ST. LOUIS (BP)–Even though Jesus was tired and thirsty in the middle of a hot day, he felt renewed after reaching out and meeting the needs of a lonely outcast, Janet Parshall told a capacity crowd at the Ministers’ Wives Conference June 11 in St. Louis.
Parshall, a mother of four, is the host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Janet Parshall’s America” in Washington, D.C., and “Renewing the Heart” program produced by Focus on the Family.
Speaking on the theme, “Renew a Steadfast Spirit within Me,” Parshall said Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman despite the day’s societal predisposition to shun women. Even as the unnamed woman dug in the 150-foot well to get water, Jesus dug into her heart, revealing her secrets and her deepest hunger for intimacy and love.
“What secrets are keeping you from experiencing life abundantly?” Parshall asked the women at the annual gathering held in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting.
Like the Samaritan woman who had been “tossed from man to man,” many wives feel the pain of abortion, affairs and prodigal children in their lives, she said.
“God wants to refresh you, heal you,” she encouraged.
Noting that the world is watching “the followers of the Messiah,” even as they watched the refreshed Samaritan woman, Parshall asked, “How are you living?”
Turning her attention to the post-Sept. 11 environment in Washington, Parshall continued, “Given the events of the day in which we live, it would be easy to hide in fear. But God has not given us a spirit of fear.
“The profound reality is that God has dropped us on the historical timeline for such a time as this.
“The days are only going to get darker. Let your light so shine, so that others who are thirsty can meet the One who knows all about them,” Parshall said.
Just as Jesus told his disciples about the life-giving “food that they knew nothing about” after his encounter with the Samaritan woman, women can feel renewed, refreshed and restored when they reach out to others, too, Parshall said.
During the conference, the 2002 J.M. Dawson Award, which recognizes “distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church,” was given to Jeanette Henry, wife of Jim Henry, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., where they have served for the past 25 years.
Nancy Sullivan, wife of Florida Baptist Convention Executive Director John Sullivan, was recognized for her efforts in raising the Ministers’ Wives Endowment Fund. On May 17, Sullivan reached and exceeded her $200,000 goal. The fund reduces the cost of luncheons to make it affordable for ministers’ wives to attend.
Contributions still may be made to the fund by contacting Sullivan at the Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207.
The officers for 2003 Ministers’ Wives Conference are president, Janet Hunt, wife of Johnny Hunt, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga.; vice president, Pam Agee, wife of Bill Agee, director of missions at Mt. Ridge Baptist Church in Glendale, Ariz.; recording secretary/treasurer, Tammy Litton, wife of Ed Litton, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in North Mobile, Ala.; and corresponding secretary, Janice Thomas, wife of Claude Thomas, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas.
The featured speaker for next year’s conference in Phoenix, Ariz., will be noted author and speaker Liz Curtis Higgs.
The luncheon, always held at noon on Tuesday during the SBC annual meeting, is open to all wives of ministers — pastors, staff members, chaplains, missionaries and denominational workers.