I was thankful to have the opportunity to attend the Women World Changers Conference in May. It was actually a two day conference but I was blessed attending the one day.
I found out about the conference by searching the internet. I was craving this type of gathering, God knew that and provided. It's amazing how He connects us to just what we need at the right time.
Women World Changers was started by a few women who wanted to fund various projects around the world in the name of our Lord. They thought pooling monies together, through fundraising, they could do the unimaginable. Since they started they've indeed done that. Check out their website to read more about them.
This was actually the very first conference they held. I sure hope it isn't the last because I'd definitely go again. I've attended women's conferences before but this conference was specifically held to encourage women to step out and live out the call God has put in your heart.
Each speaker used their own stories as a backdrop to encourage us to step out. Here's a recap of the Saturday speakers.
Spiritual Warfare & Marriage
Elaine Shepard shared how she and her husband almost divorced but made the decision to fight for their marriage. In addition to their relationship being shot, they discovered that the person handling their business finances had stolen from them, and they owed a million dollars to the IRS. They weren't only headed for divorce court, but bankruptcy as well! At some point they realized the enemy wants nothing more than to destroy their marriage. They decided to fight against the enemy's plan and work on their marriage. It was a tough road (and Elaine shared this in so much more detail) but they worked through their relational issues, and worked with the IRS to pay the debt. As they continued to trust God and do the hard work, their relationship improved and is better than it's ever been. And after nine years, they paid off the million dollars owed to the IRS.
She credits this to God, of course, but also recognizing that the enemy is real and doesn't want our marriages to succeed.
Don't Give Up On The Dreams God Puts In Your Heart
Lisa Liberatore spoke about the importance of pursuing the dreams and desires God put within us. She recently graduated with her Master's Degree, but when she initially applied to USC graduate school she was not accepted. She had sought God and believed this was her next step, but when she wasn't accepted she was disappointed, confused and wondered if she'd heard God at all. She surrendered it to God. The following year sensing she should apply to USC again, she did and was accepted.
Psalm 102:8 encouraged her to write down all of her desires, prayers and goals. This way she can look back to remember how God has answered and provided throughout her life. God has given her direction and by not giving up on her dreams, many of them have come to pass. One was graduating from USC, and another is happening later this year--she has a book coming out.
Lisa says not to give up if you believe it's God's will. Often it's not about whether or not it's His will, but it's more about His timing so don't give up.
Be Intentional In Your Relationship With God
Cathy Marchesani, one of the Women World Changers founders, talked about being intentional in spending time with God. It's in our quiet times with God that we are transformed. A good relationship doesn't just happen. Not one with your spouse, a child or a friend. You have to make it happen.
She also is a firm believer in fasting. Whether it's fasting television, a food, or whatever you decide to fast. She was on a twenty-one day fast when the idea for Women World Changers was born. She believes that making our pursuit of God a habit will do amazing things for our relationship with Him and will transform us.
Be a Woman Warrior
Dana Liberatore encouraged us to be Women Warriors. Women have big emotions but often allow them to rule us. Instead we can use our emotions towards the calling and passions God has placed within us. Often we tend to fight as being a victim not a victor. With anger instead of love. We can use our emotions to fight for God on behalf of the less fortunate. She has opened her home to college kids from Africa.
We must have a new mindset. Jesus wanted his disciples to learn a new kingdom mindset. Sometimes we have an "endure" mindset, we're just surviving life. But God wants us to bring heaven to earth. Live on earth with the authority of God. He has given us the keys to heaven (Matthew 16:18-19) and we must live like it.
She shared how when she was a girl she joined a sports team. She sat on the bench the entire time and vowed at that time she would never sit on the bench again. She has used this as an anology for her life in Christ. Vow to never sit on the bench.
God Needs Your Willingness
Caroline Barnett is wife of Matthew Barnett, founder of the Dream Center in Los Angeles. I had read her book, Willing to Walk on Water, a few weeks prior to the conference so it was good to get to hear her speak.
Caroline says that God has put a trigger in all of us. A trigger is the thing that tugs at your heart over a certain cause. She had already been serving at the Dream Center for a while before she learned what her trigger was. She got a call one day saying that a family needed groceries so she and another volunteer went to deliver food to a young mother of eight young children. The unkept children were so hungry that they started eating a raw zucchini that fell from the bag. Her heart wept. She couldn't believe that kids in the U.S., the richest country, were starving in their own home.
Even though she had been serving at the Dream Center who provided food to people through their food pantry, it took her being in the living room of these eight hungry children to see the true need. As a result she started the mobile food bank at the Dream Center, where food is taken to people who weren't able to come to the food bank.
