Saturday, April 3, 2010

Proclamation 2010 - in review

I've been promising a post on our ladies retreat from a few weeks ago... and, now that the week has slowed down a bit - here we go!

Our speaker this year was Mrs. Judie Colyer who heads up the women's ministries over at Ankeny Free Church. Not to mention...she's the lead pastors wife. A teeny, tiny little 5-foot something that was contagiously filled with zeal for evangelism! I loved every word. And, though I scribbled down every thing I could as fast as I could... I still don't think I could give the event a just review. There was just SO much to take in! It was sweet!

God was at work...and still is, in the hearts of His women. We've already heard stories of Him moving and changing lives. Here's a quick one to share that happened at the event. (Talk about FAST work, Lord!)

Opening night of the event as ladies were arriving at the hotel, so were hundreds (?) of Rotary Club members. They had the conference room next door to our event and had their own thing going on. We shared the same hallway and dividing wall. This posed a problem several times... obvious congestion around our registration table, busier bathrooms, etc. But one of the REAL biggies was their request that our music team not the music interrupted their meetings. Oh how annoying this was! Afterall, we had paid just as much as they to use our room - and, the hotel knew in advance we had a worship time planned...why would they put us so close together?! Long story short - God worked. We went ahead and delayed our music time, etc. Later that night (er...the next morning!?) one of the "Rotars" (as I started calling them...) approached some of our ladies and mentioned how beautiful the music was. Then her eyes filled with tears and right then and there - despite the frustration and crowded hallways...the ladies had a chance to share Christ! Isn't that just amazing?! And the thing is... now we knew exactly WHY we were right there so close... didn't we?! Kind of reminds me of the ONE LAMB that was lost... Jesus cared. {sigh...good stuff}

One of the questions Judie posed to us was - "Do we ask God, where can you use me?". Truth be told He can use anyone anywhere. We heard several testimonies of ladies who led neighbors, coworkers, you name it... to Christ, simply because they had God this question. And they all started out by showing an interest in a person, being in contact, and praying in advance. Here are some questions you can think about today:
-Am I burdened for those leaving this earth?
-What do I want my life to stand for?
-Have I shown someone Jesus?
-Who is in my sphere of influence?
-What would it take in your life to motivate you to talk of Jesus?
-What is standing in the way of proclaming Him?

As Judie asked us these questions prior to our quiet time - my heart was so convicted and challenged. I live on a street of lost people. The beer-bottle littered yards aren't my first clue to that! And I pray for opportunities...but, then, when one should arise all of the sudden I feel super uncomfortable - or - the conditions aren't such that I feel like it should be ME doing the talking. I've even found myself slipping in doors as quick as possible to avoid an awkward meeting. TO MY SHAME! And I could easily come up with a ba-jillion excuses... "well, I have a young child to look after" or "I am a pastors wife - people put up defenses right away when they hear that"... the list goes on. Truth is - I've gotten caught up in longing for comfort rather then longing to see souls saved - and, ladies...that's a slippery slope! No wonder I've been battling with discontent, pride and a feeling of uselessness! Because for so long I've made everything all about me! {gag}

On the last day we each wrote down a name on our note pads of someone who was in our "Sphere of influence" that we could start to pray for. I chose Vanessa. She's my next door neighbor that has two kiddos. She's unmarried and living with her guy (and at least 9 other random people in that house), doesn't work so she's home all day totally open to just chatting. She is someone I want to pursue this year. Who is yours? Maybe a cashier at a market you go to a lot? A Librarian? Post master? Sibling?

Another part of our weekend was looking at "Types of women in churches now". Let's see if anyone can relate to any of these.
-Fat & Full : These ladies are always in bible studies, always taking things in, but rarely go outside of the church bible study arena.
-Church Mice Syndrome : These ladies are afraid of the world, and avoid the lost.
-Swampy & Stagnant : Need a FRESH look at God. Possibly bored.
-Play Girls : worldly/Godly balance. Celebrity obsessed... etc.

Do you fall into any of those categories? I do. And, I'm currently seeking God to change that. I want to be a woman who seeks the Lord...shares what I learn... and is open to opportunities.

Lots of good things to think about. I'm still processing myself. As I close, let me share some resources with you - that Judie shared with us. They have all been instrumental in Ankeny Free's ministry and I'm sure they could be in yours (and mine!) too.
Check out the links on each of these...
One to One Study Guide - a tool to be used just as it says, "One to one".

One Heartbeat Away (Mark Cahill) - This book reaches both genders and discusses, as it says, "Your journey into Eternity".
*All of these "tools" were referenced to us in the retreat packet given by Judie and our Women's min leaders.


Amy@My Front Porch said...

Ugh...I don't like how much of ME I see in the descriptions of those church ladies...

Tiffany said...

Ooh, I just soaked this up. Thank you. The woman I am trying to reach is my neighbor Angie. I am really looking forward to actually living at home this summer, as she does a lot of outside work when it is warm. Will you pray with me? I will pray for you.

Mandolin said...

Amy, I hear you... totally.
Tiffany, YES!