If you lead or disciple women in any way, I want to ask you a question. What are you hearing from them regarding this past year of COVID and all the other issues we all have faced? Here’s some positive things I’ve seen or heard:
- Our family has had more time around the dinner table than ever before
- The pace of my life has slowed down…and that has been a good thing
- I have had more time than ever to develop my relationship with the Lord
- I must place my hope on eternal things; earthly things have fallen away this past 12+ months
Yes, there have been many negative responses and experiences as well. People have lost jobs, health, political and social unrest, finances, and the joy of being with people in person. Most of us wearied of online church and zoom meetings. But, for sure, God has been at work in so many lives.
Recently, Jim Denison quoted Desmond Tutu in one of his Daily Articles: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” Here’s my question for you is: are you ready to disciple women who have seen that the only secure hope they can have on earth, and for eternity, is hope in Christ Jesus? Are you ready to walk with them as they take the next step in their spiritual journey? We must answer the question today, “What now will we do to encourage women to grow as disciples in one of the most opportune times we have ever had?”
A couple of years ago, our congregation was encouraged to pray for revival and spiritual renewal. What we are experiencing right now in our church is none other than an answer to those prayers, and, at least partly, a result of our year of quarantine. I am so grateful that our pastor allowed God to renew his own life, then led his staff and our congregation to renew ours and allow the Holy Spirit free “reign” to flow from our church to our community and, prayerfully, beyond! In my lifetime, I have never experienced the revival that we are witnessing right now!
As she shares about Elijah’s stops on the way to Mount Carmel to defeat, through God’s power, the Baal gods, she focuses on how Elijah first needed these stops to develop his faith and dependence on God.
Delays and isolation have purpose for us as well. Many women want the end of the pandemic restrictions, but, some do not want to go back to their pre-pandemic life exactly as it was. They want to take what they’ve learned and walk forward in their relationship with the Lord and with people.
Priscilla said in this study, “Sometimes in order to get us adequately prepared for the moments to come, God may not allow us to return to the way things used to be, the plan where we could easily become lulled into complacency…and rob us and Elijah of the character required for Carmel.” Elijah learned to depend on God alone for provision at the wadi where birds provided bread and at the widow of Zarephath’s home where her flour and oil lasted just long enough!
Perhaps women are at that place of knowing they must depend on God alone since other things they’ve been depending on are gone: jobs, finances, health, national security, and even relationships. They want hope in something or Someone who is secure, and they are ready to be held to a higher accountability in spiritual disciplines, disciplines that flow from their own life to the lives of others. What are you doing to prepare for this growth?
I am encouraged by the fact, as Jim Denison mentions in this post, that people are so hungry for God right now that the #1 Apple podcast, 48 hours after it launched for 2021, was The Bible in a Year by Mike Schmitz. But, as people read, they need to know how to engage the Word in a way that is lived out in their lives. That’s what discipleship is all about
Next week, I am going to share about the D-groups I lead, and that are happening throughout our church and many other churches. Even though I’ve written about these in the past, I want to give you details and resources in the next post once again, prayerfully, to inspire you to disciple women, by this method or another that you choose. You know the quote, “strike while the iron is hot.” Let’s not miss this chance in history to lead women to know and grow spiritually as they are seeking that eternal Hope we know as Jesus Christ. Here is where you can read that post.