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Why is it that the majority of bios of women of faith start out at as follows:

Susie Q is a wife of 17 years, a mother of two young women, a talented speaker and author…

Now to be fair, there are some who start their bios as follows: Betty, a nationally recognized speaker and award winning writer travels to various churches and organizations across the country delivering messages of freedom to women. (sorry that’s not very creative, I didn’t want to “rip off” someone’s actual bio…)

My question is, if one of the greatest struggles for women of faith is finding their identity in Christ and not the roles they play, the mistakes of their past, etc., shouldn’t the female leaders of this time pave the way in identifying themselves as such? It might seem like a nitpicky thing, but I wonder, what if I showed up at a conference, read an author’s bio or heard a woman introduced as: Lindsey is a woman of faith that loves her God above all else and is grateful to be counted as a chosen child. She has been blessed with… (you decide if you want your work credentials, personal credentials, athletic accomplishments, etc. to follow that)? What if that is how we began to identify ourselves? I think that might make a difference…

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illuminate

we had our very first women’s ministry illuminate summer challenge meeting this past weekend and it was wonderful! what is illuminate you might ask?

this summer the women’s ministry of my church is challenging each woman to be a part of a team that will memorize portions of psalm 119 together. we are gathering in homes memorizing the Word of God, sharing what the Lord is teaching us through memorizing and building some life-changing relationships.

to say that i am excited to see what the Lord is going to do in us and through us is an understatement!

this past week i prepared and shared a small devotional with the women to kick-off our meetings and in a sense lay the foundation. here’s the short version:

in january 2008 we had an unexpected loss in my family. my uncle, who was in his 60s passed away from a massive heart attack. it was one of those incidents in life that left you with your jaw down, almost emotionless because it just couldn’t be true. but unfortunately it was. it was in this time that through a rather supernatural occurrence, psalm 119:89 came to surface in the midst of our mourning.

the scripture reads: Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

the first time i read and heard this verse i figured if God’s Word is eternal and stands firm in the heavens, then what the Bible tells us about heaven is true. and if what the Bible tells us about heaven is true, i should be jealous of my uncle as he would be in the presence of glory, rejoicing, singing and dancing at the feet of our Savior, never to experience any kind of pain again.

and while i think that is true, while preparing for our first illuminate meeting, the Lord revealed a few more things.

psalm 119 is all about God’s Word, His law, His precepts, His statutes. virtually every verse refers back to God’s Word, declaring what it does – it purifies, it testifies, it stands firm in the heavens, it directs – i could go on…

when we look at john 1:1-5 we see:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

many of us know, the Word became flesh and it was Jesus! this is the beauty of psalm 119, it is such a reflection of our Lord. He ws there before creation, He is eternal. we learn so much about our Savior and His character and who He is from reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on His Word, for He is the Word.

oh how powerful that is! so this summer we are challenged to revere this Holy Word in such a way that we never have before. to soak it in, to believe it with an unwavering faith, to anticipate a purification like we’ve never known, to have an understanding of our God that only comes from knowing His Word.

this will be a powerful summer and none of us will end it as we started.

i think this is one of the very rare times when i happen to be at my computer and the desire to blog has crept up on me…

so i’m sitting in my kitchen, at the breakfast bar right now. on sunday we will have a meeting with the leaders of our women’s ministry summer challenge. to say i am excited for this endeavor is an understatement, this is my heart beat, women’s ministry that is.

the crazy thing is, i’m going to cast the vision at this meeting. i’ve never been a vision caster and i never really understood (still kinda don’t) what people really meant when they would say things like, “we have to get the people on board and cast the vision.” granted, when i first heard statements like this i was the grunt worker (paying my dues as every entry-level professional should) at a rather large PR agency (a fabulous agency might i add) and it was always the guy with the ideas but who had NO IDEA how to execute them that would cast this “vision.”

so you can imagine when i began following after God and serving Him in ministry and people brought up vision i rolled my eyes in true drama queen fashion. now i’m the person i would roll my eyes at, God has a sense of humor!

but i kinda get it now. part of vision casting is communicating the overall goal to people. to help show them how each piece fits into the much larger picture. who knew my PR background would come in so handy – oh right, God did! and that’s just the thing, as i sit here in my kitchen, reading over the vision He gave us leaders, i am in awe that i am a part of this.

who am i that i get to serve my God in this way? truly, without my Savior, i am nothing, my heart is ugly, i’m detestable. and yet, He calls me His child. i am a daughter of the Most High God. so i pray, that the Almighty God will be pleased with the vision and desire we have for His women’s ministry (i know, it’s kinda strange to write that considering He birthed the vision in us). i am in awe of Him and that He could use a wretch like me. may we be hidden behind His cross this summer as He draws His women unto Him!

wow! it has been an incredible week and if i tried to blog about it all it would take forever. on wednesday night this past week, the choir at my church, chicago tabernacle, choirled the founder’s week audience in worship before billy kim preached a compelling and convicting message. i could blog all about his message and how incredible it was but instead, i want to talk about my dear roommate and spiritual sister.

i have no idea what it is like to be a mom, but after this week, i can’t even imagine what it must be like. shelly (my roommate) is an incredible woman of God, but this past wednesday, she took it to the next level – or should I say, the Lord took her to the next level. and I’ve been ridiculously proud to say “that’s my roommate!” (cause it is all about me, right? totally kidding!)

anyway, anyone who knows her knows what a prayer warrior she is, and that is an understatement. she knows her God, and knows Him well. and when she prays you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord is listening.

well, she’s the same way on her guitar. she doesn’t play just to play. she plays to bring God glory, to worship Him and usher others into His presence. it’s never about her, it’s all about Him. and wednesday night that is exactly what she did. people have been complimenting her on her skills and telling her how great she was, and she consistently sends the praise back to the Lord.

