Friday, March 02, 2007

Please pray for me!

I am speaking at a women's retreat for the Village Church of Barrington and really need you to pray for me! I have asked you all to pray for me before and I really can tell the difference when there is an army of prayer support around me. I am speaking about "Encounters With Jesus".

The first one Saturday night will be about the woman at the well. I will talk about the relationships forged at wells, Abraham's servant meeting Rebekah, Jacob showing off to Rachel by rolling the stone from the well, Moses drawing water and impressing Zipporah, etc.

This well, Jacob's well, is also where Dinah was violated by Shechem and her brothers had all the men of Shechem circumcized and killed. The well is also in the area where Joseph went to look for his brothers and was thrown into an empty cistern. I will talk about relationships gone bad, the rejection, emptiness, and barrenness this woman must have felt at losing love five times until she finally gave up on commitment and just lived with a guy. Empty cisterns vs. wells of living water. What brings living water into our lives? How do we keep our relationships fresh. We have the awesome opportunity to sit with Jesus at the well and experience the living water that flows out of our innermost being and displaces the guilt and shame of our brokenness.

Then on Sunday morning I will talk about the resurrection of Lazarus. How Mary and Martha didn't understand what Jesus was doing when he waited to come until Lazarus died, but that Jesus waited purposefully so that God would be glorified. Sometimes it seems like God doesn't show up when we call and we have to go through the valley of loss. We get to the end of our hope. The situations in our lives are beyond hope, they are dead, stinking dead. Yet Jesus would come and ask if we still believe, do we believe that God can resurrect any dead thing in our lives? How do we respond to the call of Jesus to "rise up"? What are the cycles of death that we are caught in and what would those situations look like if Jesus raised us to life? Do we really believe?

I am always a bit overwhelmed at the responsibility of speaking and having something meaningful to say to a group of people, but the preparation time is always a time when I learn so much. I am the one who benefits most. This morning God gave me Hebrews 13:15, "Through Jesus therefore, let us continually offer to Gad a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess his name." The "fruit of lips" seems to imply that the words are the outward evidence of inner growth. My speaking must come from deep within, not just flowery words. And it all comes "through Jesus".

OK, back to my study. Please help me by praying for my focus and clarity and that God would give me the skill to be able to craft a structure that harnesses the thoughts and that God would be glorified through me.


Anonymous said...

Love the idea of relationships forged at wells. Can I take that idea and run with it for a message that might really work for Ascend...and later at women's retreats? It would be fun to compare notes after the fact and see how similar or Not the two messages were. Did everything go well? Or is it yet to come?

Arloa Sutter said...

Of course Anita! There is so much in that passage. Like all Scripture, it just doesn't end. I think we usually hear the story told by male preachers who focus on Jesus going out of his way for this sinful woman, while women tend to relate to feeling like the broken woman. Most of us have felt a lot of hurt and rejection in relationships and relate to that shame and pain.