I can’t believe that it has already been three months since we met at Pink Impact. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were being challenged and inspired by our team of speakers. During our time together Chris gave us an update on the A21 Campaign and you all were more generous and giving than I could have hoped. We were also introduced to the International Justice Mission. IJM is an organization that fights for human rights and justice for victims of slavery, sexual mistreatment and other forms of violence. Together we signed over 2000 letters asking our congressmen and women to support the Child Protection Compact Act which will put a stop to this modern day act of slavery. Below is a letter of appreciation from IJM for our support.
I am so proud of you and how you have stepped in to help these organizations as they continue to seek justice for our sisters around the world.
What a joy for me to hear of the strong IJM support this past month at the Pink Impact Women's Conference! Thank you for joining IJM and sending cards to encourage Congress to support the Child Protection Compact Act. When Holly Burkhalter, IJM Vice President of Government Relations, hand delivers the cards on Capitol Hill, it will make a powerful statement that Texas cares deeply about victims of human trafficking.
Here are five ways to be further involved with IJM today:
Careers: Know a friend who would be interested in working with IJM? Check out the latest job openings.
Freedom Partner: Join the growing movement of IJM Freedom Partners by investing $50 or more a month in the work of justice.
Prayer: Pray for IJM and receive a weekly confidential prayer update via email. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and say "sign me up!"
Twitter and Facebook: Follow IJMHQ and IJMcampaigns on Twitter and become a fan of IJM on Facebook.
The need for justice is enormous as there are 27 million slaves still in our world today. Thank you for partnering with IJM. We are excited for what God has in store for you and us as we live out his call in Isaiah 1:17 - to seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.
Vice President of Church Mobilization
How do say “great job” when someone exceeds high expectations? What do say when you want to heap lots of accolades on a worthy recipient?
Such is my dilemma.
Pastor Arnita Taylor has been the kind of fixture that adorns a place and is so vital to its operation. Under Arnita's tenure, we have seen explosive growth in our women's small groups. To her credit, it has not been wildfire growth. Instead, she has systematically added groups by empowering women to lead. Landmark victories have been made and in the process Arnita has lavished love on so many. She has invested her heart and soul into seeing others reach new growth…and we have all applauded her.
Now it is our turn to applaud Arnita again as she turns to seek new personal growth. Pastor Arnita has resigned her position at Gateway to pursue a master’s degree in leadership development. While serving as our women’s groups pastor, God awakened Arnita's heart to see people become the leader that God designed them to be.
I have thought about how I could express my gratitude to Arnita. I kept falling short with what I felt was an appropriate expression. But then I remembered the words that we should all seek to hear our Father God say, "Well done good and faithful servant."
Well done Arnita! You have excelled at the task you were given and we are better as a result.
Perhaps you have a personal note or story that you would like to share with Arnita, or maybe you have an eloquent way to say “thank you.”
Would you please leave a comment, send an email or send a card to Arnita? I know you will want to join me in saying, "Well done good and faithful servant."
Just so you know the plan, Pastor Lynda Grove will be assuming the leadership of Pink groups for a season. So if you have been thinking about leading a group this is a good time to jump in.
After two amazing weeks in two amazing churches we are headed to New Zealand to a pastor's conference. It is our last trip with Elaine before she gets married in about 30 days so we did some of the tourist things. We also had the privilege of worshipping in two passionate worshipping churches: Planetshakers and Hillsong. Robert got to share The Blessed Life messages, shall we say in “heaps” (an Aussie word for a lot). Robert also spoke at Hillsong's staff camp where international pastors from South Africa, England and Denmark were apart. Elaine and I got to attend a women's conference one night where Lisa Bevere was speaking. We have discovered a new love, Tim Tams (see picture below). Aussies use them as a straw in hot drinks but they are so good alone. And we got to see the Slovers, a Gateway family that moved to Australia. Nannette sends her love.
I have to admit I am a bit homesick. It is great here but it isn't home. I love Gateway. I love our church family. I am keenly aware of God's bountiful grace which is on us. When we travel we are an extension of you, our Gateway church family. As a church we have experienced God's kiss of favor which we are all to be grateful for. But it is also wonderful to travel - forever it seems, around the world and find fellow brothers and sisters in God's family. We learn from them and they learn from us. Our relationships make us all richer.
Thank you my Gateway girlfriends for enriching my life. I love you.
This week I celebrated an amazing milestone. Robert and I celebrated thirty years of marriage. I have joked that our wedding party placed wagers on how long we would make it. We were high school sweethearts who married a year into college with no money.
Statistically speaking, we are the exception, not the rule. However, believe it could be the rule if we were willing to die to selfish ambitions and desires, and choose to love unconditionally. The thing about dying to ourselves is that we can be dying to ourselves in one area and resurrect in another.
In our early years, one area that caused friction for us was when Robert failed to pick up after himself. He would leave dirty socks lying around. So I would decide to not complain or be ugly…but I kept score. Finally, something else would provoke me and I would unleash my pent up anger and frustration. The mere fact that I kept score revealed that I had not died to my flesh.
In honor of my friend's friend, Maria, who was recently brutally murdered by her abusive husband, I want to say that dying to ourselves does not mean that abuse of any kind is acceptable. Abuse is always wrong. Speak up if you are in an abusive situation.
Now, thirty years later, I am grateful that we stuck it out in the hard times. We share such a rich life together that includes three great kids with awesome spouses (and a future spouse) and two precious grandkids. It hasn't always been easy, but so very worth dying to some petty issues and some rather large challenges while choosing to love anyway.
By the way, Robert is now better at picking up after himself than I am! Years ago I could not have dreamed that marriage could be this good and rewarding. I highly recommend doing it God's way.