26 Feb Open Door Sisterhood
“Mr. Tumus and Lucy are about to pop around that corner! I just KNOW it! And where’s the lamp post? There has to be one,” I said in disbelief as I absorbed my surroundings.
Sitting on my porch this morning and watching the azeleas bloom is a far cry from my weekend looking at snow covered roofs, ice cycles, and frozen lakes. While Florida’s landscape seems eons away from the white landscape of Washington State, the friendships forged are near and dear.
Magical. Deep. Rooted in Christ and steeped in friendship. That’s the Open Door Sisterhood.
The Open Door Sisterhood retreat this weekend is too rich for one sitting, but here are some of the lessons I learned. (Keep reading because the Holy Spirit came from behind and “whalooped” me with some of His goodness this morning!)
* If you are working FOR the Lord, you will burn out because you are working in your own strength. If you are working IN the Lord, you will never burn out because Jesus is leading you.
* You are not valued because of what you produce or the amount of fruit you produce. It’s all because you are attached to the vine. Apart from Christ, you can do nothing.
* Fruit becomes an offering to others when you are rooted in the soil of God’s love.
* Our small story is always connected to the bigger story of God’s rescue and redemption.
* God rescued me to stand and sing. I am a child of God.
* Jesus doesn’t want you to grab spiritual “fast food.” He’s inviting you to sit down at the table.
* God not only sees you, but He sees what you’ve been made for.
So good. So good.
It’s also given me a new perspective and excitement for the events we will have in Jacksonville at TAE on Talbot. While it’s great to have the “Art Camp Shazam,” it’s also super important to teach and equip girls and women with a deeper perception of why we believe what we do. What does faith look like on a daily basis? Do we just fill up with Jesus from one event to the next? One Sunday to the next? Or do we sit at the table each day with a desire to learn from the King of Kings?
(Ok – Here’s the full power of the Holy Spirit speaking as we choose to SIT at His table and not just power through our quiet times like a fast food restaurant!)
As I am typing this into my phone, instead of typing “King of Kings,” it typed King of “LIKES” – seriously? Oh, how we longed to be liked – and do FOR Jesus.
Jesus wants our relationship with Him to be so much more than just doing FOR Him, being seen FOR Him, POSTING FOR HIM, having a ministry FOR Him, bearing fruit FOR Him, or just being LIKED … FOR Him.
While we are called to go and teach the good news to the ends of the world, it is because we are IN HIM – rooted and established in the soil of His love that we pour out FOR Him. Our fruit is our offering and His love natural spills over into our everyday activity. Not just to be noticed. Or liked. If we are doing our “Christianity” FOR Him – the King of “Likes,” we have it all wrong. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to swap our imperfection for His holiness allows us to remain IN Him and simply LIVE as an overflow for Him.
Ephesians 3:14 starts out like this:
“For this reason, I kneel before the Father …”
For this reason? What reason? Why can we kneel before the Father and pray? Why can we sit at the table and pray with boldness and confidence? How can He can strengthen us with power so that Jesus can dwell in our hearts through faith?
Paul is telling us the reason we CAN is because of Christ IN us. We CAN approach God with freedom and confidence because Jesus is the vine. We CAN because Jesus rescued us to stand and sing. We CAN because Christ dwells within our hearts. We CAN live IN Him and know His Love is deep, and wide, and long, and high. We CAN be filled SO FULL with His love, that our fruit pops out everywhere and naturally FOR Him.
But it starts with the desire to remain IN Him – and as a result, the overflow is natural. If you are only living FOR Him, your strength will be short lived. You have to be filled up IN him before you can start living for Him.
So good. So good.
Ok, white winter snow. It was so fun being with you. Now, it’s spring and time to plant and bear fruit – fruit that is attached to the Vine.
Only IN Him can you live FOR Him.