireball like her Dad, Tony Evans, and her sister, Priscilla Shirer. Chrystal equipped us Friday night to take care of ourselves in order to be better used by God. Her stories of biking across the Golden Gate Bridge numerous times were priceless. Some trips were more successful than others, as in “let’s not bleed to death in the process.” (A trip over the handlebars brought about that illustration.)

Sometimes we need to slow down! Rest is a form of worship!

Chrystal also gifted us with several Scriptures, my favorite being:

She closed with, “Be true to your journey, it is enough.”  Amen.

Whitney Capps  was a wonderful wake-up call Saturday morning after many of us had had a sleepless night due to the power going out in our area.  Hotel rooms defined dark and became stuffy hot without the air conditioning.

Whitney remarked that Satan is always trying to thwart her efforts for her messages and this time was no exception…  Seems a snake crawled down into one of the substations and nibbled on some high voltage equipment, causing damage enough to knock out the electricity in a huge grid most of the night.  This included our hotels plus 14,000 other households.  Come on, now!

Here’s the pic the local paper ran:

He looks way too friendly.

Good news is the conference went on as planned, coffee was at the ready, and Whitney preached a meaningful message on “Six Reasons Your Church Needs You.” Thank you, Lord.

Liz Curtis Higgs closed out the conference Saturday night with a bang, working our tear ducts overtime from laughter one minute, to moving testimonials the next.  A few of my favorite quotes from her are:

“Minister to those who are in front of you. Don’t count numbers, because everyone counts to God.”

On writing, Liz encouraged us with, “If He knows every word we are going to say, surely He knows every word we’re going to write.” And I LOVE this:  “You don’t have to write THE best book, you just have to write YOUR best book.”

Obviously, take-home value was at a premium.

One of many bonuses we attendees received was the opportunity to sign up for cd’s of other workshops we weren’t able to attend.  Incredible resources!

Saturday afternoon I rode up the elevator with a gal who had attended this conference the previous year.  She said this year’s conference was so different.  I was astonished because the number of workshops and their variety causes one to wonder how you could keep changing it up?

The brainchild of Lysa TerKeurst, She Speaks ran like a top. Lysa’s beyond blessed to have such a sweet and compassionate team who somehow took all seven hundred of us under their wings!

Here are a few other workshops I also wanted to take but couldn’t squeeze into my two days:

“Writing a Bio That Gets You Hired”

“The Verses That Keep Me Up at Night:  The Risks and Responsibilities of the Christian Writer”

“Creating Your Book Proposal from a Marketing Perspective”

“Guarding Your Capacity to Pace Your Race”

“Finding Soul Rest in the Midst of Busyness”

“How to Write When You Have Kids”

And there were more!

Another bonus of She Speaks was the amazing worship offered before each of the Main Sessions.  Worship  was led by the worship team from Elevation Church in Charlotte.  (www.elevationworship.com )

They were incredible, opening the conference with my current favorite song:  What a Beautiful Name.  Another song they sang I learned they also wrote:  O Come to the Altar.  You can imagine the effect of 700+ gals singing their hearts out.  The Holy Spirit filled the room to its’ brim.

One exciting discovery was learning about the “First 5” app available FOR FREE to us all.  (Go to:  www.first5.org ) Many gals I met were familiar with this app and were “regulars”.  Its’ premise is we all need to plant our faces in Scripture the first five minutes of every day.

The First 5 teachers and writers taught different workshops. It was a blast to meet them and hear from them up close.  They were most gracious in sharing their various methods, all of these gals wise beyond their years.

We attendees also had the opportunity to sign up to meet with publishers and agents.  These were offered on a first-come basis.

She Speaks had about twenty-five people (publishers and agents) to choose from, of which I had to pick five, and of those five, they’d pick two.  How they orchestrated all of this made my head spin.  We each had fifteen minutes for our meetings which evaporated like fifteen seconds.  This was an invaluable experience.

At one point in the worship, as the conference was about to close, I thought, “What if all seven hundred of us goes home, ready to be used by God for God to reach so many for the Kingdom?  What if?”  That’s my prayer for all of us and for any of you considering such an opportunity.

‘Til next time!

 

Liz and I sat together Friday night when Chrystal spoke.

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Author Interviews, Conferences, Scripture, Travel

Don’t Forget: You Are Invited To “Fountains of Friendship” on April 23rd!!!

What do trees and roots and water have in common?  Come find out how they can help us SAVOR OUR SEASON DAILY….straight out of Scripture, along with Proverbs 27:9 which says, “A Sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  We will all be refreshed….

