Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who's Reaching College Women?

Today I'm at Northeastern University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I've never been to this university, but I'm excited to meet some of the young women who attend. Tonight our office is hosting a special Girls Night Out event with speaker and author Marian Jordan.

I was first introduced to Marian two years ago when a friend called me from Houston and encouraged me to hear a young woman from his church who was beginning her writing and speaking ministry. When I hear the words, "Seriously, she's the next Beth Moore", I just chuckle. For now, at least, Beth, seems to be the "standard" by which other women speakers compare themselves.

What I have discovered is that Marian is not another Beth Moore. Which is really good thing. Because Marian is herself. She has an incredible testimony of God's grace and redemption on her life. She shares passionately from God's word and she has a calling on her life to reach college-young women with the Gospel.

Tonight college women will have the opportunity to hear Marian speak from her first book, "Sex and the City Uncovered." She reveals the lies that our culture has fed to women and presents the truth of God's word with conviction. Please pray for girl's hearts to be touched and tender towards the Holy Spirit.

Also pray for mid-October when we're bringing Marian back to the University of Oklahoma for two Girls Night Out events. One will be focused on sororities and the other will be geared towards the non-Greek crowd.

Who else is reaching college students? Look no further than Baptist Collegiate Ministries that are on every campus in our state. These ministries provide a vital outreach and discipleship for students. We're excited to be partnering with our BCMs to bring these events to college campuses.

For more information about Marian, go to her website at or visit our website at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Praying for Students and Schools

There's been a positive and negative to not having a teenage driver at our house. The negative is that Courtney needs me to make sure she gets to and from school every day. The positive is that Courtney needs me to make sure she gets to and from school every day.

Each morning on our way to Putnam City North High School, we get about five minutes to just make sure we're on the same page with our schedules. I really do love time in the car when there are no distractions. I also love that I get a visual every morning of the students that walk the same halls with my daughter. If you haven't been to a high school in a long time, it's worth a trip just to see what students wear--including piercings and hair colors!

This morning as we approached the drop off area, I couldn't help but notice a young man who was talking with two women. He was weeping into the shoulder of one of them. I have no idea what was going on in this young man's life, but the mom in me just wanted to make sure he was going to be o.k. Think about it. It's not often you see high school boys sobbing and no less in front of hundreds of other students who were walking past him on their way to class.

So what can we do? We can pray. I prayed all the way to work this morning and just asked the Father to comfort this young man in whatever is going on in his life. I may never know his name or his circumstance, but I have the great honor to bring him before my Heavenly Father who knows it all.

Our children and our schools need our prayers. I think one of the greatest prayer organizations in the world is Moms In Touch. They are incredible pray warriors and they are holding the ropes for our schools. If you've never participated or you'd like to find out how to start one for your school, visit their website at

Our children also need to pray for their schools and for each other. One of the greatest prayer events of the year is coming in two weeks. Encourage your student to participate in See You At the Pole. Students will gather at their flag poles on Wednesday, September 23. They will pray for lost students, for teachers, administrators and more.

Let's do more than just think about praying today. Let's make it an integral part of our daily life.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Eph. 6:18

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Carry Your Love

I have a particular affinity towards the apostle John. Who can't help but love the apostle who's main theme was the topic of love? Even Jesus called him the disciple He loved.

Church history records that even in the last days of John's life on earth, he encouraged believers to "love one another." For someone who saw God's love demonstrated on the cross and witnessed every other disciple martyred for their faith, John knew the cost of love. He also knew that true love was only an overflow of what God had done in the hearts of those who followed Him.

When our office talks about "echoing His heart", we are saying that love cannot be contained. It must be displayed in our actions. Whether its serving in our local church, giving to missions, or being light in our world, we must carry our love to those who do not have a relationship with Christ.

I have the privilege of helping our state learn how to carry the love of Christ through the Edna McMillan State Missions Offering. Each year, our office begins in January and we think about how we are going to encourage Oklahoma Baptists to give to state mission causes. This year, more than a million dollars will be given to share the love of Christ through 25 various ministries.

I'd like to give you a quick picture of some of the ways your dollars are at work in our state and why it is important to give.

1. We are a state that is seeing tremendous growth in our Hispanic population. Many of the Hispanics are first generation immigrants, which means their English is poor and their work ethic is high. But many of them do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. State Mission offering dollars provide several opportunities to strengthen this work. Ethnic evangelism events are an entry level opportunity for Hispanics to invite their lost friends and families. Church planting is the next step as there is a continuing need for more Hispanic congregations around the state. Finally, there is a need to equip Hispanic leaders for these new churches. The Robert Haskins School of Leadership offers tremendous educational opportunities for these new pastors and leaders.

2. Evangelism is at the forefront of everything our convention is about. The phrase "impacting lostness" is not just a cliche, but a strategic effort to help churches reach their community. In the coming year, the BGCO will be concentrating on a major evangelistic effort called "My 3:16". Part of your mission offering dollars will provide materials and media to spread the Gospel around the state of Oklahoma.

