Tonight’s Activity: God sees great BEAUTY and VALUE!

The best elementary school rooms I see are plastered wall to wall with imaginative paintings, pictures, sayings, writings. These are each works of art that “tell” stories about the children. What does Alyssa dream about?  Her art looks so brave and bold? What does Matthew want to do when he grows up? It appears that Anna is a poet and Erin loves little doggies! Noelle wants to move to Mars!!!

IDEA: Take the time to explore the value of each woman present.  “Make it your mission to underscore their great worth and abilities.  During this session, you are asked to have some freedom from the traditional weekly schedule you might follow.   You want to allow them to express who they are- understanding that you are facilitating the process.

watercolor woman with butterflies

Ladies enter the room which has been set up with paper-covered tables, art supplies and worship music playing in the background.  Begin with your welcome and prayer, then invite them to take part in a new activity!  The activity they are being invited into is to reveal their true identity:  NOT BY WORDS… but on paper (a roll of butcher paper would be great!). Pictures, poetry, magazines can be placed on each table, from which the ladies can cut out pictures, words painted that express their hopes, dreams, prayers. At first- this may feel uncomfortable.. but you are prepared!   Have art supplies on hand. When you are done- adorn the walls and take a moment to look and comment on the whole of the project. Ask: What do you see here? I see God’s masterpiece within you! What do you see in one another’s work?

Still-way too often women hide their own talents and gifts in deference to serving those around them….or they feel they have nothing to offer.

The truth is- –
*No circumstance, mistake, problem or weakness is so big, that it can remove God’s unique expression of Himself in you.

blue butterfly

“Why?”, you ask.
Because God’s work of art in you is sealed with the Holy Spirit from the moment you became His. God’s work of art is insured by His love.
The amazing thing is this: God puts the brush in your hands and invites you to paint every day upon your canvas.

Don’t be mistaken. God is not afar away observer. He inspires us from within — by reshaping our hearts and renewing our minds.  You and I have a part in this growing art: to nurture our interests and rekindle our giftings. It is time to start living as God’s work of art. Because you are exactly that.

“For we are God’s masterpiece (the original Greek word poema is translated “poem“), created in the Messiah Jesus to do good works that God prepared long ago to be our way of life.” Ephesians 2:10

Don’t discount that voice inside you, the one you were born to speak in — whether you do it through writing, photography, cooking or engineering, teaching, crafting and anything else.

rainbow butterfly watercolor

Fine. Fine. REALLY, I’m FINE!

Program element to add COMMUNITY and a PHYSICAL ILLUSTRATION to support your teaching.   GOD’S PRESENCE AND OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE ANOTHER.
FineFineFineSo often we come together and forget that as the body of Christ, we should be a strong support for one another.  We carelessly say, “I’M FINE- REALLY- I’M FINE!” because to say otherwise would be to burden others with OUR problems.  Still, isn’t that what the scriptures teach us? It’s deeper and wider than that!

Pass out a little paper umbrella to those present.

Bear One Another’s Burdens      Galatians 6:2 ESV

 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 

Join into a circle

Leader: Somewhere in life we’ve wrongly learned that Christians are to be happy all the time- after all, being anything “other” reflects poorly on Jesus. And our wrong internalizations are reflected in the words coming out of the Church pulpit today- “Be ye, perfectionists, even as we are perfectionists”. (or at least it seems that way sometimes). When our lives are “sunny” this works, but when the STORMS comes… Well, watch out, my friend, we look all too human. What’s ironic- is that in the midst of our messy humanness-God allows those around us to connect authentically… and we learn that they are “experiencing downpours, and hurricanes of life” as well. And rather than being left sad, weak, and broken; we can find connection and strength- and the realization that God is right there beside us. Let your little umbrellas remind you that you are never alone-even when life “rains down on you”.  Bear one another’s burdens.  Hold one another up.   Silence is not golden.

#1. We are never alone. Hold one another up. *and #2 Restore one another.

We love the message of verse 2, but we don’t want to forget the transforming challenge of verse 1:

Brothers and sisters,  if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 

We understand that there are varying levels of spiritual maturity in any group.  As we gather there is a tendency to speak, to act and interact from our own.  Maybe it is time to speak the truth out loud – To refocus and make it a priority to truly “see” others (not just “ME”).  We need to look for ways to restore one another, to “gently” restore one another.  This word “gentle” is such an important 6 little letters.  Your first step might begin with prayer for God’s best in the lives of someone else.  Oh no!  This might mean that God wants us to pray for that “irritating person”.  Yes!  Exactly.  (*and sometimes, this is us!)

As we bring these two verses together they challenge us because if we are honest we admit that- we are all sinners.  Human and flawed.  We have knowingly crossed the line.  We have all broken God’s laws. This extends to our relationships.  Our words have been weapons. Our attitudes betray the truth of what is in our hearts.

But imagine now, your sisters in Christ surrounding you with love and gentleness- because we are in the business of restoration.  Forgiveness therapy, right?  “And as we bear one another’s burdens” – we are told, “we fulfill the law of Christ”.

So much to take in.  We need to internalize, then to externalize God’s Word as we live out our faith.   One verse does not stand independently.  Relationships are growing and changing and allow for opportunities to teach us to be Christlike every day- in practical ways.  Let the healing begin. Let’s join together to be a part of it.

I pray that you feel God’s presence today as you hear these words.  I am praying this for you.

May God renew your passion and transform the way that you restore one another in gentleness.  If one were to take the ministry of reconciliation seriously- think what miracles in the Church of Christ; the world would see!

 

 

Women’s Ministries Cafe Program

Create a “Coffee Tasting event” by simply brewing some good quality “regular” and “decaf” coffee… But…. the fun will be in the “topping bar”: whipped cream, caramel, flavored syrups, sprinkles, etc. Yum. Your imagination is the limit! Tea is always a great addition too! 

Option for a Ladies’ Night Out: Meet at a local Coffee shop having printed off “sealed order devotions.

DEVOTION: Sometimes we need a “get-away” to refresh and restore our well-being. Welcome to the Women’s Ministries “Get-Away Cafe”.  This time together is time-set aside to spend time in a safe loving environment. Life is filled with moments of elation and times of great loss. Every time we gather together we acknowledge that there are friends among us who are experiencing the spectrum of what it means to be human. (*prayers for your women-for one another).

And still, Christ is faithful. Tonight we choose to renew.  We choose to refocus on Him. We consider taking a moment to “have coffee” with the Lord.  He is: 
1. Our Counselor–John 14:26
2. Our Comforter– 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
3. Our Friend–John 15:15
4. Our Peace–John 14:27
5. Our Joy–Romans 15:13

Think about giving this gift to yourself- “Coffee with Christ” every day.
Not your daily routine, but a special time planned just for you and the Lord, similar to the way you’d plan a leisurely meeting with a close friend.
cafe