YOU, yes YOU (!!!) are invited to join women of all ages and yours truly at a neat little event called Fountains of Friendship.  This is an annual Women’s Ministry event hosted by the gals at Hurstbourne Baptist Church. (8800 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40222)

Fountains of Friendship will be on Thursday, April 23rd, from 7:00 -8:30 p.m.  There will be yummy desserts to savor and I will be speaking on “Savor Your Season Daily”.  Yes, daily.  (I need this message probably more than all of us attending put together!)Chocolate Heart Dessert Cups With Pudding And RaspberriesWe’ll have some fun with this challenging subject and will take home some “tools” to help us with it.  We’ll also address obstacles we must be aware of which can potentially prevent us from savoring the season we’re in.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds us:  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  May we sharpen each other Thursday the 23rd!!! Proverbs 27-17 Tickets may be purchased for $5.00 by calling or going by the church office.   The office is  open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru’ Friday.  Tickets will also be available at the Welcome Center on Sundays. You may call (502) 426-2444 and ask for Carmen.  (Tell her some crazy woman sent you!)

And did I say we’ll have some fun???? Group of happy friends making funny facesBring a friend and come join us for a FUN night out! 

Please PRAY for this event as well!  In Mark Batterson’s book, (Oh, you know there had to be a book involved…) Praying Circles around Your Children, he recommends we envision drawing circles around whatever or whomever is a prayer concern and praying for them.  (How many circles can you draw???!!!) Praying Circles Please offer up a prayer as you drive by Hurstbourne Baptist Church for:

ALL of you sweet ladies attending,

For my message to be God-honoring and helpful for us all to savor our season daily,

For the weather,

For all the details to come together smoothly, and

For the precious ladies working on this to be blessed for their service.

Thank you! We’d LOVE to see you Thursday, April 23rd!!!

‘Til next time!

Comments Off on Don’t Forget: You Are Invited To “Fountains of Friendship” on April 23rd!!!

Filed under Conferences, Speaking Engagements

You Are Invited To “Fountains of Friendship” on April 23rd!!!

YOU, yes YOU (!!!) are invited to join women of all ages and yours truly at a neat little event called Fountains of Friendship.  This is an annual Women’s Ministry event hosted by the gals at Hurstbourne Baptist Church. (8800 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40222)

Fountains of Friendship will be on Thursday, April 23rd, from 7:00 -8:30 p.m.  There will be yummy desserts to savor and I will be speaking on “Savor Your Season Daily”.  Yes, daily.  (Yes, I’ll be preaching to the choir!!!) Chocolate Heart Dessert Cups With Pudding And RaspberriesWe’ll have some fun with this challenging subject and will take home some “tools” to help us with it.  We’ll also address obstacles we must be aware of which can potentially prevent us from savoring the season we’re in.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds us:  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  May we sharpen each other Thursday the 23rd!!! Proverbs 27-17 Tickets may be purchased for $5.00 by calling or going by the church office.   The office is  open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru’ Friday.  Tickets will also be available at the Welcome Center on Sundays. You may call (502) 426-2444 and ask for Carmen.  (Tell her some crazy woman sent you!)

And did I say we’ll have some fun???? Group of happy friends making funny facesBring a friend and come join us for a FUN night out! 

Please PRAY for this event as well!  In Mark Batterson’s book, (Oh, you know there had to be a book involved…) Praying Circles around Your Children, he recommends we envision drawing circles around whatever or whomever is a prayer concern and praying for them.  (How many circles can you draw???!!!) Praying Circles Please offer up a prayer as you drive by Hurstbourne Baptist Church for:

ALL of you sweet ladies attending,

For my message to be God-honoring and helpful for us all to savor our season daily,

For the weather,

For all the details to come together smoothly, and

For the precious ladies working on this to be blessed for their service.

Thank you! We’d LOVE to see you Thursday, April 23rd!!!

Later this week on this blog, we’ll be hearing from a dear friend of mine who also happens to be a super special-n-talented author: Nancy Sleeth!  Stay tuned!

Happy Holy Week!

‘Til next time!

3 Comments

Filed under Conferences, Speaking Engagements

Let’s Wrap Up Women of Faith’s UNWRAP THE BIBLE Conference with More Great Bible Teaching…

How do you unwrap a gift? Do you rip the paper to shreds, hurriedly, to find out what’s inside?

Or, like my sweet husband….

Do you shake it,

feel it,

barely, barely sever the tape,

slowly, ever-so-slowly, painstakingly remove the paper…

until we’re all about to pull our hair out??? (You’d think he’d never opened a gift before in his life, poor baby.)

