PART 3 FROM 2 TIMOTHY 1:6-7 PASS IT ON
I pray you have all experienced the deep love I experienced last week. I attended the Christian Communicators Conference 2020 at the Billy Graham Training Center The Cove. A conference for Christian speakers (and writers–because every writer is a speaker, and every speaker is a writer). And as much as it was a training retreat, it was even more so a spiritual retreat.
And in so many circumstances my favorite verse (the topic of this four-part blog series), was emphasized over and over again.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) …for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
This week…His LOVE overwhelmed me.
I am in awe as I reflect back on the jam-packed schedule. It was exhausting, but in the most exhilarating way. Personally, I was running on Holy Spirit strength, adrenaline, and ketones. I am so appreciative of the super-powers of our fearless directors, Tammy Whitehurst and Lori Boruff. They got way less sleep than I did.
And how did they power through a five-day conference with little sleep? LOVE. The spirit of LOVE. They loved us well, and their love poured out through His gift of the Spirit of love.
THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.
Just as Paul encouraged Timothy to not shrink back in a spirit of fear, but instead cling to the spirit of love, he encourages us all throughout his New Testament writings to love. God’s love equips us to love others well.
How do we love others well? I experienced three ways (although there are many, many more ways to show the love of Christ) this week:
1. Be Self-Sacrificing
Simply put, adapt a servant’s heart and meet people in their need. During the conference, our directors knew our need to be filled and equipped with practical and solid knowledge of pursuing a ministry as a speaker. They have years of experience which they selflessly poured into us. Tammy explained she was not building up competition as speakers, she was building the kingdom of Christ. They planned and prepped and prayed and powered through five purposeful days because they put others above their own needs first. And in return, those of us who participated loved on each other well, too. We will fan this flame as we go out into our individual communities and callings. In what area of your life is the Holy Spirit prompting you to serve the needs of others over yourself?
2. Be Bold
The exact opposite of the spirit of fear’s intent. Loving others well means being courageous in sharing the truth of the gospel, no matter how others might perceive us. I happened to have been surrounded by very bold women last week. Every single conference attendee faced the challenge to boldly share their hard stories. Emotions were high, nerves were on edge–but we loved each other well and encouraged each other to do this hard thing all for God’s glory. It’s no wonder that public speaking is listed as the number one fear in the world. I imagine that Timothy felt pretty comfy as a side kick to Paul’s ministry. But with Paul in chains, it was time for Timothy to pull up his big-boy britches and courageously share the love of Christ in a pagan world. How is God equipping and calling you to boldness?
3. Be Vulnerable
At the heart of love is authenticity and vulnerability. When we share our hard stories in a personable and vulnerable way, we connect heart to heart; that is lovely and a perfect example of love bearing all things. Personally, fear kept me in isolation for years, and sometimes a little spike in fear will send me into hiding. But I am blessed by a tribe of sisters in Christ (my sister-friend-framily) to share my weaknesses, my struggles, and my hopes and dreams. In return, I love to hear their stories. To pray for them. To offer welcome advice in their hardships. To be a cheerleader. I love them! And this has emboldened me to share my hard stories with you. Do you have a tribe or an outlet to be lovingly vulnerable? Your story could be just the lifeline that a timid sister needs to hear.
lavish in his love
Just three short years ago, I could not have claimed any of the above: self-sacrifice, boldness, or vulnerability. BUT GOD, rich in mercy, grabbed my heart and filled it with His love. Of course, I’m always a work in process as He continues to restore, renew, and redeem my life. He wants to do the same for you! Are you ready for His love?
I’m so excited to announce that I’m a Christian Communicators Graduate 2020! If you are a christian communicator, I highly recommend this conference. Feel free to ask me for more information about my personal experience.
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Blessings and JOY,
What I’m singing today: Stand In Your Love by Bethel Music & Josh Baldwin