EMPOWER EVANGELISM CONFERENCE: Women at conference encouraged to carry fragrance of Christ into the world

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EULESS–Those attending the 2006 Empower Evangelism Conference Women’s Session at First Baptist Church of Euless were encouraged to share “the most effective tool of evangelism a woman can have.”

Susie Hawkins, wife of Guidestone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins and a part-time instructor at Criswell College, told the women: “I’m convinced that the most effective form of evangelism for a woman is to live her life with a fragrance for Christ,” Hawkins said. “There is nothing as powerful as a life that is fully sacrificed to the Lord Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and lived obediently walking with him.”

Hawkins explained that throughout history, fragrance has been considered a powerful source of communication. And in the Bible, fragrance is frequently mentioned as a worship experience.

“Our sense of smell is 10,000 times more powerful than our sense of taste,” Hawkins said. “Your sense of smell is stored in the same part of your brain as your memory. That’s why so many smells trigger your memory.”

She stated that the fragrance of Christ results from three sacrifices in the life of a believer: physical, financial, and spiritual. “It may be financial, praise, prayer, or your own life,” she said.

Hawkins encouraged the women in attendance to sacrifice in all areas of their lives to please the Lord and bring others to Christ.

She concluded, “Preach the gospel at every opportunity. When necessary, use words. The finest apologetics never brought people to Christ. They were drawn to God by the fragrance of Christ.”

North Carolina speaker and author Angela Thomas shared the story of her awkward childhood (and her desire to become an astronaut), her teenage years discovering the reality of life, and how she came to call herself the “Jesus girl.”

A divorced mother of four whose life took an unexpected turn, Thomas said she grew up in a Christian home, and found her passion as a young adult in teaching the Word of God to others. After college and then Dallas Theological Seminary, she began ministering to high school girls in her church’s youth group, eventually got married and had children.

According to her website, “she seemed to be living the life every woman dreams of having. But on the inside, Thomas was keeping all the balls in the air and going through the motions, eventually pretending and becoming what she calls ‘a church lady.'”

It was through her divorce–something she never thought would happen–that she said she became empowered by God to share her story and what God taught her in those dark times.

“Life caught up to me,” Thomas said. “It was beyond anything that you could have imagined could come to you. It was the most awful day when my perfect Jesus-girl dream broke.”

According to Thomas, she began to better understand the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5 in her brokenness. She said, “Growing up, I heard all of these things in this list … and it seemed like [I had] to be all of these things in one woman. I asked myself, ‘How could you be all these things?'”

But she soon realized that people in the Bible came to Jesus in their disappointment, brokenness, aches, and wounds, and he looked into the truth of their humanity and spoke words of comfort.

Thomas said, “The Lord took me through a season of dire brokenness and I asked, ‘Lord, what do you do with a woman who is broken into a million pieces when the wounds are paralyzing and the consequences make living almost impossible?’”

“What I’ve come to know about the Lord … is that he’s not afraid of broken people or broken lives or broken hearts,” Thomas said. “If we will stay in his presence, he can work with that. I just don’t know how many people know that about the Lord. It took the most devastating life circumstances for me to know that.”

“When you come with the truth of who you are into [his] presence, he will come in with the covering of his blood and add the blessing. … The Lord in his sovereignty took an ordinary broken-down Jesus girl and …[covered me] with his blood and raised me up.”

Thomas concluded, “You can’t bring it until you’ve been somewhere to get it, so you’ll have something to bring. Jesus said, ‘When you come and you abide in my presence and you stake your whole life on the truth, then that is enough and I will add the blessing to your meager offering.”

Closing out the session, LaDonna Gatlin, sister to the legendary singing trio The Gatlin Brothers, entertained the crowd with her testimony and singing. A resident of Frisco, Gatlin has been speaking to audiences, writing and performing for many years. She encouraged those in the audience to value the blessings that cove from unexpected trials in life.

 

 

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