Rest & Retreat Event, Part 1 of 2

 

The Women’s Ministry Council ended our 2017 year meeting in a new location.  CareNet Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast has opened up their new facility as hosts for the WMC meetings in 2018.  This is a blessing for us, and an answer to prayer.  We are so excited about this partnership and to be able to bring our leaders through the doors of CareNet and see how they serve the women in our community.

We were also blessed to be joined by Rozanne Brown of CareBag and Kenya Reinhard from 4Kids Treasure Coast, as guest speakers.

CareBag is a non-profit organization that serves the homeless in the Treasure Coast, as well as helping those transitioning from homelessness into housing.  What WMC loves about Carebag is not only that they are serving the least of these in our area, but it’s not just about giving them provisions but helping to restore dignity.   CareBag is currently fundraising for a mobile shower truck, that would be made available to our “neighbors without walls”.  Being about to shower isn’t just about being clean, but also about lifting up one’s mood.  Who doesn’t feel better after a good shower?  In addition, it allows these residents of our community to be presentable for job interviews as they try to stabilize their lives.  Please visit CareBag’s site to learn more about how you can help with the fundraising project, volunteer when CareBag serves out in the field, or other ways you can support the good work being done in our community.

Partner with CareBag as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Follow CareBag’s Facebook Page for any immediate needs that can be met.
  • Host a collection drive for supplies that can go into CareBag’s that are delivered to the community.
  • Hold a fundraiser at your next Women’s Ministry event toward the Mobile Shower Unit.
  • Talk with your Pastor about financially supporting CareBag.
  • Volunteer in the community with CareBag as a ministry team.

4Kids Treasure Coast serves our foster community by connecting children with foster parents, support for those who are fostering, and those who move from fostering to adoption.  As they partner with churches, they are also able to create a network of support within the church as families open their homes to foster children.  Frankly, we need more Foster Families in the Treasure Coast.  4Kids is raising awareness on how we can all support this need.  You can become a Foster Family, donate toward building and equipping Foster Homes and Facilities, and also by supporting the Foster Families in your church (or encouraging more families to consider fostering).  For more information on becoming a Foster Family, or how to introduce fostering to your church… please visit 4Kids Treasure Coast’s site.

Partner with 4Kids Treasure Coast as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Volunteering at the 4Kids offices stuffing information folders, mailers, and general needs.
  • Host a collection drive for items that foster children/families may need.
  • Fundraise toward the costs of building and equipping 4Kids Homes.
  • Create a stack of prayer cards for 4Kids to pass on to the children, foster parents.
  • Become a liaison in your church coordinating support for your foster family needs.  What a great position to add to your Women’s Ministry Team!

We’d like to thank Kregel Publications for donating copies of Letitia Suk’s book, Getaways with God, for our drawing prizes.  

Tomorrow, Tuesday, come back to the site for a recap on the remained of our “Rest & Retreat” event and information on how you too could win a copy of Getaways with God!

getaway

Leading Well Starts With My Character

Screenshot-2017-11-6 InstagramWhat does it mean to be a leader?  If leadership is directly related to our character, then we can begin to dig through the Word and learn what God has to say about leadership characteristics.

We are going to begin to explore those characteristics over the rest of 2017.  That seems HUGE but remember, 2017 is almost over.  Plus, we will still have our regular contributors Jenny Andrews and Aimee Nelson providing leadership devotionals.  Sheila Thomas and Trish Jones will also continue to contribute to our teaching from the Word.  Make sure to like our page on Facebook so that you can keep track of new posts.

Introducing the LeadHer Conference!

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There’d Be Days Like This {Trish Jones}

 

Hope

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

in the light of His glory and grace.”

(Helen H. Lemmel, 1922)

Weary. Troubled. Dark. Directionless. Trapped. Tired.

Just…tired. Ever felt that way? Perhaps you feel that way now.

The news is never light and uplifting, but in the past few weeks it has been unrelentingly oppressive and even horrifying. It seems like half the United States has been on fire and the other half under water. South of us. islands have been swept into utter darkness and devastation by record winds and waves. Flooding in South Asia has killed over 1,400 with tens of thousands more left to scratch for existence in muck and mire. Earthquakes, landslides and sinkholes in recent weeks have killed hundreds, including children, and cause us to step lightly on the earth beneath our feet, fearful lest it shift and swallow us whole.