Or, if you wrap like I do, that translates into stuffing the gift in a gift bag, fluffing up some terribly tired tissue, and zip! Out the door you go in sixty seconds or less…Thence unwrapping this kind of gift takes no time at all.

Gift Bag

What we’re about to discover, thanks to some fantastic Bible teachers, is:

To unwrap the Word of God, we must…

Savor

every single word,

every single phrase,

every single paragraph,

very slowly, akin to how my husband slowly unwraps gifts.

Women of Faith’s (WOF) Unwrap the Bible Conference, held in Houston, TX February 21-22, gifted each attendee with five gifts from the Bible to unwrap from five fabulous teachers. Beth Moore and Lisa Harper got us started. (See Part 1…). Then all five of them spoke together on a panel to help us with reading, studying, and quiet times, plus we got to hear a separate talk by Priscilla Shirer. (See Part 2…)

Unwrap the bible

This week, we’ll finish up with the last two gifts coming from Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine. All five of these gals equipped us with Scripture and lessons to keep us standing firm as we walked back out into the wild world in which we live.

Sheila Walsh is what I call the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith. Speaking with them from the beginning, more than seventeen years ago, you can count on Sheila to pick you up where you are, no matter the circumstances, and give you the Godly boost you need.

Sheila pointed us to John 15, showing us we must remain in Christ from the Vine and the Branches passages. She said, “Our source of strength comes from God’s Word.” She assured us, “You have not been forgotten. God is bigger than your circumstances.” 

She also warned us: “Beware of compromise…”

Her first lesson was: “We have an enemy hell bent on destroying us, but we have a Savior who became earth bound to deliver us.”  Significant to call upon our Savior.

Sheila walked us thru’ the Book of Esther, pointing us to Esther’s bravery shown in Esther 4:15-16: “Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: ‘Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even tho’ it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.’” (MSG) Gulp…would you do this??? Esther’s complete trust in God is inspiring.

Sheila followed up with this lesson: “When you’ve done everything you know to do, then stand and watch the deliverance of the Lord.” 

Storm Inside

Next up, and brace yourselves, was Christine Caine. This was my first time to experience Christine’s teaching. I think my hair is still standing straight up on the back of my neck. My toes are still bruised. My ears are still ringing. This girl packs a punch. Oh, and it’s a Heavenly one at that…

Christine chose Sarah, specifically from Genesis 18:10-14 where God hears her laughing at the thought of becoming pregnant at her very old age. Never mind she “laughed to herself”, but God heard her anyway!

The key Scripture we focused on came from verse 14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  She cited case, after case, after case, where God showed up in uncanny situations to care for impossible situations.

After showing a hilarious clip of a boy going thru’ his parents’ pantry and frig, discovering numerous items more than expired, Christine pointed out: “The Promises of God do not have an expiration date.“ 

Then Christine looked out at all eleven thousand of us and asked, “So how’s your posture? How’s your belief? We must strengthen our womb of faith. Because….if it’s not strong enough, you’ll abort and miscarry.” 

Baby

Let’s just stop and think about this for a second. What a beautiful picture of our faith. Our “womb of faith” constructs a growing process for us to faithfully feed from this day on into eternity.

Christine further encouraged us to “be intentional about being in God’s Word, knowing God’s Word.” She said, “We’ve become blind to God’s ability to do the impossible…Remember, “Is ANYTHING too hard for the Lord???” 

She frequently adds, “Keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Undaunted

My most amazing discovery happened after the conference when Liz Curtis Higgs and I were asked to join the speakers and some WOF staffers for lunch. How fun is that?

WOF2014 Group

Here we are right before we left for the airport, after lunch. From left to right: Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Michelle Parrozo (she’s on staff with WOF), Lisa Bevere, Melissa Moore (Beth’s daughter who writes brilliant additions to Beth’s Bible studies), and Christine Caine. (Priscilla’s cousin and I were the photogs!)

It was fascinating…and while I would have thought the girls would totally kick back, be wiped out from being “on” for eleven thousand attendees…certain they’d talk about food or shopping or when they’d be getting home …Not so…

They all talked about books and resources that help them when writing, whether writing for a book, or Bible study, or for a talk to teach, as well as future writing projects! I just sat back in awe.

One gal, who also speaks for WOF, did like Liz did which was to attend the conference purely to soak in these girls’ teaching. She sat next to me at our luncheon and was the most precious thing. I had no idea who she was.  She was so interested in how Liz and I’d become friends, what I did, etc.

