Updated: Mar 30, 2019
This morning, the winter session of Women of Passion kicked off … how beautiful it was to see women coming from all over South Orange County to meet together in God’s name! Some came with their wealth of knowledge about women’s Bible study, others with apprehension about ‘will I know enough? What if she calls on me? Will there be too much homework or not enough?’ But no matter . . . they came . . . about 60 of them, to our brand new venue!
Not surprisingly, God showed up. Jesus promised, “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”1 And oh my goodness, the Holy Spirit was indeed with us! You could feel his presence … there was an electric current in the beautiful chapel in San Juan Capistrano.2 It started with several worship songs led by sweet Ana, who is new to most of us. It was good, it was right to praise God. [Here’s the thing, Friends, when we sing songs of worship to God, a sweet aroma is ushered in; we as humans are able to disengage from the hectic lives we lead and focus on a great, big God, and he comes to fill our praise with himself. There is nothing like it on earth to compare!]
Can I ask you something—kinda personal—but may I ask you this? Do you intentionally offer up any kind of worship to God? Like, do you tell him how good, how great he is? It is a great way to start your day. Do you thank him for his good gifts to you? Someone recently said to me, ‘if tomorrow you woke up with only the things you thanked God for today…well, what would you have?’ Hmmm… Today, I thanked God for the freedom to worship him in the USA, the freedom to carry my pink Bible into Starbucks, (or preferably Peet’s Coffee), without fear of punishment from the ‘authorities’. I guess I will at least have freedom to worship tomorrow!
So, what did we do at Women of Passion, after we sang a couple songs together? We talked about our distinctives – what we stand for – the things that God has pressed upon my heart for the thirteen years since he birthed Women of Passion in my home. As I have asked him, when I have invited his leading about ministry and where he would have me go, what he would have me do--the same steady reply has come from my Lord, ‘Give them my Word, and . . . Girl, teach them to pray!’
In the last five-plus years, we have followed the explosion of the Christian church from Jesus’ ascension into Heaven in Acts chapter One … to the arrival of the much-promised Comforter3, the Holy Spirit, in Acts chapter Two . . . to the ‘Church’ devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer4 . . . to the expansion of the Gospel through the words and work of one Saul/Paul of Tarsus. [Don’t know where to find these writings? www.Pastorwoman.com of course! We have followed Paul’s writings to churches he established, people he loved, starting with Galatians, then the Thessalonians . . . back to the Corinthians and so on – all archived on the aforementioned website.]
It seems like almost from the time of his dramatic conversion, Paul had the heart of an evangelist, but also the heart of a shepherd. He would not only teach about the life-saving work of Jesus on the cross, but also lay hands and pray for the healing that Jesus was meant for all to realize in his name. Is that not a blueprint for we who call ourselves ‘the Church’?
After studying Acts, we have tackled Paul’s letters in chronological order of when they were written, beginning with Galatians, then Thessalonians and so on … and now find ourselves in the only letters Paul wrote to individuals: First and Second Timothy and Titus - the others were all written to communities or ‘churches’.
I left Women of Passion this afternoon, grabbed a quick salad, and headed for Bible study with my corporate brothers some distance away. ‘Can we tawk?’ Men are a different lot than women, sometimes refreshingly so. We cracked the scriptures together, looking at the lengths God went to get Saul/Paul’s attention on the Damascus road. Such a brilliant scenario. Aye, I do believe that God will go to great lengths to get his man/his heart.
Yet there was a familiar strain that ran between the two meetings - a similar feeling that was present from my encounter with women and the augmentation of the Holy Spirit . . . it was the presence of God . . . the nearness of the most Holy.
Indeed, whether women or men, gathered in the name of Jesus, inviting the presence of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit . . . either way, in the name of Jesus, God comes, he moves and changes us, particularly as we study his Word.
I have only one thing to say about that: Bring it On – we want more.
1 Matthew 18.20
2 Mariners Ocean Hills, San Juan Capistrano
3 John 16.7
4 Acts 2.42