Tag Archives: One Thousand Gifts

God is in the Delivery Business…(Part 1 of 4: Do You Know Where God Is?)

Crunch time…

After months, and months, and months of planning, Monday, July 8th finally arrived.  Hundreds of people would soon be setting up exhibit booths, stages, wiring mics, speakers, more setting up of chairs, tables, workshops rooms, and meeting speakers at the airport, etc.  Most downtown hotels would be scrambling, checking in several thousand attendees.

My responsibility for this first day was meeting a furniture delivery guy for our twenty-by-twenty foot exhibit booth.  As Murphy’s Law would have it, I was running late.  Rushing downtown.  (Major oxymoron.)

Driving in downtown Louisville is not in my comfort zone.  Murphy’s Law resumed and I missed the street I needed, taking me way out of my way.  My cell phone chirped as I hit yet another red light.  Sigh…

Red Traffic Light

Thankfully it was the furniture company and they were just loading up the truck.  That bought me time to get in the parking garage.

Quickly I snagged a parking place and dashed thru’ the pedway.  It was a mere four hundred degrees, akin to a tubular glass oven, thanks to our heat and humidity.  Finally I found our exhibit booth in the abyss of the convention center.

Hurrying-while-frazzled in horrific heat-n-humidity makes for ugly results.  Trust me on that one.  Oh, but I was on a mission to find out if anyone would be on hand to help unload the furniture.

Only girls were manning our booth, so I prayed we’d find some helpful, strong soul along the way.  Lo and behold, in bright, neon green shirts, there was an army of God’s angels.  Well, they were guys with the words, “NACC Volunteers” on the back of their neon green shirts, but one in the same for this frantic female!

I reported the good news to Allison, my “furniture friend”.  Thankfully, the day continued to improve.  Her furniture delivery guy found the loading dock and “God’s angels” proceeded to help unload the furniture.  We had it in our booth in no time.

God has a sense of humor, too.

 Follow me with these connections:

I was blessed to talk with Bruce, who happened to be our furniture delivery guy that day.  I introduced him to my friend, our Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Judy Russell.  Bruce  had heard her husband, Bob, speak before.  (www.bobrussell.org)  He excitedly shared with her how Bob had truly blessed his life.

bobrussell

Next Bruce and I talked about the owners of Summer Classics, my friend Allison and her family.  Summer Classics is where Bruce works.  This amazing furniture store generously allowed us to borrow some of their beautiful things for our booth. (www.summerclassics.com ) Bruce said, “You have no idea what a difference it makes to work for Christians.”

Summer Classics

Allison and her family attend Northeast Christian Church.  Their senior minister is Bob Cherry.  His wife, Vicki Cherry, was also on our Committee.  (www.necchurch.org )

After about our third trip of unloading, Bruce asked, “What is all this for, anyway?”

I said, “Oh, we’re setting up for the North American Christian Convention.”  I told him about the speakers, the expected crowd, the theme “Victorious”, etc.  (www.gotonacc.org )

He said, “Oh my gosh!  I had no idea!  I am coming to this very convention!

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Can you hear heavenly laughter?  Is God in the details, or what? Friends, God is in the delivery business!!!

He delivered Christian delivery men with our furniture.  And, a message many of us need to hear:  God seemed to be sayin’, “Elizabeth, I’ve got this one…”

The  exact same phrase was uttered by my dear friend and mentor, Liz Curtis Higgs two days later.  I’d emailed her on Wednesday morning asking her to pray Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, in to Louisville.  Ann’s flight was due to arrive at the same time severe storms were predicted.

One Thousand Gifts

Additionally, another one of our speakers, Nancy Sleeth, would be driving in from Lexington at that same stormy hour.   Liz said, “I’m praying and will be praying, but rest assured, God’s got this.”  Okay, Lord, I’m listening…

Almost Amish Sleeth

Never mind that this very same week, Liz Curtis Higgs’ most excellent blog was on Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Her message sums it all up:  Fret not…Hello? (www.lizcurtishiggs.com )

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Pictured from left to right: Nancy Sleeth, Judy Russell and Ann Voskamp

God continued to cover us the entire week.  Our women’s luncheon sold out in advance for the first time.  We served eight hundred and fifty women on Thursday.  We were beyond blessed by Ann Voskamp’s message.

