I didn’t write on a stone at the close of the IF:Gathering like nearly everyone else did.
I needed some time to retreat to the quiet before I could mark what God wanted me to see there. I felt so much pride as an IF:Local host and as a church planter that I was scared my words would reek of boasting if I spun them too quickly.
It’s been three days now, and I’m finally relaxing into the truth of it all.
It goes something like this…
Four years ago, Advance Church didn’t exist in Las Vegas, NV any more than IF: existed in Austin, TX. They were both just ridiculous (ridiculous) visions given to terrified people who had no idea what the heck they were getting themselves into.
No matter how hard I tried this weekend, I could not separate one from the other.
Especially not when one literally held the other.
Not a hour passed during the IF:Gathering that I wasn’t thinking about how IF my husband and our friends hadn’t been obedient to the call to church planting, THEN there would not have been physical walls to hold IF:Las Vegas between this year. And IF Jennie and her friends hadn’t been obedient to their call to disciple a generation, THEN there wouldn’t have been anything for our walls to hold in the first place.
We need each other, you see.
Just few inches off the ground.
But because each of us ponied up all those years ago and decided to do our different things in our separate places, God reigned in the togetherness of it all.
So my stone? It says sovereign.
Sovereign over us.
All of us and each of us and even us, just like we prayed, and just like the song says…
Your plans are still to prosper. You have not forgotten us. You’re with us in the fire and the flood. You’re faithful forever. Perfect in love. You’re sovereign over us.
God takes our faith and He spins it.
Oh, how He spins it. No matter who we are, no matter where we are.
In Las Vegas.
For our good.
And for His glory.
IF that isn’t something to mark, THEN I don’t know what is.
In 2014, IF:Las Vegas was comprised of 12 women from Advance Church.
In 2015, God enabled the IF:Las Vegas leadership team to host and unite 50 women from 16 different churches while also encouraging a handful of smaller IF:Local home sites to rise up throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Several local Noonday ambassadors and the founder of The Cupcake Girls were also in attendance because God is outrageously rad like that.
My thanks to Kristen Lindstedt, Leah Loera, Tracy Gifford, Kelli Phifer and Lindsey Raymond for their courage in leading; to my husband and his staff for opening the doors; and to Amy Brown for inviting us to show the world that Las Vegas doesn’t only glow neon–it radiates Jesus.
Thank you also to Hanna Huff, Audrey Ryon, and all the other IF:Gathering photographers who captured IF:Austin so beautifully and whose images are part of this post.
Finally, I’m lookin’ at you, Jennie Allen. Thank you for not wanting the stage but for using it anyway. Thank you for putting your feet in the dirt, for marching around the wall, and for helping us all see that it’s neither selfish nor foolish to hope for more. xo