Thursday night was the opening night of Unstoppable. It was a night I'll never forget, seeing my dream come true before my eyes. What a God thing - larger than anything I could have ever imagined, or worked for! The room was breathtaking. The first night was a banquet and we had a candlelight dinner - steak or chicken with a boursin cheese sauce. We had favors for the women - bookmarks that Aida made - they had our conference theme verse and they were so pretty. The tables (for the banquet) were set with mirror tiles and candles. Music set the atmosphere, and the multi-media was just perfect. Pastor T, Pastor Lindsay, Tom Garland, Dustin, Sterling (Dustin's friend) and myself were at the Hilton on Wed night until about 1 am finishing everything up with just the media alone. It was worth it! The media was just one facet that really made the weekend, that's for sure. I absolutely don't know what I would ever do without Pastor T's help. To say he is a God-send? Major understatement.
So the first night I worked the room, went from table to table just greeting people, hugging necks, enjoying so many friends I haven't seen in a long time and some I've never met except on the web. The worship team absolutely started us off in an incredible way. Jenn Lee is just an extraordinary leader. The team brought us into the presence of God and we were hardly able to even stop to sit down or hear the Word but obviously we needed to, so we did...and Pastor Sheri was the first one to preach. Awesome word about trading the cape of comfort for the towel of servanthood. Just awesome. A strong word.
I was really overwhelmed by how the first night went and went back to my hotel room...talked to Pastor Lindsay for a long while and then it was time to go to sleep. I tried but couldn't. I alternated between praying and studying. I stayed awake all night, praying, crying (over the goodness of God and then also over the weight of the message I was feeling that I was preparing to preach the next night...) I just couldn't stop getting emotional (not a depressed crying emotional but a Holy Ghost emotional.) I said, "Lindsay, this is like birthing a baby and I'm so ready for this...I'm at the transition stage and this message is getting ready to be delivered and I'm so ready to get it out..." and she said, "yep, and when you do and you see the results tonight you're just going to want to hold it...and rock it..." I said, 'YOU'RE SO RIGHT!!!"
Well, the night was just tremendous. God moved in such a supernatural way. Do you know how INCREDIBLE it is to see pastor's wives who you "knew the story" on...those who had come with issues such as being on the verge of a nervous breakdown (or having just had one, in one case), and dealing with fear, depression, church conflicts, marriage issues, and more...and seeing them down on the floor under the power of God, or dancing around the altar being set free from the ties that were binding them? Unbelievable. Everyone was emotional over what was happening but I was even more so because I knew the stories of the people in the majority of cases. And believe me it was not just "emotion"...(many of these ladies have been too exhausted, stressed and even in some cases skeptical due to hurts they have faced to just get emotional for emotion's sake) It was a true touch from God.
The power of God affected so many ladies in a miraculous way and as God was moving around the altars in such a way, I walked over to Pastor Lindsay after I had a break from praying for a few people and I said, "I'm holding this baby Linds...I'm holding this baby!" Actually this morning in church I was still on a cloud and I said, "I'm holding it still..." Cathy and Lisa remarked that I was still glowing this morning!!!
So Friday night was just indescribable...although I "held the baby" til about 1am, I did go to sleep and slept til 8 am the next morning and then we had our panel discussion at 9:30. It was really good. Great stuff.
Our closing service was with Jennifer Lee and Lindsay speaking, followed by communion. AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME.
Can't wait until next year. It's going to be even more off the chain for His glory. We have learned a lot from the planning of this year's. We can tweak some things and make it smoother in the administrative details than this past year. I can't wait to see what God will do!!! Truly the best is yet to come. I felt led to ask Pastor Tara Sloan and Pastor Sandy Phinazee to take the offering on Thurs/Fri nights. They both gave an anointed appeal to support the ministry of Pastoring Partners and Unstoppable. We got an incredible offering. We will not only pay off our expenses for this year but we have start up money for next year. Sandy felt led to ask everyone to make pledges in addition to giving offerings. It was amazing. I can't thank my friends enough for STANDING WITH ME in this. They really, really believe in it, and in me. (Thank you, everybody!)
Next year we are going to see even more women healed, restored, renewed, and set free to go back to their ministries as UNSTOPPABLE women!!!! I believe it's going to double next year. That will be about all the people we can fit at the Hilton North and then we'll have to figure out what to do for 2009. I'm already thinking ahead to the next few years, not just year.
Mark Batterson says, "Stop making your arriving safely at death your life's goal." I'm so glad I stopped making it mine. In 2006, I called Pastor Lindsay in my office and told her I was "taking a leap" and doing this conference. No one can even imagine the price tag of doing it right. We're talking thousands, and thousands...and so many unexpected things you don't even think of when you start out wanting to do something in a hotel venue with five meeting rooms, a semi-formal banquet, a boatload of multi-media like we have, a professional worship team from Southeastern University, four top notch well known conference speakers in addition to Lindsay and myself, and a host of other things. That doesn't even include all the little things like favors, etc. Until you've done something like this, you just don't know. Well, I said, "Linds, we're taking a leap. If we have to re-finance my house to do it, we're doing it. If I have to sell hot dogs to pay it off until Jesus comes back, we're doing it!" Thankfully we don't have to do that. God provided. He always does - where there is vision (God's vision) there is Pro-vision!
At the beginning of this year, I was on Pastor Donna (Sallee's) television program, "Fresh Hope" on CTN. She asked me what my key scripture verse for my life is. I said, "well, there are several but for this year mine is Proverbs 3:5 & 6." She asked why and I told her that God had called me to several things in this 2007 year that would require God's supernatural intervention or I was destined to be a huge failure, basically. I have taken several leaps of faith including Unstoppable and the Africa preaching trip. I said yes to it knowing that I would have to raise $3,000 in a very short time. Well guess what...as of this past week, all my Africa finances have been provided as well as lots of gifts already to take over to the women. In addition to that, the missionary just told me that so many more women are signed up for the Africa conference (there were 2,000-3,000 last year!!) that they have enlarged the tent to accomodate more but they still do not all fit. The conference is so large they don't have an indoor venue big enough for it.
God is doing such amazing things. I really feel (as do many others that told me this) that Unstoppable has the ability to be THE premiere conference for women in ministry in the USA. I believe that. Several mentioned, "there's nothing like it."
No, there is nothing like it, that I know of. Thank you, Jesus. It's uniqueness is all due to your creative Holy Spirit. Thank you for your favor, and honoring us with your presence at Unstoppable. We can't wait to see what You are going to do next year as we seek You.