When I left off yesterday, I told you I was eating lunch with some new friends at the “Life in Balance” conference in Chattanooga. I had gone to hear the FlyLady speak, but I ended up having this fabulous conversation with these very Spirit-filled women. I wanted to know how in the world their church was so passionate about knowing God.
They shared with me that their pastor had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit at the Glorieta conference center in New Mexico. He came back a changed man and set about renewing the vision for his church.
Well, I wanted to know more details. I love Glorieta! I went there last fall for a writer’s conference — here’s what it looks like.
“You should read his book,” one lady said to me. “He wrote his whole story in a book. It’s in the church bookstore. It’s called Awakened by the Spirit by our pastor, Ron Phillips.”
Oh, I wanted to read that book!
We talked for a while more, then I felt like I should get back to the sanctuary, so I’d be on time to finally hear the FlyLady speak. As I was about to leave, I decided to pass out a few of my cards — they have my website on there, and you just never know. I’ve been to enough of these conferences to realize that every person you talk to is probably a Divine appointment; it takes such effort and expense to go to a conference that each conversation may have a significant impact on your life.
Then one of the ladies asked if she could pray for me. Pray for ME! So we all held hands, all seven of us, and they prayed for me, that God would reveal His purpose for bringing me here. One lady had mentioned before that this verse was on her heart for the conference — Psalm 139:16: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
She said she believed God had “ordained” (called) each woman who came to this conference. Um … that would be … me.
WELL! Can you imagine being that nice to a stranger? I thanked them for their prayer, and then I headed back to the church building. On the way, I saw the bookstore, which drew me in like a magnet. I walked in and started looking around. Right away, I found Ron Phillips’ book, Awakened by the Spirit, published by Thomas Nelson.
I really wanted to read it! I picked it up and flipped through it, but I couldn’t justify buying a book when I’ve already got a dozen books I need to review. Then I saw that this pastor had written another book called Kiss of the Father, and it was published more recently. I thought it might make a good book for my CWO “Book Buzz” column next month, which will be featuring books written by and for fathers.
I didn’t know what to do. I wanted them both. But I knew I probably should only buy one.
Then a lady I recognized from lunch walked over and said, “I’d like to buy one of these books for you. God prompted me to come in here, that you were going to want to read these books, and you could only buy one. Well, you’ve got to read them both. They’re all part of his story.”
I couldn’t let her do that! “Oh, that’s OK,” I told her.
“No, really,” she smiled. “I’d love to do this for you.”
I was about to cry. Why was she being so nice to me?
So she paid for one of the books, and I paid for the other. I immediately went out to the auditorium and started reading, devouring Awakened by the Spirit. It was the story of a burned-out pastor who was on an airplane to New Mexico to speak at a retreat. He had just finished typing out a resignation letter on his laptop; he was so burned out and ready to QUIT.
But at Glorieta, he heard a powerful speaker one night — and then he sensed God’s presence filling him as never before.
I had to stop reading, as the conference started back up. And this time there were awesome praise singers. No shouting. Just music that filled the room with beautiful praise.
Next, there were some prize giveaways, and a short mini-drama about a woman who discovered how the secret to balancing all the things we have to do in life is through prayer, through Christ.
Then Marla Cilley (FlyLady) spoke, and I heard her say the words I know God wanted me to hear. She said, “God has a purpose for each of your lives. My mission is to help each of you find time in your day to fulfill that calling. If I can help you save time by getting your household routines in order, you’ll be able to do those things you’re called to do.”
Can you believe that?
But I still had more to learn. I came home and read that whole book in nearly one night. It ties in so well with all that we’re learning in the Beth Moore study about the Holy Spirit. Here was the story of another pilgrim, another example of a changed life through the power of God.
Those ladies who prayed for me have no idea how much I needed to read that book! And of course they also had no idea that I have a means to share what I’m learning with people around the world! If you’re at all feeling burned out and wondering if the Holy Spirit even exists, I highly recommend Awakened by the Spirit.
The funny thing is, if it weren’t for you blog readers, I would never have gone to this conference! So, thanks!!