Monday, November 18, 2013

YOULead & LPL; What a Weekend!

There are experiences in life we just want to savor forever; such was the weekend of November 7th-November 9th.  Actually, the experience began months before.  After helping my friend Susan call and promote the Beth Moore event to area churches, we and several women from our church (Edgewater Alliance) attended the LPL rally in April put on by LifeWay.

The rally was held at the First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach.  Betsy Langmade from LifeWay was there to lead the event.  She heads up event planning for LifeWay (hope I have your job description correct Betsy!), a very beautiful and godly woman.  The entire room was filled that day with women excited about what God would do in Daytona Beach. We were thrilled to welcome Beth Moore to the Ocean Center in November.  Many of us have felt like a part of her family for years; we've done her Bible studies, attended live events and simulcasts, and follow her on Twitter.  We know she loves her husband Keith, her daughters, grandkids, and most of all Jesus.  She teaches God's truth, the same truth that brought her up from the pit.  I read her book "Get Out of that Pit" at a time I felt I was in it.  I can't tell you what those words meant to me during a time in my life when I realized I was not in control of my circumstances (thanks for your prayers too mom!).  Then dark turned to light as He worked all things together for my good.

So back to the rally.  It was a fun event and designed to bless us and pump us up to tell others about the Living Proof Live event, as well as the YOULead leadership conference for Women's Ministry leaders.  Our Women's Ministry Director (who happens to be my friend Lisa), and I decided we would attend YOULead. Then a most amazing and unexpected opportunity was presented at the rally.  We were given cards listing volunteer positions available at the LPL event.  One of these opportunities was to sign-up to be an "Encourager" which I had to read over twice to be sure I was reading it correctly.  It was amazing to me that I could sign-up to be down on the floor, able to pray with women who would come forward when Beth gave the altar call.  Say what?  I was all over that!  I signed up.

Several weeks prior to the event, I received two major blessings of which I must give God the glory.  Months before the event, Susan encouraged me to enter my information as a Ministry Assistant since LifeWay would be giving away free tickets to some of us who serve in that role.  We both entered our info, and we both received a free ticket to the Beth Moore LPL event.  Woot!! And not only that, but we would be sitting in a special section close to the stage, especially reserved for Ministry Assistants.  Thank you Tammy Slayton, LifeWay Event Project Coordinator, what a major blessing!  Great seats :) It was wonderful sitting with you and spending time with you Susan Parry!

A short time later, I received the confirmation email that I would be serving as an Encourager.  I was so ready for this event to happen!  I must say awesome job to Dana Baggett who I'm sure was blessed to hear two words: SOLD OUT.  She rallied her teams to achieve the goal of filling every seat with women hungry for God.  Mission Accomplished.  One step closer to the Great Commission accomplished.

On November 7th, Lisa and I attended the educational YOULead conference, Day 1.  We registered, then had a delicious shrimp and pear salad at Bubba Gumps prior to returning for the first general session at 1pm.  Here is a pic of our lunch (and me. I wish Lisa was in it!):
Day 1 of YOULead was wonderful.  After the general session including worship, we attended break-out sessions learning about personalities and ways each type could best be utilized in ministry. That was "Embracing the Real You...Empowering Others" led by Sheila West; she's great!  I'm a Retriever-Otter by the way.  There were many break-out sessions to choose from; the other I chose on Day 1 was "Ministering to Women in Crisis" led by Rachel Lovingood. I loved her and she was good!  Very funny; she reminded me of my current supervisor Cheryl, our Church Administrator, love her too!

Day 2 began early.  Worship & devotional with Kaye Hurta (awesome) and again we were off to another session. A favorite was a study of "Generations...The Unbroken Chain: Ministry Through the Ages" very interesting. Thank you Chris Adams!  I can see why you are a leader equipping leaders.

The conference ended around 2pm. (Again, a big THANK YOU to Chris Adams and her wonderful teaching team who blessed us big-time).

After conference #1 ended, Lisa and I sat and chatted with some friends from Church at the Beach. So great spending time with all of them, as they painted their nails "Lincoln Park After Dark."  Had a blast spending time with you Lisa Engel!

Then I was off to check-in at a hotel around 3:15pm, since conference #2,  LPL, was to begin that Friday evening.  It would end late, then resume early on Saturday morning so staying in the area was a smart move.  Friday afternoon at 4:15pm, I was back at the Ocean Center in the Encourager training session.  The very sweet trainer (I believe her name was Susan), "encouraged" the "Encouragers" as she laid out the expectations for the role.  Doors opened at 5:30pm, and the excitement continued into the night with Travis Cottrell and his worship team, and an anointed teaching from Beth Moore.

Back to the hotel Friday night to stay with friend Betty.   We had a lovely chat, mostly about our beautiful grandchildren.  Then bed, sleep, up at 6:00am to be back at the Ocean Center by 6:55am.  Our role as Encourager also included greeting women warmly and helping them find their church's reserved seating.

