Okay first of all, how is it halfway through the year already? I cannot believe we are over halfway through June! For six months I was looking forward to attending The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference (TGCW18) in Indianapolis – and now I’ve already gone and come back and even unpacked my suitcase!
I feel so blessed to have been able to attend this event – nearly 8,000 women from over 25 countries gathered to hear some amazing Gospel-centered teachers! It was phenomenal, to say the least.
And you want to know one of the main factors that made this such a rich experience? I was with a group of 15 ladies from our church (2 formerly from our church but have moved away) – let me tell you – it’s been years since I’ve had that kind of bonding experience with a group of sisters. I would tell you all kinds of funny stories, and mishaps that we laughed way too hard about, but I have been sworn to secrecy. You know what they say about what happens in Indy…..
I DO want to share a few highlights and take-aways with you so you can have just a taste of what we experienced. Honestly, three days drinking in the Word in this unique setting was like trying to sip from a fire hydrant – so I’m still pouring over my notes and processing what I took in.
And honestly, I’m not really a Women’s Conference Kinda gal. I’ve been to a few too many where workshops entailed how to decorate your home or dress for success or apply your makeup (not kidding)…. and where the meatier messages were geared towards how God wants to empower us and give us a good life. No thanks. I don’t need more people telling me how to read the Bible like it’s all about me and how to fix my problems – my human nature is already tempted to do that. I’ll just keep my conference fee in my pocket and stay home. Maybe catch up on laundry.
But a conference where teachers like Jen Wilkin say “the Bible is not a book about you; it’s a book about God…” and “we think when we see God we will respond with praise and twirling in a field of flowers, but in the Bible, when people saw God, they REPENTED!” Ouch. Yeah, that’s more along the lines of what my rebel heart needs.
Want more? Here’s what Jen said about seeking “God’s will” for our lives:
“We ask, ‘What do You want me to do, God?’ when we should be asking ‘Who do you want me to BE?’… What good is it to have the right job or spouse when we’re still the same self-focused person on the inside? His will for us is that we bear His image to others.”
But I divulge too much, too soon.
The teaching for this entire event was all centered in the book of Deuteronomy.
You read that right. I mean, I have a degree in Religious Ed and I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to the Bible b/c I really love LOVE the Old Testament, but even I was scratching my head at how they were going to pull this off – a women’s event digging deep into Moses’ last words to the Israelites. Okay, then.
It was the most perfect word for my heart. And apparently for thousands of other women present. That should be no surprise since the Word of God is alive!
There are (currently, as I write this) four main take-aways I want to dig deeper into in the next four blog posts. But for now I’ll leave you with this:
Moses’ message to the Israelites in the dessert, right on the brink of entering the Promised Land after wandering in the wilderness for decades was this: Remember.
Remember the God who brought you (your parents) out of slavery and provided for you over and over again in miraculous ways. Remember how God has protected you so that not even your clothes or shoes have worn out. Remember that He promised to bring you into this land and provide you with abundance that YOU had nothing to do with. Remember how those before you squandered and refused this gift and grace and died here in the desert. Remember that God has cut a covenant with you and promised to keep you always if you will be His people and follow Him in the ways He has set before you. Listen to what Yahweh has said. Listen and Live.
That same message for a rebellious people in a dry and harsh land thousands of years ago still applies to our rebel hearts today. There’s more to come. Who’s with me?
Want to drink from the fire hydrant? Access the media from the conference and watch for yourself here!