I was so stunned at her interest,  I didn’t think to ask about her ministry!!! This same girl, who knows no strangers, wound up on our flight from Houston to Atlanta, and in similar fashion, became acquainted with half the plane’s passengers. Not kidding.

Who was this? None other than Lisa Bevere. Bet some of y’all know of her husband, John, too. They have written several books and have an awesome ministry. Checkout their website:

Alas, Liz and I landed in Louisville, back into the Real World. Hey, but we were still STANDING….and equipped with anointed teaching from gifted teachers.

As God would orchestrate, my small group recently began Priscilla’s Gideon: Your weakness. God’s strength. Bible study. IT IS POWERFUL!!! Let’s close with her prayer from Week Two, Day One:

“Today, Gideon’s story encourages us to seek the Almighty in the midst of normalcy. Ask the Lord to make Himself visible to you just as He did to Gideon. Pray that He will open your spiritual eyes over the next twenty-four hours so you can see Him more clearly than ever before.” And may I add, all the while standing firm in Him.

Gideon

Finally, you must know the good news that WOF has already booked an Unwrap the Bible Conference for February 20-21, 2015, back in Houston, at Lakewood Church! Make plans to attend now!!! (Go to: www.womenoffaith.com )

‘Til next time!!!

(This post is dedicated to all five Bible teachers from Unwrap the Bible: Beth Moore, Lisa Harper, Priscilla Shirer, Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine.   You enlightened, taught, and empowered Liz and me and 10,998 others to stand firm in our faith and to take our stand daily. May God Bless you and your families and your ministries abundantly!!! Plus let’s not forget my dear friend, Liz Curtis Higgs, who extended this most gracious invitation to attend in the first place!!!  Hugs across town, Lizzie!!! ‘Twas a blessed BLAST!!!)

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Travel

Inspirational Book Recommendations You’ll Love! (Part 2 of 3 on Women of Faith’s Unwrap the Bible Conference)

“I thought two books arrived yesterday.” Hubster John commented while nearly wiping out on two more packages that arrived today.

“Yes, well, …I ordered used books thru’ Amazon and they’ve shipped from all over the place. They are much cheaper as some of these books look like they’d be textbooks for Seminary.” I pleaded my case.

“And we know for sure,…” John teased, “YOU, of all people, need more books…”

Oops.

Library

Book addiction noted, I’m delighted to report in on one of many favorite parts of Women of Faith’s  “Unwrap the Bible” Conference from February 21-22.  Last week we unpacked Beth Moore’s and Lisa Harper’s  talks.  (For more information, please see Houston We Have an Answer….. )

This week we’ll hit highlights from the Panel Discussion with all five speakers:  Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Christine Caine and Sheila Walsh.  We’ll also discuss points from Priscilla’s talk.

Sheila facilitated the Panel by asking the girls what their favorite, most helpful books were, as well as what their daily time with the Lord looks like.  (This was rapid-fire-away-time bustin’ with resourceful  information!!!)

Priscilla Shirer mentioned two books she’s very fond of.  One is The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament by Sandra L. Richter and the other is The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbathby Mark Buchanan.  She says both of these made huge impacts on her.

Epic of Eden

Rest of God

(I’m currently reading The Rest of God and am highlighting paragraphs on every page as well as consulting an on-line dictionary…quite the vocab Mark has!  I’ll be writing about this eye-opening book soon.)

Regarding her quiet times, Priscilla said, “We must be in God’s Word even if we don’t understand it!  Continually search it out.  Keep placing your face before Him. Pray for understanding.”

Baby Holding Dad's Finger On Bible

Sheila said one of her all-time favorite books is by Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew. Haven’t met a book by him yet that hasn’t been well worth your time.

Jesus I Never Knew

Sheila emphasized, “Daily quiet times are so essential because one of the greatest lies the enemy spews is that God doesn’t love us, leaving us with the wound of abandonment. “

While she didn’t brag on her newest book, my buddy Liz Curtis Higgs, whom I was with at the conference, said The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are is Sheila’s best writing yet.

Storm Inside

Sheila also armed us with:  Psalm 143:8 –  “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (NIV)

I love the wording in the ESV:  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”  The study notes say, “The reminder of God’s steadfast love enables him (David and us!) to endure….The expression lift up my soul is one of deep dependence and allegiance.”

What an endearing verse to start your morning.  Thanks, Sheila!

Christine Caine mentioned two favorite books:  The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative and The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Biblical Theology for Life) both by Christopher J.H. Wright.  (These are the seminary-like-textbook ones I spoke of earlier!  True tomes.)

