Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A weekend of encouragement...

On Saturday, David and I had the immense privilege of heading towards Portsmouth and leading the worship at the Solent Women's Conference. What an encouragement! Just over 200 women gathered together along the south coast to hear Val Archer and Ann Benton open up the scriptures and think through what "True Worship" really is.

We had a fantastic time of corporate worship, singing truths about the greatness of our God, listening to the scriptures explained, and learning about the kind of people God calls us to be. The morning was kicked off with Romans 12 v 1 - a verse very dear to my heart and one which really summarises what the day was all about...

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.
- Romans 12:1, The Bible -

We spent the morning looking at what the Bible says worship is... a life given to God. Its not about what we do - we no longer have to come with our offerings, our tick-list of good works or our piety. No. It's about what Jesus has done and our response to that. Ann Benton reminded us that "true worship is when we leave knowing that God is huge, and that we are tiny" Its understanding things in their true perspective.

In the afternoon, Val spoke very practically on what a life of worship looks like and about how to keep going when we don't feel like worshipping. One of the things she reminded us of, was that worship is about making the right choices... its all too easy to make excuses, to allow the guilt complex to kick in. But actually, all of life is worship if my eyes are fixed on the Saviour - whether I'm cooking the dinner, reading my Bible, travelling on the bus, or working on my 40 bags challenge!

Between the talks, we had some great times singing God's praise. It was so encouraging to look out on a sea of faces singing with all their might! It was clear to see that these women loved their Saviour and were eager to bring him glory with their voices... I didn't know any of them, and yet these were my sisters in Christ. And it was amazing to think that one day, we'd be doing this again...

The guys from 10ofthose.com were there with some great deals as always... we were so busy prepping, I sadly didn't get much of a chance to peruse the books... but we're off to New Word Alive in a couple of weeks, so I'll grab my opportunity then!

We had some fantastic times of singing together; some brilliant lyrics that just focussed my mind so much on the truth of what we were learning... that God is indeed a great God who is to be glorified through the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was a long day - we were there at 7.30am and left at 5pm, but what a joy to serve these women and be encouraged and challenged myself... God is a great God, Christ is a great Saviour... why wouldn't we give our lives as "living sacrifices... holy and pleasing to Him"?

PS - for those wondering what we did with the baby for the day, she came with us and was an absolute star! My Mum was resident babysitter and did a fab job keeping Ava entertained (although to be fair, wherever there's music playing, Ava will kick her legs to her hearts content!)

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