Today the Heartfelt and Speak Truth Team are doing an autopsy.
You know that thing you do on bodies to find out what caused their death.
Today was the Speak Truth Conference date. If you bought a ticket. First, let me thank you. Your faith in the conference is a huge blessing to me. The unsold 1900 other tickets – not so much. But your support of Heartfelt and our conference offerings-is a true gift. However I hope you’ve received your refund. If not, let us know.
Well- folks- how do I explain this phenomena. Which it was.
Because we/I have not ever faced this exact situation before in the 16 years of doing our Heartfelt ministry. Disappointing situations. Yes. Things didn’t work out. If course.
But a corpse?
So how do I explain it?
I’m not for positive.
But let me try.
God is always right. If this conference was His plan- it would have worked. That’s the deal with me. He doesn’t allow any plan of His to be a failure. Unless the failure plan was part of His plan. So…
God doesn’t waste anything. If He created it-He will use it up until His purpose for it is done.
That’s exactly what happened here.
Let me explain.
Back in late winter when I began the planning of the Speak Truth Conference I knew Heartfelt was supposed to do it. It was an idea that came unsolicited. Just popped into my head during my morning Bible reading time. That’s been the MO with God with me in all things Heartfelt. He speaks through His Word.
So I was not surprised by it.
Very surprised by the topic however.
It was a BIGGIE for us to cover. In a conference.
I mean Sexuality and the Culture. With the political and social media culture? Are you sure? I was sure. The Team corroborated it. We prayed and prayed.
God said clearly. Speak the Truth to the women who need to hear Me on this.
So the conference was born.
A difficult birth. And obviously an unsuccessful delivery. DOA.
Dead on arrival.
But was this about?
Here’s the red thread of God’s Plan about the Speak Truth Conference. If you care, follow along. This gets good. Because of God. It gets good.
1. In the beginning, The Heartfelt Conference Team meets. We pray. We plan the conference with the theme of sexuality, culture, faith.
2. We need a name.
3. We named it- we changed it several times along the way.
4. That was harder than we ever had experienced. So simple. But it wasn’t. A red flag? Did I ignore a warning?
5. I Invited First West church leaders to meet with us. Introduced the topic. The men prayed over us. Gave the thumbs up. Also with some warnings. It was good leadership. Those men are earnest, sincere and Bible-led men.
6. So we, on their advice, Invited experts in the field to speak.
7. With these experts we felt great about their experience and wisdom.
8. Got waaaaay too excited about the speakers.
9. A heaviness was over the planning from this point. I felt a deeper burden for it than ever. Not ever had this in planning a conference. I had not felt the weight. But in light of the topic it seemed appropriate.
10. It got so dark one week, such a burden, I Asked for prayer for myself and the conference. From a lot of folks. This was something I had not felt before to this degree.
11. A few months go by with all conference logistics coming together. There’s a lot to do to plan a conference this large. Stephanie, my assistant, was feeling the difficulties also. It was not easy. Conference planning is a lot of work by it’s not hard for us. We know what we are doing. But this one was so different. No just wide open doors on any part of it. We had had many doors thrown open for us over the years with little effort from us. But this was not happening. Warning signs? Sure. This had not happened before. We reached out in all ways as before in our normal checklist. Not hearing much from our support system. In fact from some places-it’s crickets.
12. One day I get a call from one of the pastors at First West. He said one of our speakers is not legit.
13. Trusting him, I learn this is the truth. I had no prior knowledge of this. God was taking over. I knew it.
14. Had to uninvite a speaker we had heavily invested in. Not kidding. Lots of money. Time. Resources. Promotions. Etc. All gone.
15. We knew something was going on then for sure we didn’t know what. But God was definitely changing things.
16. Are you hanging with me here?
17. At this point, Prayers from all get stronger more frequent. More needy! I’m on my knees. Finally. Praying Proverbs 3:5-6 prayers. “Lean not on my own understanding Lord.”
18. A dear friend calls. Suggests another speaker to replace the one we “fired”. Through a series of Miracle connections. I mean ya’ll, seriously -could NOT have happened otherwise. That was a pure plan of God. I should not have direct access to these people and I did! Thank you Chris and Amy. And.Dr Mike Easley. Really thank you. Beyond grateful for the gift of godly friendships in your life that God just GIVES you.
19. We Began the process of acquiring the TOP speaker in this very specific ministry to our conference. How in the world? Only God. The thread of His plan is there.
20. I am feeling more confident. This is going to happen. I’m trusting God has this. So is the team. So is my dear hubby who manages the $$$. Are their big bucks to spend? No worries. We’ll get them. Lots of yeses from around this. Lots. We have ticket sales coming we say.
21. But, here’s the thing. God WAS working all this out. He did not have to share the plan with me. But as the director of the conference I was hurting pretty bad at this point. The news of the speaker that I had entrusted a lot of faith in was a failure to me. I did that. I did not seek counsel. I just did it. So, God threw this new speaker -a fresh beginning- into my life at just the right time. Saying “I’ve got this Honey.” Whew! He didn’t have to do it. He could have done this without me knowing. But that’s a Good Good Father for you.
22. I’m in Alaska. Doing this long distance. Like a really really long distance. Doing ministry work in Fairbanks Alaska. With Alan and Lisa Robertson. Hang on to that thought.
