My Feet Feel Washed!

And my message and my teaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

I'm not ever sure that I can accurately express how humbling it is to me to be given the privilege of teaching at a women's retreat or conference. Sure, I also find it thrilling, affirming and just plain out fun. In fact, teaching women from God's Word is probably the biggest blast I've ever experienced...and that's no lie. 

I am flooded with anticipation as I prepare, I get "just nervous enough" right before I speak, I feel Someone else take over (thankfully!) as I open my mouth, I get a huge rush out of watching women receive the Word of God, and then I invariably drop into my chair with exhaustion after the final "amen." The whole experience is alarmingly satisfying!

But, still, it humbles...

And this past weekend when I spoke at Lake Bible Church's annual women's retreat at Cannon Beach Conference Center was no exception. Not only did God show up and show off...but He also blessed us with a sweet spirit of sisterhood, lovely weather, and some of the most charming accommodations I've ever experienced at a retreat center. The folks at CBCC really know how to treat you special so that you can truly "retreat."

Looking at the Pacific View Building of the
Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center
from the beach. My lovely room was on the far left,
the one with the window opened,
which we kept open all weekend long
to hear the crashing waves and seagulls!
One of the most precious blessings I experienced this past weekend, however, was the ministry of the women of Lake Bible. From Kim, the retreat coordinator, to Bobbi and Jill, the speaker hostesses, to all the women who participated in the skits, to the snack ladies and the greeters (and I'm sure I missed others who assisted!), these ladies truly ministered to me and the 80+ women who attended.

Kim and I each received these lovely cookies
made by snack coordinator Sandy Nelson.

We also each received these lovely "goodie bags"
from Bobbie and Jill, our hostesses.
Thank you, ladies, for personalizing these to our tastes!
 I certainly noticed all the little details they took care of for me and my assistant Kim, but I also watched with joy as they did everything in the book to make each woman feel "prepared for." Such attention to detail! But they didn't just pay attention to the details; they paid attention to the women. You know there's a difference, right?

Just a few of the women I had the privilege of worshiping with each day.
I met the most amazing women! Love you, sisters!
Service, ministry, can seem so daunting and dirty and draining at the time, can't it? When you're in the trenches doing the prep work, putting in the hours no one else sees or knows about, getting down on your knees to prepare the way in prayer, or going over the list for the hundredth can seem like all your work may go unrewarded.

Sharon Van Slyke, Lake Bible Church's women's ministry director,
is one of the sweetest spirted women I have ever encountered.
I don't usually call people out like that,
but this woman is extremely special :)
She led our worship with enthusiasm, a lovely voice
and humility.
But take note. Ministry is never unrewarded. Service always produces. Obedience bears fruit.

My sweet friend and assistant Kim,
surrounded by Sharon Van Slyke and retreat coordinator Kim Dixon.
Lovely people! I am so blessed to have served alongside you!
And by the time I left Oregon on Monday, I hope the women I ministered to felt "washed with the Word of God." But I felt like I'd had my feet the women of Lake Bible Church in Lake Oswego. 

Thank you, ladies, for the privilege of ministering to you and the honor of being ministered to by you. You have blessed me!

Who served you this past week? Have you acknowledged the blessing of their ministry? It would surely encourage them to know they bore fruit in your life.

Kim and I on the back porch of the retreat center.
We are constantly amazed at the ministry opportunities
God blesses us with. But even more,
we are amazed at His grace!

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