Wednesday

What Happened in Pennsylvania? Ministry Recap -- "Today You Have Two Choices"

For weeks you’ve heard me talking about “Today You Have Two Choices,” the one-day women’s ministry event scheduled in northwestern Pennsylvania. 

Last Saturday was the day! Like the glow from a fire after it dies down, the light from the day is still shining in my heart and warming my soul. Since many of you expressed an interest in the event, but were unable to attend, I thought I’d share some of what went on. 


Come on in to the Warsaw Township Fire Hall and meet the women of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church Parish . . . 

Stop first at the registration table, where the theme, “Today You Have Two Choices,” is everywhere. Choose from one of two name tags, and write your name with either pink or blue marker. Grab a journal (polka dotted or marbled), a goodie bag (do you prefer yellow or brown?) and a pen (black or blue?). 


Grab a seat at one of the colorful tables (there are more than two choices), but look – two bowls of M&Ms await you. Do you prefer plain or peanut? Then – get a cup of coffee (regular or decaf?) and a donut from Scotty’s Donuts. No two choices here – more like 12 – or 20. 


Only one worship leader ushered us into God’s presence, but Melissa Sylvis’ insightful and sensitive selections set the tone for a
tender time of honest introspection. 

In the first session, “Today You Have Two Choices – Grumbling or Gratitude,” I shared the hilarious story of my summertime encounter with an SUV, a Porta Potty truck, and a watermelon. We laughed together as the narrative went from bad, to worse, to . . . grateful. 

Through the lens of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we saw how God can turn our upside down days right side up again. 

Here are a few quotes from that session: 

We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. ~ Chuck Swindoll 

“God wasn’t calling me to be thankful for my difficulties. Instead, he was calling me to look for evidences of his love and care IN my difficulties.” 


Between sessions, we laughed some more as women tried their hand at various Minute to Win It games. Did you know ping pong balls will stick to peanut butter-covered bread if you aim them right? Or that you can pluck 170 facial tissues out of two boxes in less than 60 seconds if you’ve got rhythm? Two women with excellent lung capacity transferred more than 30 M & Ms from one bowl to the next with only a straw and a little self-generated suction. No doubt about it, there was hidden talent in this group. 

In Session 2, “Today You Have Two Choices – Bitterness or Forgiveness,” we talked about the power of deep hurt. Then we discovered that anger and bitterness aren’t our only choices. Through forgiveness, we can find freedom. 

Here are a few quotes from that session: 

“I can tell you from experience, bitterness is a jail, and we are the prisoners. Bitterness doesn’t hurt the person who has wronged us. Bitterness hurts us. It steals the life and joy from our days and the sleep from our nights.”

“Sin had broken my heart, but God hadn’t caused it. He had allowed it, because he’s given people free will, and free willed people choose to sin, but this pain had not come from God’s hand. He was not my enemy.” 


I’ve long known that Pennsylvania women understand the deep spiritual connection between food and faith. Saturday’s lunch proved it. Sticking with the theme of two choices, we selected white or wheat Kaiser rolls, turkey or roast beef, plain or salt and vinegar potato chips, and snickerdoodles or chocolate chip cookies. I was glad the coffee pot was still going, because without caffeine, such a lunch could have produced a widespread food-induced coma. And the third session was yet to come! 

In our final session, “Today You Have Two Choices – Fear or Faith,” I reminded the ladies that faith can shout louder than our circumstances and carry us through the most challenging times. But faith that can stand the test of hardship is faith grounded in the Word of God. 


I introduced the Socratic method of Bible study, allowing God to ask the questions so we could discover the answers. We invited the Holy Spirit to show us why we are here, what our identity in Christ is, and what he has planned for our future. We ended the session with an assignment – and more questions to ponder. 

Here are a few quotes from the third session: 

“Hebrews 11:6 says, ‘Without faith it’s impossible to please God,’ yet it’s often easier said than done. When the circumstances of life hit us hard, fear often becomes our default setting. How can we resist fear and choose faith instead?” 

“No sensible person would think they could hide from God behind a tree. But we think we can hide from God, don’t we? We think he can’t see us, but he can see into our soul and see where we are in relationship to the pursuing love of God.”

Tears, laughter, hugs, and one more visit to the doughnut table concluded the day. 


As we drove away, past fields fresh from haymaking and cows chewing their cuds, I was humbled and grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow alongside these precious sisters in Christ. May God take the faith seeds he planted in our hearts and grow them into an abundant harvest for his glory. 

If you’d like to host a one-day women’s ministry event, weekend conference, or luncheon/evening event, I’d love to bring “Today You Have Two Choices” to your church or ladies group. Click HERE or on the Speaking Ministry tab at the top of the page for more information.










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