The Mission of God

The Message of God's People

Christine said of her daily quiet time:  “Reading the Gospel transforms us to transform others.  Getting in the Word produces fresh truths and understanding. “  She added, “We’ve got to keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Beth Moore chimed in with a great suggestion:  “Ask God to do the supernatural like He did in Luke 24, where Jesus opened the peoples’ eyes to recognize Him and to Scripture. “ (v. 31)

Beth said she frequently uses Bible software such as www.biblegateway.com , concordances and commentaries, and the book, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem.

Systematic Theology

Lisa Harper also mentioned Wayne’s book as well as books by Craig Blomberg, two of which are on my radar (loads to choose from if you checkout www.Amazon.com  or www.Christianbook.com ):

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels and Preaching the Parables: From Responsible Interpretation to Powerful Proclamation.

Historical reliability

Preaching the Parables

 Beth and Christine also mentioned www.biblehub.com and the NET Bible Reader’s Edition.  Go to:  www.bible.org to see the wealth of information you can access, which is the ministry that created the NET.

NET Bible

Praying this plethora of resources hasn’t fried your brain yet, let’s close out with pearls from Priscilla:

I’ve been blessed over the years to hear Priscilla’s Daddy, Tony Evans, speak as well as her sweet Mother, Lois Evans.  Once in Nashville, other buddies in Women’s Ministry and myself heard Priscilla and her Mother speak.  What a blessed family.  I must say, Priscilla preaches like her Daddy.  Powerful.  Very Powerful.

Priscilla Shirer

For her talk, Priscilla chose Jesus’ Mother, Mary, to teach us a few principles.  She said, “God wars for your soul.  We must stand guard against the enemy. We must not be just believers, but total trusters in Jesus Christ. We must believe He’ll be for us and will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

Priscilla took us to the book of John, chapter 2 where Jesus and His disciples and His Mother, Mary, attended a wedding in Cana.  True to a Mother’s ways, Mary pointed out to Jesus they were out of wine.

Bread And Wine For Jesus

Priscilla enlightened, “Running out is the prefix to running into Jesus.  The primary way to see Jesus is to pay attention to where He leaves us:

If we don’t move,

If we don’t run, and

If we don’t try to circumvent our circumstances.”

Big lesson for those of us “fixers” out there to be patient….Sigh…

Priscilla added, “We don’t always have to try to make sense of Jesus, much less the season we’re in.”  Isaiah 55:8 reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”

Before she closed, Priscilla gave the most powerful case for believing and trusting in God. As if in a chess match,  she began with Genesis and ended with Revelation pointing out Satan’s attacks…But with each one, she beautifully reminded us that “God had another move”…and what He did to counter Satan’s attacks, culminates in His ultimate victory in Revelation.  We all wanted to jump to our feet!

John 20:30-31 says, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (NIV)  We must believe…

Priscilla’s pep talk nearly over, she said, “Don’t allow the Cross to lose its’ power.  Redemption is yours.”  Lord, please help us remember this.

Don’t miss Priscilla’s newest book, God is Able. She takes you thru’ Ephesians 3:20-21 in the most fun and gutsy way.  You’ll shake your head and say, “Now why haven’t I seen it that way before?”  You’ll come to believe “HE. IS. ABLE.”

God is Able

Please join me next week as we wrap up Part 3 of 3 of  “Unwrap the Bible” with morsels from Christine Caine, the most enthusiastic fireball I’ve heard recently, plus Sheila Walsh, the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith.  You’ll be blessed by their messages.

‘Til next time!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Travel

Houston, We Have an Answer…Women of Faith’s Unwrap the Bible Conference Equips, Empowers and Encourages 11,000 Women!!! (Part One of Three)

“Ladies and Gentleman, this is your captain from the flight deck.  We’ve been cleared for landing in Houston.  Skies are fair, winds are light, and the local temperature is seventytwo degrees.”

Dashing off the plane, straight to our rental car, printed MapQuest in hand, (Lord have mercy on my co-piloting skills), my very brave friend hopped in the driver’s seat.  Deep breath and a sincere prayer to get us to our hotel, we were off.

Fearful Freeway Fretter that I am, you’ll be relieved to know my friend navigated those roads, dodging daredevil drivers, getting us to our hotel in no time. At one point, two lanes exited left, two lanes exited right and our one middle lane was exactly, and miraculously (!!!) where we needed to be.

