In PART 1 of my RETREAT AND BREATHE recap, I set the stage and shared a little about some of the people and features of the 2.5 day conference. We met Carole Wolaver, The Pottery Lady, and took joy in how God uses the arts to manifest His glory and truth. And, we enjoyed some of the campus green as I toured through a swift survey of my time there.
But, the highlight for me were all the general sessions and excellent workshops that kept my pen flying over the page attempting to capture the most precious gems for further study and prayer. Here, in PART 2, I will explore some of those jewels in more detail.
All the workshop teaching was done by college staff except for the four general sessions keynote speaker, Christie Lothamer. Christie was actually a BBC alumni and is currently working as a missionary with her husband in Bicester, England.
Bless her! She flew back to the states and her Alma-mater to share at the conference. Christie and her husband, Jeff, are missionaries with Greater European Mission – reaching Europe. Her passion for discipleship struck a chord with me. I love teaching and discipling women and young people who truly want to know God and shine for Him in this dark world!
My pen was poised and ready for note taking with great expectation . . .
Christie began with the key word – our conference theme: BREATHE. She likened “breathing” to “believing”:
Breathing is to the physical life what Believing is to the Spiritual Life.
We all experience watershed moments in our lives – those times when we come face to face with something that has not been before. We are faced with making a choice. Things are brought to crisis and a decision must be made. Mark 1:15 records just such a moment for all mankind:
“The TIME promised by God has come at last!” He (Jesus) announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent and Believe in the Good News!”
Breaking this verse down into a word study, Christie introduced us to the Greek word “kairos” (ki-ro’s) translated “time” – but also carrying with it the meaning of “an opportune moment in time” or “due season.” In addition, we looked deeper into the meaning of some of the other words in this verse:
Announced = Proclaimed
Kingdom = Rule
Near = Within Reach
Repent = Change Mind/Paradigm (in the present imperative verb tense meaning “ongoing action”)
Believe = persuaded to have complete trust and confidence in
Good News = Gospel
NOTE: Don’t you just love a good word study? I do!!! At the conference they have a workshop demonstrating an amazing computer program tool for Bible study called LOGOS. It comes in a variety of affordable options – but the whole kit and kaboodles is pricey. If you are a student at Baptist Bible College, you are required to purchase the complete program for your studies. It’s on my wish list – love the user friendly layout. But, for now, I make the most of Blue Letter Bible with enough bells and whistles to be going on with.
Walking in Kairos
Everyday we experience “kairos moments” – when we come face to face with a situation that may stir negative emotions and the temptation to sin by acting out in the flesh. This is an OPPORTUNITY for God to show up in the moment when we make a conscious choice to “repent” – change our mind to disarm our flesh – and believe God, walking in the Spirit.
The questions are asked:
What truth of God am I NOT believing in this kairos moment? EXHALE – Repent.
What truth of God do I need to believe in this kairos moment? INHALE – Believe . . . BREATHE!
To breathe believing what God’s Word says in our kairos moments is to live! Truly live!
Inspired by the landscape of the campus, I have summed up the rest of her sessions in a series of memes. We explored four truths about God that we must BREATHE in and believe.
God is Great
Thinking we have to control things causes us to live in stress. When the disciples were stressed with the thought that they had to figure out how to feed 5000 men (not to mention the women and children) with a barely a loaf of bread, they began to panic in their kairos moment. Impossible, they argued!
But – get this: They were standing in the actual, tangible presence of God! Jesus was THERE – in the moment! They didn’t have to be in control – Jesus already had the multitudes fed and full. God was in control – the disciples didn’t have to be – weren’t equipped to be. But – God IS! All they had to do was obey – pass out the bread. God’s provision in our lives is the only control we should seek – truly sufficient and then some, because He is a Great God. He’s got your impossible under control!
God is Glorious
A scale provided as a visual aid embellished the point that God – and God alone – is worthy. He carries more “weight” than any other being – flesh or spirit – could ever pretend to carry. The Glory of God in all the earth proclaims Him above all, in all things. When we give more “weight” to the opinions and demands of others, as though they were God to us, we fall into the “People Pleaser Trap.”
God is Good
Disappointment combined with unbelief in the goodness of God leads to discontentment. We are not willing to wait on the Lord and may rush ahead – choosing unwisely in a “kairos” crisis moment. The truth is – God is worth waiting for because He is good. I need to keep this ever before me and repent at the notion that God is not good enough when the world heaves its trials in my way. Then – walk in the confidence of His goodness in my life.
God is Gracious
The story of the prodigal son returning to his father who ran to meet him with a robe and a feast – though he deserved none of it - is GRACE. God is GRACIOUS – choosing to see Jesus instead of our Fail. When I repent and believe I can be confident in not needing to prove myself worthy – Jesus is worthy. IN CHRIST I am already proven before God. The cross goes before me – proving me into the graciousness of God.
In the end – Christie said all that to say this: After you hear what God says – go out and live it. LIVE by BREATHING.
Breathe out repentance in the kairos moments – Breath in confident belief.
Breathe in “I Believe” – Breathe out “Help my unbelief.”
And, as one of my favorite worship songs of the weekend refrained:
Taking it home, I was renewed and invigorated. No matter what I left back home in my office and backroom – I needed to BREATHE these truths. I needed to not allow myself anymore distractions and tighten my focus on God. When I do that – all those other things that concern me will become clear in the way I ought to walk. In the next thing I ought to do.
Each of the four workshops I chose built on one another and the four sessions Christie taught. I did a workshop on regaining my identity in Christ, organizing my physical world, discouragement, disappointment and depression and a fascinating workshop on understanding social media from a Biblical perspective.
It was in that workshop I bumped into Julie Wilson of Whimsical Words –
Fun Note: We were both wearing necklaces crafted by the same artist – she bought hers online and I found mine in a shop in the arts district where I live. They were words taken from dictionaries and placed under glass in a pendant with a single bead. Her word was “quiet” – LOVE IT! Mine is “creative” . . . go figure.
Closing out the conference with joyful worship, everyone was ready to return to their homes and put into practice all the greatness, glories, goodness and grace the Lord ministered to us over the weekend.
Taking a deep breath – I have much to do. As a matter of fact, as I write this I’m working in my newly de-cluttered office and thinking fondly of my freshly de-cluttered back room, too! I have my work set before me on a LIST – and since Monday I’m crossing off my projects that had been dragging since the doldrums of winter.
Yay! – Just in time for SUMMER!
Thankful beyond words for the privilege of joining my dear friends on this retreat conference – and now am setting my sights on my next conference – The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference at the end of July!
But – that will be another post.
Sharing Retreat and Breathe: Part 2 this week with:
Judith at Wholehearted Wednesday
Jennifer Dukes Lee at Tell His Story Link-up
Jenifer at Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays
Thought Provoking Thursday at 3D Life Lessons
Laura on Faith Filled Friday at Missional Women
Fellowship Fridays at Christian Mommy Blogger
Still Saturday with Sandra Heska King
Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays
Sunday Stillness with Janis Cox