Caroline used Exodus 35 to show how God used everyone to build the tabernacle. Likewise, He wants to use all believers to do their part in the world. Take the time to stop, listen and find out what your trigger is, and know how God wants to use you in a bigger way. He wants us to be His ambassadors in the world.
This small recap doesn't even skim the surface of Caroline's story and how she encourages believers to step out and serve God in a greater way. Pick up a copy of her book, Willing to Walk on Water, if you want to step out of the boat.
Possessed with Purpose
Heather Johnston encouraged us to be possessed with purpose. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they were given power. As they went out and did great things, people questioned their power because they were ordinary men. Likewise, we are all ordinary. We must intentionally align ourselves with God so we can do what He calls us to. Don't put out the Holy Spirit's power.
In 1997, she was hungry and desperate for more of God and his work. She sought God and sensed He was calling she and her husband to give away everything, to let go of her ideas for serving God including the Bible studies she thought she was to teach.
God put a verse in her heart -- Psalm 137:4-6. "How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy."
On a trip to Israel, an Orthodox man spoke this same verse to her. God was putting Israel on and in her heart.
She and her husband started JH Ranch in Northern California, an outdoor adventure camp, a partnership between Jews and Christians. They connected with the mayor of a city in Israel and eventually (it took time to get the mayor to agree to it) started a camp in Israel. (I found a great article on the ranch here: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2010/july/israeli-youth-center-combines-faith-fun/)
Heather encouraged us not to allow excuses to keep us from serving God in a greater way. (I'm too old, too young, I have a family, etc.)
Let God Show You Who You Really Are
Dominic and Lindsay Russo. Dominic started out with Luke 1:26-37 when the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would be pregnant with the Son of God, and that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant. Elizabeth had been barren for years and now older in age but as verse 37 says, "nothing is impossible with God."
Mary was a normal person but God called her to do something supernatural something she on her own wasn't qualified to do. She accepted God's assignment.
We all hold the ability for great assignments from God.
When she and Dominic were scheduled to go on a mission trip to India, she thought it would be a routine mission trip. Attending a conference a few days prior to leaving for India, a fourteen year old prayed for her and told her, "you will work with orphans the rest of your life." She didn't know if there was any truth to what this kid said, but it stayed with her. She had never been around orphans but she wanted to see an orphanage just to see what would happen.
While in India, a husband and wife took them to their home where they had a feeding program for children. Out back was a small building and inside the tiny room were 70 children staring up at her. After eating, the kids would go back into the streets. They were orphans.
Lindsay was devastated that these children had no place to go. No one to care for them. She asked God, "Why isn't anyone doing anything about this?"
She sensed God speaking to her heart saying I want you to build them a home.
She was only 23. What could she do? How was she going to build them a home?
When she and Dominic returned to the U.S. they told everyone about the kids and began to raise money to build a home for the kids. In 2010 they built the home, and Angel House Rescue Orphanage was born.
In 2011 they built 11 more; 2012 they build 22 more; 2013 they built 26 more; 2014 they built 14 more.
Recently started a safe home for girls and women who have been rescued from sex slavery.
How do you take the dream God put in your heart from conception to reality?
1. Like Mary, find your Elizabeth. Elizabeth believed in God's power because she was living it out. In her older age, she'd gone from being barren to carrying a child. Find another woman who knows God's voice and power. Surround yourself with these type of people.
Be careful who you share your dream with. Not everyone will understand. Often you'll find yourself in a dungeon experience like Joseph. He shared his experience with his jealous brothers and they didn't understand. However, as we know, God used the dungeon experience for good.
2. Don't accept the dungeon as your permanent place. If you find yourself in a dungeon experience (like Joseph), remember that this is only a bridge to the dream that God put in your heart.
3. Live without compromise. 2Tim2:20-22 (verse 21 says "If you keep yourself pure you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.") Keep yourself pure. Lay aside everything that is holding you down.
4. Release faith. Matthew 17:20. If you will give to God the smallest faith, authentic child like faith, God will do the impossible.
5. Let God show you who you really are. God showed Mary who she really was. God showed Joseph who he really was.
God showed David who he really was. His father, Jessie, thought one of his other sons would be king. God looks at the heart, not the outer appearance.
Ask God to show you who you really are. Arise to face the challenges. Stand as part of the solutions. Separate yourself from anything keeping you from who God wants you to be, who you really are. And have simple child like faith. Offer to God your mustard seed faith.
Whatever God is calling you to, don't shrink back, step forward and accept the assignment.