As the morning went on, the time drew near for the main role of the Encouragers.  Beth called women forward to accept Christ, recommit their lives to Christ, and any who were in need of prayer.
Praying with those women meant more than I could even describe in words.  Since I sat in the Ministry Assistants seating area (and not the area designated for Encouragers), I was on the side of the stage where the stairs were situated.  So while going to that end of the stage in the middle of the arena, I was smack dab in the center of where the women came to pray with Beth.  The prayer time was awesome, and I was in the midst of it all with Jesus and Beth Moore (she would want me to note that I am not in any way putting them on the same level.  Jesus is Jesus and He is the One and Only). 

I forgot to mention CHRISTINE CAINE was in attendance.  Love her!  I read her book "Undaunted" and it was an amazing read, very inspiring.  I must say, another highlight for me was when I walked up to her and told her how I loved her book, and how amazing it is, what God is doing through the A21 Campaign.  I'm sure she thought me crazy, but I seemed to have been a little braver wearing that pink LifeWay Women apron.  I also follow Proverbs 31 and there was a call to prayer for the A21 Campaign.  So many captives being freed from bondage, praise God!

Speaking of prayer, all those prayers at the conference:  Beth praying over us; Angela Cottrell's praying over mothers still raising children; Christine Caine's praying over women 25 and under, the next generation being raised up to serve a Might God; Holy Spirit Powerful prayers.  Then the precious chaplain who came down from the stands to pray; a man to pray over the women, many of which have been battling with issues regarding relationships with men and who have suffered abuse by men.  Very powerful, very compassionate, very heartfelt, very anointed. 

27 Bones; we learned that the hand of God clothed in flesh on the person of Jesus Christ has 27 bones, we have 27 bones in each hand too.  No more "high 5's", it's now known as "high 27's"!  So many gifts from that hand of Jesus.  Ten major points made (almost left with only nine till the crowd began chanting "ten, ten, ten,...").  I'm sure LifeWay will turn the teaching into a Bible study like they did with Sacred Secrets.  If they don't, they should. I'd buy it.

Sorry to ramble, and I realize that this post is different than some of my others.  I want to give Glory to God for all He had done that weekend; I want to thank Him for allowing me to be used by Him to minister to hurting women.  I want to thank Him for allowing me to humbly serve sisters-in-Christ and serve beside sisters-in-Christ.  AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!

I wanted to record this experience on my blog, well,  because I can.  I wanted to record it so when I do the next revised edition of blog2print, I'll have this record, along with the pics in book form.  Yes, so mainly it's for me and my Lord, but thanks for taking a moment to read it.  I'm not sure I'll even proof this one, which is a major stretch for me!  Not sure anyone is out there reading it anyway besides the eight lovleys who follow me.  This will auto-feed to FaithVillage as well, so shout out to anyone who might see it there!  

Here are some pics for the record.  The first one is of Dana Baggett (in orange) and her team with Beth:

That's me on the left, Jenny Kenerly(Pastor's wife Church at the Beach) center, and Christine Baird :)

 This beautiful gal is Betsy from LifeWay.  What a lovely person and she did an amazing job!!

The Ocean Center will never be the same, and neither will the women who attended Beth Moore Living Proof Live.  So many lives changed forever during this very divine appointment.  To God Be The Glory :)  May you know Him, love Him, serve Him, share Him with the world, Jesus the One and Only.

You make all things work together for my good.....  Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This is True

Dressing for a friend’s party, it was time for the finishing touch; a charming heart necklace with a tiny diamond in the center to add just the right amount of sparkle.  I carefully hunted through rotating hooks in my jewelry box, only to find this treasured necklace had become entangled in a mangled mess of knotted chains.  

I was so determined to wear it, I sat for a good 20 minutes with a pair of tweezers, gently tugging, prodding, and yanking to break it free.  Frustrated and cross-eyed, I finally gave up.  
Has this ever happened to you?
Let’s face it; we’ve all felt like my tangled mess of necklaces at one time or another.  Tangled messes can happen in our relationships, our finances, our unwillingness to forgive, our not-so-great decisions, our failures,...

Satan delights in his attempts to devour our confidence in Christ. He schemes up stumbling blocks to entangle us in a mess of chains, keeping us bound in defeat, as he tries to distract us from our true purpose. Christ IN US, the hope of glory means we could do some serious damage shining beacons in cavernous spaces void of light. The enemy works day and night against us. His dark whispers into our weakness drudge up sin and shame from our past; he makes us want to scream “I’m not who I used to be! I’m changed!” He deceives, tries to break us, tells us we’re invisible, insignificant, that our life has no meaning and we will never make a difference, not. even. one. tiny. difference.

Don't fall prey to the trap.  Instead fall on knees and pray.  Resist the devil, and he will flee; God's promise to us in His Word. We have the victory in Christ.  Insignificant, invisible, defeated? It’s not true.    

This is true:
"Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
                                                                                                                    2 Corinthians 12:10 

"Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces."                                                                                                        Exodus 15:6
"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth."                                                                     Exodus 9:16

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”                                               Luke 10:19

 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.                                                                              Philippians 1:6

“But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, He has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume.”                                                                                                   2 Corinthians 2:14 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”                                                                        Galatians 5:1

Life can get messy when we try to untangle our own chains, because truth be told, we can’t. Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has made us free. 

