By Holly Jo Linzay, Regional Reporter
“To obey is better than sacrifice…” 1 Samuel 15:22
PINEVILLE (LBM) – Christians are called by God to obedient living, but it is not all about rules, duty or behavior management.
“Obedience is the right response to the grace of God,” Katie Orr, the keynote speaker from Harrodsburg, Kentucky, explained to the women gathered at the Kaleidoscope conference.
Orr, author of “Everyday Obedience” and creator of the FOCUSed 15 Bible study method, detailed how “obedience is a heart issue” that can be fulfilled only through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Our job in obedience as Christ followers is not to focus on the ‘do’s and don’ts,’ but first to remember all that God has done for us and to respond to that grace,” Orr said, teaching from the book of Colossians.
About 190 women at the two-day Kaleidoscope conference Feb. 23-24 at the First Baptist Church in Pineville heard Orr share how her understanding of obedient living in Christ was redefined, as she challenged them to become more obedient in their walk with Christ.
“Obedience is a call to worship God. Obedience is meant to be Christ-centered,”added Orr.
When Christians enter a relationship with Christ, His perfect righteousness is “gifted to you,” Orr said.
“The natural response for the true believer becomes a ‘want to obey’ instead of a ‘have to,’” Orr said, adding that when our eyes are fixed on grace “through the Spirit of God” instead of our actions, we can fulfill the calling of living an obedient life. “Without Christ, we cannot fight our flesh.”
When Christians fully grasp who “they are because of Christ” and are dependent on the grace of God, it is possible to live in everyday obedience, Orr said.
During the opening Friday service, Casey and Heather Boone, worship leaders at Pine Ridge Baptist Church in Melder, led worship by song. On Saturday, Heather led.
After this time together, participants were able to select from 20 different breakout sessions to engage topics in the areas of spiritual growth, discipleship, personal development, leadership methods and family.
Kaleidoscope, which is a Cooperative Program-supported event, was sponsored by the Louisiana Baptist Convention Women’s Missions & Ministry team.
In the “Too Busy for Bible Study” breakout session, Orr taught a study method she created that helps break through surface-level Bible study in order to experience a deep and transformational time in God’s word in just 15 minutes a day.
Kaitlyn Nessmith, a member of Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Melder said this was her first time to attend.
“I loved learning about the FOCUSed 15 Bible Study Method. She really showed us how to do a Bible study effectively. Quality over quantity- that spoke volumes to me. Fifteen minutes a day is better than nothing at all,” enthused Nessmith.
Ali Merchant, also from Pine Ridge Baptist, echoed Nessmith’s sentiments. “With her plan, you can really dig into the Scripture with just 15 minutes a day. Katie Orr also told us how we can find out what each word means in the Scripture. She gave us some valuable tools.”
Debbie Boykin, who teaches Sunday School at St. Clair Baptist Church, Boyce said each time she attends Kaleidoscope she garners new information to help her in her work with various church ministries.
“The conference has made me a stronger woman in my walk in Christ. It gives me courage,” Boykin said.
Pam Strohm, who works with the youth and WMU at St. Clair Baptist, said the event has inspired her. “I always leave Kaleidoscope on such a high. All the sessions are so uplifting. The whole thing renews my energy every year.”
Laughter rang out during the “Do You Want to be Happy” breakout with Gwen Williams, also known as “Ms. Chocolate.” She shared personal stories and offered Scripture references about how anyone can experience the joys of living an abundant life.
Kacie Woodward, along with five other women from Ethel Baptist Church, said Ms. Chocolate made her smile. “I love her down-to-earth message about how God sees your heart. I felt like everyone was family here today.”
It was the first women’s conference for attendee Jeannette Brady from Harmony Baptist Church in Glenmora, “Learning to be obedient is a hard thing, but I got a lot of encouragement from this conference. I learned new ways of approaching people and I went to the breakout on how to study the Bible. It was definitely worth coming to.”
Anne Armstrong of Standard Baptist Church in Olla agreed. “Kaleidoscope has been refreshing and rejuvenating. I felt really connected with the other women.”
LeNora Bryant, a member of His House Christian Church in Gardner, said God knew she needed to be at the conference. “This is my first time at Kaleidoscope. All the speakers have been great. I needed a revival, and I’m so happy I came. The conference has given me spiritual enrichment.”
While leading the “Emotions and Spirituality” breakout session, Judy Patrick, of New Life Baptist Church in DeRidder, discussed biblical concepts for how emotions interact with spirituality.
“If Jesus is our model, we must be dependent on the Holy Spirit to guide our emotions,” Patrick said, adding that a person’s perception, beliefs, community influence, environment and physical traits all affect emotional development.
Patrick said she had a “fearful mother” while growing up and that she developed emotional fear. Patrick told the group how, with Jesus, they can master their emotions and to begin to turn “fleshly emotions” into “holy emotions.”
Hope Johnson, a member of the First Baptist Church in Pineville, returned to the women’s conference again this year to be inspired.
“All the breakout sessions are so wonderful, I wish I could go to everyone of them. Kaleidoscope is a time when I can refocus and recharge,” Johnson said, “And I look forward to next year.”