3. Did you know that some of your state mission offering dollars goes to encourage international missionaries with Oklahoma ties? Each year our office has the privilege of sending Christmas gifts to missionaries who are from our home state. While the amount is not much, it is one way to show them how much we appreciate their commitment to reach the nations for Christ.

That's just a few ways your state mission offering dollars are making a difference. Will you help Carry the Love of Christ to Oklahomans?

For more information, please visit the BGCO website at

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Week of Dealing With Loss

Last Sunday morning I had the privilege of teaching the large group lesson to our high school students at church. We are teaching through the book, "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. The chapter we discussed was based on James 4 and how our life is like a vapor. While we boast and brag about our plans and what we will do, James reminds us that we never know what each day will bring. Those verses became more than just a teaching lesson this week. They became my life.

Tuesday morning our office had volunteers at the BGCO helping us stuff 600 packets for our upcoming SWEET Saturday event. (We are thrilled that so many women will be coming for this day of leadership development) In the midst of finding boxes, my assistant received a call from one of our state leadership team members. Another team member who lives in Woodward unexpectedly lost her husband the night before. Our hearts sank as we grieved for Judy. Little did she know that she would say goodbye to Brad that morning and not see him again. We are mourning today with Judy and her sons as they say goodbye to their Godly husband and dad. Yes, our life is like a vapor.

On Wednesday, I experienced another loss. I woke up that morning to turn on my computer and it wasn't starting. After taking it to the local Apple store, I was told that my hard drive had crashed and would need to be replaced. While it can be fixed, my stomach turned when I realized that I have the last three years of family photos on that hard drive that are not backed up. While I did not lose a family member, I feel like I've lost some precious family moments. I'm praying that I won't have to mortgage my home to retrieve some of the data. The verdict is still out on that one.

Thursday, I experienced another loss. Maybe "loss" isn't the right word--but a life transition. My husband and I took our first born to Norman and moved him into the dorm. While I know every mom does make it through this ordeal, I can't help by consider the loss of not having Conner in his bed every night and not seeing him at the dinner table. While he is doing cartwheels at the University of Oklahoma and enjoying his new freedom, there is a twinge of loss we are feeling in our family. I can't imagine what you moms go through that send your children overseas. I'll just take one step at a time!

So, what have I learned this week? First, in the midst of any loss, we must trust God. If we live our lives in fear and worry, then we are basically living in disobedience. I will remember Philippians 4:4,6 daily.

Second, our lives have one focus and that is to bring glory to God. While we are only here on earth for a short time, let's make our lives point to Him.

Finally, we do need to live as if we might meet Jesus today. The reality is that some day all of us will face God and give an account for our life. Do we play it safe and not live fully for God? What have we risked today so that others would hear the Gospel. Are you ready?

James 4:14 "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Issue We Don't Want to Talk About

God's timing has always been an amazing mystery to me. Whether it has been the timing of a job, the gift of finding a husband, or preparing my heart for ministry, I love the way He goes before me and puts things in motion.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had read the book "Starving Jesus" this summer and wondered how God was going to use that in my life and in my ministry. After today, I think I'm beginning to get a glimpse of where God is taking not only me, but Christian women in Oklahoma and in our nation.

Two weeks ago I sat with Diane Daniels from national WMU and we talked about the national emphasis that will begin in 2010. It's not an easy subject, but it's very real. The subject is human trafficking and human exploitation. Last week I met Debra Epps, the Site Coordinator for a new Christian Women's Job Corp in Muskogee. They will be mentoring women who are struggling for hope in the midst of many issues. Today I was privileged to sit among a group of women who make my ministry look wimpy. It was an FBI task force that is working in conjunction with Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans (OATH). Many of these women work with the justice system, the Salvation Army, United Way and the YWCA. There was one church represented and I was the only representative from a faith based organization.

I don't think it's a coincidence that all three of these conversations happened within two weeks. I believe God is orchestrating something much bigger.

The reality of domestic human trafficking is shocking. Let me share a few statistics with you:

1. Oklahoma is number one in the nation of women per capita who are in prison.
2. Seventy five percent of the women in our prisons have experienced abuse.
3. Oklahoma is number four in the nation of women being murdered by men.
4. Oklahoma is number one in child abuse. This leads to teenage pregnancies, teen prostitution and a myriad of other issues.
5. Currently the FBI has 100 open cases of child abuse in the Oklahoma City area.
6. Eighty (80) percent of human trafficking cases involve teenage girls.
7. It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 children in the United States who are being trafficked. (some estimates put this number at 300,000)
8. The average age for a girl to be involved in teen prostitution is between 12-14 years of age.

Mark Elam, the Director for OATH, shared a national video with all of us that gave us a short picture of what is happening. Can I tell you how my heart sank when the first image was shot at a truck stop right here in Oklahoma City? That's right--Oklahoma City! Because of our interstate crossroads of I-40 and I-35, our metro area is ripe for human trafficking and teen prostitution.