A couple of favorite quotes include:

“When you let something steal your joy, you let that something steal your strength.”

 “Joy is a function of gratitude and gratitude is a function of perspective.”

 “The answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ.”  Yes, I’m listening!!!  Are you?

Ann’s blog is another resource you do not want to miss:  www.aholyexperience.com

The next morning, at our minister’s wives’ breakfast (which also sold out), we were blessed to hear Nancy and Matthew Sleeth’s message.  They coached us on how to simplify our lives and savor the Sabbath.  (www.blessedearth.org )  Their message paralleled Ann’s.  One quote in particular stopped my heart:

“The more we simplify, the greater our joy will be.  And the more we give up, the greater our blessings will be.”

Count your blessings.  Wield your pen (your “sword” as Ann said).  See if your attitude doesn’t change for the better.

God kept on blessing:  workshops filled, evening sessions were packed out.  Countless individuals were filled to overflowing.  IF you missed the NACC, you can go to their website to order copies of various sessions.

So the next time you’re on the frazzled side, STOP.  “Fret not!” Remember, “God’s got this.”

God is Sovereign and we must remember to scoot over to the passenger seat and let Him drive.

Yes, God is in the delivery business!

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to our “furniture friends”, Allison, Bruce, and Fred at Summer Classics. Your alls’ generosity made us “look good” for the whole week!  You went above and beyond given this week is Homearama too!  For you readers out there near Louisville, run, don’t walk to Westport Village and visit Summer Classics.  My husband, John, will tell you it’s been a “bad” discovery for our wallets!  Wink.)

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The North American Christian Convention is HAPPENIN’ in Lousiville THIS WEEK!!!

Here’s just one more reminder to head downtown to the Commonwealth Convention Center if you are anywhere near Louisville, Kentucky this week!  The North American Christian Convention (NACC) begins this Tuesday night, July 9th and runs until noon on Friday, July 12th.

There are multiple sessions with phenomenal speakers/authors/preachers.  You can find the schedule by going to www.gotonacc.org

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The theme of the NACC is “Victorious”.  No telling what the Lord has in store for all of us!  I plan on taking lots of notes and will be sharing some pearls with you in the near future!  Neat exhibit booths will be plentiful as well.

Don’t miss this opportunity! Here’s a sampling of the keynote speakers and workshop leaders:  Matt Proctor, Jon Weece, Kyle Idleman, Aaron Brockett, Eric Metaxas, Wayne Cordeiro, Ken Davis, Joni Erikson Tada, Kurt and Kristen Sauder, Nancy and Matthew Sleeth, Les and Leslie Parrott, and Ann Voskamp, just to name a few.

I am blessed to be helping with some of the Women’s Ministry portion of the program.  The offerings for women alone are outstanding.  We have our sweet friend, Judy Russell, to thank for this.  She has thought of every single detail (and then some) to make your experience more than worthwhile!  Come see us at the Women’s Ministry booth.  It will be right next to the Registration Desk.

Judy and Eliz

There are only a few tickets left for the Women’s Luncheon with Ann Voskamp (www.aholyexperience.com) as our featured speaker on Thursday, July 11th.  Ann will also be leading a workshop on blogging following the luncheon!

One Thousand Gifts

Another spectacular offering is for breakfast on Friday, July 12th  at  7:30 a.m.  BOTH Matthew and Nancy Sleeth will be speaking. (www.blessedearth.org )

Almost Amish Sleeth

24-6 Sleeth

Last I heard over eight thousand people had registered, and that was over a month ago.  You do not want to miss this convention!

Please keep this week’s event in your prayers, down to the last detail.  Please pray for attendees, for health, for the speakers, for the volunteers, for all details to flow smoothly, and most of all, for God to be glorified in every event and every conversation.

