Madison Christian Women

This blog provides information, resources, and insights to strengthen and support Christian women in Madison, Wisconsin and the region. It is a cross between a newsletter and a church bulletin. My goal is to bless and encourage women in the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dear Sisters,

Good news! And an announcement about moving on.

This blog is closing at this site. It's been moved to a Madison website/home page called All God's People

You can find the blog now at allgodspeople.com

The whole, convoluted, easily-forgettable web address is:
http://www.allgodspeople.com/madison/blog_category/madison_christian_women/

You can bookmark this on your computer, write it on a scrap of paper that you'll probably lose OR

Just log on to allgodspeople.com and click on Blogs. There I'll be. Surrounded by the guys - Fred Grossenbach, Gordon Govier, and a really delightful guy named Dwight who is writing devotionals every day.

the purpose of the whole website is to connect and resource the Body of Christ in Madison.

The vision of my blog is the same - to connect and equip and encourage women for, in, in need of, and asking God for impact and ministry in our city and region.

Bless you all. Come on over to All God's People....you can even make this your homepage so when you turn on your computer, instead of Google or some news service, you see All God's People smiling right at ya.

Julia

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

May - and Madison Christian Women is sprouting again after a long hiatus.

The kids are antsy, waiting for summer break to come. It seemed as if we were shoveling snow one day and getting out the lawn mower the next. I'm ready to sell this time-sucker of a house and do the condo thing.

An interesting blog I discovered: Cerulean Sanctum. It's worth looking at.

But, the real focus of today's blog is to welcome you all again to Madison Christian Women - a blog for women, speaking to issues women care about, providing resources and information for women, about women, and to support and encourage ministry to women in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area.

Welcome back!

I want to introduce a new friend, Lilada Gee. Lilada is from Fountain of Life Church in Madison. She has a vision and heart about the size of Dane County. She's beginning an important ministry to women called Women of Worth.One of her visions is to minister to young, single moms. Other desires are to reach out to women with support and encouragement. We've been talking about healing and recovery for sexual abuse survivors.

We all bemoan the increasing rate of birth to young, single women. I often cry out to the Lord. Stop this! What can the church do? I note, with pain, that the pregnant girls least able to parent a child are often the ones least able to see that. The enemy of our souls has succeeded in making adoption a shameful thing in our nation. Girls are taught to say, "Oh, I couldn't possibly give my baby up." So, they abort their baby or keep a child they cannot raise. They bring another generation into a life of not-enough, fatherless struggling, and financial, spiritual, and emotional want.

In fact, the young women I've known who actually chose adoption were the ones I looked at and thought perhaps they had what it would take to raise a child...the support, the maturity, the resources inside and out. They were the ones mature enough to say "I can't" and choose another way.

So, one of the purposes of Women of Worth, this flower sprouting in Lilada's heart, is to reach out to young, single mothers. Can love, mentoring, support, a healthy church body, and a substitute family make the difference between another generation of conception outside of marriage and alone-parenthood and a child raised with what he or she needs to live as a whole person?

You can connect with Lilada at Lilada@lilada.com I know God has some daughters out there who carry a flame in their hearts for young, single mothers. Is that you? Women in ministry leadership in Madison know the need for outreach and encouragement to women from women. Sound like you? Then, meet my friend Lilada!

love to you all,

Julia

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tonight, December 7th, is a National Day of Prayer for Runaway Kids.

This is spearheaded by Covenant House, a lifeline and (literally) life-saving ministry to runaway and homeless kids in a number of US urban centers (New York City, DC, New Orleans, San Francisco, Detroit, Toronto, Vancouver, Guatemala City, Mexico City, Newark, Ankorage, Hollywood, among others).