While this is a difficult subject and it is so complex, I have to tell you that I literally felt ill at my stomach during this meeting. What I heard was that there are no easy answers and there is little education. People just don't know what is happening.

So what are we supposed to do? What am I supposed to do? How do I encourage women to embrace and echo God's heart for the world and challenge them to get their feet dirty?

First, we need to educate women in our state about this issue. You can bet that you are going to hear much more from me on this subject and enlightening women to what is happening in our state. I plan to invite Mark to our next state leadership team and begin the process of helping women understand this issue. We must not be silent any more!

Second, as women of faith, we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we must look for practical ways to meet the needs. Whether it's housing for victims, Celebrate Recovery programs, life skills education or even self defense classes, women in the church must pray about how they can be the hands and feet of Christ.

Third, I'm grateful for what is already happening in our state. Dayspring Villa in Tulsa, House of Healing in Oklahoma City, Christian Women's Job Corps, Free at Last ministries, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Hope Pregnancy Centers and many others are already in the fight. Will you support them with your prayers? Will you financially support these ministries? Will you be a volunteer? If you need help connecting, contact our office. There's opportunities for you and your women's group to get involved.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities

I get to spend quite a bit of time traveling Oklahoma highways and turnpikes. It's all part of the job and I actually enjoy meeting new people and seeing how churches are impacting their communities for the Kingdom of God. Today I got to see two very different examples.

I left Oklahoma City among thunder and rain around 8 a.m. and headed towards Tulsa with Paula Adams. Paula is on my state leadership team and just happens to be the wife of my team leader. While most of my trips are made Lone Ranger, Paula got to be Tonto today and I was grateful!

First stop--Old Time Pottery in Broken Arrow. I know that doesn't sound like a place for ministry, but it was a necessary stop to purchase 220 ceramic plates for our upcoming Ministry Wives Weekend October 2-3. All of the participants are going to have time to make a special plate for their family during the weekend. Paula and I just looked a little crazy with four shopping carts of white plates!

After making our purchase, we headed towards FBC, Broken Arrow, to meet other women's ministry leaders who are partners in bringing the You and Your Girl event to the Tulsa area on Saturday, September 12. LifeWay Christian Resources sponsors the event which features author and speaker Vicki Courtney. If you are the mom of a tween or teen, this is a great opportunity for you to spend a quality day with your daughter and have solid teaching spoken to you and to her. I was especially encouraged to watch a music video by the worship leaders for this event. The duo is called Sonflowers and I really like their song "Legacy" (not the one you are probably familiar with) Congrats to Kelly Boudreau who is also on my leadership team for organizing the luncheon and being the city coordinator for this event.

Following the luncheon, Paula and I made our way to Muskogee where we meet Debra, the site coordinator for Oklahoma's first Christian Women's Job Corps site. They have spent two years in preparation and are about to "take off" and receive participants in this program. CWJC sites help women in mentoring situations that offer hope and a future through Biblical instruction and practical job preparation. They are going to meet at Central Baptist, an older church who has graciously opened their doors and given them space to meet and office. I can't tell you how pumped I am about this new missional opportunity for women. Please pray for them and find out how you can volunteer or support their work.

Two cities. Two churches. Two very different methods. One crucial mission. While looking at each from the outside, you would think they are night and day. But each has a heart for reaching women with the Gospel of Christ and providing eternal hope. It was a good day on the road.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A SWEET Time for Women's Leaders

Are you a women's leader in your church? Do you sense God calling you to be a leader in your women's ministry and just don't know where to begin? Whether you have been in leadership for a short time or you are seasoned veteran, our S.W.E.E.T. Saturday event is just for you!

For years I've searched to find quality leadership training. While there are a lot of great opportunities, there are very few conferences which specialize in reaching the women in your church and in your community. That's why our office is sponsoring S.W.E.E.T. Saturday. S.W.E.E.T. stands for Statewide Women's Enrichment and Education Training and is coming Saturday, August 29 at Del City, First Southern Baptist Church.

The registration cost is only $35 (if registered by August 10) and includes the following: general worship sessions featuring Dr. Rhonda Kelley and Paula Hemphill, 20 seminars and forums with specific missions and ministries training, lunch and breaks, and two great resources: a customized flash drive which will contain the handouts from most seminars and the Bible study, A Woman's Guide to Servant Leadership, by Dr. Rhonda Kelley.

Because this is a power-packed day of learning, we suggest you bring an entire ministry team to attend. This gives you the opportunity to scatter for various seminars and then sit down and collectively share what you've learned.

Want to hear more? Go to our website at and click on the SWEET Saturday button. You'll see a detailed schedule, descriptions for seminars and an online registration form.

We hope to see you and your friends there! Look for more blogs this week which will give you a preview of what to expect at SWEET.