  Share a specific time when the Lord has brought you through a tangled mess?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Are You Ready To Swing at that Curve Ball?

Life can throw us some unexpected curve-balls, ever been there?  Should we swing, or are we afraid of striking out?  Is it really a curve-ball, or part of a bigger plan?  A funny thing happens when we swing at a curve ball...

After a banking career spanning almost thirty years, I was no longer a banker.  It's tough peeling away a layer of identity you've lived more than half a lifetime.  A season of transition had begun. 

If you've ever gone from two incomes to one sooner than planned, you know things can get a bit tight.  The fifteen month hiatus at home was a welcomed change, but it was time to venture back into the world of  the gainfully employed.  June would be the target month to return to work, and since it was only January, five months seemed like a long way off.  No sweat, right?

When May rolled around, I had not yet found a position.  Truth be told, I hadn't been searching all that hard.  I prayed, I waited. I prayed, I waited.  I guess I was praying and waiting for God to reveal this new job by way of "running into it" head-on.  It's true, praying is the most important thing one can do in a situation such as this; except I think God knew I was dragging my feet a little...ok, a lot.  A funny thing happens when you do nothing; nothing happens.

Now you might call it procrastination, but I like to call it "works well under-pressure."  Perhaps you've seen that quote going around facebook: "I do my best house-cleaning in the 20 minutes before the guests arrive."  That's me.  I trusted God, yet I struggled to push-back fear and doubt.  Did I truly believe God was working all things together for my good or not?  Where was my faith?  

I concluded I was setting myself up for disappointment, having attached an extensive laundry list of requirements to my prayer for the perfect job.  Satan loved whispering in my ear "why don't you ask for the moon while you're at it."  Still, I asked.  His word says we have not, because we ask not.

My prayer went something like this:

"Father God,
 I've been praying for a job by June, and I know You know it's mid-May.  Lord, if it be Your will, could you please work it out for me to find a job with no weekends; no holidays; no Fridays please, since I volunteer at Grace House on Fridays; no nights; nothing in retail or sales; preferably in ministry; not too far from home; nothing in my former career; not requiring me to go "door-to-door" with my resume, or go through interviews that would lead to rejections.  Oh and Lord, could you please work it out for Brian to be on board with this position as well?  Also, could you please reveal this job to me by June?  Only if June is your timing, because I know Your timing is perfect.  Lord, forgive me, I don't want to seem demanding; I know You are the God of the impossible, and these requests may describe a job that doesn't even exist.  I trust You Lord, with whatever you bless me with and wherever you send me.  I know You already have the perfect job chosen for me.  Thank you Lord.  In Jesus' Name, Amen."

At that point, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray not to be double-minded.  I shouldn't be praying without truly believing that He could and would answer.

A funny thing happens when you step out in faith; you step out in faith.  At first I hesitated to tell anyone I was looking for a job.  Pride reared its ugly head.  I had to get over myself and ask for prayer.

A funny thing happens when you ask for prayer; people pray.  My prayer-warrior-preacher-mom was praying; my sister Karen was praying; friends were praying; and the two lovely gals in my LTG (Life Transformation Group) Jamie and Kristin were praying.  Jamie is the Children's Ministry Director, and Kristin served on the Worship Team.

Fast-forward to late May.  Remember that "five-months, no sweat?"  Seems Ms. double-minded Doris began to sweat a little.  Back on my knees asking for forgiveness for that one, again.

Praying on the morning of Wednesday, May 23rd, a call came through on my cell.  It was Jamie's sweet voice calling with an important message; a message from God:

     "Hi Doris, have you got a minute?  I have some news for you, a job opportunity you might
be interested at the church..."

She proceeded to share with me the details of the position (with a bit of a chuckle I might add, since she had "inside info" namely, my prayer request):

   "Church office; Administrative Assistant; Monday through Thursday 9am-4pm.  Oh, and no  Fridays; the office is closed on Fridays..."  

Say what??  Stunned.  I remember hanging up and laughing hysterically.  Jesus and I had a little party going on.  Mind you, I hadn't even been "offered" the job as of yet, but really, it had to be mine.  Pretty Unbelievable huh?  No, very believable.  Nothing, no thing, is impossible with God.

Oh, it gets better...

I met with Pastor Dave and Cheryl, our Church Administrator, on May 29th.  I think they knew about my prayer request, so no pressure.  Can you guess the date Pastor Dave called and offered me the position?  May 31st.  Employment by June, check!

Now how's that for answered prayer?  If you go back and check my "laundry-list" you'll see He missed not one thing.  I made up a job description, and He led me to it.  It was by no accident I was in an LTG with Jamie.  God had set all that up well in advance.

You know these promises are for you too, right?  If you are praying and waiting, pray BIG.  PRAY BIG and WAIT.  Ask others to PRAY BIG with you.  Expect a miracle.  When it comes, share it.  There is someone out there who needs to hear it.

A funny thing happens when you swing at a curve-ball; God will make it a grand-slam.

                   "For with God, nothing will be impossible."  Luke 1:37 (NKJV)