Friday, May 09, 2008

Spring Conference 08

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things that had kept me busy over the last month was preparing for a Women's Spring Conference at our church. The conference was such a blessing and the ladies of our church have amazed me by their sweet words of encouragement.

The conference title was "Running the Race" and our guest speaker, Luann, did an amazing job bringing us a word from the Lord.

Our theme verse was Hebrews 12:1-2. I have been reading and re-reading it over and over all week. The Lord won't let me move away from it. I know there is so much for me to learn.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

I keep going back to "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely" In my study bible the "weight" is referred to anything, even those things that bring us joy and that are good that will keep us from running the race with endurance. It is so easy to be distracted and "weighted" down by good things and miss what really matters.
In the first session, "The Race to Freedom ~ Priorities", Luann shared the words of Jesus from John 17:4;
I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
The words, "You have given Me to do" spoke so powerfully to me. Often times my priority list is a compilation of what everyone else is wanting me to do, hoping I will do, what others expect me to do, or probably mostly what I perceive others want me to do, rather than a list that has been compiled because I have first inquired of the Lord. And yes, even in the midst of our everyday lives of housework, mothering, working, caring for our husbands, and the many things we face, God has given us work to do and finish. But first, our eyes must be fixed on Jesus.
In the second session, "The Race of the Faithful ~ Servanthood", Luann compared our self-righteous service versus true service. Sadly, as she layed out the comparison I found my own service much more on the self-righteous side. For example, self-righteous service is impressed with "big deal", while True service doesn't distinguish small from large service. It welcomes all opportunities. It is God initiated. It is God focused. It is God glorified. The world and it's influences had in- filtered my service, not only in the church, but also in my home and towards the ones God has placed before me to serve. I found myself quietly repenting before the Lord. Much of what we do as wives and moms goes un- noticed by others. No one hands me a bonus at the end of the year. We are rarely praised for what we do. If anything, our roles have been greatly de-valued and we are left to think there must be something more. As I sit here finishing up this post I have four loads of laundry to fold, two bathrooms that need to be cleaned, and a family room that needs to be vacuumed and there is no guarantee that anyone will even notice what I have done.
In the final session, "The Race to Victory ~ The Crucified Life", Luann led us down the pathway to victory. But it's not what you think. Victory only comes through the cross. The cross is painful. The three points which spoke so personally to me and those which I have recently experienced in the Race to Victory were:
  • Abandon your own will and agenda Matt. 26:39
  • It requires intense times of aloneness with God Matt. 26:36-40
  • There will be times your dignity is forfeited Matt. 27:27-28

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20 NJK

Thank you to all the wonderful women who made this conference so very special. And yes, the cute polka-dot high heels were displayed on our tables and filled with sweet goodies.

(all conference photos courtesy of Heth)


Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

The conference sounds wonderful!

Thank you for sharing, and just being who you blesses me, just to know you're out there :)

melanie said...

Thank you for all you poured into making it happen. The Lord certainly moved, how incredible He is!

Mocha with Linda said...

I loved reading about the conference. Much to mull over and contemplate. Very convicting, especially about the big and small. All He wants is for us to be faithful in whatever He gives us to do. I need to tattoo that on my heart!

Anonymous said...

Chris thank you so much for this, especially those three points at the end. Thank you.

Cyndi said...

What a wonderful conference! Thank you for posting such powerful truths. Lots to think about!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great conference! Thanks Chris for perservering. Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Lisa Spence said...

Sounds like a wonderful, God-full weekend--thanks for sharing the truths you learned!