Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Womens Retreat: Security, Signifigance and an igniting of passion

What a weekend. What an amazing time.

I am going to try to capture what we spoke about here…because it doesn’t just apply to the women that were on the retreat but to every woman that God created and loves…which is all of us. And because it’s a good reminder to those that have already heard it.

Over the weekend we had different women share. Below I've broken the themes into sections though the topics and themes run throughout them all of the speakers and I’m not sure how to give credit to each properly. The theme for the weekend was “Ignite”. We wanted to see hearts ignited for God and lives ignited for a passionate calling in Him.

Please note that these are my notes from the weekend, and then my thoughts added to them. I have taken the heart of their messages and mixed them with my own interpretation.

We invited our dear friend Janelle to speak for the weekend. Her heart for Jesus makes me want to know Him more…she draws a picture of His love that worth chasing after. On top of that we had women from our church join in the speaking; Claudia F & Leah Lim spoke, then Saturday morning we had three of our paid staff ministers share on where they find their passion and drive for God (Carole E, Ereka G & Lyndsay K). And we had Irene C close the weekend. It was a perfect mix of Janelle and our ladies.

The weekend started off in John, chapter 17.
"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began”.

We need to be reminded first that God delights in His daughters. God wants to say to us just how much He really, truly delights in us. What a reminder this is to us women; we have such a hard time believing that someone would delight in us. But this is how God feels about us.

When you look at women being ignited for Christ, when you look at women living lives that fulfill their calling it can be broken into two major but simple parts:

1. Love Jesus. 2. Love others.
1. Love Jesus. 2. Obey Him.

Either way, when you boil it down we are called to love God and love others. That is what the Great Commandment is all about!

Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus, love of our soul

It is first all about Him, Jesus, not us. It’s about Him in us. When we look at passion in this light we see Christ’s longing for the people He created. To have all of those who were given to Him. His goal was intimacy with His people; to be fully known and to know fully. This is an intimacy that is borrowed from Heaven, from the Trinity. The joy and intimacy that they experienced amongst themselves was brought to earth for us to taste in. This is Christ’s longing – to be intimate with his people. The idea of intimacy in marriage is borrowed from this heavenly relationship.

The idea is that in the light of this perfect love, this perfect intimacy, there is eternal life. This is something worth living forever for – and if you can experience this intimacy with Christ you’ll never burn out. If you can experience this passion, knowing God, you’ll never grow bored. You can never grow out of the love of Christ. This is eternal life – to know and love God and to be known and loved in return. This is what the outcome of passion looks like: God reigning perfectly and us in relationship with Him.

One of the songs we sung this weekend had these lyrics:
“This is my success. To love you and be loved by you"

This is the only thing worth living for.

It kept coming back to the basics – the most important thing is loving Jesus. We were reminded of a saying pastor Greg uses often, that “the quality of our lives reflect the quality of our relationship with God”. The spiritual disciplines exist for us to love and know Jesus. This affect the rest of our life…we minister out of the overflow of that relationship! We need to know Him. We need to long for Him. This is our eternal purpose and destiny. We get to look at Him for all eternity!

Ephesians 1:17 is Paul’s prayer for the people of Ephesus “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

And part of knowing Him better is worshiping and praising Him for who He is. And the scriptures are an amazing tool for that. In our day and age we don’t always have the words, or know how to gush our love to God…but we have the scriptures to help us. For example, on the weekend we looked at Psalms 95 & 96: 1-7. We prayed them to the Lord. We can pick scripture like this and use it help us reach out to Christ – because it can be daunting to try and engage with Him in this way without some help!

Here I am Lord send me, Here I am Lord I’ll go

Then comes the outpouring of that love relationship; obedience to the call on our hearts. We first meet with God and then second, meet with others in relationship. Time with God and time with people is the key to passion, is the answer to security and significance and is what God created us for.

Carole described Passion as pain for the things that are not and must be. She described it as a groaning of a spirit for things to be right. God’s heart hurts for His children. He created them, He loves them and His heart is with them. When we fall in love with Jesus and see His heart, we join Him in that hurt, with hope. Often it is out of suffering we find God because He is there already, with His beloved children. And while there is hurt and sacrifice in this place there is also intimacy and power.

When we come to a place of seeing God’s heart for His loved ones, and catching a vision of something that excites our hearts, that is passion. Passion is dictionary described as boundless enthusiasm, zeal, fervor & adoration. I love that adoration is in there – because when we learn to adore Christ, zeal, enthusiasm and fervor for His Children comes naturally!

When you’re close to God’s heart, you catch His passion. Passion comes out of a love relationship with Christ. He generally doesn’t always show us the big picture; but enough to ignite something inside of us. He is smart enough to know that the whole plan would overwhelm us and that we aren’t ready for it, but He draws us in through relationship and leads us into something so exciting.

As we step out then to actively obey His command to love His children we can tell we are in the right avenues of this when what you’re doing isn’t a burden but a joy and when you’re willing to give anything, any cost for the people you’re serving. These are great key indicators of serving in the area that Christ as called you. Because He cares about all of his children – where there are lost people, there His heart is. John 3:16 is a very well quoted verse and reminds us that God cares about the “who so ever”. So as we serve who so ever….God is there. That is obedience to His call.

We must care and act. Jesus died for people…for persons, not a cause. Our job is to seek and save that which is lost. The verse that is quote above is not the great “suggestion” it’s the great commandment. It’s the call on all of us. Daughters rise up to the call you’ve been given.

