Monday, September 26, 2011

Information Overload

"Information overload" was what one woman said after attending the Women's Ministry Retreat this past Saturday. But she said she meant it in a positive way: "If I'm going to devote an entire Saturday to an event, leave my family at home for the day, I want as much information as possible crammed in to that one day, and that's what I got!" It was a special day and I'm thrilled with how God showed us His faithfulness. The room was packed with over 200 women -- we worshiped, we laughed, we cried, we met new people, and most of all, we were informed. Our speakers were phenomenal and the testimonies were unreal. 

The goal of the day was two-fold: (1) to establish the theology of the value of women before our Mighty God. Mary Whelchel laid down the Scripture and reminded each of us there just how precious we are to God. We can't live our life to the fullest unless we can stand on the truth that God values us and has incredible plans for our lives. We need to be rescued and God is the rescuer. And (2) to educate and inform the audience how precious women are to God all around the world, especially women who are trapped in dark places and hopeless.  Ralph Borde from As Our Own had us captivated as he told story after story of women and young girls who were rescued from the Red Light District in parts of India. His punch-you-in-the-stomach message reminded us that God is calling the Church, you and me, to be a part of the answer for these young girls trapped in human and sex trafficking. By the end of the day, the final message was this: We are to help rescue others because we ourselves have been rescued. We are all precious to God.

As much information as we did receive on Saturday, we were also given ways to respond. The idea was that everyone would be inspired to help in some way, any way. Mary reminded us that it only takes one person helping one other person to start making a difference. We introduced the Precious to Him Project and encouraged everyone to start somewhere. To learn more on these opportunities and how you can take action, visit our website

Here are some additional comments from some women who joined us:

"The retreat moved me to DO something!"

"The information I received today has inspired me to become involved."

"As someone from Ghana and not knowing anyone from TMC, I felt so warmly welcomed and overwhelmed by the sisterly love. I really needed this!"

"I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to meet other women...I least enjoyed the discomfort that the truth brought, but that's okay."

"[The retreat] was wonderfully planned...this conference is what the church should be about in this broken world. The stories were heartbreaking but also awesome in hearing what the Lord is doing in the dark places."


Monday, September 19, 2011

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...Retreat!

I'm thrilled this morning to say that we have nearly 200 women registered for our Fall Retreat this Saturday, September 24, from 8:30 to 4pm. Hopefully you know by now that our theme is "Precious to Him" and that we'll be spending the day learning about how we are precious to God and how our sisters around the world are as well. At times, I believe it will be a heavy day with discussions on human trafficking, prostitution, poverty and more. We will hear stories that will break our hearts and cause us to ask "how can this happen?" But, there will be a flip side! I believe we'll be inspired, action-oriented, unified as sisters from one church, and that God will be glorified. If you haven't yet registered, there is still time! Click here to do so.

If you feel led to do so, I'd love for you to pray with me this week as we enter the last five days leading up to Saturday. I'm desperate for God to move and rock us with His presence this weekend!

Monday: We are still very much in planning mode so today I'm asking for prayer regarding logistics. Everything from the food to the set-up to the technical things. Pray for our planning team, a group of women that are going above and beyond! Pray they would be blessed as they serve in this way and that they would manage everything else they have on their plate in addition to finalizing the details of the retreat. Praise God for such an incredible team!

Tuesday: Pray for our main speakers: Mary Whelchel and Ralph Borde. As Mary and Ralph finalize what it is they feel led to speak on, pray that the Holy Spirit would lead them. Pray their talks would come together with a powerful message meant for the audience to hear. Pray their ears would be open to the direction God wants them to go and that HE Himself would write their messages! Pray for the many other things they have going on this week and that they wouldn't be distracted by details and schedules. Pray they would meet with and hear from God!

Wednesday: This is the last day to register so pray for those who are considering if they should come or not. Pray that God would provide the means and open their schedules if there is something keeping them from registering. And pray for the nearly 200 women who already are registered! Pray God would be working in their hearts even now as He prepares them to hear from our speakers, interact with small group members, meet new friends, and worship. Pray that those who attend this retreat wouldn't leave unchanged. Pray for boldness and obedience from those who feel called to make a move because of what they hear on Saturday. Ask God that we would understand just how precious we are to Him and the value He has for our sisters all around the world.

Thursday: Pray for the organizations that will be presenting or represented at the retreat: As Our Own, Traffick Free, New Life Covenant Church, Hope for Kids, Caris, and Set Free Ministries. Pray for those presenting as they prepare this week. Pray that the presentations would be well communicated and inspiring. Pray that God would be glorified through the work that each organization does day in and day out. Pray against evil and spiritual attacks on each organization and their staff as they address the darkness and fight a difficult fight. Also pray for Tim and Heidi Stafford who will be leading us in worship. Pray God would be glorified through their leadership and that they would feel His presence.

Friday: One of the initial reasons we decided to plan a one-day retreat was to provide a chance for all women from our church to get to know one another and learn from each other. Pray the retreat will be an opportunity to do just that! Pray we'd embrace one another and our differences, pray we'll overcome our shyness or worry that we won't be accepted by one another. Pray for new and lasting friendships. Pray the body of Christ would be seen as many women from many different back groups with many different stories come together for the same purpose. Pray God would help us to see that we are more alike than different!

Saturday: Pray for your own heart today. If you're attending, pray you'd be open to what it is God wants you to hear and see. Pray for repentance as you understand we sin and stray from God each day. Pray you'd see God's mercies today and praise Him for His unending grace. Ask God how He can use you and make yourself available to Him, to whatever it is He might have for you. Pray you'd meet someone new and begin a new friendship. Pray God would be glorified through you, no matter what the cost. Pray for a heart of worship that would be freed from distractions and details that you'll leave at home. Pray for a broken heart.

Thank you, sweet sisters, for your prayers. I believe God will hear and honor our prayers and meet us on Saturday. I look forward to seeing you there!

With love,