I’ve never been so aware of how blessed i am to have this woman of God as my roommate. and going through this experience with her, having the privilege of seeing the hard work, prayer and diligence that went into preparing for that night, i can’t help but wonder if this how a mom feels when she sees her child work hard and “succeed” (not that she’s a child, but just that kind of love and adoration that i imagine is synonymous with being a mom). shelly “succeeded” wednesday night, but not because she played well, she succeeded because she was all about God and nothing less. she was focused on using her skills to glorify the King of Kings, to worship Him as best she could despite any distractions, the size of the audience or the magnitude of the event.

i hope and pray that every woman i know has the privilege of having a shelly in her life and i hope one day, when i grow up, i will be like her. i am so blessed to know her.

I’m finding myself in a season where I’m serving in capacities I never dreamed of. And the reason I never dreamed of them is because they were never on my radar. I just never considered them as areas in which I wanted to serve and never considered them as they require traits that I do not possess.

Like most people, I like to strive for excellence in each job or task I am given, but especially if it is in ministry. Well, in my current areas of service I’ve never felt so inadequate or incapable of reaching excellence. These ministries require someone with a softer heart than mine, a patience level much greater than the one I possess and a humbleness that I although I thought I possessed it, I’ve realized I don’t! Talk about a Holy TKO (total knock out for those of you that don’t know, and might I admit that I had no idea what that meant until a dear friend informed me).

And yet, today I heard the most wonderful quote, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.”

AMEN!

tonight was the last night of our six (technically seven) week bible study, “discerning the voice of God” by priscilla shirer. it was a wonderful evening with beautiful worship, fellowship and heartfelt sharing. i can’t believe how fast these six weeks went, it just flew by. there was this one woman in particular who came every monday night. when we began the study she was pretty shy and quiet and really intimidated. so much so, she almost stopped coming after the first night. but she pushed through that first week and kept coming. she even got to church almost an hour early every monday so she wouldn’t get stuck in traffic! all i can say about her is that last night you could see the joy of the Lord on her face. she persevered and God blessed her with joy and peace. she shared with me that even her family has been noticing the change in her. stories like hers are the reason we serve as the Lord commands. i am so humbled, overwhelmed and blessed all at once that the Lord would allow me to be part of such a beautiful story.

this is a pic of mandy and shelly preparing for worship. these ladies have been so faithful! every week they would lead us into the presence of the Lord. it was wonderful!

afterwards a few of us headed to noli’s for pizza. we were all super hungry! noli’s has pretty much the only good ny style pizza in the city. still not quite ny, but definitely super close! that pie was on the table for maybe two seconds when the ladies dug in – hilarious, women and pizza, don’t mess!

tonight was the most incredible night! it was the first evening of the women’s bible study at my church, chicago tabernacle. last fall i presented a proposal to my senior pastor’s wife about conducting a bible study for the women of our church. the Lord had laid out a plan in my head and i put it on paper. i met with her again earlier this year and we agreed the time to start it would be after the easter season. this was also the meeting in which i discovered i would be leading this adventure (not the actual teachings, i know my limits! that’s why we are doing priscilla shirer’s study, discerning the voice of God).

so i got to work praying for the study, planning the evenings in my head, and asking for God to show me the facilitators He would like to use. it seemed like out of nowhere, today was here!

i thought for sure i was believing God for big things by planning to have 40 chairs set-up in the fellowship hall (we are not a very big church), but sure enough, our God who loves to show-off brought close to 50 women! hallelujah!

all these women are so excited and hungry to hear God’s voice and learn more about him. one woman came up to me and said:

“you know that part in the DVD when Priscilla said she likes to study and learn more about God when she has a quiet moment? well that just spoke so loudly to me. whenever i have a down moment i like to put my feet up, it never occurred to me to spend that time with the Lord. and that’s what i want, a more intimate relationship with God!”

praise the Lord! i am so excited for this study and how God is going to move among the the women of our church. the Lord’s timing truly is perfect and the women are so ready for this. they are hungry for God’s Word, eager to learn and eager to hear the voice of the Lord. i am so humbled that God would let me witness this adventure. all i can do is sing His praises!

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i heart stage crew! these are the awesome team members i spent the past two weekends serving with. they all deserve some serious blessings for living with my voice in their ears for two weekends in a row!

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after this weekend, pia is thinking, “seriously, i’m going to summit what with this girl?”

this is where i will be this weekend, at my church serving in the backstage crew. i’ll try to get a pic of the crew in all black with our headsets and all. we might be a small church but man, God doesn’t care. He always seems to move in mighty ways and i am so blessed to be a part of it! there really is no better way to honor Easter weekend then to serve our Savior’s kingdom

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hoping to get a climb in before i have to be at church – haha!

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