Meanwhile, people are walking into schools, businesses and stores brandishing guns and knives with death and destruction as their purpose. A madman in North Korea seems intent on plunging the world into nuclear war. Multitudes are losing belongings, transportation, shelter and even their lives as they struggle through the wreckage caused by “natural” disasters, while multitudes more are attempting to determine their gender by their own choice rather than their genetic makeup.

Depressed yet?

It’s certainly easy to be. And yet, into this maelstrom of current events that seem to be ushering the world toward what Jesus referred to as “the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8) prayers the Apostle Paul wrote for ancient believers in Rome stand true today – because the God to whom Paul prayed is faithful and immutable.

As we survey the state of the world in which we live – and struggle with very real fears and anxieties about what that world may hold in the near future for us and those whom we love, let us true believers – followers of “the Way” – be strengthened by the God Who has the whole world in His hands.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hopeMay the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Romans 15:4-6)

These are words rich and deep with meaning – and can be so very easy to skip over without really apprehending what they mean in our lives. But I invite you – as you read this and any other portion of Scripture – to always be asking the rather blunt question: “so what?” Or, “and what exactly does this have to do with my life?”

A quick side trip: don’t ever ask when reading the Bible, “what does this mean to me?” Now, follow me here because this is going to sound a bit harsh – but it makes no difference what any passage of Scripture “means” to you – or me. We are not free to privately interpret the Word of God (2 Peter 1:20). The truest question we can ask is “what does this mean, period?” In other words, “what did God mean when He said this?”

Look again at what the Holy Spirit is saying through Paul:

  • God-breathed Scripture (see 2 Timothy 3:16) was given for our instruction
  • Scripture provides both endurance (cheerful patience, continuance, constancy) and encouragement (comfort, consolation, solace)
  • Those qualities of the written Word result in hope (confident expectation, faith)

Why do the Scriptures provide for us such needed strengths and encouragements in the midst of dark, fearful and troubling times?

Because the God Who spoke those words through His servant Paul was speaking from His own character. Note in verse six that he is “the God of endurance and encouragement.” Not just any “little g god,” but the God. God is enduring, patient, constant. God is encouragement, comfort, consolation, solace.

And what’s the result of all this? What’s the “so what” that impacts our lives daily, hourly, as we walk – frequently stumbling – through difficult times? We do so together, in harmony with other believers. We are not lone ranger Christians, but part of a faith family, part of the Body of Christ – and in that harmony, we glorify God – which is our highest purpose and greatest good.

Ah, but that’s not all. The Holy Spirit continues through Paul:

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. .

(Romans 15:13)

What is God revealing about His very essence here? He is the God of hope. Hope is part of His being, one of His character traits. The original Koine Greek of this verse is even stronger. Read this verse from an academic Greek-to-English translation:

Now the God of the hope fill you with every joy and hope in the sphere

of believing, resulting in your super-abounding in the sphere of the hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Romans 15:13, Wuest)

Again: not just any “little g god,” but the God. And, not just any type of amorphous, fuzzy, wishful-thinking, “gee, I hope it happens” kind of hope – but the hope, the confident certainty of God Himself, accompanied by (it gets even better!) – joy!

Not necessarily “happiness” – our personal circumstances can sometimes result in deep emotions of sorrow, anxiety, even depression. But joy can be our constant state of being because it is God’s own joy; His calm delight, His gladness, His exceeding and eternal joy.

That’s the “so what” of Paul’s prayer here and his declaration of another part of God’s attributes. What difference does it make to us, as believers? How rich do you want to be? What difference does it make in our frequently difficult lives to be filled, by the power of the Holy Spirit, with all joy and peace (now there’s a precious commodity!) and confidence (hope) – not only in our present circumstances, no matter what they may be, but in our future?

Paul closes out this section of his letter to the church at Rome with a blessing and benediction, that is equally applicable to us today:

May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

(Romans 15:33)

It will sound familiar by now: He is the God of the peace – and He is with all of His children – at all times, in all circumstances.

As the winds howled and the rains blew sideways. As roofs ripped and trees twisted and power flickered and died. As branches blew through unprotected windows and children cried in terror, while family pets shivered under beds. As our neighbors watched furniture float down rivers that used to be streets and interior walls buckle into mush from bacteria-laden floodwaters. As family and friends in the Keys and islands further south step out after horrific storms pass to find scenes of complete destruction. As they sit in stunned disbelief and wonder how they are to exist another day, let alone a lifetime. As the earth heaves and buckles and buildings collapse and children die in the rubble.

