By Jen Balkey, Women's Ministry Coordinator
Retreat Review: Our EMBRACE- Being Known and Making Him Known was a Spirit-filled time and our speaker, Kelly Knapp, brought us a practical message that challenged us to reflect and more importantly, move!
Yes, let’s face the truth…we have a BIG sin problem—the world is full of sin… but an even more important truth is that Jesus gave us salvation at the cross. We are recipients of His awesome mercy and grace! So what do we do with this? Is it enough to just know the truth? How do we move from just knowing to actually living out what we know? What do others see as important in our lives? Is it Jesus and the grace that He has given you that is driving you—or something else? People will see something in you—you must choose what that is. Why don’t you let those truths, your beliefs, be what impacts your behavior.
Romans 12 is what the women of Hebron studied at the retreat. Kelly Knapp opened our eyes to what God has done for us (Romans 12:1-11), and His call to respond to that great gift (chapter 12). We must LIVE in view of God’s mercy! What does that mean? It means that our lives should be changed and transformed because of the mercy we have received. What does the Bible make clear that we are to do? Be ALL in! “Present your body as a living sacrifice.” We are alive because God died—now we are to die (sacrifice our will to Him) so that we may truly live bringing life to others… JOYFULLY! EMBRACE the truth that on the cross our sins are covered, so although we live in a sin-filled world, and sin is very much with us, God SEES us as perfect. We ARE holy—so let that be seen!!!
In our everyday life are we busy just because we don’t know how to prioritize? Have you sought discernment from God for what things are actually important versus what things are urgent? Do you have something that is keeping you distracted (many things in our lives appear to be urgent in our schedules); but does that thing have actual importance eternally? Let us shift our thinking by having our ‘minds renewed’ by the Spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your path. How different will your schedule look? How different will your behaviors look? Are you letting the demands of a sin-filled world guide your path—our culture’s priorities or God’s?
Are you WILLING to EMBRACE the truth of what God has done for you and pledge yourself to Him in response? Is that amazing gift of grace that has been bestowed upon you as a believer really something you have thought about? At the retreat we took the following words written in Romans 12: 1(b)-2 as our pledge. Are you willing to do that?
“In view of God’s mercy, I offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God which is my true and proper worship. I will not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Will you seek to discipline yourself to be about God’s business—doing His ministry here on the earth—in your home, work, church, community, world?
Christianity is all about EMBRACING grace. We are totally complete in Him. If you believe that, are you willing to let that be known by others? In Kelly’s words, “Let your doctrine become your duty, your beliefs impact your behavior. Let’s not be about ‘words, words, words’ but allow grace to be our doctrine and gratitude be our ethic.”
We spent time in groups discussing the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to believers as He wills. Will you take time to discover and EMBRACE the gifts that God has given you? In doing so, you will be doing God’s work! The purpose of God’s gifts isn’t for our own purposes but “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12(b)-13
Is what you are passionate about known to all?!?
“Our ethic is gratitude in response to our doctrine of grace—EMBRACE grace, EMBRACE being a living sacrifice, and EMBRACE the selfless and joyful life of being a minister of the Gospel.” Kelly Knapp
EMBRACING God and all that that means may mean changing the way we live our lives. Change can be very hard. But God promises that we are not alone in that. He has gifted us gifts and put us in a body of believers. Let the Spirit move you and His Word guide you as you use those gifts for His glory.
Please let me know if there are any ways that I can be praying specifically for you! I would love to join you in your EMBRACING a transformed life! Email JLBalkey@gmail.com or call me at 412-551-4688.
Our next women’s ministry opportunity will be on Wednesday, July 12! Keep an eye out for details coming soon!! I hope you will consider joining us!