It is said again in Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."”

It is very obvious that out of our relationship with Christ we are sent to those He loves that do not know him.

What dulls passion?

So why don’t we always do this? What dulls our passion? There are a few things: blindness to the truth, sin and our diet: what we feed our spirit. It is so important that we are aware of what we intake into our hearts and minds. We can see this in what pours of our mouths and what our actions look like.

Demons have attack contracts out against us – they slowly and surely steal away from us and lull us. They work to steal our call. So what if we chose to say no to these attacks? We must look at what we intake. Proverbs 4:23 -25 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Phillipians 4:8 repeats the same sentiment: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

You can’t be filled with both the world and zeal for God. What we feed our spirit is important. It is up to us to monitor the junk we pour into ourselves, and to find a diet in healthy, life giving things.

What fuels our passion?

If we can determine what steals our passion, then what fuels it? Two things: Prayer for the world and obeying the word. So first we must join in prayer with the Lord. Intimacy & significance come in that place. We must learn about the world and what God cares about. Next He calls us to mission. He is calling us to engage actively with the people He cares about. Where is our heart? There we must act. This is an invitation to join something much bigger than ourselves. We will find His presence in engaging in the world.

Where is God’s heart right now? With us and on us.

Recap of the Number one thing: We must have a correct perspective of Christ. We must know Him and have a vibrant relationship with him: an all consuming love for Christ. Then from the overflow of that knowledge and relationship comes the next part. And this next part is KEY for women. Seriously.

If Jesus is who the bible says He is then we must have a clear identity. We must know our identity in Him. The bible states that we have a Divine Occupation: to know Christ with our whole selves and love our neighbors as ourselves. To fulfill these things we must believe that we are loved and desired by God – you are worth being loved – you were formed in His image – He knows EVERYTHING about you and yet He adores you –He is fascinated by you. He likes us all day long. This is hard for women to believe….to truly believe in our hearts. BUT THIS IS OUR IDENTITY.

If Christ is all we say He is, if we are truly created in His image, and if the bible says we are secure in Him, then it is blasphemy for us not to believe this. It is sin to push this truth aside. This is what we need to walk in.

Should I repeat that? Because that is….yeah…

If Christ is all we say He is, if we are truly created in His image, and if the bible says we are secure in Him, then it is blasphemy for us not to believe this. It is sin to push this truth aside. This is what we need to walk in.

It was a lot easier when we just called it insecurity and didn’t put it in that light, eh?

We must know who He says we are to avoid burn out…and more than that we must know who He says we are to experience joy evermore! When we stay connected in the reality of Him and us in Him worry fades and joy comes.

Passion comes through being in relationship with God. He is always with us. He is for us. In Christ we are a diamond. The root word for diamond is unbreakable. It is only breakable by another diamond, too true, eh women? Interestingly, when a diamond is cut properly, it reflects light. Without this it does not contain light, but when used properly it reflects light. This is our privilege.

Because of our security in Him we get to be authentic. And this is such an important piece of who we are! There are a lot of fake diamonds out there. Find truth and live authentically – then we will shine brightly. We are highly valued by our King. So we find passion in these basics and we respond to his invitation. When it is hard to remember these truths ask yourselves, 1. What are you made of? And 2. Who made you?

In Revelation 4&5, specifically 4:8 it says that “you have made us kings and priests forever”. We are priests with Christ – we get to be Intercessors and pray on the behalf of others….we get to enter into joyful agreement with God. Our prophetic identity is to rule and reign with Christ. We may as well get this truth now, get this joy now, get this security now…why wait until later, in heaven when it is more obvious. We get to experience the joy here and now.

There is a revival heart being birthed in women to make sure everyone knows the truth of God. It is our time to act.

Janelle reminded us of the Methodist circuit riders from the early days of the United States. Wikipedia explains rather boringly that: “Circuit rider is a popular term referring to clergy in the earliest years of the United States who were assigned to travel around specific geographic territories to minister to settlers and organize congregations.”

Methodist Circuit Rider.
Couldn't really relate.
So I tried to find a female version

Female yes....kind of silly, yes also.

Much better.

Janelle expanded on this saying that these riders were so fired us to go out and travel to remote locations to share the news of God that they would often have to tie themselves to their horses because during their travels they would become so sick or tired from the travel that they would otherwise fall of their horses. Their passion to spread the news of God was all consuming.

The Lord is saying, “Women riders arise, it’s time to ride”. It is our time to spread the word. And the word is simple, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand and be baptized

This is a time for women and for the younger generations to rise up. For this to happen we must know Jesus and who we are in Him. It matters right now and in the coming future. The Lord is looking for women who say “yes” to the things He puts in front of them. The enemy has tried to keep women down but we cannot afford to believe the lies of the enemy any longer. He is not worth it! But Jesus is.

One of the biggest passions of my heart is to see women walk in freedom and truth. I hate to see people bogged down by the lies that entangle us. HATE. It infuriates me to see people believing lies about themselves…and I am just as guilty of this as the next person! And I cannot stand the fact that he could lie to me and derail me from the calling that God has for my life. Oh man, to think I fall for his crap!

But women…we don’t have to. Can we stand in the truth of who Christ has made us to be? Can we remind each other of these truths? Can we tell our friends when they are believing lies about ourselves? Can we choose in our hearts to remind ourselves of truth?

Let us stand as women wholly loved by Christ, eternally secure in His love and sacrifice and willing to go and be the change that this world needs!

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