What It All Boils Down To
“All the earth will shout your praise! Our hearts cry out, these bones will sing, ‘Great are You, Lord!’”
The morning after hosting IF:Alamance for the 2016 IF:Gathering, our large congregation poured out praise to God singing that song. I felt the “weightiness and substance of God’s Spirit” in my bones as Jo Saxton had described glory earlier that weekend.
It felt so real. Flashbacks of the past couple of days from IF:Gathering 2016, and singing that same song Lauren Chandler led at the IF:Local Leader Gathering flooded my mind as I remembered over 500 arms raised as women were ushered to host IF:Locals in 2016. And they did. Tears came down my cheeks and I could feel my whole body tremble. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that. It could have very well been from exhaustion of hosting IF:Alamance the week before, but to me it felt like something holy knowing over half a million women around the world joined together to become more equipped to live like Jesus.
“Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” (Psalm 96:9 NIV)
That same weekend our church joined with several other churches in our community and hosted Walking Wisely where about 300 teenagers played, had a blast, served in our community, worshiped and learned more about Jesus. That weekend, 50 teens gave their lives to Christ! At the same time, in the same town, with some of the same churches and many others, almost 200 women had joined together to experience repentance, grace, and love, and then were unleashed from IF:Gathering to be disciples and make disciples. God was moving in Alamance County, North Carolina February 5-6, 2016!
It’s so hard to describe IF:Gathering 2016. Being like the previous year’s gathering, I think it’s going to take weeks to process all of it. It was beautiful to see the diversity of speakers and worship leaders. During the weekend, I wrote a “take home” of what each speaker said.
Jo Saxton not only defined glory but also said this,
Jennie Allen said that “no one had a greater dream than Jesus- and he didn’t consider it a burden”, and that “Jesus shows, not just tells.” Eugene Cho said when we think the grass is greener on the other side, maybe it’s God saying water your own lawn you’re standing on. Angie Smith asking if my eyes are locked on the thicket or the cross (based from Abraham and Issac). David Platt challenged me to recognize the unique place God has put me, realize what’s a stake for other people’s lives and to remember the simple purpose God gives me – to reach for the unreached. That’s only to name a few.
Some thing I love about the gathering though is not only the teachings from Austin, TX, but it’s what happens at our local gathering – the local churches. The local community of believers who love Jesus and want to become more equipped to live like Him. I’m grateful that weekend was special and unique to women in Alamance County, NC.
That weekend many women in our community from at least 8 different churches joined together to become more equipped to be a disciple for the people in their individual lives and in their churches. Together we repented, we experienced the Lord’s supper together, we worshiped together through music and art, and we had authentic conversations around tables and testimonies of how IF:Tables have impacted lives this past year since last year’s gathering. We also learned how we can help trafficked women and children not only through a thriving IJM ministry, but also through Alamance For Freedom, a non-profit here in Alamance county, which is the 8th highest human trafficking location in America.
One of the most sacred times at our gathering I feel was the time when we were all guided in prayer, to pray for the world and for the Church. They encouraged women to get in small groups to pray, asking God for guidance, salvation of his people, protection and unity. Having the opportunity to step back and see and hear the sound of women praying out loud, all together, in our room, was simply beautiful. Even though every prayer was different, the many voices sounded like a holy symphony of prayers in harmony.
As the gathering came to the end, I think it was powerful to all of us in our room, along with over half a million women around the world when the IF:Team charged us to think of one person or calling to fall into, as we each picked up a domino that sat in a pile in the middle of our tables. Think of thousands of dominos in line and lightly pushing the first one that causes one after another to fall onto the one in front of it. What IF over half a million women intentionally made extra time to love on one person in her life who doesn’t know Jesus – and pour His love and grace on her/him – so much they’ll want the same Jesus in their lives? What if over half a million women took an obedient step of faith to start doing something God has been nudging her to do – whether it’s be spend more time with her daughter or to start a non-profit ministry.
“What is God calling you to fall into this year?”
As the worship music gently played, I asked God, “What is it You want me to fall into this year?” After a short pause, He whispered to me and I didn’t hear him say he wanted me to necessarily start something big – not a big movement or project like I’ve felt Him lead me to the past couple of years. Instead, something so close to my heart, that I confess, I’ve seemed to neglect more recently. And it’s not about me but about the ones I love. My obedience to what God is telling me to do is just a single domino. Your obedience to what God is calling you to do is a single domino, too. You may think that single step of obedience and faith isn’t hugely significant on its own, but it truly is. Just think, together all of our dominoes are capable of far reaching effects! Each act of obedience leads to other acts and slowly momentum builds as they all fall into place. Together, we are a force capable of huge things in the name of Jesus!
There’s so much more I’m still processing, still needing to wrap my thoughts and prayers around. As a leader there’s also been some more spiritual attacks on my mind that I’m wrestling with too. I learned that from experience last year. But it’s worth the battle. It’s worth putting on the armor and fighting for women who need redemption and revival.
Great are You, Lord! Great is His love and great is His grace. Great is the movement around the world for more women (and men) to be Jesus’ disciples in order to help make someone else Jesus’ disciple too.
That’s what it all boils down to. Love God. Love people. Be a disciple. Make a disciple.