Peace? Peace? God with us? Really? Hope? Joy? Have you hurled those questions at the now-clear sky and wondered if there really was anyone or anything listening – who cared? Have your children or your neighbors come to you in anger fueled by deep grief and asked you those questions because they know you go to church occasionally?

Can you answer? Do you know why you believe what you say you believe? Have you come to grips with the “so what?” of these declarations of Paul?

Look again at these traits in these five verses:

  • Endurance (patience)
  • Encouragement (comfort, consolation)
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Hope
  • Holy Spirit power

As new creatures in Jesus Christ, regenerated, repentant children of Almighty God, these are ours to learn, grasp, believe, lean on and live out – regardless of our circumstances – because they are attributes of our Father Who bestows them on us through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit and through His inerrant, inspired holy Word. Be encouraged. Be joyful. Be hopeful. Be at peace. Our God reigns. Hallelujah!

The Call to Leadership – Devotion

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The Call to Leadership

By Jenny Andrews

I sat in a bible study as I heard a woman ask a question that was foundational to our Christian faith.  She had been a believer for over 10 years and I thought to myself, why doesn’t she know that answer? I was a newer believer and knew the answer to her question. In that moment my heart was burdened because it seemed to me that no one had really taken the time to teach her.  This scene played over in my mind as I went home that night to pray and ask God what could I do.

It was that day I felt weeping in my heart for women to know who Jesus is and for women to see who they are in Christ. That day challenged me.  I recalled a bible study that I had went through, at my last church with an older woman, so I pulled it out and thought to myself: this is it! I want to do this bible study with her so she will know how much Jesus wants her to know him.

I spent several weeks in prayer and then went before Pastor of Ministries to share my heart and burden for this woman. I asked him if I could do the bible study with her, and he took the study to review. A short while later I was invited into a women’s ministry team meeting and was asked to lead a discipleship ministry. God had heard my prayers (and I was not quite ready for that) but I found favor with the pastor. I took the material and begin to use the study to influence other women in my church, and I asked other women to help me in the process of building up women too.

That was over 6 years ago, and during that time I had many challenges and obstacles. Yet, through it all the Lord helped me each step of the way.  He got me through the darkest times in my life.  During that same time frame of building this ministry I lost both of my parents to illnesses, and those days seemed the hardest, but God is getting me through that as well.

I am reminded of a great leader in the Bible his name is Nehemiah. Nehemiah had a burden for God’s people and the Lord used him greatly. He wept for his people and prayed for the God of Israel to help them. (Neh 1:3-4) Nehemiah didn’t just pray though, he went into action. (Neh 2:11) He then went before the king and asked for help, and he found favor with the king (Neh 2:4-6). He was a man of influence before his people and called them to help with the building of the wall (Neh 2:18). He not only leads the people he encouraged them in the work they did even when other opposed them (Neh 2:20).

As leaders, we must remember the call to leadership and why we do what we do. We do it, because we know that is what we are called to do. We will have opposition along the way, but remember the favor we have in Christ. We don’t give up, but we persevere through trials and tests; because we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. When all is said and done, we will one day hear our Savior say,

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!'” (Matt 25:23)

Look for the Helpers

TheHelpers

Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Fires.  Flooding.  Protests.  Terrorism.

There is a lot happening in this world, but in times of despair believers cling to Hope.

That Hope compels us to not sit back watch the world fall apart around us, but instead to bring Hope to others.

We become “the helpers”.  Believers have always been the helpers.  Historically in the early church, our women took in the abandoned children.  We tended to the sick, forming the first hospitals.  In the wake of tragedy today, we see that our Faith Based Organizations lead the way in providing relief to those who have been impacted by forces of nature and political oppression.

We need not wait for the catastrophes to land at our doorstep in order to be a helper.

We are the helpers when we pay for her groceries, when take a collection of diapers, when we feed an empty belly, and clothe those who need it.  When we pool our money and resources to provide shelter and even comfort.

Women’s Ministry Council  #WoMinCouncil

There are people in your neighborhood right now, and they are looking for the helper.  The homeless man you pass every day on your way into to the coffee shop, he is looking for a helper.  The single mom who wants to attend small group, but lacks the means for childcare… she is looking for the helper.

How can your Women’s Ministry become a helper in your local community?