Traffic jam in Los Angeles

You may be wondering how this all transpired:  My dear friend, mentor, and therapist (!!!), Liz Curtis Higgs, rang me up recently to tell me about a new, never-before-offered Women of Faith (WOF) conference.  WOF would be having five fabulous Bible teachers equip attendees to “Unwrap the Bible”.

Checkout the line-up:  Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper and Christine Caine.  Worship would be led by beautiful and super uber-talented Kari Jobe.

Liz, who is also a speaker for Women of Faith, wanted to go and support her Christian sisters and soak in the teaching for a change, being poured into, in lieu of also being on the line-up, pouring out.  After filling me in on the details, Liz said, “Would you like to go with me?”  My goodness gracious, would I ever!!!  (That was the invite of all invites, huh?!!!)

On Saturday, Liz and I found a great backdrop for a pic:

Eliz and Liz 2014

We flew down on Friday, February 21st, and back home late Saturday night the 22nd.  Our hotel was close to Lakewood Church, where the conference was held.  Eleven thousand women, plus a few brave men (including our pastor, Dave Stone and his wife, Beth) attended.

Arena

Parking was interesting.  Friday night, we wound up underground in one of the many garages.  I had to write down the color code, floor number, garage name, etc. just so we could find our way back.  Leaving a trail of bread crumbs, had we had a spare loaf (!!!) did cross our minds.

Being in the church/arena was wild.  I bet many of you have seen it on TV before.  It didn’t seem as big in real-life, altho’ eleven thousand women can make some noise!  Stop and think about 11,000 women opening God’s Word together.  Slice of Heaven…

Pictured left to right:    Victoria Osteen, Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, & Priscilla Shirer

Pictured left to right: Victoria Osteen, Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, & Priscilla Shirer

This picture was taken backstage Friday night.  Victoria opened the conference with a prayer and Beth was the first to teach.

You gotta know the bathrooms quit working Friday night due to a water main break in that area of Houston.  A  wee challenge.  (Pitiful pun intended.) Liz and I were beyond relieved to discover our hotel’s water was on and working upon our arrival that night!

Let’s get to the Bible teaching…

First up:  Beth Moore.  Each of the five teachers chose a woman from the Bible to teach on. Beth chose Hagar.  She was convinced Abraham’s wife, Sarai, must have had a case of spiritual amnesia since she orchestrated his having a child with Hagar.

Beth Moore Teaching

Beth walked us thru’ Genesis, Chapter 16, where Hagar flees after having had enough flack from Sarai, whom Beth dubs “Miss Mess”.  Hagar flees into the wilderness with her son and the Angel of the Lord finds them.  He asks her two questions we must ask ourselves in verse 8:  “Where have you come from and where are you going?”  Excellent points to ponder.

Strategic Journey

Beth further encouraged us by pointing out Hagar’s response to the Angel of the Lord.  In vs. 13, “She called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; Yes!  He saw me; and then I saw him!”  (ESV and MSG) No matter what season we’re in, God sees and hears each and every one of us.

Beth added, “There’s new grace in a new place for each and every one of us.”  Next time you wonder where you’re going, marinate on new grace in a new place…Isn’t that comforting?

One of Beth’s sweet staffers wrote an excellent post about this conference on the Living Proof blog, from February 26th.  Go to www.lproof.org and checkout the post as well as a cool pic of the church.

Next up was Lisa Harper.  She taught on “A Woman with a Disabling Spirit”, found in Luke 13: 10-17.  The woman was “so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up.  She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years.”  (MSG)

Lisa pointed out that while this woman had a physical disability, many times we are crippled or bent over with a mental one, or two, or twelve. She said, “Our view, when bent, is very limited.  We must be careful to not swallow the lies of the enemy.”

believing,trust in God, belief in the power of the lord and Jesu

Lisa pleaded with us, “Girls, Jesus does not want us to live a bent-over life.  He calls us to Him, as He did to this woman in Scripture, calling us to stand. “ We must make up our minds to stand tall and to stand firm.

Equipping us with numerous Scriptures, little did Lisa know three of them are my jump-off-the-page favorites:

2 Corinthians 1:24 – “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.” (NIV)

Ephesians 6:13-15 – “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to standStand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”  (NIV)

1 Peter 5:8-10 – “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. “ (NIV)

Lisa’s empowering lesson reminds me of a book  which could apply to all of these teachers and to all of us. (A must-read for surviving the Christian life.) When the five teachers were brought together in a panel discussion led by Sheila Walsh, they were all asked how they have their quiet time as well as which book or books have helped them along the way.  I couldn’t write fast enough.  (I’ll share their answers with you in next week’s post.)