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to my very devoted friend who has a huge heart for Women’s Ministry, Judy Russell.  She said a few years ago she would not chair this part of the convention again, and here she is!!!  I believe it’s because the Lord gifted her for this and she knows what it takes.  She makes our heads spin…and she makes things happen.  Blessings and thanks go to you, Sweet Judy!  God Bless You!)

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Is It Possible to Have Lunch with Ann Voskamp and Breakfast with Matthew and Nancy Sleeth?

Yes, yes, and yes to LOADS of opportunities to meet and hear incredibly gifted authors and preachers at the North American Christian Convention (NACC), from July 9th to the 12th, right here in Louisville, Kentucky! (www.gotonacc.org)  ‘Tis time to get this on your calendar!

The Women’s Ministry portion of the convention has two exceptional offers which include the opportunity to hear Ann Voskamp speak at the Ladies’ Luncheon on  Thursday, July 11th, from 12:00-1:15 p.m.  Ann is the author of the best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts—A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  (A  must-read for us all.)

One Thousand Gifts

I was blessed recently to trek downtown with my sweet friend, Judy Russell, to taste what we’ll be having at the luncheon.  You will be delighted in so many ways, not to mention the piece de resistance, the chocolate mousse cake! Chocolate and more chocolate!!! (Hey, I’m not beyond bribing!!!) Add to that the chance to hear Ann speak and you have a win-win scenario.

I also had the pleasure, this past March, to meet Ann at a conference where she and Liz Curtis Higgs were speaking in Minneapolis, MN.  (to read more, click on….Magnificent Manifesto in Minneapolis…)  She is a profound and sincere speaker.  She was written up recently in Christianity Today for being one of the fifty most influential Christian Women in the country!

Ann Eliz and Judy

Believe it or not, our other speaker, Nancy Sleeth, was also one of the top fifty most influential Christian Women in the same article!  Nancy’s newest book, Almost Amish–One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Lifeis delightful.  She spoke at our Book Club last fall and was incredibly encouraging.  You’ll get the opportunity to have breakfast with her on Friday, July 12th.  It begins at 7:30 a.m.

Almost Amish Sleeth

To add further intrigue to that early morning breakfast (We must have incentive to rise so early, huh?!!!), Nancy’s husband, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, will also speak.  He, too, has a new book out (Quite the inspirational pair, aren’t they???), 24/6—A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life. The first chapter will hook you while the entire book enlightens and inspires you to cherish and savor the Sabbath.

24-6 Sleeth

Matthew and Nancy will be speaking on “A Simple Plan that Simply Works.”  You do not want to miss this opportunity!  Look at their company, Blessed Earth, and you can see where their hearts are. (www.blessedearth.org )

Judy and I were also blessed to get to taste our menu for the breakfast (Well someone must take the time to make sure you won’t be disappointed!!!) and it, too, will be delicious!  The breakfast will get your day off to a great start coupled with fantastic teaching and information from the Sleeths.

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Both events, the luncheon and breakfast, are ticketed events.  You can purchase tickets via the North American Christian Convention’s website:  www.gotonacc.org

Please join me and several others at these highly inspirational events. Incredible workshops will also be offered.  Checkout the program line-up on the NACC website.   You will be BEYOND blessed.

The convention’s theme this year is VICTORIOUS:  When Life Seems Hopeless, Read the End of the Story—The Message of Revelation.  Meanwhile, please pray for all of these speakers, all of the details to come together, etc.  Pray for the attendees whose lives will be changed because of the Gospel.  VICTORIOUS!!!

See YOU in July!!!

‘Til next time!

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Magnificent Manifesto in Minneapolis: Liz Curtis Higgs and Ann Voskamp GUARD THE GOSPEL with GUSTO!!!

“Trust!  Trust?  Trust.”  Note the punctuation.  Note the progression.  Can we trust, period?

“Trust” was the theme of a phenomenal women’s conference I attended last weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It was a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming kind of weekend.

My dear friend and mentor, Judy Russell, and I flew up on the same flights, on Dear Ol’ Delta, with our friends, Liz and Bill Higgs, for a two-day conference called  “Set Apart” , held at Northwestern College. Flying into a completely snow-covered landscape was a first for me.  Beautiful!

