Saturday, February 27, 2016

IF:Gathering 2016

A movement began a few years ago, led by a sweet lady named Jennie Allen in the Austin area.  I don't really have the whole history & background on what made them choose the name "IF" but it is basically a smaller version of Women of Faith.  It's a Christian women's ministry.  While there is an IF:Gathering every year in Austin, the ministry stretches beyond that.

Local groups around the globe (called IF:Local) meet and watch the live stream version of IF:Gathering.  There is also IF:Equip which is a year-round, day to day Bible study you can sign up for via their website.  There are also IF:Tables where you have mini IF:Local get togethers with your local church group or ladies in your community where you eat dinner together & use the IF questions provided to you to create a Christ-centered conversation.  It's a whole big thing, basically.

Last year a local church hosted an IF:Local event on the day of the IF:Gathering in Austin.  I planned to go but then came down with the flu, so I watched the live stream at home.  Fortunately my family wanted to stay far away from me that weekend so they left me alone to listen, pray, worship & digest all the speakers' messages and to sing (quietly, with a croaky voice) in the privacy of my bedroom.  So this year when that same local church began talking about hosting another IF:Local event, I quickly bought my ticket.  That event was last night & today.  I took lots of notes and wanted to share a few tidbits from different speakers throughout the weekend, but decided it was a little too much for a Facebook post.  Although I suppose it wouldn't shock any of my FB friends to see a 400-mile long post.  Let's just be honest.  I talk.  A lot.  So this blog post was born.  If you missed attending the conference or just don't know what IF is like, this are some of the high points that I took away from each of the speakers I heard.

Jo Saxton
Here is her facebook page:

If you're looking for someone who can take a world of chaos & bring it into order, look at Jesus.

He is the redeemer of your life.  When you think about the cross, take it personally.

The word redemption means to buy back what was lost.

He is the one who restores your purpose.

Jennie Allen
IF Founder
Here is her facebook page:

You have to put your dirt out for Jesus to wash you.

Eugene Cho
Here is his page:

The tomb is still empty!

Are you more in love with talking about & singing about Jesus than actually following and living for Him?

5 fears in every human being:  success, power, $$, popularity, beauty

There are so many voices seeking to twist & distort the words of God -- you must regularly hear the voice of God (prayer, reading the Bible) to overcome all the other voices.

The grass might be greener on the other side, but use that revelation as a sign to water the grass you're standing on more!

Shelley Giglio
Here's her twitter page:

It's interesting that Mary Magdalene didn't immediately recognize Jesus when she first saw Him after the resurrection. How often does God do something in our lives and we don't even see Him?

Your words and testimony are powerful because of what you have seen & experienced. People don't seek help, encouragement, friendship in people who are just speaking from words in a book or platitudes.

Jen Hatmaker
It's probably wrong to say, but she's my favorite.  I seriously feel like she & I could be sisters or best friends or separated at birth.  I want to go hang out on her porch and just talk.  Every day.
Here's her website:

Love God. Love people. That pretty much sums up the Kingdom of God.

Love & live so that the world looks at you and have to draw no other conclusion but that you've been changed by God.

Love people with dignity -- no condescension, no pity, no shame.  Love them as friends, not as a project, not a charity case, not a "goal" to reach.

Power & superiority are fueled by fear.

If you love people the way you should, the way Jesus loves, you should expect obstacles, tension & trouble. Often FROM OTHER CHRISTIANS. Who will you stand by when you're not afraid?

Jesus was scandalous from the day He was born. He didn't pander to the popular -- He came to SAVE.

Jesus is not afraid to recklessly love you.  He is not ashamed of you.  He doesn't wish He chose someone less messy.

Lauren Chandler
Here's her facebook page:

(looking at the story of the woman at the well)  The woman's jar was empty & needed to be filled over and over and over.  The jar was fragile and breakable.  What is the jar in your life? Leave it at the well with Jesus and accept His living water --- no more jar to heft around.

Bianca Olthoff
Here's her facebook page:

God is not a genie in a lamp to be rubbed to get what we want.

Faith consists of believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.  (quote from Voltaire)

Angie Smith
Angie is right up there with Jen.  I love her so very much.  I feel like I actually KNOW her.  But of course I don't.  She lives in Tennessee.  She's a little farther of a drive but if she has a porch, maybe Jen and I can come hang out on it with her.  Here's her facebook page:

Her talk was brief, but brave.  She spoke about the story of Abraham & Isaac's trip up the mountain when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son.  One quote stood out:  "You may not be sure of the ram, but you can be certain of the Lamb."

David Platt
His facebook page:

1.  Recognize the unique place God has put you.
2.  Realize what's at stake in the lives around you.
3.  Remember the purpose He has given you.

What will it take for all the unreached people of the world to become totally intolerable to the Church?

Share the gospel even if it makes you look for feel strange.  Love makes you do strange things.

From Jennie Allen's closing:
People want God.  They don't want our hate & condemnation & judgement.  Why would they want to come to God unless they've seen a compelling life with Christ in you?

So there we go.  Obviously there was MUCH MUCH more & there was tons of Scripture referenced, but these were my big high point notes that I wrote down.  I hope they bless you!

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