The book which they could deftly add a sequel to, is also from a panel discussion with six courageous contributors, each with decades of experience in walking with Jesus.  The book?   Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints by John Piper and Justin Taylor.

501142_w185

The contributors?  Randy Alcorn, Jerry Bridges, John McArthur, John Piper, Helen Roseveare and Justin Taylor.  Each wrote a chapter in the book and their two-cents’ worth will blow you away.

All eleven of these great Bible teachers and writers say the same thing:  “The Lord is more precious to me the older I get.”   This was a quote from John Piper’s eighty-six year old Father.  Justin Taylor says, “One of the purposes of this book is to encourage you and equip you to truthfully write such a sentence—and mean it—in the final season of your life.”

Helen Roseveare admitted she’d like to change the subtitle of the book from “A Call for the Endurance of the Saints” to “A Call for the Perseverance of the Saints” creating the mental picture to “steadily go on, refusing to give up, no matter what comes.”

Each of the women in the Bible the WOF speakers chose do exactly this, all the while standing firm.  Join me next week  in Part 2, when we pick up with invaluable information from the girls’ panel discussion as well as pearls from Priscilla.  Part 3 will conclude with favorite quotes from Sheila and Christine, as well as tidbits from our lunch with an amazing bunch of women.  Tuck your toes under the table, as all these gals pack a punch!

Friday night’s farewell, led by Kari’s worship, had us using the flashlight app on our phones:

Arena with flashlights

Meanwhile, enjoy some fabulous music– from worship leader, Kari Jobe!  (www.karijobe.com )

‘Til next time!

4 Comments

Filed under Conferences, Friends, Travel

God Sees You When You Escape from a Monastery (Part 3 of 4: Do You Know Where God Is?)

The woefully weary minister reluctantly met with his doctor.  Guessing the doctor’s diagnosis,  his ears began shutting down.  Never mind his heart had shut down months before…

“Wayne, are you listening, buddy?”

An almost undetectable nod followed.

“This is in your best interest.  Best interest for your church.  Best interest for you and your health.  Best interest for your marriage.  Your church, can survive without you for a few months.”

“But who will take my place?  Who else knows how to run our church like me?  Who cares as much as I do?”  The all-about-me questions spewed forth like rain.

Doc answered sharply, “If you want to avoid a nervous breakdown, and you are very close to it right now, you must take a season to refill and recharge.  A sabbatical is no longer a suggestion.  This is mandatory.”

Wayne soon found himself registered for a retreat at a monastery.  As he drove up the long, winding hill, two and a half hours in the middle of nowhere, doubts hovered.  He forced himself to park his car.

bigstock-Madonna-del-Sasso-medieval-mo-26607995

He walked into the entryway.  Discovering several monks, he asked them where to register.  Funny, they didn’t answer him.  They didn’t talk at all.  Not one word.  One monk pointed to paper, the other to a map.  No talking.

Once in his cabin, Wayne also realized there were no phones, no TV, no wifi…Therefore, no checking email, no receiving texts, no voicemail, etc.  Only silence.

The monks did make some noise twice a day:  At five o’clock in the morning, they could be heard in the Chapel, singing psalms in Gregorian chants.  At five o’clock in the evening, they could be heard singing vespers.

The only time they used their voices, they were praising the Lord.  (Think about that for a minute…That very point stopped me cold.)

Day, after painful day while in the monastery, time crawled. Worse: No caffeine could be found anywhere.  By day three, Wayne’s eyes had been opened, but the pain was almost unbearable.

He was beginning to hear from God.  God was giving him a message. And he was slowly writing it down.

Yet, discontentment still gnawed at Wayne’s soul.  “If only I could escape, just for a few minutes…I’ve had enough of this place!” he told himself.

Mountains travel

Realizing the monks would be distracted while singing, Wayne made his escape during their praise time. He jumped in his car, and quickly drove to an internet café.  Ordering the biggest cup of coffee they had (!), he fired up his laptop, and placed a call to a friend.

Whispering, he informed his friend, “I’ve just escaped from the monastery!”

Can you imagine receiving such a phone call?  Can you hear God chuckling over Wayne’s efforts?

Yes, God saw Wayne escape from that monastery. And in His faithfulness, He softened Wayne’s heart, and taught him some lessons, we too, can learn.

After loading up on some of “the world” at the internet café, Wayne did in fact return to the monastery.  He finished out the week and savored the quiet.  Savored the sabbatical.  Studied God’s Word.  Filled legal pads.