Judy and Eliz

Impressive from beginning to end, this thirty-one-year-old conference (!) was well organized, offered exceptional keynote speakers :  Liz Curtis Higgs and Ann Voskamp, included eighteen different workshop options, plus a fun lunch option each day (where Liz and Ann were  interviewed while we ate), and the list goes on and on, on a gorgeous campus.   (Checkout www.setapartconference.com )

Path at Northwestern

campus photo

Judy and I took several workshops in between lunch and the keynote addresses.  Each workshop instructor was unique in his or her own way.  They clearly loved the Lord and desired God’s best for us, sharing applicable lessons for us to take home and put to use on a plethora of topics.  Fascinating! (Our brains got quite a workout!)

Before we get to the keynotes, let me show you an “every day grace”, like we talked about last week, that’s blossomed one hundred fold.  (Click here to see more about every day graces.)  Last year Liz and Ann were both invited to join Women of Faith.  They were asked to attend a team meeting for training and planning.  Both gals admitted to feeling intimidated upon arrival.  Instantly, they crossed paths and an every day grace was born.

Their  sisters-in-Christ connection was evident throughout the lunch-time interviews.  Attendees got a glimpse of how Lizzie has taken Ann under her wing and how they both juggle life just like you and I do.  Can you get over how God brought the two of them together at this conference after orchestrating  their meeting last year?

Soon you may see the two of them reciting from the Book of Romans on Ann’s blog.  Liz has taken the plunge to join the Romans Project, memorizing three different chapters in Romans.  Go to www.aholyexperience.com to learn more!

Now, for the keynotes:  Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts spoke on two topics:  The Fear Buster that Breaks You Free and Breathe and Leap.  She kicked off each morning following beautiful worship, Friday and Saturday.  I couldn’t take notes fast enough.  A palpable hush came over the room while Ann taught, taking you deeper and deeper into God’s Word and His truths.

Ann Voskamp Teaching

Ann addressed overcoming our fears, suggesting we name at least one we’re currently dealing with. She implored:  “We must take it to God, turn it over to God,  and release it to God.  We cannot feel fear and be thankful at the same time.  Whatever you fear is your god…”

Ann is a very powerful teacher.  She shared some of her own fears, including some of the rough places she’s endured. She admitted to having a clenched fist toward God as a young girl.

She confessed anger toward Him after witnessing the death of her younger sister, after having an ulcer at the young age of seven, all the while still struggling with agoraphobia.  We found ourselves thinking, “Wow, if she can overcome and is still overcoming these challenges, maybe I could too…”

One Thousand Gifts

Ann added, “Jesus gave the greatest courage in the lowest of places.  Humility births courage.”

Let these quotes of Ann’s sink in for a minute:

(1)     “God takes you out of your comfort zone because that’s where you meet The Comforter.”

(2)     “The stability of your world depends on your willingness to praise God.”

At the end of her first talk, she had us pray with our hands open, palms up toward God…therefore unclinching our fearful fists.

Pic of Prayer Time

Her second talk empowered us to “leap” after conquering our fears.   Summarizing, she added, “The answer to our anxiety is the adoration of Christ.  Nothing can overwhelm you like His grace can overtake you.”

Ann and Liz signed books for hundreds of girls off and on throughout both days, always gracious with each individual, intently listening and always hugging.  How they stayed “on” for us all is amazing.

Ann Eliz and Judy

After workshops, lunch and more workshops, Lizzie took the stage, Friday and Saturday.  While you’d think we’d be nearly napping because of a long day, au contraire.  Napping with Lizzie?  NOT an option!

Her two messages were:  “Trusting a  God Who Forgives” and “Trusting a God Who Redeems”.

Liz Teaching

Liz rocked the house.  She’s a master at staying in tune with her audience.  We’d laugh one minute, cry the next.  Then cry from laughing!

Judy and I sat up close one day and pretty far in the back the next.  We could see Lizzie’s engaging facial expressions up close, which are priceless,  but in the back, we loved hearing the uproar of laughter. Sounded more like four thousand women, than one thousand!

