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Archive for the ‘Women's Ministry’ Category

Behold, the valet went to retrieve the woman’s purse, and as he gathered it, he pondered that a woman’s life is like a purse.

He came upon the AUSTERE PURSE and raised his brows.  In this purse is found only the barest of necessities.  Driver’s license, money, and maybe a plastic card or two giving the Wegman’s Discount or entrance into the gym.

As the valet continued, he encountered the PLETHORIC PURSE and prepared to lift carefully as he was not wearing a lifter’s belt.  Looking inside this purse is truly an adventure.  Of course there is found inside the driver’s license, money, and a variety of plastic cards.  Perhaps there are old ticket stubs, a box of Kleenex, salt packets, grocery store receipts, make-up, hair brush, comb, and hair pick; last week’s church bulletin or the church phone list, this year’s photo brag book, dental floss, safety pins, enough ink pens to hand out to everyone during prayer time, old to-do lists, an assortment of chewing gums and a first-aid kit.  The PLETHORIC purse might also have a bib and an extra un-opened pacifier, even though the baby-stage is long past. Some of these types of purses also have collapsible cups, a poncho or two, a lighter, and perhaps even one of those silver blankets that are supposed to keep you warm, but seem too thin to actually do anything.  In the truly PLETHORIC purse, you will even find a fuel filter, two packages of instant hot chocolate and a roll of duct tape.

Finally the valet came upon the USEFUL PURSE, and the valet smiled.  Once again, the money, driver’s license and plastic cards.  But also a few coupons for today’s trip to the store, enough make-up to freshen up, pocket package of Kleenex, a single package of gum or breath mints, one hair utensil to get the job done, and a digital photo key chain.

She who has ears, let her hear.

Hear then, the parable of the purse.

The woman who carries the AUSTERE PURSE may be in too much of a hurry to enjoy life.  Her goal is to get there, legally with her driver’s license, pay for her purchase, and get home.  She is not in the mindset for a spontaneous stop to visit with a friend.  She is not prepared for those little emergencies that arise; therefore they become crises.  Her life is organized, but perhaps lacking beauty and wonder.

The woman who wields the PLETHORIC PURSE thinks she’s prepared for everything life throws at her.  She believes she has taken care to have a response for every problem, a cure for every ailment, and a word of encouragement for every down soul she meets.  In fact, she’s continually flustered and frustrated, so she’s ineffective with what she has.  If she could just find that hot chocolate she could have a meaningful visit with a friend.  This woman could be a blessing, but she’s too busy digging around the junk in her life to understand the real needs of those around her so her ministry is usually weak.  She wants to be helpful and available, but her burdensome approach to life is a hindrance to sincere ministry.  She has mistaken stuff for substance.

The woman toting the USEFUL PURSE is not burdened, but prepared.  She knows where she’s going and has the needed items to get the job done.  She is equipped to effectively handle emergencies, to be spontaneous in her response to events of the day, and react sincerely to opportunities for ministry.

So, what’s in your purse?  What is your approach to life, friends, and ministry?  Do you have things so streamlined that your ministry is shallow and your friends feel processed?  Are you so concerned with “getting it right” that you never get down to ministry or friendship?  Or are you the woman with the USEFUL PURSE?  Just ready to fulfill the call the Lord has put on your life, not stripping the call to the bare minimum nor losing the call in the midst of the stuff of life.

Linda Baker

For Women’s Ministry 2010

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hints of heaven

I realized it some time ago.

When there was no church calendar, when a missions conference was needed, when Kingdom Kid’s pre-school co-op needed field trips.  I realized that I have the spiritual gift of administration.

I truly love organizing events, groups, functions and watching the moments unfold with hints of heaven hidden within.  The newest administration thing I’m working on is the women’s ministry.  This is one, however, that is challenging in ways that I didn’t foresee so the dynamic of pulling this together is quite different.

But the reward is IMMENSE!

We had a gathering on Saturday.  Our gatherings have been a variety of things: game night, scrap book night, spa night which included a journey into the experience of foot washing, and Operation Christmas Child box compiling night–complete with piles and piles of wrapping!

Saturday was a prayer emphasis night with a dear sister sharing some of her insights about prayer–and then we prayed.  We prayed for the hurting nation of Haiti and we prayed for the college/military young people of our church.  What a blessing that was to join our hearts together for these things!

And then we enjoyed our “hang out” time.

There were numerous humorous moments during the evening.  There were serious discussions.  There was sharing of information.  But the thrill to my heart, as I observed first one group then another, was the underlying foundation of love — and the strengthened bond as we took time to just be together.

As we laughed, shared, cried and prayed I believe we each experienced moments with hints of heaven hidden within.

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I’ve just come downstairs from having a truly delightful time with friends.  I’d been running about a week behind and suddenly realized that our women’s meeting will be happening Saturday evening and there was no structure to it.  So the planning meeting was quickly scheduled and then moved to my house.  I  had not been excited about doing this meeting … not that it seemed like a burden, but there was just no anticipation.

The girls arrived and we got to work.  We laid a plan and threw in suggestions for ideas on how to make our gathering Saturday flow well and be enjoyable.  We talked about the plan for the evening, talked about refreshments, and wrote notes to some of our college students.  And things kind of slowed down.  And this is where I typically get nervous … how are we going to bridge this “meeting” into a fellowship time.  The planning is needed, but the necessary thing is for the women in our congregation to get to know each other in small groups and bond.  I didn’t know how that next step would happen.

As it happens, one of the girls began asking funeral questions.  It became apparent that a tour of the facility was needed so we went out to the other room and began sharing about the remodeling of the facility and other things.  And soon, the conversation turned to the portrait in the “green” room of our first child; and the conversation became a living testimony to God’s grace.

I got to share a multitude of “baby” stories; a new friend shared some of her experiences as justice of the small town to the north of us and of her missions trip experience; one of the other girls shared about her trip while the other two got to talk to Bud who had just come in from a Lion’s meeting.  (Remember the one who started it all by asking funeral questions?  Well, I directed her to the expert and she kept him talking for some time! 🙂 )

I believe that fruit of the evening is a connection I got to make with this newest friend.  We could have talked and talked, but alas the evening had to end sometime … text from her husband —

“must be some humdinger of a planning meeting…have you solved the world’s problems?”

response:  “no, but we’re working on it.  The brownies will be a help.”

from her husband:  “chocolate solves all problems women have.”

Well, chocolate got the credit again.  Actually the fellowship, laughter, and joy in the Lord solved all the issues we approached tonight.  When we have our world peace meeting, we might need the chocolate too.

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