Christian Training Series
Okay, this is the best kept secret in the whole sisterhood right now. It has it all. Excellent classes that will jump start your spiritual fitness, fellowship in a smaller setting than most lectureships (thus having this almost magical quality that enables friendship-forging like no other place I have seen), fun activities like live country music and talent (or not so much) shows, an old-time auction with a real Tennessee auctioneer, and affordable pricing for the entire event. I am so going to be there and I get to speak about being victorious in time management! (My son, upon hearing that topic said “Now that’s the blind leading the blind!”–yep, direct quote.) I’m speaking on something else, too, but I need to go to the website and see what that other speech is about.
Speaking of the website, www.fhu.edu/CTS/index.aspx, I had a little trouble navigating, but you savvy people probably will not. (Think maroon and black box on the upper right hand side!) I’m going to try and be very specific as I tell you how to get details and register. Mrs Alice Holtin is in charge of registration and she is one accommodating person. You can reach her, if you have any problems figuring things out at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can answer any CTS question.
This year’s program is July 18th-20th. You can check in to the nice and clean shared suites or private rooms as early as the evening of the 17th. Classes and activities, which usually include a wonderful kick-off breakfast at FHU President Joe Wiley’s home will begin early on the morning of the 18th. The program will provide a busy schedule from then through the evening of the 20th (but feel free to skip a session now and then if you just can’t go on without a nap). There is also an early morning Sunday service provided for those who need to travel home on Sunday, the 21st.
Speakers this year include Billy Smith, Stan Mitchell (worth it just for the accent!), David Stofel, Celine Sparks (I hope they will let her do a humor session on the side for ladies!), and Glenn, Cindy and Caleb Colley, among others. Priced at a nominal $80 to $120.00 (depending on your choice of accommodations), it’s an affordable three-day pray-cation that you will want to experience this summer. (And you’ll only have to miss one day of work!) You can register online, or download and mail in an application. Some churches choose to cover the registration cost for participants attending from their church. Ask your elders. They may very well think it’s worth the growth. You will come home excited and plan to bring more people next year. Details for online registration are found at http://www.fhu.edu/CTS/register.aspx. If you prefer to mail in an application go to http://www.fhu.edu/CTS/index.aspx and click on brochure and application in the upper right box. You can see neat pictures of past years’ classes on these pages as well. What you don’t see is the laughter, the growth, the fun that this program has brought to so many lives. If you go, you will laugh your head off during the auction, music, meals and free times. Why? Because Sam Hester, long-time CTS director and guru is a funny, funny man! (He knows tons and tons about the Bible and Greek and the restoration movement, but he can also do some mean impersonations of Marshall Keeble, do some old movie bits about snakes and pick-up trucks, and put a whole new twist on “The Three Little Pigs!” ) Need to laugh again? I do. We will laugh! We will get closer as sisters!
Now, if you know someone who really needs to grow, why not make this your anonymous (or not) gift to a struggling sister or family? I’m sure if you contact Alice, she would be happy to notify any recipients of their paid registration to this program. Now that’s a great gift!
Speaking of struggling sisters, I just must say this morning that I am extremely blessed by a big bunch of encouraging sisters around the globe. This morning I want to send my deepest thanks to two of them, who pulled me from, as Anne of Green Gables would say “the depths of despair” last evening.
It had been a pretty rough day. Last weekend I pulled some weeds in a little flower bed in front of our cabin. One of those plants, masquerading as an innocent weed, was not innocuous. For the past few days, I have thought a lot about Job and that potsherd. I have scratched (bad thing to do), squirmed, and cried. I have used hydrocortisone, olive oil, and other medicines. Poison oak is a wicked, wicked force with which to contend. I’m trying to smock a little dress for a baby shower gift on Sunday and I can’t even stitch for oozing all over the fabric!
But last night, I tried to patch up the wounds, so my clothes would not stick and my friends would not shun me, and go to Bible study. Let’s just say that during the ladies class, as people were calmly distressing about the plight of Hosea, when he was buying Gomer back off the slave market, I almost just shouted out right there in class, “BUT DON’T YOU ALL CARE THAT I AM STICKING TO MY SEAT BACK HERE ON THE BACK ROW?? HELP!!!” I almost asked Tammy and Jessica, who were sitting on either side of me to please move over and give me some elbow room for scratching! I was a pathetic mess of a blistered strawberry.
But a couple of minutes after I got back home, there was a gentle knock on my kitchen door. And there she was: Jennifer Benavides, angel of mercy, with a sack of goods from WalMart, which included the one thing I have tried that gave me ease. (I know you are going to write and ask me, so I’ll go ahead and tell you: Zanfel.) She threw in a box of Aveeno bath. Let’s just say that, lying there in bed last night, I thought, “This is a taste of what heaven is going to feel like: rest, relief, bliss!) I think I may rejoin the living now.
Jennifer left and I looked at that stack of unopened mail on the counter. I did not want to tackle it. But there was one small package that caught my eye. “Hmmm…can’t remember ordering anything from Wetumpka, AL…” So, I opened it and found this:
along with a sweet, sweet note from Rebecca Richardson. The note included these very encouraging words:
“Just a little thank you for all your work with the Digging Deep study….” (then lines of encouragement, blessings, prayers…just all the stuff I needed so desperately at just that moment)… “I found the pattern for this while we were studying Matthew. One like it sits in my kitchen, right where I can see it as I make our bread, reminding me where every blessing comes from. I stitched this while listening to the Matthew podcast.”
I know what you are thinking. You are right. God is just so good. He knows at every moment what we need and He gives it to us. He gives it to us through trials and then He shows us that trials are blessings in disguise. He gives it to us through sisters who somehow find and offer just what helps most when we are discouraged. He gives it to us through studies of men like Hosea who gave so much in life in order to obey God. He gives it to us through daily bread and through a Savior who showed us Who and how to thank for it. He gives it to us through balms and salves that heal poisons. More importantly, He gives it to us through the balm of Gilead that heals the poisonous infection of sin in our lives. I praise Him for His mercies to me last night and in every dark night of this life. He.Is.Good!