The NYC Covenant House staff and kids light candles on this day each year and walk to Times Square where they pray. The people who prey on these kids instead of pray for them do their drug, sex, and exploitation business on the streets surrounding Times Square. In faith, these Christians shine the light of Christ into those dark corners. In faith, they declare that the light is shining into the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

Here's what the president of Covenant House has to say:

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I believe with all my heart that if we raise our voices together in our Candlelight Vigil, we can truly change the world.
If even one more person can be convinced to take up our cause... or if just one more shivering, hungry child steps out of the shadows to the light and safety of Covenant House... doesn’t that make all our efforts worthwhile?
I hope you can join us on December 7th. We’ll be setting out from Covenant House at 5:30 p.m. for our special march to Times Square with our kids. Please bring a candle and remember to dress warmly.
And this year, if you can’t join us in person, I have a special request to make of you -- one that will allow you to be with us in spirit and make this Candlelight Vigil the most powerful one we’ve ever held.
On December 7th, I’m asking you to please light a candle at home and say a prayer for our kids.
Your candle and prayers -- combined with those of thousands of other caring people -- will light a beacon of hope for every homeless child across the country.
Many of these children have never had anyone to love them. Imagine the impact it will have on them when they learn that thousands and thousands of men and women all over the country are praying for them! Just thinking about it sends shivers up and down my spine.
And imagine the power of our prayers as we march up to Times Square, with row upon row of candles illuminating the faces of the walkers, lit in memory of street children who never made it home. Imagine the impact of our prayers as we ask God to watch over the homeless boys and girls struggling to survive.
Can you see now why your participation in our Candlelight Vigil is so important?
Whether you join us in person or in spirit, you will help make this Vigil a night of prayer, love and hope for the countless scared kids who are still out there all alone on the cold winter streets.

We in Madison don't need to travel to New York. We have only to reach State Street to find runaway, throwaway and homeless children. Right here in Madison are runaways from all over Wisconsin. Children in vampire cults. Teenagers selling their bodies for food and sleeping in dangerous and freezing places. They are hungry and angry and afraid. They don't trust anybody. They don't see a future.

YWAM folks reach out to these kids. A group of mom-type women show up weekly with hot coffee, sandwiches and concern. Salvation Army and churches like First Methodist or Pres House or St. Paul's located on or near State Street reach out. Other people I don't know about reach out and care.

Will you light a candle tonight? Will you pray for the ministry of Covenant House and the kids right here in Madison in need. Will you ask God to raise up such a ministry ?

During an all-night prayer vigil held the night of the State Street Halloween "party" the Lord said to me that "they are all your children. Will the Christians of Madison stand up and be mothers and fathers to them?"

Praying from my mother's heart,

Julia

Monday, November 28, 2005

NEW BOOK!

Hey yeah! My very dear sister and friend Neta Jackson has just 'birthed' the fourth in a series of 6 books in the Yada Yada Prayer Group series.

Book 4, the Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough is a wonderful book. Just hit the top ten book list for Christian Booksellers Association. The series is about a group of women thrown together as a prayer group at a downtown Chicago Christian women's conference. When one woman receives an emergency call saying her son has been injured in a drive by shooting, the "thrown together" bunch realizes they just can't walk away from each other. God uses this tragedy to bring them together - and mold them into a family.

The main character is someone I wanted to throttle through the first book - maybe because many of her faults are, shall we say, sort of 'close to home." I've watched the characters (which are the real power in these books) mature, change, grow, be challenge, fail, try, forgive, and love each other.

Book #4 focuses on one of my favorite characters, Nonyemeko Sisulu-Smith, a lovely South African woman married to a Northwestern University professor. This woman fairly breathes scripture. Her prayers are like winds from heaven. But, in this book, everything is tested and stripped away until what remains is only that which cannot be shaken. I came away with a sobering realization that every piece of scripture I store up in my heart is a bulwark - a tower of refuge - that I can run to and be sheltered. That's what the character Nonyemeko does when the storm comes.

Neta deals with racism, parenthood, longings for more, despair, hope, encouragement coming in strange and unexpected places. Try the Christian Bookstore or check the public library (there might be a waiting list a mile long but it wouldn't hurt). And I, who normally turn up my nose at Christian fiction, really do love these books.

Tomorrow - a bit of news about the House of Prayer for the Nations on the east side.

Julia

Monday, November 21, 2005

Are you waiting, counting the HOURS until the Narnian film, The Lion The Witch, and the Wardrobe comes out in December? (If you're not, well I am)

This film is filled with images that fairly roar of Jesus and His love for fallen, hard-hearted humans. Evidently publishers are coming out with bible studies based on the film. Great idea!
Take your neighbors and their kids and be prepared to talk.