  • Find an organization to support as a Ministry.  Use your Women’s Ministry monthly brunches as an opportunity take a collection of goods or money for this ministry.
  • Look for volunteer opportunities for your Women’s Ministry to participate in and build up teams of women who will serve.
  • For larger causes, work together with Women’s Ministries from other churches.
  • Watch the news, check the paper, and keep a pulse on what is happening in your community.  There may be specific people you can assist.  
  • Talk as a team about how you want your ministry to respond to community needs or local disaster relief before it is needed.  Create an action plan, work out the details, and even work through a trial run if possible.  It’s good to have the plan in place, so that when the need arises we can respond immediately and efficiently.
  • Ensure that you have a list of recommendations for services (shelter numbers, abuse hotlines, Christian counselors, etc.) available to all leaders… including your Bible Study leaders.  This means we don’t waste time hunting down information and can act promptly.

We would love to hear your suggestions too!

 

Worship in Women’s Ministry by Sheila Thomas

Hurricane Irma Recovery & Relief:  We are still collecting data on how and when our long distance friends can help the recovery and relief efforts.  Many areas are inaccessible until the power company can clear downed lines and ensure the area is safe.  We will update on how you can help as soon as information is available.  Please note, if you have family in The Florida Keys:  Power, landline phones, and cellular service is out throughout the keys.  However reports of those who stayed behind on the islands has so far been good.  They are ok, just unable to call family to check in.

What in the Word Series contributor: Sheila Thomas on:

WHAT IN THE WORD DOES IT SAY ABOUT WORSHIP IN WOMEN’S MINISTRY?

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Several months ago I was asked to speak about the importance of worship in women’s ministry today. I was honored and happy to do it. Why? It’s my heart. I love women’s ministry and I love worship.

So when thinking and praying about writing my article for this month, I felt led to share my thoughts again on this subject.

I feel it’s so important to ask God to show us how to worship. What does he want from us? He wants our adoration and praise. He wants us to “be in the moment” of praise and worship.

So many times it’s easy to be in a church service, but not really be there. You know what I mean? Our minds wander. We start thinking about our next day’s activities. What’s for dinner? What do I have to do tomorrow at work? Does my child have her homework done? Or worse yet, maybe you’re like me and you are easily distracted with the people surrounding you at church. “Oh, my! What was she thinking wearing THAT??!” Or “Gracious! She has a major sleep hole in her hair!”

Okay, maybe you’re not like me. I call it my crazy sense of humor. But really and truly, it could be me having a critical spirit. Lord, help me.

Years ago I found myself in a church where the musicians were less than good. Bless their hearts. They were doing their best, but for a music teacher (that’s me), I found it very hard to be able to focus on worship.

I began to talk to God about it and here’s what I heard Him say: You’re a music teacher. You are a trained musician. Your job all week long it to critique your students. It’s normal that you find yourself doing that in church. But close your eyes. Sing a little louder yourself and think of what you’re actually doing and not what they sound/look like.” I began to do that and found that I could actually worship God in spite of the less than excellent quality of the music.

Many things can distract us from worshipping God. Not even just in church, but in our everyday lives. We can find ourselves grumbling and complaining. We are sometimes just plain tired from all our necessary duties in our lives.

But God wants to be present in our everyday lives. Our days will go so much better if we will learn to praise Him instead of grumbling and complaining.

Worship is not just singing at church. Worship is done in our hearts and minds. So let’s look at what worship really is.

Worship:

The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.

Honor given to someone in recognition of their merit.

Take part in a religious ceremony.

A divine encounter with God.

You can see from these definitions that it does not necessarily mean to sing. However we have come to think of worship as music done in a church service. For the sake of time, I’m going to be focusing on that today.

As a voice Teacher, I was interested to know that there are actually health benefits to singing.

Singing helps you to live longer, produces endorphins (the “happiness hormone”), helps the body produce oxytocin, which helps reduce stress, improves your cardiac rhythm, reducing the risk of heart disease. And if you sing correctly, if helps train your stomach muscles and diaphragm. It is a great exercise for your lungs, strengthens your immunity, increasing the concentration of immunoglobulin A, helps your brain develop, and it’s the best method to get better memory. If you sing with other people, you’ll find yourself feeling more self-confident! That’s how positive singing can be!

God thinks music is very important. There are at least 63 scriptures on music in the Bible.

Psalm 104:33: “I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”

Psa. 47: 1-2: “Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth.”

I Tim. 2:8: “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.”

One of my favorite verses is Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

The Bible even speaks of winning battles through music. In II Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his Holiness as they went out at the head of the army, giving thanks to God because his love endures forever! And as they began to do this, the Lord sent ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, who were invading Judah, and they were defeated!

