Easter is almost here, and for most of us, this is a time of reflection. As promised, I am sharing my wonderful experience in South Korea.
I went to Yongsan Seoul, South Korea, last March 25–28 for a conference, but not a lot of people know why I went there. This was not a conference regarding my career, it was not a work-related conference at all. It was something for my heart and for my soul. I attended the Faithlift Conference 2010.
Faithlift is a conference intended for women and held every year. It is an interdenominational Christian women’s weekend. The primary purpose of Faithlift is to “feed Christ’s sheep.” It serves as an outreach for the Christian women eighteen years and older who are primarily part of the military communities in the Asia-Pacific Region and the U.S. Faithlift is designed to provide an enriching opportunity to enhance spiritual development, encouragement, and to increase one’s faith in Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior, through top-notch speakers, musicians, and workshop leaders.
This year’s theme is “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” I find this very appropriate since spring is here and flowers are in full bloom. Remember that if God can cause a flower to grow out of a rock, then he can allow you to bloom where you are planted. Flowers can only bloom where they are planted if they have the roots to sustain them. The roots receive the nourishment they need from the ground. They need light from the sun to grow and be built up. Some flowers look a little droopy when they have not had the food or light they need. When these things are given to them, they perk up and seem as though they are looking to Heaven saying, “Here I am, shine down on me!”
No matter the situation in our lives, we can grow and flourish when we abide in God. Wherever we live and whatever state you find yourself in, remember what Paul said: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4: 11–13)
I have attended many continuing-education conferences in the past, but this one was different, and it was my first time in South Korea. I was nervous at first because I didn’t know what to expect but eventually I found my way around. The conference was rated F3: fast, furious, and full of faith. Fast: it was a two-day uplifting conference; Furious: marked by excitement and activity, Full of faith: a faith-lifting experience. It encourages everyone to be productive in every area of their lives. “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green …” (Psalm 92:12–14)
Some of those thought-provoking questions that lingered in my mind were, “Are you rightly connected to the vine to blossom into a woman God wants you to be? Are you planted in the soil that God prepared for you?” As you can see, the planting process is vital to the blooming of the plant. One must be firmly and decisively planted in doing what God wanted us to do. We have to focus on the things that God wants and or calling us to do. We have to allow him to lead and direct for he wants us to grow, to walk in the destiny that he gave us but complacency and apathy must go. “I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
When you think about the span of our lives and life’s many varied seasons, you should ask yourself, how do you bloom in your faith? I know all of you will agree that we are all caught up in this fast, stressful, mundane, and materially surrounded life; no one is exempted. But have we ever thought about how we can nurture our relationship with God or even thought about starting a relationship with Him? I don’t want to sound too dogmatic or be someone trying to pontificate, but at the end of the day, somehow, somewhere in our lives, we have thought about our faith in Him.
According to one of the speakers, there are three ways to nurture our relationship with Christ:
1. Remain in him: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
a. Spend time with him.
b. Develop a regular prayer line and set aside time to talk to God (prayer is not a monologue; it is a dialogue with God).
c. Study the Word. When you spend time with the word, you spend time with God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
d. Repent quickly. Sins are like a banana, the longer you carry it around, the uglier it gets. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
2. Be about him: We need to be in our father’s business. Share your time, talents, and treasures. “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)
3. Worship him: worship should be our lifestyle. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24–26)
a. Listen to music, inspirational, Christian music that uplifts your soul. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
b. Thank God: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
c. Press your way in the presence of God: “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15–16)
Looking back, there have been times where I have failed to make a decision because I was trying to think through each option too much, wanting to see down both roads, not wanting to make a mistake, even though I knew the direction I should take. Other times, I was afraid to act, worrying about what others would think or what might happen if I did. As a consequence of stepping out, not allowing fear to overtake or to just remain in one’s “comfort zone,” God was able to work in me. We are presented with opportunities throughout our lives to change, grow, and impact others. Oftentimes, the opportunity may seem to be impossible or unimaginable. Sometimes it will be accompanied by nervousness or fear. However, its timing will be amazingly perfect and come with little effort on our part.
If we always wait to react based upon our own understanding, putting off something you know you should do, we may never take a step of faith, especially one of such importance. May you find the courage and the strength to bloom in your faith in God. And may this written experience of mine inspire everyone who reads this as it inspired me. May all of us bloom where we are planted. Happy Easter!