My daughter was in a literature class at UW Madison a few years ago when the Narnia books came up in class discussion. Students launched into a "literary interpretation-type" discussion of the books. Beth listened as students put out all kinds of theories about Narnia as utopia, Aslan as the embodiment of wisdom, etc etc. Finally, she said, "Listen everybody. Aslan is Jesus. Son of the emperor over the Sea...son of God. He died in Edmund's place just like Jesus died for us, to pay the price for our sins." Her fellow students were amazed. "Really?" one student asked. "I never thought of it that way."

Clearly, this film is a beautiful opportunity to talk of the love of Jesus to a culture where many "never thought of it that way."

When I heard the movie was scheduled I rummaged through my book cases and, among the embarrassing number of books I own, found an old, much-loved title Journey into Narnia, The Lion of Judah in Never-Never Land by Kathryn Lindskoog.

This book was originally written before CS Lewis' death and republished in 1998. She discusses all the Narnian books from the perspective of their biblical foundations and message. Starting on page 101, is a chapter solely devoted to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

May I recommend this book for the sheer joy of finding a recipe for Turkish Delight, collections of lovely minutia, and details designed to delight the imagination. The chapter (actually every chapter) ends with ideas for talking and thinking.

I imagine a table set with beautiful mugs, a pot of really hot coffee made like my husband does, with cinnamon and fresh-ground beans, and a big slice of hot, homemade apple pie with cranberries and walnuts. A few friends and a long evening talking about Narnia and wishing we were there.

And, finally, the chapter ends with a benediction. I pass this on to you:

May Aslan restore all names to their proper owners.
May the warmth of his breath come over us.
May his breath bring the stone parts of us to life.
May we live on both sides of the wardrobe door.

Amen - and the book is available at Amazon.com --- free shipping!

Enjoy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Julia

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. Your name is safe in their mouth."Billy - age 4

Good Morning.
I flew in from San Diego just before the first snow of the year last evening. Got to visit my daughter and son-in-law where they're running at a sprinter's pace between work, school, trying to keep up relationships in their house group at church and just being newly married. Whew! But, it's 72 degrees and sunny there which makes up for a good deal!

I discovered an excellent resource for Christ-honoring, biblically-sound written materials. You may find yourself meeting with a woman struggling with some issue in her life, marriage, or family. You could thump some big, fat book (even a really good big, fat book) in her lap and say, "read this." She might. But, probably not. She's pretty overwhelmed, probably. She may be a young Christian.

RBC Ministries (they publish the Daily Bread devotional booklets) has published a series of short, well- written booklets offering insight and biblical understanding about issues including anger, domestic violence, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, forgiveness, marital infidelity, marriage breakdown, healing from divorce, and rebuilding broken marriages.

Obviously, these booklets aren't going to fix anybody in 32 pages. But, they seem to be excellent "take home and think about it" resources for laying sound, biblical ground work for change, healing, and recovery.

Check them out at www.rbc.net Let me know what you think.

Finally, two things are about to happen. One, this blog is going to move. I'll be connecting with allgodspeople.com, a website for Christians in Madison. Second, I'm going to begin writing about sexual abuse issues. I'd like to hear from any women (or men) out there about your questions, thoughts, experiences, and concerns.

Love to you all. This is the last week of 24 hour prayer at 3 N. Park Street. If you'd like the privilege of praying with UW students, YWAMers or just regular folks from churches in Madison, check out the website at madison24-7prayer.org and sign up for a time to pray and honor our beautiful God.

love, Julia

Monday, November 07, 2005

An Invitation to Glory!

My church, Faith Community, has been privileged to host 24 hour prayer since the 12th of october. What has happened, is a powerful presence of Holy Spirit in the physical and spiritual place. It's as if the prayer and worship has cleansed and prepared the spiritual ground. God inhabits the praise of His people - really!

THe following invitation came this morning from Kirsten Miller. Please pass it on to anyone interested. Come yourself. Check the website for "open" hours or just come:

People of God:The Lord is waiting to meet with you;He says "Come".There are many opportunities to lift up your prayers in the prayer room this week.There is an undeniable presence.Thank God for the beautiful testimonies in worship yesterday; There are many more untold and yet to be experienced!Come.
www.madison24-7prayer.org