Battles are definitely won through our praise. When we sing and worship God together, we are creating an atmosphere for God to move. So important!

Our enemy, the devil, knows how important it is. Why do you think he messes in musicians’ lives so much? If he can cause them to be full of pride, jealousy, envy, lust, etc. , he can thwart God’s plans.

Many believe that Satan was the worship leader in heaven.

Christian and Jewish Biblical scholars draw conclusions from Ezekiel 28:12-17 and Isaiah 14:12-14, claiming that Satan was once an angelic musician; a great worship leader of Heaven. Equally studious examiners of the Word debate that these Scriptures are not referring to Satan and/or that referring to him as a worship leader is not indicated.

Whether or not Satan was a heavenly worship leader before his fall from heaven may be an ongoing debate until Jesus comes back. That he is an adversary of God is supported obviously in both New and Old Testament Scriptures (Zachariah 3:1-2;Job 2; Matthew 4:1-11; I Corinthians 10:21; Revelations 20:10).

Satan hates those who choose to praise and worship the Creator and he fights against them. He is especially concerned when believers gather together for corporate times of praise.


Focus on God creates the humble heart that attracts the favor of God. So Satan attempts to redirect the believer’s focus to anything but God. The most common way the enemy tries to interrupt the flow of corporate praise and worship is by stirring up pride and/or fear.

Whether it’s true or not that Satan was the worship leader, he definitely hates worshippers. How many times have you seen him affect the music as well as the people involved in church music?

Praise is a weapon of spiritual warfare. We must use it!

There will be music in heaven. The Bible speaks of it. Rev. 19:1-7 talks about singing, mass choirs, harps and being played.

We know that music is a gift from God and is important to Him. And not for just our pleasure, but to worship Him, to conquer the enemy, and for our own well being. I believe that our participation in worship is getting us ready to worship in Heaven.

In women’s ministry, worship is needed. Women are tired. They come to a church event needing to be refueled. Not only do we need to know the Scriptures and have fellowship and discussion time. Not only do we need to know ABOUT God. But we need to experience, worship and show our love to God. He loves our adoration and praise.

Battles are won through our worship. It takes our minds off ourselves. We put our thoughts and hearts on God. We lift our hands in praise and worship to Him.

Heaven is going to be a place full of worship. We are getting ready to participate in the BEST WORSHIP EVER!

“When we, God’s people, come into His presence with thanksgiving and praise, warfare is waged against our enemies, and our battles are won by the supernatural power of God. In the face of challenge and persecution, God’s people are to unite and praise Him. The enemy has no chance of winning against people who are consumed with praising God. There is no victory against those who rejoice in God’s great glory.” (From “Extravagant Worship” page 52 by Darlene Zschech)

II Chron. 5:4-8, 11-14 says that they were joining in unison in one voice giving praise and thanks to God. There’s something powerful about being in one accord. They were accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, and they raised their voices singing, “He is good; his love endures forever.”

Then it says that the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filed the temple of God. Who knows what would happen if we as women would get together and just praise Him together in unity.

God wants to meet with us. He wants us to have an encounter with the Holy Spirit as we worship together. It’s not just a duty or a part of the program to have a few little songs to sing. What would happen if we totally abandoned ourselves in worship and didn’t care what anyone else thought?

I realize there are programs and time constraints. We have to be considerate of those things. I don’t know about you, But I’m hungry to experience the fullness of God. To really see Him move. See permanent change in women. In our relationships. In our marriages. In our children and grandchildren. In our finances. In our health.

In order for this to happen, we have to spend some time with God. It just might be a sacrifice worth making. Granted, some are not comfortable with that. What if something weird happened? What if someone gets out of order? You know, I just think God is big enough to handle that. Are we really willing to forfeit the move of God because we fear something will get out of order or weird?

In God’s presence is where we get revelation and transformation. It’s where miracles happen. Lives are changed. People are delivered and we become more like Christ.

Let’s be willing to get out of our comfort zones. Let’s ask God to come visit our women’s ministry. Let’s not have our plans so firm that we can’t allow God to do what HE wants to do.

It’s not OUR ministry. It’s GOD’S ministry. Let’s welcome Him. Maybe more people will be changed than just in following our little ideas for ministry.

I’m tired of status quo. I’m ready for God to move. We need God. Our nation needs God. We could be the change the world needs to see! Let’s pray.