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Women’s convention stresses passion for God, heart for ministry

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Beth Moore encouraged them to challenge their culture. Mary Kassian urged them to develop a more intimate prayer life. Marcos Witt reminded them that God always keeps His promises. And when the three-day gathering ended March 6, the 3,500 women who had traveled to Orlando, Fla., agreed that the Christian Women’s Convention, sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources, was a spiritual success.

Moore, women’s Bible study teacher and author, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about culture’s influence on society and how Christians are often looked upon with scorn.

“More and more we are moving toward a time when our culture is telling us [Christians] we are stupid,” she said. “But, let me tell you — and I don’t mean to be unkind — we are not the ones who are stupid.”

She said that everyone seeks fullness for their lives in one form or another.

“We want to be filled up; we need to be filled up,” she said. “Seeking this filling, our culture tells us we need more, more, more.”

But only God and His holiness can fill that empty place, Moore said. The only morality people have is what comes from God. Aside from Him, there is no foundation for morality.

“Without Him we are insatiable,” Moore said.

The convention was the first of three planned for this year. The other two will be in San Diego July 8-10 and in San Antonio Dec. 2-4.

“LifeWay values the many contributions women make in our churches,” said Gary Aylor, director of LifeWay’s central operations area that oversees women’s enrichment events. “Our hope is that the women who attend these conventions will go away with a passion for God and a renewed heart for their personal ministries.”

The convention speakers and leaders were selected with the local church in mind.

“What the women get at these events are some of the same areas of involvement in their churches, such as teaching, music and prayer,” Aylor said.

Prayer was a recurring theme during the event. Many of the women had their first introduction to Canadian author Mary Kassian, who led the women in a directed prayer time using the names of God as a vehicle for prayer.

LifeWay recently published Kassian’s new book and video, “Vertically Inclined.” The study features a mountain climbing theme and speaks to women of the adventure of climbing higher with God and developing a closer relationship with Him while scaling the mounts of anticipation, allegiance, appraisal, affliction, affection, abundance and adventure.

Twenty-five women from First Baptist Church in Lake Wales, Fla., made the one-hour trip to Orlando to participate in the convention.

The women at First Baptist are going through two Bible studies written by Beth Moore, said member Judi Whitaker.

“We came primarily because we wanted to have a chance to hear her teach,” she said.

Whitaker, though, said they became excited about the other speakers as well.

“Praying the names of God with Mary Kassian was very meaningful and moving,” she said. Whitaker said she had never heard Kassian speak before, but after the prayer experience, was looking forward to doing one of Kassian’s studies.

Whitaker said she and the other women from her group appreciated the depth of the studies and the speakers at the convention. A high school reading teacher, Whitaker said she appreciated the speakers who “talked to us so intelligently and with such knowledge and conviction.”

Marcos Witt, who won the 2003 Latin Grammy Award for Christian Album of the Year, was a new program personality for the event. Witt combined Latin music and Bible teaching, generating energy among the participants.

Witt grew up the son of missionaries in Mexico. “I may look like a Gringo,” he said with a smile, “but my heart is pure Hispanic.” His ministry takes him from his home in Houston to Central and South American countries where he focuses on leadership training.

Witt reminded the group that God always keeps His promises.

“One of God’s promises is that we will experience tribulation,” he said. “That’s a promise. If you haven’t had it yet, don’t worry; it’s coming. Don’t look for it. It will show up. That’s a promise. But another promise is you won’t go through it alone.”

For information about LifeWay-sponsored Christian Women’s conventions, go to www.lifeway.com and click on the events tab, or call (800) 254-2022.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: WORKING ON THEIR VERTICAL and GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.

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  • Polly House