Handwriting with broken pencil point on yellow pad

My husband, John, and I were blessed to hear Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, from New Hope Church in Hawaii (www.enewhope.org ), speak at the North American Christian Convention (NACC) a couple of weeks ago.  We could not take notes fast enough.  Very engaging, (the escape story was shared during his workshop) Wayne taught us how to care for our souls.

Wayne confessed to enduring “profound burnout, to the point of clinical depression.”   Years prior, he’d started a church which led to numerous church plants.  He wrote book, after book, after book.  He helped start a Bible college. He had a leadership role in every single endeavor he’d begun, squelching any ounce of free time.

He drew a huge picture of a cup.  Its’ contents were nearly at the top.  His point was, “We must be intentional about what fills our cup and what drains our cup.”

Cup with Levels

“If you keep draining your cup, physical consequences will take their toll on your body”:  an anxiety breakdown leads to an emotional breakdown which can lead to a full-blown nervous breakdown.

Wayne continued:  “Worse, these breakdowns eat up margin in our schedules.”  (Click here for more on Margins. If you want to read more from this 4-part series, click: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4)  One thing Wayne  learned to do is before he ever writes down an event or commitment on his calendar, he builds in the rests first.  MARGIN…White space in your calendar, rest notes in music, room to breathe…

 

Music sheet

 

He reminded us that God will hold us accountable for what He’s gifted us specifically to do.  It equates to five percent of your life.  He said that eighty-five percent of what you do, anybody can do.  Ten percent of what you can do, someone can do with some training.

This leaves five percent of what you, and only you can do.  Therefore, concentrate on the last five percent.  This is where the health of your soul is.  Don’t miss what God has for you.

Wayne shared several lessons he learned from his week at the monastery.  (You can hear him, or see him, depending on your preference, by going to www.catapes.com. Christian Audio Tapes is the company who made cd’s and DVD’s from the NACC.)  I’ll share three of these with you.

First was the five percent lesson.  Wayne added an exercise for us to do, suggesting we do this with our spouses.  (It can have positive results for your marriage as well.) Make a list of what fills your cup and what drains your cup.

His examples of what fills his cup are: water sports on the ocean, reading, riding horses, riding his motorcycle, and Bible study. (Let’s hope the Bible study comes before the motorcycle riding.  I’m just sayin’…) Filling vs. draining equals your passions vs. your “I-dread-this” list…

Teamwork

John and I had a hey day with this little exercise.  The next morning he scooped up our perpetual-puppy, Gracie, and said, “Gracie FILLS my cup!”  To which I retorted, “Wonderful!  Gracie DRAINS my cup!”  Get the picture from that very bad example?!!!

Remember John Piper telling us we can’t be gloomy and glorify God at the same time?  See…”God is on the Golf Course…”    Same idea.

My favorite lesson Wayne taught us is:  Refuel daily.  Be disciplined in your devotions and Bible study/reading.

He added, “By diligent daily reading, you get to know the characters in the Bible.  There’s not one scenario you’re going thru’ or will go thru’ that one of the characters in the Bible hasn’t gone thru’ already.” They’ll become your friends, divine mentors, if you will.

Divine mentor

They leave you “crumbs” to find which are the key to your sanity.   Wayne built this case beautifully and ended it with:  “If you never visit them (the characters in the Bible), how can they possibly help you?”  (Go to:  www.lifejournal.cc  for help with daily devotions.)

Hebrews 4:12 reinforces this point:  “But the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Finally, Wayne cited the second chapter of Mark,  where Jesus heals the paralyzed man.  He pointed out that the man had four friends to take him to Jesus.    Carol Kent calls these “stretcher bearers” and expounds on this concept in her compelling  book, When I Lay My Isaac Down.

When I Lay My Isaac Down

Wayne implored, “We must have friends who will take us to Jesus.” Friends who’ll take us out of harmful situations and place us in safe respites.  “No matter how sick you are, figuratively or literally, you must have friends who will care for you.  Close friends recognize your needs.”

Don’t “go it alone”…because God sees you, whether you’re escaping from a monastery (!), or just about your daily to-do’s.

Psalm 73:23 is a good reminder:  And, “yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to Pastor Wayne Cordeiro.  What a bummer to “have to” minister in Hawaii!  Kidding…Thanks for coming to Louisville and teaching us from your heart.   Thrilled you discovered fried green tomatoes!!! Your honesty and lessons you learned during the hard times are pure pearls for us to live by.  Blessings to you and your family and your ministry!)

pw

7 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Life Lessons, Margin