January 22, 2016
I am thrilled today to have a guest author for my email/blog – my wife, Becky!
I am taking over Arthur’s email/blog today to share with you something that has become near to my heart – the IF:Local we are hosting at St. Andrew for women in just two weeks. (Sorry, guys, but this conference is only for women.)
About this time last year, I found myself southbound on I-35 with a group of friends headed towards Austin for the IF:Gathering. I had been prepping to go for months, but truthfully, I had no real idea what I was headed for. My friends just kept saying, “You’re going to love it; it’s going to be awesome!” Never one to shy away from “awesome” things, I was in!
The event sold out in a matter of minutes, so the mere fact that I got a ticket told me that God was up to something and wanted me there. A little pre-event googling told me that it was going to be a weekend of rich worship, gifted speakers and probably some yummy breakfast tacos. It was Austin, after all! What I experienced, however, was so powerful that it is still hard for me to fully articulate.
Jennie Allen, the founder of the IF:Gathering, formed this event out of this question: If God is real, what does that actually mean for my life? For my friends lives? For this generation of women? Jennie felt like God was telling her to “disciple a generation.” This task seemed too big to comprehend even for her; but with unbridled faith and lots of talented friends by her side, she proceeded. This became the IF:Gathering – a place for women to gather together, be quipped and unleashed into the world to fulfill God’s unique calling on their lives. The focus is not on “celebrity speakers” but rather on what God wants to do in each attendee’s life. When I attended last year, I wasn’t sure what God had for me; but a year later, I can tell you that I still go back to my journals to remember who he called me to be that weekend. When I returned home, I told Arthur I felt like I had a mountain-top experience while simultaneously being kicked off the mountain! I knew that my job was to bring this experience to the women at our church.
In a few weeks, we will have the chance to participate in the IF:Gathering at St. Andrew. The real heart behind IF is to gather women together in the context of their own communities and share in this experience together through the IF:Local. On February 5 and 6, over 1,300 women from all over the world will be tuning in. We will be one of the thousands of locations across the world from Albania, Uganda, the UK, Australia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nova Scotia to Plano. In each of these places, women will gather together with people they live life with, ready to hear what God has for them.
Will you join us? Will you invite your friends to join us? Locally, we have set a ticket price of $40 to cover meals and materials. If that is hindering you from coming, please let us know, and we will make a way for you to attend. You can register online.
I want to leave you today with one thought that is threaded throughout all that IF does: Simple and Pure. Everything at IF is filtered through this idea, believing that the gospel does not need to be overdone. The gospel, while extravagant and scandalous, is at the core, simple and pure. Christ was born to save us, Christ died to free us, Christ will come again to rescue us. We are the ones who complicate this. When I get overwhelmed with fear or the complexities of God or struggle with what God wants from me, I go back to this. He loves me and is calling me every day to be more like him. Simple and Pure.
I hope you can come. I can’t wait to experience God with you!