23. Find out that this new speaker cannot come in September. But has a date in November he can come. And wants to come. Of course he does. God’s in this.
24. We take a quick detour in plans and decide quickly. We’ll do a two-part conference. Not without prayer and godly counsel though. (I’m slow but not foolish). On the Alaska trip are my husband, Alan Robertson and my brother in law. All elders in our church. Two on the board of Heartfelt. What do they think? Let’s do it! Enthusiastically!
25. So I contact First West the site of the September conference. The November date is a no for them. They can do September and are very supportive of this. So thinking. Can we do it at WFR Church. My home church? Ask Alan, Randy and Johnny who are with me. They said of course. Call the elder whose the executive pastor at WFR.
26. Note: Alan says to me. Lisa and I were just at a conference with Dr. Yuan (the new speaker) -I told her that “we need to get him at WFR”. God is leading this ya’ll!
27. I call David at WFR. I ask about having Heartfelt Speak Truth Part 2 at WFR on November 16-17? He knows of Dr Yuan. Says yes. But an enthusiastic -YES! Says, we will do whatever you need us to do. We meet with the staff. It’s a great meeting. They are on board immediately with all that needs to be done to host Dr. Yuan.
28. At this point I’m informing the Team of the changes. We are praising God for this new blessing. Dr. Christopher Yuan is the real deal. He is a proven, vetted theologian, with an amazing testimony. He is highly recommended. The relationship we begin to build with him is blessed from the first conversation. He is already known by our WFR leaders. And it’s coming together effortlessly. God’s in every detail.
29. We keep on planning the September conference. Lots to do before September 20. Now more to do -we have two conferences to plan. And have to redo the run of show. Program. Graphics. Promotions. All of that. Stephanie is working lots of extra. We are also looking at the $$$ spent already on the September conference. Only thing that is a real concern. But ticket sales will right that. We have confidence in this.
30. Go back to the week before I get the message from the pastor and I must cancel the first speaker. Premie Joseph had prayed for God to show us the truth. To shut doors. To give me wisdom over the conference. To bind the hands of the evil one from any influence over our efforts. Then one week later. I get the word that that the speaker was not the minister we thought he was! Thank you Premie. Thank you God. Seeing the thread of God here?
31. Our next concern is ticket sales? What ticket sales? Yes we are aware that our area is full of last-minute-commitment-decision-makers. We know his. Not our first rodeo. But the tickets had never ever been this slow and low.
32. But there is a time when I have to make a big decision. We have quality, first -rate speakers coming. We invited them thinking of hundreds of people coming to hear Will Graham. Cissie Graham Lynch. Shannon Ethridge. And our awesome Heartfelt team! And Worship by Brad Jett and the First West Worship Team!
33. It’s a Friday when Stephanie and I talk about the tickets. I said let’s give it a week. We need 500 tickets to move in that time, she tells me. I know this is right. We’ve done conferences before to compare this one too. We pray. We ask the team to pray. Our prayer team meeting on Weds has prayed.
34. 5 days go by. Only 12 tickets move that week. 100 tickets total. Half of those are volunteers who we’ve helped register for planning purposes. Emails to previous supporters and conference ticket holders come back. Nada. Not a word. This was getting weird now. This was nothing we had ever experienced!
35. That day I cancelled the conference. I had to. No way to get a great conference pulled together with no participants. The audience. The guests. The attendees are the point. If no one wants to hear the message of the conference- you do not have it.
36. What is happening? I keep praying. Keep PLEADING for God to tell me?i am in my closet praying now. Now I’m on my knees in prayer. What is going on?
37. Well, the November conference planning is going awesome. Lots of excitement about Dr Yuan coming. Support is with us. This weekend event is going to happen.
38. Then I hear from him. Not audible. But God gives wise counsel. Through others. And in my own head. Through His Word. That morning. Five – 5 days after cancelling the September conference – God gives me this word. Heartfelt is a Titus 2 ministry. Your work is teaching, discipling women. This issue is for the church as a whole. Everyone needs to be taught. That is not your assignment. The church leaders. The pastors. The elders. The ministers. The preachers must teach this. So let them do the conference. Not Heartfelt’s job.
40. There it is.
41. Our team talked. We had prayed hadn’t we? One team member said “You have said from the beginning and over and over that this was not our conference but God’s. This is how he has planned it.”
42. So God, we planned Speak Truth just so we could get Dr Yuan to come to West Monroe to WFR Church? And that was your plan all along?
43. Seems that the God of Creation works in ways that will remain a mystery so -Yes. ( see the fall of man, the flood, the plan of the Gospel, Jesus died? but the. He rose from death? Yes. He doesn’t think the way we think. Doesn’t plan like we plan.
44. God wants the male leaders to intentionally present the Bible Truth to the church in view of the false teaching and the cultural influence on the believers and followers of Christ. It took us beginning the process to get this to happen. And we are SO okay with that. The pastors are awesome.
45. We still have some clean up work to do. Like some $$$ to recoup and apologies to be made but we are certain of Philippians 1:6.
46. I also believe because I’m a Romans 8:28 liver that God was protecting us or Heartfelt or a speaker or an attendee in the cancellation of the September event.
47. I have learned Soooooo much through this.
48. But that’s for another post.
49. If you want to know.
50. Because I sure do hope you won’t give up on Heartfelt. This is God’s ministry.
May the Lord bless you. ❤