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Why Not?

As retreat season ramps up into high gear, I have some thoughts for your planning committee:

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Posted in: Book Table, Inspirations, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning, Retreat Remembrances, Skits

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Where Everyone Knows Your Name

I am reprinting a popular blog from a couple years ago.  I thought it apropos as we all gear up for our fall women’s events!

I heard this song (from a 1980’s sitcom) again this week, and I think the lyrics hit the nail on the head as far as “step one” in caring for our women. You may recognize these familiar lyrics:

                                 Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name…

                                And they’re always glad you came…

                                You wanna be where you can see your troubles are all the same…

                                You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”

I think that song writer was onto something!  Maybe the very first way that we can show our women that we care is by learning their name….and letting them know that we are glad they came…and being open and honest so they know that they are not alone in their struggles.

How can we create that caring atmosphere in our women’s ministries?  I know we all want it–we want everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable in a safe environment that encourages open sharing. I think it has to start in our leadership and trickle down from there. We as leaders need to do what it takes to learn names and go out of our way to welcome people.  We need to be open and honest about our daily walk and daily struggles and temptations so that we can all come to the foot of the cross together in weakness and humility.

Posted in: Inspirations, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, News & Information

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What Worked Before

I can tell from the number of “hits” on this website that many are looking ahead and starting to plan for upcoming women’s events and retreats.  We are too.  So far, we have the theme, the date and the venue nailed down.  We thought we had a speaker, but we are back to square one on that. Here in the planning stages, I have to admit, our retreat schedules and activities look very much the same from year to year.  We alway have promise verses; we always have a quiet time study; for the past few years, we have done an interactive Bible study workshop, all of which our ladies have come to expect along with the teaching sessions.

During Bible study this spring, I felt like the Lord spoke to me from a story in the Old Testament.  If you remember, in Exodus 17, the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness and there was no water for them to drink.  The Lord told Moses to take his rod and strike the rock in Horeb.  When he did, water came out for the people to drink.  Later, in Numbers 20, Moses faced a similar situation–thirsty complaining Israelites.  This time the Lord told Moses to take his rod and speak to the rock, and it would give forth water.  However, Moses took the rod and struck the rock twice.  Water again came out for the people.  However, this was an act of unbelief and disobedience, and because of it, God punished Moses.

I have always looked at this story as willful disobedience on the part of Moses. However, I looked at the story a little differently this time.  What if Moses was doing what he knew worked the first time?  That doesn’t excuse his disobedience, but it does make me understand him a little better.

As we plan this year, are we falling back on schedules and activities which have worked before? Or are we seeking the Lord for His direction, being open to His changes and new things?  It is something to ponder.  I don’t want to fall into sin just because I was only doing what worked before. Don’t be tied to the past; don’t assume that what worked before is how God wants to work now!

Posted in: Inspirations, Lessons Learned, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning

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The Oscars

And the Oscar goes to…….(drum roll, please)…..(cut to commercial)…..(cue dramatic background music)…..(play one more commercial)…..(make sure the correct envelope is in hand)……
What angst!!  All those poor actors/actresses/directors/etc.!  Imagine the stress and uncertainty they all feel during those pivotal, and probably uncomfortable, hours awaiting the official announcement that will let them and the world know who is, without a doubt, the BEST.  And then what? What if your name isn’t called? Awe…..poor babies.  The plight of going home without a prize.  Sad, and double sad!
 Well, here’s the good news today and every day….we are of no consequence to the scrutinizing, fickle eye of Hollywood. Woo-Hoo!!  That is good news. How could that be good news?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Because, even though the “who’s who” may never know who we are, we’ll never be recognized on the street by autograph-seeking fans, our names will never be announced on national TV as ‘the winner’…..God says we’re Number 1 – THE BEST – in His book!!  He has given us a prize more valuable than anything the Hollywood Mucky-Mucks could ever hand out!  Not to mention, we don’t have to wear Spanx when accepting our award!
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. 2Timothy 4:8
 

Posted in: Inspirations, News & Information

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A Baby Changes Everything

Baby Jesus and Mary Joseph hand drawn illustration | Christmas season scene | Christian art drawingI hope you had a Merry Christmas, Readers!  And Happy New Year!

For the past few months, I have been more or less absent from Retreat-in-a-Bag.  My son and his wife, along with my 4-year-old grandson have been visiting from China for a few months.  They came home to have a baby–my second grandson (born 12/9/16). That major “distraction”, in addition to our women’s retreat and regular women’s ministry activities, has kept me occupied offline…in a good way!

My daughter-in-law’s progressing pregnancy reminded me of a Christmas song (sung by Faith Hill):  “A Baby Changes Everything.”  How true that is!  Because of baby Josiah’s arrival, our family is forever changed!

But, of course, the song is referring to a special Baby who came and whom we celebrate at Christmas–a Baby who truly changed everything. God loved…and sent His Son for the purpose making our relationship with Him possible. He made possible a life free from the bondage of sin.  He changed our eternal destiny, as well as our day-to-day existence. He covers us with grace and mercy. He gives purpose and meaning to life. He changed everything in my life, that’s for sure.

Honestly, this website exists because of Him and for Him and for His glory. God has consistently used women’s ministry and the accompanying retreats and events for my growth. Size of the ministry doesn’t make a difference–we are a small church.  But depth of the ministry does matter.  We shouldn’t waste the few hours a week that we have with our women. Every activity should lead to a deeper understanding of our Savior and His Word, and a pursuing of prayer and fellowship with Him and others.  My desire is to encourage women’s ministries as they strive to take their women deeper through every possible avenue–through regular Bible study, retreats, skits, and other creative means of making His Word real and applicable in our lives.

My prayer, as we begin this new year, is that God would use the resources offered by Retreat-in-a-Bag for His purposes, and that women’s ministries would be encouraged to follow hard after God, to faithfully minister to their women and to reach out to the hurting world around them.  We know the One who changes EVERYTHING!

“It’s about how Jesus came to be born once, So that we could be born again.”   (“It’s About the Cross” J.J. Statema)

 

 

 

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