Why you need to be more Interdenominational……..

Women of the Way 2017 is almost here!!!!

More than 6 years ago, this idea of women from different churches coming together has grown and blossomed into such a beautiful gathering of the Body of Christ!

Each year, I love seeing women connecting, making friends, getting to know each other. We are inspired by the messages from amazing speakers and learn about the organizations that accomplish such great work in our community.

My favorite thing though?…….Oh……my absolute favorite thing about WoW is at the end of each session. We all hold hands with each other, and we say in unison the one prayer that brings us all together.

Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen

It’s one of the MOST beautiful things to experience in a church setting.

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Maybe it’s just me…..but it feels like the Father is just smiling down on us. It feels like the unity of his daughters radiates such pleasure from Him!

And that’s why, I believe, you need to be more interdenominational.

Gathering with other believers brings unity, oneness, and love.

It reminds us that we are part of The Body of Christ, not just our own denomination.

It calls us to something bigger than our own little corner of the world making us more aware of how the Spirit is working all around us!

To help you get ready for this year’s gathering, I put together this free ebook  “Prayers and Meditations for Unity” to describe why I feel unity and oneness in the Church is so important with prayers and Scripture to prepare your heart. Click on the link to download your copy here.

You can also get your own copy of “Building Unity”  on some practical ideas on how to actually experience more unity with other believers.

Yes! Each of our own churches and ministries are so vital and important.  I don’t want to take away from that, but taking some time to be with other believers has the potential to revive us in a unique way to keep pursuing our mission!!!

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I really hope to see you at Women of the Way 2017. God has always been faithful each year, and I anticipate this year to be no exception!! Check out the Facebook event page for the latest info and details!

Download those ebooks too! I would love to hear if they were helpful to you!

~Amy

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All of You…Together

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,“He traps the wise    in the snare of their own cleverness.”[b20 And again,“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;    he knows they are worthless.”[c]

21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter,[d] or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Why does Women of the Way gather to study and fellowship together?

All of you together are the Body of Christ.

All of you together are the Church of God.

All of you together are the Bride of Christ.

 We are stronger when we are unified. We are more effective when we work together.  We are One when we love each other.

Our theological and doctrinal differences are minor in light of the children going hungry, the women enslaved for their bodies, the missionaries enduring persecution, or the nations without the Scriptures in their native language…all of whom need a Savior.

So let us step out of our neat little boxes that we retreat to on Sundays. Let us break out of the comfort zones of our hymns, bulletins, and worship songs. Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world outside beyond the particular sign over the door.

“We are One in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love”bodyofChrist

~Amy

Christian Women’s Club

Women of the Way is nothing new. The gathering of women from different congregations to seek God and encourage each other is not a novel idea. There may be fresh faces and energy, but the movement is not new.

Many of you (in the Lincoln County area) may remember the After Five Club that started in the late 1970’s, where for several years, Christian women would meet at the Country Club or a restaurant to invite and share their faith with unchurched women. These ladies hoped that meeting at a public place would draw women who might not feel comfortable in a church setting. They also held prayer coffees on a regular basis. “Many lives were changed in Fayetteville, lives rededicated and some ladies were saved.”

What you may not realize is that this ministry has its roots with one Irish immigrant woman from California in the early 1930’s. Mrs. Helen D. Baugh was a preacher’s daughter who passionately shared God’s Word, sang, and evangelized in rural towns all over California with her two sisters. When she became a wife and homemaker, she began prayer groups of women in their homes and also started a gathering called The Christian Business Women’s Council of America which was a dinner program to present the Gospel to career women. This ministry eventaully became known as Stonecroft Ministries which spread nation-wide as well as into several countries. In 1967, the After Five Christian Women’s Club, evening outreach groups for women, were introduced and finally reached our area in the late 70s.

A small group of women from that ministry in our town still exists, and they still meet once a month in each other’s homes for Bible study and coffee. I was honored to meet some of the ladies (and some I already knew but didn’t know they were apart of this group) a few months ago. It was such a blessing to hear about how these women from different churches, different denominations have been gathering for so many years to pray, study, and encourage each other. What a beautiful example of the Body of Christ!

