It was a privilege to be with the women of the Main Street church in Gloucester, Virginia this weekend for the seminar “A Holy Temple.” I was speaking, but am sure I learned more than any woman present. God is good like that! The Main Street church had 13 people present on Sunday morning and 10 present on Sunday evening. The women in that church are three, Genevieve and Diona Ormon and Maria Sturgeon.
Ah, but on Saturday, they invited the area sisterhood to the Hampton Inn and the three of them hosted 125 ladies for breakfast, lunch and, most importantly worship of our Father and teachings from His Holy Book. Here are the most potent of the lessons I am bring home from this seminar.
- Little people can do big things when God is in the plan. As a child I heard the story of the tiny mouse who chewed the elephant out of the hunter’s net in exchange for his life. Spiritual lives were at stake and three women took on a pretty big challenge. God blessed their efforts and, because of Him, the planting was large-scale. The encouragement continues to broaden like ripples from a pebble in a pond.
- Sisters are always at the ready for Him. The teen and twenties girls, college students and young pros, thought they were coming over for fellowship and a devo on Friday night. We did have pinwheels, nuggets, veggies and caramel apples. We had a great discussion about being transformed instead of conformed. But they made a great army of favor wrappers, plasticware rollers, and ribbon tie-ers, once the night wore on. Midnight found them wrapping up–literally. And then there was Mrs. Angela. She made multiple trips from a nearby town, donating and loaning materials, not because she was a member of the host church, but because she wanted to do it! Sisters amaze me all over this great country and the world!
- Sisters are hurting. There are so many among us who are quietly bearing crosses. Some of the hurt is caused by sin committed by others or by self-inflicted spiritual injury–injury that is often inflicted prior to knowledge of the gospel. The devil is a hard task-master, keeping his servants longer than they wanted to stay, exacting more than they planned to pay, taking them farther than they planned to go, and sucking them into his downward spiral faster than they imagined they could travel. There is work for us to do. Let’s look for the burdens we can share.
- Churches need strong elders. It seems like almost every problem with which women struggle in the body could be eased if leaders in the body were consistently and Biblically leading and protecting the flock. This begins with the protection of the body from influences that are worldly and teachings that are unscriptural. It includes making sure the feeding and counsel given from pulpits and in classes is sound, even when it goes counter to the culture. It cannot stop short of withdrawing fellowship from those who are walking disorderly or living in immorality (I Corinthians 5, II Thessalonians 3:6). Elders cannot opt out of discipline simply because a person may claim to have “withdrawn himself from the body.” Isn’t it true that we could effectively nullify the express commands to withdraw fellowship if every candidate could simply choose to pre-empt the elders’ actions by beating them to the draw and “withdrawing themselves”? Surely this is not God’s plan.
- God’s women like to be “squished together.” The room was really designed to hold 50 people. We had 125 women and a food bar. Of necessity you had to hug your sister if you passed her in the aisle, if you could call it an aisle. I did not hear one single complaint. I heard lots of words like “wonderful,” “refreshing,” “amazing,” and “sisterhood.”
I needed the reminders. God is so good.