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Group urged to focus on God’s calling

Women from churches across Lincoln County gathered at the StateRoom Saturday morning for what organizers hope will be the first ofmany Old Brook 100 Women of God Luncheon.

The event, put on by the O Foundation, was designed to bringChristian women from all over the community together to worship.Women crowded into the State Room for singing, worship, prayer andgood food.

The guest speaker was the Rev. Essie Keys of Houston, Texas, whobrought an entourage of women with her, including Dr. KathleenBurton, a professor from Yale University. She talked to the groupabout God’s plan for each of them, repeating the phrase, “What onEarth are you here for?”

“A life devoted to things is a dead life; it’s a stop,” Keyssaid. “A God-shaped life is like a tree that continues to bloom.Colors change and leaves fall, but in the end you still have atree.”

Keys told the group that a the life of a Godly woman is one ofcultivation, as well as hard work.

“Many believers want more of God’s kindness, grace and peace butwon’t put the effort into prayer and study of His word,” she said.”We’re all still growing, and focusing on ourselves will neverreveal our life purpose.”

She encouraged the women to remember God’s plan for each ofthem, saying the best way is to turn their focus on Him.

“You are not an accident,” she said. “When we discover ourpurpose is when we make God the reference point in our lives.”

The things that each believer encounters through life are simplyhurdles and learning experiences geared toward pointing aChristian’s eyes back toward the horizon, Keys said.

“He didn’t bring me through those things so that I can hope inme,” she said. “He did it so that I can go tell everybody what He’sdone in my life.”

And she reminded the women that each of them has a mission tofulfill.

“You were put on earth to make a contribution because yourindividual gifts are an expression of God’s grace to you,” shesaid. “God said you must go. You must do the things He would haveyou to do, and He will take care of you.”

After Keys’ message, O Foundation President Rose “Polly” Powellcompared aspects of the Christian life to the training of anathlete, stressing that flexibility of the heart is one of the mostimportant traits a believer can have.

“It makes it possible for us to extend Christ’s love to others,”she said. “We become strong enough to lift those beaten down bylife and carry them to the comfort and consolation of God’sarms.”

She also emphasized firmness in beliefs, saying that a Christianwoman is only effective when she stands strong in what she knows tobe true.

“As we have received mercy, we do not lose heart,” she said. “Hetold us not to lose heart, and He attaches no qualifications tothat: Do not lose heart, no matter what. He is faithful even whenwe are not.”

Carol Massengill welcomed the group and told them of therelentless efforts of Powell on behalf of the community, giving hercredit for putting together the successful event.

“Polly works tirelessly to encourage the people of Brookhaven tolove the Lord, to love each other and to work together,” she said.”This is such an encouragement to all of us.”

Powell said she felt the gathering had been better than shecould have imagined.

“Of all the things I’ve done in my life, I’m looking at the mostimportant one right here,” she said.

Fellow organizer Ella Henderson told the group in closing totake the fellowship they’d shared out into the world and toremember God’s love.

“This is a new day,” she said.

Henderson also said the idea that women of God can come togetherregardless of color is a testament to His love and His movement inthe Brookhaven area.

“I hope we can do this annually,” she said. “It’s beenwonderful, and this is where unity comes from. This is exactly whatwe need in Brookhaven.”