What I have come to love about the Orange Conference is how God uses it to bring new people into my life. And how He uses those people to draw me closer to Him. This year just before the conference and throughout the conference, I learned about the work God was doing in Washington DC with the National Community Church.
To be honest, I lived in Washington DC for 10 years. I met and married my husband there and both our girls were born in DC. But until the last few months, I had never heard of the church. However, with the increased use of Twitter and blogs, it is amazing how easily connected we can become.
I was introduced to Kelly Minter when we moved to Florida and I love her Bible Studies, so I follow her Twitter posts and blog. Kelly had read Mark Batterson’s book “Primal” and decided to let us all know how great it was via Twitter, so I picked up the book and started reading it. She was right! I inhaled the book. It was exactly what I needed.
Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC and also one of the lead speakers at the Orange Conference. As I learned more about NCC, I also learned that one of the resources they encouraged their members to take advantage of is a website called “From Garden to City.” This website leads the church through reading the entire Bible in one year.
I’ve tried this in the past, but have never been very good at it because I usually get bogged down in the boring parts and end up jumping back to James or Philippians or some book that is relevant to my everyday life. What I like about “From Garden to City” is that the staff also provides daily blogs that can even make the land distribution exercises in Joshua seem like they are relevant to my everyday life.
As I was reading the scripture and the blogs as well as listening to the corresponding sermon on podcast (which I downloaded for free from iTunes) on my walk last week, I was struck with the strong conviction that I need to do a better job of “marking and measure the work of God in my life.” After spending time watching the Israelites receive the land that God had promised generations before, the theme that Joshua tries to convey throughout their journey is don’t forget what your God has done for you in the past. Don’t forget where He has brought you in your life and what He has delivered you from.
Sometimes is it so easy when we reach a painful season in our lives to believe that God has left us or that we are far from him, when in reality He is using a painful or frustrating time to develop our character and bring us closer to him.
In Joshua 24, Joshua reminds the people of Israel exactly that as he recounts the history of the Israelite nation and says:
I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them. Joshua 24:13
Joshua had the people build physical monuments to remind them daily of the work that God was doing in their lives…of the blessings he had given them.
For me, that has become the main purpose of this blog, especially over the last year. It is a constant reminder of the work that God is doing in my life. And if I think back over my life there are so many times where God showed up and took care of me in amazing ways.
- Maybe it was the job that showed up a week and a half before the severance ran out,
- Or the high risk baby that was born with no complications,
- Or the move the Florida to bring me to a new level in my relationship with Him.
Each of those brought stress and pain and evidence beyond doubt that God was working in my life.
I am not a great journaler (as can be seen by the infrequency of my posts on this blog), but I must never forget to “mark and measure” what God is doing in my life. It is through my reflection on these posts that I am reminded that God does have a purpose for everything he is taking me through, if I only have faith to seek and follow His direction for my life.