Photos courtesy of Helen Lowe
Photos courtesy of Helen Lowe

IMG_8920 IMG_8927  IMG_8930

So, Women of the Way may not be new idea. Ok, it may even be a reinventing of an old idea if you will. But how cool is that?!? I am in awe of such a legacy. A legacy that began with one woman who simply loved to share the love of God and to pray with other women and spread into a ministry of thousands of women who advanced the Kingdom of Heaven!!

If you have ever been a member of the local Christian Women’s Club, thank you for your dedication and ministry to our community. Thank you for your dedication to God.

As we prepare for Women of the Way 2015, I pray we are as passionate about advancing His Kingdom as Helen D. Baugh was almost 100 years ago. I pray we are united in one heart and one mind, despite our doctrinal differences just like these wonderful women in our community, to focus more on Who unites rather that What divides us to becoming passionate, devoted followers of Christ!

Join me?

~Amy

PS…if you are interested in the Christian Women’s Club, contact me and I’ll get you the info!

Why Bother?

I prefer to associate with people who believe like I do……….

It’s more comfortable to stay within the walls of my own church…..

My denomination has it ‘right’ and others…well… don’t.

Why bother?

We all have our justifications for why we worship with a particular denomination. And with good reason…..drums vs no drums, hymns vs praise & worship, eternal security vs not, wine vs grape juice, tongues vs interpretation, large vs small…the list goes on and on. All these variations of worship help us connect to God in ways that suits us best, and we find community within the Church with like-minded believers to support us in our journey.

Not a thing wrong with this!

But….how often do you engage in spiritual conversations with someone from a different part of the Body? I’m not talking about awkward holiday dinners with family members or debates with zealous co-workers or the uncomfortable avoidance of the nice, young men on bicycles. Rather, when was the last time you had a genuine conversation with someone from a different denomination and sought to understand why they believe the way they do?

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical L...
English: Communion setting at an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America worship service: an open Bible, both unleavened bread and gluten-free wafers, a chalice of wine, and another containing grape juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through my travels of different church experiences and meeting all kinds of people, I’ve discovered some valuable lessons along the way:

1) Discussing with others about how I interpret the Bible helps me understand better what I believe.

When I have to study, reflect , and intelligently articulate a doctrinal belief, I better understand what I believe and why I believe it. I often come away from the discussion encouraged and my faith is stronger than ever.

2) Talking and asking questions helps to clear up misconceptions.

Often what we think we know about a denomination is a bit skewed. We think we know all about a church by what is a stereotyped, limited idea such as “all Pentecostals handle snakes” or “all Catholics pray to Mary”, etc.  Asking sincere, honest questions can make me realize my opinions may have been formed by cultural stereotypes or lack of information.

3)  Realizing God works in lots of different ways helps me let God out of my box.

Sure, it feels a bit like my solid foundation is turning sideways and I’m slipping off hanging onto to my comfortable beliefs by my fingernails. Talking about other doctrines and interpretations just sometimes feels flat out wrong. But then, I realize God is WAY bigger than my predictable box and He can handle all the differences.

4) Discovering others’ journeys helps me realize how much they love Jesus.

Yes, there are fakers and pretenders in every brand of faith, but once I get to know how sincere a person is in their belief, I realize how much they actually love Jesus. Granted, it may look a lot different than how I love Jesus, and they may practice their worship differently than me. But, I still have to appreciate how God works uniquely in people’s lives, and He’ll use anything to draw people to Him.

Corcovado jesus
Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

5) Becoming a better Christian is the goal.

When I better appreciate other people’s perspectives, I am more understanding and less critical. I am more loving and less judgmental. Isn’t that what unity is all about? In this way, we all become more like Christ.

I am in no way suggesting “anything goes” in regards to doctrinal belief and Biblical interpretation. Nor, does it mean I will agree with everyone’s different perspective. I certainly have a clear view of what I believe and why I believe it. I definitely have my opinions about different denominations too. But I have come to learn that God has us all in the palm of His hand, and I trust that He’s got it all under control. And I am better off when I bother to share these conversations.

If you proclaim Jesus is Lord, then you are my sister!!

I invite you to share you experiences with Christians in other denominations. How has your box been stretched?

~Amy