While Liz can be funny, she will stop at nothing to teach God’s Word with diligence, excellence and tear-filled passion.  She proclaimed she’d never “gloss over the Gospel”.  She said, “I will NOT change the Gospel and I will NOT clean it up!”  Let’s just all JUMP to our feet on that one!

The audience had the opportunity to study thru’ the Book of Ruth with Liz.  Her thorough research and offerings of different versions of the Bible are eye-opening.  Several times you could tell the audience was stunned, and Liz would say, “Well, look!  It’s right there in the Bible!”  Contagious  enthusiasm.

Liz and Eliz at book table

Friday we studied thru’ Chapter One of Ruth.  Because attendees could either attend one day or both, Liz caught the ones up on Saturday who’d not been there Friday by doing a tidbit of her “Righteous Ruth Rap”.  (Do NOT miss this! You can watch this hysterical rendition of the entire Book of Ruth on YouTube. It’s four funny  minutes!)

Paralleling Boaz to Christ, Liz taught us more and more about Christ, our Redeemer.  What Boaz did for Ruth, Christ does for us.  Beautiful, amazing grace lessons.

Liz also shared her incredible testimony.  She showed us how God can and will use anyone.  She pointed out that Boaz’ Mother was Rahab the Harlot…She said, “Rahab was called into the Kingdom of God.  She didn’t fall into it.  God loves to use broken people.”  To which we all breathed a sigh of relief!

Liz’ book, The Girl’s Still Got It—Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World, is what her talk was largely based on. I can tell you from experience this book works really well as a Bible study to do with friends in small groups or large ones.  The accompanying video is powerful teaching by Liz while she takes you thru’ chapter by chapter in the Book of Ruth.

The Girls still got it

One of my favorite quotes in Liz’ book about enduring trials and trusting is:  “It helps to remember that hard times are purposeful, meant to refine and redirect us.”

Liz also taught us about the Hebrew word, “Shubh”, which means “to return, go back, turn back”.  Twelve times it’s used in the first Chapter.  Can we absorb this? Can we follow this?  Will we turn back?

Read how Ruth was redeemed.  Naomi turned back to her God, who became Ruth’s God, who already was Boaz’ God.  May we ALL have the wisdom to turn back to God.

Liz says, “God is the only one who can redeem us from our past and guarantee our future.”

Liz also has an excellent blog you can find by going to her website:  www.lizcurtishiggs.com  She’s currently blogging about the Women of Easter.

Let’s look at that progression  again:  “Trust!  Trust?  Trust.”

Let’s heed these wonderful teachings from Ann’s and Liz’ experiences and words of truth from God’s Word.  YOU can trust the Lord.  He is Sovereign over all.

 Everything!  Everything?  Everything.

Finally, let’s close with a very exciting FYI:  Liz and Ann are both speaking in Louisville in our near future!  Liz will be with Women of Joy at Freedom Hall April 5-7. (Go to:http://womenofjoy.org for details).  Ann will be the speaker at the Women’s Luncheon during the North American Christian Convention and will teach workshops on blogging, all on Thursday, July 11th.  (Go to www.gotonacc.org for ticket information.)

‘Til  next time!

Group Photo w Ann and Liz

(This post is dedicated to my most fun travel partners of the weekend:  Judy Russell, and Bill and Liz Higgs.  Judy gets the “most- efficient-packer -of -the -century “ award!  She drove us around Minneapolis like it was the back of her hand.  We stopped wherever we delighted to take pictures.  She indulged me for a chocolate stop. Or  two.  We “dared” to take the tunnel at Northwestern.  We walked the steps in Nazareth Hall, one for every book of the Bible.  Well, of the Old Testament.  We loved our time we got to grab with Lizzie.  While exhausted, Liz still came up to our room for a fun visit Friday night.  We could have talked the night away, but Lizzie said she was “about to fold up like a card table”, so we sent her on her way before Bill came after us! Thanks, too, to Bill who checked on us throughout the conference while juggling Liz’ book table.  He’s the quintessential multi-tasker and is forever patient with us giggly, ga-ga- girls.  A good time was had by all.  Thank you, Sweet Lord.)

Pic of Stairs w-book of bible

 

 

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